What To Pack For Race Day

What (& How) To Pack For Race Day

“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!”

When traveling, it can be stressful to remember all the things you might need, throw in running and you’ve just increased your chance to forget something. As I travel to my next half marathon, I will highlight some of my tips to make sure you are ready on the starting line.

The first thing I do is to start checking the weather. Then I know what to season of running clothes I should consider.

Next. I start putting together a list in my head. How many days will I be gone? What size of bag will I need to bring? Will I be going out to dinner?

Once I have a general idea, it’s time to make sure everything is clean, do I need to do some laundry?

I then pull out all the things I have thought about and throw them in a pile on my bag. I then group my clothing by day. So I will put together day one running outfit, day one normal day outfit and so on.

Then I make sure to have a pair of running shoes and for good measure I throw in 26 extra pairs of underwear. Ok, maybe an exaggeration, but I tend to over pack that item.

For race day I always pack: running shoes, running pants, a running skirt, sports bra, running shirt (tank, short sleeve) Aftershokz, race belt, running glasses, a hat, compression socks. Weather permitting – a pullover, BUFF(R), hydration pack with supplies.

It’s then time to stuff all the things in my bag and hope the toiletry things fit on top. I always do a twice over of my contact solution, toothpaste, etc. Most hotels are good for these things, but I need my prescription glasses.

This next step is the most crucial – I then open the bag back up and check for everything I can not buy at a big box store. For me that is my running shoes, running shorts and a sports bra. Then I check one more time.

That’s it.

Ok, I lied, when it’s time to leave, and after I have tossed my bag into the car, I then check again to make sure I have all the things I can not buy at a big box store. I am then satisfied and am ready to go.

If you know me or have followed along for a good while, you might know that I once forgot my running shorts. GASP!!! Lucky me, there was a store close by and I ended up with some capris that would work last minute. Believe me, the last thing I want is to wear something new on race day. Chaffing is no joke. When I looked back at that incident, I did not quadruple check my items.

I have already started the mental checklist for Madison. I am in town for 2 days and one day includes sitting outside at a sporting event, and going to the expo. (PS expo is 10-5, maybe I will see you there.) Then there is race day. These things involve a little extra like blankets and heavy coats. One things, for sure, I will be checking that bag a bajillion times.


Giving Up

Giving Up…. On Myself

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the IMT Des Moines 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!”

If you follow me and watch my Instagram stories, you already know this. (Also why don’t you watch them?) I am dropping down to the half marathon at the IMT Des Moines Marathon.

Yes, I feel I have failed.

Yes, I feel I have given up.

Yes, I sat through a football game thinking about this decision.

However, I am now at peace with this choice. I feel sooooooo much relief!

Training for this marathon was stressing me out. I am a slower runner, so running 20 miles takes more of my time. This makes me anxious. I am also choosing to attend all home and away Iowa football games this fall, it makes my time limited. I am just not invested in spending 5 hours of time running a long run.

Running is also something I don’t mind doing alone, but I am also tired of being my own cheerleader, it’s draining! I need a break of trying to pep myself up. This is why I feel like I have given up on myself…and at the same time…. no one asks me how I am doing, so here is my answer…. I am stressed, anxious, and bored….

This also leads me to my current financial situation, I love to run all the races, but currently I don’t have the funds to do so. These races helped keep me motivated, it was also a way to get in the training miles with others. The struggle is real!

I have also run over 30 marathons, I respect the distance and know what it takes for me to be prepared. I don’t want to be miserable for 26.2 miles because I didn’t properly train even though I know I can complete it in the time given.

I wrote a blog post about this race a few weeks back, I didn’t quit then because I couldn’t find how to transfer race distances. I did a deeper search and found the information. However, so much time has passed, that I have to do this at the expo for a fee. Which is also fair.

So here we are with just 2 weeks to go. I will be able to finish the half marathon distance, proudly. I am excited as it will be a new race course for me, and I don’t feel stressed and anxious.

I once posted I like a challenge, it pushes me. I am still challenging myself – healthily.

If you want to run an event in Des Moines, registration is still open and if you use code “dmmbibrave2019” you will get a $10 discount on the following races: IMT Des Moines Marathon, IMT Des Moines Half Marathon, 5-Mile Run + Marathon, 5-Mile Run + Half Marathon. https://www.desmoinesmarathon.com/



Catching Des Moines – Again

Another Marathon – Des Moines 2019

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the IMT Des Moines 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!”

Des Moines, IA is known for it’s slogan “Catch Des Moines,” well here I am, ready to catch the 2019 IMT Des Moines Marathon.

This race is special as it’s where my marathon PR was set, just last year. It was so unexpected, but awesome!!!

However, this year… I am just hoping to finish within the 7 hour cutoff time. My training is lacking – yes there is still time, but I am just not motivated to get my butt moving. Maybe most of that is the weather, we have been very hot and humid, including high dew points. I still haven’t run inside in over 150 days. Then I also look back at last year and I trained in the same conditions, sooooo who knows. I know I will finish, but I would like to do my best. Here’s to the next 20 miler!

There was just a price increase for this race, if you missed it don’t worry, I have a $10 savings code – “dmmbibrave2019” for the following races: IMT Des Moines Marathon, IMT Des Moines Half Marathon, 5-Mile Run + Marathon, 5-Mile Run + Half Marathon. https://www.desmoinesmarathon.com/

If you are still on the fence, here are some of the things I enjoyed about the event. The course – it winds just about everywhere you would want to go; including the blue oval and Water Works park. The course also has an elevation profile I prefer, there are no super steep climbs, but it’s not flat. There’s a bacon stop and I never felt alone out there.

Here are also some additional features you can add to your race day experience:

Droppin FBOMBS

FBOMB Nut Butter Product Review

“Disclaimer: I received FBOMB nut butter 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!”

By now you should all know I have been a BibRave Pro for over 5 years, and with that comes some fun things to test out. Enter – FBOMB nut butters! I had to opt in to try these out.

I know you are probably asking what the heck is this? Well it’s not really a bad word, but it is fun to say you dropped an FBOMB. This is a nut butter – you know like that childhood favorite you spread with jam on some bread? However, this is in a convenient little pouch that you can take with you and these are made with macadamia nuts!!

I received the FBOMB Nut Butter Variety Pack. The zippered case (hooray for  a reusable case) included 4 pouches of 4 different flavors: salted chocolate macadamia, macadamia with coconut, macadamia with sea salt and macadamia pecan with sea salt.

The first thing I noticed is that each package contains at least 200 calories. Which may seem alarming, but these are designed to be a snack to fuel you. “Fat is smart fuel.” The other thing I noticed on the packaging is the ingredients – they are all things you can pronounce and mainly nuts and sea salt. The chocolate one has a little more to it. They also specify food allergies.

Next I had to choose which one to try first. I love macadamia nuts, so it was just a matter of going with a basic flavor first or something more exotic?

I went with the salted chocolate and put it on toast. I could have just ate it from the package, but I also needed to eat breakfast. I started by kneading the pouch, then I ripped the top off and it easily flowed out onto my toast.

That first bite was very delicious!! It really had a lot of flavor or taste to it. Since the first slice of toast, I have been dressing up my breakfast with sprinkles!

I tried all the flavors, and I like them all. I would say that the coconut is the most pronounced.

I enjoy nut butters on apples and bananas, makes for a great afternoon snack. However I stopped at a produce market on the side of the road and the farmer said I needed to try his banana peppers with peanut butter on them. I thought that was a strange suggestion, but I knew just the nut butter for the job. Here went nothing… and you know what? It was delicious!! It reminded me of putting it on celery.

I am now at the point where I only have 4 pouches left, one of each flavor and I am scared to eat them, because then they are all gone. However, I could order online using code BRP10 for 10% off a Nut Butter Variety Pack (16-Count) “BRP10” https://www.dropanfbomb.com 

These are a convenient way to snack, they fit easily in a pocket or purse to take with you. They are a great topping on a fruit or perfect on their own. Don’t let the calories scare you as they offer a great way to snack without artificial ingredients and added sugar.

I will continue to drop an FBOMB! Keep up with them on twitter or instagram

Completing the Illini-Badger Challenge

Madison Mini Marathon 2019 – Race Review

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

It was finally time to head back to Madtown. I am pretty sure I have wrote about running more in Madison than in Iowa City. Honestly, when there are no sporting events, it’s a great place to be. In fact this would be my 5th Madison Mini.

Josh and I hopped in the car on Friday afternoon, for the 3 hour trip… a 3 hour tour….Anyway, nothing eventful happened on the drive and we were at our hotel to check in and drop our bags off.

Next stop, the expo.

We were staying about a half mile from the expo/packet pick up at the Alliant Energy Center. In the many times I have run this, it was the first time I would experience packet pick up at this location. It was always at the Union South (way too crowded and no parking) or I had made arrangements for someone else to pick up my things.

There was plenty of free parking here, no congestion. We were able to walk right in, snake through the vendors to the back and find the letters of our last name to get our bib and shirt. They put the short sleeve, gender specific shirt and bib that was in an envelope in a plastic bag.

We wondered around the expo a bit. It wasn’t big, but if you need some last minute supplies or branded race gear you could get what you needed. We stopped by the corner of banners with names on them, took some photos, and then moved towards the exit. This is when Josh ran into social media and Hawkeye friend Jake. We said hi and then moved on to say hi to Jan at the Illinois Marathon booth, where we scored more mini boxes of Kodiak Cakes. We really didn’t see any other booths that caught our attention, so we were back to our car in a jiff!

From here we were on our way to get some grub. I had reached out to social media friend Steena – you may recall I ran with her at the 2017 Madison Mini. She suggested a place called Glass Nickel Pizza.

We had a short wait and we were seated. We thought we would start with some breadsticks while we waited. I also had a small beer. Then we placed an order for a margherita pizza and side salads. WHOA!!!  The breadsticks arrived and well it was like a whole pizza, then soon after that our salads, which were also huge and very fresh. Then, just like that our pizza arrived. We ordered way too much food! When we decided we couldn’t eat another slice, we asked for a box and were on our way.

We arrived back at the hotel to discover even though the lobby was ice cold, our room just wasn’t cooling down. So Josh bumped the temperature colder.

We caught up on social media and prepared all our things for the race the next day.

Saturday, August 17 – RACE DAY!!!

We woke up to a stuffy hotel room, something was wrong with the air conditioning. So we kept moving along to get out of there. I had VIP access, so even though I had some hotel coffee, I was ready to take advantage of the pre-race spread.

The last time I ran this race, I drove in that morning, and the times before we always stayed within walking distance of the starting line. This year, I looked at a map for the starting line, then zoomed in to a P, for parking and mapped us to the first ramp. Well, it was about a half mile or so walk to the starting line. I am sure if we took the time to find free on street parking we could have found something closer.

I ditched Josh around 6 AM to go to the VIP room. While I might have felt a little bit guilty, I was going to enjoy. I had a green sticker on my bib, but when I arrived the person checking in names seemed a bit confused, however I was given a wristband and allowed to enter. I was also in line behind fellow BibRave pro Amy.

I hit up the buffet and grabbed a muffin and granola bar, I also snagged a cup of coffee. I say next down to Amy and her friend. We made small talk and they were ready to go warm up. I stayed and ate my muffin, drank my coffee and scrolled through my phone. I then went outside on the balcony to check out the calm before the storm.

It was getting close to starting time, 7 AM. I made use of the VIP bathroom and finally went back outside. I was in one of the last corrals, which was right outside the door, so I was never in a hurry.

It was a nice morning, the sun was out and temperatures would rise, but not be too horrible. The National Anthem was performed by a group and the race began.

While there were lots of corrals, they were not held, so it was more to encourage people to line up by paces. However, I did not see anyone checking bibs.

I was ready to run. I didn’t have a goal but to get to that finish line and get that challenge medal. With all the events I run in Madison, I can never remember which race goes with which route, it also doesn’t help that I feel each year, every race changes their route…..so I was also ready to see where we were running.

The race started with a slight uphill and then towards the Capital, where the Farmers’ Market was going on. Then we were off onto State St. This is where BibRave Pro, Jonathan caught up to me. He said he was running behind and almost started last, and he was just catching up. We ran a couple of miles together, and then he was feeling good and proceeded on just before we got to the arboretum.

I enjoy the arboretum, I know many people find it boring, but I like it. Maybe it’s because there is a small shoulder of gravel I can run on. After we ran this section we were back to running the streets of Madison. This included heading towards Camp Randall, then we were on the path that goes along the lake. The course finished by taking us up Observatory Hill, before finishing back at the Terrace.

The course was lined with 10 aid stations, many of them with energetic cheer squads, or screaming high school kids. There would be a winner of best station after the race. The aid stations offered water and Gatorade. However, each station had a different flavor  and sometime water was first. They were always in different cups. It was kinda fun to guess which flavor of Gatorade I would get, and until the last stop I thought I got lucky by avoiding lemon lime.

I really liked the course and was having a great time, but around mile 10 something happened to my calf. Out of no where it was like a rock was living inside my left calf muscle. I stopped and stretched a bit and then kept moving. It was just so tight, but wasn’t cramping. I didn’t carry my pack, so that is why I was drinking all the Gatorade. I steadily made my way towards the finish line.

I came across the finish line in a time near 2:24. Not my best, not my worst. I really am going to have to start putting in the work if I want to have better times. However, I am happy every time I can cross a finish line.

A medal was placed around my neck, I grabbed a bottle of water, and chugged down the chocolate milk. There were bananas, granola bars and 2 choices of Wisconsin popcorn.

I was on a mission to find my challenge medal. I had to walk back towards to entrance to the VIP area, just about a half block away and I found Jan handing them out. They were a nice medal. I hung it around my neck and clanged my way to the post race VIP area.

There was a new buffet set up with chicken, brats, cookies, potato salad and fruit. There was soda, water and Gatorade. Out on the balcony, overlooking the lake and the 14th mile party, was where the beer was – this year was a raspberry lemon radler from Wisconsin Brewing.

I grabbed myself a beer and then made sure to get a brat and then went to add my name to the massage list. In my journey to find the massage sign up, I stumbled upon a woman who insisted on rubbing CBD oil on my calf.

While I waited for my massage, BibRave pro Jonathon made his way to the VIP area and we chatted some more. Then just after I got myself a second beer, my name was called for my massage.

This massage was the strangest thing. I have done the post race massage before and usually they ask if there is a trouble area, or something they should target. This person didn’t ask and I laid down on my back and she proceeded with her routine. She was very fast moving. Then when I rolled to my front side, it was the same thing. I did find myself relaxed and then the karate chopping started. I am laughing just typing this. I would compare this to something my 8 year old niece would do. I did mention the pain in my calf, and while there was some weird stretching, there was no extra massage there. Like I said I was relaxed, but it was weird.

I was done and sat back down with Jonathon. He has been dealing with an injury, but still had a decent race. I had never met him before, so it was nice to talk. Then it was his turn for a massage, so I said see ya later. I went to the balcony and grabbed another beer and then made my way to Josh.

We made sure to take some pictures in the oversized chairs on the terrace, and listened to the band. It was a nice day, and the area they host the post race party is perfect!

It was about time to check out of the hotel, so we departed the finish area and tried to remember where we left the car. It felt like a 67 mile walk back. Once we found the car, we proceeded back to the hotel room.

We arrived back to the room to find it even more stuffy than when we left it. Blech! We were so over it, so we showered and checked out. We made sure to mention the situation as we departed.

Besides Josh eating the leftover pizza on the ride home, it was another uneventful drive back to the Hawkeye state. It was a rare trip where we didn’t buy any beer or cheese though.

The Madison Mini is nice summer race, make sure to register early for the best price.

Mad Mini Anticipation

What is the one thing you are most looking forward to on race day?

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Mini 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!

Race day is less than 2 weeks away. I am no stranger to the Madison Mini and I am excited to run it again. I will be meeting a couple of BibRave Pros and Josh will be joining too. I know why I like to run this event, but I thought it would be fun to hear what they had to say. I asked them each the same question – “What is the one thing you are most looking forward to on race day?”

If you know anything about me or my husband, you know we are HUGE Hawkeye fans. So, of course, this is what Josh had to say, “I’m looking forward to running past the Wisconsin band and saying ‘Go Hawks’, and enjoying the post race party on the Union Terrace.”

On the flip side, Amy had this to say, “I love the race because I went to undergrad in Madison so it gives me an excuse to take the fam back for the weekend and it’s fun to run through campus and see how it has changed.”

Jonathan has never been to Madison and had told me this, “Well, Ang I had looked forward to running by Lake Mendota and was excited because this race has been on my list for the previous 3 years before this year but my schedule never worked with the date and time of the race. But my selling point has/was to be to enjoy the beautiful city of Madison, which oddly enough I have never gone to.”

As a refresher, I am looking forward to the post race party on the terrace, it’s such a great place to celebrate the day. If you see any of us, say hi!

Maybe these reasons have enticed you to register, well good news I have some codes to help you save. If you are interested in the 5k, use code BIBRAVE5 to save $5. If you are interested in the half marathon, use code BIBRAVE15 to save $15. Registration is thru August 16. https://www.madisonminimarathon.com/ 

Do you Strava?

A review of the Strava platform

Disclaimer: I will be receiving an annual Strava Subscription and Strava merchandise 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!

What is Strava?

Strava is a social fitness network, that is primarily used to track cycling and running exercises, using GPS data although alternative types are available – Wikipedia

I have been a Strava user for a while. I run with a GPS watch that collects all my data from the run and loads it to the platform. Similar to other run tracking sites, Strava keeps track of how many miles I have run, elevation, and routes.

I like to know how many miles I have run each week and every month, it certainly keeps me accountable. You can also count swimming and biking data.

I also use the stats overlay on my photos as another form of accountability.

Strava also personalizes your data. I use this feature to keep track of how many miles I have on my shoes. There is a place to add your gear, then after each run you can edit your run to say which shoes you ran in. Then you can set it to notify you when you have run a determined amount of miles. I am currently running in 3 pairs of shoes, so it’s nice to not have to keep track of all those with pen and paper.

Another form of personalization, is pushing you to do your best by keeping track of your times on certain routes you run. You can earn course records and PRs.

Ok, some may argue that with this personalization, it’s not private. You can set your account settings to private and you can set your routes to not show where you run within a distance of your house.

Another way I use Strava for motivation is to sign up for the challenges. Every month you can find new challenges to join such as running a half marathon, a distance challenge or virtual 5ks. My favorite are challenges that offer a discount on a product or free things. One year there was a challenge to negative split a marathon, and I won a pair of shoes. These little things keep me interested.

Strava will send emails to keep you up to date on your challenges too, and supply a summary each month.

Strava is also a social platform. You can join running groups and find running friends. Within your social feed you can comment and give kudos. If you are looking to join a running club, I suggest the BibRave Running Club – https://www.strava.com/clubs/bibrave

Strava has a free version, so if you are looking to keep data of all your runs check it out at strava.com. You can then sync your GPS watch to the app on your phone, or use the app on your phone on the run. There is also a paid version if you would like a little more, such as training plans.

So do you Strava?