Grandma’s or Bust!

Grandma’s or BUST

“Disclaimer: I received entry into Grandma’s 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!”

That’s right, I am headed back to Duluth! If we are getting technical it’s my sixth time to Duluth. I took a family vacation as a kid in 1993, I ran the half marathon in 2014, and then the first Great Grandma’s challenge in 2015, the black flagged 2016 marathon, and the almost as hot 2017 marathon.

2018 is the year for perfect weather, you heard it here first!

Why am I returning?

  1. I want to eat at Grandma’s Saloon and Grill. In all these years I have not done that, and it’s located at the finish line.
  2. I am going to run the 5k on Friday night too. I will be in town for packet pickup, might as well do the Great Grandma’s challenge again.
  3. The lake – Lake Superior! I have never jumped in post marathon – GASP! My first half was cold, the 2015 marathon was rain, the 2016 marathon I had to find my husband in the medical tent, and in 2017 I met my friends at the beer tent.
  4. It’s a great event. I feel this needs no blurb, great events keep people coming back.
  5. The medal! GM Medal Reveal FB 2018

I feel those are my top 5 reasons to get back. I hope to cross all those things off the list.

What has you returning to a race? Why would you travel to something year after year?

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Bibrave Partners with Athlinks

BibRave has a new partnership with Athlinks.

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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!”

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What is Athlinks?

  • An online collection of your race results. Find, share and claim your race results up to the last 10 years
  • Connect with friends – meet at a future race, have a friendly competition or cheer each other on.

I have been an Athlinks member since 2009 – it’s cool to have your race results all in one place. However, when I originally joined, I found myself having to add all my races to the database, and due to so many races, I gave up, it was a lot of work to search websites for results and wait to see if they were added.

Periodically since that time, I would check in and some of the bigger races would show up on my profile to claim. That is easy, the system recognizes your name and you just hit the “claim results” button.

Now, I am willing to give the website another try. There have been many changes to the site to make it more of a community.

You can follow friends, when you follow them you can see if they raced the same events as you. This stat also tells you if you won or lost against them in that event. It’s a nice friendly competition, but when you are a slow runner, seeing all the losses on your profile isn’t a great feeling, ok so maybe it’s a little motivating.

I also am having an issue following accounts that are private. They can follow me, but I can not follow them back. I can also not see who my followers are, unless I go through my emails. *Maybe I am just missing something?

You can also add future events to your profile to see who will be there, complete with a countdown. This allows you to put in your time goal as well.

There were a few other things I am still struggling with:

  • My PR’s are not accurate. I have a couple marathon relays on my resume and they are counting that as my marathon PR.
  • I signed up 9 years ago, I can not change my email address to the one I prefer to use today. *I am working on getting this changed

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Moving forward – I am curious to see what incentives and discounts will be available. The website has grown, and in fact before January 8, 2018, those who sign up for a new Athlinks account or existing members who claim a new race result are eligible to win great prizes – from race entries into the Leadville Race Series and the Life Time Tri Series, to a one-year premium TrainingPeaks subscription. To learn more and “Win 2018”, visit https://app.athlinks.com/win2018/

As I continue to get email notifications, I will keep up with my Athlinks account just as I have in the past. Who knows maybe a giveaway will entice me to actually add the races that are not in the database.

You can get your free account online at Athlinks.com or get the app on your phone. If you want you can follow me too – https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/114826986

 

 

 

A Marathon in the Corridor

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Run CRANDIC as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Have you heard?

There is a marathon coming to the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, IA area. Run CRandIC will be held Sunday, April 29th. There will be a marathon that starts near the NewBo area of Cedar Rapids and finishes at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. In addition there will be a half marathon that starts at the UICCU (University of Iowa Community Credit Union) in North Liberty and finishes at Kinnick Stadium, and a 5k starting at NW Junior High in Coralville.

To say that I am excited, is an understatement. A MARATHON IN MY TOWN!!! I have traveled a lot of places, just to run a marathon. There is a 50k about 10 miles away ( I need to register for that)…but the closest marathon is one hour away.

Crandic – if you noticed, those are the letters that make up “C”edar “R”apids and “I”owa “C”ity. You also see this train image, what does that all mean? Well, here is some information from an article in the local newspaper:

“There’s so much history in the name CRANDIC, and for a good chunk of this run you’re running immediately adjacent to the tracks,” he said.

According to the CRANDIC website, the first electric cars began carrying passengers between the two cities in August 1904 over what was known as the “interurban.” Ridership began declining in the early 1950s as cars became more affordable, it said, and the last passengers were carried on the rails in May 1953.

Its freight business continued, the website said, and now operates “60 miles of mail line track and nearly 40 miles of industry track and switching gears,” carrying over 90,000 carloads every year. “

The Crandic railroad was the link between to the 2 cities, and so the name was born. However, and if you read the article…. (please ignore the 26.6 mile comment – we all love Josh S…but he is not a runner, lol) this race has been years in the making. There was always the obstacle of getting from point A to point B.

Enter – all the parties involved. This is a HUGE event, so in addition to the economic development groups and the CVB (and everyone I am missing) – Corridor Running was asked to help with the inaugural event.

You already know I was excited, but now my running club was asked to help.  After I stopped doing cartwheels, I stepped up to be one of the club members to be part of the planning process. Squeeee!!!

I will not bore you with planning details and all the meetings… so many meetings… seriously… there are a few meetings involved… oh and some emails. I am kidding, I am loving it. I have already felt the pressure to make sure this is a great event, getting the route planned was a feat, but it’s something I know we will make great!

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The website has more specific details provided, I just felt the need to share my excitement!

If you have been perusing the website you might have noticed the first price increase is Dec 16th. If you want the best race, I encourage you to sign up before December 15th, 2017 at midnight. http://runcrandic.com/registration

My current plan is to run this as my 25th marathon (we’ll see if that happens,) so if you are in the area and want to “train,” look me up. I may not be as familiar with the Cedar Rapids area, but I have run the half marathon course, and there are some hills!

Luvo Meals – Order Anywhere, Anytime

Luvo – Order Anywhere, Anytime

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

If Luvo sounds familiar to you, you are remembering when I tried the meals earlier this year. While I enjoyed the steam pouches and bowls, it was tough to find them locally. Why try them again? This time I could order online!!! Plus, it makes my life so much easier, not having to worry about cooking when I am busy.

I sat down at my laptop, typed in www.luvoinc.com and began the ordering process. It was easy, I clicked on the “store” page and could see all the options available to me. Next to each meal is a small description, but underneath is a button to see the complete nutritional value information, and a button to add the meal to your cart.

I started clicking on my favorites to fill my cart with first. A pop up menu appears on the left of the screen, and gives you an option to return to shipping or checkout. There is also an option to change the quantity. I continued with this process until I was done. Easy and simple to walk through or edit.

When it’s time to checkout you do so by clicking the appropriate button. This is where I had a little difficulty. I wanted to use paypal, as it is one of the options. However, I wasn’t sure when or where to enter a discount code (BIBCHAT will get you 10% off.) I wasn’t sure if I logged into my paypal if I would be charged before my discount.

I eventually figured it all out, by being “logged” into paypal, I could enter my codes and I just proceeded to pay that way. It was a lot of back and forth, but I figured it out.

I received an email that my order was received. I kept receiving emails to notify where my meals were in the shipping process, along with tracking information. Then in 3 days, there was a styrofoam box filled with my meals, complete with dry ice, on my doorstep.

As I mentioned, these meals arrived at a busy time for me, it makes meal planning sooooo much easier. I do not care for having to prepare my lunch to take to work, I can just grab a meal, throw it in the microwave at work, and it’s done.

The meals themself are full of nutrients and maybe things I wouldn’t normally eat. They are also light in calories too, so depending on your needs you might need to add some eggs or eat 2 of them at once.

Another perk, the Luvo bowls line is already in a serving dish, no need to plate them. I found myself taking one on the go, in my car!

I thought the ordering process was comparable to any online ordering system, the paypal problem could have just been because I wasn’t logged in correctly. The meals arrive quick and are easy to prepare.

You can save 10% with code BIBCHAT  – simplify your holidays, let Luvo do the work – check out their store today! You can also find Luvo on TwitterFacebook – or Instagram. They have many informative articles about healthy eating too.

Check out these blogs: JessicaJenna

A Visor For All Conditions

Product Review – BOCO Gear 360° Visor®

“Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear 360° Visor® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aBibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Whether it’s to keep my hair under control, the sun off my face or my head warm; I can easily be spotted running with something on my head.

In fact you might have seen me in a BOCO trucker hat or a Boco stocking hat. BOCO (as some of you Coloradians might know) is short for Boulder, CO – where the company was “born.”

All this rambling brings me to the newest addition to my BOCO Gear collection, the  BOCO Gear 360° Visor®!

What makes this visor so special? Well I will tell you:

  • Terry cloth liner across the forehead to reduce sweat from dripping on your face
  • elastic band on the back, no readjusting
  • machine washable
  • black under the brim to reduce glare
  • the bill is curved and fits like a normal hat – no crazy flat brimmed nonsense
  • dry tech polyester

Now – how did I make the most of this visor?

While I have been wearing it from time to time on my runs, to shield my face from the sun (which is important all year round.) I put this to it’s first test as I wore it during the Detroit Marathon, in wind gusts close to 40 mph. The visor never budged, I never worried about losing this as I ran the last few miles in a head wind.  It’s a pain if you have to worry about keeping your hat on, and uncomfortable to run with your hand on the top of your head, to keep your hat on.

Second… I have been enjoying this as an addition to cold runs. I need my head and more importantly my ears covered when it’s cold outside (insert dramatic story of my ears being frostbit as a kid.)I prefer to wear a stocking hat or multifunctional head wrap. However, those items do not block my face from the sun. It’s sooooo easy to just throw the visor on, on top of the hat – BAM, sun protection.

I think if there were a downside to this visor, it would be the sizing. For my head size, it’s fine. I like that there is no extra adjustable strap to deal with. For others it could be too big or too small.

My favorite thing about this – it’s machine washable. I don’t have time to hand wash stuff, and the running gear that requires that treatment gets neglected. This just makes taking care of my visor so much easier.

The pros may have additional thoughts on BOCO Gear, so check em out: Amy WMeridithJeannineLindseyVanessaFrankKolbeStephanieMattCaseyJessica FallonGinaSamantha

BOCO makes a lot of products – check out their website, or maybe get your own custom order.

Follow BOCO Gear on TwitterInstagramFacebook.

 

Health Warrior Chia Bars – review

Review of the Health Warrior Chia Bars

“Disclaimer: I received 2 boxes of Health Warrior Chia Bars 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 can’t resist a good bar, with that being said I have also had my fair share of disgusting bars. With so many options out there, I was happy to try out the Health Warrior Chia Bars.

I ripped open the brown cardboard box, when it arrived, to find 2 boxes of Health Warrior Chia bars inside. I received the chocolate peanut butter and vanilla almond. In addition to the bars, there was a cool surprise – The Coloring Book, Marathon Training.

What the heck is chia, and why should you eat it? Well it is that plant seed that grows into a pet, but it’s also a superfood – the most nutrient dense food on the planet!

chia boasts more omega-3s than salmon, more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax

This superfood is combined with other ingredients to make a gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan bar, yet only 4-5 grams of sugar. These are near 100 calories and help you feel full as they contain protein, fiber, fat and omega-3.

How do they taste? This is where I am always skeptical. I love all the benefits these provide, but I am not going to eat them if I don’t like them. I am here to say, these are good!!!! They taste like a granola bar…the flavors I received, taste just as described. You get a whiff of vanilla before you bite into the vanilla almond and you just can’t go wrong with peanut butter.

I think my favorite thing about these are you can see the ingredients that are listed on the label. They are not a mushed up, dried out, chalky square.

I found myself taking these with me to work. They are the perfect snack to hold me to lunch time.

I also snuck them into Camp Randall, Kinnick Stadium and Carver Hawkeye Arena. Who wants to pay concession stand prices for bad for you food?

I have my eyes on the new sea salt caramel flavor and I would like to try their line of pumpkin seed bars too. Ok, who am I kidding, I would like to try them all as all my boxes are empty!

I think the only bad thing about these bars is when the chia seeds get stuck in your teeth.

I mentioned a coloring book – that’s right!!! If you place an order through this link – http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr you will be sent the Marathon Training coloring book. It’s funny and filled with the truth about marathon training.

I was able to stay in the lines!

I know the other pros were sent other flavors so make sure to check out their thoughts: CaseyBrendaJessicaPaulaStephanie MattAmyJanelleLindsey Emily Samantha 

Stay up to date with Health Warrior by following along on their social channels – TwitterFacebookInstagram

Half Marathon #47

Half Marathon #47

“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 amazing how things start to add up over time, hard to believe I have completed my 47th half marathon, my first was in September 2011. This was my 6th half marathon in Madison. Find out if I will be back…..

For my no nonsense review – check out bibrave.com

Where shall I begin… I think I will fast forward through Saturday… originally when I signed up, I was excited as it was the day after the Iowa / Wisconsin football game in Madison, I would be in town anyway…why not run a marathon? Well, you can read again about me switching races…but still Hawkeye football and running, what is better?

Well as I write this we all know that game did not turn out well for the Hawkeyes, so why should we relive it…no need….I will say I got to spend more time with new friends, and I did enjoy that.

Sunday, November 12 – RACE DAY!!

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Bibrave long sleeve shirt, 2xu Hyoptik tights, Zensah compression socks, BUFF® ThermoNet™, Pearl Izumi gloves, Hawkeye hat, xx2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID

I was up early for a short drive to Madtown. I was staying just south in a town with a Kwik Star – I love those stores!  So, I stopped for some coffee and a bagel. The weather was also a little crappy, the temp was near freezing and it was spitting rain. I did make it to Madison without incident, and checked the weather map, it looked like I was just out of it and the race would be dry.

Oh – I forgot to tell you all about the packet pick up and stuff – but as I said – check out my bibrave review…the blog is for the rambling. Anyway, unless you pay for race day packet pick up, you have to get your bib the days before at the Monona Terrace – it’s easy and painless…and I did that before the game.

Ok, back to race day – One of my favorite things about this event, it’s on a Sunday, so all the on street parking just blocks away from the start / finish is FREE. I pulled in around 6 am for the 7:10 a start, and found a parking spot 2 blocks away.

I had time to use one of the many port-o-potties and get back to my car and sit and stay warm and relax. No standing in a corral for an hour before you start, no wondering where you need to be… just sitting and scrolling social media.

With about 15 minutes to go, I left my car and walked to the starting line. I could hear the National Anthem in the distance, so I stopped walking and listened. I arrived to the starting line to hear them announce the wheeler start at 6:55 am, then it was the full marathon start at 7:00am. I looked for my friend Dan, and kept an eye out for Steena, but didn’t see either.

After a selfie or 2, I found myself lining up into the backfed corral. These are kind of annoying, if you are fast, it’s hard to get to the front. Anymore, I just get in the corral and move forward…I try not to worry. There were pacers with signs you could stand near too.

There was a wheeler start for the half marathon, then it was time for me to start. I have never run this course in Madison before…. well as a half marathon. The course is the second half of the full marathon, which I ran last year.

There was some construction in the first mile or so of the race, so the streets we were running on were quite narrow, and at one point it was sooo narrow that we all just stopped… I can remember the collective sigh I heard from everyone at this moment… (thanks to my Aftershokz Trekz Air) the sigh was like something you hear from a crowd at a sporting event. However, after this point… the course widened again and we finally started to thin a little. Most of the participants must have been running the half marathon.

The first 5 ish miles were on some boring roads, passing businesses and gas stations. In all the races I’ve run in Madison, this course is my least favorite. We finally got closer to the lake and there were views of that.

There were parts through residential neighborhoods and a short out and back section. Each mile was marked with a sign, and I didn’t notice any timing mats. *The RaceJoy app was the tracking app suggested by the race, which is based on the participant using their phone GPS on course. This just burns my battery, so I do not use it. I should have set it up though as I think there is a way around it – really I should just look into it, lol

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Around mile 8 was a HUGE hill with a cool look over the lake… I actually checked my heart rate at the top – as a Bibrave Pro I have been testing a Garmin Forerunner 935 with the wrist HR monitor, and I noticed it was only about 173 at the top of the hill, so I happened to keep pushing the pace into the finish line.

On course there were many aid stations. At first I was confused as water was first, then Gatorade, but that was followed with water again. Also as the stops went on, the mixing of cups happened – water wasn’t always in the white cup – but the volunteers shouted what they had to offer. There were also a couple of gel stops too.

There were also a lot of law enforcement volunteers along the way. There were a lot of busy intersections. I made sure to thank them when I could. Near the finish is a hill (of course – it wouldn’t be Madison without hills) I said thank you to an officer and he made some remark instead- something to the effect of keep going or don’t give up, like your Hawkeyes yesterday.  UGH this did not encourage me at all, in fact I was mad!  I am fine if a friend lays down the smack talk, but I didn’t know this person. He should have also just been making sure runners are safe, and given the time, clap or say good job. I compare this to “good job but the things you like suck!”  Anyway, I didn’t let this cloud my thoughts on the overall event…just do your job.

I came into the finish as the announcer said my name. My Garmin had a time near 2:15 for 13.3 ish miles. I am not made about the distance… I understand that GPS gets off and I probably didn’t run the tangents.

I jumped and the photographer captured it!! Oh and the pictures were posted that night and sent to me via email for a FREE download!!

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After I crossed that finish line a volunteer placed a medal around my neck and a bottle of water was made available to me. Then I waited in line for a photo with the back drop.

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After that, a kid ran out of nowhere and placed a mylar blanket on my like a cape! I wasn’t super cold, but was grateful and took it with me as I grabbed a couple of orange slices. There were some halved bananas too. The next stop was the choice of a bagged Panera lunch – turkey, ham or veggie. I chose the turkey one and made my way to my car.

On the way I passed by a results tent, I could have had my time printed out, but passed. I could have also purchased some race merchandise and turned in the tag on my bib for a free Michelob Ultra. *I am not sure it’s necessary to mention this again… but come on, it’s Wisconsin, how about a craft beer? LOL

Alright…I made it back to my car and did a quick change in the back seat. Pro tip – get the sweaty layer of clothing off when it’s cold outside. Once that wet layer is gone, add some warm dry layers. (you can thank me later.)

With warm dry clothes and a big fluffy coat, I was headed back to the finish line to cheer on the runners. I did stop for a peppermint mocha on the way since I passed on the beer.

I made it to the finish line to see Dan finish his 32nd marathon! Then Joanne came in to finish the half. WAHOO!! Congrats!!!

I needed to get on my way, as I was headed to a men’s basketball game in Iowa City. I did meet up with Dan and then Joanne, used one of the 230948209347 port-o-potties and was on the road.

Ok…so I made it as far as the grocery store…I wasn’t leaving without beer and cheese curds.

I made it to the basketball game, but I was late…

I enjoy running in Madison, but I am not sure if I will be back when the Hawkeyes are in town. Also even though this is not my favorite course, it’s nice to have longer distance races late in the year.

I received an email after the event that there will be 4 medals that fit together to form one big piece with a center piece, looks like I will be back!