Amana 2017

The Amana Freezer 5k – 2017 Edition

This is my favorite winter race in eastern Iowa. You may have caught my previous posts about this, even calling it “January’s Hidden Gem.” Well 2017 didn’t disappoint.

In addition to the meat swag bag and the hospitality of Amana, IA, what makes this race so great is that the local running community comes out of winter hibernation.


So, it was a foggy and unseasonably warm day, temps over 40 degrees. This was a nice change from the freezing temps I have run this race in before.


Since I haven’t picked a training plan for my upcoming marathons – the IL Marathon and Grandma’s… I should probably do that….I didn’t have any goals, or a set amount of miles to run that day. After I arrived around 8:30 to pick up my packet and meat bag, I set out to run some pre-race miles, that ended up totaling 4 miles.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Corridor Running hat, Brooks Ghost 8, Aftershokz, SpiBelt, Moving Comfort pullover, Adidas short, Procompression socks, Garmin Fenix 3.

I attached my bib to my belt, and the timing chip to my shoe and made my way to the starting line. This is where I saw running friend, Joel.  We chatted and then everyone was moving forward…ha we weren’t paying attention and someone jingled some bells and the race started.


A refresher on the course, it’s an out and back on the paved road, you run out to East Amana, circle around and come back to Amana. There is a hill when you get to East Amana, but nothing steep. The road is open to traffic, but the locals don’t seem to mind. The most scenic thing on the course is the occasional beer can in the ditch or the cow pasture. Hey, this is Iowa 🙂


I had an ok race for already logging 4 miles. My 5k goal is always sub-30 and according to my Garmin I finished in 28:05. I felt like I pushed my best, even though each mile split was slower… oh well, I had a year of distance running, it’s hard to get the speed back.


At the finish line, I saw a lot of friends from the 100 mile group and Corridor Running. I felt like a social butterfly. One of my favorite things about running is meeting the people.


The crowd moved towards the post race food and awards in the building where packet pick up took place. Usually it’s jammed packed, but since the weather was so nice, there was room to breathe.

There is always a great post race food spread, really quite a lot for a 5k. Clementines, bagels, bananas, fruit pizza, Fig Newtons, and cookies. Then there was bottled water and hot chocolate.


I chatted with more friends, including a reader of the blog, Hi Rosemary!! That was a nice surprise…as we chatted I chuckled as the lady tried to start the race awards. Every year it’s the same old problem, she has this microphone, but you still can’t hear her, and then she gets mad…I am still laughing. Someone eventually get her a bull horn, which you really can’t hear either as everyone is chatting.

We all stood around listening to the awards, then it was time for the raffle. I remember the year Laura won the bird seed and she didn’t want it… ha! I always am happy to win anything….and this year was my year, I won a bottle of wine, 2 wine glasses, and an opener!!  Joel was standing around with us too and he won a gift certificate for a bottle of wine too.  He really doesn’t drink wine, so he thought he would trade the bird seed winner….that didn’t work when the bird seed winner took her prize and immediately headed out the door. People want that bird seed!

Once all the prizes were handed out, it was time to redeem the Millstream Beer ticket that came with registration. The Brau Haus is located just across the street, and you just walk in and choose a craft beer or soda. I happily chose the Iowa Pale Ale. As I was leaving to drink my beer outdoors, someone asked “What is most similar to Coors Light or Miller Lite?” The guy pouring the beer chuckled, and said “tap water.” I laughed too.


I met Joel back outside and he was telling me how excited he was to tour Amana, and check out all the stores. The small town takes pride in their winter festival, so it is fun to check out all the shops. I couldn’t stay though, I had to get back to Iowa City and the Iowa Woman’s Basketball game. GO HAWKS!


I will always try to run this race. First, the meat bag! Second, the town rolls out the red carpet for the weekend. Third, the local running community wakes up for the year! Oh and the price is always right, around $25 (you can even get it for less if you want no meat bag or shirt)

Will Run for Pfefferwurst

The Amana Freezer 5k, (Jan 24, 2015) a race I have ran now the last 3 years. Check out my official race review here at bibrave.com.

Now about that pfefferwurst…

As per usual, I signed up for this race to break up the training miles. I met Laura before the race to run 7 miles, we had a total of 10 on the schedule for the day.  We are both training for our first 50k.

The weather was great for January, sunny and pushing 30. We trotted along the Kolonieweg trail (the race raises money for this.) The trail is a combination of paved and gravel, and takes you around a lake and through the Colonies, it’s only 3 miles long.

We logged those miles, made a pit stop at the gas station, stopped to pick up our packets, not to be disappointed by the swag. The race offers an alternative to the t-shirt, this year it was a bag with Mrs. Bonser’s noodles, cheese spread, pfefferwurst and an ice scrapper.

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Then we finished our run on the course, where we finished the 7 with some out and back miles.

The race start was nearing, and we chatted with lots of the local area runners we have become friends with. Even snapped a photo with some of the 100 miles gang. We even met up with Joel.

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10 am – the race started. Nice to have a later start when the temps can be cool, on the other hand with an earlier start we would have been done.

I stayed with Laura at the start, wow, I felt like I was going too fast, but I forgot my watch at home. When we approached the loop around East Amana, I started to fade, but we caught up with Joel. I stuck with Joel as Laura pulled ahead the last mile.

When we rounded the last corner, I didn’t have much left, I tried to beat Joel, but he crossed the finish seconds before I did at 26:10, or was it 26:28…I don’t remember

We all three stayed near the finish and cheered on the others. We decided we needed a drink and headed to the indoor post race festivities.

Runners milled about and were treated to a feast, bananas, clementines, hot chocolate, bottled water, bagels, and fruit bars. We made sure to enter our names in the door prize jar.

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When the last runner was in, it was time for awards. None of us placed in our age group, but we still tried our best.

It was then time for door prizes, and as luck would have it Joel won a gift basket from Hy-Vee (grocery store) and Laura won a 25 pound bag of bird seed. I won nothing!

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Laura quickly pawned the seed off onto a friend, and we were on our way to redeem our Millstream Brewery tickets, except I lost mine.  Seriously! A race with “real” beer, meaning something other than ‘X’ light, and I lost the free ticket.

(Insert picture that will not load, UGH)

Luckily I live in Iowa, where honesty and hospitality are number one! I brought my race bib and results paper and was awarded with an Amber brew, it was delicious. Laura grabbed a root beer and Joel a cream soda. We caught a table with a couple outside and had a nice conversation about running.

Before we parted ways, Laura and I took a jump photo. Then Joel and I were off to explore the festivities that were Winterfest.

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I enjoy this race for many reasons:

  • not many races in Iowa in January
  • meat bag
  • great festival in the town
  • Beer
  • flat course
  • great price