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.

Madison Marathon

CONQUER THE CAPITAL 45.5 CHALLENGE


My 21st marathon…I just had a Facebook memory pop up from 2011, it said something about running my first marathon, which I did in the fall of 2012. Here we are now, and I can say they don’t get any easier.

The 2016 Madison Marathon was held on Sunday, November 13. The middle of Hawkeye football season. Why mention this? Well I have season tickets to all Iowa home football games…Saturday, Nov 12, was a home game, against #3 Michigan.

  • Madison is a 3 hour drive from Iowa City
  • Hawkeye game times are usually 11 am or 2:30 pm
  • I needed to finish the Conquer the Capital Challenge for an additional medal

Ok, driving to Madison after the football game was totally doable, however football game times are usually determined by TV. Last year the Hawkeyes went 12-0 in the regular season, so TV thought ahead of our season that this game should be a 7pm start. This was after I registered for the marathon. AHHHHH. I was not going to drive to Madtown at midnight, and I wasn’t going to wake up at 2 am to drive there, so this meant I had to miss a home Iowa football game….stop making fun of me, I haven’t missed a home game in over 10 years. Iowa has no pro sports, this is our team, my team.

Now you have some background on the weekend. Next, If you recall, I ran the Conquer the Capital 19.3 in the spring, at the time I wasn’t able to register for the 45.5 challenge, as I ran the spring race for Bibrave and it wasn’t an option for me. When I registered for the fall race, I assumed I was just added to the challenge. It was a good thing I checked as I wasn’t in for the challenge.  I was in panic mode, I was missing a football game to run a marathon, a week after I just ran a marathon…stupid!

I reached out to the race, and they said that they don’t offer the 45.5 challenge with the fall registration because you have to complete the spring challenge. I told them my situation and they were able to add me to the challenge, with no problem. I hope they change this in the future, sometimes in the spring you aren’t sure if you would be able to run a fall marathon, but maybe you have a great summer and want to finish the challenge with the marathon.

Alright all drama aside…well the drama leading up to the race…lol…


I couldn’t miss all parts of gameday, so I met with my tailgating crew and headed over to Kinnick Stadium for a couple hours of fun. I left the crew at noon, and ran home as my shakeout.


I was on the road to Madison before 2pm. The plan was to meet fellow Bibrave Pro Gina at 5, and then get to the expo before it closed at 6pm. The drive to Madison is usually easy, and this time was no exception. In fact, gas in Dubuque was just under $2. (Seriously, Iowa City, what’s the deal?)

I met Gina, grabbed a cookie from the hotel lobby, and we were on our way to the expo. We were only about a mile away, but we drove, and opted to park in the attached parking ramp, for $5. (Which is reasonable, but coming from small town USA, I am not a huge fan of this, we could have parked downtown and walked over, but that was across a busy highway)

We walked into the busy Monona Terrace, which is host to many other events, and we met Bibrave Pro – Andrey (and his girlfriend, Emily.)

The expo was very similar to the spring, not very big, but easy to navigate and get what you need. We did show up near closing time and some vendors were already gone, or they were starting to pack up. It wasn’t a huge deal, I don’t need anything more…..


All of us decided to get supper together, and using google maps, found a place called Angelo’s. This was appealing to me as there were TV’s on the bar side…you know the football game would be starting soon.

We sat down to a round of drinks and placed our orders. They all made fun of me asking for pasta with no sauce. I asked for a pile of noodles, I just don’t care for marinara sauce, it’s gross! Now put some fresh tomatoes on top and I am all good. They probably wouldn’t be laughing if they knew I was charged the same amount too…seriously there were like 5 noodles with some chicken and it was $14…UGH! Anyway the company was good and the game was off to slow start, which was good.

We said, see ya in the morning…and Gina and I took off for our hotel so I could finish watching the football game. WHAT A GAME!!!! The Hawks won with a last second field goal, people stormed the field…. I jumped up and down in the hotel room, Gina was not impressed (she might have been asleep)… LOL

Oh yeah, I was some how supposed to sleep after that. Marathon #21 in the morning, or #13 for marathon a month. I had all my gear ready to go….

Gear: Hawkeye tank, Orange Mud Hydraquiver VP1, xx2i USA1 sunglasses, Aftershockz headphones, Adidas boyshorts, Sparkle Athletic donut skirt, Nike Element pullover, Nathan race belt, Brooks Ghost 9, ProCompression socks, Nike Cubs hat, Garmin Fenix 3


It was a early morning, the hotel had breakfast starting at 5:30am. I popped an english muffin into the toaster, topped it off with peanut butter when it was done. Had some coffee….you know the drill.

The marathon started at 7 am, with the half marathon to follow. Gina and I left our hotel with enough time to meet Andrey and pro, Casey. We carpooled as the race advertised on street parking (first come, first serve) or in ramps. We pulled right up, 2 blocks from the start, parked for free!!!

It was cool, about 36 degrees and wind! We met the guys in a nearby Starbucks, it was warm in there, so it was full of lots of runners…many who were just using the bathroom. Even though there were a bajillion port-o-potties available near the race start.


We met up for a group picture, and then made our way to the starting area. Andrey and I were running the marathon, while Casey and Gina were going to run the half. You can check out all the official reviews at bibrave.com.

It was time to tackle this race. I really didn’t have a goal, but to finish and get that extra medal. In the back of my mind, I was wondering if I could run the second half faster again, and qualify for another pair of shoes.

I lined up in the back, the course was open for 6 hours, and there was a 5:30 pacer. I started with them, I figured this would get me the slow start I would need. It was a nice group of women. They were doing 4:1 intervals, which is fine with me, but I am not used the stopping and starting again, but I rolled with it. I learned their names, and listened to their goals and stories. No need for my tunes.

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I stopped to use the bathroom at an aid station, it was playing the chicken dance song, HELP ME!  I caught back up with the group., they were still chatty. I still felt good. I was eating fruit snacks, a granola bar and fruit twists this time around, and there were 2 banana stops on the route. There was also Gatorade and water, however you needed to be on top of things, they were randomly placed at each stop.

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At the half way point, I thought, ok it’s time to give this a shot, so I left the group behind. I was feeling alright, and just kept movin along. Then for whatever reason, I am assuming running a marathon the week before, I was just tired, my legs were tired. I started doing some more walking. I did see Andrey’s girlfriend, Emily on course, so that was nice.

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I just kept plugging away. I knew Madison had hills from the many races I had run before. I enjoyed the scenery, however the miles that were in the residential parts were boring, and there weren’t any spectators, unless your family was out, so it was boring and lonely, well except for passing back and forth with Steve…he finally left me in his dust.

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After walking the last mile or so, I think I was walking faster than I could run, I climbed the last hill, and crossed the finish line. You may notice in the picture, I am the only one in it, and that is how it felt. I crossed around 5:45 or something, within the limits, but most everyone had left.

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I did get my medal, then I grabbed a bottle of water off of a table, and then a volunteer handed me my challenge medal. I stopped to look for a mylar blanket, there were none available, however I could see people walking around in them. I had my picture taken, and proceeded to walk the finisher’s chute. The last stop was the food table, there were bag lunches from Panera, and while they had turkey at one time, only ham and veggie remained. There were also halved bananas. (Inside the bag lunch was half a sandwich, bag of chips and cookie.) While it’s nice to have the food in a bag, I could have used a chocolate milk and something easy and quick to eat.

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When I exited, I had my results printed up on a paper, then you walk by the beer area. You could get a Michelob Ultra with the ticket on your bib. No thanks! Wisconsin is like the beer capital of the world…I wish they would have better options. There were tables here to sit down, but they were already taking them down. I sat on a bench and took a break. Strange lonely feeling. I did finish the race, guess I need to get faster.


*I found out there was a post race band, but even though I finished within the time limits, there was no band performing when I finished.

It was time to drive back home….it was just like all the build up and then it was over. I feel bad for anyone that finished after me. Hope they at least got a bagged lunch. I am not a super slow runner either, I just wish that the last runner would experience the race just as the first runner. This is what keeps people coming back.


I think one of my favorite things, was being able to park so close to the start/finish. Well the free race pictures are nice too. I was back to my car, did a quick change-a-roo, and was back on the road again. I made sure to make a stop for some cheese curds, because Wisconsin…hey these would be excellent post race, note to self: need to find a cheese curd race.


Anyway….I am ahead on my marathon per month goal, but I will cap it off with a 50k in December (Arctic frog 50k), so wish me luck. The weather has already changed for colder too. Which will make the next race after that a fun challenge, the Key West Half. Training for a Florida race in Iowa in the winter…should be fun.


 

 

Marathon #20

Milwaukee Running Festival

Disclaimer: I received entry into the MKE Running Festival 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!

…On the road again….With my Orange Mud Hydraquiver VP1 hang drying near a car window and my 9 toe nails, I was on my way to Milwaukee to run marathon #20. It was also one of my November marathons, for my marathon a month goal.

I took off on the Saturday before the race. MKE is about a 4 hour drive from my home, so not too bad. I think the worst part is the toll road with road construction and a 45 mph speed limit. I even have a favorite place to stop about half way, it has the largest popcorn for only $1.


I made it to the expo around 3pm or so, it was open until 5pm, so I had plenty of time. It was held at the Harley Davidson Museum. While this was a cool place to host the expo, it seemed very cramped and the parking, while free, was jam packed.


I made it to the back of the building and grabbed my reusable grocery bag with goodies. I saw a stocking cap laying on the table, it was part of the VIP package I didn’t pay for. However, since I needed to add to my collection of stocking hats with poms on the top, I paid the $10 to get the hat only.


I perused the area, signed up to win a pair of shoes, chatted with some area races. The usual expo stuff. I did notice that the bag I received was full of flyers, the same flyers the expo vendors were passing out. I guess it would have been nice to select the ones we wanted, seems like such a waste.

I left the expo to meet up with fellow pro, Laura. She ran the NFECSWI half marathon with me back in September. I was also reunited with Arthur, her dog.

We took advantage of the coupon in one of the pre-race emails for a free bowl at Noodles and Co. I got the buttered noodles and a side of mac and cheese, all the carbs!


In the meantime, my beloved Hawkeyes were playing at PSU. I was able to log onto the Noodles wifi and watch the game through an app. It was not off to a good start. UGH. Instead, I enjoyed Laura’s company as we chatted the night away.

OK, so I continued to pay attention to the stupid game, it just kept getting worse! So instead, I prepared all my things for my 20th marathon. I was also freaking out about the time change. I knew my phone would change, but would the alarm work? I sleep with my watch on, so when I wake up 2309 times I would know what time it was, but will it change?

Thankfully, my alarm woke me at the correct time. I know, I even googled it, lol. I enjoyed some toast with Justin’s nut butter and some coffee. It was time to get to the start.


Gear: Orange Mud Hydraquiver, Sparkle Athletic Skirt, ProCompression Socks, Adidas shorts, Champion Bra, Garmin Fenix, Brooks Ghost 9, BR trucker hat, BR short sleeve tech shirt, Nathan bib belt, XX2i USA 1 Sunglasses, Buff(r), Aftershockz.


Find my official race detailed review at bibrave.com

It was a gorgeous day, especially for the first weekend in November along Lake Michigan.


After parking in a ramp, a short walk away, I made it to the start. I met up with fellow pros Laura and Eric for a quick picture, they were running the half and 5k respectively.


I was on time, however due to making sure the course was ready to go, there was a delay in the start, but only a few minutes.


I really wasn’t sure what my goal was going to be going into this. I did feel pretty good and the temps were perfect (45 at the start), so I thought I would give the half back challenge a try. This is a challenge put on by Strava, (fitness app) if you can run the second half of a marathon faster than the first, you are eligible to get a pair of New Balance shoes.

There were pacers available, and even though the course was open for 7 hours, the last pacer was for 5 hours. I made sure to line up behind this group.

I really tried hard to start slow…the plan was to run 12 minutes miles the first half. I really hate keeping an eye on my watch every few minutes to make sure I was on pace. However, this is what I needed to do to accomplish my goal. There was also not a lot of spectators on the course, so besides my tunes, it kept me going.

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I was doing a good job of keep my miles near 12 minutes. I would get defeated when someone would pass me, but I kept repeating “run your race.”

Finally, the half way point, I felt I could do this. I was carrying a granola bar and some orange Glukos gummis with me. I had been eating the chews, but  it was time to open up the bar. I then started to make up a plan, me and Coach Garmin, we were going to do this!

I decided next I needed a 11:30 mile, while also trying to catch the 5 hour pace group.They weren’t that far ahead, I had seen them on an out and back. Mile 14 came and I was running a bit faster and feeling great, in fact I couldn’t keep the pace slow…I think I was sub 11 minutes, and I kept going with that. I thought, ok, try to slow it down to 11 min miles, and then at mile 20, push it to 10 min miles.

It was then I ran into a social media friend, Ali. She was not having a good race, she has run a 50 miler a couple of weeks before. However in all her pain, she shared lots of encouraging words with me. That was nice.

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Whoa….things got tough at mile 21, my watch was logging miles at .6 tenths longer than the actual mile markers, and it was starting to heat up a bit, I also could have eaten a banana or some real food, so I tried to eat some more of my granola bar. I really wish road races would provide something other than gels.

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Some where in these miles we had to run around a turf football field too. Otherwise the course was nice, a great tour of MKE. Wish there were more spectators. There were also some good hills to keep all leg muscles feeling fresh.

Those last few miles were tough, but I knew I had a small cushion. I crossed the finish line in 5:09. I ran the first half in 2:38, and the second in 2:31. I was proud of myself and coach Garmin, for accomplishing this. I also ran the entire time. I know this is slow, but I will take it! My Garmin did have an overall distance of 27 miles, I am ok with being off a couple tenths, but this felt that long. I would have been close to a PR too.

*The race sent a follow up email addressing the long course. They said they know GPS can be off, but went on to say “Our event team has undertaken a careful examination of the route that was used in Sunday’s race, and it appears that it was approximately 0.4 miles too long. There were two errors when the course was set. The first was in the 17th mile and the second was in the 20th mile. Each error resulted in approximately .2 being added to the course.” There was another problem on course too, at the mile 19/20 out and back section some cones were removed, and the lead female ran 28 miles.

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I felt accomplished when I came across the finish line. I also felt lonely, no one I knew was there….. However, I happily let the volunteer place the medal around my neck. I was given an armful of finisher food and drink, luckily they handed us a plastic bag to put it all in. I really wanted that post race banana too, so I stopped and asked a volunteer to peel it open. Why is this so hard post run?


I passed by the results tent on my way to the beer. The results were very sad to me at the time, I was the last in my AG, and was 493 out of 506 finishers. I was confused as the course was still open for about another 2 hours.  Updated results.

Anyway, I needed that post race beer. There was a tag on our bib to redeem a Coors Light, a Blue Moon, a Wisconsin Red Ale, and another kind I don’t remember. However if you got your ID checked, they gave you a wrist band to get another beer and a craft soda.


I found a spot at an empty picnic table and listened to the DJ while watching people play the tailgating style games, there was even tug-o-war. In the background there were food trucks set up with items to purchase.


Out of nowhere, I hear “Hi! Angie?” It was twitter follower, Rob from Boston. It was so nice to sit and chit chat with someone. He is on a quest to run all 50 states. We discussed the long course, but also that we enjoyed the course. We both finished our beers and moved along.

When I got up I reunited with Laura…I had been texting her and wondered what the heck happened to her, but her phone died. ( I am always fearful of this too, I run with my music, but I switch my phone to airplane mode)


On the way back to our cars, we cheered on more finishers. It was warm by now, pushing 70 degrees, but they all were smiling.

It was time to say “see ya later” and get back on the road. I secured the Spotted Cow, and began the trek back to the Hawkeye State (yep, even though they can’t win at football, it will always be called that)

I really liked this race, and I really enjoyed Milwaukee. I am already thinking about returning for a baseball game. (Cubs vs Brewers anyone?)

People think I am crazy driving around the country to run all these races. It’s not crazy, it’s living.

*I’ll let you know when I get my free shoes 🙂


26.2 mile Journey From MPLS to ST. Paul

2016 TC Marathon

For race specific facts check out my review at Bibrave.  – Bibrave.com 

Alright, when you last checked in with the blog I had wrote about my super hot September marathon. Well, that is in the past…by only 2 weeks, and it was time to conquer my October Marathon – The Twin Cities Marathon!!!

This was my first ever marathon in 2012. I can still remember making the decision to run my first ever marathon in the fall of 2011, after I completed by first half marathon. I was soo excited that I registered on the first day it opened!!! This was not the case this year, I waited too long and registration was over $150, yikes, lol!

For this trip to MPLS, Josh was in tow and he would be running the full marathon too. It did take some discussion, as he was considering running the Chicago marathon the same day. I really don’t care to run that one again, but I would have volunteered. Also as luck would have it, the Iowa Hawkeyes football team was playing the Minnesota Gophers the day before the marathon in MPLS, so there was the answer, run TCM!


We took off early from Iowa City on the Friday before the race. We thought we would just hit the expo so we didn’t have to worry about cramming it in after the football game.  We got to the expo and had no problem grabbing our bibs and checking out all the vendors, we even got free coffee!! Josh participated in a gait analysis and got a cooler, it was a fun expo with just the right amount of things.


Also we ran into a fellow Bibrave Pro – Andrey.  He was working the expo for a reflective sticker company. It was nice to meet him in person!


We departed the expo and met up with Kate, she would be our hostess with the mostess for the weekend. You may remember her from my adventure to the One City Marathon in March. She had suggested we dine at the French Meadow… they have great food!! After that we called it a night.


GAME DAY! On Saturday, Josh and I woke up early to get in a short shake out run by the Lake. We stopped by a neighborhood coffee shop on our way back to Kate’s and dined on some pastries for breakfast.


We traveled to the game, and paid to park in a nearby ramp, and made the short walk to the game. This walk was on the same street as all the campus Greek houses. They were all having a great time!!

We had to get our tickets at the will call gate once we got to the stadium. So, Josh got them all, and we were then led through a back tunnel of the stadium and then we were inside. Strange! We didn’t have anyone scan our tickets or wand us through security, oops!


We found our seats, and were ready to cheer on the Hawkeyes! During this time there were multiple trips to the bathroom, the most puke I have ever seen, and the most saltiest bottmless bag of popcorn.


Ugh, it was not a great game, in fact I am not sure how we won, but we did. The game is a “trophy game” and we took Floyd of Rosedale back home to Iowa City.

With a win in the books, Josh and I decided to take a nap, while Kate met up with some friends. It was then time to get our pre-marathon eating on!!! We went to a favorite, local pizza place – the Leaning Tower of Pizza. I, of course got a bowl of plain spaghetti noodles, and we had all the garlic bread! Hey, it’s what I like! After all the carbs, we called it a night.


It was another early wake up call. The race was at 8, but we wanted to make sure we had a chance for coffee. The plan was to go the nearby Bruegger’s bagels, to get a PB bagel and coffee, however it was closed!! Which is weird, because looking back at the pics when I ran this the first time, it’s where we ate. Oh well, we quickly adapted to the new plan of grabbing coffee at the Caribou across the street in the grocery store and buying some Justin’s single serves and bagels. (Pro tip, this is why you figure out what you need on race day, so you can adapt, if there is a problem)

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Pro Compression Socks, Brooks Ghost9, GarminFenix, Hawkeye Pullover, Hawkeye Tank, BR tech hat, XX2i USA1 Sunglasses, Addidas 7″ boyshorts.

Kate was our own personal chauffeur, she then took us to the race start. The roads were closed in the area (it started at the new Metrodome, yes it will always be that to me) and she just pulled over and let us out of the car. There was parking in the area too. If you parked here, you could get the light rail back to your car.

Josh and I milled about near the first corral gear check and actually ran into a couple people we knew. One of them being another Bibrave Pro – Casey! We said a quick hello, and I head to my corral, which was the last one.

Photo cred 📸 Casey

It was a cool start, maybe 35 degrees, a huge change from my last marathon. I was huddled in a few layers of running clothes and a disposable Tyvek jacket. The wait wasn’t long in my corral, maybe 15 minutes after the first corral was off. I am not sure if there was a singing of the National Anthem as I couldn’t hear, but as my corral moved forward, I could hear upbeat music.


I really like this race course. It starts in downtown MPLS and you end up at the state capital in St. Paul. There is a church in the first mile that is ringing the bells like crazy, sounds amazing! The course is never super crowded either, it starts using the full width of the road, which are all closed to traffic. The course is all paved with minimal hills, the biggest being around mile 20. Which is great, too much flat and my legs get bored working the same muscles, they need some hills.

The scenery is great too, it’s tagged the “Most Beautiful Urban Marathon on America.” You don’t get the stuffy city feeling, especially running by the lakes as the leaves are changing.

The spectators on the course are great! So many fun signs, high fives, cheering from random strangers. It’s also not so crowded you have a hard time picking out your friends. There are also some bands along the way too.

Josh and I run super different paces. He actually set a new PR in the marathon at this race. I on the other hand got my moneys worth. 🙂 I did see Kate many times along the course, and was surprised to see another MPLS friend, Anna at a couple spots on the route. At one time Miguel, met up with Kate and there were more people cheering for me!!!


I was having a good race, but I needed to use the bathroom early on, however every port-o-pottie I passed had a line at least 5 deep. I was even searching off in the distance at all the parks we passed. I didn’t want to lose minutes waiting to pee. Finally at mile 18, I found a bathroom with no line and only lost one minute.


I carried on, and made sure to hit the Aid Stations, randomly choosing blue Powerade or water. My biggest dislike of road marathons is the lack of actual food on course, gels are so gross!! However this race had bananas, orange slices and some candy – ok so they weren’t advertised on the race website.

I was having fun running in my Hawkeye gear, since the Hawks won the football the day before. However , I got a some boos and a go Iowa State…really? I think I did yell “scoreboard”at one point.

The weather was a non factor this day too, while it was a cool start, it warmed maybe into the 50’s and was always sunny. Perfect day for running!

Then at about mile 22, after a random shout out, by name from a stranger…I was done…in other words, it was time to walk. The main issue was my lingering cold… my throat would dry out, so I would walk to the next aid station to wet it down, and it would continue…blah blah… I knew I would finish, but just done, lol.

I did finish in a time of 5:18, which was a lot faster than the last race, and actually a decent time considering. I was happy.


I crossed the finish line to get my cool shiny medal, and was also handed a bottle of water, a bottle of chocolate milk, and could grab a cup of blue Powerade. Then there was all the food choices – fruit cups, chips, nut rolls, bread, broth….many things that had to be opened to consume, or things I had to all try to carry in my hands. At some point we were given heat sheets too.

 


The finishers chute is large, and closed off to everyone but runners. It loops around to the gear check pick up and the finisher shirts. That’s right you earn your shirt! They tore off a ticket on the bottom of your bib to get the shirt (long sleeve, gender specific, tech shirt.)

I told Kate I would meet them at the beer area. However, since I run with my phone on airplane mode, apparently that message wasn’t passed along. I had messages of “where are you” “we are at the reunion area” I just responded with “beer!”


In what seemed like another mile walk, I did make it to the beer area, where I got a Summit in a can. I was reunited with Josh, Kate, and Miguel. Yay, friends!!


I really enjoyed this race!! It’s just nice to run a big city race, without the big city hassle. I will definitely be back! Also as Josh proved, you can PR!

Then it was time to go home…boo! We really didn’t hustle back home, as we made sure to grab some Sebastian Joe’s ice cream & Five Guys on the way out of town. Always sad to leave Kate too, she is such a great friend.


So what’s next? Oh, I am sooo glad you asked….Well there is a little event called the Runner’s World Half and Festival, some more Iowa football, then the Tulsa Run 15k — and then in November I get all crazy… Milwaukee Run Fest 26.2 and the Madison Marathon. I am still on the lookout for a good December race to fit my schedule, so let me know if you have an idea! I am looking forward to capping off this crazy with a winter trip to the Key West Half Marathon in January… who knows maybe Disney?

 

 

 

 

Quad Cities Marathon 2016

The HOT 2016 Quad Cities Marathon!


Check out my official review at Bibrave.com for race specifics.

It was time to conquer my September Marathon, for my marathon a month journey. I am no stranger to the Quad Cities Marathon, I have run it before, as well as the half marathon. The only thing that had me concerned was the weather. the week leading up to the race had the forecast in the 70s with some cloud cover. However the actual weather was warmer all week, and race day temps climbed to 85 with lots of sun.


Gear: BR Tank, Sparkle Athletic skirt, SpiBelt, Adidas 7″ shorts, ProCompression Socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix, B1G Hat, Aftershokz headphones, XX2i USA1 sunglasses

It was Sunday, September 25. (day after the K2K5K) This race is only about a 50 minute drive from home, so no need for a hotel, WAHOO! Josh had stayed at my sister’s the night before, so I just had to get myself to the start line. I woke up with enough time to walk the dogs and then have some toast with peanut butter and coffee.

It was an uneventful drive to Moline, IL. I parked the car in the FREE iWireless Center lot and had to use the bathroom.There are many port-o-potties lined up near the start/finish area. I then found Josh (he was running the half) who had my bib, he picked it up at the expo the day before.

We had made plans to meet up with some of the 100 mile members prior to the start. We met up with Don and his daughter and Kevin.


It was then time to line up in the starting area. However, I knew my sister was around somewhere, she was going to be the cheering squad. In that moment she sent me a message and we quickly caught up before the race. I got a pre-race hug from my niece.


The starting area, is also the finishing area for this race. This means the tents that are set up for the post race food, massage and what not – when everyone is trying to find the right place to start the race. It’s very crowded. There are pacers though that help people determine where they should be. If you are late to the race, you have to enter in the back, and it’s hard to get to the front if you are a faster pace.

There was a live performance of the National Anthem and the race was underway. The sun was already heating up the day.

The first mile was nothing special, just needed to make sure to split from the 5k course at the correct time. I saw my sister, Amber and niece, Ella and her friend, Maddy for a high five.


The course is pretty flat overall, but because the race covers 4 cities (Moline, Rock Island, Bettendorf & Davenport) in 2 states (IA & IL), you cross the Mississippi River twice and have to climb over 2 bridges. The first bridge is part of Interstate 74, which is only closed in one lane. It’s also after the first mile, so the course still has the half marathon runners too, which means there are a lot of people on the bridge at one time, and you can feel it bouncing.

I actually met up with Kevin (100 mile friend) and we started to chat. We actually ran together until the two courses split. It was great to have a friend to chat with. It was his first official race at the half marathon, he has conquered the distance many times, but the first time he would get a medal. I think the course split around mile 8, and even though it was hot, we crushed the pavement without problem.


Then, it was as if the struggle began the minute I lost my running buddy. Ok, ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I seemed to notice the heat. My biggest mistake was I didn’t bring a hydration pack. If there is even one concern about hydration, I always run a race with one. I also had run this race before, so thought I was prepared.

Up to this point there were hydration stops with water and lemon lime Gatorade and I made sure to stop at all of them. I also was meeting my sister and crew regularly. She also had my 2toms, but I couldn’t keep ahead of all the sweat with the chafe. However the high fives and pep were great to see!


It was at mile 13, when we entered Arsenal Island, that I really slowed it down. There was a runner down on the side, getting medical attention. I knew I needed to just finish the race, as that was a wake up call as to how warm it was. I remember making some conversation with a passing runner, we wondered why the next water stop seemed soo far away.

When I finally made it to the next water stop, I really wished there was more shade. The sun was cooking me…but I kept moving on. I switched to running .75 of a mile and walking .25 of a mile. I tried this for a while, but lets face it, I am not a fast marathoner, and I just wasn’t having it.

I knew in the past at about mile 19 there is usually candy and fruit. So I changed my focus on that, an orange slice sounded wonderful. I also for the first time tried to get into my audiobook, that wasn’t working so I switched to music, and I just wasn’t having that either.

I made it to the candy / fruit stop. There were orange slices and those strange gumdrop tasting fruit slice candy pieces. The orange was great, but no water to wash my hands off. The candy was not my fave. I did have some Glukos gummies with me, but another thing I just wasn’t having. I was totally over it….

Then it was time for the worst part of this course. The last 6 miles….it’s and out and back, the thing that makes it so bad is you are reunited with the half marathon and at this point, they turn left and run to the finish, while the marathoners turn right and run out and back on non shaded pavement.

I did see the cheering squad and Josh at this point. I gave them 2 thumbs down, but kept on moving. There was a lady with a bag of ice near this section, so I grabbed some…but it was just a nice thought…I was still miserable.


I did my best to do some running, and it did help as I saw some familiar faces coming in to the finish, since it was an out and back. However it was still hot…lol

Then .. the sky got cloudier, I was out 3 miles from the finish, it was also where the volunteers were handing out wet towels…. so I’m at mile 23 and this rain cloud came out of no where and BOOM, downpour! Yep, the relief from the heat came!! Then everyone was scrambling with trying to keep their phones dry, lol. (PRO TIP, run with it in a plastic bag.) Ok, so this rain did feel good, except for all those spots that were chaffed, ouch!! Also I now had soaking wet feet. I was cool though.

I made the turnaround and was only 2.5 ish miles from the finish, and the rain was done, and the closer I got to the finish, the sunnier it got. Back to the no shade, cooking in the heat. Also I know I was finishing close to back of the pack, but I don’t understand why the aid stations were sort of closed down, minimal volunteers if any. These people are on the course the longest and at the hottest part of the day. Make sure to keep them open if the course is open.

Ok rant over…. I could see the finish line! Someone passed me and encouraged me to run with them, that was soo nice, but I knew I didn’t want to run just yet.


I did pick up the pace and ran last half mile into the finish. I was done, in every sense of the word. I needed shade and something cold to drink.


I saw Amber and the crew, just before the finish.They were hot too, lol. I got my medal and a bottle of water, someone else gave me a carton of chocolate milk. I wasn’t too hungry, but I felt I should eat something. There was cookies, bags of chips and the remaining hot dogs that were grilled earlier. I know I finished back of the pack, but some fruit would have been nice. I don’t really want a hot dog after a hot marathon…same goes to the races with greasy pizza…ok ok ok…


There was also beer! However it was Coors or Miller Lite….didn’t appeal to me, so I actually took a Pepsi. I needed something easy to digest with the salty chips I ate.

The crew talked about the race and took some pics. Even met another runner hanging out under the shade of a tent.

I finished in a time of 5:55. Yep, that time sucks, but it was all about living to run another day. I think if you take out “America’s Toughest Marathon” it’s one of my worst road marathons ever.

As I write this, (three weeks later) I am ok with my finish, I really wasn’t having this race…and that happens, but I did finish it, and knew I would. The marathon doesn’t get any easier, but I do learn more about myself with each one I accomplish.

I will run this one again someday, it’s a nice race close to home…plus I get a cheering squad.

 

 

 

50k? Ok!

Why would you run 31 miles?

The most obvious, cocky answer is … because I can! Also, have you not been reading the blog? JESH!

Alright, I’ll be nice. I ran 31 miles or 50k as part of my goal to run a marathon a month. In my previous post about this run (CVNT Ultra) I had planned to run from point to point on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail to accomplish at least 26.2 miles. However last minute safety issues near the starting point (runners being attacked) had me re-assess the plan. That turned into an out and back, that would be 31 miles or 50k (due to facilities)….that is why I ran 31 miles.

Background – I was on a short road trip with my dad, and we stopped to check out the “Largest Skillet” in Brandon, IA. We stumbled upon the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, a flat crushed rock, maintained trail that runs from Cedar Rapids to Waterloo, IA, approximately 51 miles long.

It’s hard to find a close race in the summer, or it’s a tough terrain on a trail that I am not trained for. Instead of spending all my money traveling and on hotel, I planned my own event.

Race Day – Josh was going to be “crewing” and friend, Joel was going to be biking. There were really no plans, but to make it out and back.

July 16, 2016. We arrived at the Center Point Welcome Center, which had a parking lot. There were bathrooms, but at 7am, the building was still locked. We made sure to utilize a nearby gas station. The weather was perfect for running this distance in mid July, 60’s and low humidity. (It would warm up)

Gear: Badass Running tank, Magenta Sparkle Athletic skirt, neon green Pro Compression Socks, Brooks Ghost 8, Orange Mud Endurance Pack, Bibrave Tech Hat, Garmin Fenix, 2 Toms, XX2i USA1 sunglasses

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My pack was loaded with food and water. Josh stood by with his phone and sounded a “Gong” and the race was on! Joel started near me and biked ahead. He was getting in some miles for the upcoming RAGBRAI. Josh got back in the car and planned to meet me in about 6 miles, at Urbana, where there is a bathroom.

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I was really enjoying the trail, I also had a new audiobook to listen too, which was drowning out the sloshing noise from the water in my pack. I was about 4 miles in, when Joel came riding back towards me on his bike.

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He notified me there was a dog up ahead. When I reached the home with the dog, it was barking at me, but appeared to have a collar on that was hooked to an invisible fence. It was nice to get the warning. Thanks Joel!

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I kept on trucking and met Josh on the trail. Not only was he crewing, he was going to run some miles. We ran into Urbana, where we met Joel. We stopped and used the bathroom and I had some snacks and Gatorade, it was about 6 miles into the run. Josh continued to run a little further with me.

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He turned back to get the car, to meet me again along the way. It was getting warmer and there were spots without shade. The next stop I met Josh, he ran a little more, but when we came to the car I drank more G2 and we put on some sunscreen.

After I parted ways again with Josh, the next meeting point was going to be Brandon, IA. There was a bathroom there. When I was about 2 miles away, Joel came riding back towards me. He said he was going to ride further to La Porte City, and he would catch up later.

I trotted into Urbana and spotted Josh. We had talked via phone (hell0 bluetooth headphones) and told him how I would love a cold orange Gatorade (heavy). My Garmin had 15.42 miles, but I thought since I had made it to Brandon, we needed a picture at the giant skillet, so I hopped into the car and we made it the few blocks to grab a photo. After chugging more Orange Gatorade and eating a bag of trail mix, I was now half way done and on my walk back to the start.

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It was about 80 degrees, and I was enjoying listening to my audiobook. However I was starting to slow, had to start walking a bit. I just kept moving though. The parts in the shade were great!

Some bikers passed by, some shouting they liked my skirt and my socks.

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I met up with Josh again. I was having an issue with chaffing, and I was out of 2Toms (GASP!) As the water drained from the pack, the fit became looser and I didn’t tighten it, causing an issue around my sports bra. I tried rolling more 2Toms, had Josh try to put it on too, but with the sweat and empty feeling of the bottle, I can tell you it didn’t help. (Review of the pack coming soon)

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I remember checking my watch around mile 21 when I saw Josh, I slowly ran until about mile 26, when I was back in Urbana. I was proud, I made it about a marathon distance and was still moving. I was also out of water.

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When I got to Urbana, I stopped at the bathroom again, and this time (thanks to a phone call via bluetooth) Josh had Orange Gatorade with ICE!!! It was the best ever!! He also filled my bladder with water, which made the pack fit lots better.I ate some more snacks and kept walking towards Center Point, I was on the home stretch.

Josh said he had a text from Joel. He made it to La Porte City, and said it was a good thing we changed the route as parts of the trail were closed to the north. He also realized he had been out for a while and enjoyed a hamburger and ice cream, and would try to meet us back in Center Point.

I developed a weird pain in my right calf at this time. However if I slowed down it felt worse, so I shuffled along. There was also an issue with time… I was close to setting a PR in the 50k…however I didn’t think I could push it…also we had 2 dogs at home that needed to be let out (Thank you neighbors for taking them out last minute.)

Joel came riding up behind me with about 2 miles to go. Josh had also parked in Center Point and ran back to find me, we had all met again on the trail. I think I remember Josh walking as fast as I was running (but he does have longer legs.)

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I remember looking at my watch when my 50k PR time passed, I had .40 miles to go….Then there it was the Center Point Welcome Center.

I looked at my watch and I still needed to run a few more tenths of a mile, so I made sure to get 31 miles by running a little past the center and back.

DONE!!! 7:14…5 minutes from my PR. With a last minute decision to run this far, I was ecstatic. I received some high fives from Josh (and some stares from the people at the Welcome center)

Josh had run about 17 miles and Joel had biked 60.

I attempted my post race jump photo, it was tough. My calf was in pain, felt like a giant knot and bruise at the same time.

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I needed a beer! We went to the Center Point Travel Plaza, it also had a McDonald’s. I got a chicken sandwich and the best, most saltiest fries ever!!!! We snagged some Summer Shandy tall boys and popped a squat in the parking lot. Joel joined as well. The best post race party ever! We had fun catching up and discussing the day.

I would love to make this an annual event. The trail is flat, and a great place to run. You can run as far as you want, bathrooms and towns to use or buy things as needed. There are roads to cross, but just make sure to look both ways and should have no problems with traffic. There are other users on the trail, but it’s long enough for everyone to share.

*Note on my health. I had been having some weird low blood sugar kind of issues. My stomach would feel super hungry, then coincidentally on my last long run effort I felt light headed like I needed to pass out. Well leading up to this, I cut out drinking so much sparkling water, see I don’t drink carbonated beverages regularly… I feel like I was filling myself full of bubbles and causing some weird gas feeling.  I also improved my snacking and protein intake. I was trying to eat something about every 2 hours, string cheese, nuts, and apple, peanut butter, etc. I ran this and had no ill effects, never felt hungry, or light headed. I had plenty of snacks with me, and drank a butt load of liquids. I am also writing this a week later… I have had a sparkling water or 2, and I noticed if I drink too much at once, I feel weird… so I will just not drink a lot of them. I also have not been super ravenous or felt light headed…this is after running 31 miles.  I will continue to monitor this situation.

I do not currently have an August 26.2 or longer on the calendar, I am still looking, but leaning towards the Wausau marathon. I wish there were some trail races that weren’t on tough technical trail, I am not trained for elevation at this time.

Stay tuned for my next adventure…..

 

 

 

 

CVNT Ultra – details

ROUTE CHANGE!!!!! Contact me for information. Change due to safety .

http://www.kwwl.com/story/32448514/2016/07/14/4-trail-attacks-in-waterloo

July is HERE!! It’s time to conquer my monthly marathon. I am in the same boat as I was for February…low on cash and no close 26.2’s…so I am creating my own run on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, and I want you to join!

Saturday July 16

I have been doing some googling and mapping and have decided to run the segment of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail between Gilbertville, IA to Urbana, IA. This is about 27 miles long. Like I said, all this info is from the internet, so I am kind of running this blindly, but it will be an new adventure. (also looking for any input you can share with me)

Start – Intersection of Washburn Rd and the CVNT, Gilbertville, IA

Finish – Intersection of S Center Ave & South St, Urbana, IA ( I think there is a park here)

http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/1160709646

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I know that the trail is crushed limestone. I know it passes through some smaller towns. Looks like La Porte City is on the route. I know that in Brandon, IA there is a toilet.

The plan is for me to get dropped off in Gilbertville by my husband, I am planning a 6:30-7:oo am start…he will be driving the car along the route, meeting me at various spots where the trail intersects with roads, with food and drink. I know that he would like to run with me too, so if anyone else is interested in joining the running or crewing, let me know. The sooner the better, so we can make arrangements with cars or whatnot, or maybe you have your own crew, which would make it fun too.

Ride your bike…just join for fun…

I plan to end in Urbana, IA. I know there is a small park with a shelter house, we can order a Casey’s pizza to celebrate the accomplishment. Heck maybe I will get some medals too!!

This is the rough plan, let’s make it work!

More maps and stuff to come