Race Recap – Running 4 Kids 10k

CASA of Will County Running 4 the Kids 10k – Race Review 

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the CASA of Will County Running 4 the Kids 10k 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!”


Another weekend, another race… I just can’t stay away.

Sunday, October 1… 4:30 am…on the road again. That’s right – before the sun is shining, I was headed east to New Lenox, IL. It’s about a 3 hour drive, all on Interstate 80 – simple. I can also grab my packet before the race start at 9 am. No need to pay for hotel.

If you are looking for a little more background on the event and what CASA of Will County is all about, check out this blog post.

After a boring, uneventful trip on the super slab, I was at the race start location at about 7:45 am. It was at a school, so there was plenty of free parking.

I made the short trip to the packet pick up area. I was pre-registered and they were just laying out all the shirts with bibs. It took a little while for them to find my stuff as they hadn’t got their “system” down yet. I was then handed my bib, which was pinned to my short sleeved, cotton, unisex shirt. Note, it was pinned with one safety pin…not sure where the other pins were, but I have a race belt, so not an issue for me. I was also handed a drawstring cinch sack full of goods.

I made the trek back to my car, just in the back of the school, and opened the sack of goods. OMG!!! The bag was jam packed with stuff. In addition to flyers and area coupons, there was a fidget spinner, sunscreen, body lotion, a pen, notepad, stress ball, pedometer, resistance band…. and I am sure I am forgetting something. It took forever to look through it all.


It was near 8 am and I had an hour until the race start. I sat in my car to keep warm as the temps were on the cooler side, near 50 degrees and windy. I played with my new fidget spinner…. and then I remembered I was supposed to run 10 miles total…oops!  I mean I just ran 20 the day before, and I was going to race today, so how important would 10 miles be?

Ok, so after sitting in the car a little longer, I finally put my bib on my race belt, put my skirt on, and all the other gear… I went back to the starting area to see if anything was happening… nothing much, except pre-race setup.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, BibRave tank, Cubs hat, XX2i France 2, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Adidas shorts, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, New Balance shoes, Spi Belt, Zensah socks, BUFF(R)

I had time for a little pre-race run, so I ran a mile… It really was a great temp for running and the sun was shining.

It was time to line up under the inflatable arch, so everyone just piled in, no encouragement to self seed by pace, but it wasn’t super crowded either. There were some announcements, the person making them was using a microphone, but there was so much chatter among the participants, I had no clue what was said. Which, I was kinda worried as I didn’t look ahead to see if the 5k/10k were starting at the same time, I just knew I needed to start at 9 am.  Oops… oh well out of no where, everyone was moving forward…so I did too.


The race started at the school and went out and back on the Old Plank Trail, I believe this is an old rail bed. The course was all paved, including the trail, which was asphalt. There weren’t any hazards, but when paving a wooded trail with asphalt there are portions with cracks due to trees rooting, and asphalt shows user wear, so just be aware on this portion to not trip.  Oh, rail beds are flat as a pancake… my Strava/Garmin stats has a total of 74 feet over 6 miles.

I was feeling good, the weather was good, so I pushed the pace. There was a woman on my heels for the first mile, and I wasn’t giving up, so I guess she was kind of pacing me… I eventually shook her off. I then kept my sights ahead to the next person…. I wanted to keep passing them. I also am familiar with those who start out too fast, so I knew I had a chance of passing some more.

I slowed to drink some water from a paper cup, as it was slightly humid… I just kept trucking…miles kept beeping by… I never checked my watch once.

I came to the turnaround, and was able to count my place in the race. I was the 9th female overall. I wondered if I could improve…. and I did as I said above, kept my sights ahead on the next person… I still had 3 miles left, and needed to pace myself.

The next 2 women were kind of running close, but one was slowly fading…. I did stay with them for a little while to let them do the pacing work for me…..However, I could see another female in front of me, so I dropped those 2 and was the 7th overall female, by my count.

There were so many volunteers helping with the course, I made sure to thank them at the numerous road crossing and water stops. They were also very encouraging.

I was in the last mile, and I wanted to make sure I had enough left to give it a kick to the end…. I really tried to pass the next person, but I wasn’t making any head way. The 10k also met back up with the 5k in the last quarter mile or so. My pace met up with the families walking the 5k, thankfully there was enough room to pass around them, as I pushed towards the finish.

I crossed the finish line and paused my watch. I then was handed a medal. Dang….6 miles… not the 6.2, but a time near 55 minutes! I was soooooo happy with this overall time, considering my legs had just made it through 20 miles the day before. I then looked at my mile splits, wahoo, go me!!!  After a year of endurance running, it’s nice to feel a little speed return. Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer a 50k over a 10k.

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I reset my watch, put my medal in my Spibelt, and went out for a cool down mile, this would get me to 8 total miles on the day, which if you are doing my math, is close enough to the 10 training miles I needed for the Detroit Marathon.

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I came back to the finish area to find lots of post race activities. I was too late for the free kids race, that must have happened when I was out on the 10k course. The kids were able to get free pumpkins too!

There was a HUGE spread of post race food, bananas, apples, bagels, 2 styles of granola bars, fruit snacks, bottled water, chips, chocolate milk and pizza.  I needed more hands as I grabbed the pre-wrapped items to eat later. I just can’t do pizza after a race.

I walked over to the raffle prize table, they had pre-selected bib numbers to win some awesome prizes. I was not a winner, but they had some cookbooks to giveaway, so I grabbed one of those. By now, my hands were super full, and as luck would have it, they had extra drawstring cinch bags, so they were more than happy to give me another one, so I put my snacks in there.

I toured all the tents that were set up in the parking lot. More giveaways, you could buy a Jamba Juice and even tour a fire truck. This little race had all the big expo type feel, without all the hassle.

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It was time for the awards. I felt I did a good job, but I wasn’t sure how far out they would be awarding people. (Ooops, I probably could have read that online.) I was listening to the awards, and I was sure they did not announce my age group. The prizes they were awarding were really nice, so I thought I better check it out.

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I went to ask, and the lady looked at her sheet, and it did not have my age group on it. We walked over to the timing company and found out there was some sort of glitch, and they were re-downloading the results. I had time to wait, and things like this happen… so I stuck around.

It’s a good thing, I was the 30-39 female age group winner. WAHOO!!!! It was now time to get my prize, which was pre-determined. It was tickets to something local, and I told them it would be a long drive back, and I wouldn’t be able to use it. So they were more than accommodating in finding a prize I could use. I ended up with a Clique Nutrition gift card for $100, as they had an online store. How exciting!

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Everything was done, it was time to go home. I walked back to my car. I heard a shout, and it was Adrianne with the race, she is the person who was working with BibRave and she thanked me for driving over. Well, that was nice!

When I was going through the bag of goods, I saw a TCBY yogurt coupon… I thought, why not hit that place on the way out of town. I checked the hours online and it said they opened at 11:30…so I drove over and sat in my car the 10 minutes…However, I noticed the posted hours said noon…eek, I wasn’t going to wait that much longer. Lucky for me the nice owners were in and out of the door, so I asked, and they invited me in. Yum!

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Then for whatever reason when I got back into my car, I looked at the $100 Clique Nutrition gift card a little closer… “valid in store only.” Womp Womp…a quick check of google maps, and the store is kind of on the way home….

I made the detour over to the nutrition store… I was optimistic about what I would find. I have never been one for traditional protein bars, but I can always make use of protein powder.

I was greeted by Drew at the door, explained I won the gift card. I wondered around the store asking questions. I finally decided on protein powder, protein chocolate peanut butter, protein chips and all the protein cookies. Nice little reward! Thank you Clique!

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Alright enough .. time to get back on the road. I wanted to get home to take a nap. The drive was another uneventful trip. I was back in my driveway at 3:30pm, less than 12 hours later.

You might be asking, why the heck drive all that way for a 10k… well I do weird things, plus the race description reminded me of the local races that are put on in Iowa. I love the small community feeling, no fighting through crowds, no waiting in long port-o-potty lines, you can talk to someone if there is an issue.

The race was well priced too, and you got a lot of things! That was nice, but I really don’t need all that stuff, maybe monetary donations that go straight to the race could be a better option… however it does set the race apart from others.

If you get a chance, add this to your calendar for next year. This year it was a week before the Chicago Marathon… you could make a 6 mile run part of your taper and support the CASA of Will County.

For my no frills race review, check out bibrave.com

 

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Race Review #ECSWI 13.1 -2017

Race Recap – The North Face Endurance Challenge 13.1 – 2017

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the North Face Endurance Challenge 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 I last left you, I had just run the Pleasant Creek Trail 30k, sat through a football game, and was making the 4 hour drive to Wisconsin. To say I was exhausted going into this race was an understatement, however I always try to finish what I said I would do.

I would also be meeting up with Laura, you might remember her from an earlier post. Well, she did it! She completed her first 50k, and she would be back out to run the 5k the next day.

The North Face is host to many events. Saturday, Sept 16 there is a 50 miler, 50k, marathon, and marathon relay in addition to the kids races. On Sunday there is the half marathon, 10k, 5k and even more kids races.

As this race is during Hawkeye football season, I am limited to the Sunday events. I would love to run the 50k here again one day, but the Hawks are first in the fall. (OK, once I missed a game for a race and they won in EPIC, last minute field goal fashion, never again!)


Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, BibRave Tank, Hawkeye hat, Adidas boy shorts, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, UA Horizon Trail shoes, Zensah Socks, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Orange Mud pack, Spi Belt, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, BUFF(R)

I was on my way to the start, but had to make a stop at a gas station for some coffee and Aleve… I was feeling rough, and I don’t remember the last time I had a beer. I did have a Nugo bar with me too.


I arrived early to Kettle Moraine, and was given my parking pass for the day, FREE of charge. I followed the parking attendants to the furthest away lot. I was annoyed! I was running the longest distance of the day, which started the earliest, and I have to park the furthest from the start. It wasn’t shuttle worthy, but should be a perk to arriving early.


I do like that I can grab my bib and shirt on race day. There are also 3 locations for pre race day pick up too. They are really accommodating with this. They are able to do this as race numbers are not pre-assigned. I made the trek to over, it was easy, told them my name and they scanned the bib and handed me a shirt. This year the shirt was blue with black lettering, a short sleeve tech material, with a strange neck opening.


I walked back to my car… as I didn’t have all my race stuff … I had plenty of time before the 8 am start. I then decided I should use the bathroom, so I walked to the closest bath house to find it was locked…. so back to the start area to use a port-o-potty. Then back to my car again to just drink some more coffee and get all my race things together.

Then I was finally ready to stand around for the race to start, so back to the race start…and I made another stop at the bathroom as I didn’t remember any on course (there is actually one at the main aid station.)

While waiting, I saw Brian from my local running club. I chatted with him while they lined everyone up for the start. I had my Orange Mud bottle pack with me, and a half bottle of water, so I took advantage of the water monster and filled my bottle while waiting.

Then it was time for my wave to start. There aren’t too many people who run this race, but because of a congested area to start, the do send runners off about every 5 minutes or less in waves.


It was already a warm start, near 70 degrees and while sunny, there was a haze in the air. The first part of the course is just leaving the main entrance of the park, so you start on the shoulder of a road, before turning off into the woods.

I just kept moving, I wasn’t sure what goal I had in mind, just finish I guess. The route turned into the woods and it was time to navigate the trails. There were all surfaces and I feel a lot more sand to navigate this year, in addition to the rocks, grass and dirt. The race course also has it’s share of hills, nothing super steep but always felt as I was going up or down.

The first aid station is around mile 1.8 ish, there was Skratch and water in plastic cups. I powered through, and had to make the first loop… or what it felt like I was running. Sometimes with trails, I just follow the course, where ever it takes me, I go. Heck, I can’t even remember if it’s the same course as last year.

The course is marked with colored ribbons attached to tree branches. The color of ribbon matches the color of your bib, I was watching for the yellow ribbons. I always caught my self second guessing if I was on the right route as it would be a while before I saw a ribbon, let alone another runner. There were also mile markers, but every other mile.

I came back through the aid station that’s 1.8 miles in, it’s also the next passing point around mile 5-6 ish? I picked up some Skratch and moved along, I noticed the porto-o-potty.

It was beginning to be a struggle for me, there was A LOT of walking… I was moving forward though, and a lot of Eminem songs kept coming up on my music, it’s impossible to walk during those.

I was now on the what I call the second loop in a figure 8 kinda course. I was remembering the past year when I ran the course with Laura. The miles really flew by then and I was missing her as I was moving sooo slowly. I also remember stopping at some aid station, but it felt like it never came up. Finally, there was a stop about mile 9? I had them refill my OM bottle and they had ICE!!!!! I drank some more Skratch and grabbed some Skratch chews to try later.

I left this stop and just kept moving forward, following the yellow ribbons. UGH, it was now really warm, or it felt that way out in the woods where the air was not moving and the humidity made it swampy.

I made it back to the 1.8 mile aid station, which told me I was that close to the finish. There were some photographers in this stretch, and they were in this area on the way out too. The race takes some great pictures and they were available that day, however they are not free. I am done purchasing photos of myself… they aren’t worth it.

There are a few spectators around this aid station too, there is an access road nearby, otherwise it’s just a lot of time alone in the woods.

Another note when I came back through this last stop, they had already started to take down some of their stuff. I am not sure if they have a permit that only allows them a certain time, but I feel all runners should get the same experience.

Ahh, the home stretch… I was done…. but I still had the section along the road shoulder to go. Some how, I ran this entire section. I am not sure if it was because more people were watching, or the terrain was easier to run.

I came to the finish line, and stopped my Garmin at 12.8 miles and a time of 2:57. I know trail running GPS gets off, and when I pushed start on my watch the satellites had not yet synced (which is possible with my watch.) So, I am still calling it a half marathon, and my 45th overall.


NOW – when I came into the finish, my time was a lot slower, in fact my worst ever – but the race had started the kids races. I am all for the kids being able to run…. but it was interfering with the longer distance finishes.

I was given my finishers medal and that was it, kids were running around every where. I knew from the past year there was a reusable water bottle somewhere, as we were not handed water at the finish…. and last year we were handed that water bottle. So… I had to watch out for kids and go find a bottle in a nearby tub.

The post race food was also in the same area, there was orange slices, bananas and bagel pieces. I had to squeeze in between kids to get some oranges. I have griped about this before too. There is real food at this race, but you have to buy it. The longer distances the day before get it for free. I just want a solution to this, maybe add a granola bar.

Once through this mess of kids, I made my way to the Sierra Nevada beer tent. This was the highlight, they had about 3-4 choices of beer. I love when a race has a more tasty option. Although, this is WI, would be nice to see a local craft.


I chose my beer and found Laura, she was still upright… what a champ!!!! We sat down at a picnic table in the post race area… it’s nice to have a place to sit, many races overlook this. Shade would have been nice too, but can’t be too greedy.


We sat and talked, meeting people and making new friends. I also ran into someone I sat next to at the 2016 Rose Bowl…small world. I found Brian again too.


It was now time to make the trek home, so I said “see ya later to everyone.” I made the long walk back to my car.

I “showered” in my car with one of the HUGE epic wipes I got in a recent 5k Crate, and was on my way to leaving, when I heard “Hey Angie!”


I turned and found another friend, Lisa… she was just taking her canoe out of the nearby lake. She had also run the day before, the 50 miler. I am always so surprised at these people, they are upright and walking around like no big deal. She was supporting a pretty serious scab from a fall though. It was nice to catch up.


I wrapped up the conversation, and plugged in the coordinates of my house into the GPS on my phone. Whoa, I had no clue where I was for the beginning of my drive. Kettle Moraine is in the middle of no where.

I did find my way back onto the interstate system. I was glad for that, as there would be places to stop for some real food. I found a Kwik Trip and found some cheese curds, refilled the car…. and was on my way home.

What a weekend… I need a weekend to rest up.

My overall thoughts on this year’s event. I feel something was missing, or they just went through the motions to put on the race. Even Dean K. didn’t make the pre-race speaker event. It still is a great race and the trail I will always recommend to a beginner, but I am not sure with so many newer options if this is a must run event for me. You can check out more reviews at BibRave.com

What’s next?

PCTR 30k – 2017

Race Review – Pleasant Creek Trail Run 30k – 2017

This was the 3rd year of the event. It was held on Saturday, September 16th. There were 3 race distances – 15k (one loop), 30k (2 loops) or 45k (3 loops.) The 45k started at 8:30 and the other 2 started together at 9.  It was a cool, cloudy morning, but would eventually reach to about 90 degrees and sun.


I ran the inaugural event, and at the time the longest distance offered was the 30k, so I ran that as a training run for a 50k. The race is always during Hawkeye football season, that first year the game was later in the day, last year the game was at 11 am…. and this year the game started at 2:30….

I thought this was perfect, I would be able to run a loop and get to the game…. well, I went through the registration process, and thought I started by clicking on 15k… after going through the registration process, and never seeing the distance confirmation until I had paid…. I was now in for the 30k.

See, more people would panic…. not me, while I know the race directors of the event and knew I could drop down to the 15k, I welcomed the challenge…. and now my biggest problem was making it to my seat in Kinnick Stadium by kickoff.

Thankfully, they let me start my race with the longer 45k distance, this gave me an additional half hour. I needed that time, I have almost an hour drive home and had to walk the dogs. I could have also started even earlier – as I showed up very early, but I wouldn’t have been timed.

I’ll write my famous to the point, fact based bibrave review too.

Alright, so after some chatter with the locals, I was lined up with the 45k runners, ready to get the show on the road.


Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, 2Xu tank, Orange Mud Endurance Pack, BibRave Boco Gear Visor, AfterShokz Trekz Air, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Zensah compression socks, Road Runner Sports shorts, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix, Road ID

Oh…. trail running, I love it and hate it…this course is a mixture of everything – rock, sand, grass, ruts, dirt, road crossings, very few spots with even footing.


I took off very slowly… I think I overheard a spectator say “this is the slowest race start ever!” Not long, we were off in the woods, and I was in the back of the pack… all I could think was, dang I am slow… and I am with the people that are running an extra loop. So, the mental part of the race was off to a rough start.

There were also some hills, and I started off walking up all of those too. The sun was coming out too and it was heating up.

I did have my music, so I just kept moving forward. I passed through the first aid station around mile 2, and since I was running with my pack, I didn’t stop.

When I came to the second aid station, I was looking for some gummi bears, as I was too lazy to dig out the fruit snacks I had with me. The stop did not have any…but there was a lot of other choices – cookies, pretzels, M & M’s, Gatorade, water, Cola and Mt. Dew. I took some pretzels and chatted with the volunteers, and took off back into the woods.

Really nothing exciting or out of the norm happened at the race.

I looked at my watch when someone speedy passed me, mile 5.6… this must have been a 15k runner… and shortly after there were others that started passing me. Oh well, I just kept moving forward.

I came up on the third aid station to a cheerful group of volunteers, I knew them, so it was nice to say hi! I didn’t spend too much time and moved along. It was now really starting to feel warm. There were parts of the course in the woods and parts with no shade.


I finally came in to finish my first loop, and I looked at my watch 1:51. I still thought I could PR this course. My time from 2 years ago was a 4:04, so I was well ahead of that, it was also the reason why I didn’t stop any longer than to grab a banana at the start/finish aid station.

I was now out on my second loop, it was definitely hot! Even though I was moving forward, it was a lot slower … and it just kept getting worse…. I was also in my head, was I going to make kick off? Keep moving, it’s hot, get to the football game, it’s hot, keep moving…. yeah running is fun!

Welp, I made it to the first aid station on the loop and made sure to drink more liquids…. all the drinking…..OH – what I didn’t tell you… I was running a half marathon the next day… so when does hydrating for that take place?

Back on course. At this time, there really weren’t too many other people out there, once in a while someone would pass me, which just made me feel slow…but I just kept moving.

I stopped at the 2nd aid station of the loop, drank some more and dug out my fruit snacks to eat them.

It really wasn’t that bad… but I had given up on getting to Kinnick before the game… I could still make kickoff.

I rolled into the third aid station, and there was a volunteer shift change. However, I knew the new volunteers, she even took my picture. I was hot, but nothing out of the ordinary, I didn’t have the chills, nothing…however a radio/medic guy that was at this aid station kept insisting I sit down in the shade of the tent. I was like, do I look that bad? Luckily, Nikki, who took my photo, knew I was fine, and said so…. and I grabbed a cup of ice to finish the last 2 miles.

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Those last 2 miles, were the longest 2 miles ever! I think I felt every uneven footfall, I just wanted a straight, flat section to run…but such is trail running.

I saw the last turn out of the woods, and I trotted into the finish. There were people cheering for me, so I was making sure not to fall. It was nice to have the area set up so that finishers were enjoying their post run fair along the route.

I finished in a time near 4:09…dang that second loop ate me up… I am sure it was a combination of the heat and maybe being under trained? Oh well, 18 miles banked – which keeps me inline for Detroit Marathon training.  At the finish I was handed a cool, hand made medal and a bottle of water.


The plan was to grab some food to go, and get on the road. Instead, I milled around, talked to the race director, took a photo…. I finally grabbed a plate – threw in a burger, chips and slice of cake…and took my food to go.  I was still close to making the game by kick off, but I would have to hustle.


I rolled into my house just before 2 pm… I needed to walk the dogs, shower and then find a parking spot and get to the game. Kick off was at 2:30….and then….

UGH – the new neighbor wanted to talk…. talk about removing a tree… there is nothing wrong with this tree… I was like I need to get moving, and just said “it’s your tree, if you want to take it down, I can’t stop you.” Why is it when you need to be somewhere, you just can’t get there?

I got the dogs walked, and through the shower…. but the time was close to kick off…. now it was time to find parking. Which I did, over a mile away…which was just awesome after running 18 miles in 90 degree heat.

I made it to the game with 6 minutes to go in the first quarter. It was a rough start for the Hawks, so I guess that’s ok. Then of course, it clouded up, even sprinkled a little, and finally I was sitting in the shade…. I enjoyed the rest of the game, and cheered the Hawks on to a victory.


I didn’t stay much longer, as I had to trek back to my car, to drive to Wisconsin for the North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon the next day – more on this race in my next post.

Overall thoughts: While I did not have a great race…. it is a well organized race, a great price, awesome medals, and it’s actual trail with some hills. Also, I have mentioned this before… where I live – Iowa City – there are 2 half marathons… I am 25 minutes from a 50k… and this is 45 minutes for a 45k… I love having longer distance race options closer to home.

A Labor day tradition

RUN WITH CARL – 2017 – RACE RECAP

The 2017 event was on Monday, September 4th in Bettendorf, IA. It was sunny with temps in the mid 60s, a little breezy.


I have run this race many times, for the bare bone to the fact pointers, check out my bibrave.com review.

Josh and I woke up early – for the 3rd straight day in a row – had the usual race day fare, hopped in the car and headed east for Bettendorf.


Gear: Sparkle Athletic ice cream skirt, Spi belt, Bibrave BOCO visor, 2xu tank, xx2i France 2 sunglasses, Aftershokz Trek Titanium, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, New Balance Shoes, Zensah flamingo socks

We parked, where we always do, in the nearby middle school parking lot, for free. There was also a little bathroom house here.

Next, we had to grab our race bibs and shirt. The packet pickup area is in a parking lot near the start/finish area. Easy to find, just wait in line at the tent. Race day registration was also available. I think the long sleeve, unisex, tech shirt was new this year, so we both made sure to get one.


The kids races went on before the longer distance races. Then there were some announcements, mostly about Carl, who the race is named for. The National Anthem was performed and then it was time to line up for the 5 miler at 8:15. The 5k would follow 15 minutes later.

I had just run the New Bo Half Marathon the day before, I was just gonna run the race to finish. I even lined up as the second to last person to start.


The gun went off…er it did not… the lady operating the starting gun had some mishap, so the announcer stepped in and told us to go. OOPS!

The course winds through the town, on paved streets and the asphalt bike path. There are hills, nothing steep, but training hills are a good idea.

There are at least 3 water only stops on the course, all in paper cups. The miles are marked and there are a lot of volunteers and law enforcement directing participants. There are a few spectators out in their driveways too.

Ok, so I may have started in the back… but of course… I started to pass people as I ran, it was fun. Then I was pushing my pace… yep I couldn’t just run, I had to see what I had. The last half mile or so I caught up with this younger girl, she was not going to let me pass, so I pushed her and we raced down the hill to the finish, whoa that was tough!

I had a finishing time of like 47:30 which was about the same as last year, when I set out to actually race it. So who knows…. I did feel good when I was done.

The finish area was happening! Once the announcer welcomed runners in, there was a live cover band, rocking some tunes. There was bottled water, sparkling water, bagels and bananas. If you were fast you could have got an apple too. There was a photo booth and a tent to get your results printed.


The awards were announced, and if winners were around they were encouraged to take a picture.

This race is a great event, good price, well run. The non traditional 5 mile distance is also something I appreciate. I will always try to make this race and continue to have it as my Labor Day Tradition.


The other component of why this event is so great…meeting with my friends. This year in addition to Josh, there was Kevin and Kelly. I am pretty sure we all try to make this race a must do.


When we were finished we went over to the nearby Dunkin Donuts for coffee, donuts and shenanigans. I have mentioned this many times before, but one of my favorite things about doing all the races is the people I meet.


As Kevin says… Labor Day? It’s Run With Carl Day

Dam! 7 more miles

Dam Backpocket 7 Miler

My last post alluded to this race, it was my second race of the day.

I am no stranger to this event, it would be my 4th time participating… and I have questioned doing this race ever again, but here I am… writing the review.

I had picked up my bib, shirt and pint glass the night before at the Brewery. I did have to re-sign a participation wavier, which seemed strange. However, it was easy peasy. In and out in like 2 minutes.

For an official race review, check bibrave.com

The 2017 race was on Saturday, August 19th at 5pm. There are 2 events, a 7 miler and a 5k. Both are point to point, and require you take a shuttle to get to the start – at 4pm. It was a hot day (not as hot as past events) about 80 ish degrees and sunny.


I arrived with enough time to park in the UIHC ramp, about a block or so away. It was the advertised place to park, and it was FREE. I grabbed my things and was on my way to a shuttle bus.

Gear: Donut Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Bibrave Tech hat, Adidas shorts, Danskin tank, Zensah Traction socks, spi belt, xx2i France Sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, New Balance Shoes

I stepped onto the first shuttle bus, and found a seat. It was hot inside there…but it was nice to sit and not have to hustle anywhere. The bust loaded with runners, and I saw Joel – from Springville Quarry fame. It was his first time at the race.

When the bus was full, the driver was given instructions to leave. It was only a 10-15 minute ride to the start, & it was nice to have some wind coming through the windows.

As one of the first to depart the bus, I was also one of the first to use one of the three port-o-potties that were supplied. These were located at the bus drop of location, which was not the starting line. There was also a spot with water, fill your own cups. A rental type moving van was there working on setting up some music, but I feel we heard 3 songs and he packed up.

Also since I was on the first bus, there was a lot of time to stand around in the direct sunlight before the race started. I could have went to seek shade, but shade was a short walk. I was also just tired and cranky.


I did run into some more running friends, Wendy – she has run all 4 prior years of the race. I also chatted with Tim from the 100 Miles in November group.

5 pm was finally getting closer…so I made my way up the hill to the starting line on top of the dam. The road was still open to traffic, so we all stood to the side and waited for the official time to line up. I said “Hi” to Dan and Horacio of the Run319 group.

As soon as some cars wanted to get across the dam, the starting line timing mat was rolled across the road, so those cars had to wait. I am not sure if there were any announcements made, I heard nothing. I also chose to start in the back, I knew the course, and the first hill would be slow for me.

The race was on… UGH…. it took a while for me to find my groove… and the chafe… all the chafe… I thought I had put on enough crap before this one… but I did not. It wasn’t until after the top of that first hill, I was finally feeling like me.

After that & because I started in the back… I was finally passing people… that was fun, an ego boost. I then pushed the pace and was rolling….

Soo not a great picture


It wasn’t until about mile 4.5 -5 that I hit the wall. There is another hill in the Peninsula area, it’s right after a water stop and a right turn… I had to walk… UGH… once at the top, I tried to get rolling again, but it wasn’t as fast.

The course is all on pavement, and there is not much shade. There are many water stops, some with Gatorade. I always had to ask which they were serving to me, always in a paper cup. There were mile markers and I saw some photographers on the course. (I have yet to receive any notice of where these are posted)

I rolled to the finish area, heard some GO ANGIE’s, but I didn’t slow or turn to look, I don’t want to trip and fall at the finish line.

My time of 1:11 was good enough for 6th in my AG, I had a sub 10 minute pace, which I was very happy about, considering a solid half marathon in the morning, and being away for over 16 hours.


Once at the finish, I was handed a bottle of water. There was nothing else here, to claim a Kashi bar, banana and your free beer, you had to go to the beer garden. Oh yeah… this race ends at the Backpocket Brewery.

Now, you might be wondering where was Josh during this whole day… well he was busy with work…but he came to the finish party at the brewery. WAHOO!!! We stood around waiting for the results, drinking beer and chatting with Dan and Wendy. The interesting part was they were not checking off your bib, or you didn’t have to turn in a ticket for your beer… so Josh got a beer too!  Wendy was able to get a soda instead, but she had to hunt down the RD for this to happen.

It was time for the awards, congrats to Wendy, her husband John and Dan as they all placed in their age groups.

After the awards it was time for the stein holding contest. Not only does the winner get bragging rights, but they also win free beer for a year.


Josh was ready to call it a day, but I had to watch this. It wasn’t the first year they had done this, but I had never had time to watch before. It was a good time, the facial expressions on some of the contestants – priceless.


Ok, it was time to leave… so Josh and I walked up to Fuzzy Tacos for supper, and then called it a day and went home. I was exhausted!!!


So, my overall thoughts on this race… it wasn’t as bad as years past… or did I already know what I was getting myself into? It’s a fine race, people want to run it as it ends at the brewery. It is pricey close to the race day, so register early. The race shirt was a boxy unflattering gray, I miss the first year, fitted Nike shirts. I would also like some shade at the starting line.

So what’s next on the race schedule? Well.. I might run the New Bo Half Marathon, then I should sign up for the Pleasant Creek trail run on Sept 16 – I would have time for one loop and still make it to the 2:30 football game, maybe? Then run the North Face Endurance Challenge 13.1 the next day- after a 2 am wake up call, that sounds like a fun weekend…. Then there is always the Quad Cities Marathon – not signed up…. Rolling into October, I signed up to volunteer at the Chicago Marathon, then it’s the Detroit Marathon…. then it’s the Urban Bourbon Half… and then in November back to Madison for the IA/WI followed by a marathon….. ok whew.. I think that’s enough…

Madison Mini 2017

Madison Mini Marathon 2017 – Race Recap

“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!”

This race was my 43rd half marathon and my 4th Madison Mini, to say the least I wasn’t expecting any surprises and was prepared for race day – especially with VIP access, and fellow BibRave Pro Dyenna grabbing my packet. …. which is also a reason I didn’t see a problem with waking up at 2 am, and driving to the start  – 3 hours away.

Saturday, August 19, 2017 – 2 am – Alarm goes off… wake up

2:15 am – In the car with coffee, a Nugo Bar, and a bottle of water. The 3 hour road trip to Madtown begins.

2:30 am – filled up with gas at the Casey’s in Solon, IA. Yay for fuel saver perks, gas was less that $20 to fill ‘er up. Fishermen were also gassing up.

2:32 – 5:15 am – uneventful car ride. There wasn’t too much traffic, I saw a coyote on the side of the road. There was some random fog near Dodgeville. Then there was an ambulance, and I had to slow down as to not pass it. Made a bathroom stop for more coffee, busted open my mint Nugo bar.

5:15am – Madison, WI.  I found a parking ramp within a few blocks from the race start. Sat in the car for a while, planned on meeting Dyenna at VIP around 6 am to get my packet.

5:30am – got out of my car, found a $1 bill on the ground, wahoo!! I made sure I had all my things with me, grabbed a bag for gear check stuff, and walked the couple of blocks to the Monona Terrace for VIP.

VIP area opened at 5:30 am


For a to the point race review, check bibrave.com

5:45 ish am – I was early, but I didn’t want Dye to have to wait on me. I found my way upstairs to the VIP room (this area was indoors) and waited, there was wi-fi and I had power for my phone.

6:00 am -I met up with Dyenna, who arrived with a friend. She gave me my bib and my shirt, which was a technical tank top (for women only.) There was also a note about race day warnings and weather conditions. If you attended the expo there was socks and other giveaways.


There was an initial problem with the VIP, we were told that we had it, but when the bibs were picked up, there was no designation. Dye went back, and they just slapped a green sticker on the bibs, no questions asked. When we arrived on race day our names were not on the list, but they just added them, and we were in.


Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Road Runner Sports shorts, Spi belt, BUFF® Pack Run Cap, Bibrave tank, XX2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Zensah Chevron Argyle Compression Socks, Brooks Ghost, Garmin Fenix, Road ID


We sat around and enjoyed the breakfast of muffins, bagels, bars and coffee. The tables had candy scattered on them. We had access to real bathrooms and our own gear check.


6:45 am – checked my bag, which was just any bag you wanted to use, attaching the strip from your bib. Then made it outdoors to the starting corrals, which were just outside the door.


After some wondering around and such, I found my place in Corral E. I think there were announcements happening, I hear cheering. I never heard a National Anthem. *The Anthem was at 6:45 am*


7:00 am– Race Start, there was no delay and all the corrals moved forward. Once across the starting mat, a guy was waving a green flag, like in Nascar. There were a lot of participants.


As I mentioned, not my first time at this race. One of the reasons I like it, you run by all the things Madison has to offer. Within the first few miles you see the Capital, State Street, the Kohl Center and Camp Randall. Then you are taken into the Arboretum, passed a golf course, through some residential areas, cute businesses, to end up back on campus at the Lake & Terrace.

I was running along, a little faster than I should when I friendly face said “hey!” It was just passed mile 3, and the crowd had started to thin out. It was social media friend, Steena. She too, mentioned she wasn’t sure if she would catch me as I appeared to be running faster. I tell ya, running with all the people, pushes my pace A LOT.

I didn’t have a race day plan…. I rarely do, just finish. I wasn’t specifically training for this race, it was training miles for the Detroit Marathon. When Steena came up next to me, I had a race plan… run with her.

Now some of you might know that Steena is training for an Ironman. As we ran, I learned a lot more about triathlons and what not. The miles just ticked by.

We would stop for the water or Gatorade, while enjoying the cheer stations. I think at one time, I slowed us down, but she stayed with me.

We discussed the course as well. I think all the times I have run this race, I have always run a different course. However, we complained about the strange parking lot section that is always included.


This course is hilly, as is many of the races in Madison. This year they removed the hill at mile 13, but by the time we made it that far, we both were discussing that the end was in fact a slight uphill.

When we came close to the finish, there was a runner receiving attention on the side of the course, it was clear they were suffering with cramps, Steena stopped and handed them her salt…. appearing to never break stride.


We discussed jumping across the finish line, she mentioned she wanted a fun photo. We, did jump over that finish line, only to discover no one there taking a picture. However, we did get a few photos of us finishing. Also, this year pictures were FREE, and were posted the same day!!

9:09 am – FINISH!! That’s right, we ran a 2:09…my Garmin had it a little long at 13.36, but that is a good time for me, not training.


We went through the finisher’s chute, getting a medal, bottle of water, banana, granola bar, and bag of popcorn. Then we said our goodbyes and a HUGE THANK YOU, she had a few more miles on the day and didn’t want to take a break. It was so much fun to run with her, she really pushed my pace!!! Good Luck in your Ironman!

Then it was time to get back to the VIP room. I passed the chocolate milk tent on the way, and back upstairs I went.

There really wasn’t too much going on here. However, that food setup had changed – fruit, potato salad, brats, and chicken were now available. There was also unlimited Wisconsin Brewing available to us. I also never saw the massage person.
I grabbed my bag of things, a cold beer and went out on the balcony. While I enjoyed having this VIP access, the fun part of the race is the 14th mile post race party, which happens outside on the Terrace.


From the balcony, I could watch the live music and people milling about. There were some tall bar top tables available, but no chairs. I could walk down to the Terrace on a side walkway, so I wasn’t shut off from that.

10:15 ish am – I went back inside to partake in the food. I also happened to meet up with Dye again. We all sat and ate (brat for me of course!) and caught up on our races.


Dye ended up helping an injured runner to the finish line, while her friend did not receive a medal – but instead a piece of paper saying they would send it to her. EEK! I have been on the race organization side of a medal problem, I find it interesting they only gave out what they had, but guess that helps on shipping costs. There was also no mention of this issue, unless you were a finisher that received no medal.


11:00 am – we left the VIP and went to walk around the Terrace and take some pictures. They had to get checked out of their hotel, and I thought I should get back on the road. IT was nice to meet Dye and her friend, we said see ya later – as we are both running the Wisconsin North Face Race in September.


11:15 am – I was back at my car in the ramp. I was still not ready to leave, I needed to grab what I always snag when I am in Wisconsin – beer and cheese! A quick clothing change in the car, and I was walking to the Madison Market.

Without problem, I was able to secure some New Glarus Raspberry Tart and a bag of curds. My trip was now complete.


11:30 am – Back to my car, and ready to depart Madison. I paid the $8 ramp fee – which is a great deal for as long as I was parked there, and I headed back south to Iowa City.

11:45 am – 2:51pm– ROAD TRIP!!! It was another uneventful trip back, however it looked like my pee stops had me avoid 2 accidents, they did not look pretty. Drive safe people!!


2:52 pm – HOME!!! It was a 12 hour trip. I quickly took the dogs on a walk, and rushed through the shower.

3:15pm – back out the door to my next race – WHAT!??!??!! Oh yeah, I signed up for the Dam Backpocket 7 miler, I needed to be on a shuttle at 4pm for the race start at 5pm.

More on that race in my next post….

 

 

Did I PR the 10k?

DID I PR?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the BTN B1G 10k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

The last time I mentioned the Big Ten 10k, I was hoping to set a new PR. Well, did I? *Spoiler alert * No, however I had a great time, and of course I will tell you all about it.

If you want the basic facts of the race, you can find them on my review I left at bibrave.com.

Saturday, July 22

Alright, so Josh joined me on this “racecation,” how could he miss out on a race supporting the Hawkeyes? We left first thing to get to Chicago.  We had plans to meet up with Heather, and run some miles on the lake front path.


The great thing about this race is someone is allowed to pick up your packet for you, or you can pay a little extra and have it sent in the mail. We chose to have it mailed, when we registered we weren’t sure what our plans would be.


After a run with Heather, and navigating the streets of Chicago, we tried to get checked into our hotel… which they still didn’t have ready. It was 5 pm, wut?  However, after a room service credit and a talk with the manager, a room was made available.

After all the drama, we made it to one of our favorite spots for dinner, Miller’s Pub. Then called it a night, after some room service chocolate cake.


Gear: bibrave tank, Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest pack 1, Sparkle Athletic skirt, Pro Compression socks, Road Runner Sports shorts, hawkeye hat, Road ID, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3


Sunday, July 23

We woke up early and ordered a room service breakfast. I had a bagel with peanut butter and fruit for $18 – DANG! Josh stuck with steel cut oatmeal. We left the hotel and walked to the race start on Columbus, near Grant Park.

The race started at 7 am, so we planned on meeting up with the other pros before the race for a picture and wish each other good luck.


Announcements were made, while music played in the background. We were encouraged to line up in our corrals, which were noted on our bibs. I was in corral B (not sure how or why) but it was full by the time I got to the entrance. I waited outside the entrance, however instead of letting all of us in at the back of the corral, corral C passed by before I was let in.

It was a sunny morning, and extremely humid. It made the race very uncomfortable. We even received an email before the race (as well as a note posted on the website) about additional hydration on course, and slowing down our race goals.

Spice Adams started each corral with an air horn, he is a Penn State Alum. I started off cruising… since I had run this course before, and as mentioned in my previous post, this course is flat, I thought I could PR. However, that plan went out the window soon after the part on Lower Wacker Dr. This portion of the race is underground, so it’s HOT and stinky…the air was not moving.

My first 2 miles, were sub 9 minute… then this part hit and I was running over 10 minute miles. The next plan was to just enjoy and get to the finish.

While I did bring my own water with me, I was trying to pay attention to the hydration on course. There were 3 stops with Nuun and water, but I didn’t feel there was anything extra than the previous year.

After the lower wacker part, the course went back along Michigan Ave, then turned and climbed Mt. Roosevelt, while then taking us around the museum, to then run along the lake. This part offered some great views of the city.


Then there was the first of 2 water slides. I made sure to give this one a go, I had done it in the past, and with the weather, I thought it would be a good idea. However, I just didn’t get enough steam to slide the entire distance… so I had to crawl out, leaving me with wet socks… at least I felt cool for a while.

I continued on the run, more along the lake, and this is when I realized the area was not closed to others – meaning bikes… and they were not too happy to share.

I made the turn around, and just kept moving… it was tough, that humidity made the air really heavy and thick. I passed by the second water slide, where they had the fight songs playing… sadly I never heard the Iowa Fight Song.

I was happy to finally come back to the finishers chute, where I saw a photographer at the end, but another runner came in ahead of me blocking my shot.

As mentioned before, I did not set a PR in this distance…heck I was 10 minutes off… but I didn’t have it in me…I did finish, and am happy with that.

When I crossed the finish line I was given a bottle of water first, then I grabbed a wet towel. There was a chance to grab a banana and a Clif protein bar…then finally I got my medal.


Unlike the previous years where each school got a different medal, everyone got the same finisher’s medal. We had to redeem a ticket on our bib at our schools post race tailgate tent to get a “coin” (which was a magnet) that stuck to the medal.

There were also tags on the bib to redeem for a Revolution Brewing beer and an Amylou sausage with pretzels.


The post race is always my favorite part. As mentioned above, each school has a tent…I found out this year that each school’s tent provided something different. In the past I feel that Ram racing provided one school specific swag item for everyone to get ( I got sunglasses before) I guess the magnet was the item this year. So, that left the other swag up to the school itself. Well my school is one of the geographically closer ones, so they can easily drive more swag to the tent. I was given the chance at stickers, magnets, photos with props and much more. I found out that the Ohio State tent was selling t-shirts. Some schools had their mascots. So, I imagine the school only brings what they can, however this allows each participant a different experience.


While, I spent the majority of my post race time near the Iowa tent. There were also tailgating style games, live music and giveaways.


This race is a good time for the B1G fan, or for anyone looking for a 10k in Chicago that does not go through the McCormick tunnel!


I will give my 10k PR another go, some day… but as I mentioned I will be training for the Detroit Marathon… well then there is the Madison Mini Half Marathon and North Face Wisconsin Half Marathon… oh and the Madison marathon…. so maybe one day I will get back to speed…


Go Hawks!

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