Freezefest 2017

Corridor Running Freezefest 5k

I am so excited to have something to write about. I ran and volunteered at the Freezefest 5k or should I say “Warmfest.” (More on that later.)


As most of you know, I am on the board of my local running club, Corridor Running. This is the first race of the year for the club. In addition to running, and creating the playlist for the event, I was on board to take pictures, post to social media, shoot video and anything else they needed me to do.
For my official race review – check out bibrave.com

Gear: Ice Cream Sparkle Athletic Skirt, xx2i France2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Go Pro, Adiddas boy shorts, Lululemon shirt, Corridor Running Trucker hat, spi belt,  2xu Vectr socks, aftershokz


The event always takes place in February, and it has a later start time of 11 am. It is in Marion, IA at Squaw Creek Park. This is mostly due to the weather. It can be cold or as we saw this year, record warmth, nearing 60 degrees.

*Personally, I would rather have a race start at 7 or 8 am. I run in all weather conditions, so I would just like to get up and get it done.

This is a smaller race, and it’s capped at 350 participants due to the lack of parking.. This means that packet pickup is the day of the race, which works out well because of the late start I was whining about above. Anyway…. the lodge allows room for an easy packet pick up as well as an area to get information about upcoming Corridor events & membership. It’s also a good location to stay warm, if the weather is cold. There is also indoor plumbing, however the system seems to get overwhelmed and backs up….but don’t fear there are extra, clean port-o-potties set up outdoors.

It was time to start the race. While there were no signs encouraging people to line up according to pace, everyone did an excellent job of self seeding.  Mark – the club president said some words, and then the National Anthem was sung live, however if you were in the back of the corral, you might not have been able to hear it.

With this being a 5k, my usual goal is to run it sub 30 minutes, however I had a Go Pro in one hand and my phone in the other. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tackle all of this.

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The race course wasn’t too difficult, it was basically flat, and on all paved surfaces. Ok, so the finish was uphill and there were some potholes….but totally manageable. The course also has out and back type sections, so you can cheer on the others.


I crossed the finish line, while watching the clock…SUB 30!!! My official results:


After I was done running, I picked the camera back up and snapped some pictures of the award winners. Then I went to check out the post race food, since it was lunch time. Volunteers called the “cookie monsters” brought a lot of baked goods, and there were 2 different types of homemade chili. There were some sandwiches and fruit too. I waited too long and there wasn’t much food left, and I don’t care for chili, so I grabbed a cookie. There was also lots of beverages – bottled water, sodas, and some Miller Lite.

I really needed to get on my way, there was Hawkeye basketball game at 1pm… I was already late.

This is a great race! The price is right and it gets you out of the winter funk. The club does a great job too, everything runs smoothly. I also like getting to socialize with everyone. I also forgot to mention, a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Boys & Girls club.


See you at the next Corridor Running event, the Shamrock Shuffle – PS registration is still open. There is a 3.17k and a 6.24k. They could also use volunteers.

Keep up with Corridor Running: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram & don’t forget to tag #corridorrunning

 

 

 

Why Should you Run Timber Trek?

The Top Reasons to Run Timber Trek

Hey all … I am part of my local running club, Corridor Running. From time to time I will feature some posts relating to the club. Today we have the top 10 reasons to run Timber Trek in the Amana Colonies.

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What is Timber Trek?

This is a 4.3 mile trail run that begins and ends at the Amana Colonies RV Park, following along Price Creek and looping through the Amana Timber that borders the area. The race has obstacles including hills and a creek crossing. Prepare to have fun while getting wet and muddy! It’s a challenging, but fun event. It takes place Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 2pm at the Amana Colonies RV Park, 3890 C St, Amana, IA.

Why should you run Timber Trek? With a little help from the board at Corridor Running, we give you the top 10 reasons to participate:

  1. Oktoberfest!!!! That’s right, there’s a party! Make sure to check the website for all the events taking place in Amana, including a keg tapping party, a parade, demonstrations and a brat eating contest to name a few.
  2. Escape game day in Iowa City – Hannah says, “The atmosphere – for individuals looking to avoid Iowa City on game day, why not spend the day in the Amana Colonies racing and drinking beer while celebrating Oktoberfest? “
  3. Finishers medals – what better way to celebrate #medalmonday (it’s a thing) than with a medal. Bring it to work, have the kids show it at school. It’s yours! Nikki reminds us you will have “Bragging rights for a lifetime!”
  4. BEER! – now that I have your attention 🙂 An ice cold brewski will pair nicely with a post race brat! 
  5. The Challenge – did you run “all the 5ks” this summer and are tired of pounding the pavement, well you are ready for this challenge on the trails. See what you are capable of, push yourself!
  6. Trail – maybe this is one of my favorite reasons, I love to run on trails! It’s great to be out in nature, no stoplights to wait for, no cars to run you over – maybe you will even see a deer. Mark reminds us there are “no bears.”
  7. Add to your circuit points – What is that you ask? Well as a member of Corridor Running you can enter into a spreadsheet, the races you have run in the area, for points. Then in January of next year (when the points are tallied) you could win prizes!!!
  8. Set a new PR – If this is your first time – you will set an instant PR, because who has run a 4.3 mile race before? I mean you would really have to take a wrong turn at a 5k to get to 4.3 miles, and an 8k is just under 5 miles…. so today is your day at that shiny new PR!
  9. MUD!!!!! – Thanks to board member Kelly for the 5 exclamation marks 🙂 Don’t be afraid to have some fun and get a little dirty. How else are you going to prove you were on the course? Mark says mud is good for the complexion.
  10. Support the Amana Parks Department – They are responsible for managing the land the event takes place. Thank you in advance!

Still not convinced? If you are a member of Corridor Running you will get a discount on your registration, this is done on step 2 of the online registration.

Save $5 and register online, don’t forget it closes Sept 30 at midnight!!! Shirt sizes are guaranteed through Sept 17. You can also register on the day of the race from 11:30am to 1:45pm.

 

There isn’t a 10k?

I went a whole week without running a race (GASP!) Now that you are over that shock, I did volunteer at the Health Solutions Fifth Season Race on the 4th of July, so I was still involved with a race. I should write a post about volunteering at a race…I know my local area could always use more volunteers, it’s how races happen.

Anyway, I did have a couple of options to run a race July 9th in my area, you know sleep at home, no hotel cost…One of those races was the Thanksgiving in July Turkey Trot in North Liberty, which I ran last year and wasn’t too excited to run again…so I picked the second option, and that was what I thought was going to be a 10k in Mt. Vernon for their Heritage Days celebration.

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I drove to Mt. Vernon, and was there before race day registration closed before 7:30. I filled out the paper form and noticed there was no option for the 10k, so I asked…and the lady couldn’t figure out why people were asking about it…CHANGE YOUR WEBPAGE INFORMATION!!! It still links to a 10k…So I decided I was already there, paid the $25 race day fee, and got a unisex short sleeve cotton t-shirt. I picked up the timing chip that would go on my bib, and said hi to Jeff & Candy, they must time a race every weekend.

I had time to do some warming up, since I hadn’t raced a 5k I think since the Easter Egg Scramble in April. I ran a mile, then did some stretches and more walking. I was at the starting line with 5 minutes to go, with only like 5 other people. Small town racing folks…

Ok once everyone was at the starting line at about 8am, there were some announcements and thank yous, then a kid clapped 2 boards together to signal the start. We were off…told to stay to the left so the timing crew could get to the finish, which was not at the start.

When I run a 5k, my first goal is to run it sub 30 minutes, next goal is to try and actually “race” it. I was working hard to not start to fast, I past the first mile marker, and the water stop in a time of 9:28. I also thought I would skip this water stop, because if there was water the the first mile, there would be another stop later.

I battled the hills, and uneven pavement cracks and hit mile 2 at 9:11. I though, “oh maybe I can run the last mile faster yet” “wonder if there is a water stop?”

I felt my watch buzz at mile 3 and saw the time of 8:57, dang, negative splits!!!! I was feeling good, although a bit hot. The turns in the course had parts where there was no air moving, and I never saw another water stop after mile 1.

I came close to the finish area, which was on the high school track. It wasn’t the best terrain to get to the track though. It was clearly marked, but we had to cross a grass section, and step over the lip to the track, to then finish on the actual finish like, which was cool.

There were cups and a water jug available at the finish area, and you could get a receipt with your finishing time, the results were also taped up. The finish food and awards were back at the start area, so after a short walk you could then get the post race granola bar of skittles and some blue Gatorade.

I got my printed receipt and discovered I had finished 5th in my AG with a total time of 28:27, HEY that’s exactly what my Garmin had, am I good or what??!??!?

I’m too lazy to fix the upside down picture 🙂

Ok so I didn’t place, so after I grabbed a granola bar and some Gatorade I was on my way to hit the trail near Solon on my way home for some additional miles.

I had a decent race, but I am not going to make it a point to run this event next year. It was too expensive or anything, it just wasn’t anything special.

Some follow up with my post race miles, I am documenting something new…weird shaking and feeling hungry. Signs of low blood pressure or hypoglycemia. Earlier in the week I had a case of the shakes and even felt like I was going to black out, eating helped a bunch, and I thought it passed.

This particular morning I had my usual coffee and peanut butter toast before the 5k, I did feel hungry again before I raced, but I had the post race granola bar, and hit the trails. I was going to run 3 out & back, I made it 2.42 and there was that feeling again…so I turned around and struggled back to my car, where I had some water, but could then drive to the convenience store for some food.

I am staying on top of this, trying to eat small snacks every 2 hours, and I hope to get a blood test soon. I have already made one call where a nurse told me “You have to be experiencing symptoms before they administer a test.” I am like I need to arrive like I am going to pass out?  I will try to get to an Urgent Care clinic next.

I really want to run my July marathon this next weekend, so I am hoping for positive things to happen. I will have details soon, hoping to have you join me.

Keota Fun Run 10k

I know I have a problem, but hey I could have worse addictions. Running all the races is a good problem to have until the bank account is empty.

That’s right I had an open weekend, and I saw a race in my neck of the woods (meaning I could sleep in my own bed), so I signed up on race day to take on the mean streets of Keota, IA.

I added this to Bibrave too, so add your review if you ran.

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I woke up early and grabbed my race belt, some extra water and ventured out on the 45 minute drive, through Amish country.

The 2016 event took place Saturday, June 11 at 8 am, at the Keota Community Schools. It was humid about 70ish degrees. partly sunny.

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I think my favorite thing about this race was the price, only $15 on race day !!! Registration: Early rate was a flat $10 for all events with a guaranteed unisex cotton short sleeve shirt. The price increased and topped out at $15 for all events, shirts were first come, first serve. You could print out the registration form from the web and send it in, or register on race day. No online registration.

Expo/Packet pick-up: No expo…you could double check you were registered on race day. No bibs.

At the time I registered, my name was the only one written in for the 10k. This is a small race, I love small community races. This race is also part of the town’s summer celebration, parade & activities throughout the day.

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Pre-race: Plenty of parking on the school grounds or on nearby side streets. The school was open for access to the bathroom. Music pumping on a loud speaker. Announcement made to line up. No National Anthem. No corrals. The start line was painted on the street between 2 orange cones. All 3 races started at the same time, 10k,5k, 1mile.

I just put myself on the left side of the pack, as there was a small split in the courses where the 10k would go left.

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Race/Course: For the most part the race was an out and back course on the edge of town.
-flat, one hill at the 10k turnaround, but nothing steep
-all on the roads, some asphalt, some country highway, could run on the gravel shoulder, not close to traffic
-no spectators, except random family members
-2 water stops, in styrofoam cups, one at the turn around, and one you could hit on both the out and the back…one additional water stop set up by residents of town with plastic cups (but was only set up for the short distance)
-scenery – cornfields and houses
-no photographers
-course marked with spray paint on the road

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I started out way too fast, posting sub 9 minute miles, but at the first turn for the race, I saw the only other female in the 10k and I was challenging myself to keep ahead…finally the humidity caught up to me and I stopped to take a water, then slowed the pace to sub 10 min miles… I did manage to push myself to a 56:57 minute finish. Which placed me as the overall female winner, but don’t let that fool you, I was also 3rd from last. (I will be getting a plaque with my name engraved!!!)

One other thing that was confusing or what have you…the race runs part of a county road, which is not closed to traffic. Yes, there is law enforcement at the intersections, but there was no encouragement for participants to run on the side of the road, facing traffic. In fact, at the turn around a guy was still running on the center line. I get that it’s a race, but it’s super small and they did get permits to close the road.

Finish/Post Race: There were cones set up at the finish line that was sprayed on the road. A volunteer pressed the split time on a stop watch, and another gave you a popsicle stick with your placement. There was a tub with ice cold bottled water outside. Proceeded indoors to turn in your stick, so they could write down where you finished on a piece of paper. Bagels, oranges and bananas available inside.

A note on the popsicle stick method. There is not timing system, except for a volunteer with a stopwatch. When you cross the finish line, one volunteer clocks your time, and the other gives you a numbered popsicle stick with your placement in the race. You then turn that in to the person tallying the results. Easy peasy!

Once all finishers were in, the results were tallied and awards were handed out. Overall winners got plaques (will be engraved with your name) and everyone else got AG medals.

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It seemed there were a lot of participants in the one mile distance, and only like 10 in the 10k. So I challenge the ladies especially, to show up next year and run the 1ok. Let’s show Keota, women can run all the distances too!

Overall: Excellent no hassle small town race, and the price….$15 for a race day 10k…can you beat that!?!?!??!

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I really wish I didn’t have so many other things to do, but I left town. It was hard to get out of town as all the GIANT tractors were rolling in for the parade, not a lot of room on the roads to pass by. I wish I could have stayed for the parade and festivities, there’s always next year, plus I will have to defend my 10k title. 🙂

 

Chicagoland Spring Marathon

It was time to conquer Marathon #5 for the “Marathon a Month” Challenge I have created for myself.  The Chicagoland Spring Marathon!

Yes, 2 weeks after my last race…but this one was relatively close to home, and fit best into my schedule.

Josh, was along too, he was running the half. Also since we were near Chicago, I got to say – hey – to one of my #brf ‘s Heather. (thanks for takin the pic Josh or was it Dan?)

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The 2016 event took place on Sunday May 15 in Schaumberg, IL. It was sunny and cool, about 50 degrees, and the wind picked up through the day. Race started at 7:05

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Registration: Online through the website, started near $50 ish increased to race day pricing of $95. Included was a unisex tech 1/4 zip pullover, you had the choice of color; timing chip on personalized bib.

I feel when I registered, I only paid around $50-$60 dollars, which is a great price for a full marathon.

Expo/ Packet Pickup: No true expo, packet pick up was held in Hoffman Estates at a sporting good store. You could also get your packet before the race at the start. Someone else could get your packet with a signed wavier. Packet mailing was available through online registration for an additional fee.

Josh and I got our packets mailed to us. It cost $15 each, and they arrived the week before the race. The race sent an email that it was on the way. It included our pullovers, bibs and a re-usable bag.

Pre race: The race started near an office building. There was parking near the race start for free, but needed to be aware which lot you were in, as you couldn’t leave them as some were on the race course. Lots of port-o-potties were lined up, there was last minute packet pick up. The music was pumping on the loud speaker, however no speakers in the slower corrals. Participants to line up according to pace, flags marked this. There were pacers, but only up to 4:50. No National Anthem.

We stayed a hotel within a half mile of the starting line, so we just walked to the start. However the hotel was stringent on their check out times, noon….(thankfully I was able to use their pool shower when done.)

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Josh and I run different paces, so he lined up near the front, being in the back I was worried I was missing an important announcement. I was also planning to run slower than the last pacer, and the course was open for 6 hours…so I just started in the back.

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Something new I think I will add to my recaps, the gear I had with me, just to help me remember what works. I had my Orange Mud Hydraquiver Vest pack 1, water, pretzels, fruit snacks, xx2i Hawaii1 sunglasses, Survivor Buff, B1G hat, BR short sleeve shirt, Sparkle Athletic donut skirt, Adidas 7″ shorts, Pro Compression socks, Brooks Ghost 8, and a Moving Comfort bra.

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Race/ Course: The majority of the course takes part in the Busse Woods Forrest Preserve.
-Terrain – paved roads or paved bike trail. The trail in Busse Woods is narrow
-Scenery – once in the woods, there are trees, elk, water, but start/finish have not much too see unless you are into things such as the WGN radio transmitter
-elevation – FLAT!!! there are some bridges, but no steep climbs
-spectators – few and far between, unless you have family out to cheer you on
-Aid Stations – water and orange (self mix) Gatorade in the same white paper cups- no food, some gels
-Volunteers – lots on the course, including many police officers at non crucial intersections on the woods
– photographers – pictures for purchase or free to download
-mile markers – each mile marked with a yard sign
– bathrooms on course – including park bathrooms
– out and back sections – great to cheer on others, easy to cheat

My race: I had a nice time, with a few hiccups along the way. I didn’t have a huge goal, but to finish and with the cool temps that wasn’t going to be a problem. While I was happy with my 5:15 finish time, I could have done better.  One hiccup was even though the paved trail in the woods was scenic, it was also not closed, it’s a forest preserve, and public so there is some strange permit thing. This meant at mile 17, I encountered a 5k, and I hit just as the walkers with strollers were taking over the entire path. I spent mile 17 & 18 navigating through this, and mostly running in the grass mush on the side, I might have wasted a lot of energy on this. Also I like orange Gatorade, but I had to ask via email to find this out as the website said “sports drink” was on course. The race was no frills, and maybe I raced that way, lol.

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Finish/ Post race: Before you cross the finish line a live band is playing some rock cover tunes to greet you, then you run under the arch and cross the timing mat. A volunteer hands you a medal ( beige ribbon, silver triangle shape) and a bottle of water. Then you turn back around for the post race area. Food included – bananas, granola bars, peanuts and cookies. Cups of orange Gatorade and bottled water. There was a backdrop set up to take photos and you could listen to the band.

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I finished near the back of the pack and there was still enough food for all, even saw non runners getting food. The live band made the quiet finish party – a party. The medal wasn’t really flashy, the shape itself was about the only exciting thing.

Overall: It’s a nice race, and running in the woods is a nice treat from the bustle of the Lake Front Path and McCormick Tunnel. All the volunteers were friendly. If you sign up early the price is right, and I do like the pullover.

Did you run this race? Put your thoughts on bibrave.com

Girls on the Run….

… Is so much fun!

I was asked to be a running buddy as part of the Girls on the Run Eastern Iowa.

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If you are not familiar with this organization, here is what the website has to say “a life-changing, non-profit program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grade. Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running”

You can read more about the program here – http://www.girlsontheruniowa.org/who-we-are

In other words it’s an after school program that teaches young girls life values while training them to complete a 5k. There are coaches that help put this program on, and then there are the running buddies who run with their participant at the practice 5k and the final 5k event.

This organization is nationwide, you can look into participating as well. I was actually familiar with the group, I have been asked to be a coach before. (I just don’t have the time) I also have ran a race or 2 with them before the organization became too big, they now have their own 5k, and no longer have to be partnered with another area race.

Ok, enough with all the background of the organization, let’s get to the race. Now if you want a race with tech shirts, open roads and racing; this event is not for you. However, if you need some inspiration or want to run your first 5k, sign up!

IMG_3877Mr. Shucks, the local minor league baseball mascot was there.

The 2016 spring event took place at the Cedar Rapids Prairie School complex, May 7. It was a sunny day, maybe 60-70 degrees with some humidity. Race started at 10 am.

I was not excited about the later start, but with so many area school kids coming from all around, it allowed them to all get there at a decent time.

Registration: Available online for about $25 and on race day for $30. Included with this cost was a unisex cotton t-shirt, a bib, and shoe timing chip. Race was open to everyone, not just the girls doing the program.

As a running buddy, I was only asked to run with the girl, but had to register myself, and had to check which school I was running with.

Packet Pickup/Expo: There was no expo for this event. There was packet pick up in Cedar Rapids at the Running Wild store on Thursday evening, pickup at Scheel’s in Coralville on Friday evening, and race day pick up. Someone else could get your packet.

I just picked up my bib the day of the event. I didn’t want to drive across town for the Friday event, easiest to just grab it before the race since there was so much time.  I also got my cotton running shirt, I was like the only one who didn’t wear it, I just prefer tech clothing for running.

Pre Race: The event started at a school, so there was a lot of parking available, however it seemed everyone was arriving at the same time so the entrance to the lot had backed up. There were port-o-potties lined up.

I arrived with what I thought was enough time, but the parking was kind of a hassle, some lady just told me I could park on the grass, so that’s what I did.

The event started in a large open parking lot. There were school kids everywhere! They all clustered into groups based on the school they were a part of. The kids had spray painted their hair and added lots of face paint and pizazz to their running attire.

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The pre race announcements started about 10 minutes before the race, this included some aerobic stretching workout. The National Anthem was sung and then participants were told to line up. There was no starting arch, but the timing mats were out and marked with some balloons on the sides.

I was shocked at how many kids were there, I think the race results listed about 1000 finishers. This event is huge. When we were doing the aerobic warm ups, it was really crowded, so we just kept moving and tried to do the movements.

Race/Course: The race is on school grounds. (same course as the CRFD Memorial 5k)

  • Terrain – pavement, asphalt and limestone trail, just watch your footing. There was one section that was on narrow sidewalk – I wish they would have got a permit to run on the road for the .25 long section.
  • Elevation – really flat, some incline sections but nothing steep
  • Scenery – school grounds, ball fields
  • Spectators on course, mostly family members
  • Miles were marked with card board signs, course marked with card board sign arrows
  • No photographers on course
  • one water stop at the half way point, small Dixie cups
  • Volunteers – they were wearing neon shirts, at all the intersections, police at the major intersection
  • there were port-o-potties on the course

My Race: Since I was a running buddy, I stayed with Ava, she just turned 10. I had run the practice 5k with her on April 19, so I knew she would be able to complete the 5k. We started out in the crowd, as it was just one big glob of people to start, however this kept us at a slower pace which was great. We had to walk the first bridge crossing as it was too narrow for everyone to move along. We then chatted and walked as needed. Made sure to stop at the water stop, as Ava had been training with a water bottle. At about mile 2 I heard a lot of other runners wondering how far they were in the race, it was getting warm, and I am sure the kids wished they had more water. All the participants we passed, and that passed us shouted “good job” or “Way to go” We saw Ava’s family cheering us on, which put a smile on her face. We even skipped a portion of the course. The last half mile or so was a little slower, but once Ave saw the finish, she turned on the jets. We discussed throwing our arms into the air as we crossed the finish line. (Note to self, always check to see who else is finishing, you might elbow them in the face)

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Finish/ Post Race: The finish line was also the start line, the timing mat & balloons were still there. Spectators or family members were lined up along each side of the finishing chute, behind some flags. A volunteer snagged the timing chip from your shoe.

There was post race bottled water, in 2 different sizes, bananas, bagels and popcorn being dished into small cups. There were 2 lines. These tables were set up adjacent to the finish line, so you had to double back and around to get to it.

The girls all received finisher medals and certificates from their coaches. There was a back drop set up for photos.

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I forgot to hit stop on my watch, but estimated we finished around the 35 minute mark, which is excellent! I think my first 5k I finished in like 38 minutes. After checking the official results we finished 34:59.

I have mixed feelings about this race and the organization. I love that this teaches young girls about the values in life,  how to be confident, and about accomplishing goals. However I wish there was more emphasis on the aspects of running, like getting a good fitting shoe or not wearing cotton to run in. (ok maybe I am a snob?) I  was also confused about my role, I was just a running buddy, I showed up on race day to run a 5k, I was encouraged to go to the practice 5k, but it wasn’t required, so if you had never ran with your buddy, race day could be an adventure.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great organization…just some of my thoughts.

Also something to note, if you wanted to run this as a competitive 5k for time, this isn’t for you. However if you want to run your first 5k, this is the race to run! There is so much encouragement and positive vibes from everyone.

Hot Dash 2016

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Hot Dash 10 Miler 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!”

Hey – Yo! I am back in the swing of #alltheraces. That’s right, I was ready to run a 10 mile race just 6 days after my last race, a full marathon.

This trip would require a 5 hour drive, piece of cake. I was lucky enough to be joined by my husband, Josh.  He wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to make the race due to work, but things changed and he was able to get a bib at the last minute, due to the great race management.

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We took off Friday afternoon. I had made arrangements for someone else to grab my packet, and Josh had to pick his up race day to sign a wavier (more on packet pick later) So we weren’t in a rush. We did have dinner plans with Kate…remember my number one cheerleader, who made the One City trip.

Despite the strangest weather conditions on the drive, from snow to clear roads, to slush and sunny skies. We made it to Borders, pasta restaurant only to have to wait another hour to eat. So we toured the neighboring stores, and waited. It just so happened the running store where packet pick up was held was across the street, but we missed it by 30 minutes. We did check out the deals at a thrift store.

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Border’s was a happening place, but casual too. We dined on home made pasta and plates of bread. Ok, so this is only a 10 mile race, and all the carb-o-loading isn’t super necessary, but hey it was delicious!! Even had tomatoes and cheese on my noodles 🙂

Race Day –

The 2016 Hot Dash 10 mile and 5k was held on March 19, 2016. It had snowed overnight and was about 28 degrees at the start, overcast. The race started at 9:12 am.

Fellow Bibrave Pro, Gina was running this race too. I had yet to meet her in person. She agreed to pick us up and take us to the race. She pulled up on time, even though the roads were a little slippery.

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It was nice getting to chat with her, where I learned she is a dental hygenist…and I may have told her, that is my least favorite person…hope she didn’t take offense. She is a very nice, happy person.

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Registration: Available online, prices increases as race day approached. Participants need to register quick as the 5k sold out, and the 10 miler only had a few spots remaining. Included with registration was a bib with timing chip, a Storm Creek unisex 1/4 zip pullover, post race hot dish, post race beer.

That quarter zip is great!

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Expo/Packet pick up: There was no expo for the race. Packet pick up was held Thursday and Friday before the race at the Fleet Feet Marathon Sports store. Someone else could grab your packet. There was also race day packet pick up at the “registration” table near the race start. The running store was in a small neighborhood in MPLS, not near the race location, there was on street parking.

Pre-Race: Parking was close, but encouraged to use the ramp nearby for $10 (prepay $12) However the wait to get into the ramp took about a half hour, come early to get parked and to the start on time. The starting corrals were self seeding by pace. Lots of port-a-potties.

Ok so the whole parking thing was not fun. I get anxious and would rather sit in the car, parked and wait for the race. Josh got out of the car while we were sitting in traffic and walked to the start to make sure he could get his bib in time. We made it into the parking ramp, and there were so many empty spots, it was just a slow process getting in. Gina even prepaid to make sure we wouldn’t have problems. I guess the best thing was we didn’t have to wait out side long for the race to start.

It was cold, but we were ready to go! Remember a while back I wrote about running in costume, well you can see which tights I chose to wear.

Race/Course: The race course was all on paved surfaces, running an out and back style course. 

  • paved surface, winter in the upper midwest is hard on asphalt, lots of potholes, finish was on a brick surface, could have been easy to turn an ankle
  • mile markers, flags at each mile
  • pacers provided
  • Aid Stations – 3 total with powerade and water, in paper cups. The first and second aid station were at the same location and the drinks were in different colored cups. The third AS the drinks were in the same color cups, well marked with flags and lots of enthusiastic volunteers
  •  Volunteers – They were at all major intersections with law enforcement. Some less busy intersections had no one, but wasn’t necessary. All friendly and cheered you on
  • I did not see any photographers
  • Scenery – The first 7 miles were in residential and industrial parts, wasn’t much to see, we did run through some parkways. Near mile 7 we crossed the river and were taken on a scenic path by the river, with the last mile on the arch bridge
  • Bathrooms – There were some on the course near mile 8
  • Terrain – super flat, the bridge was about the only incline/decline
  • Timing – chip timed, with a split at the 5 mile mark
  • Medical – noticed some EMT’s cycling the course
  • Spectators – not very many, would be a hard course to cheer on unless you were familiar with the area

My race: As I mentioned above, I was 6 days from a marathon, so I didn’t have grand expectations for my race. However I was going to do my best. I told Josh, Gina, and Kate an estimated finishing time of 1:45.

I started in the 10:30/11:00 pace, and just kept moving. I was feeling well, making sure to watch my footing, as the potholes were plenty. I was near the turn around loop before mile 4, and I saw Josh off in the distance already heading back. I made it to mile 4 and made the turn, a lady made some noises and arm movements. I was really in the zone, didn’t pay much attention. OH DEER!!!! That is what she was telling me, there was a deer stuck behind the fence in some parking area of an office building. It came out the opening and was scared of all the runners, but it frightened me as well. There was also another deer darting up off the side of the road ahead…whoa.

I was alert now, and kept trucking along, I was noticing my pace had moved to sub 10 minutes, and I really felt good. I took a sip of water at the second stop.

I met up with the 1:40 pacer at around mile 6. I thought I better stick with the group for at least 2 miles, or I am going to burn out. This worked, there were times I started to lag behind, but they were always in my sight. There were still some icy spots on the route too.

Around mile 7, I had to detour around these 2 women, who had been walking and running the course. Their running pace was fast. However when they stopped this time, in the middle of the course to take a selfie, I knew they were now my new goal, I had to beat them. At this point in the course was the steepest incline, a bridge crossing.

I stuck with the pace group until mile 8 when they stopped at the last water stop, bathroom. I kept pushing, and never looked back (not sure what happened to the run/walk selfie ladies). Mile 9 was near 9:30 and since my watch had been hitting the miles before  the mile markers, mile 10 was 9:10.

I fought the last .2 (according to my watch) to stay balanced on the bricks, it was similar to cobblestone. I crossed the finish in 1:38:17. WAHOOO!!! My PR is near 1:37. I felt great!!! In fact, Josh and Gina missed me finish, I was just too fast. Ok so I wasn’t as fast as those speed demons. (Maybe it’s the On Running shoes)

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Post Race/Finish: Once you crossed the timing mat, marked with a clock and flags, you were handed a cool hot pad shaped medal. Then there was mini Clif bars, nut goodies, Old Dutch Chips, bananas and bottles of water. The actual post race party was a little walk across a bridge. Here there were outdoor fireplaces, photo booths, Finnegan’s beer and hot dish (redeemed with race bib tickets, ID’s were checked). The hot dish was piping hot and similar to a shepherds pie. The music was loud and the lumberjack costume contest was judged. I never noticed any awards.

Ok, are you still reading? LOL

The post race party was a short walk across a bridge, not too far away. This is where we met up with Kate, she was taking us back to her place. You had to have an ID checked to get a beer, no ID, no beer. I forgot my ID, but I had a drink of Josh’s. The hot dish was really good, and I think I overheard there was a vegetarian option too. However after running the race and being sweaty, then having wet clothes, we were frozen. We tried to warm ourselves with the outdoor fireplaces.

We stayed around long enough to take some fun pictures in the photobooth, and some jump pictures. Even ran into a fellow Iowan, Carson, who had run the race.

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995372_10208974833117354_2346519446899417157_nhope Gina doesn’t mind I took this photo.

We parted ways with Gina, and remembered I would be back in MPLS for the hot chocolate race, and would see her again. (Registration still open, code BibRaveMIN will get you a head wrap) She mentioned to Kate, she thought she looked familiar, she’s internet famous!!  Our next stop was the coffee shop across the road, we were sooo cold.

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Overall: I ran this last year, and I feel like I enjoyed the race festivities more this year. The major headache is parking, but can be resolved by preparing to arrive early. It’s a challenging distance to run, and lots of fun. I would run this again.

If you ran, make sure to add your review to Bibrave.com

There was just one last thing to do. Kate claims that we have been to Mickey’s dining car for food, I kept telling her we had never been there. So, we made the maiden voyage.

Mickey’s is located near the Excel Center in St. Paul, but it just happens that the B1G Hockey tournament was happening there too. So the area was busy, but Mickey’s has it’s own little parking lot, and we found a spot.

What makes this place so special, in addition to the grease on the grill dating back to 1938, the actual building is an old rail car. That’s right, there is not a lot of room in the place, but it provides for a great atmosphere. It kinda reminded me of my Waffle House trip but with character.

The waitress shouted at us, and we shouted our order back to her. The grill cook was great and very chatty, even made fun of Josh’s Hawkeye hat and his request for no onions.

The food came, and we all wished we had ran 10 additional miles. I had a giant omelet and an order of hash browns, Josh had the same, Kate ordered a patty melt and a pancake for the table, LOL. IT WAS SO GOOD!! The omelet was so fluffy.  Ok, I am rambling….

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We left the dining car, but for some reason it seems no trip to MPLS is complete without a trip to Sebastian Joe’s.  Mmmm ice cream! Ok, so we have eaten ourselves into a food coma, only to get in the car and travel 5 hours home.

We said our goodbyes to Kate, and I was sad as I had seen her the last 2 weekends, but I would be back in a month.

On the road again….we were watching the weather and some snow showers were moving through the route. We took our time and hit the Nike outlet at Medford. Last year I found some Chicago marathon gear for nothing, and this year was no different. I got a hat, socks (that were $25 at the expo) and a tech shirt for $15, DEALIO!!!

OMG, I am really just rambling on…we managed to wait out the weather, and the roads were clear for the remainder of the trip home. We both enjoyed the race and a great trip to MPLS.