BTN B1G 10k

How far will you go to support your favorite sports team?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Big Ten Network Big 10 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!”

It shouldn’t be news to you that I am a HUGE Hawkeye sports fan. I grew up 20 ish miles from the University of Iowa Campus, I idolized my hometown Hawkeye – Marv Cook, it took me 5 years – but I graduated from the U of I, and I never left. Yes – I love my Hawkeyes.

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a run past Kinnick Stadium

I also love running…again this shouldn’t be a surprise…LOL.

Enter the B1G 10k in Chicago on July 23.

Now this is not my first time participating at this event. I did this race in one of the first years, and again in 2016. One of the coolest things about this race is the swag, your race shirt is the Big Ten team of your choice, alternating the main colors every other year. I have always received the gold – but it’s really yellow – shirt. I think I am most excited to finally get the black shirt this year. If you are just a fan of colleges ports, you can choose a generic BTN shirt too.

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Ok, shirts aside…. there is also the great post race tailgate atmosphere, beers, sausages, team tents with trophies, and much more.

BUT DID YOU KNOW about the SPIRIT AWARD? In addition to the overall award winners, and the Big Ten Bonus Prize, there is an award for the most spirited fan.

BTN is looking for the most die-hard Big Ten fans at the BTN Big 10K! Post your most spirited photos on race day using the #BTNBig10K hashtag for your chance to win!

So – get out the face paint, maybe you have a home made mascot costume? Then tweet or gram your photos with the above hashtag for a chance to win one of these prizes:

  • Football Grand Prize : Two (2) Tickets to the 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game
  • Basketball Grand Prize : Two (2) All-Session Passes to the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament –

Only photos submitted on a public Twitter or Instagram account on July 23, 2017 will be eligible for entry 

I’ll be honest, it’s one of my biggest challenges to wear the BibRave Orange as a Hawkeye fan. Last year I made sure to put on some temporary tattoos, a Hawkeye hat, and sparkle skirt. I will have to get creative this year, the prizes are awesome!

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Register today with code BibRaveBTN17 for a bonus drink bottle – http://btnbig10k.com/

So what have you done to support your favorite sports team?

 

Blue Grass 5k

2017 Blue Grass 5k – Race Review


The 2017 event was held as part of the Blue Grass Days weekend. The 5k and one mile race was on Friday, June 2,. The 1 mile started at 6pm and the 5k at 7pm. It was sunny, hot and around 84 degrees.I have run this race beforeoh I know you are shocked to learn this information! However, I hadn’t run in 3 years, it’s the same weekend as Hospital Hill in Kansas City. With no race on the schedule this year, I was in need of something, and then I remembered this race, plus I could hang with my sister, Amber and niece, Ella.

I was in contact with my sister during the day. I was curious if Ella was going to run the kids race. At the time, I wasn’t sure what distance it was or what time it started. Ha, yeah…. I just knew when I needed to leave to get to the 5k, and still have enough time to register.

At 4:50 pm, Amber texted and said, Ella was going to run the mile, WAIT, WUT?  Ok….. I was at work…and still needed to wrap things up, and get my running gear on – then drive the 40 minutes to the race.

It was the quick change performance of a lifetime, and I was in Blue Grass in a flash. My biggest issue was parking. It’s a super small town, but at the same time, I didn’t want to take a parking spot for a resident, or be in a towing zone. I finally just parked my car, and hustled to the Community Center.

It was 5:49 pm, plenty of time, and Amber and Ella weren’t even there yet. I was registering for the 5k, a whopping $10 – yes, let’s take a minute here, $10 an hour before race start – with chip timing. I could spend $10 more and get the short sleeve, unisex tech shirt if I wanted too. Amber rolled in and paid $5 for Ella to run the mile. In seconds, she had a bib and a timing chip attached, and was at the starting line.

6:00 pm. Ella had never run this far, EVER. I was going to run it with her, just to make sure nothing weird happened. I am not sure what the deal was, but the one mile race was only kids, all younger than 12? There were also not very many of them. I wondered if anyone could run the mile?

After a short delay and some direction from the RD about which way to go, the race started. Ella shot off, I jumped in beside her, and we were on our way.

The course was an out and back, all on paved surface, but many spots to be aware of, and not trip. The course was closed to traffic.


There was one other girl running, the rest were boys. The other girl had a guardian with her too, otherwise all the kids were out there by themselves. Ok, so there was a water stop…. but it was strange.

Ella and I moved along, it was hot and I was worried she would feel sick or something. However, that was far from the truth. Before the turnaround, she was skipping and even said “This is fun!” We turned around and she saw some of her friends on the course. I encouraged her to thank all the police officers at the intersections. We passed the water stop, which she insisted she did not need, and we kept moving.

It was time to make the sprint to the finish line. I ditched her, I had a timing chip on my shoe that couldn’t cross the finish mat… but mostly so she could finish on her own. She crossed the finish line in 10:38 – DAMN GIRL!! She ran the entire race, I was and still am so proud!!


There was now a lot of time to waste until the 5k. Ella had her post race popsicle and really wanted to go check out the carnival and festivities that were happening in town. We managed to keep her distracted until the start of the 5k, by running into my friend Dan, and his dog Phil. They were going to do the 5k too.

Just before 7pm, the RD made some announcements, making sure to thank everyone, and I mean everyone. Then there was a nice live singing of the National Anthem.

I lined up, and took off… weee – Amber even snapped a picture of me – HEY!


As I said, I have run this before, but I should mention it was a much simpler race. There was no chip timing, you finished and grabbed a popsicle stick to determine your placement. The course, while the same also went the opposite direction the previous time. I overhead someone talking about this, so I inquired why the route was run in the opposite direction. I learned that the runners wanted the hill towards the beginning versus the end of the race.  I rolled my eyes… this course is relatively flat with a small hill… looking at my Garmin / Strava stats… there was a total of 46 feet of climbing – sigh… and that hill was 20 feet…so yeah…people need to stop whining about hills, and just run them.

I was actually gonna try and race this…yes it was hot, yes I haven’t really done any speed work, but what the heck, why not? Just before the first water stop – which was full 16 oz plastic bottles (that I took a sip and handed to Ella) – I saw one of my sister’s friends…it was my goal to beat her. So just after the first mile, it was on!!

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It was all I could do to catch her… I did pound out an 8:37 first mile though – go me! I caught up with her just before mile 2, which I ran at 8:50 – and for me that’s still speedy – Also it was 84 degrees on pavement or asphalt, – HOT! Soo now what… ugh cotton mouth – I need to stop spitting – I’m gross. The second water stop had plastic cups and a hose spraying water, I tried not to slow down, so the person wouldn’t pass me, but I took a much needed drink.

I think every member of the area fire department or law enforcement was on the course, blocking every intersection. The entire course is closed to traffic, shutting down the easiest way around. I would like to thank all the volunteers who put up with the small minded people who couldn’t wait 5 minutes to cross the road. I saw 2 incidents of pissy people throwing a fit because the road was closed and they couldn’t wait or go around.

Whew, now time to push that last mile… there was one more water stop with paper cups, I stopped. Yep, a 5k with 3 water stops – THANK YOU! I also didn’t take much time here…and I had also gained on my competition, even though I was slowing down…my third mile was 8:56…however still sub 9 – wahoo!

I made that last turn, and saw Amber and Ella cheering me in. I crossed the finish line with a time of 27:3? which was good enough for 4th in my AG…always 4th…I was a convincing 4th place though, it wasn’t close. The 35-39 AG is very competitive – I would have won the 30-34 .


I hung around for a while, chatted with others ate my post race popsicle. Ella finally got to go to the carnival area. We reconvened and waited for the awards ceremony, indulging on our free “beers.” Ella and I got a wooden nickel with our registration to redeem for a free drink. I don’t care for the beer selection they offered so I took a soda, and Amber used Ella’s for a Coors Light.


We cheered as the awards were presented. Ella’s name was announced as the female winner of the mile – WAHOOOOO!!!!! She all the sudden was very shy and grabbed my hand and pulled me along to the stage to collect her trophy. The kid got a trophy! It was pretty cool.


It was getting late, and I had to stop back at work and gather my things, and eventually get home. We ended the evening with a celebratory ice cream from Casey’s.


As far as the race goes, I can not recommend it enough. $10 on race day, with chip timing, free beer, flat course, accurate 3.1 miles…what more could you ask for? Ok, small town Iowa, but I have paid more and gotten less, so do this race!


I also hope Ella will continue to think running is fun. I may have to order us matching unicorn / rainbow running skirts.

 

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.

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