Places to Run – Squire Point

PLACES TO RUN

SQUIRE POINT, 2800 N Dubuque St, North liberty, IA / Coralville Reservoir

This area I call Squire point is a combination of a couple trails near the Coralville Reservoir. It is also referred to as Linder point or Woodpecker Trail. All the trails hook up together, creating one trail system.


Access / Location: There are parking lots at the entrance to the Squire point off of N. Dubuque St. The trail loops around to another access point off of West Overlook Rd. with more parking spots. The parking is free. The maps will provide a clearer picture of access to this area.

Mileage: A loop of the outer edge of this trail system will come out close to 4 miles. The way the trails are laid out you can make a longer or shorter run by turning left or right.


Terrain: The trail is a combination of many surfaces. The majority is packed dirt, and it’s solid. There are sandy patches, leaf covered areas, many tree roots, and near bridges there are rocks. There can be washed out areas and downed tree limbs. Wider than single track. There is one spot you can cross into a campground to hit the trail as a loop. Trail shoes aren’t necessary, but if it’s muddy I would recommend them.


Elevation / climb: The trail takes you to the edge of the reservoir, so you climb down, it can be steep in spots. Iowa isn’t mountainous, but these are nice trail climbs, so beware if this is your first go at it.

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Scenery: The is near the Coralville Reservoir, many views of the water, while still being lost in the woods. May see deer and hear many birds.


Maintenance: The trail is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers (I think?) Tree limbs are cut up and removed. There are steps added on steep inclines. Water crossings have bridges. There is no winter maintenance.


Markings: There are maps at every intersection or fork in the road. There is a hole in the sign marking “you are here.” No mile markers.


Features: There are benches with views of the reservoir. The trail also has workout stations where you can do pull-ups, climbs, sit-ups, etc. There is no trail user fee. There is a bath house located in the campground off the West Overlook parking area.

Warnings: There are tree roots and can be muddy in wet conditions, watch your footing. No fires, no bikes, no horses, and pets must be on a leash.


Personal Notes: Try to get to the area in the mornings or avoid weekends as it’s more crowded.

Map:

*information current as of 8/10/17

Smell Well Giveaway!!!

SMELL WELL

“Disclaimer: I received Smell Well pouches 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!”


What is a Smell Well pouch? “A solution to all your gear refreshment needs!” Each package comes with 2 fabric pouches that freshen, remove odor, prevent bacteria and absorb moisture. These are perfect for stinky, sweaty running shoes as well as running gear. They are also a convenient size & weight.


As you know, being a BibRave Pro allows me the opportunity to test things like this, and while I don’t necessarily have super stinky shoes, I may take a little longer to get to cleaning my gear, so I had to give these a go.

When I first opened my package, I noticed the fresh scent. It is not “perfumey,” but just a pleasant fresh smelling aroma. I have a pile of shoes, so I just stuck them in one of the pairs of shoes to check back the next morning.


I checked back in, and as much as I didn’t want to stick my nose in my shoes, I did and they were super fresh, I really was skeptical at first, but my shoes smelled pleasant.


They also ended up in my husband’s shoes after Grandma’s marathon… and they did their trick.


Next up, I wanted to test the absorption powers. My running belt gets gross, and this is one of those items that takes me a little too much time to get around to clean. Heck, it can go into the washing machine… Anyway, I stuck both pouches into my belt, as it was super sweaty. VIOLA!!! Seriously, the belt was dry and smelled wonderful. These little pouches can work their magic. The pouches aren’t wet or “water logged” when you remove them either.


Another item I run with, which again takes me a while to clean, as I hand wash them, are my running skirts. The waist band gets sweaty…enter Smell Well… I can just throw this all in a bag, and the entire skirt comes out smelling wonderful.


I also stuck these in the pocket of a hydration vest. The surprising thing about doing this, in addition to making the vest smell great, is that while on the run, I would get a whiff of the fresh scent.


Ok, how about traveling…. these are perfect! Since they are such a convenient size & weight, they don’t take up any room in a bag or suitcase, but they come in handy for your dirty laundry… Especially if you take runcations.


Honestly, I really wasn’t too sure about these pouches. I am glad I tried them, I really like how they work, and how easy they are to use and bring along. If you would like to get some pouches for yourself head on over to Amazon and use code “BIBPRO10”  for a Buy 2 get 3 http://amzn.to/2rKVRq7


GIVEAWAY CLOSED Congrats Darren!! 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!! You could win a package of Smell Well Pouches from me!! I have the multi-colored flowers pattern (as pictured above) to give to one lucky person. Just use the rafflecopter link below to enter multiple ways.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest Rules:

  1. Open to residents in the USA only
  2. Smell well and BibRave paid employees are ineligible.
  3. No purchase necessary
  4. Contest runs 7/7/17 12 am CT through 7/11/17 12 am CT
  5. Winner will be chosen at random.
  6. Winner will be announced Tuesday July 11th at noon CT, and contacted via email.

Check out what the other pros have to say about Smell Well: HeatherJeannineVanessa  – MaiLindsey  – Mary Jo

Keep up with Smell Well socially – InstagramFacebookTwitterWeb

Steamazing

“Disclaimer: I received Luvo Meals 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 all! I have something a little different to review and share with you, Luvo frozen meals. I will be honest, I was most excited to try these because I have become lazy at lunch time, these would be perfect to eat at work, with no meal prep required.

You can read all about the Luvo Philosophy here, however the bottom line: food that is nutritious, delicious, easy to cook, and contains real ingredients. Hey, that’s totally what I want and need!!

Are you thinking, how are they different if they are just another frozen meal? Ha, I am here to tell you. These meals I was able to try, cook in a steam pouch, with “steamazing” technology. There is no second guessing which plastic film to pull off, or stirring the entree. The pouch which has the cooking directions, just steams the food, simple! Then you just cut the end, and it slides out on your plate, looking like an actual meal….with real food… oh wait, that’s cuz it is real food.


Speaking of real food, Luvo uses whole grains, veggies and protein. No trouble reading ingredients on the label. If anything, they have introduced me to eating things I have never tried, or never thought to try. Also using these real ingredients allows the meals to be lower in calories, vegetarian or gluten free.

So, what meals did I try? Well you might have noticed in the picture above… but I will tell you:

Steel-Cut Oatmeal with quinoa and mixed fruit. This was my first meal. My meals arrived the night before and I was excited to have something easy to prepare for breakfast. I am not a huge oatmeal person, unless it’s ruined with something sugary. I was happily surprised with this meal, in fact I think it’s my fave! The fruits (pineapple, cranberries, pears and peaches) are all the sweetness the meal needs. It’s like cobbler without ice cream. You can see how easy it was to cook in this awesome video 🙂

 


Next up, lunch!! Chicken Chile Verde with black beans and polenta. Now, I am not a fan of chicken breast, I think it’s too dry, however the steam cooking technology provided a moist chicken. I also had never had polenta before, and I enjoyed that. One thing I noticed is the meals don’t have any salt or pepper type seasonings, so if you need that, you can add what you like.


It was a full day of Luvo only meals, as that night I had the Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and cranberries. This meal was good, and I reaffirmed the fact that I do not care for Brussels sprouts, but it did have me wondering if I could make a pot roast with cranberries and apples.


It also happened to be the day of a late basketball game,which meant supper at 10pm. I let Josh try a meal too, the Kale Ricotta Ravioli. Ok, full disclosure… I do not like marinara sauce or tomato sauce really…so this meal was all his. I did try the sauce to make sure, and it wasn’t for me. However, Josh who would love for me to make him lasagna, loved this dish.

Now, I am marathon training (always)… if you have been clicking on the highlighted links above, you might notice the calorie counts. In one day 3 meals is about 900 calories, so I had to add some more food to my diet. However these are perfect if you need to cut a few pounds, portion control is my biggest problem and these contain lots of nutrients with low calories.

I was able to try a couple more meals. I tried the Orange Mango Chicken with whole grains, kale and broccoli. Once again I loved how the chicken was moist, and the sweetness of the mango was perfect. It was great for lunch!


The last meal I tried was the Tandoori Inspired Spice Chicken with mango, brown rice, broccoli and cauliflower. It was another late basketball night, and I loved that in 5 minutes a nutritious meal was cooked. No chopping or dicing of vegetables required. This meal had a kick, definitely some spices in there, it packed a punch, I felt myself wanting more.


Overall thoughts: I really liked the ease of preparing these meals, and knowing I was getting lots of proteins and veggies too. I personally need more calories in a day, and I might add a little salt or pepper. If you like easy cooking, or need quick meals, check out the store locator and the website for some coupons.

I would like to add a note, once you find a store in your area, please call them ahead of your shopping trip, to make sure they have them in stock.

I had my sister do some scouting of the stock where she lives. I need to go on a road trip to try some of the other meals that are offered, especially the bowls. They look great and the price is comparable to other frozen meals.

Also unique to Luvo, they just started direct delivery to your doorstep. You can choose from 8 meals, and for all orders over $28.99, shipping is only $9.99. That’s right you don’t have to fight the people at the grocery store.

If you do find yourself at the grocery store, don’t forget to add the app to your phone too, you can find out if the food you are buying is good for you. Just head to your app store and search for “Luvo CheckIt”

I would also encourage you to follow Luvo on their social media channels, they host twitter chats, giveaways on Facebook, recipes on the blog, and appetizing photos on Instagram.

Looking for thoughts on other meals, check these reviews: Jeremy  – MaiLindsey Jeannine – Heather – Sam

 

2016 in review

A YEAR IN REVIEW

I am late to recapping 2016, and you already know I ran a marathon a month, and I ran all the Bibrave races. However I also ran many other races, and logged quite a few miles. I also like to write up a post, just so I know… helps me set new goals and I know what I am capable of doing.

In 2016 I ran a total of 1474 miles, this highlights my streak of running at least 100 miles per month. I kept track on dailymile and recently moved my stats to Strava…you can follow me if you like – https://www.strava.com/athletes/17679166

I also ran 40 races, 2 unofficial races and a relay. Those races took me from Louisiana, Colorado, Virginia, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. I met the friends that live in my phone and even met new ones as I ran.

January: 16 – Louisiana Qtr Marathon, Baton Rouge, LA
17 – Louisiana Marathon, Baton Rouge, LA
23 – Amana Freezer 5k, Amana, IA

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February: 14 – Iowa City Valentine’s Day Marathon

March: 13 – One City Marathon, Newport News, VA
19 – Hot Dash 10 miler, MPLS, MN
26 – Easter Egg Scramble 5k, Davenport, IA

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April – 2 – Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, Springfield, IL
9 – UI Doc Dash 5k, Iowa City, IA
16 – Hot Chocolate MPLS 15k, MPLS, MN
25 – QC Riverbandits 5k, Davenport, IA
30 – Rock N Roll Marathon, Nashville, TN

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May – 7 GOTR 5k, Cedar Rapids, IA
14 – Bear Stampede 5k, West Branch, IA
15- Chicagoland Marathon, Schaumberg, IL
21-23 – United Relay – IL
28 – Soldier Field 10 miler, Chicago, IL
28 – Madison Twilght 10k, Madison, WI
29 – Madison Half Marathon, Madison, WI

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June – 3 – Hospital Hill 5k
4 – Hospital Hill half Marathon Kansas City, MO
11 – Keota Fun Run 10k
18 – Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth, MN
25 – Run 4 Troops Marathon, Dubuque, IA

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July – 9 – Heritage Days 5k, Mt. Vernon, IA
16 – CVNT 50k, Iowa
30 – Fort Collins Human Race 13.1, Fort Collins, CO

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August – 6 – BTN 10k, Chicago, IL
13 – End NF 5k, Iowa City, IA
20 Moorehead Trail Mazathon, Ida Grove IA

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September – 4 – New Bo Half Marathon, Cedar Rapids, IA
5 – Run With Carl, Bettendorf, IA
18 – NFECSWI half marathon, Eagle, WI
24 – Kickoff to Kinnick 5k, Iowa City, IA
25 – Quad Cities Marathon, Moline, IL

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October – 9 – TC Marathon, MPLS, MN
14-16 Runner’s World Half and Festival, Bethlehem, PA
29 – Tulsa Run 15k, Tulsa, OK

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November – 6 – MKE Running Festival Marathon, Milwaukee, WI
13 – Madison Marathon, Madison, WI
24 – Legend of the Fall, Iowa City, IA

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December – 3 – Arctic Frog 50k

31 – Last chance 5k (not sure why the stupid format of this blog put a space in between)

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As you might have read before, I am not sure where or what 2017 holds for me. I started if off with a half marathon, which had me thinking I should work towards improving that time…but only because I am thinking Dopey 2018 and I need the best corral placement I can get. I also thought about trying to see how many races I can run in a year. I also thought about upping my game and trying to run mostly Iowa races.

All I do know… I love running… it pushes me…it inspires me… and I will continue to run until I can’t.

A Marathon a Month

2016 I set a goal to run a marathon a month – and I did it!!

In fact, I actually ran 14. I had 12 official race events, to make it “official” and then I had to create my own events as I had a hard time finding a race that would work with my schedule.


I will note, the goal was to finish each race, I wasn’t out to break any land speed records. I think if you went “balls out” each race, it would be harder to do this.

I think the hardest part of this challenge wasn’t the running. By the third month, I was ready to run a marathon at any given time. I don’t remember running an actual training run longer than 16 miles, as each marathon was a training run for the next.

I did all of the training on my own, except for a 6 week time period where I was able to test Ekiden Coaching, through Bibrave. I used my past experiences to get me through. Ok, I also asked Amy (she has run a couple 100 milers) for some help too. I didn’t really do much cross training either, gasp!

The hardest part was paying and traveling to all the races. I live in the midwest, in a smaller community. There are 2 marathons within an hour and a half of where I live, so I had limited options. I had to get to the races, and most of the time it meant a hotel stay.

The second hardest part was my nutrition. There were times I was recovering, but tapering for the next race, yet because I just ran a marathon, I needed to eat and I was hungry! I also struggled with the “I just ran a marathon, I can eat this donut, pizza, bag of chips, etc.” It was hard to make good food choices. On the flip side, there were races I wasn’t hungry afterwards too. I finally kept a jar of nuts on my desk, a container of peanut butter nearby, and a granola bar in my bag.


Looking back I am sure each event was a favorite for different reasons, so I am going to summarize the events:

  • January, the Louisiana Marathon. I drove to this race in Baton Rouge. Of course, since there was an additional reward for doing multiple events, I did the quarter marathon the day before too. My favorite part of this event was meeting up with Bibrave Pro Erica and enjoying all the post race food, King Cake anyone?
  • February, the Iowa City Valentine’s Day Marathon. This is an event I had to create on my own. It’s hard to find a close event this time of the year. My favorite part was having friends support me, and Josh run with me.
  • March, the One City Marathon.One of my BFF’s from high school, Kate, road tripped with me to Newport News,VA. I think my favorite part of this wasn’t even related to running, but hanging out with Kate -we spent over an hour stuck on the interstate, spent a night at a rest stop, and had our first Waffle House experience.
  • April, Rock n Roll Nashville. I took this road trip with the hubs. I remember the delayed start due to the rain, but my favorite part of this race was running the warning track at the baseball stadium.
  • May, the Chicagoland Marathon. At the time, I think there were a few races in May, but just had to get one that fit my schedule. This is another race where my favorite thing wasn’t race related, but meeting up for my pre-race meal with Bibrave Pro, Heather!.
  • June, Grandma’s Marathon. I love this race, and I don’t know why, Duluth is such a great place. It was my second year running the full, and it was unseasonably warm, Josh even ended up in the medical tent. My BFF’s from high school joined on this road trip, and my favorite thing was a post race dinner at this 1980’s supper club with them.
  • June, Run for Troops Marathon. Yep, I ran 2 marathons a week apart in June. I was running this even for the 3 year. My favorite part of this race is that it’s on a great trail, and it’s in Iowa.
  • July, the CVNT 50k.  Yes, I ran 2 races in June, but the idea was a marathon a month, no matter how many I did, I had to do one a month. This was an event I made up myself, I also remember it being very hot and all the chaffing. My favorite part was the post race party at the nearby truck stop/ gas station; it consisted of McDonald’s and tall boys in the parking lot.
  • August, the Ida Grove Mazathon. This was another Iowa race, but still about 4 hours away. However, I would definitely do this again. My favorite part was the laid back nature of it and bacon on a stick.
  • September, the Quad Cities Marathon. I have done an event at this race for many years now, it’s the closest marathon to me. It was soooo hot that day, I had a horrible race. However, I have a couple of favorite things; running with social media friend Kevin and getting course support from my 5 yr old niece.
  • October, the Twin Cities Marathon. While everyone raves about the Chicago Marathon, which usually happens around the same time, I prefer this race. My favorite part was seeing people I know cheering me on as I ran, they were a welcome surprise.
  • November, Milwaukee Running Fest. I was meeting back up with fellow Bibrave pro, Laura – and her dog Arthur. I surprised myself with this race and ran a faster second half, earning a free pair of shoes! My favorite part was the sunrise, ha yes, simple, but it set the tone for the race.
  • November, the Madison Marathon. Another month with 2 races. Ok, so this one was tough, and I was only running it for the additional medal, the things I do. Anyway, my favorite part of this race was enjoying the first half with a pace group, what a fun, chatty group of people.
  • December, the Arctic Frog 50k. I capped off the year with an endurance event. I really love ultras and the atmosphere around them. I had a couple favorite from this event, I made a new friend on the course and we ran a loop together. Second, my BRF, Heather was waiting for me at the finish line.

I had 2 down sides to this goal:

  1. My times all got slower. I could run forever at a slow pace, it’s more enjoyable, but not fast. I also think this is why I didn’t really have any major injuries during this.
  2. I gained weight. See the note above, but I was hungry all the time…. and I was making all the wrong choices.

I really enjoyed having this goal to accomplish. I am not sure what is in store for me next. I really want to run a 50 miler, but I am not sure I am ready. Perhaps, it’s about finding the right event and support crew.

Or, maybe I try to PR in all the short distances. Training to be fast is a different animal.

I already have races on the schedule, but I feel a goal can be made independent of that.

2017 – I am comin’ for ya!

United Relay

“Disclaimer: I received entry into 5 stages of the United Relay – red route, 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!”

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The United Relay is a coast to coast relay across the United States, with 3 different routes. Each route consists of participants running or cycling stages, which they pick from the website, and then in turn raise money for a charity (many options to chose from.) Each stage was about 8-12 miles, and in big cities there were group stages ranging from 3-4 miles. Each route starts in a different location on the west coast, but all end in New York City, where there is a concert by Alicia Keys. 2016 is the first year for the event.

*I chose to run on the red route for the Boston Children’s Hospital – here is the link if you want to donate (as long as it’s still open)

Registration: Available through the website. Cost was $50 per stage, or you could join a stage for $25. A cotton shirt was free, with code, but $5 shipping and handling. (I don’t need another shirt, so I did not buy one) Tech shirts available for purchase.

*This being the first year for the event I know they needed participants, so I am not sure if you ran multiple legs if you had to pay multiple times. They also had cyclists fill in last minute, as the relay was first designed to be running only.

Runners got to pick the stages they wanted to run, so the course scenery and elevation was up to each participant. Runners were to maintain an 11 min pace. The idea was to have local runners run a stage near them, so they knew where to go. The race organizers sent emails with GPS coordinates of the starting and finishing points, and the stage leaders would plan the routes. The emails also included phone numbers of the route leaders, and the participants of the surrounding stages.

The website had a variety of information available, and was easy to navigate. There was a page for your fundraising, a live map to show the progress of each route, and a sign up page to know who was running where & what route.

Check out my Bibrave review or add your own

I ran 5 stages of the relay in Illinois. I kept a “diary” of each leg as I went. That will be detailed below.

I was nervous going into this, there were some emails that provided the GPS coordinates of the beginning and ending of each stage, and if you were the first (or only) person running that stage, you made the route. I was not from the area, and luckily was provided a mapmyrun suggestion map. I would use this as a guide, and hope I got to where I needed to go.

In addition to GPS coordinates I was given phone numbers of the team leaders, Ben & Richard, and phone numbers of anyone doing stages before or after mine. I still didn’t feel like I had enough info.

I arrived at my first leg to meet the team leaders. I had made arrangements for them to move my car along the route, as I was alone. The idea behind the relay was someone else (family or friend) would be with you, or you would be running a stage close to your home area, and you would know where you’re going, and the relay team leaders would just be along the route for minor support.

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We had time to make introductions, as we waited for the stage before me to run in the baton. I told them about my running background, and we discussed the proposed route.  We made a plan, Richard would drive my car, and Ben would meet up ahead for the next person’s stage. (which would be a cyclist, who would be doing 60 miles overnight)

Stage 285 – Old Rte 66 MCT Quercus Grove Trail to Staunton, 11 miles. 5pm, 79 degrees, sunny

Gear – Orange Mud hydraquiver vest pack 1, Sparkle Athletic red dots skirt,Pro Compression heart socks, Running Warehosue shorts, brooks ghost 8 shoes, BibRave shirt, UV Buff, Louisiana Marathon Headsweats visor, XX2i Hawaii1 glasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, Champion sports bra

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This was actually a paved trail (bike) – flat- through a cornfield. Some trees for shade.

It was warmer than I was used too. I was worried about pace and may have started too fast, However I kept with pace.

I received the baton from Heather and her friends. Richard “crewed” this stage, as he made sure I turned the right direction at every intersection, and navigated the towns I passed through as there was a part in Hamel where there was no trail. He also made sure I was doing ok, by asking for a thumbs up. Even though I was running with my pack, I had more aid in my car, and could stop and grab what I needed. (PS, I never actually ran with the bulky baton)

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I handed off to John who would cycle the next 60 miles…

Stage 292 – Interurban Trail to Lincoln Park (Springfield) 7 am 55 degrees sunny – got hot quick…8 miles

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Gear – Orange Mud pack, Sparkle Athletic donut skirt, ProCompression pink/stars socks, Adidas shorts, brooks ghost 8, BR shirt, Survivor Buff, xx2i Hawaii1 glasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, moving comfort bra

Started on 2-3 miles paved trail, rest in city of Springfield, flat…some hilly areas

As I mentioned before there were many cyclists filling in the legs, which changed the pacing, and I was spoiled as most of my legs were sandwiched in these. I was able to start this route early, as John ended at midnight, he cycled the stages between mine…which the crew just took a rest until it was time to go in the morning….hence why I got an early start…. I was still worried about my pace to not hold up the next stages…

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This was just like my stage before, Richard drove my car and “crewed” along…he gets all the photo credit… I really didn’t need anything…but when I was running through Springfield, it was nice to know where I should be going. I did put the ending point on google maps, and listened to turn by turn directions on my headphones. However, I pushed forward to a next song and missed a prompt…oops.

I had time between this stage and my next stage to do what I wanted. I strolled around Springfield as they were having an Arts Festival, then I traveled Historic Route 66 to my next stage. In search of a diner with some salty fries and a milkshake.

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I have done multiple runs in multiple days, and it’s never the running that is the hard part, it’s the lack of sleep and weird diet. I was also running in warmer temps than I was used to, so I was making sure to take in salt and drink all the water and G2.

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Thanks to my Bibrave friends for the snacks!!!

Well I didn’t find much on this section of route 66, lots of abandoned things. I did get to Altanta (the next stage early) where I found the diner I had been looking for.

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After a great meal, I drove my next leg, it was along the highway to Funks Grove, which isn’t anything, but a maple “sirup” stand. Then I came back and took a nap in my car under a shade tree.

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Stage 298 – Atlanta to Funks Grove – HOT 80 when started, started early. All on historic route 66, saw a guy with a hot dog statue, flat…9.5 miles

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Gear – Orange Mud pack, Sparkle Athletic white skirt, ProCompression pink/stars socks, Adidas shorts, brooks ghost 8, purple tank, , BibRave hat, xx2i Hawaii1 glasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID

I got the hand off from Josh, who was doing 20 miles or so before me, but it was hot, and he switched to the bike and cycled into town early. Josh ended up doing multiple stages for the relay, even on other routes.

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This was another route where there wasn’t anyone scheduled behind me unless Ben or Richard cycled. So I had the luxury of going whatever pace, and I even started early. I did try to be fair and kept the 11 min pace, even though it slowed as I went.

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Towards the end, I got spooked by a coyote. I often wonder what to do out running in the middle of nowhere and an animal comes out of the ditch.

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The crew stayed near Dwight for the evening, and since I was once again the first runner of the day… I was able to start early

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Stage 305 – Odell to Dwight – supposed to start at 8:20, but started early, as I had my eyes on the weather, sunny, getting HOT!!! started at like high 60’s-70. 10 mile route on historic route 66, FLAT

Gear – Bibrave tank, Hawkeye dri-fit hat, Bibrave Buff, xx2i Hawaii sunglasses, Aftershockz Trek Titanium headphones, Brooks Ghost 8, ProCompression USA socks, Sparkle Athletic gunmetal skirt, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID

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Was able to run on/off the old hwy bed, which was good as the traffic was fast on the road, and the shoulder was narrow. One point a semi never got over, buzzed so close my hat flew off…I even got as far off the road as I could even stopped running as I saw this semi wasn’t getting over.

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Talked to my dad on my the headphones, and got tired…took a break at mile 7, I was hungry – ate gummi bears – really starting to slow the pace. Chatted with Richard, who crewed my entire stage…then passed this small park with 2 packs of geese and their young….luckily Richard came back to give me a 100 ft detour around them. Geese are mean!

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It was getting hot, but finished a little early and saw the next guy, who would be doing 3 stages, in the heat…John…who cycled 60 miles a day before. Ok so he was running almost 30 miles…This relay was bringing out some major badasses!!

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I had until 3:50 when I was to start my last stage. I hung out with the team leaders for a little while. They had more crew join them, Mandy & Laura, who were running the Chicago area stages, but were there to help before they got there.

I stopped at a Casey’s for some lunch, but it was getting hot and even though I needed to eat, I wasn’t hungry. I slowly made my way along route 66, to my next stop, but I caught up with the team, and we all traveled together for a while.

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The team met up with John, who switched to bike some miles, it was hot, and there was no shade, and he only had a hand held with him. I waited at the trail head.

My left foot had some pain on the forefoot and my right calf was sore.

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While waiting, John switched to running again, as he hit the gravel trail. It was a nice area.

John came in earlier than expected, which meant I could get out earlier too, this leg I would have to get to the next one on time as Chris would be waiting for the baton. It would only be 8 miles, but I was tired and it was hot.

Stage 309 – Symerton to Manhattan – Wauponsee Glacial Trail – gravel trail, no shade first 5 miles, about 80-85. Flat! 8 miles

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Gear – Orange Mud pack, Bibrave tank, Hawkeye dri-fit hat, Bibrave Buff, xx2i Hawaii sunglasses, Brooks Ghost 8, ProCompression jail break socks, Sparkle Athletic red skirt, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, moving comfort bra, 2Toms

Richard ran with me, we ran the first 3 miles, then it was struggle city. The no shade and heat had done me in…but we kept moving, and it was great to have the company.

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Mandy and Laura were moving the cars along, and even popped out of nowhere along the trail for a picture. We made sure to run as they snapped the pic.

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Once we were close to Manhattan, the trail had shade, and I took advantage and did a lot of walking, I think the overall pace was 13 min miles. I was appreciative of the time buffer I had. Happy to have had Richard on that last leg… otherwise I might still be walking out there right now ….

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I was sooo happy to be done, I was sooo tired….It was also nice to see the support team there.

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I was dreaming about watermelon, so we all hopped into the car, as we were early, and went to the grocery store, and I got a slice of watermelon! That last stage was brutal.

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When we got back to the park, Chris was there. It was nice to see the excitement from someone running their first stage…while I was exhausted.

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I really enjoyed this relay. I was soo nervous going into this, but the laid back road trip was awesome!! Just needed to get the baton to the next point, really nothing more simpler than that. Made a lot of new friends, and enjoyed checking out more parts of the USA. It’s why I love running the most, the community and chance to experience new things.

I wish I would have known about it for a longer period of time, before I signed up, to get more people to run this. I also wish it came through Iowa, maybe next year….I’ll see you then…we can all run in skirts…

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Fellow Bibrave Pros also tackled stages of the relay: Erica  – Jessica – Cassie – Samantha

Jabra Head Phones – Review 1

New head phones, I am always searching for the perfect fit, whether it’s shoes, sports bras or head phones. As a BibRave Pro I was given the opportunity to try out the Jabra Rox wireless head phones. To be honest I kinda feel like Rose Nieland, you know from the Golden Girls, when she was working for a product testing company…ok I just like that show.

Anyway… after a weekend in Madison, I came home to a package in the mail. I was excited to get real mail, so I ripped open the envelope to find my new head phones. Of course it was like Christmas, so I opened the box right away and turned them on.

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The hook up to my phone was simple, I just followed the instructions and instantly there was sound coming from my head phones. They hook up to your listening devices via Bluetooth technology. I have an iphone. I couldn’t wait to go for a run to try them in action.

I was however a bit skeptical as I am an over-the-ear head phones person. No ear buds will stay in my ears. True story; our dog (Ace, I think he is sizing up my new ones) ate the ear hook on my current pair, it’s super glued together. These come with a rubber band that goes around each bud with a hook that inserts into the upper part of the ear, so they stay in place.

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I should also tell you in addition to my weird ears, I do prefer to run with my ipod shuffle, which does not have Bluetooth capability. The shuffle is just so tiny and less of a pain to carry with me on short runs. For safety reasons I should run with my phone more.

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Monday night – it was time!

I laced up my shoes, grabbed my phone and put the buds in my ears. An easy press of the power button and the tunes were booming. I took a 5 minute warm up walk.

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Then I pushed start on the Garmin, and was off. I didn’t get far and one ear bud had already fell out. UGH!  I rotated it back to fit correctly into my ear and restarted my watch. I wasn’t going to give up.

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I was almost to mile 1, and the same ear bud fell out again, only to have the other one fall out too.  Now the rubber bands that go around the hooks are different sizes. After I stopped to investigate I noticed I had two different sizes, and the one in my left ear was staying better than the other. I think I need to re-try with both the same size hooks.

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I restarted once again, they were staying in after the re-adjustment. However I noticed this new problem. Even though these are wireless, there is a wire that links both buds together. It has the power button and up and down buttons. The up and down control the volume as well as skipping to the next or previous song. The wire is not adjustable, so there was this loop of extra wire over my left shoulder, it was like running with a parrot. It was annoying to have this loop bobbing with my stride, I kept trying to readjust it behind my head, but it would go back to being a parrot. Maybe if I store them differently I can get it to do what I want.

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I came to my turn around at 1.5 miles and did a slight head turn, I noticed that the right bud wanted to fall out again, so I was done messing with this. Luckily I was running with a Bondi band, I just slipped the head band over my ears, whoa! The sound was amplified.

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I was enjoying the music, they sounded great, I even heard all my phone notifications. Note to self, put in airplane mode!

I made it the 1.5 miles back to our house. The head phones even told me that they needed to be charged, there was an icon on my phone that said it too. There was no fall out as I kept my head band over the buds, but the parrot on my shoulder really bothered me.

I arrived at home, took some more awesome selfies! and plugged them in to charge. They come with a USB charger, there is a cover on the one ear bud that opens to reveal the charging port. There is even a magnet in them so they can be put together for storage.

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So here I am writing this review. I will give them another shot, I need to find the right hook for my ears. I also need to figure out what to do with the extra wire, maybe twist tie them together? Tuck it under a hat?

At this point I would say they sound good, but just don’t fit me quite right. This is my honest opinion, anyone else struggle with head phones or ear buds?

I just came across these – over the ear and there is a clip to keep the wire from becoming a parrot http://www.jabra.com/Products/Bluetooth/JABRA_SPORT_/Jabra_SPORT_