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

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




Amana 2017

The Amana Freezer 5k – 2017 Edition

This is my favorite winter race in eastern Iowa. You may have caught my previous posts about this, even calling it “January’s Hidden Gem.” Well 2017 didn’t disappoint.

In addition to the meat swag bag and the hospitality of Amana, IA, what makes this race so great is that the local running community comes out of winter hibernation.

So, it was a foggy and unseasonably warm day, temps over 40 degrees. This was a nice change from the freezing temps I have run this race in before.

Since I haven’t picked a training plan for my upcoming marathons – the IL Marathon and Grandma’s… I should probably do that….I didn’t have any goals, or a set amount of miles to run that day. After I arrived around 8:30 to pick up my packet and meat bag, I set out to run some pre-race miles, that ended up totaling 4 miles.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Corridor Running hat, Brooks Ghost 8, Aftershokz, SpiBelt, Moving Comfort pullover, Adidas short, Procompression socks, Garmin Fenix 3.

I attached my bib to my belt, and the timing chip to my shoe and made my way to the starting line. This is where I saw running friend, Joel.  We chatted and then everyone was moving forward…ha we weren’t paying attention and someone jingled some bells and the race started.

A refresher on the course, it’s an out and back on the paved road, you run out to East Amana, circle around and come back to Amana. There is a hill when you get to East Amana, but nothing steep. The road is open to traffic, but the locals don’t seem to mind. The most scenic thing on the course is the occasional beer can in the ditch or the cow pasture. Hey, this is Iowa 🙂

I had an ok race for already logging 4 miles. My 5k goal is always sub-30 and according to my Garmin I finished in 28:05. I felt like I pushed my best, even though each mile split was slower… oh well, I had a year of distance running, it’s hard to get the speed back.

At the finish line, I saw a lot of friends from the 100 mile group and Corridor Running. I felt like a social butterfly. One of my favorite things about running is meeting the people.

The crowd moved towards the post race food and awards in the building where packet pick up took place. Usually it’s jammed packed, but since the weather was so nice, there was room to breathe.

There is always a great post race food spread, really quite a lot for a 5k. Clementines, bagels, bananas, fruit pizza, Fig Newtons, and cookies. Then there was bottled water and hot chocolate.

I chatted with more friends, including a reader of the blog, Hi Rosemary!! That was a nice surprise…as we chatted I chuckled as the lady tried to start the race awards. Every year it’s the same old problem, she has this microphone, but you still can’t hear her, and then she gets mad…I am still laughing. Someone eventually get her a bull horn, which you really can’t hear either as everyone is chatting.

We all stood around listening to the awards, then it was time for the raffle. I remember the year Laura won the bird seed and she didn’t want it… ha! I always am happy to win anything….and this year was my year, I won a bottle of wine, 2 wine glasses, and an opener!!  Joel was standing around with us too and he won a gift certificate for a bottle of wine too.  He really doesn’t drink wine, so he thought he would trade the bird seed winner….that didn’t work when the bird seed winner took her prize and immediately headed out the door. People want that bird seed!

Once all the prizes were handed out, it was time to redeem the Millstream Beer ticket that came with registration. The Brau Haus is located just across the street, and you just walk in and choose a craft beer or soda. I happily chose the Iowa Pale Ale. As I was leaving to drink my beer outdoors, someone asked “What is most similar to Coors Light or Miller Lite?” The guy pouring the beer chuckled, and said “tap water.” I laughed too.

I met Joel back outside and he was telling me how excited he was to tour Amana, and check out all the stores. The small town takes pride in their winter festival, so it is fun to check out all the shops. I couldn’t stay though, I had to get back to Iowa City and the Iowa Woman’s Basketball game. GO HAWKS!

I will always try to run this race. First, the meat bag! Second, the town rolls out the red carpet for the weekend. Third, the local running community wakes up for the year! Oh and the price is always right, around $25 (you can even get it for less if you want no meat bag or shirt)

50k? Ok!

Why would you run 31 miles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Stay tuned for my next adventure…..





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.


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.

Marathon #7 for 2016

………….and the adventure does continue…That’s right another marathon a whole week after Grandma’s…

Ok…relax, I have run this race solo and as part of a relay in the past, and it’s all on a crushed limestone trail, with like no elevation to climb, so I knew I would be able to finish in the 8 hours the course was open… I just needed to be careful of the heat, temps would be near 90 at the finish.


The event was held on June 25, 2016. It was a typical summer Iowa day, hot & humid.

I (well I convinced Josh to join the fun, he would help crew) arrived early to the start. The race starts in Dyersville, IA and end in Dubuque, IA. A point to point race all on the Heritage Trail. I live about 1.5 hours from Dyersville, which for me, doesn’t require getting a hotel. However you could stay or start in Dubuque and ride the shuttle bus to the start.

Parking at the start is limited and there are volunteers directing people where to go. We snagged a spot at a nearby business, knowing we would be moving the car, to eventually meet up with another member of the crew, my dad.  I grabbed my bib, bracelet timing chip and a drawstring bag with my gender specific short sleeved tech shirt, there was also a koozie and rubber bracelet in the bag. Registration was still open for the solo marathon option for about $100.

There were a couple port-o-potties at the trail head, but the line was crazy long. We hopped in the car and went to the nearby convenience store. We had plenty of time and it was a smaller race.

I mentioned having a crew. This race is advertised as “military style” meaning you bring what you want along with you, and there would be minimal support along the course. There are 5 transition stops for the relay with aid, including bathrooms. I wanted to be prepared and meet my team along the way with more food and drink. Also it’s nice to not have to drive to Dubuque and get the shuttle to Dyersville, this way we could all drive back to the start.

*However this being the third year I have participated, they could drop the “military style” from the description. This race has more things on course than the Chicago Marathon. They added more water and random coolers on the route due to the heat (even mini bottles of Gatorade). There are pretzels, gummis, fig newtons and sports drink at the transitions too. Several ATV’s roam the trail with medical aid and more liquid.

Alright, I have bounced all over the place…so I had my bib, my crew and was ready for the race to start. We had some nice words from the RD and military members and then a young lady sang the National Anthem. Then the race was off.

Gear: OM pack, blue sparkle athletic skirt, stars n stripes procompression socks, tank top, Adidas 7″ boyshort, brooks ghost 8 shoes, head sweats visor, xx2i sunglasses, garmin fenix, plantronics, and all the 2toms.


The race is nice, that you can break up the mental game, by thinking it’s only X miles until the next relay transition. It was about 6.6 miles until the first one, and that first section had the most sun exposure.  All I could think was I wanted some Gatorade. I saw my dad and Josh and they had the cooler at the ready. I briefly spoke with them, and kept going through the exchange, where I swiped my timing chip. (This wasn’t required, but I like to prove I was in the race)

I was off on the next section. I had forgot how many miles it was before the next exchange, but I new Josh wanted to run the 3rd, 5th & 6th legs with me, so I was looking forward to that. I listened to an audiobook while I ran through the country and cornfields.

I made it to the second stop, Josh and my dad were ready with the cooler of drinks, I also think I ate some pretzels. However, Josh wasn’t ready to run…he got off track talking to my dad…so he prepared to run legs 4, 5 & 6 instead.

The race was really uneventful for me…just kept moving along. It was hot, and I just kept drinking water and Gatorade, even found some ice along the way. The shade was gold!

I ran the final 11 miles with Josh. The trail is not closed for the race. However you need to pay to use the trail to, a user permit. It was nice to have some company, although I was ready to punch him as every time we ran another mile he told me how many more we had to go. I was starting to slow down too, I would run to the next mile marker and then walk for a bit.

*Also, Josh and I don’t promote “banditing” a race. He would drink the water I would carry with me. He passed at all the water stops, but the volunteers would insist that he drink some. We understand people paid to run this race, and that is what the volunteers are there to support.

FINALLY we saw the finish, so Josh pulled off the course and I crossed the timing mat in a time of 5:26. YEP, faster than the week before. It was about 90 degrees. I got a chocolate milk, apple, and a bottle of water. There was a table with grapes and cookies. A vendor had brick oven pizza, but didn’t stick around for long. You could get a print out receipt of your finisher time.

I sat down for a while in the shade. We were near the medical tent. The only people in the tent were the pacers. Yes, the race had used marathon maniacs for pacing. I started near the 5:15 pacer, but didn’t stay with him, he was using a running/walking method. However later in the race, I passed the 5 hour guy and 4:30 person. I am thinking they were having a crappy race and did not stick to their pace.


I need a post race beer, so we tried to pick a good place in Dubuque for something tasty. We ended up at the old Star Brewery, but turns out it really isn’t much for food and drink. We had a beer there, but still needed some food. Dad remembered a place near a Marina- “Catfish Charlies” so we headed there after a walk along the river.


We arrived at Catfish Charlies and found a table outside by the marina, in the shade. We each got a Potosi brew, and started off with fried alligator bites.


I then had to have some catfish…of course, we were at the catfish place!!


We were stuffed, and got in the car to head back to Dyersville. I was feeling pretty good for having ran 2 marathons in 2 weeks.

I should have known though, since we were with my dad, the trip wasn’t over. We stopped for some fun Dunkin Drinks, and at a Best Buy as dad saw a good deal on TVs.


It was a fun day. As I have said before, it’s not about the running, it’s about the friends & fun along the way. I really like this race and hope to run it again.

Grandma’s 2016

On the road again…

Grandma’s Marathon is a great race, throw in their 40th year, and as a midwest runner, it’s a race you can’t miss.

Check out my official review at

This year, Josh was going to run the full, and a group of friends from high school would be along (Laura, Kate and Laura) for the fun.

We left the Friday before the race, and picked up the rest of the gang in MPLS. The 7 hour ish drive was some what eventful as we detoured around a portion of I-35 that was under construction. With so many people heading north for the weekend, it backs up traffic. However the detour was fun, even saw this giant fish!


We arrived in Duluth in time for the pre race pasta party. It closes at 9pm, an hour after the expo closes. However packet pick up remains open until 11 pm – BONUS!!  Anyway back to the pasta, for only $12 you can get a ton of food. Pasta how you want it, salad, milk, all the bread, and ice cream.

The race has no registration options at the expo, it actually sold out in December. They offered a track jacket with the 40th year logo, that was sent in the mail months ahead.

We grabbed all our things, ate all the food and headed to our hotel in Superior, WI. This hotel is great, it has a bus come pick us up at the front door to get to the start of the race. They also offer a runners breakfast starting at 4:45 am. Fruit, breads, yogurts, and COFFEE!!


Saturday June 18, 2016. warm! 7:45 am. race start temp of 72, 80s at the end.

Josh and I made it to the start on the bus, while the others caught up on their sleep. We met up with Gina, who was running her first ever marathon. We also managed to snag a port-o-potty, even though all the lines were crazy long.


The announcer kept telling everyone – how long before the start and the temperature. It seemed like it was 68 degrees forever, and then right before the race started it was 72.


Josh and I parted ways as he found his pace in the starting corals, and I moved my way back.

Race/ course: Starts in Two Harbors, MN and ends in Duluth, running along old Hwy 61, following Lake Superior. The half marathon starts at the halfway point 45 minutes before the full.

I didn’t have a goal going into the race, just finish and have a good time. This was my second time running this course, and I knew what to expect, so I was just going to take it in.

GEAR: OM pack, Brooks ghost, Nathan race belt, pink Sparkle Athletic skirt, Pro Compression socks, Adidas 7″ boy short, Garmin Fenix, BibRave tech hat, xx2i usa1 sunglasses, lathered in 2 Toms.


-FLAT! Elevation change is just under 200 feet – ok so there are some hills, but nothing crazy
-paved surface
-each mile was marked with a sign and a yellow balloon
-lots of hydration stops. Water and Powerade in separate paper cups, and at tables with signs.
-Ice, sponges, gels, oranges and bananas, jolly ranchers at mile 18
-Spectators! All access points to the course had people with signs, ready to slap high fives. The areas in town had bacon stops, donuts, beer (non supported food) Lots of energetic younger people.
-MarathonFoto on course, mostly near the end
-Port-o-potties on the course, lots of them at the halfway point
-Views of Lake Superior
-clocks on the course, timing splits for the online tracking
-Volunteers / law enforcement, they were at every intersection and very energetic.
-Road closed to traffic, entire width of road to run on. Open for 7 hours
-Medical stations manned by the military (not sure what level or branch, assuming National Guard.

I made sure to hit all the water stops, it was going to get warm. I didn’t think it to be that humid, but some disagreed. I think my favorite thing to do was to get a cup of ice and then fill it with the blue Powerade, it was very good. The wet sponges were great too. I also ran with my OM hydraquiver vest pack one, and kept it full of water, either to drink or splash on my head.

Enough can’t be said about the spectators on this course, they are out at every intersection they have access too. Singing silly songs, fun signs and all the high fives.


By mile 15 the race had issued their red flag warning, meaning due to the heat, the conditions were not great. Then by mile 17, they black flagged the race, meaning there was extreme risk for dehydration and things. I’ll be honest I wasn’t feeling any effects of the heat at mile 15, the breeze off the lake felt great! I did take warning and walked a lot and just kept on drinking. From about mile 18 to the finish there was no shade, the sun was hot and I wish I had some sunscreen.

It would have also been nice to see my friends somewhere on the course, I was expecting to see them near the “boat” (freighter) by the finish. However nothing… I figured they would meet me at the finish line…nothing…plus Josh was also running…then I was like ok what’s up?

However I took my moment across the finish line as the song “One Shining Moment” played, with a time of 5:32. I grabbed a bottle of water, the snazzy, heavy finisher’s medal, my finisher’s shirt and a mylar blanket. I proceeded to get some post race strawberries and chocolate milk. I turned my phone off of airplane mode.


I then got a call…”where are you?” Then it was the fun of reuniting with Josh, who was with Kate, because he had spent some time in the medical tent for dehydration. He was better, and some how managed to leave the med tent with a different hat. I sat with them while I ate my strawberries and drank more liquids, it was hot!


We got up, and were eventually headed to Little Angie’s Cantina, where the Lauras had secured a table outside in the shade. I was going to make a stop at the beer first, I earned that post race brew!!!  It was a good one too, an O’dell’s IPA. We also hit up the race result printouts.

We all reunited at the restaurant, which was just by the finish line. We ate all the mexican food (pass the salt) and enjoyed the cheering. We topped it off with fried ice cream.

Overall: This was the second year I ran the full, 3rd year at this event. I still love it, and have already made my hotel reservation for next year. Grandma’s is a great marathon!

The gang stayed an additional night in the area. Which was a great idea, we could check out the sights, which we did sans Josh as he needed some rest and still wasn’t 100%.


There is a little candy store on the course at about mile 5, so we piled into the car and headed north. MMM I can still smell the chocolate…we all bought a variety of treats. We also made it up to Two Harbors.


After some time skipping rocks at a road side park, it was getting time to eat again…duh!

So we picked up Josh and found this supper club in Superior. It was like stepping back into 1985. The restaurant was above the liquor store and bar on the first floor.

Josh and I enjoyed some fish from the lake and topped off the evening with a Golden Cadillac. It’s an ice cream drink with alcohol, we were surprised the waitress (also someone’s grandma) knew what it was.


Ok I am rambling on here…but we had a great time in Duluth, we couldn’t leave without eating breakfast at a “greasy spoon”

There was still some traffic backups on the way back to MPLS, so we took some adventurous roads back. Note to self, google maps is not always right, hello dead end gravel roads.

On to the next adventure…



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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!?!?!??!


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. 🙂