Fallout 50k – Race Recap

Hawkeye Fallout 50k 2018 – Race Recap

EEEK! My 6th attempt at an ultra, and just 6 days from my most recent marathon.

Ok, blah blah blah….I feel as a runner the more crazy the better, ALSO this is not the first time I have done this combo. Way back when I ran the Chicago Marathon, I ran my first 50k the week before.

I won this entry at a running club appreciation event.

The Friday before the race, I helped with packet pick up at the local running store. I gave out bibs and the quarter zip pullover that was included with registration. The ankle bracelet timing chip was distributed with the reusable cups before the race.

The Des Moines marathon was my last long training for this event, and well that was about it. I did not pick a training plan. I didn’t have any expectations but to finish before the 8 hour cutoff time. My super ambitious goal was to finish before the Iowa football game started at 2:30pm.

Gear: Adidas boy shorts, Zensah sports bra and socks, Orange Mud Endurance Pack and pullover, Rabbit tank, Rudy Rydon glasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Hawkeye Hat, Brooks Ghost 10, Garmin Forerunner 935, Gatorade Endurance, BUFF

This was the inaugural event, it was to be the “sister” race to the spring event. The race is run around Lake MacBride, with a spillway crossing. In the spring it is 2 loops, run in one direction and in the fall it was to be run in the reverse direction. HOWEVER, we have had too much rain, causing the spillway to be unsafe for crossing. The RD -Brian – created a route that would take us out and back along the south side, with some loops, then back to the start and finish where we would then head out and back on the north side. This route made it impossible to drop at the halfway point to the 25k, as the first half of course was longer than 25k. If you wanted to drop you had to do so before the event, or get a 50k DNF.

Saturday, October 27

My favorite part about this race is that I can sleep in my own bed and it takes like 15 minutes to drive to the starting line.

The race started at 8 AM, I arrived around 7:30 to grab my timing chip and cup. I talked to the other runners and just like that it was time to start. There was no National Anthem. It was the perfect day for a run, sunny and about 50 degrees.

The 50k and 25k runners began at the same time. The 25k runners would split and run the north side of the lake only.

Well, right from the start, I was almost the last person. There were only 35 ish runners in this distance, and it didn’t bother me as I know people start too fast. The first section is 3 ish miles along side a highway. However, I joined up with another runner and we began chatting. It started by observing the beer cans in the ditch. It appears that Solon prefers Bud Light.

We ended up running the entire first out and back together.  We walked the uphills, navigated the leaf covered tree roots and he took all the selfies!! Even after a bathroom stop, I caught back up. It was nice to have someone to run this part of the course, even though it was all marked with pink flags and ribbons, I didn’t know where I was. There was a section with a ravine we had to loop twice. We passed runners going in the wrong direction.

Photo Cred: Rob

There were two aid stations on this part of the course. I didn’t grab anything at the first stop, I was also carrying Gatorade Endurance and candy. We passed the second stop twice and I filled my reusable cup with some water and grabbed some pretzels.

We came back to the start and finish and my runner friend, Rob ( I learned his name by then) noticed the course was going to be long.  I had accidentally paused my watch and my mileage was different than his, I had lost about a mile and a half.  The parking lot is also the start/finish and he disappeared to his car.

We were in and out of that start/finish aid station quickly. I grabbed a few more snacks including a clementine. I think that is one of my favorite fruits for running.

We started walking the second half and Rob told me to hook my phone up to his bluetooth speaker, which is what he stopped at his car for. I told him I had been listening to music the entire time on my Aftershokz. He said that was cheating, lol. I had been chatting with him and listening to tunes and he had no idea. I transferred the connection to the speaker and we started running again.

We noticed all the fuzzy caterpillars out on the trails that day.

That is when I pulled away from him and the speaker would’t work anymore. It was lonely, but I just kept trucking along. I also knew I wasn’t going to be back before the start of the game.

I made it to the aid station on this section of the course. This is when I noticed the older gentleman that was behind us on the first 6 miles of the course, was way ahead of us and he was headed back to the start. I was confused as he never passed me, ever! I came to the conclusion that he must have never completed the second loop on the first section. I wonder how many people didn’t run the entire course?

I left the aid station and headed to the spillway. I would say this was one of the most scenic parts of the course. At the spillway turnaround, the view was spectacular!! The sun hitting the lake and the trees made for a picturesque trot back to the finish.

I passed the aid station again, this time looking for a pre-packaged snack as I thought I might need something in the last 5 miles. I grabbed an oatmeal pie. The last few miles are also the ones I am most familiar with as I run this section a few times during the year.

I was struggling, but forward is a pace. I passed the sag runner, he was on his way to the spillway, so at least a good 5 miles behind me. I knew I would finish before the cutoff.

At the start of the Hawkeye game – 2:30 PM, I called my husband and checked in with the score. We had already scored a safety. The Hawks were off to a good start. I also told him to meet me when I got to the finish and get my car key, I needed my OOFOS, I had a toe issue developing.

I walked and ran towards the finish line, consuming the oatmeal pie I snatched from the last aid station. When I came back to the lodge, I spotted Josh and he grabbed my car key. There was one last loop on the asphalt, yeah that was a joy!

My watch was way off, so my Strava stats are off too. When I came to the finish line, the clock was at 7:40 or something. It also had to be a distance PR for me as my Garmin had 31 miles. I felt good, except for that toe issue – a random blister that had formed under a toenail. Relive

A volunteer snagged the timing chip from my ankle and another placed a medal around my neck. Josh was there with my flip flops and a phone to his ear with the Iowa game, the Hawks were winning. Josh untied my shoe and it was off!

I went inside the Timber Dome (the lodge) to see what food I might want to eat. The race is a potluck, but since I was close to last, food was all consolidated to a couple tables, picked over and people took home their crockpots. I really wasn’t too hungry either. I used the bathroom and decided I better eat something, so I snagged an apple.

I went back outside to wait for Rob to finish. He was coming down the home stretch with the last finisher. They both finished under the 8 hour cutoff. He said his watch had over 32 miles. The last place finisher also got a special prize.

We sat there, and chatted, and Rob asked “Is that your husband?” Apparently everyone knows Josh, small world.

We didn’t stick around too much longer. I thanked the RD for a great race, hopped in my car and headed home.

I didn’t have my best race time, but I don’t know what else I would have preferred to do on a beautiful fall day….ok so I did come home to watch the rest of the Hawkeye game, which was not good.

Everyone boasts about the marathon majors, but this kind of race is my favorite. Low key, close to home, attention to detail, small, and with friends. I am glad I have the opportunity to run it.

I am looking forward to the spring event, the Hawkeye 50k. Registration is open!! Also instead of a shirt you get an Orange Mud transition towel, how cool is that?!!!? This race is also a prize for my 100 Miles in November, hope to see you in April!

Check out my thoughts or add your own at Bibrave.com

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PR BABY!!

IMT DES MOINES MARATHON – 2018 RECAP

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

Spoiler Alert – It was a long time coming, but I set a new PR in the marathon distance at the IMT Des Moines Marathon….so I will tell you how I got there. (In 1.6 billion words)

For my to the point review – check out bibrave.com

Josh and I arrived to Des Moines just around 6 PM on Saturday evening. We were not able to attend the expo as the hours didn’t work into our schedule. Josh had to work at the Iowa football game, and I had to be a fan. My sister’s schedule happened to work in our favor, she was able to grab our stuff for us and enjoy the expo, grabbing all the swag. *The expo was a 2 day event, closing at 6pm on Saturday evening.

We had reservations at a restaurant for 7:30 PM as we weren’t sure when we would be able to get to town. We promptly cancelled those and decided to try the Olive Garden closer to our hotel. MISTAKE! I think everyone was there, and their grandma. Lucky for us we had drove by a place called “The Tavern.” The words pizza and pasta were lit up on the building, so we walked in and were immediately seated. We were fed and out the door at 7:31 PM.

I enjoy not being rushed, and the night before a marathon it’s most important. We were able to get back to the hotel and get all our things ready and try for a decent night’s sleep. However, it was game 7 of the NLCS and Purdue was giving it to Ohio State.

Gear: Rabbit BR Tank, Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Brooks Ghost 10, Bibboards, Zensah bra, Zensah socks, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Gatorade Endurance chews, Hawkeye Hat, XX2i sunglasses, Garmin Forerunner 935, BUFF(R). Not pictured Nike Element pullover.

Sunday, October 21

The alarm went off at 5 am, race morning is quite a process. It usually involves all the coffee and some sort of bread with peanut butter. However, things weren’t going so well as our toilet was clogged. (Seriously, we had toiled issues when we went to Toronto.)

We made the best of our amenities, and made use of the hotel lobby bathroom. Before long we were checked out and on our way to find a parking spot. We needed a place close to the start, and close to the meeting spot of a group photo. We pulled right up to the meeting spot to find a free parking space. So we relaxed in the warm car. (The feels like temperature was 25 degrees.)

Near 7 AM, we left the car to meet the Corridor Running and No Regrets group inside a hotel. People gathered and chatted about their race day expectations. It was also nice to use the bathroom.

photo cred: James G

The race started at 8 AM, so we made our way to the start line around 7:30 AM. My Grandma’s Marathon heat sheet never felt soooo warm.

Josh and I departed ways, he went into the corral and I was planning on meeting up with fellow BibRave Pro Jeremy, but his phone died. So I made my way into the back of the corrals. There were pace signs up along the side and pacer signs, but I was beyond that. I was also so far back I didn’t hear any announcements or if there was a National Anthem.

When it was time to move forward, I did. I ditched my heat sheet and stuck it into the side rail. The sun was shining on us as we crossed the start line.

Ahhhh, going into this race I had no expectations. I had put in the training, but I never followed a plan, and I did no speed work. What I did do, was run all my long runs in the heat and humidity.  Heck, it’s my 29th marathon, I knew I would finish.

I didn’t start my music at first, there were spectators and the runners were crowded in the first mile. The race started with the half marathon and marathon relay. I met up with the 5:25 pace group and stuck with them until about the 2nd mile when I spotted friend, Ara.

I caught up with Ara and chatted with him for another mile or so and eventually pulled away. The race course by now had wound it’s way through some of downtown and near the sculpture garden.

I just kept moving forward. I ditched my gloves and shoved them in the pockets in the waistband of my pants. At mile 6 I decided to use the bathroom, it would be the only time I would look at my watch during the race.

When I left the port-o-potty I could see a pace sign up ahead. I thought the 5:25 pace group had passed me. Then I did what all runners do, think. Could I catch back up with them? Did they pass me when I was in the bathroom?

I kept at it, and since I didn’t bring my hydration pack, I stopped for water or for Gatorade Endurance when I thought I needed it. Which, was tricky as each water stop was a little different. Water in Gatorade cups and such. I also ate my Gatorade Endurance chews as fuel, 2 at a time.

My favorite part of the course was the bike support crew. They roamed the course with baskets full of all the extra things you might need: Twizzlers, gummy bears, tissues. They also provided encouragement when you needed it.

Around mile 9 or 10, I was on the boulevard where you run out and back to the Drake University Campus. I was able to say hi to Josh and friend, Jennifer. Then I saw my friend, Melinda at the Capital Striders aid station. Then I caught up with the pace group, it was the 5:10 pace group!

I just kept moving! I made the corner and saw more familiar faces, including BibRave Pro Jeremy. We gave each other a high five!

One of the last minute surprises of this route was the loop around the Blue Oval. This is where the Drake Relays are held, it was a nice little touch. Guess I should have looked at the course a little more closely, but maybe not – I liked the surprise.

I just kept moving and was on my way back along the blvd. I said hi to Mel again, and then passed the half way point. This is when marathons get hard for me, between miles 13-20. However, for this race… I didn’t have that struggle.

Around mile 16 we entered a paved trail system, it was a nice change of scenery. In fact, this race could give the Twin Cities Marathon a run for their money on the “most beautiful urban marathon.”

I briefly thought, where is the 5 hour pace group? Then one of my favorite running songs came on and it bolted me through to mile 17, and then I was at mile 18….I just kept moving.

We were now on some loop around water, there was a bacon stop on the back side. Of course I grabbed some bacon!! They even had a sound system and they were cheering everyone on. Also at this point it seemed like there was hydration every mile or half mile, so many aid stations!

Then came mile 20. There was a clock set up here, it read 3:41 or something close. At first I was confused, is this time correct? WAIT- I could set a PR!!! I hadn’t looked at my watch since mile 6 and a PR never crossed my mind, I wasn’t trying for one, I wasn’t racing this. Then I thought, where is the 5 hour pace group?

I was going to go for it. I had 6 miles to go. My PR was 4:55, and with the time I actually crossed the starting mat, I had enough time to get there, but could I get there?

The sun was starting to warm things up, but the wind was also picking up. I just thought, make it to mile 21, and I did. Then I was thinking, I had one more treat with me, a cherry Jolly Rancher. I would eat that at mile 22, to encourage me to get to the next mile. However, we had just entered Grays Lake with the wind at our face.

I made it to mile 22 and was like, if I can make it to mile 23, I would eat that Jolly Rancher and I would have the wind behind me and I would take off my pullover. (Runners think about weird things.)

I then got to mile 23, time to take action – Jolly Rancher time, and time to get down to the tank top! Only 3 more miles to go!!! I knew the end of Grays Lake was mile 24, I could get there.

I made it to mile 24, only 2 miles left, just keep moving. Then there was a small incline. This course really wasn’t bad with elevation. There were some hills in the beginning, but it would be what I would call a fair course. However, that incline just after 24, I found myself walking. The first time the entire race… yep I was successfully running through aid stations. The walking felt weird on my legs though, so when I got to the top, I was back to running.

I was excited to see another aid station, my weird leg feeling had settled in my left calf, and I needed some Gatorade!!

Then I passed the mile 25 flag. I still wasn’t going to look at my watch. I just kept moving. I knew I was getting closer as I could hear noises.

I was at the last corner before the home stretch and members of the running group were standing there cheering me on. I made sure to go slap some high fives.

Then I turned the corner…..

I could see the clock, it had a 4, then another 4 after it… I was going to PR the marathon… I was a little emotional, which made it really hard to breathe. I crossed the finish line when the clock read 4:48….That was a PR!!! I pushed stop on my Garmin, 4:43!!!! HELLLO PR BABY!!! I DID IT!!!!

I walked to eventually find a finisher’s medal where the volunteer first shook my hand, then hung the medal around my neck. I then found a bottle of water on a table alongside cups of Gatorade Endurance.

I was soooo excited and I couldn’t find anyone I knew. SO I did the next best thing, I took a picture and posted it to Instagram stories.

What the heck just happened? My old marathon PR is from Grandma’s Marathon 2015 with at time of 4:52, but it doesn’t count because that is my Garmin time and not my official results. I paused my watch for a bathroom stop. My actual PR is from the 2016 Louisiana Marathon with a time of 4:55:02. So I blew it out the water, without trying.

photo from the race app

I called Josh, he was tracking me on the app. Oh – there was a really awesome app with live tracking and all the features. Josh had went to take a shower when he was done  running. Usually my times would have allowed enough time, but not today. He was on his way back to the finish area, and he was starving as when he finished he wasn’t directed to the food.

While I waited for Josh, I found Jeremy. He had run a great race too, while it wasn’t a PR for him, he enjoyed the day. We all three then walked through the food area. It was hidden at the very end of the finish chute. Josh had just wondered through the beer area, which was the first cutout of the finish chute, it was also the place with the race results.

As far as the post race food, there was more bottled water, chocolate milk, Gatorade in cups, oranges, bananas, sugar cookies, chips and queso, yogurt, ice cream, pretzels and pulled pork sandwiches. It was nice there was someone watching to make sure non runners did not have access to the food.

In the food area we also met up with more local club runners, so we all chatted some more before making our way to the post race beer. They had the Sam Adams 26.2 on tap.

Also in this area was the PR Bell, so I made sure to ring it loud and proud. I had never done that before. I also made sure to get my official race results 4:43:22. My shiny new PR!

We hung out a little more, but the day was getting away from us. so we said our goodbyes and departed ways. The walk to the car seemed to take forever.

We stopped for McDonald’s on the way home, because nothing ever sounds good when I am done running long distances except salty fast food fries. We were back home before it was dark.

Overall: This is a great race. I can’t believe it took me 29 marathons to cross the finish line. It really showcases the city of Des Moines, it competitively priced and it has the things a runners needs to have a successful race. I think one of the only things I would like changed is a later expo time on Saturday.

If you also ran the race, don’t forget to claim your results on Athlinks.com.

That DAM Race

Dam Backpocket 7 Miler – 2018 Recap

Why do I keep returning to this event?

For my fact filled, to the point review, check out Bibrave.com. Heck if you ran, add your thoughts there too.

Ah, this race always starts at 5pm on a Saturday. This year it took place August 18th. It was also the first time in a few years I wasn’t also running multiple races in one weekend. Looking back, I started running this in 2013.

I am always training for something, so to get some longer miles in, I decided I would run to the start of this race – 8 miles from my house – on an August afternoon – in Iowa. To say it was hot is an understatement.

Of course, I could have taken the shuttle bus from the finish line, but what fun is that? Josh was actually able to run the race this year too, and he took the shuttle, he had to be on board by 4pm.

I actually made decent time to the starting area of the race, and I felt good despite the conditions. Ok, so I have been running outdoors everyday, but the heat always sucks.

I found Josh, he was hanging near a table with cups and water. There is no shade at the start, as it starts on top of the Coralville Dam. It’s nice there are cups with water provided while you wait… as the shuttle arrives with plenty of time to wait. There are also some port-o-potties brought in. If you are crafty you can find some shade off in the distance.

We milled about, drank water – as I was carrying a pack, it had Gatorade. It was time to walk the hill to the starting line. At the same time being mindful for cars, as I don’t feel the road is closed to traffic.

Standing at the start it didn’t appear like there were many people running this year? Maybe the bulk of people were running the 5k event. Both the 7 mile and 5k are point to point and start at the same time.

After chatting with some people, it was time to run. I don’t recall hearing the National Anthem.

Ugh – it was hot!

The course runs on roads, eventually catching up with a sidewalk that takes you through Water Works Park, across the Iowa River to end up at the brewery. It has hills and minimal shade. There are many water only aid stations.

I waited around too long, those first few hills were not fun. In fact you might be able to see me in my only race photo here, just squint.

Then something was just off for me. My ears felt full. You know that feeling when you need to pop your ears? I tried everything to get them to pop – chewing, blowing my nose, touching them…they just wouldn’t free up. This made me feel miserable…. and from about mile 2 on, I sat on every seat of that struggle bus!

I even took the time to tweet to “Chin” who works at the IRP – a restaurant on the route. I jokingly said I was considering a DNF, and just stopping there for beer. Lucky for me as I ran by, he was out there to cheer me on.

I knew I was getting close to the finish, thankfully! This was also the portion of the course where we received a message that there would be a small dirt trail section. I know that every road in town is under construction, I appreciated the warning.

HOWEVER – when I came to this part, the volunteer pointed to the weeds. I saw no dirt trail. The weeds were waist high at times, and it’s what I would call single track. I was also nearly the last finisher, and I still battled lots of weeds, I feel bad for the first group up runners. Note to the RD – preview your course always, and give an accurate description.

UGH!

I came out of this section and could finally see the finish. I could also hear “GO ANGIE!!”

Guys, twitter is my favorite social media tool ever… while I was busy whining to Chin, my friends Darren and Jill from Keota Fun Run Days, were also on twitter cheering me on… little did I know, they were at the brewery too… and as they left cheered me in on that home stretch. At the time I wished for a thunderstorm, but I was also very appreciative. The running community is the best!

I finally crossed the finish line and took the bottle of water that was offered. There was also bottled Propel available. I felt like crap.

I was then on the hunt for the beer that was included with the registration price. They were already out in the beer garden…so after making the trek through the people, I had to wait in line inside to get my free beer. There were 2 choices, which was nice.

I managed to find Josh as I waited in line. I was curious where the post race food was. I feel ever since the first year I ran this, beyond beer there is never anything. A banana and a cookie is nice.

Once we were back outside, I saw a small table with granola bars, but it wasn’t marked or clear if that was the post race snacks.

Josh and I sat on a sliver of sidewalk… I like to watch the post race events. There is an awards ceremony, but the best part is the stein holding contest. The winner gets beer for a year. Oh and since I had my pack – as we watched we snacked on the pretzels I brought.


This race… why do I keep running it? I think mostly as it’s in my town and not a 5k. It also has mile markers, water, and I feel safe. However, every year I walk away feeling they could do better, especially since I know what else is available.

Oh well, I am sure you will find me standing on top of the dam in 2019… That Dam Race… UGH

Durant Dusk Hustle – Race Recap

Durant Dusk Hustle 2018 – Race Recap

The good ol Durant Dusk Hustle…. I had almost forgot about this event, but was reminded of it when I was updating the blog’s race calendar. I have run this a couple times before, and yet I am not sure I haven’t recently?

If you need a no frills review, check bibrave.com

Anyway…. I contacted my sister and wondered if my niece would be interested in joining me. The race has a kids run, a mile run and a 5k. Ella has run a mile race before, and I thought this would be a good one for her.

Fast forward to Friday August 10, 2018

Gear: gunmetal Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Saucony Donut hat, Aftershokz Trek Air, SpiBelt, Adidas boy shorts, Zensah socks, Brooks Ghost 10, Cheapo Wal-Mart Tank, Moving Comfort Bra, Knockaround Sunglasses

The race is unique in that the 5k starts at 7 PM on a Friday night. The kids race and one mile are held before. The event kicks off a small town weekend celebration.

It was a hot day, so that meant the pavement / asphalt was nice and toasty for the race start. The sun was still shining and I am sure temps were in the 80’s.

I had yet to register, so I arrived in Durant with time to sign up. There was a small line as everyone else had the same idea. I paid $25 for the no t-shirt option. I was handed a plastic bag with some flyers and a plastic water bottle. I also got a bib and a timing chip for my shoe. I was glad I opted out of the shirt, it was a unisex, cotton, short sleeve.

I went back to my car and waited for my sister to arrive. I get a little anxious, and there was plenty of time, but where was she?

I finally spotted her driving around. The streets nearby were under construction, but you could park on any side street for free. I contacted her on the phone… you know an actual phone call… and we met up at the registration tent, where we got Ella a bib and shoe chip. Oh, Ella wanted a t-shirt, so for the one mile with shirt registration was around $20.


Ella lined up at the timing mat for the one mile. There were mostly only young kids running this event. Finally I saw some parents lined up too. I was going to hop in after the timing mat as I had a shoe chip I didn’t want to register twice. I just get nervous all those young kids running out and back with no one telling them where to go, especially those not close enough to follow the gator.

The National Anthem was sung and then there was a countdown. The kids took off…. zoom! I could not keep up, nor did I try…. I knew I would eventually catch up with Ella and I did just a few blocks in.

We were running directly into the sun. She kept a nice pace, throwing in a skip here or there. I encouraged her to tell the others “good job” as we passed them on the out and back.

After we turned around, she requested we walk, which was fine… it was a hot night and a mile is a long way!! I kept my eye on the other kids that had no supervision (ok not in a creepy way) I wanted to make sure they were ok. There was no water on the one mile course. I was relieved to see a parent was with the last child.

As Ella and I turned the last corner we made a deal we would run the home stretch. Just as some poor kid who was not having it was being told to push it. UGH, whatever… but if the kid was in pain or something… it wasn’t cool.

I pulled away from Ella as my sister, Amber cheered us into the finish.

She told us as she grabbed her post race popsicle the time she saw when she crossed the finish line, it was near 9:30. DANG GIRL!!!! She did great!!

After all the participants were back, I joined the line up for the 5k. I made sure to review to posted course, but I overheard some pre-race chatter that the written directions were wrong. Lucky for me, I just follow the people ahead of me, and hope they go the right way.

The race started and I fell in step. The streets were not great, very uneven and gravel in some parts where they had recently done construction. I made sure to watch my footing.

I was feeling the heat… I wore the wrong hat. I knew better too. I have my favorites, but this one was just too hot. The right gear, makes a difference.

I kept pushing as I kept thinking I could place in my AG. Around the halfway point there was a small incline, followed by a water stop. Volunteers guided us around corners as well as the arrow spray painted on the streets.

Most of the course was in the residential neighborhoods, avoiding crossing the main highway through town. This meant we went on the back edge of town near some livestock, where we also enjoyed the smell of livestock.  Am I selling you on Iowa?

Somewhere along this stretch, I got a notification that my sister was texting me. I was worried, she knew I was running, I hoped there was no emergency. I did what anyone else would do, I communicated to my Aftershokz headphones and they dialed her on the phone. Through my huffing and puffing, I made sure to ask if everything was ok, she said yes and didn’t realize I would get the notifications on my run, she was just sending some photos. Whew!

I was then closing in on the last block, I felt confident and didn’t want to trip on the uneven pavement, when out of nowhere some younger runner passes me… LOL

I came across the timing mat with a Garmin time of 27.29, but a 3.08 course….which is close enough for me.

I reunited with Amb and El and made sure to get myself a popsicle. There were also bananas, apples, cookies, Body Armor and bottled water. I did try the Body Armor as I have never had it before.

The results were posted quickly and I realized I had placed 3rd in my AG. When the groups are spread from 30-39 it’s tough! The top 3 finisher times were not that close either.

We waited around for the little awards ceremony. Overall winners were gifted a gym bag. AG winners received a medal. I put mine around Ella’s neck where she wore it the rest of the night, and took it home.


After the race we went to check out the other festivities happening. There was a live band, rides and fair type food. We listened to the music and Ella talked me into some ride. After a walking taco and sno cone stop, we parted ways.

Overall: I know I have said this before, but I do enjoy a 5k or any race for that matter that has a small town festival surrounding it. It makes the trip to the race more enjoyable. It’s nice the race is on a Friday night, you could race again over the weekend or take it off. It’s a nice price and flat course, with options for kids too.

Keota Fun Run 2018

Keota Fun Run 2018 – A Thundering Good Time!

Saturday, June 9. Keota, IA.

I hopped in my car around 6:30 AM to make the one hour trek to Keota. The race start time was 8 AM. I left Iowa City in sunshine, but the sky looked dark, and I hit a rain shower on the trip.

For my to the point review check out BibRave.com

I arrived to the Keota High School parking lot, and the sky was gray. Before I went to register, I checked the radar, it didn’t look like anything was going to happen. I made it into the school, paid the $15 – 10k race day registration fee, was handed my short sleeve cotton, t-shirt, and went back to my car. No race bib, which for a small town event, is perfect! The sky was starting to look a little more dark.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Wal-Mart Tank, Road Runner Sports shorts, Brooks Ghost 10, Pro Compression socks, Aftershokz Trekz Air, XX2i Glasses, Coros Global Pace Watch, Boco visor

I got all my race things ready, and then went back into the school to use the bathroom. Then I check the radar again, it was going to storm. The RD was also watching the radar.

Near 8 AM, it started raining and storming, and the race was delayed! Everyone was safe inside the school. There was no place to sit, so we all just stood around looking at our phones and chatting. This is also when I learned I was the only female running the 10k.

I actually know the RD’s – Jill and Darren, they were walking around deciding what to do. I mentioned that everything should be fine as long as there is no lightning.

With more radar watching, an announcement was made that the race would start at 8:30 AM.

Just before 8:30 we all made our way outside to the starting line, or the spray painted line on the road. 10k runners were assigned to start on the left, while the 5k and milers were told to start on the right. The local radio station was there with the music van playing tunes and music, when it was time, he played a recording of the National Anthem.

There were only 6 people running the 10k, including a guy pushing a wheelchair. A minute after the start I was already last. It was easy to tell as the course was out and back in town, then out and back on a county highway.  I passed a water stop and the main intersection and was on my way out on the long lonely highway portion. What was weird is that all the others were running down the road as if it were closed. I stuck to the side to run against traffic.

As I got further out I could also see another storm rolling in, it must have just popped up. This section is flat and surrounded by cornfields, with a view as far as the eye could see. Then there was lightning and thunder, then the rain started, followed by lots of headwind and more lightning. Where or what what was I supposed to do? crawl into a cornfield? There was no shelter? The police or fire department did not come shelter us (they were at the major crossing and turn around.) When I made it to the turn around the RD caught up with us and asked if we wanted to continue. At this point, we had run through the worst, and since I was given a choice, I wasn’t going to quit. So I carried on.

I should note, I was running with my phone in a ziploc bag, stored in a pocket in my shorts, I didn’t need my SpiBelt. I also had my headphones. All survived the soaking. I also had no blisters or any chafing. This is when training in the rain is handy, you know what gear works and how to carry it.

That was the scariest thing I have ever run through, random lightning strikes with no shelter. The RD should have got us earlier and canceled the race, however they did not have the keys to the vans to gather everyone and did the best they could with a sedan. I am also very surprised the fire department didn’t get us. The visibility was also very bad.

With all that being said, I did come in second to last, I passed one person!!! When I crossed the finish line I was handed a popsicle stick with my place of finish. I brought the stick inside, where they “tallied” the results. There were bottles of water and bagels too.

Of course, I won my division. There was an awards ceremony for age groups and overall winners. The radio station van made the announcements.

With the weather situation aside, I will always try to come back to the race. I like the price and that there are no extra logistics to worry about. Plus the event is centered around a small community that loves their town.

Oh wait, there’s more!!!

After the event, Jill and Darren wanted to know if I wanted to shower so we could all go grab a drink. Well I didn’t bring a change of clothes, so I just put on my race shirt and hopped in Jill’s truck to hit up the town.

First there was a parade. I love a good parade, and CANDY!!! We stopped at The Roost, which is the local bar. I was asked what I wanted to drink… well no craft beers on tap… and well no beers on tap, I went with a Bud Light Lime.

Then… as you do… took my beer outside to sit on the bleachers to watch the parade. It was a great parade. A nice patriotic tribute to start, lots of tractors (Darren was driving one,) lots of local businesses and of course lots of candy… all the candy! I think in the mean time I was talked into a second beer.

After the parade was an auction. They auctioned off high school students. They were auctioned for their labor, to help community members with odd jobs around their homes and the money went to the sports boosters, or back to the school.

I ventured over to get a ribeye steak sandwich and then it was time to hang out in the Roost for a while. I was thinking I had a lot to do and needed to get back home. I was convinced that I needed to check out the VFW before I left. I was also given another beer, but also at the same time I saw someone I knew from high school….all the cool people hang in Keota.

We walked a few doors down into the  VFW. It was a little less crazy, but still one of the places to be. I was now drinking water and eating parade candy. Jill and Darren saw someone they knew and they said they were only at the VFW because the beer was colder than The Roost, so they got their beer and went back to the party at the other bar.

This was almost too much fun for me, I said my goodbyes. I wish I had planned to spend more time, but I also had things to do. I guess next year I will be more prepared, and I suggest you join me!

39 Forever

Dam it’s over! 

On Saturday, June 2, I took part in the 39th and final Dam to Dam race, a 20k from Saylorville Dam to downtown Des Moines.

As always my no nonsense review is at bibrave.com

When registration opened mid March, the price was $39. Josh was in for this too, so he got online and immediately registered both of us. This was a good thing as the first thousands of spots sold out in no time. There were an additional 1000 spots added and all spots were full by around noon the same day.

We were no stranger to the event. In 2013 we ran the last 20k distance. From 2014-2017 they changed the race to a half marathon. For this last edition they changed it back to the 20k distance.

Josh and I skipped out of work early Friday (June 1) afternoon to get to the packet pickup and expo. There was no option to get anything on race day, so you had to make it to the expo by 8pm.

We were at the expo around 3pm. There was free parking in the lot north of the Iowa Events Center. However this was confusing as signs were posted saying that parking was $8. I pulled up the email that said free parking and we mentioned it, and they let us in. There was also metered parking on the street.

If you have never participated in this event, the “expo” is not your traditional race expo with vendors and merchandise for sale. Yes, there was a giveaway, volunteer checkiin, and one fitness store with gear, but it’s more of a pre-race party.

After we found our bib numbers and entered the giveaway, we made it to area to grab our bibs. This was simple, just tell the person your number and they double checked your name. They did not ask for ID, but they did ask what color of socks we wanted, I went with a pink, they were Brooks low cut.

Then we had to make our way to claim our shirt. We had a choice of neon yellow, blue or black. They were a Brooks technical material, gender specific, and short sleeve. I went with the neon yellow. The design was simple, a tiny logo and words “39 forever.” Nothing was pre-stuffed in a bag, but there was a small plastic bag available if you wanted.

The center of the events hall was filled with food. There was a buffet line with chips, snack mix and candy. There were two sandwich options. A table with some cake and mini cupcakes was also present. There were stations for soda and blue Powerade. Water was set up throughout. None of this was an additional cost, keep in mind we registered for $39.

Outside there was a beer tent. They were serving keg Coors Lights and Smirnoff Ice. There was live music, but it was warm and sunny. This too was at no additional cost and you could drink as many pre-race drinks as you wanted.

We found a table and sat down to eat and relax. We also checked the forecast for the race, there was rain predicted all week and it wasn’t budging.

After some chatting with friends and learning we did not win any giveaway, we moved on to go eat more food. We had reservations at Christopher’s, one of Josh’s favorite places to eat in Des Moines.

Once we were done filling ourselves with all the pasta…yes I know it’s only 20k, but we like pasta; we were already thinking about what we would be having for breakfast, lol. We found this fancy new downtown Hy-Vee and grabbed some bagels. Then we checked into our hotel. We got all our gear ready and then we called it an early night as we would have to wake up at 4 AM to catch the shuttle.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Coros Pace watch, Brooks running Ghost 10, Rudy Rydon glasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, SpiBelt, Road runner shorts, Zensah socks & bra

RACE DAY

Bagels and coffee, another breakfast of champions!

It was early, but that’s race day. First a check of the weather—-oh crap! The radar did not look good. However, the big blob looked like it would move through and eventually pass on. The temperature looked fine too. The question was, would there be lightning? The race is point to point and starts on top of a dam with no shelter. Would it be cancelled? We kept glued to social media and the radar for any information, all while still preparing to grab a shuttle to the start.

There were 3 locations to catch a shuttle to the start. We would be going to the downtown location. Buses would be from 5 AM to 5:45 AM. We went to the lobby to wait for our Uber, it was about a mile walk to the shuttle pick up and it had started to rain. Meanwhile in the lobby we managed to score a 4 PM checkout time!

The Uber showed up and on the ride the driver was amazed that anyone would run for 2 hours. I kept my mouth shut….. I guess running for 7 hours would be asanine!

We made it to the buses, there seemed like an endless line. Runners were just lining up to board them. I did not see anyone in charge of the process, there were police officers directing the next buses ahead on the road.

Once in the bus, Josh and I didn’t care what happened. We were in a dry spot. If they had to delay or cancel, we were in a relatively safe spot. We spent the time scrolling social media pages for the event. Things were going so great for people who drove into the downtown bus pickup, traffic was reported as backed up. Another location at the mall was reporting there were no buses. It was a fun way to pass the time.

We got close to our drop off point at the Dam, but the line of buses was really long, so it took a while. This was fine as what appeared to be the heaviest part of rain was going through. We were still dry.

The time came and we had to get off the bus. There was a light rain and there were some dedicated volunteers who had been standing outside for a long time directing the drop off.

We made the walk to the starting area. There were a lot of people in ponchos and plastic bags, and people wearing trash bags on their shoes. Insert eye roll… ok maybe this is mean, but it could rain on race day, had these people never ran in the rain? You just get wet, those training runs you can find the sock and shoe that works for no blisters. Also have you ever run in a rain coat/trash bag or poncho? I find the sweating from the inside is worse and you have all this crap stuck to you, you are not dry. Ok, so maybe they were going to ditch the coats after the start… more on that later. Also was no one watching the radar? The rain wasn’t going to last.I guess I am no nonsense, the weather happens….

We bypassed the port-0-potty area, and continued walking to the start as 7 AM was quickly approaching. I stopped near the sign that said 10 min per mile. It was an ambitious pace, but it was a good place to stop. I said good luck to Josh and he forged ahead.

As I stood there and waited to start, I kept my eyes open for someone I might know. As luck would have it, twitter friend Scott was waiting near me too. I made my way over and we chit chatted. I then saw local running friend Tim and gave a wave. The rain continued and we waited more… it was now after 7 AM.

At 7:23 AM an announcement was finally made, the race was going to start at 7:30, there was a half an hour delay…. um thanks for the heads up. I didn’t see any lightning when we were standing there, so I am thinking there was a backup with getting runners to the start on time. Standing in the rain is different than running in the rain… and a little cold, but I still don’t wish I had a poncho.

Finally – it was time to run!! Then out of no where the wind picked up, and was driving rain at us. What an AWESOME way to kickoff the last Dam to Dam. Just as we started, local running friends Horacio, Logan and Jennifer passed me and we all battled the weather through the first mile.

The race as I mentioned is point to point and the idea is you start at the Saylorville Dam and run to the Dam in downtown Des Moines. It’s all on paved roads, first in the countryside and then through parts of Des Moines. The course is overall downhill, with a bigger climb at mile 7.

The rain finally let up after a mile or so and it really wasn’t a bad day, especially since the day before had been so hot. The worse part now was dodging all the plastic – trash bags and ponchos everywhere. Thank you to everyone that took time to clean that up. Also, do they make a compostable poncho? So much waste! The rain also cooled down some of the pavement.

As far as my race, I just wanted to finish and do my best. I tried to run on the gravel should as much as I could. I stopped for water and Powerade when I needed it, although each stop was set up different. I even detoured for a port-o-potty off course. There were always lots of people on course with my pace. This made the part along the river path a little crowded. There were lots of spectators in the areas they could get to, but I would suggest cheering for everyone and not just your friends.

I came to a very busy finish area. The announcer was catching the names as he could. Once across the timing mat, you had to weave through finishers waiting for loved ones to find a medal. *I saw a race official arguing with a participant to leave the area.

I found a medal and then saw Herky… so I was now part of the problem, he did not have a line , so I quickly pulled my phone and snapped a selfie!

I proceeded through the crowded chute and got a cup of water, and picked up a bottle of red Powerade. Then it was time to exit the area. There were people everywhere….. runners and non runners. A volunteer pointed in directions…”food that way, beer back there, photos here” I just wanted room to breathe!

I finally found a way to the food. It was line up along the outside of Cowles Commons. It would have made sense for a line to be formed and people to follow through, but instead people – and I mean runners and non runners – were just walking up and grabbing things.

I started at the far end and followed through, it took a while as people were just walking up. I grabbed a chocolate milk, ice cream, cookie, kettle corn and apple. I felt greedy taking all those things, mostly as I looked silly and couldn’t carry them all. I even skipped the pulled pork sandwich, oranges and bananas.

Near the end of the line I saw someone I thought looked familar, it was BibRave Pro Michael… so I stopped and chatted. He was telling me that his running group had a fun day and would stop and help the water stations give out cups.

I then had to find Josh, he had sent me some texts as to his whereabouts. I did find him, thankfully his IOWA shirt stood out. We sat and enjoyed the people watching.

I decided even though it was Coors, I would get a post race beer, so I headed over to get one. It was crazy! I ended up finding a dumpling instead….. sooo the next time Josh went back over to the beer line with me… we found out a runners bib got you a bib, non runners got a wrist band…to which I am not sure they had to pay for.  We waited in what we thought was a line, only to have 4 people budge in front of us… lots of crap for a crappy beer.

Finally a cold beer in our hand, we went back to listen to the live music and more people watching. The sun was in and out of the clouds, it was a nice day. The crowd started to thin out, so we decided to walk back to the hotel. As luck would have it, the GIANT farmers market was happening, so we got an iced coffee.

We were back to the hotel just before noon. A shower sounded great… nothing more enjoyable than being rain and sweat soaked, but it was time to move on.

Next stop, lunch! – Yes all we do is eat. El Bait Shop was next to the hotel, we just had to go here, there are over 250 beers on tap…WAHOOOOOOOOO!!! Also, Josh wouldn’t shut up about the bacon wrapped tots.

We ordered a flight of beer, each of us picking 2. MMMM sour beers are my jam! The tots were delish! We topped off the trip by splitting a tray of nachos.

As much as we would have liked to stay and explore Des Moines, it was time to get home. However, we only made it as far as Newton before we had to stop at the gas station and take a nap… when did we get so old?

So what’s next for the Dam to Dam? I told you this was the last year…. well it was the last year as the Dam to Dam. The former race organization was all done by a volunteer board, they are done! The race was bought/sold/acquired by a race event management company – Rip Roar Events. I even received and email to sign up for next year – but it will be called DAM to DSM. I am not sure if it will be a half marathon, or the same idea.

I am also not sure if I will be back. I think I had the same feelings when I ran this in 2013, I just wasn’t that “thrilled” for the event. We signed up because it was to be the last and it was only $39. Guess I will just keep my eyes open and see what happens.

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Woodpecker Singletrack Trail

Places to Run – Woodpecker Singletrack Trail – Coralville, IA

“Disclaimer: I received three BUFF®️ products to use on new adventures 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!”

 A while back I started a page on my blog about the places to run in my area. With the help of the BUFF®️ campaign to push me to find new adventure and after a weekend race on this trail, I was intrigued and I had to go check out a ‘new to me trail.’

Location: The Woodpecker Singletrack Trail is location right inside Coralville, IA. In face I have run alongside it many times. For those who live in the area it’s located just north of the Clear Creek Trail, south of Highway 6, and just to the east of Camp Cardinal Blvd. There is another trail near the Coralville Reservoir, this is not it.

Mileage: The signage posted says the trail is 3 miles long, with an optional half mile section. When I ran the trail, including the optional portion, I had a distance of 3.24 miles.

Terrain: This trail is mostly packed mud. There are spots with some sand. Tree roots and things to stumble upon are at a minimum.

Elevation: FLAT! This is built for bikes, so it kinda reminded me of some random dirt bike trail you might see on TV, there are little “bumps” or small hills, but there are no climbs.

Scenery: The trail is near a small creek, so you can pop off an find a beach. The trail being within the city, has a small portion with buildings in view. Otherwise, lots of trees.

Maintenance: The trail is actually designed for biking, and while the city appears to behind the maintenance, it also looks like a biking organization helps too.

Markings: There are no mile markers, but every entrance has a nice sign with a map of the trail. The map includes your current location.

Features: On the west edge of the trail there is a parking lot and facility with drinking fountain and flushing toilets.