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.

Market Stampede

West Branch Bear Stampede 10k

Saturday, May 5th, West Branch, IA. It was sunny and would warm up to around 70 degrees.

The race usually falls on the second weekend of May, but this year it was moved to the first. It just so happens that the little farmers market I am a part of was also the same weekend. The two events joined forces and were at the same time. This meant I would at the least be selling my headbands as part of the market on race day.

I am no stranger to this event, I have run it many times. I have also sold my headbands in the past. However, when I arrived on race day I was still uncertain if I would run the race. I would need someone to watch my stand while I ran, and I was on my own that morning. When I had my stand all set up my fellow market vendors agreed to to keep an eye on things, so I went to sign up.

Small town races are the best, we have a lot of them in Iowa, you could run 2-3 every weekend. One of the best parts is you can register on race day for a reasonable price. The 10k was only $30 on race day. I feel if I asked I could have received a t-shirt too, but that’s the last thing I need. I even got a timing chip for my shoe.

As I stood at my market stand waiting for the race to start, I think there were some announcements, but I was on the other side of the bouncy house, where it was hard to hear. Everyone moved towards the starting line, so I went that way too. It was a mass start with the clock, no starting timing mat. There was no National Anthem.

As I said I have run this race many times. I knew where the course was to go, which also meant I knew the hills and West Branch has hills. Hey, fun fact – Iowa is not flat.

The course starts by going down the main street, there are cops at every intersection and a few people around town stop and take notice. It happened to be the same day as a community cleanup, this meant that just within the first mile there was a situation with some extra traffic hauling their junk to a special trash drop off. I really wasn’t bothered, I just kept on going.

Up the big hill and then through Beranek park to loop back around to head out the Hoover Nature Trail. There is a 5k with this race too, both of them start at the same time. When we get to a certain part on the trail, the 5k turns around and heads back into town. It’s easy to cheer the leaders on as they pass by.

The 10k keeps running further out on the trail. This is the trail I run a lot on at lunch time. It is an old rail bed, so this part is really flat and it’s crushed limestone. On this portion the runners were really thinned out. I did pass another woman, I made a remark at the time that she would probably pass me again because I knew there were 2 hills at the end.

As I was getting closer to the turn around, a man who was on his way back shouted, “first female!” I was shocked, no…not me?!?!  Then the mental game was on.

On the way back on the trail, I knew the woman I passed was close behind me. I kept repeating – this is the flat part, keep pushing, build some time. However the first mile I ran an 8:41 so it was kickin my butt, also I was a little hot, oh and I had just run a marathon 6 days prior. I wasn’t gonna give up.

I made it back to the 5k turnaround water stop, I grabbed a styrofoam cup of water and saw that woman was really close now. AHHHH ok, will I be happy with 2nd female? I went back and forth in my head.

I was off the trail, and at the base of the first big climb, and then it happened, the woman passed me. I looked at my watch, 5.78 miles… I lead for this long, ugh, I didn’t have anymore in me. Then …. the woman started walking… I was still shuffling up the hill… I could do it!

I got to the top and I was again leading, I knew I had a little flat spot before I needed to climb the last hill, I just kept moving forward. I pushed up that last hill – Oh and I saw my friend Carol and her daughter Susan drive by, so that was a nice pep in my step. I knew I was gonna make it!

I got to the top of the hill, only to make sure I could make it back down to the finish line without tripping or doing anything stupid.

I DID IT!! I was the first female in the 10k!!  Ok, ok, ok sooo there were only 12 people who ran the 10k, but I am counting this as a victory, wahoo!!! I had 6 ish miles in 56:55.

I crossed the finish line and found a bottle of water. There were some baked goods and bananas. Since I had baked cookies and Krispie bars for the market, I just went back to my stand.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to get an award, or what was happening. In the meantime there were a couple of kids races and I kept tabs on my market stand. I wished I had picked a spot in the shade.

It was time for the awards, I gathered and listened and learned that part of the announcements I didn’t hear earlier, was that the courses were short due to cutting out a block because of the trash cleanup event. Ahh, that made sense, safety was taken into consideration.

Anyway it came time for the 10k awards, my name was announced and I was gifted 5 – $1 coupons to the farmers market and I had a choice at a plant from the school FFA. What a fun, unique race award. I went with a petunia.

I walked back to the market and picked a home made raspberry jam and a bag of snack mix. Other award winners were given market bucks too. When the event was over, if you wanted the race would exchange cash for any market bucks the vendor received.

Then, just like that the event was over. I packed up all my things, and headed home to mow the lawn and plant my petunia.

As I have said, I have run this many times. This year felt a little different, only because there weren’t as many participants. I know how hard it is to get people to volunteer their time to make these races possible. I hope this event continues, it’s always great to run on the trail and in turn support the school. It was also fun to have the market at the event, maybe a little more cross promotion (or promotion in general) and next year will be even better!

If you ran the race, don’t forget to add your thoughts to a Bibrave review.

RACE WEEK!

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Run CRANDIC 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!”

It’s Run CRANDIC race week and we’re all freaking out. Ok, so maybe some people are remaining calm. I am ready to run a marathon, that is not why I am worried, I am more worried about the event happening with the least problems possible. People can be very rude and mean, for the stupidest reasons……anyway…

Some people may refer to this period of training as a taper, and some people describe it as taper tantrums. How do you go into race week avoiding this?

  1. Trust your training! If you picked a training plan (oops I didn’t do that) you should trust that you put in the work and have the endurance to get you to the finish line.
  2. Take on a new hobby. You need something to occupy all your new found free time, why not learn to knit, get into bird watching, or decoupage?
  3. Check the weather. What better way to keep the tantrum alive than to obsess about the weather every day. It’s Iowa, it will change 65 times in the last week, so clicking that refresh button every hour will keep you busy.
  4. Plan your race day outfit. Don’t laugh, there is an art to putting together your race day look. From something that wont chafe to something that represents you. I like to wear a fun skirt with fun colors. Hey, add your name to your shirt as spectators can easily cheer you on.
  5. Catch up on those chores. Remember all those Saturdays you told yourself you would get to that leaky toilet or replace the porch light? Well you should have some more time now, get to it!
  6. Volunteer! Whether it’s at another race or your library, this is a good way to fill your time.
  7. Netflix marathon. This is a perfect way to test your endurance, curl up on the couch and see how many TV shows you can watch before you need to use the bathroom.
  8. Work on your playlist.If you run with music, this is the perfect time to add your favorite songs to your listening device. If you are super detailed you could get the songs in order of where the steepest hills will be.
  9. Hydrate. Unlike the weather, making sure you are ready to roll is one thing you can control, so make sure you are on top of drinking water and electrolytes. Or perhaps a Run Crandic 26.2 Brew? Scheduled to hit taps at these locations:
    • Kickstand  in Cedar Rapids
    • Chrome Horse in New Bo Cedar Rapids
    • Vine in Coralville
    • Old Chicago Coralville
    • Tin Roost North Liberty
    • Red’s Ale House North Liberty

     Big Grove in Iowa City will have it at the post race party

  10. Rest! Take a nap, sleep in, go to bed early. Arrive to race day feeling refreshed!
  11. Carboload! This might be my favorite thing, I like food and I LOVE pasta!!  By now, with your longer training runs you should know what foods agree with your digestive tract. Add them to your diet in the week leading up to the big race.

WHEW!! After all of these things, it’s race day and your taper tantrums should be over. The next thing to do is get to the start line, so you can get to that finish line!

Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle 2018

Race Recap – Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle 2018

Saturday, March 10, Iowa City, IA. Sunny and a cool 30 ish degrees.

This is the only race Corridor Running hosts in Iowa City, so if I am around I always try to participate, whether it’s running or volunteering.

I arrived at College Green park just after 6:30 AM as I signed up to help with race day set up. Brrr, it was cold, but not as cold as last year. I checked in an asked where I was needed to help.

I am not sure I ever had an official job, but I set up tables, answered some questions, directed people where to go, and I took photos and updated the club’s social media accounts. (which you should follow: Instagram / twitter) A box of donuts magically appeared and I might have ate one.

In addition to the normal bib pick up, there were tables set up to buy club gear and a table for a new running store in the area, Heartland Soles.

Around 8:30 I ditched my coat and made it to the starting line. It was weird, I ran in my volunteer shirt and no sparkle skirt. Maybe it’s because I was out of practice… I hadn’t ran a race in over a month!

After some brief announcements the race started. There were 2 distances to run – a 3.17 km and a 6.34 km (which was an additional loop.) I was in for the double loop. The course is a tour of the north side neighborhood, complete with old brick streets. There is one major hill near the end of the loop… this of course is where the official race photographer was stationed. The last stretch of this course is also on a busy street.

angie

I had a good first loop, and then the wheels came off and I slowed down for my second loop. So.. I got my phone out and started doing some IG stories and taking pictures. I got called out talking to my phone by some guy on his cool down lap, HA!

Before I knew it, I was at the finish line and a volunteer was removing the timing chip from my shoe. I had a Garmin time of  38:10. There were bananas and water set up near the finish line, but the post race party was at a bar a short walk away.

I stuck around the finish and race area for a while as I also volunteered to help tear down the event. Hey, a race doesn’t happen without the volunteers, so I am happy to give back! It really isn’t difficult either, just do the task your are assigned.

The clean up duties were simple and easy as most of them were already done by the time I got back to race headquarters. I did move some tables and put some boxes in my car.

I got the ok to head to the bar. The awards had already been given out and people had started to leave – it wasn’t as crowded as years past. I had pre-paid for the brunch and ordered a beer and sat down at the bar.

Fellow club member, Warren joined me as I ate my corned beef and egg stew and we solved all the world’s problems.

I will continue to support my club with this event. I also like that the race distance is something different. I have struggled in the past to fit in at the post race party, but I enjoyed having a moment to sit down and reflect – I need to be ok with that too.

If you ran don’t forget to add your review to Bibrave.com and claim your results on Athlinks.

Trail Trot

Legend of the Fall 2017 – Race Recap

I think I have been running this race for the last 5 years ish. Nothing much changes, but if I don’t add it to my blog, did it happen?

I have added another review to Bibrave.com as well. I am the only one with a review, but really it’s one of my faves in Iowa City.

This race is always the morning of Thanksgiving. It’s our area “Turkey Trot,” yet it’s a difficult event, covering the trails through Hickory Hill Park. This year the weather was probably the best it’s been in years. It was about 40 or so degrees at the start, and there had been no precipitation leading up to race day, leaving the trails dry.

I registered online a few weeks before the event, so on race day I just needed to grab my bib. I am just about 2 miles from this race, so I always run to and from Regina High School, where it starts.

Gear: Black Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Zensah Compression socks, Chicago Marathon hat, Grandma’s 5k tech shirt, Orange Mud Pullover, Spi belt, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Under Armor Horizon shoes, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID, Buff(R), Pearl Izumi gloves

I arrived to discover they had moved the packet pick up and race day registration to the outside of the lunch room area. This was slightly congested. I had to wait in a line. I also think there were more participants than normal because the weather was so nice. I didn’t have to wait too long, and I receive a bib, timing chip to attach to my shoe and my long sleeve, cotton, unisex shirt.

I put my bib on my Spi Belt, attached my timing chip and looked for a place to stash my shirt – since I didn’t drive. I was then out the door, and waited near the starting line.

The start is on the track. Everyone waited around, and then was encouraged to move to the starting line, which was just a cone on the track I believe. People just jumbled up together. There were some announcements and then it was time to race.

The race went about 3/4 away around the track, allowing people to thin out before heading down the hill, into the woods and trails of Hickory Hill Park.

The area to run is narrow, so it’s hard to first get a position, so you just wait patiently for a place to pass. There is a hill within the first mile and people start walking, so if you wait it out, this is a good time to pass.

The trail twists and turns and goes up and down, over roots and leaves – your typical trail surface.

There are no mile markers out there, but you follow small yellow flags, which are easy to navigate. Close to the end there is always the short cut, or as they call it in this race – “the spicy way.”

I always take this cut, it’s on unmarked trail, through some trees and then a small creek crossing, with a steep climb out of the ravine. I always laugh at everyone hesitant to cross the water, and I always dash right though.

Once past this area, it’s not much further to the finish. With another 3/4 lap of the track, there is a blue timing mat to cross and you are done! A volunteer was clipping chips here, I just bent over and pulled mine off.

As I was running, I noticed a 6 pack of La Croix was running the race – ok so it was 6 people in costume. I had to get my photo with them. The one lady was like, oh yes – all costumed runners take a picture – um I was not in costume…but I guess plaid pants and a sparkly skirt will do that. They said they also used their costumes for a race the week before.

I walked back up to the school, browsed the post race cookie and dessert bar, grabbing a cookie bar and filling a cup with water. I sat down and ate, and listened while some awards were given out. Winners received pumpkin pie!

It was time to run home, I found my stashed shirt and left the building. I carried it in my hands and enjoyed the nice weather on the way home. I had just over 7 miles total for the day. It was time to get ready for my Thanksgiving plans at my sister’s house.

I really like this race – you can search my blog for past experiences. I will continue to run this event if I am in town, and you should too!

PCTR 30k – 2017

Race Review – Pleasant Creek Trail Run 30k – 2017

This was the 3rd year of the event. It was held on Saturday, September 16th. There were 3 race distances – 15k (one loop), 30k (2 loops) or 45k (3 loops.) The 45k started at 8:30 and the other 2 started together at 9.  It was a cool, cloudy morning, but would eventually reach to about 90 degrees and sun.


I ran the inaugural event, and at the time the longest distance offered was the 30k, so I ran that as a training run for a 50k. The race is always during Hawkeye football season, that first year the game was later in the day, last year the game was at 11 am…. and this year the game started at 2:30….

I thought this was perfect, I would be able to run a loop and get to the game…. well, I went through the registration process, and thought I started by clicking on 15k… after going through the registration process, and never seeing the distance confirmation until I had paid…. I was now in for the 30k.

See, more people would panic…. not me, while I know the race directors of the event and knew I could drop down to the 15k, I welcomed the challenge…. and now my biggest problem was making it to my seat in Kinnick Stadium by kickoff.

Thankfully, they let me start my race with the longer 45k distance, this gave me an additional half hour. I needed that time, I have almost an hour drive home and had to walk the dogs. I could have also started even earlier – as I showed up very early, but I wouldn’t have been timed.

I’ll write my famous to the point, fact based bibrave review too.

Alright, so after some chatter with the locals, I was lined up with the 45k runners, ready to get the show on the road.


Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, 2Xu tank, Orange Mud Endurance Pack, BibRave Boco Gear Visor, AfterShokz Trekz Air, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Zensah compression socks, Road Runner Sports shorts, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix, Road ID

Oh…. trail running, I love it and hate it…this course is a mixture of everything – rock, sand, grass, ruts, dirt, road crossings, very few spots with even footing.


I took off very slowly… I think I overheard a spectator say “this is the slowest race start ever!” Not long, we were off in the woods, and I was in the back of the pack… all I could think was, dang I am slow… and I am with the people that are running an extra loop. So, the mental part of the race was off to a rough start.

There were also some hills, and I started off walking up all of those too. The sun was coming out too and it was heating up.

I did have my music, so I just kept moving forward. I passed through the first aid station around mile 2, and since I was running with my pack, I didn’t stop.

When I came to the second aid station, I was looking for some gummi bears, as I was too lazy to dig out the fruit snacks I had with me. The stop did not have any…but there was a lot of other choices – cookies, pretzels, M & M’s, Gatorade, water, Cola and Mt. Dew. I took some pretzels and chatted with the volunteers, and took off back into the woods.

Really nothing exciting or out of the norm happened at the race.

I looked at my watch when someone speedy passed me, mile 5.6… this must have been a 15k runner… and shortly after there were others that started passing me. Oh well, I just kept moving forward.

I came up on the third aid station to a cheerful group of volunteers, I knew them, so it was nice to say hi! I didn’t spend too much time and moved along. It was now really starting to feel warm. There were parts of the course in the woods and parts with no shade.


I finally came in to finish my first loop, and I looked at my watch 1:51. I still thought I could PR this course. My time from 2 years ago was a 4:04, so I was well ahead of that, it was also the reason why I didn’t stop any longer than to grab a banana at the start/finish aid station.

I was now out on my second loop, it was definitely hot! Even though I was moving forward, it was a lot slower … and it just kept getting worse…. I was also in my head, was I going to make kick off? Keep moving, it’s hot, get to the football game, it’s hot, keep moving…. yeah running is fun!

Welp, I made it to the first aid station on the loop and made sure to drink more liquids…. all the drinking…..OH – what I didn’t tell you… I was running a half marathon the next day… so when does hydrating for that take place?

Back on course. At this time, there really weren’t too many other people out there, once in a while someone would pass me, which just made me feel slow…but I just kept moving.

I stopped at the 2nd aid station of the loop, drank some more and dug out my fruit snacks to eat them.

It really wasn’t that bad… but I had given up on getting to Kinnick before the game… I could still make kickoff.

I rolled into the third aid station, and there was a volunteer shift change. However, I knew the new volunteers, she even took my picture. I was hot, but nothing out of the ordinary, I didn’t have the chills, nothing…however a radio/medic guy that was at this aid station kept insisting I sit down in the shade of the tent. I was like, do I look that bad? Luckily, Nikki, who took my photo, knew I was fine, and said so…. and I grabbed a cup of ice to finish the last 2 miles.

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Those last 2 miles, were the longest 2 miles ever! I think I felt every uneven footfall, I just wanted a straight, flat section to run…but such is trail running.

I saw the last turn out of the woods, and I trotted into the finish. There were people cheering for me, so I was making sure not to fall. It was nice to have the area set up so that finishers were enjoying their post run fair along the route.

I finished in a time near 4:09…dang that second loop ate me up… I am sure it was a combination of the heat and maybe being under trained? Oh well, 18 miles banked – which keeps me inline for Detroit Marathon training.  At the finish I was handed a cool, hand made medal and a bottle of water.


The plan was to grab some food to go, and get on the road. Instead, I milled around, talked to the race director, took a photo…. I finally grabbed a plate – threw in a burger, chips and slice of cake…and took my food to go.  I was still close to making the game by kick off, but I would have to hustle.


I rolled into my house just before 2 pm… I needed to walk the dogs, shower and then find a parking spot and get to the game. Kick off was at 2:30….and then….

UGH – the new neighbor wanted to talk…. talk about removing a tree… there is nothing wrong with this tree… I was like I need to get moving, and just said “it’s your tree, if you want to take it down, I can’t stop you.” Why is it when you need to be somewhere, you just can’t get there?

I got the dogs walked, and through the shower…. but the time was close to kick off…. now it was time to find parking. Which I did, over a mile away…which was just awesome after running 18 miles in 90 degree heat.

I made it to the game with 6 minutes to go in the first quarter. It was a rough start for the Hawks, so I guess that’s ok. Then of course, it clouded up, even sprinkled a little, and finally I was sitting in the shade…. I enjoyed the rest of the game, and cheered the Hawks on to a victory.


I didn’t stay much longer, as I had to trek back to my car, to drive to Wisconsin for the North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon the next day – more on this race in my next post.

Overall thoughts: While I did not have a great race…. it is a well organized race, a great price, awesome medals, and it’s actual trail with some hills. Also, I have mentioned this before… where I live – Iowa City – there are 2 half marathons… I am 25 minutes from a 50k… and this is 45 minutes for a 45k… I love having longer distance race options closer to home.