Shamrock Shuffle – 2017

Shiverin’ Shamrocks!

BRRR! The 2017 Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle was a cold one!. The race always takes place around mid March and usually it’s a seasonably decent temperature, but since mother nature is drunk, temps were around 20 degrees this year.

Gear: Rainbow Sparkle Athletic Skirt, XX2i France2 sunglasses, plantronics headphones, Survivor BUFF, Nike Turtleneck, Previous Shamrock Shuffle Race Shirt, Zensah Compression sleeves, Garmin Fenix 3, Brooks Ghost 9, Spi-belt. ( I changed the hat to a BOCO Louisanna Marathon stocking hat and Road Runner Sports Capris)


I mention the weather, because not only was I running the race. I was volunteering. This meant I arrived at the race location 2 hours before the event. While I was able to park close enough, to use my car to keep warm…. there is no shelter or place to stay warm.

must keep warm! BUFF and France2 frames to protect my face.


Pre-race volunteers continued to roll in, as well as trucks with race day supplies. We unloaded the trucks and set up things on the park. Tents, tables, bananas, sound system, etc.

The race takes place at College Green Park, so race day things are set up in the center of the park, while the race is start/finish is out on the street.

Before we knew it, participants were showing up to get their bibs, and my feet were freezing.


I helped out where I was needed, and ended up falling in with bib pick up. There were three of us and we had the system down! A runner gave us a name (as you could pick up anyone’s bib, no ID required), we looked up a bib number, handed them a bib, and a chip. I only ripped 2 bibs, oops!

I really needed to use the bathroom, and there were two port-o-potties near the start, but the line was long and the race was going to start, so I joined the others near the starting arch.


The race is a fun St. Patrick’s theme, including the distance of 3.17km, which is just around 2 miles. New, for this year, you could run the loop twice, for a 6.34km run. Of course, I chose this option, automatic PR!!

There were some announcements and then the race started. Gah, I was really cold, and I could feel it in my legs. The entire first loop, they just felt strange, like they were thawing out, or I could feel the muscles warming up. While the course had one big hill near the finish, they were not feeling the fatigue from that.


In that first loop, I caught up with Monty, again…. if we keep meeting at races, people are going to talk, LOL. I kid, it’s nice to see your runner friends out there!

By the second loop, my legs felt normal again, and I motored through the course again. It was all on pavement, and in typical Iowa winter fashion it’s when the potholes make their appearance, so I made sure to steer clear of them a second time. I thanked all the volunteers on the course, and climbed that hill one more time.

I crossed the finish line, and I was warm. I didn’t need my coat. Since I was signed up to then help volunteer post race, I stayed at the finish line and helped Dan take chips off shoes.

IMG_6192

When the majority of the runners had finished, I helped where needed, loading cars, taking down tents, the usual volunteering work. Hey guys, it’s really pretty easy…so help out if you can, nice to give back to your local running clubs… ha!

There were the bananas I mentioned earlier, and bottles of water at the center of the park, and cups of water near the finish, as it doubled as an aid station for the course.

The post race party was a few blocks away at Micky’s Irish Pub. There was an option when you registered to get a $5 brunch, or pay at the door. They would also be having beer specials, and hosting the awards ceremony here. You could also grab your pint glass, which was given instead of a t-shirt.


It is spring break in Iowa City when this race is held, but parking downtown can always be a problem, and to park close you have to pay. Lucky for me, I found a super close parking spot, swiped my card for $1.50 for one hour of time.

The party was happening. I did not pay for the brunch, as the last time I did this, the option was corned beef and cabbage, and I realized I do not care for it. I also don’t have $5 extra at this time… womp, womp, poor ol Angie… I did pack a Nugo Bar…lol.

I stuck around, watched the awards. The first person in each 10 year AG got a cool prize and the overall winners for each distance scored $50. WHOA, I need to get faster!

The morning ended chatting with some other runners, and realizing I should probably get home to let the dogs out, and oops my car was only paid to park at the meter for one hour!

I got to my car and saw the slip of paper flapping under the windshield…. but there was no fee, I owed $0.00. WEIRD! Why print the paper, what a waste!  I was happy I didn’t owe a fine.

When I got home, and got my data all loaded to Strava… you know if you don’t post a picture on Instagram and get that data loaded, I am not sure it even happened…. I realized I ran sub 9 minute miles, for 4 miles!!! WAHOOO. I am super happy about this, 2016 I spent running for endurance and distance. I did 0 speedwork, so I was happy to feel a little speed return. This is fast for me, so I’ll take it, maybe someday I will score a $50 winner’s prize!

IMG_6021

Race photos were posted to FB, and online album, free to download

This is a nice short race, with a nice challenging hill, and a fun post race party. If I am around next year, I will run it and volunteer again.

For my official race review, check bibrave.com

 

 

Freezefest 2017

Corridor Running Freezefest 5k

I am so excited to have something to write about. I ran and volunteered at the Freezefest 5k or should I say “Warmfest.” (More on that later.)


As most of you know, I am on the board of my local running club, Corridor Running. This is the first race of the year for the club. In addition to running, and creating the playlist for the event, I was on board to take pictures, post to social media, shoot video and anything else they needed me to do.
For my official race review – check out bibrave.com

Gear: Ice Cream Sparkle Athletic Skirt, xx2i France2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Go Pro, Adiddas boy shorts, Lululemon shirt, Corridor Running Trucker hat, spi belt,  2xu Vectr socks, aftershokz


The event always takes place in February, and it has a later start time of 11 am. It is in Marion, IA at Squaw Creek Park. This is mostly due to the weather. It can be cold or as we saw this year, record warmth, nearing 60 degrees.

*Personally, I would rather have a race start at 7 or 8 am. I run in all weather conditions, so I would just like to get up and get it done.

This is a smaller race, and it’s capped at 350 participants due to the lack of parking.. This means that packet pickup is the day of the race, which works out well because of the late start I was whining about above. Anyway…. the lodge allows room for an easy packet pick up as well as an area to get information about upcoming Corridor events & membership. It’s also a good location to stay warm, if the weather is cold. There is also indoor plumbing, however the system seems to get overwhelmed and backs up….but don’t fear there are extra, clean port-o-potties set up outdoors.

It was time to start the race. While there were no signs encouraging people to line up according to pace, everyone did an excellent job of self seeding.  Mark – the club president said some words, and then the National Anthem was sung live, however if you were in the back of the corral, you might not have been able to hear it.

With this being a 5k, my usual goal is to run it sub 30 minutes, however I had a Go Pro in one hand and my phone in the other. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tackle all of this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The race course wasn’t too difficult, it was basically flat, and on all paved surfaces. Ok, so the finish was uphill and there were some potholes….but totally manageable. The course also has out and back type sections, so you can cheer on the others.


I crossed the finish line, while watching the clock…SUB 30!!! My official results:


After I was done running, I picked the camera back up and snapped some pictures of the award winners. Then I went to check out the post race food, since it was lunch time. Volunteers called the “cookie monsters” brought a lot of baked goods, and there were 2 different types of homemade chili. There were some sandwiches and fruit too. I waited too long and there wasn’t much food left, and I don’t care for chili, so I grabbed a cookie. There was also lots of beverages – bottled water, sodas, and some Miller Lite.

I really needed to get on my way, there was Hawkeye basketball game at 1pm… I was already late.

This is a great race! The price is right and it gets you out of the winter funk. The club does a great job too, everything runs smoothly. I also like getting to socialize with everyone. I also forgot to mention, a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Boys & Girls club.


See you at the next Corridor Running event, the Shamrock Shuffle – PS registration is still open. There is a 3.17k and a 6.24k. They could also use volunteers.

Keep up with Corridor Running: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram & don’t forget to tag #corridorrunning

 

 

 

2016 – 100 Miles in November

 

I am excited to announce the 100 Miles in November Challenge is back for 2016!

thumbs-up

Welcome back to those that have participated the last couple of years!

It’s that time of year again when marathon training is over, the weather gets cold, the holidays creep in….. and you find yourself not running…well the goal of this challenge isn’t to compete with your peers, but to motivate you to keep active during this time of the year.

It’s simple, just log your miles in the provided spreadsheet! There is a Facebook group and a Strava group which can help with extra motivation if you need it. I encourage you to join these too, but it’s not required. (Make sure to follow up with the Google docs form, so I know you are entered and can contact you if necessary)

Also as an added boost – there will be prizes!

  • Logging mileage each week makes you eligible to win a weekly prize, through a random drawing, this year there will be a Corridor Running tech shirt given away.logoworks
  • Bi-monthly prize pack from BibraveBibrave – this will include the Bibrave technical trucker hat! IMG_6552
  • Completing 100 miles will automatically get you a $15 coupon to spend at Fleet Feet Davenport (This is only good at that FF location)fleet-feet-davenport-logo
  • GRAND PRIZE – everyone who hits the 100 mile goal will be entered in a random drawing to win a an Orange Mud Single Barrel Hydraquiver!!!!!!!!!!! om_hq_single_gray_front
  • Another final prize – Everyone who logs 100 miles will be eligible for the random drawing for a hand made, medal rack. Courtesy of String N Nails!
  • To stay on task, if you have logged 45 miles by Nov 15, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 $50 Gift Card to Dunkin Donuts – you can say you “Run on Dunkin” (Thanks Dunkin for being on board again!)10943646_10153061195229313_9059802765655864874_n
  • Random drawings during the month:race fuel things – and anything else that comes along.
  • New for 2016– anyone signed up in the spreadsheet by Nov 1, will get their choice of a MarathAng Bands Headband or key chain. (If you want an older race ribbon made into a headband or key chain, I can do that for a fee)

How do you enter?

Easy – enter your name / twitter handle/ nick name on the spread sheet & log your mileage. Keep adding in the columns to the right. Please make sure I have a way to get a hold of you by following up with the google form.

This is a Google Doc, this is a public spreadsheet to everyone that has the link. If you need help with this, please send me a message, I know in the past some with apple products have problems accessing the doc.

*Also please leave the google doc alone, unless there is a minor edit that needs to be changed. I have locked the names and date columns, and have frozen them, so you should be able to navigate it easier. If you want your name or something a different color let me know.

What are the rules? (aka the fine print)

  1. Only walking / running as exercise miles count. I am counting on participants honesty for this. I think you should make an effort to keep active. Walking to the bathroom, or walking to kitchen will not count, or step counting. This is not a fitness tracker challenge.
  2. Miles need to be logged on the provided google docs spread sheet.
  3. Spread sheet is a public document, open to those who have the link.
  4. Each participant is responsible for keeping track of their own miles. If you can’t access the spread sheet make arrangements to have someone enter them for you. (send me an email)
  5. No entry fee, no cost.
  6. All drawings for prizes will be generated at random, via an online raffle service.
  7. Please pay attention to your body, don’t try to reach the 100 mile goal at the expense of an injury.
  8. Honor system in play when logging miles.
  9. Weekly prize eligibility, have to log mileage at least once a week. Keep your log up to date, logs checked on Sunday for weekly giveaway.
  10. To be eligible to win grand prize must have completed 100 miles.
  11. You do not have to be local, live in Iowa to compete.
  12. Your contact information is only for prize notification. It will not be shared.
  13. Random prizes to be determined later.
  14. Photos may be used for random prizes.
  15. Stay connected using #100miles.
  16. Information will be posted on the blog.
  17. This challenge is in no way administered, sponsored, or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. By entering this challenge you release Instagram, Facebook and twitter of all responsibility. You are also agreeing to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook rules terms of use.

– Challenge will be live, Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016, please pay attention to the rules, as there could be a slight change or more prizes added before the first.

– Entry/registration will be open through November 8, 2016

– I have created a FB group 100 miles in November, if you like to connect that way. No requirement to join this group, but encouraged.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/597884697000625

-There is a Strava group for this challenge. Not a requirement, but encouraged. This is a private group, just so it’s open to the 100 mile members, just ask to be invited.

It is not necessary to have facebook or twitter to be involved with this challenge. I do ask that you pay attention to this blog for important information or updates.

Contact information:

  • email -Scweegie@aol.com
  • twitter – @angiemaskeberka
  • facebook – Angie Maske-Berka
  • add a comment on this post
  • Instagram – @amaskeberka

Run With Carl – 2016

Run With Carl

This race has become my labor day tradition. I think I have ran it the past 3 or 4 years. I have a few reviews at Bibrave.com if you want to check em out, but the race goes so smoothly, they are usually the same.

This race has a great history. Over 20 plus years ago, Carl Schilling, at age 15, lost his life in an car-pedestrian accident. He was a cross country runner. The race went on, in his name to raise money for scholarships for area schools. A few years back the family put on the last race, however with help from a title sponsor the race goes on today. This race is a great example of community.

Alright…so this year the event took place on Monday September 5, 2016 at 8:15 am in Bettendorf, IA, It was a sunny start, 70’s and humid.


Gear: Bibrave Tank, Donut Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Pro Compression socks, Ampla Fly shoes, Addidas shorts, XX2i USA1 sunglasses, Aftershokz headphones, Garmin Fenix

Josh was once again running this race too, and we met up with Kelly. Not only has this become my Labor Day tradition, I think these 2 have been running this race as long as I have.

We arrived in Bettendorf around 7:15 am, as Josh and I still needed to register. Race day price was only $25 and we were running the 5 mile distance. If we wanted a shirt we could pay extra…believe me, we don’t not need another shirt.  I emphasize this price, it’s a steal! I have paid $40 or more for 5ks, I don’t know why but I have….so this race keeps it affordable.

We have always parked at the Middle School, which is a short walk from the race start. There is plenty of parking and it’s free. Just make sure to get there in enough time before the road is closed for the race.

There are also plenty of port-o-potties behind the registration area. I also think the fitness center is open if you really needed to use an actual toilet. However the race is small enough and it’s first thing in the morning the porto’s are clean…and as many races as I have done, a porto isn’t a big deal.


We were all ready to run the race, so we stood near the start and listened to the pre-race announcements, and the live singing, by a quartet, of the National Anthem.

Having run a half marathon the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did plan to race this though. I was also in the testing period for the Ampla shoes, which helped create force in running so I would improve my mechanics and run faster.

I made sure not to start too fast, and being familiar with the course, I also made sure to watch my footing, as the first section is on the road and there are crack and some potholes.

Once off the road, the race goes onto the bike path. This area can be congested with runners, but it eventually spreads out. The bike path is an asphalt surface. It follows a little creek.

There are 3 water only stops on the course, with easy to pinch paper cups. Each mile is marked and there is a volunteer standing at each one shouting the overall time.

From the bike path, the course then goes through a residential neighborhood and then finishes on a busier city street. This year the last street was under construction, so the course was on the sidewalk, which was no problem as it is really wide.

The one thing I forgot about this race is the hills! They are not steep, but there are quite a few that make pushing the pace a little more of a challenge.

I came across the finish line, and found Josh cheering in finishers. I waited next to him and we saw Kelly finish the 5k. Wahoo!


We all walked into the finisher’s area and where there was bananas, apples, bagel pieces and cookies. We were all too late for the cupcakes. 😦 I wish they would have enough for all, but a cookie did the trick.

M

There was a tent printing out results, just had to show them your bib number. Ugh, my time was slower than last year by about 2-3 minutes. I really felt like I was flying through the race course, just must have had tired legs. My time was 47:30, which is still a great pace of 9:30.

img_8326

We milled about for a while, but it was time to go to Dunkin Donuts and get some coffee and donuts of course. So we said our goodbyes to Kelly and were on our way.


Ok so we didn’t eat all the donuts… But left them with my niece. 🍩

I like this race and will always try to run it, let the Labor Day tradition continue. I am happy the community has stepped up to make this happen. See you next year Bettendorf!

 

xx2i Australia1 – Product Review

XX2i Australia1 Sunglasses


“Disclaimer: I received the xx2i Optics Australia1 Polarized Sport Sunglasses   to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”


Before XX2i, I thought running with the shade from a hat or visor was enough to protect my eyes. Now, I can’t imagine running or being outdoors without my sunglasses. I was excited to learn the Australia1 frames I would be receiving would have my prescription lenses in them.

Each model has something a little different about them, it’s the details that make these great. From the website: “the Australia1 is XX2i’s only performance sunglass featuring an interchangeable temple arm / strap system for intense activities. The Australia1 also incorporates a removable padded insert for extra protection against the elements, and a sturdy frame with a unique wraparound style for enhanced peripheral vision. This model comes standard with polarized lenses that employ 8K optical technology, ensuring the utmost lens clarity and frame durability.”

I received my glasses, in matte black with gray lens and blue flash, just like my previous pairs, in a nice hard, zippered case; which is lined with foam. Inside was the glasses, a soft case that doubles as a cleaning cloth, a foam insert, 2 straps, a prescription card, and the original non RX lenses. There is also some clear lenses that look like a test lens, they have no RX. The frames also come in matte tortoise and matte white/black, and you can chose brown lenses.


I am not certain why I have the non RX lenses with my case, as I don’t believe I can take the frames apart and change them myself.

However, I can change the temples to a strap, and add a foam insert. This use would be best for more extreme sports or to protect your eyes from, wind, rain, snow, or dust. There is a piece on the foam that snaps into the hole over the nose on the frame. Makes them more like goggles.


August 11 – This is the day I received them. I tried them on for the first time, I can see out of them better than my current glasses (I think the RX on them is out of date.) It was also night time when I put them on, and I could still see inside.


August 12 – This was my first run, it was cloudy, but didn’t feel too dark. I had this weird perception, the ground seems farther away and always looks like I am going up a hill, weird curve to the lens with the RX. They would fog up when stopped at light,  it was humid & and I was super sweaty.  As far as the fit, they didn’t bounce or slip, great fit!

August 14 –  I took them on a short 3 mile run. Still adjusting to the curve of the lens when looking down. Some weird perception problem. I am not sure I could run trails or an area with unsure footing.

Aug 16– short & slow run, still getting used to the lens.


Aug 17 – humid, fogged up at stop lights. I had a thought, “If I use The foam insert will they be too hot?” I also can notice if I move my eyes left or right there is a weird curve blur to the lens.

All my runs so far have been in the morning. I will wake up and go for my run, this means I do not have to put in my contacts. When I come home and take a shower, this also means I don’t have to shower with my contacts (I am lazy and don’t take them out.) This is great as my eyes don’t dry out. Probably one of my favorite things about having these glasses.

can you see the blur on the right side of the lens, due to the curve?

Another plus is since they are my prescription, my husband, who likes to borrow my running gear, can’t borrow these.

I also noticed I have problems with them fogging up as they do sit close to my face. There is no adjustable nose piece to have them sit farther off your nose. However the fit is great on my face, no slipping or sliding, or bounce and I wear them with a hat/Buff and headphones.

I think the biggest con to having these if you are running somewhere in a tunnel, a trail race, or if the weather changes. In those situations you would need to remove the darker lenses and then wouldn’t be able to see. Now, yes I did wear these on a cloudy day and was still able to see, but if it were any darker, I would have problems.

Personally, I still struggle with the curve of the lens. I had to submit my RX information to XX2i including the distances between my eyes, so they would get the lens right. Maybe my RX was borderline too strong, as I know they can only fill RX to a certain strength.

If you are looking to get a pair of these for yourself they will range in price from $260-$500. They have a variety of lenses to chose from clear, photochromic, and polarized.

Please check out this page with the information you need to get RX lenses for your glasses, including the email contact. http://www.xx2i.com/pages/faq

I like these glasses, but they will be used for specific runs where I am familiar with my footing. I now have many options for protecting my eyes on the run. (I can also use these if I have some eye infection and can’t wear my contacts.) I also can’t wait to try them out in the extreme winter weather, they will be like googles.

*Please note I have these with prescription lenses, so my testing is a bit different. As an actual pair of sunglasses, these are another great product from xx2i.

XX2i makes a quality product. If there is something wrong with them they have the best warranty out there.”no questions asked Lifetime Warranty! No matter if your dog chewed on them (which we hear a lot!) or if you drove over them in your SUV, we’ll replace them for a nominal shipping and handling fee of $19.95!” *still confirming if this is good with RX lenses

I have 4 pairs of XX2i, top to bottom, USA1, Australia1, Bermuda1, Hawaii1

Seriously, I wear the Bermuda1 every day, I can’t imagine wearing the cheap shades you get at expos or pick up at a gas station anymore.

If you have further questions make sure to visit the XX2i website and check out their social channels Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Also if you haven’t heard this is a great article about the Bibrave and the XX2i partnership.


Check out what the Bibrave Pros had to say: Christine – Jessica R – Samantha – Jeremy – Jen – Heather

 

End #NF 5k – recap

Iowa NF 5k Walk and RunIowa NF 5k Walk and Run

I had run this race last year, and wasn’t too impressed. However, a friend, Jen was going to run this year and I thought I would join her. I could also run to and from this event getting a few extra miles for the day.

Check out my official review at Bibrave.com

Gear: Sparkle Athletic superhero skirt, ProCompression socks, Moving comfort bra, Green Walmart Tank, Nathan race belt, Garmin Fenix 3, OM Endurance Pack, xx2i sunglasses, Adidas shorts, Brooks Ghost 9


This year’s race was on Saturday Aug 13. It was warm, sunny and humid.


I woke up early and ran to the Terry Trueblood Recreational area. It is about 4.8 miles from my house. I was hoping for more miles on the day, and I was early to register so I ran around the lake when I got there. I actually ran into Jen, when I was about done.

Registration opened at 7:00am, and it was about 7:15. I walked over to the table to register expecting it to cost more on race day, but nope, only $20, and I didn’t have to buy a shirt. The last thing I need is another shirt.

Jen and I talked until the race started, mostly about her neon orange shoes.

We lined up and noticed that the one and only Erik Sowinski was running this event. He’s the coolest, compete at the Olympic trials and come back to Iowa City for a low key 5k.

Ok, after sizing up the competition…who am I kidding I will never be that fast… the race started. It was an out and back around the lake this year. There were 2 water stops with plastic cups. There were no spectators and the course was not closed to the public. It was nice on the out and back to wish others good luck as you passed by them.

I started way to fast, I think it was because I was trying to keep up with Jen (who by the way is a former college track athlete.) I only caught her at the turnaround, and that was because she stopped to take a drink. I had my OM pack on, as I needed it for running to/from the race.

Jen and I ran for a while together and chatted a bit. I told her I ran the first mile in 8:44 and that was way too fast. I slowed down and she kept moving faster, I just couldn’t keep up with her, and I think she was trying to keep up with a 10 year old kid.

The course was all paved and flat, but I just didn’t have any more speed in me. Running a marathon a month, I haven’t done any speed training except when I pick up a 5k here or there. Sure I can run 26 miles, but pushing in a 5k is tough!

I crossed the finish line in 27:15, wahoo!! It’s always a goal to hit sub 30, well and to finish.


Once I finished I made my way to a banana. They also had cookies, granola bars, apples and bottled water. Pizza would be showing up at 11 am. They had events all morning until then, including a one mile walk, a silent auction and things for kids to do.


Jen and I waited around for a while as there was mention that Star Wars characters would be showing up. While we waited we found Herky.

While we were standing around, I was tapped on the shoulder by an Iowa City police man. I was like uh, what did I do? He noticed my OM pack, and as he had an OM bottle pack, was curious about this new one. He asked me what I was training for, probably confused why I was wearing it for a 5k. I told him I ran there and that I was running a marathon a month. He then topped me and said he needed something to help him train for his first hundo in a few months. I wished him luck.


They had the awards presentation. Jen and I won our Age groups and received a plastic medallion.


Then we saw the storm troopers from the 501st Legion, and other characters. Of course, we had to get a picture. They insisted I hold a light saber. I was all sorts of confused as they talked, I have done too many Disney races.


It was time for me to get moving home. I had about 5 more miles and it was plenty warm. I said my goodbye to Jen and trotted back.

This race was much improved over last year, and I forget that it’s a fundraising event versus a competitive 5k. I would consider running it again. I had around 13 total miles on the day.

 

Colorado!

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Fort Collins Human Race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As you just read above, I went to Colorado to run a race for BibRave. However, the hubs decided to run it too and make it a vacation. As a warning, this will be a long post about our Colorado adventure… for all the race specifics please check out my review at Bibrave.com 

As some of you may know, I don’t do well flying. I don’t mind driving, but Colorado is about 14ish hours from home. Lucky for us Amtrak has a train that could take us there. It would be an overnight ride from Mt. Pleasant, IA to Denver. While there are sleeper cars available, we just had 2 regular seats on the upper level.

We rolled into Mt. Pleasant Wednesday, July 27. We checked our large suitcase at the train station and went to find some food. The great thing (or not so great thing) is you can bring a lot of stuff with you, including all the food. We found some Chinese food and ordered some to go. (so you can buy food on the train, but the prices are crazy)

The train was 20 minutes or so behind, which wasn’t a big deal. We just waited in the hot station. Also to note when traveling Amtrak, there is no formal security in a small station…no one checks anything… (at this time)

We boarded the train, and took our seats. It was roughly 7pm CT.

I am no stranger to riding Amtrak, it’s a great way to get to Chicago. I was most excited to get some things done with the wi-fi. However this train had no wi-fi, and I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have anything else with me to read, just the couple of puzzles on my phone. I am not used to having absolutely nothing to do.

IMG_6467

We were settled and cruising along, we ate our Chinese food, listened to some music, then it was quiet time. We tried to get some sleep, but every time I would get comfortable, something would ache and you need to re position. Oh well, the sun came up soon enough and just like that we were in Denver, it was around 8am MT.

Thursday July 28

After a short wait, we claimed our bags and had Enterprise “pick us up.” They took us to their office and we had our choice of a white or black Chevy Camaro. Ok, we tossed our luggage in the black one and were on our way to our first stop…. Voodoo Doughnuts. (If you recall, I once bought a bucket of day old donuts for $8)

We found a spot to park on the street, and went inside. As always there are so many options when it comes to donuts. Josh picked a cruller and I went with the Old Dirty Bastard. YUM!!

Up next, a tour of Coors Field. This is the home to MLB’s Colorado Rockies. They were playing out of town (the Mets) so instead of going to a game we thought we would check out where they play. However we arrived too late to get a spot on the 10 am tour, it was sold out. Instead of waiting around for the next one at 12, we changed things up and walked around Denver…then grabbed a bite to eat a place call the View House.

IMG_6415

After talking to our waiter, he changed our minds for our afternoon plans. Instead of heading to the water park, we hopped back into the car and headed for Boulder. We were going to take a hike at the area called Flat Irons. We have water parks at homes, but no mountains.

Not sure how we would have traveled or made plans without googlemaps.

Somehow we figured out to park in the Chautauqua area, it appeared to be some private music venue or something. Oh well, we snagged our Orange Mud packs, since we didn’t know what to expect and headed out on the trail.

There were maps and trail markers along the way, but really you could hike around anywhere. It wasn’t a park. We hadn’t even made it a half mile and saw a deer. There were many other people using the trail too.

FItrail

We motored along, but came to a place where it appeared the trail disappeared. We let some others with hiking poles pass us, then we followed them. The trail seemed to do this in many spots. We didn’t know what we were getting into. Then we came to a place where we could see climbers scaling the sides of the Flat Irons…no climbing gear. CRAZY!

climbFI

It was then time for us to have an adventure of our own, the trail turned into loose rocks. If you hit the wrong one you could slide down into the ravine. We could see the dirt trail up ahead, we just needed to get there. We made it after taking our sweet ass time. It was obvious we were not experienced hikers.

We stopped to take a break, ate some trail mix. When we started hiking again, we struck up a conversation with a friendly woman from VA. She suggested we go to the Garden of the Gods. (we didn’t have time for that) She also went on to suggest checking out the tram in Estes Park. She wasn’t the only friendly person we ran into, in fact everyone out on the trail was super nice.

rocks

When all was said and done, according to the stats on my Garmin we hiked about 2.75 miles at 5500 feet above sea level. We wanted to make sure we were adjusted to the altitude before our half marathon on Saturday.

Next stop – Longmont. This is where we would call home for a few nights.

After checking into the hotel, we thought we should check out one of the 20 or so breweries in the area. We made a trip to the Left Hand Brewery. I chose a Blood Orange IPA, it was 8.6% and Josh went with a 4% beer. As with many of the breweries in CO, they didn’t serve food, but some snacks, and a food truck was parked outside.

IMG_6451

The night was still young, so we went to the Pumphouse Brewery. It was ladies night, and the house drafts were only $3. There was a short wait for food, but some games in back, we gave Skee Ball a go and tied with a score of 210. We got a table, ordered food, and stuffed our faces.

IMG_6454

It was a long day, we were tired, we called it a night, more adventure was ahead.

Friday July 29

The tentative plan was to check out Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. With the one hour time difference, we were up early and on our way to Estes. (It also helped the hotel had a sweet breakfast available)

Once we got to Estes Park, we decided to take the Aerial Tramway to the top of one of the peaks. We were early, but that was a good thing. There were only 2 tram cars, one went up while the other went down. Each car could hold approx. 8 passengers.

IMG_6489

While waiting in line and throughout the day, we were asked if we were in town for the race. Little did we know the Rocky Mountain half marathon and 5k was the same weekend. I guess the people of Estes Park recognize Bibrave gear.

We were on the second tram to the top. There was a coffee shop and a gift store. We talked to the lady behind the cash register and she told us to hike off the beaten path, she also told us to buy some peanuts to feed the chipmunks. (No thanks!)

Josh and I walked the additional mile to the summit and did some more hiking once we got there. The Garmin says we were about 8,432 feet at our highest point, 3,000 more than the day before.

IMG_6494

We did some shopping around at the gift shop and waited in a short line for the return tram. While we waited there was a hummingbird feeder set up where 4 birds were battling out the 2 spots to feed. I have never been so close to these birds, they were used to people.

IMG_6566

It was close to lunch time, so we braved the downtown, talk about a tourist trap. The parking situation was crazy and there were people everywhere. Since we couldn’t find any parking we opted to go to the Estes Park Brewery (shocking, more beer!) it was a little removed from the craziness.

We ordered some sandwiches and actually passed on a beer. Well….we did check out the tasting room where each person was allowed 4 samples. We topped off the visit with the house brewed root beer float.

Our next plan was to hit up Rocky Mountain National Park. I had done some light research about places to hike, but really wasn’t sure where or how you went about doing it, or if you needed to pay someone? So we just hopped into the car and headed to the park.

We were traveling on hwy 36 and passed the Beaver Meadows Visitor center, but it just didn’t feel like the main place to be, (even though it’s park headquarters) so we looped around the lot and got back on the road and drove some more. There it was, the actual entrance or pay station.

We handed over the $20 for the daily park pass and made sure to get a map. Which was the best thing we ever did. There is no phone service. Ok, so there are not many roads in the mountains, but it helped us decide to take the Old Fall River Road up and then Trail Ridge Road (Hwy 34) back down. Otherwise we would have just kept going and ended up on the west side of the mountain range.

view2

I mentioned Old Fall River Road…now this was an adventure. This road is the original road around the park. It is still gravel, it’s only open from July-September, it’s only one way up, it’s 9 miles long, and the speed limit is 15 mph. Oh remember the part where we have a Camaro as a rental car? Yeah it sits really low to the ground, the road was rutted at all the hair pin turns, so that was fun. It was also fun to have one side of the road drop off into a ravine, while the other was a rock wall.

We reached the Alpine Visitor Center, in about an hour! We stopped here to use the bathrooms, check out the gift store and hike to the summit. We ended up at 12,000 feet. It was cool and breezy, Josh estimated maybe 50 degrees.

We looked at the map and discovered the Continental Divide was only a few more miles down the road before we would turn back. We took the obligatory picture with the sign, did some more hiking, and headed back to Trail Ridge Road.

IMG_6653

On the way back, the traffic came to a stop. We couldn’t figure out what was happening, did someone have car trouble? Then we saw a set of antlers….and another…there were 2 Elk just chillin by the roadside.
“Did you see the rack on that one?”

IMG_6672

We continued on our way, taking all the pictures and admiring all the views. The paved road was a lot easier to navigate, and there were guard rails on the steep ravine sides. We made one last stop at the Hidden Valley Ranger Station area. There were actual flushing toilets and it was solar powered. This was cool to see in such a remote area.

I really wish we had more time to spend here, or drive the entire way around and do some hiking.

On the way back we stopped at a cherry store. We grabbed some things to bring home, but most importantly grabbed a slice of cherry pie. I love a good road side attraction or food stand.

IMG_6687

Up next…dinner with fellow Bibrave Pro – Katherine. I’ll bet you’ll never guess where we dined….ok it’s obvious, another Brewery. This time it was Oskar Blues. We sat outdoors, the weather was ridiculously awesome, no humidity! OMG the beer menu was insane here, if I really took the time to read it all, I would still be there. I chose a sour and Josh went with an IPA. We split a pizza, as we had 13.1 to run in the morning. We enjoyed each other’s conversation and had a great evening. At one point a giant thunderhead started to form in the distance, and people came outside to take pictures, like it was a rare occurrence.

IMG_6690

We said our goodbyes after making some rough plans to meet up the next morning, and Josh and I went back to our hotel….where we discovered cookies on the front desk.

Saturday July 30 – RACE DAY

As I mentioned 65 chapters ago, I have all my race details in a review on Bibrave, if you want to check that out.

The race was in Fort Collins, about a 45-50 minute drive from where we were staying in Longmont. We woke up at 4:45 and brewed coffee in our room, and ate the bagels we snagged from the previous days breakfast bar (oh sneaky.)

IMG_6695

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, BR tank, Procompression socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Addidas &’ boy short, BR tech had, SPIbelt, Garmin Fenix, Moving Comfort Bra, Plantronics bluetooth headphones 

We arrived near the start/finish area and easily found a place to park on the street, for free!! We had yet to get our bibs, so we walked the block to the packet pick up and got our things. We had received confirmation emails, but we just told them our names, and got our stuff. I was disappointed in the race shirt. I have 2 of the exact same shirts, same color, same brand….so now I have 3 of the same shirt, just must be a popular color this year.It does fit nice though.

IMG_6704

We met up with Pro Katherine again, her Boyfriend, and their dog Ellie. Bibrave Pro Alex was also running the 5k, and we snapped a picture together.

Then as a surprise, we spotted Carol and her daughter Susan. Carol is a family friend from Iowa, and her daughter lives in FoCo. They had surprised us and signed up to volunteer for the race. This was awesome, races don’t happen without volunteers.

IMG_6711

After using the facilities, we were ready to start. There were some announcements shouted to the crowd, then someone yelled “Go!” The half marathon was off…it started a half hour before the joint start of the 5k and 10k. The unique thing about the 5k was you could race the trolley.

Anyway….. I was off running the half marathon. It was 2 loops around town, part of it on the Poudre Trail, with some gravel spots. There was a spot we went downhill (actually a busy street, I wished we were coned off to run against traffic.) It never felt like we went uphill, but the Garmin stats showed we did some climbing, so I thought it was mostly flat. I also wasn’t bothered by the elevation of around 5000 feet. All that hiking paid off!

There were liquid Aid Stations only, and I knew ahead of time (thanks to all the website info) there would be water and Nuun, which I don’t care for…however I didn’t bring anything else with me, cuz I just didn’t…sometimes I hate carrying all the things with me…hello chafe! (ok so I had some 2Toms…OMG I am rambling here, are you still reading?) Alright I knew that I would need something, so I took the plunge and actually drank some Nuun…along with stopping for every water stop.

13906768_1454670237892157_5881327028090612025_n

FREE PICTURES- WAHOO!
I had a good race, I enjoyed the low humidity and new place to run. I crossed the finish line in 2:18 something, with a Garmin distance of 13.31. It was also at the same time the kids race was finishing, on the same finish line. I was not happy as I had to come to an abrupt stop to not trample anyone. I also had a hard time getting to my medal, and to some cups to get a drink of water. Perhaps they can make 2 finishing areas….

I found Josh and Katherine and we made our way to the post race festivities. Katherine waited with a friend as the results were announced for the 10k. Josh and I went through the post race food line. A Snooze pancake was part of the spread, but just one with fancy icing and granola. There were orange slices, bananas and watermelon too. There was a table with cups to fill with water or lemonade. The race is very environmentally conscious and there were compost, trash and recycling bins.

13669717_1454686467890534_8937071843413518666_n (1)
From this area we took our food and went to the beer!!! Each participant was carded and given 2 tickets for 3 choices of O’Dell’s Beer…Yep more drinking! We lounged in the grass, and discovered Katherine placed 2nd in her AG, YAY!!! Carol and Susan showed up after their duties, they were given pancake vouchers and beer tickets too. However they were out of pancakes, and the beer packed up before we were able to cash in the second ticket.

It was time to move on with our day, so we said our goodbyes to Katherine…hope to meet up again.

Susan offered her shower to us, WAHOO!!! We were prepared to take a water bottle bath in the parking lot, but this was great!

After we were cleaned up, we had to go check out another brewery..of course! We drove over to Funkwerks. I really like the raspberry sour I can get in Iowa, they had it on tap!! They also had it brewed with peppermint and cocoa notes, so I got that. Josh got the regular raspberry. It was their 6th birthday! They had a raffle going on, for every beer you purchased you had a chance to win a prize. Sadly Carol and Susan won nothing…however I put my hand in and pulled out 2 free tacos (from the cart outside) and Josh won a 4 pack of beer!!! They also had munchkins on a tray for all.

IMG_6732

We sat in the shade outside and enjoyed each other’s company. Susan smartly packed some delicious snacks. Including this snack mix Carol travels to Colorado to get…apparently the Costco at home does not sell Utz snack mix.

It was time for us to say goodbye. It was so nice to meet up with them.
Josh and I decided to stay in Fort Collins for the remainder of the day. We walked around the downtown area. We stopped to get a key lime cookie ice cream sandwich, YUM!

Then of course, we stopped at another Brewery…this time New Belgium. This place was huge! All the brew tours were sold out, but we managed to snag some tasters and a flat bread from one of the food trucks on the property.

IMG_6742

It was almost too busy for us, so we took off and headed back towards LoCo. What will we do when back in Longmont? Well drink more beer of course…this time it was different. Josh found a running store with beer taps in the back room – Shoes N Brews!! PERFECT!!!

We shopped the store, ( I got a sample of Run Gum to try) then when they closed up, walked around back to have some more beer and a giant pretzel.

At this point, we were both tired and hungry for a real meal. Instead of leaving and going to another brewery, we found a Mexican restaurant where we loaded up on all the water!!! Plus chips and a little bit of salsa, as it was kinda hot. Once we were full, we called it a day and crashed back at the hotel.

IMG_6748
Sunday July 31

A day to sleep in! However we were awake by 7 am.

We didn’t have much planned for the day, but we managed to fill it with lots of things.

We grabbed a breakfast muffin, juice and coffee from the breakfast in the lobby. Then decided to go run on the path that goes between Longmont and Boulder.

We drove to the Kanemoto park to get on the “trail.” After we started moving, we quickly decided to only make it a 3 mile run, our hammies were sore. We enjoyed the weather, the company, the sights along the way. Colorado is just great for running!


Once done, and back to the hotel, we grabbed some more breakfast – just oatmeal then got our things packed up to head back towards Denver. We had a train to catch at 7pm that night.

With a lot of time to kill, we thought we would eat a real meal. I scoped out a place, thanks to Google, called The Buff in Boulder. It was a breakfast joint near the University of Colorado campus. It was a happening place. (Note it was not a brewery!) We had a 45 minute wait, but really didn’t have much else to do.

Once seated, we noticed they had a deal on 99 cent mimosas and bloody marys with food purchase, score!!! We each ordered a mimosa. We also ordered the most delicious breakfast!! Then of course had an additional drink, I had a bloody mary this time.


It was now about 1:30 and we still had some time. We drove over to the University of Colorado football stadium to check things out. We noticed they had a real grass field, they also had barbed wire fence around the area, they didn’t want anyone to get it. We wrapped up here with still more time to kill…so I suggested going to Red Rocks as it was sort of on the way.

In the mean time Josh had been checking the train schedule to make sure it was on time, and it still was.

By the time we got to Red Rocks the weather had started to cloud up and it was really windy. It didn’t however stop us from more sightseeing. Red Rocks was gorgeous! The bad part was we could only see the surrounding area as there was a concert that evening and they had closed everything down for sound check. We were glad we stopped and checked things out.


From here it was time to get the rental car back to Enterprise. They closed at 4pm, which was approaching. The plan was to park near Union Station and check our one suitcase, then take the car back, but of course there was no parking available.

Being flexible, we drove to Enterprise and returned the car, then Ubered back to the train station. There was no way we were going to haul all our bags around Denver (remember Josh won beer.)

Uber dropped us off and we checked our bag with Amtrak, where we learned the train was running about a half hour behind. The guy at baggage check says the heat out west causes the train to slow down, and he estimated the train would be later yet, not until 8pm.

We sat down at the train station and discovered FREE WIFI!!! So we just sat and chilled for a while. We had been on an adventure the past few days. We would decide what to do next, as Josh kept checking the Amtrak schedule.

IMG_6865
Well, we ended up chilling in the train station too long and never went anywhere else. We used the facilities and got some sandwiches to bring on board. Then we went outside to wait in the line to board the train. We wanted to make sure to be in line early so we could get 2 seats together.

Then the train was delayed more…but a nice older gentleman came up behind us in line, Phil. Phil was on his way to Osceola to get a ride to the Winnebago dealer in Iowa, to then take an RV out west, as they can’t be shipped. He loves to travel and his wife doesn’t, this was a perfect way for him to do so. It was nice to talk to him, we learned about all kinds of things, and how we originally lived in Holbrook, IA. It made the never ending wait go faster.

Finally at 8:27 pm, one of the conductors said the train was backing in. Finally at 8:35 we saw the train, but it had to unload first, then all 180 new passengers had to load back up. It wasn’t until 9pm MT we were on our way back to Iowa, about 2 hours later than planned.

Josh and I got our 2 seats together and settled in, finally eating our sandwiches. This is when I discovered my tray table was broken and I could barely reach the foot rest, did I shrink? While the seats are much roomier on a train, I just couldn’t get comfortable.

It was late, but I wasn’t tired, so I started typing this novel of a recap of events…are you even still reading? It was something I could do without wifi. I also played the Sudoku game on my phone.

We had invested in neck pillows as we thought we would be more comfortable to try and sleep. They were a good investment, but I was never in the right position… I suppose I got 4 hours of sleep. Then we woke up….Josh grabbed us a bagel and some coffee from the cafe…and that was the good news…

Quiet time was over and the conductor was making all the announcements. The first announcment was there was only one driver of the train and he had to make notes, and in order to do that, we had to stop…ok no big deal, we were rolling once again…

Then the next announcement “Ladies and Gentlemen, there was a rollover accident up ahead and they need to clear the tracks” So we were stopped again.

Then there was another announcement “Ladies and Gentleman, a crossing arm is broken ahead” So we were stopped again

Then “Ladies and Gentleman we are stopping to pick up a BNSF worker” — stopped….

Then the lady that is working on our car tells us our shitter is full…AHHHHHH!!!! Will we ever get home???!! I have to pee!

We start rolling again, and this time keep moving. I wrap this novel up as we are about 40 minutes from our stop. Only now about 3 hours from our original arrival time. (We got off the train at 1:30pm CT)

I really did enjoy the train, but as with all travel there will be bumps in the road. I will take it again. I will also go to Colorado again, I hope to get to spend more time hiking around.

There is so much to see and do. I also hope to run more races, especially in the summer when the humidty is about 40%, such a treat for us Iowans.

However before we return, we need to take a break from drinking and maybe eat more salad.

Thanks for reading the lengthy post….stayed tuned for the next adventure.