Double the meat!

Amana Freezer 5k – Race Recap

I know it’s been forever since I last wrote a blog post, I know that you have all missed me. I also know it’s been a nice break. However, here I am with a race recap of the Amana Freezer 5k.

This is the infamous meat bag event, instead of the standard race t-shirt, participants can opt to get a bag of goods from the Amana shops. This is why I come back year after year.

The 2019 event was scheduled to take place January 26th with Winterfest, but the weather had other plans. The forecast had windchill temps well below zero, so the race was postponed to February 9th. Winterfest activities still happened in January. I also understand postponing for the sake of the volunteers.

Saturday, February 9th was a cold, sunny day. The race wouldn’t start until 10 AM, and temps topped around 10 degrees, but there was still a windchill. The other part of the equation, we had just had some ice and winter weather pass through.

I arrived to the Amanas early, I had to get my meat bag and I wanted to check the course out. I am familiar with the route as I have run this event 5-6… I don’t know how many years.

The roads from Iowa City to Amana were fine, but once I was on the race course, it was a skating rink. I even stopped my car and got out to check. I was amazed the event was still going to happen.

After a stop at the local convenience store, I made my way to packet pickup. It was in a new, smaller location this year. A wood shop of some sort, but it was warm and picking up my things was easy. I was shown to a list of names with bib numbers, then proceeded to get my bib, meat bag and timing chip.

I went back to my car to finish getting ready and open the meat bag. This year the contents included a coupon to a chiropractor, some Bio Freeze, race flyers, a package with 2 smoked pork chops, a pfefferwurst and I was lucky enough to get 2 tickets to the Millstream Brewery!

I had all my layers, my ice spikes, my bib and I was ready, but the race was still 10 minutes or more out, so I went and ran a half mile to literally warm up. A key to winter running is not standing around, but keep moving and I didn’t want to stand around at the start line.

I made my way to the starting area and I would say with the postponement of the race, there was a nice crowd, but probably a little smaller than previous years. I chatted with some people I knew and told them the course was covered in ice and all the sudden everyone was moving forward. I didn’t hear a gun or a “go.” There was no sound system and I was near the back.

I don’t recall the last time I raced a 5k, heck the last time I raced was Dec 1st. The conditions would call for some slow times, but I was feeling like I needed a sub 30. I also had my ice spikes, which give me a little confidence, but they really need to be rotated as I have worn them down.

I trotted along and when I came to the one mile marker, I noticed the leader had not yet come back from the turn around in East Amana, so I knew it was really going to be a slower day. Then as I thought that, I saw him.

I ran in places that had a little snow for some extra traction and I was amazed at everyone running with no visible ice traction. Even the leader had nothing, unless he had screw shoes – which could have been the case for many.

I looped around East Amana, said thanks to the one volunteer and ran by the cows, yep it’s a stereotypical Iowa race. On my way back to the finish I noticed a lot more people taking it slower than usual, these are the smart runners…. the ice was no joke. Once you would find a decent place in the road – this would be a place with some sand or air pockets under the ice, that place would disappear.

I rounded the last corner to see Tim cheering people in, I gave him a high five with my non gloved hands as I was randomly overdressed. Then I saw the finishing clock and felt good about my effort. I finished near 28 minutes – Garmin time of 28:37.

Once I crossed the finishing mat, I bent over and removed my timing chip, then reset my watch to go for a little cool down and cheer people in.

I saw Lois and Jen crushing the race! The sun was really showing off the glare of the ice at this point. Still amazed that I don’t recall one slip, fall or broken bone. I had made it about a half mile out, so I thought I would come back… and I ran back to the brewery.

When the race coincides with Winterfest the brewery is packed, so I thought I would grab a drink and then come back to the awards and raffle. There was no line at the brewery, I cashed in a ticket for the Schokolade – which is a chocolate stout. It is stout season y’all!

Then I went back to my car and took off a sweaty layer, poured the beer in a coffee mug, and made my way to the awards. The firefighters were selling their chili in the Winterfest mugs outside the building too.

I was just in time for the awards. There was still a lot of post race food available too, so I grabbed a half of a bagel to enjoy with my stout. I listened to the awards and the overall winner won in a time just under 18 minutes, that is still super fast in my book – CONGRATS!!  I placed like 52nd out of 157 finishers, and wasn’t close in my age group since it’s a 9 year span, and I am at the slower end of the spectrum. I don’t really care about winning, I was happy to be back out running at races.

The awards ended and it was time for the raffle. I have won before, I think it was some wine or tickets to the theater or something, so I had my fingers crossed. There are running store gift certificates, grocery store baskets and usually bird seed from the feed mill. Well this year had those things, but no bird seed…which had the older population a little upset. LOL

I left with an apple and made my way back to the brewery to cash in my second ticket. There was no line again. I ran into another runner and we chatted for a bit. I asked for a cream soda and was on my way. Millstream also makes a root beer.

This isn’t some big time race, it’s just a great small community event that usually kicks off the running year. I will always try to run this, not only for the meat bag, but to see the running community.


What happened in 2018?

Then, just like that it’s 2019. I have no idea what happened to 2018. This is just a sign that I am old and time goes by faster and faster. Anyway, I always like to recap my year, believe it or not, I will go back and read these.

The year started off with one goal, run and walk 2018 miles in 2018. I paid to be a apart of this challenge a couple years back (2015.) I got a medal and an online community. I wasn’t interested in that for the cost, so I was doing this challenge on my own. I would track each intentional walk and run with my Garmin and load it to Strava.

I also started the year as am ambassador for BibRave, Zensah and Aftershokz. I was in my first year as Vice President of Corridor Running.

Other than that, I would run some races and see where things took me.


I ran a new to me race, the Triple D. I enjoy running on the Heritage Trail near Dubuque, plus a half marathon in Iowa in the winter. I ended the month with a tradition like any other, the Amana Freezer run.


Helped my club with their first race of the year, and for fun it started snowing an hour before the race, making it live up to it’s name – Freezefest. I also went skiing for the first time in about 10 years.


I volunteered and ran the Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle. It was also time that training for the first ever Crandic Marathon was ramping up. I joined some appreciation runs and received a race entry to the Chocoholic Frolic, which allowed me to run both events they offered. That was an interesting run.


I am looking through blog posts for this recap and it appears I didn’t test any products through BibRave until April. I also volunteered at the Hawkeye 25k/50k it was a miserable day, cold and rainy. Then the most excitement for this month was the Crandic Marathon. Crandic was my 25th marathon.


The year was moving fast at this point. The local market I was a part of was going to be present at a local race, so I doubled up on the fun and sold headbands and ran the 10k. Then I decided that I would start trail Tuesdays, which lead me to find a short little trail in my area. I ended the month with the trio of races in Madison. I was also introduced to the running program at the area prison, that was a humbling experience.


This was a busy month! It was the last year for the Dam to Dam in Des Moines, so Josh and I went over and ran the rainy event. Since then another company purchased the race and will host a similar event. From there I risked my life and ran the Keota 10k, but won the female race! I made the annual trek to Grandma’s and ran the challenge. Then turned around and ran another marathon the next week, Run 4 Troops. I even gave kayaking a try!


After helping at the 33rd Fifth Seasons Race, Josh and I took a summer vacation. We ended up in Canada, which had me attempting my longest race to date a 56K, however if you read the review, you know how that turned out. When we returned we discovered a West Liberty race, so we gave it a try. I also ran the Solon Beef Days 5k.


This is the month my blog photo storage became full, LOL! I had to learn to be creative as I still have a free site. I learned all about embedding google photos. I then convinced my sister to allow my niece to run a race, so they joined me in Durant. After that it was a trip to Chicago to represent the Hawks at the B1G 10k, where I became Bill Murray’s BFF. Then to end the month I ran the stupid Backpocket race, lol.


Football season was here, so that meant choosing race events to fit that schedule. The month began with helping the club with the NewBo run. I only ended up running one race, the PCTR 30k. I did, however start running with Kona and she ran her first virtual 5k.


Kona was going to try to PR her 5k and try another virtual 5k. I traveled to MPLS to cheer a friend at the Twin Cities marathon and the club had 3 races! I was going to run my first ever Des Moines marathon, and I am glad I did! Then for fun a week later I ran the inaugural Hawkeye fallout 50k. If that wasn’t enough the next day I attempted a 5k at the IMCC.


The 6th year of 100 miles in November! I still can’t believe this keeps going, and it’s all because of the great people that participate. I also completed half marathon #50 in Madison. I also ran the Legend of the Fall for the xth time, keeping the tradition alive. The month ended with a fun trip to Texas to participate in the first ever influencer day at The Running Event.


The month started with my first ever race in Texas. Then it continued on as I got to test all the fun products I received at The Running Event. Then there was the Ugly “Sweat”er Run, which raised over $1,300 for Shelter house. I also woke up in the middle of the night to run on a treadmill beside a guy who ended up running 150 miles on a treadmill in 48 hours. It ended with a road trip to Florida.

2018 – According to Strava, I completed 2024 miles in 2018. I was pleased with this result. I only ran 12 miles of this on a treadmill. However, I am not going to be doing this for 2019. I have over 1700 running and the rest was walking.

I hit one year in my run streak!

What is in store for 2019?

This is the question I can not answer, and it’s driving me nuts. I need a challenge, I need a project. I don’t make resolutions. I have toyed with the idea of running a 50 miler.

Things for certain: I am a BibRave Pro (this will be the start of my 6th year, just call me Grandma BibRave!) I am am Aftershokz ambassador. I am the Co-Vice President for Corridor Running. I am registered for the Amana Freezer 5k, I plan to register for the Run Madtown events, and I won entry into Run 4 Troops (but still waiting on entry code.)

There are many possibilities of things to do, most of which require money. Heck, you need an employee – I am also interested in work too. I guess I will just see what happens.

Nuun Hydration – Product Review

PRODUCT REVIEW – Nuun Hydration

“Disclaimer: I received Nuun Hydration to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

I am not stranger to Nuun Hydration. The Running Event swag bag was packed full of Nuun Tubes. It felt like I just kept pulling them from every compartment.

Nuun is a drink in a tablet form that dissolves or effervesces in water to then provide you with an electrolye drink. One tablet per 16 oz of water. It comes in a variety of flavors that all boast many benefits including vitamins, electrolytes or caffeine to boost your energy or immune system. It’s gluten free, dairy free and made from plant based ingredients. It also only has around 10 calories as it does not contain a lot of sugar.

During the guided tour at the expo, the Nuun presenters were very involved in answering everyone’s questions. They also had a huge assortment of flavors available for sampling.

I received 10 tubes and a reusable water bottle. Each tube is a different flavor and contains 10 tablets. They retail around $5 – $7 per tube.
* Lemon + lime
* Strawberry lemonade
* Energy – wild berry
* Vitamins – blueberry pomegranate
* Vitamins/energy – blackberry citrus
* Immunity – orange citrus
* Energy – cherry limeade
* Energy – mango orange
* Tri-berry
* Immunity – blueberry tangerine

I will say the flavor tastes good, but I am missing the bubbles that disappear after the tablet dissolves, and to me it tastes flat. It’s just not what I prefer.

My husband on the other hand loves this stuff! He always has a water bottle full at arms length.

My mom was at Christmas and complaining about having leg cramps overnight, and she didn’t get a good nights sleep. I suggested I mix her up some Nuun. I poured some water in a glass and she watched it dissolve. She had 3 tablets of the blackberry citrus. She reported back the next morning with a great night’s sleep!

If you are looking for a healthier option to keep dehydration at bay, this might be what you are looking for.

Vuori – Product Review

PRODUCT REVIEW – Vuori Clothing Omni Performance Shorts

“Disclaimer: I received Vuori Omni Performance Shorts to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

The Vuori Omni Performance short was a nice surprise in my The Running Event swag bag. I am always looking for new running gear, what better way to discover a new to me product.

During the guided tour at the expo the presenter told us that the woman’s line is relatively new to Vuori. They had samples from their collection hanging in their booth. I happened to notice their color story – dark blues, grays, dark greens, dark reds, blacks – timeless colors. They also looked very “luxe.”

The short was in olive green color (which is referred to as moss,) they are very soft and are very flowy. There is a zippered pocket on the back of the waist band and they have a brief liner. They retail for $58

Sadly, the size I received is not my size. I am not able to give them a running test. I can tell you that I usually wear a large / XL in bottoms and these were a medium and I was able to get them on.

Please check out what Vanessa had to say.

Altra Escalante – Product Review

PRODUCT REVIEW – Altra Escalante 1.5

“Disclaimer: I received the Altra Escalante 1.5 to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

At The Running Event welcome reception we received our swag bags, that included a pair of Altra Escalante 1.5 running shoes.

I am familiar with this company and their shoes. I attended a local running store’s group event once and was able to test their product. I knew that they are a zero drop shoe with a wider toe box to accommodate for your natural foot fall.

I received the Escalante in heathered gray (or silver), with gray shoelaces and white sole. They are extremely lightweight. They retail for $130.

During the guided tour at The Running Event expo, the presenters at the Altra booth were very passionate and provided a lot of information in a brief amount of time. They emphasized their wide toe box and zero drop technology. Then went on to show us many new models of shoes, complete with all the specs. I had a hard time taking it all in.

The women’s shoes are also specifically designed for a woman’s foot. It is built to accommodate a narrower heel and midfoot, a higher instep, and a longer arch.

What is zero drop? This means there is no difference from the heal to toe of your running shoe, or no heel to it. The heal and forefoot are equal distance from the ground.

*I would like to say running shoes are very specific to each person, what works for me may not work for you.

I really wanted to like these shoes after listening to all the great things they had to say, in fact I was wearing them at the expo.

The next day when I woke up my calves were very sore. It was the zero drop.

I came home from the trip and knew I really had to break them in before I would consider running in them. I walked the dogs, walked laps around the sporting arena, and even ran a quarter of a mile as I was running late somewhere. After that short run, I felt some pain in the PF area of my right foot.

I run in a different shoe that works for me, in order to continue to wear these to run I believe I would have to fully transition to a zero drop shoe. I am not sure I am ready to make the commitment.

The community behind this shoe had me wanting to love the sock like fit and roomy toe box, but at this time I don’t think this is a shoe for me.

Incrediwear – Product Review

PRODUCT REVIEW – Incrediwear

“Disclaimer: I received Incrediwear products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

When I opened my swag bag at The Running Event, I pulled out many items with the Incrediwear logo. This is a new to me brand.

Included was a personalized card welcoming me to the brand. It highlighted their anti-inflammatory recovery wear as being scientifically proven to increase blow flow, which leads to an optimal healing process. The increadiwear products can be worn during activity and post activity.

I received the woman’s performance capri, the thin no show sports socks, the thin knee high sports socks, and the low cut active socks. They were all individually packaged.

I am no stranger when it comes to using compression wear for muscle recovery. I listened to the presenter at the expo explain their large variety of products, beyond the four items we received. They are very passionate about keeping athletes healthy and have many strange looking sleeves and apparel for compression.

During the presentation it was discussed how blood flow and circulation can also make your hands feel warmer, and they surprised us with their fingerless circulation gloves to take home as well. Spoiler Alert: they did keep my hands warm on a cold run. They retail for $19.99.

The woman’s performance capris are black, and a thin material. They have a wider waist band. They retail for $70. I ran across town in them, they seemed to be my size, but maybe not. I had a problem with them falling down on the run. They did’t seem too tight to get on like some compression pants.

The no show thin sports socks are black and sized. They are thin, light weight and comfortable. They retail for $14. I put these on and wore them around the expo in Texas. I had no issues with them and have since added them into my rotation. They do not fit tight.

The no show knee high sports socks are black with a white pattern on them. They are sized, very thin and lightweight. They retail for $18. I wore these under my jeans to work one day. They are super easy to get on and are not tight. They went way above my knee, and over the course of the day slid down to below my knee. I am not sure I was sized in the correct size.

The active low cut socks are black and a normal weight sock. They retail for $13.55. I ran in them and have added them to my normal rotation.

I was excited to get an assortment of products from Incrediwear. They are not tight like some compression apparel can be. However, I am not sure I have the correct sizes. I will continue to wear and try these products as I also believe that compression is a key to recovery.

Arcanum – product review


“Disclaimer: I received Arcanum products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

I had no clue what Arcanum products were before The Running Event. When I opened my swag bag, I discovered a new to me product.

I will provide you with a little information about the product, from what I can understand. Arcanum is an activated hemp product, designed to aid in performance and recovery of muscles with topical application. The science of the Endocannabinoid System is explained in better detail on the website including many FAQs – make sure to check it out –

I would also like to note that hemp is not an illegal product and Arcanum uses 100% organic, locally grown hemp. It is also tested twice.

I received three Arcanum products:

  • Sarco Freeze 4 oz, sport massage oil, activated hemp moisturizer. This is a clear oily liquid with no scent. It retails for $40
  • Sarco Breeze 42.5G Topical Cooling Action. This is a white colored cream with a minty scent. This retails for $35.
  • The Quill, gel pen. This is a brown colored cream with a delightful smell. It retails for $50.

At the Running Event expo, on our guided tour stop of Arcanum we were told all about the product. There was a lot of information coming at us fast. The presenter was very knowledgeable about all the products and provided a demonstration of how to use them.

None of these products are on my radar, but after the presentation I was sold! I wondered if I would benefit.

I immediate went to use the Sarco Breeze sports massage oil. As a runner in a colder climate, the weather kills my skin. It is so dry in the winter due to low humidity and hot post run showers. I began using it on my face and my shins. I found better results with the dry skin on my shins, maybe it’s due to more tired muscles so I massage them more. I do enjoy the fact there is no scent.

I then tried the Sarco Freeze. I would relate this smell to other topical cooling creams available. I put this on my legs, they are very tired as I try to accomplish a running goal. Within minutes my legs felt cooled and refreshed. I didn’t want to move them. Also, with a quick wash of my hands, they were not feeling the same effect. This is great for more of an instant relief feeling.

The Quill I tested out last, I was a little more skeptical of this one. In the description at the presentation, I felt like it was good to apply before I would go to sleep to help me relax. The first thing I noticed was the smell, it wasn’t perfumey, but pleasant. I applied using the technique described on the pen to the inside of my wrist. I then rubbed with my other wrist. Then I went to sleep. I tried this over a few nights. I really don’t have any issues sleeping, unless it’s the night before a big race. I am usually so exhausted, I crash every night. So, I compared my sleep stats over the week from my watch with other weeks, it was the same. However, I did have my husband try it too, he thought it worked. I am still testing this and think it would be good to use on a road trip or before a big race.

I am happy to try this new to me product. It really is interesting to learn about the science of things and how just an easy topical application can improve your performance and recovery.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.