Race Recap: Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK)

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Route 66 Marathon 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!

“The marathon can humble you.” — Bill Rodgers

Start Line Route 66 marathon bibrave

Well, I’ve had enough humbling. And disappointment. This fall season has not been good to me. Following up on an incredibly disappointing performance at Chicago, I experienced my worst marathon time yet at Route 66. It’s more about the time goal; this was the first time I was feeling actual pain (and not your everyday terrible marathon-running discomfort) — where I could feel all my muscles just lock up and not move anymore. Knee buckling, stop-me-in-my-tracks, make-me-nauseous, searching-for-the-medical-tent pain. If this experience was a gauge of ever running a marathon again, I would say “absolutely not.” (I know that’s not true, but I WILL probably be taking a year or longer off of the distance). But without going into too many personally negative emotional tangents, I want to recap just what an awesome job the Route 66 Marathon race directors did down there in Tulsa.

Cost and Registration: As previously mentioned, I was an ambassador for the race with BibRave, and my registration was paid in full (including the VIP Mother Road package). Early registration when I signed up in April was $95; prices increased incrementally up to race week for the full marathon up to $120 (there are no race day/weekend registrations). I don’t believe there was an extra cost for the Center of the Universe detour, as it seems anyone could have taken the “detour” as you passed. There’s a weekend full of events for runners and spectators: a 5K, half marathon, marathon – even a Mascot Dash!

Route 66 packet pickup #rt66run

Race Communication: Route 66 Marathon had its own app, which honestly wasn’t the best from a user experience, but had full schedule of events for the expo and race notification updates, which I found helpful. I received several emails leading up to race day, including 3-4 the weekend of the race that were specific to start line, corrals, and other important race day information.

Expo and Packet Pick-up: I had an upgrade to the VIP Mother Load package, which gave me the benefit of “skipping the line” (or, a separate VIP pickup) for bibs. There wasn’t any line when I attended the expo, though it was a nice perk. The volunteer who handed me my packet told me that my wrist band was in my bag for the pre- and post-race VIP… and when I opened everything up that night, there was no VIP band. Unfortunately, I was unable to go back to the expo the next day, as I was in a professional development seminar the entirety of the expo open hours on Saturday. Had I paid for the upgrade, I definitely would have been more pissed and sought out remedy the situation. I love the race poster that I received and plan to frame it for my home gym.

Route 66 marathon expo

That said, this expo was one of my favorites – a great mix of vendors (a lot of them new to me including PICKLE JUICE!!!); several race booths showing off their respective bling; and some interesting panels, including the race’s bloggers and social teams, and the ever-awesome Bart Yasso.

Start Line: Great organization, easy to figure out where I needed to go, AND CONFETTI CANNONS when each wave started. It felt really special.

Weather: The weather was positively beautiful! I wore shorts and a long-sleeve shirt through majority of the marathon.

Course and Elevation: **CURSES HILLS**

Route 66 elevation map HILLS


The course was exciting as it involved a lot of the surrounding neighborhoods, but the last stretch of the course was through a warehouse district and mostly-abandoned section of downtown, and… well, that is where some crowd support is sorely needed and missing.

Aid Stations: It was hard at times to distinguish which was an official aid station and which was a neighborhood-supported stop, there was so much support on this course (save for the last 4-6 miles). But about every 2 miles, there was the race volunteered-manned water and Gatorade tables – they alternated flavors throughout the race, which was fine by me, but I could see how others who are particular about flavor would dislike this (I still hate Grape very much). There was also a gel stops at least once along the course; I feel like there may have been two, but regardless, I was happy for strawberry-banana.

route 66 marathon mimosa stop

On Sundays, we drink mimosas!

Fans and Experience: They weren’t lying when they call this race a marathon-sized party – the community REALLY comes out to celebrate. And there was beer. A LOT OF IT. And mimosas. And Jell-O shots. And Fireball. (And some partial nudity lol). I only wish that the course was flip-flopped, so that the runners could experience more of that “party” atmosphere at a later point in the race when the support is really needed (and, for me, personally, when the race was no longer going well for me). The crowd support definitely thinned out for the last 10k of the race.

Finish Line and After Party: Bart Yasso was calling out finisher names! We had a moment. haha

Bart Yasso Finish Line Route 66 marathon

There was a shit-ton of pizza and beer (neither that I could have) and really nothing else (I don’t even remember seeing a banana), no Muscle Milk either (only water and more Gatorade, no). VIP Mother Load after-party – since there was no wrist band in my bag, I did not look for it. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling much of celebrating after the race, and barely had enough time to shower, pack up, and check out of the hotel by 3pm. Thankful for the late check-out though (Thanks, Hilton Double Tree!)

BTW: The Hilton Double Tree hotel is in a PERFECT location for the expo (connected to the hotel by a skywalk) and the start line; however, it was about a mile-and-a-half walk from the finish line, which OOOOOOOOOF. To be wholly fair to the race, there were hotel shuttles; however, I did not plan that out ahead of time.

Detour: I originally signed up to run the Center of the Universe detour, but I barely had 26.2 miles to give, let alone an extra quarter mile. But I saw some of the pictures of the event afterwards, and is was Christmas themed and I am bummed that I wasn’t having a better time.

Route 66 marathon finishers jacket

Swag and Medals: THE BEST FINISHER JACKET EVER. It has zippered pockets. It’s cozy. I love the design and colors. Full swoon. The Goddess of Speed medal is also one the best that I have received (it spins!) and has a flat base, so it can sit on a shelf as a trophy, too. Route 66 took the awesome design and took it one step further by personalizing the metal finish of the medal for first-time marathoners, and special medal ribbons for Marathon Maniacs.

Route 66 Marathon Finisher Medal

The Great: Really excellent race organization, communication, and volunteers. And I crossed off my 4th marathon state!
The Good: If drinking and running is your thing, BOY do I have the race for you!
The Bad: Hills. As trained as I was on our local trails, that barely prepared me for this course.
The Ugly: Pain. Injury. Self-doubt. Disappointment. Ugly crying. Yelling at your husband when it’s not his fault.

Ugh, looking at my splits just makes me more sad – I was basically on pace to have the race of my life:
1:00:44 (basically, my 10k PR time)
2:09:49 (a new half PR time for me)
At 20 miles, I was at 3:35:24
Hindsight, I can yell at myself to “SLOW DOWN!” but everything felt good for that first part of the race – and it felt EASY. I didn’t look at my watch until my left leg started to go numb around mile 12.

Overall place: 818
Division place (F40-44): 53

Weekly Therapy: 11.17.17

the week:
Last Friday, I went to the Foo Fighters concert – a bucket list concert for me, as I somehow never saw them live for their 22-year existence. And while it was a little underwhelming (Dave Grohl’s voice was shot from laryngitis or something), I’m still excited to cross off the list. Then Saturday morning, I went to brunch with my running buddies (skipping my long run, meh) and ended up spending SIX HOURS at the restaurant. Worth it.

Last marathon of the season! Road trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Route 66 Marathon. I have a few friends traveling down from Des Moines, so this is going to be a blast. I also have to do an all-day personal development seminar from my hotel room on Saturday, which is a bummer for the timing (mandatory session for school), as I hoped to get out and sight-see a bit.

seven things, seven days:
1. I’ve been eager for new podcasts to listen to, and so excited to discover a new favorite: Sincerely, Hueman.
2. Finally went to yoga this week after a TOO LONG hiatus. Hotel Renovo will be hosting sessions all winter long! (I would link to their page, but OMG autoplay 😒 )
3. I feel like I’m having a bad hangover to Daylight Saving Time ending. The week of, I was OK but this week, …
4. Thursday is not casual Friday. 😑
5. No, YOU bought a pair of rainbow glittered pointed toe booties.
6. And also these lulu tights that look like glitter.
7. LOVE THIS >> This Race Means Nothing {via Trail Sisters}

Product Review: BUFFⓇ ThermoNet™ Headwear

Disclaimer: I received BUFFⓇ ThermoNet™ products 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!

This is the 3rd time I’ve been able to review a BUFFⓇ as part of my BibRave Pro ambassadorship. Being an outdoor enthusiast, I love that the company is always innovating its product line. And since I am equally as enthused to run outdoors in winter weather, I was excited to receive a ThermoNet™ hat and mutifunctional headwear.

My BUFFⓇ shipment arrived right as we were experiencing an extended summer season, so it was several weeks before I was able to test out the ThermoNet™ features in lower temperatures. I love the Crash Berry print and colors!

BUFF ThermoNet 1

Made of PrimaLoft® yarn, both pieces are designed to be durable and breathable, and has the added benefit of wicking away moisture while maintaining heat — important for winter running! As with any BUFFⓇ product, I love that both are lightweight and easily storable on-the-run. Since this pattern is a little more “fashionable” than my other BUFF headpieces, I keep one stashed in my work bag (this Iowa wind, yo).

BUFF ThermoNet run blog product review

The hat generally kept my head and ears blocked from cooler temps; however, I didn’t personally find the material to keep me any warmer when it was REALLY cold. If I was standing or running outdoors for any extended amount of time, I needed to double the pieces up (i.e.: wearing BOTH the hat and tubular piece together) – particularly if it was windy. Also, the material is not as stretchy as the BUFF© products that I use more regularly, which made the tubular headwear a LOT more difficult to stretch over my head. While the fabric also feels a little rough, the ThermoNet™ was super comfortable.

BUFF ThermoNet BibRave product review blog

BUFFⓇ products are already a regular part of my running gear for winter. Their headwear products are so functional and, as usual, both of these pieces from the ThermoNet™ line are versatile for winter or cold weather running. However, if you are dealing windy conditions all winter like we do in Iowa, you might find a benefit in doubling up your headwear.

Des Moines Marathon Cheer Station Mile 20

Interested in trying out the BUFFⓇ ThermoNet™ pieces for yourself? Use code BIBRAVETHERMONET20 for 20% off any ThermoNet purchase. Discounts expires 11/17/17.

BIBCHAT! Join BUFFⓇ and the BibRave community for BibChat this Tuesday, November 14 at 8pm CST. BUFFⓇ will be giving away a couple pieces of its ThermoNet products to a few lucky participants!

Weekly Therapy: 11.03.17

the week:
My surgery is this morning, and I’m unable to eat anything or have any coffee and OMG I AM GOING TO BE SO CRANKY IN A FEW HOURS! For those unaware, I’m having an intraductal papilloma removed from my right breast. I ran last night with our local Fleet Feet store, and the reduction in miles for the last couple weeks has returned a pretty good response in my body. My recovery time should only be a few days, and my “return to activity” directive is anything after that – if it feels good to do so.

I’ll be recovering from my surgery, so I see a lot of lazy ice cream-eating, roller derby binge-watching hours on the couch. And homework. AND GO BUCKS!

seven things, seven days:
2. Zipper-front sports bras are not a thing for A-cups. #tmyk
4. The Christmas lights got installed on our house. BEFORE HALLOWEEN.
5. Halloween didn’t bring out too many kids this year because of the cold temps, but I enjoyed participating in our neighborhood’s Boos & Booze event again.
6. Worst costume was the kid in a full M*chigan football uniform. -_-
7. What boredom does to you (spoiler alert: it’s not all bad!) {via Nautilus}

Weekly Therapy: 10.20.17

the week:
Oh, HI! It’s been a few weeks. ?

I’m closing out Week 4 of grad school, and as expected, it’s kicking my ass! I’ve finally found a groove with my assignments and reading (so much reading!), but will admit to feeling wholly intimidated by so many brilliant people in my classes. I’m inspired by the topics and coursework so far (though wish I could spend more of my time focused on school – still trying to figure out the work-school balance). Actually, that balance part has been really important to me and I have worked HARD on the days I need to in order to enjoy a “free” day.

I took a week off running after Chicago (oh yeah, I haven’t posted about that or ANY of my races from last month either!), and felt good to have some space from that. This past weekend, I cheered on the Des Moines’ marathoners from Mile 20 (half marathoners Mile 7) and it filled my whole heart to be able to do so.

Des Moines Marathon Cheer Station Mile 20

This weekend is GOATz 50k in Omaha. Yep, another race weekend road trip. Have I mentioned this is my first ultra race? This should be a fun one! I’m WAY less anxious about running this than Chicago.

seven things, seven days:
1. My knuckles are bruised from extreme cow-belling at the marathon last weekend.
2. Story of my life: I bought this for my cats (they don’t care), and now I’m having all the fun!
3. I saw Christmas lights up (and on!) during my morning work commute this week. ?
4. I also saw a meteor! Peak meteor showers this weekend from Halley’s Comet!
5. Generation X Women are having midlife crises. {sigh, Oprah}
6. My podcast feed is stale. What are your favorites? Got any new ones to recommend?
7. Find your motivation in sport. {via Psychology Today}

Training Week #10: Undertrained or overtraining?

I feel like I might be going into Chicago Marathon undertrained, and it is stressing me out. I can’t turn back time and fix the weather or erase my excuses, and yet I haven’t done a single 20-miler this cycle (I did three 20+ runs when training for Vermont City). There are some schools of thought that believe an 18-miler is enough; and, well, I have just about the same amount of mileage leading up to the marathon as my last. While I mentioned before that Chicago is only a training run, jumping from 18 miles to 26 miles… well, my body is probably not going to like it. That 50k later this month? My body might dislike that even more. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of failing at being a runner right now. I can only hope that the back-to-back runs I’ve been doing on weekends will be enough.

week 10 ultra fun training blog header iowa

I’d be remiss in not mentioning that my right knee is acting up again this week. It hasn’t bothered me at all while running, but I feel discomfort in doing functional movements and squatting (even readjusting while sitting on the couch). Foam rolling my quad helped a bit, but I can’t find the connection other than when I use my right leg for weight bearing or to push off — like, walking up or down the stairs. Seems to be more troublesome going up, and getting out of a squat has more discomfort than going into one. When you have three cats, it’s impossible not to be constantly squatting! It has put me on notice.

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 4 miles, treadmill
Wednesday – 10 miles, Trail Rest Day – Wednesday looks to be a big homework night for me every week; I’ll probably make it my strength workout going forward.
Thursday – 8 miles 10 miles – This was Wednesday’s workout, treadmill
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 20-22 miles Ran out of time; finished 13.75 miles on trails. I also went to a bouncy house place for a 3-year-old’s birthday party and played around on the obstacle course stuff for an hour. That counts for exercise, right?!
Sunday – 10 miles 16 miles

Week 10 ultra training jester park bison elk iowa

Elk! Bison! Iowa fall weather!

With grad school started, I realize that running 5 times a week will not work at this point; so, I’m committing to 4 runs per week (and realistically know that some weeks I’ll only get in 3). I REALLY need to get back into my weekly 2x strength workouts (echo, echo, echo…). After Chicago will be another cutback week to “taper” for the 50k. I need to reassess my training plan and goals at that point to make sure that I’ll be prepared for Route 66 Marathon in November and the 50-miler in December. While the 50M is still two months away, I’ll only really have a solid month more of training. I also need to start training with hiking poles. OMG WHAT AM I DOING?!

*deep breath*

Wilson’s Orchard has a Spiced Up hard cider that is perfect for fall. Any other fall-flavored ciders on the market (that I can get in Iowa)? I’d really like to try a pumpkin cider.


week 10 ultra training bouncy house party

Still looking for a fall race? Route 66 registration is still open! Use my discount code 2017R66BR to save $10.

SEPTEMBER MILEAGE TOTAL: 137.2 miles – biggest mileage month ever!
WEEKLY MILEAGE: 43.7 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 793.81 miles
LAST RACE: Capital Pursuit (10-miler)
UP NEXT: Chicago Marathon next weekend!

I love that Chicago Marathon gifted something special to celebrate the 40th birthdays together. This was amazing of the race to do this!

week 10 training chicago marathon chi40club

Training Week #8: Don’t call it a cutback.

I’m training for the Hitchcock Experience — a monster of a trail race here in Iowa in the Loess Hills (Iowa is not flat!) — and my first 50-mile race. I ran the half marathon last year and absolutely loved the challenge of that course. So I’m taking on the ultra distance (there is also a 100-mile option).

Ultra training week 8 blog running recap

Week #8 was a cutback week, and I took it to heart — only running three days (I was supposed to do five) and half-assing two of them. My weekly mileage was only 16.1 (I was supposed to do 36). To be fair, I was stressing out about grad school and my biopsy (which happened last Friday) which is, thankfully, benign; however, I still need to somehow schedule surgery to have the mass removed (I have my consult with the surgeon next week). In any event, my body apparently like the rest, as I PR’d my 10-mile race on Sunday at the Capital Pursuit by NINE MINUTES. What the?!

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 4 miles Rest Day
Wednesday – 8 miles, Trail 5 miles, Trail
Thursday – 6 miles + Kickboxing 1 hurried mile on the treadmill before Kickboxing
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 8 miles NOPE
Sunday – Capital Pursuit 10-Mile Race

Chicago Marathon… eeek. And preparing for grad school starting next week. Double eeek.

Our local lululemon store and associated “Sweat Life” group hosted a kickboxing workout this week at Farrell’s (location on Hickman in Urbandale). I had so much fun! And I am positively HOOKED and cannot wait to do their 10-week challenge after my ultra training wraps up in December (it was fun to hit things again haha). Even more amazingly, the gym/lululemon gifted us our own pair of hand wraps and gloves — so I’m already geared up! There’s another location even closer to my house and I realized that a few of my neighbors go regularly (one teaches classes, too).

WEEKLY MILEAGE: 16.1 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 739.81 miles
LAST RACE: Capital Pursuit
UP NEXT: Chicago Marathon

Let’s Talk About Marathon Training!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Route 66 Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Route 66 marathon kicks

Holy moly, I’m only 22 DAYS until the Chicago Marathon. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

On the way to my ultra in December, I have a couple marathons (and a 50k) on my training schedule: Chicago Marathon and Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa. Chicago will be my first major marathon — and my first “big city” race since the Pittsburgh Half in 2015. To be honest, I’m a little nervous about how crowded the race is going to be and all the security checkpoints. And the idea of standing in a race corral for up to two hours positively enrages me.

It’s just a training run.
I don’t have any goals for Chicago aside from finishing in one piece (and without hip-checking someone). Though I’m going to have so many BibRave pals there — it’ll be quite the reunion — I do not at all feel as prepared to run this as I did Vermont City Marathon. It’s all just miles on my legs. 26.2 very slow, long miles. It’s hard not to be so serious about this race, as there are so many logistical nightmares and pre-planning annoyances that are already stressing me out. And while I could only hope for cool temps in October, the brisk Fall weather is gone… and we’re back to 90-degree days and hairdryer wind and super humidity.

Which gets me more all the more excited about racing in cooler temps come November for Route 66 (possible, maybe?).

More fun than an amusement park.
For Route 66, my motivation is FUN (because running an additional .3 miles after a marathon is one definition of fun, right?). This race will be my last big week of mileage before I start to taper for my 50-miler (which is still absolutely insane to think about a few months out). I have friends also making the road trip down to Oklahoma from Des Moines — it will be my first visit to Tulsa, and I get to cross off another race state — so that adds to the adventure of the weekend. It seems there’s a VERY party-atmosphere vibe down in Tulsa for this race weekend (uh, hello Jell-O shot aid station!), and I’m excited to be able to participate in the fun on behalf of BibRave.

By the way, have you seen the medal reveal? I cannot WAIT to put the Goddess of Speed on my marathon shelf.

Route 66 Marathon Finisher Medal

Still looking for a Fall marathon? Register for the Route 66 Marathon and get $10 off your race entry with discount code 2017R66BR.

Weekly Therapy: 9.15.17

the week:
Within the last couple weeks, I’ve had two separate mammograms and an ultrasound, and the doctors saw *something* in my right breast. I had my boob biopsied on Friday, so I’ll know Monday what/how I need to deal with that. Fun Fact: during the procedure, they implant a tiny titanium clip (that happens to be in the shape of the breast cancer ribbon). I’m feeling OK, if a little bruised and sore in that area.

But in better news: I got accepted into grad school! I start my master’s program on September 25, and while I’m a little stressed out to get everything started so soon (you know, considering ultra training and unexpected medical things), I am positively thrilled to continue my education in sport psychology.

Capital Pursuit race is Sunday – read my recap of last year’s race. Should I wear the same outfit? ?


seven things, seven days:
1. Officially received my one-year certificate at work! (Gimme that 401k match, plz.)
2. I also got a new manager (my 6th in a year-and-a-half) and re-organized into a new team.
3. Doing the FAFSA for the first time in two years was just as annoying. Also, why in the world do I need to add my husband’s income from 2015 when we only got married 6 months ago?
4. Went to a kickboxing class at Farrell’s this week (thanks to our local lululemon store), and I am obsessed! When ultra training is done, I’m definitely going to do the 10-week Challenge (and will also probably do a couple drop-in classes over the next few months).
5. How much time do I have to waste?
6. I don’t know. I’ve failed A LOT in the kitchen, and it has nothing to do with fear. {via Lifehacker Skillet}
7. Exercise is a waste of time… Ehhhhhhh, I’m not sure that I totally agree with this – why create MORE barriers to getting people to work out? First, we all have different motivators, and a goal can be as simple as “I’m going to to the gym three days a week.” It’s OK to JUST SHOW UP. Frankly, this type of ALWAYS ON thinking is probably going to cause burnout. And he sort of hints that you can only have success if you have a coach, which… ick. Thoughts? {via Entrepreneur}

Ultra Training Week #7: Long runs are long.

This week of training brought my first 20-mile run (I think I have seven 20+-mile runs on this plan). I swapped my long run to Sunday, so that I could run with my usual group — which meant waking up for a 6:30 am (!!!) trail run on Saturday at Jester Park. Once I was out, I didn’t mind one bit (added bonus of seeing the sun rise over Saylorville Lake).

When my 20-mile long run came on Sunday, I could barely eek out 17. It was a rough morning — and more than just a mental block. I was breathing WAY too heavy for an 11:30 pace and my legs felt like lead. Meh. Bad runs happen, right? I enjoyed the course my friend mapped out though; it took us on a loop around downtown’s paved trails. I did need an extra rest day this week after doing my back-to-back half marathons the previous weekend, so I took that on Tuesday (with a side of full body massage). Though even with four days of running, I completed 40 miles.

Monday – Rest Day
Tuesday – 4 miles Extra Rest Day / Massage
Wednesday – 6 miles (Trail)
Thursday – 8 miles (Treadmill)
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – 10 miles (Trail)
Sunday – Long run, 20 miles 16.85 miles

week 7 ultra training long runs blog

Long runs are long.

Week 8 is my cutback week, and I’ll be focused on getting my strength training/cross-training back on track. I’m also signed up for an intro to kickboxing workout that is sponsored by our local lululemon. OMG am I going to start having nightmares about Billy Blanks again?!

My road trip to Madison last weekend resulted in finding a gluten-free dedicated brewery called Alt Brew. It was so amazing to have a flight of beers! I brought home a sixer of their kolsch, which is so delicious that I wish I bought more. I wish one of the midwest gluten-free beer producers would distribute to Iowa! So if anyone is in Wisconsin and would like to send me some more of their delicious gluten-free beers, please message me! Also accepting any and all beers from Burning Brothers in St. Paul (particularly their IPA).

The mid-week Trail Run Series with Fleet Feet and Des Moines Park & Rec has been SO FUN. It’s brought so many people out to the dirt and woods to play, and I just love seeing that enthusiasm from our local running communities. This Wednesday, we’ll be running out at Grandview. I also get to assist with marking the course, so you can officially blame me if you get lost! ?

DSM parks rec trail running series

Yep, that’s me! ?

Well, my grad school application is submitted. Now I sit around and wait to see if I’m accepted for Fall semester (which starts on September 25 *gulp*).

AUGUST MILEAGE TOTAL: 116.2 total miles
WEEKLY MILEAGE: 40.9 miles
MILEAGE FOR THE YEAR: 723.71 miles
LAST RACE: Haven’t had time to review my two Labor Day weekend races, but coming soon!
UP NEXT: Capital Pursuit 10-mile race this weekend.