Latest reviews by Amy Penokie

(2018)
"A must do for any marathoner!"
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18 months ago, I had no intention of running another marathon. Then I was presented with the opportunity to run the TCS NYC Marathon thru Bibrave and knew that it was a race I could not pass up running. Running one of the 6 Major Marathons is always in the back of any runners brain and this has been true for me too.

Since I was going in with less than 60 days to prepare, it was never going to be about a time goal. It was about running the NYC Marathon, exploring the city and enjoying the people!

With so many runners, I was pleasantly surprised to breeze through packet pick up in a matter of a few minutes! This meant we had more time to wander through the expo, sample some free beer, pick up some freebie treats that would come in handy over the weekend and chat with other runners and companies that were there!

After 49 years, they have race logistics figured out! Yes, we took a train, to get to the boat, to catch a bus to make the walk to the start village, but it was seamless! And yes, it really can take 3 hours to get to the start line, but since I wasn't driving, I really didn't care!

The 1st few miles of the course contain the trip over the bridge to get off Staten Island, but once you get past that point, there is NO SHORTAGE of spectators! In many area, the sidewalks were lined 3 or 4 people deep with neighbors out enjoying the day, cheering on runners, giving high fives' and keeping everyone motivated!

The weather was amazing - Thank you Mother Nature for cooperating! Will I try and get back to NYC to run the marathon again? You better believe it! The first time was for fun, next time, it for time!

For my complete review of the race, you can find more here: http://ampdwellness.crazyhamster.run/nyc-marathon-the-race-i-couldnt-pass-up-running/

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(2018)
"A must do race in my book!!"
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When I decided to take on the challenge of running a half marathon in all 50 states, I KNEW that Route 66 was going to be my choice race of OK... I just wasn't planning on running it THIS year! Then the opportunity came up to run with BibRave and make it a girls weekend/runcation with several girlfriends from across the county, I knew it was meant to be!

This race definitely has a party atmosphere! I will say that there were less spectators along the course than I would have expected, based on other reviews that I read and from what other runners have told me. I am sure the cold temps had A LOT to do with that! However, those people that were out cheering were not letting the cold get them down! They were making the most of the day, providing runners with the party they came for! There were plenty of jello shots, fireball, mimosa's, bloody mary's, tequila coffee and more!

Making this race even more amazing was being able to run most of my miles with a fellow 50 State Club member and friend as he completed his 50th state and 100th half marathon! What an epic way to finish that challenge... and now I am trying to figure out if I can logistically make this happen for myself!

Multiple races with options for everyone, excellent bling and a true party!

Half Marathon #48, state #23 complete!

Will I be back to run Route 66 again? You better believe it!

You can find my full race weekend recap, which includes weekend shenanigans and the 5k here: http://ampdwellness.crazyhamster.run/get-your-kicks-on-route-66/

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(2018)
"Most scenic half marathons I've run in a LONG time!"
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I registered for this race at the last minute. I had 15 miles on my training plan and decided that I didn't want to run by myself. I remembered that a friend of mine was running this half marathon and decided to check it out. It was listed as a flat fast course with beautiful scenery. The price was right, so I asked her if I could tag along!

It turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made for this weekends long run!

We hit packet pick up on our way into town. This was a true small town race with some awesome little perks, including raffle prizes that all runners had the opportunity to win

Since it was a training run for me, it forced me to slow down and really enjoy the scenery. And I am so glad that I did!

The Course: We parked near the finish line in Three Lakes and hopped on a bus to head to Eagle River for the start. We were dropped off right near the Dairy Queen to a balmy 26 degrees! Yes, a little chilly but I honestly would rather run in cooler temps! They had a back check option so I was able to keep my sweatshirt with me until just a few minutes before the race.

The course follows the Three Eagle Trail for the first several miles before you follow a quiet country road for the next few miles. This road featured a few small rolling hills, but nothing to get too worried about! Even though you were on a road, there was virtually no traffic, just a few dedicated cheerleaders and bundled up volunteers at aid stations or intersections. After the road, you get back onto the trail and you work your way towards Three Lakes.

this was one of the most beautiful courses I have run in a long time. The fall colors were at peak color and you never knew what you would see around each corner. At one point, as I turned a corner on the trail, I stopped dead in my tracks. I felt like I was in a snow globe. The leaves were slowly falling and it was simply an amazing sight! It was moments like this that kept me going along the entire course.

Again, since this was a training run for me, I was taking my time and enjoying every moment!

The aid stations were plentiful, even for those of us runners that were further back in the pack.

For a small race, the swag was awesome! A nice long sleeve tech shirt for all runners and then a hand crafted wooden finishers medal! I love unique race bling and this was one of the coolest I have seen in a long time!

I loved everything about this race! The small town charm and the small field of runners was just what I needed after running some bigger races this year. It helped me to get back to the real reasons why I run! I spent time on the course chatting with other runners and just enjoying the day!

I will definitely add this race to my calendar any year that I can fit it in!

For my full recap of the race: http://ampdwellness.crazyhamster.run/fall-running-peak-colors-and-new-friends-on-a-cold-morning/

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(2018)
"Determined women empowering each other to do great things!"
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This was the 3rd time I ran this race (I missed last year due to a prior commitment). It's the perfect time to gather up your amazing tribe of women and enjoy a full weekend of events!

One of the best parts of this race, if you are local is the training runs! Beginning in mid July, you have not one, but 2 different options for training runs! You have your choice of either Wednesday or Saturday morning (6am each day) to join up with members of the race staff for organized training runs! These are a great time to meet local women, get in your miles and have some fun!

All of that training leads up to a fantastic race weekend! All of the events (except the post race party) take place at the KI Center, downtown Green Bay. The boutique style expo features a handful of vendors with merchandise for sale (including race merchandise!) as well as local organizations which provide a variety of services for women and families.

Packet pick up is always quick and easy - I've never had to wait more than 2 minutes to pick everything up! Each year, part of the swag is a high quality drawstring bag as well as a long sleeve hoodie. This year was no different and the artwork on the bag was created by a local artist, who also just happens to be a good friend of mine, making it that must more awesome! These are always some of my favorite hoodies because they are lightweight but yet warm enough for fall weather!

After packet pick up, but sure to stick around for the Inspirational dinner and motivational speaker. A pasta dinner with all the fixings and an evening on motivation! This year's quest speaker was Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run. Speakers in the past have included Katherine Switzer, Sarah Reinertsen and Colleen Kelly Alexander. All Friday events are included in your half marathon (or half marathon relay) registration. 5k participants have the option to purchase tickets to the event.

Saturday morning you will find yourself back at the KI center for the start of all races. Bag drop is available for half marathon and relay participants inside the building and your bag will be available for you at the finish line for you. Since the weather in Green Bay at the beginning of October can be unpredictable, having a place inside to hang out before the race is always a nice perk! This year started out chilly so I was glad that I could stay inside, do some stretching and relax before heading out to the start line.

The half marathon starts out heading over the river and follows Broadway for the first 5ish miles. This gives everyone plenty of time to fall into their own pace and allows the crowd to thin out a bit before heading into DePere. As you pass the halfway point, you get a nice gradual downhill stretch before you head back over the river. Once you cross the river, you will wind around and find yourself on the Fox River Trail, which follows the Fox River. This year, the trail was definitely my favorite part of the race. Aside from the many sections of the trail that had spectators cheering, the local Mom's Run this Town (MRTT) Chapter had covered a large portion of the trail with motivation quotes and cheers in chalk!! At many times, these messages were exactly what I needed! I also heard from many other people that they loved all the extra motivation from these messages! Many thanks to those ladies for keeping us going!!

The fall colors were bright and vibrant so that made the the morning that much better!

The race finishes on City Deck, downtown Green Bay and features an amazing variety of food for your post race enjoyment! This year it included wraps, cookies, chocolate, strawberry shortcake, water, chocolate milk and more. Each participant also received a ticket on their bib for a free beverage from Hagemeister Park. You can enjoy all your treats while post race awards are giving out right in the middle of the festivities!

Need a little TLC after all those miles, don't forget to stop by and get yourself a free massage! I know that this year, my quads were thankful for the attention when I finished running!

I may not run this event every year, but it will always be one of my favorites!

For my full race recap of my day, click here:
http://ampdwellness.crazyhamster.run/determined-to-push-to-new-levels/

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(2018)
"2nd time was even better than the 1st!"
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This was my second time running this race (1st was back in 2014) and I really think it gets better each time!

The race is always Labor Day Weekend and features both full and half marathon options, as well as the Bedrocks 5k, all on Saturday. There is also a kids run on Friday night. The half marathon starts at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee, while the full starts at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum in Ishpeming and the 5k at Presque Isle in Marquette. All events finish on 3rd Street in Marquette.

Packet pick up and the expo and a breeze to get through. Everything Friday night takes place at Lakeview arena (kids run inclued). Keep in mind, this is a small town race, so there are only a handful of vendors and you can get in and out fairly quickly (unless you keep running into friends that still live in the area!)

For the races on Saturday, there is no parking at the start line. You do have the option to be dropped off at the start line, but they highly recommend the shuttle buses that are provided for everyone.There is limited short term parking at the marathon start line, but there is no long-term parking at the
marathon start line (so runners, don't drive to the start!) Shuttle buses leave from the Barry Events Center, there these is ample parking for everyone. Buses for the half marathon begin departing at 7am. (I think marathon buses start as early as 5am since that race generally stats 90 minutes before the half). Buses depart on a regular basis and are available for both runners and spectators (keep in mind that runners will always take priority as buses are filled). After the start of both races, a bus or 2 will be waiting to take any spectators back to the Barry, which is a short walk then to the finish). It's about a 20 minute drive to the start line, so be sure to plan your morning accordingly, depending on how much time you want at the start before the race begins!

Start line: when the bus drops you off, you have a short walk up the hill (past the start line) to the parking lot where you will find ample port-a-potty's as well as a tent for gear check (bring your own bag to check your gear). Any check bags will then be transported to the finish line area for you to pick up.

Course: the first mile of the half marathon course is mostly downhill as you start working your way down to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, where it joins together with the full marathon course. Aside from a few small rolling hills at the beginning, the trail is relatively flat... and fast! The trail is mostly through the quiet woods and you will most likely get caught up in the beauty of the area. Once you get into Marquette, you wind around past the farmers market, the marina, along the lakeshore and finally around the Superior Dome and onto 3rd street for the finish. From Start to Finish: Net Elevation Drop of 735 feet. Yes, DROP!

But don't let that allow to to think the entire course is flat or downhill! The approach to the finish line is a quart mile long gradual hill to climb! After all those miles, you get to work for the finish!

The Finish line: after all those miles you will most likely be hungry! MQT marathon takes care of you! This year there were burritos to go along with the chocolate milk, banana's chips, oranges, water, cookies and so much more!

The Bling: Each year, the event incorporates their logo into a unique medal! This year it had a stain glass look to it.

Overall, I love this race! It is one that I will add to my calendar whenever I can!!

For my full recap of the race this year and why it will always hold a special place in my heart, check out my blog post: http://ampdwellness.crazyhamster.run/marquette-half-marathon-congrats-sue-on-100/

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