What a trip! (Part two)

Okay, are you ready for part two of my trip to Iowa? I hope so, because here it is! If you want to catch up on part one, you can do so by clicking HERE! And again, I’ll warn you, it’s going to be long and photo heavy!

I left off part one telling you a little bit about Travis, a fellow blogger who writes the blog, lifeandfuniniowa. Travis and I met up Friday after my class was done and we walked, via the downtown skywalk, to where the expo was for the race we were doing on Sunday. We met up with my hubby at the expo. Al and I were doing the 10K race, while Travis was doing the half-marathon. Travis and I had a great little visit on the way to the expo. He was very easy to talk to and not pretentious or anything like that. He is a very genuine and gracious guy. We share a similar path when it comes to our healthy living journey and we also share similar views on it, which is why I think we got along so well. After we picked up our race packets, we walked around the teeny-tiny expo and then, because we had some time left before we were to meet Julie (Travis’ wife) for supper, we decided to go check out Travis’ favorite running store, Fleet Feet Sports. Travis has talked a lot about the store in his blog so I wanted to go and check it out. From what he wrote about, it reminded me of Mill City Running, my favorite running store. And, I was right. Fleet Feet was very similar. It, too, is AWESOME!

al travis me at fleet feet sports

Andy, the owner of the store, took this picture of the three of us. And, I have to say, Andy is a great guy. So gracious and welcoming! He gave us all some samples of a newer flavor of GU energy chews (raspberry), along with some water AND, Al and I even got a free beer! Yep, beer. This is definitely my kind of running store. Travis bought Al and I some of his favorite energy gel, Huma. Neither Al or I have ever tried this brand before. We got the lemonade flavor and the chocolate, which is one of Travis’ favorites. I’m excited to try them out! While we were there, I also tried on a pair of HOKA running shoes. I have heard so many good things about them. I didn’t buy any, but I may in the future! I couldn’t believe how light they were.

After we finished up at Fleet Feet, we headed to the restaurant Al had found through his research of best places to eat in Des Moines – a pizza joint called Fong’s Pizza. However, we didn’t end up eating there because there was about a two-hour wait. And we were all hungry! So, we ended up just going across the street to the Royal Mile, which turned out to be very delicious! And, we finally got to meet, Julie, Travis’ wife. What a honey! A little quiet, but super sweet and again, so easy to talk to and very genuine. The four of us got along so well. We ordered drinks (all of us had beer!) and our meals and then we just started chit-chatting. Oh-my-goodness! What a hoot. It was so much fun. It’s kind of weird to me that the four of us – strangers – met for the first time and it felt like we’ve been friends for years. It was awesome. Both Al and I talked about it the rest of the weekend – just how much fun it was and how easy-going it was and what a great couple Travis and Julie are. They had some awesome stories to share – Travis talking about his time working in a prison in Florida…I’ll just say, WOW! And then they both shared stories about their trip to Belize and their deep-sea diving adventures. Julie talked about how her dream is to swim next to a whale shark. She even showed us pictures of one. That thing is HUGE. It would scare the bajeebbers out of me. But not them. They love it!

Travis and Julie ended up picking up the tab for our meal and drinks, which we did not expect at all. THANK YOU, again, for that! We’ll get you back when you come to Minnesota! Our time ended too quickly and it was time to head back to our hotel. I had a full day ahead of me on Saturday. I hope like heck we get to spend time with them again. So. Much. Fun!

rrca group run

Photo credit: Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl

So, Saturday morning started off early – VERY early! I decided I was going to do the group run put on by the Road Runners Club of Amercia (RRCA). Remember me saying I am a medal-junkie. Yep, that is why I went. To get my medal. Despite the fact that it was not the nicest of weather conditions – cold, windy AND rainy! To be completely honest, it was miserable. MISERABLE. But to be even more honest, it was………AWESOME! I loved every soggy, soaking, cold, windy mile. Yes, I am strange! Our route was awesome and fairly flat (finally!). Downtown Des Moines is really pretty. And if it hadn’t been raining, I would have taken pictures along the way. If you want to see the details of my run, click HERE. If you check out the details, you will see that my Garmin some how, some way, screwed up. Royally. It shows that I ran my first mile in about 6 minutes and 30 seconds. I can 100 percent absolutely guarantee I did NOT run my first mile in 6 minutes and 30 seconds. It then showed I ran my second mile in 11 minutes and 52 seconds. Although this could be true, I doubt that it is. My first two miles got really screwed up. The last mile and last half a mile were about right, 10:28 and 10:35, respectively. This is more like it. So, who knows what happened the first two miles, but my guess is all the buildings messed with my satellite connection or something. Who knows. But seriously, me, running a six and a half minute mile. HA! That’s hilarious!

I was a dripping wet, teeth-chattering mess when I got back to our hotel. And, I was running a little late. Because of this, and I know you all are not going to believe it, I didn’t even take any pictures. I wish I would have though. I looked great. Kidding. So kidding. Who really wants to see a wet, soggy Celeste anyway? But, check out my medal…isn’t it beautiful? And very fitting that it’s an umbrella, wouldn’t you say?!

medal for sat run

Photo credit: Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl

Besides the medal, I also got some other free stuff from the convention as well, including two shirts, a pair of gloves, a hat (all of these were courtesy of the RRCA and Leslie Jordan), and the book, “Daniels’ RUNNING Formula” by legendary running coach, Jack Daniels, who was inducted into the RRCA Hall of Fame at the convention.

free stuff

Photo credit: Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl

I found out from Travis what the three symbols were on my shirt, hat and gloves – the top one is the Women of Achievement bridge that crosses the river downtown, it is a pedestrian only bridge. The middle symbol, an umbrella, which was also the symbol of my medal, is the Crusoe Umbrella. Click HERE to read more about it. It’s actually quite fascinating! And the third, is the top of the Iowa Capitol dome. Pretty cool, huh? I surely thought so.


Photo credit: Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl

This is the book we received. I haven’t start reading it yet, but I can’t wait!

Even though I was running a wee-bit late, I did make it back in time for class to start on Saturday. During Saturday’s class, we were broken into groups of five or six and then each group had to write a running program for the case study we were all given. Each group had the same one, a guy named Robin, aged 52, who came to us for help because he wanted to run a Boston Marathon qualifying run in exactly 12 weeks. After getting all the details on Robin, such as he was currently averaging 30-35 miles per week, had been running for four years, was in the middle of some life changes including a divorce, and who was basically fit and healthy except he had a lingering issue with his hip, we had to come up with a 12-week plan for him that would ultimately land him a Boston qualifying run. Can you say uff-da? I surely did.

I have to say, this was probably the most challenging part of the whole coaching certification course. Why? For starters, I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was doing. Zip. Nada. Zero. Despite the fact that I had just sat through numerous hours of class learning how to do what we needed to do. I felt lost. Overwhelmed. It was definitely a lot more challenging then I ever expected. But, thankfully, I was in a group with people who knew what they were doing. Although, I do have to say, that didn’t necessarily help. There were five of us in our group – two who had actually written programs before and three who hadn’t. The two who knew what to do didn’t necessarily see eye-to-eye. But in the end, it all worked out. As we went along, I understood a little more and maybe, just maybe, with a little more learning, I could actually write my own program for someone some day. At least that’s my plan anyway! But this was definitely much harder than I expected and it was the most frustrating part of the whole course. Each group then got to give a presentation on their program. I think our group did really well. I was happy with how it all turned out.

For lunch on Saturday, we again had the option to stay in or we could go out on our own. And again, I went out because I wanted to have lunch with Al. We decided we would give Fong’s another try and again, we were disappointed. WAY too long of line. We walked around a bit and found a great restaurant, Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Company. Ummmm, YUM! Al and I decided to just have appetizers. We got two of them and shared. And again, I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures. We went with the southwestern spring rolls and the spent grain “pretzels,” which were not exactly pretzels, but more like little loafs of super delicious homemade bread. Seriously, if you are ever in Des Moines, I highly recommend this restaurant. Yes, it was THAT good. Also, I have to say that our waitress, whose name I did not get, was just the cutest, friendliest little thing. Of course, we got on the subject of running and it turned out she is runner. It was so fun talking to her!

After Al picked me up when I was done on Saturday, we headed to the mall in West Des Moines just to walk around a little. My head was seriously spinning after I was done and I just needed to relax. We also ended up going to Sports Authority, Kohls, Shoe Carnival and Fareway grocery store. We only ended up buying a couple of things at the mall (see picture below). And at Sports Authority, we picked up some more GU energy gels because they were on sale (they didn’t have the Huma brand!) and Al got a new running hat and I got a new ASICS running visor. We then finally made it back to the hotel to make supper!


Photo credit: Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl

Yes, the only thing we bought at the mall were chocolates from the chocolaterie and cookies from the cookie store! And people wonder why we run!

Supper was, of course, pasta! It was so good. We didn’t use a recipe, which happens often when we are making pasta. We just toss in stuff we like and it always turns out great. This was no exception. It was delicious! The dish included chicken, garlic, hickory smoked sea salt, fresh basil, tomatoes, artichokes, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and whole-wheat pasta noodles. Oh, and some grated parmesan cheese on top. And of course, we did have some red wine with it, which we drank out of coffee mugs! It was that or plastic hotel cups!

pasta meal

Photo credit: Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl

So, that was pretty much it for my time spent at the coaching certification course and what we did leading up to Sunday. I am going to end part two here and I will tell you all about Sunday and the big race, which includes “Bulldog Hill,” in part three of “What a trip!” STAY TUNED for part three, you don’t want to miss it!



7 thoughts on “What a trip! (Part two)

    1. Thanks! And yes, there was a test, but we didn’t take it there. We got a link to it after the conference and I took it a couple of days after I got home. I am writing about it in part three!


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