Spartan Races Giveaway WINNER & Discount Code

So many tough athletes out there who can’t wait to get into the next Spartan Race!   Let’s start somebody’s holiday weekend off with a bang by giving them a free entry to the Spartan Race of their choosing! 

The winner is #9, Andrey Menshov!  No catch, Andrey, just email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com and I’ll give you a code for a free entry!  Have fun at Lake Tahoe at the Ultra Beast!

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For the rest of us, there is a Memorial Day special going on now thru 6/1 that saves up to $40 on race registrations.  Use code:  MEMORIAL and register HERE.

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If you miss the 6/1 registration deadline, you can use the code:  SPARTANBLOGGER at any time to get 10% off any race.

There is also a new booking coming out for Spartan lovers & fitness fanatics alike.  Its Spartan Fit by Joe DeSena.  If you need a little inspiration, feel free to pre-order HERE.  I read his last book Spartan UP and it was great, filled with lots of tips and inspirational quotes.  It looks like he is taking it to the next level this time with a 30 day plan to transform your body.  I’ll let you know what I think but the cover is below in case you spot it in the store or want to put your name on the pre-order list.

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Have a great & SAFE weekend – Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle – Inaugural 100K Ride

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The 2016 Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle was on May 21, 2016.  This was the 3rd year for the Spring Cycle event but the first time adding the 100K distance (62 miles). It was also the first time I participated.  To be honest, I’ve been intrigued by the event in the past, but this year the 100K pulled me in for registration! 

It was a cool, crisp morning on Saturday with temps expected to reach the 70s.  The 100K had 258 participants, who started at 9am.  The remaining 1,050ish participants started at 10am to ride the 10, 16, 34 or 44 mile routes.  Large crowd.  Easy venue for packet pickup & the start, all of which was at the Arts United Center on Main Street in Ft Wayne.  I was happy to have started early because there were several events in Ft Wayne and parking looked difficult as it got closer to the start time.  So many bikes!  The 100K was off at 9am on the dot!  There I am!

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The route traveled thru Ft Wayne, out of town and toward Antwerp, OH.  Mostly low traveled country roads and some busier roads with a wide shoulder.  Police at most major intersections.  Course markers both painted on the road, then larger visual signs to help cyclists follow the route.

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Four aid stations for the 100K,  one that we hit 2x, one at the turnaround and the last one near the end.  I only stopped at the turnaround point where I was pleased to see that there was NOT a line to the ladies room but the line for the men’s room was quite long!  Such a roll reversal, where were all my lady cyclists for the 100K?  The aid station had bananas, water & Gatorade, snacks and energy bars.  It was a quick in and out and I was back on the road.  The wind was decently strong and it was overcast.  I was wondering if it would rain even though it was starting to warm up.  I definitely wanted to keep moving and get back to the finish area.

The return trip to Ft Wayne took us down some nice roads with the wind at our back.  Smooth sailing for a bit, then we hit Amish Country and the roads weren’t as smooth (read pretty darn rough on my bum) &  there was horse “debris” that we had to dodge.  Not something I’m totally unfamiliar with but it forces me to be extra vigilant.  About this time, we also started meeting the cyclists from the other events.  That was nice.  I tend to fall in a category of my own when I ride.  I’m not fast enough for the fast people and I’m not slow enough for the slower riders.  That means I spend a lot of time pushing alone.  Not a bad thing because I ride for triathlon and we can’t draft.  Plus, the road cyclists make me nervous when they travel in large packs and are so close to each other.  I always worry they will crash and take me with them!  So once I joined the other riders, it was game on, just like a triathlon when we are pushing back to T2 …… “ON YOUR LEFT”.   

I want to shout out all the police and volunteers who helped with this event.  It takes a lot of people to put on a 100K ride.  So many intersections, especially when we traveled thru several towns and the ride started and ended in the middle of downtown Ft Wayne.  Getting back downtown in the afternoon was not an easy task for us or the many police officers who were assigned to help with traffic.  They did a great job and seemed to be patient.  Thanks for that. 

I was all smiles when I hit the finish.  I was ready to rack the bike!

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The finish line festival offered a bike valet so we could rack our bikes, enjoy the expo and go to the finish line party.  I was very happy with that.  I was parked very close to the finish line but would not have stayed if the bike valet wasn’t offered.  The first 1200 participants received a medal & tee shirt.  We also received a picnic lunch (hot dog, chips & a drink) and there was beer to purchase for those who were interested.  However, the cycling was definitely the main event.  It looked as if most rode, ate & left.  Good time.  Good day.  Great support.  Thanks, Ft Wayne!  I’ll be back next year!

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** Happy Cycling ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Spartan Race FREE ENTRY Giveaway & Discount Code

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Nothing says badass like the Spartan Races.  The Spartan Races are a spectacular series of events which will bring out the beast in all of us whether you’re looking to invoke your inner toughie or prove once again that you are strong, fit & brave.

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The Spartan is an obstacle course race that combines running & strength work to tackle obstacles in route.  Depending on what distance you choose, the event can be as short as 3+ miles or as long as 12+.  Lots of options, info on the various race distances from the Spartan website below:

There are three main types of Spartan Races.

For beginners we recommend the Sprint. Spartan’s shortest courses are 3+ miles and 20+ obstacles. Complete the race at your own pace. If you fail an obstacle along the way, you owe us 30 burpees before continuing on.

Ready for more? The Super is 8+ miles, 24+ obstacles, and often hosted on a tougher terrain.

The hardest of the three races is the Beast: 12+ miles and 30+ obstacles. We’ll leave the challenges of the course to your imagination.

For those who dare: check out our Ultra Beast, Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12 Hour and Agoge endurance races.

They also offer kids races and various events across the country.  No matter where you live, there is most likely a Spartan Race near you!  Put in your zip code on the race finder & a map with pop up with your recommended location.

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The closest races to me are the Chicago Super & Sprint weekend on June 11th and the Indiana Sprint on July 9th.  Which race is in your backyard?  Look HERE.

I have one free entry to give away to the Spartan Race of your choosing.  In order to be entered in the giveaway, please make a comment below and tell me which race you would choose if you win the free entry.  Easy right?  Giveaway runs from now until next Friday, May 27th at 11am EST.  I want to send someone into the upcoming Memorial Day weekend with a FREE ENTRY to a Spartan Race.  Good luck!

For those of us who can’t wait and want to register now, I have a 10% off discount code:  SPARTANBLOGGER.  Feel free to use that code any time and register HERE by finding the race of your choosing. 

** AROO – Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Favorite Things …. New Edition

I haven’t done a favorite things post in a while!  That’s because I’ve been busying using what I Iove and not deviating from the box.  I’ve dropped a few brands because some of my preferences have changed but if you must know I’m still wearing Athleta & Saucony EVERYTHING, I’ve tossed in a couple pair of 7” Nike Pros, some Gypsy Runner & I don’t run without my Injinji Socks.  Enough said on the “normal”.  Let’s talk about what’s NEW!  And for the record, I’m not an ambassador or affiliate for any of these brands, I don’t have a discount code but if you find one send it to me, and I don’t have free product to give you.  Lame, huh?  Sorry, I’ll try to do better next time.

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Tailwind Nutrition – How many of you have this sitting in your fuel drawer but haven’t yet tried it?  I had a few packets sitting for months, like 6+ months.  I didn’t try it til I had enough with my tummy issues.  Tailwind politely calls our tummy issues “gut bombs”.  So appropriate. 

Tailwind is a liquid nutrition that is wheat, gluten, diary & soy free.  It’s 100% natural.  It was designed for people running ultra distance like 50 & 100 mile races but I’m proof that it works great for marathons too!  This product hydrates, fuels & gives the electrolytes needed to race for as long as I like.  Easy to mix, clear since it doesn’t have artificial additives for color & flavor, comes in 7 flavors (one of which is unflavored) and with or without caffeine.  It has the consistency of water and has a light refreshing taste.  Plus it has glucose/sucrose which helps fast delivery of energy to the muscles.  I’ve been low on sugar before while racing and it’s not pretty.  Sometimes the miles & time on our feet get away from us.  Sometimes the heat & humidity take more out of the body than we can possibly understand until it’s too late.  With the constant stream of tailwind going into my system, I feel good, all the time.  Even when those around me are getting sick, crashing & heading for the med tent.  For more info, checkout the tailwind website.  They have more info that I can possibly share, I just know it has worked wonders for me and I’m confident that I’ll finally get that PR that I’ve been chasing. 

FlipBelt Hydration Bottles – Have you seen these yet?  You now know that I’m in love with Tailwind.  The reason it took me so long to try it was because I didn’t want to CARRY IT.  I despise hydration belts with all my being.  I don’t even care if they are good ones that don’t move or bounce.  I avoid them like the plague.  I also dislike handhelds.   And I haven’t had the desire to try a hydration vest.  So when FlipBelt came out with their new hydration bottles, I ordered one before the ink was dry on the website. 

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I use my FlipBelt ALL the time.  I load it up for runs & races and go, go, go.  I was hoping it was be just as awesome with the hydration bottles.  It worked great & did NOT bounce.  I was so happy!  I use the 11oz bottle & mix in my Tailwind.  Tip:  If I’m using the scoop out of the Tailwind bag, I also use a baby formula dispenser to get my Tailwind in the FlipBelt bottles.  The opening on the bottle is small, which is good cuz its easy for drinking and carrying, not so good for adding fuel to the bottle!  The bottles are curved to fit snuggly to our body.  I can only carry one 11 oz bottle at a time or I’m not comfortable.  But the Tailwind mixes so nicely, that I put 4 scoops into ONE 11oz bottle for marathons.  That’s 400 calories and I make sure I drink that by the 20 mile mark.  Then I use water on course for extra hydration.  These FlipBelt bottles are a great option for hydration on the go!  Tip:  FlipBelt usually is running some sort of special discount code on their Facebook Page.  Go find them on FB if you are looking for a discount!

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Eagle Creek Pack It Sport Bags.  I had never heard of Eagle Creek until a couple weeks ago when they sent the RockNBloggers some free stuff.  It was right before I left for my double marathon weekend & I tweeted out a pic real quick, packed up the bags to go & I left.  I had zero idea how helpful they would be for that race weekend. 

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They sent me a large Foot Locker that fit shoes up to size 11.  I always have more than one pair of run shoes for these big weekends but the plan is to race in one shoe unless there is a problem.  I was able to put my main pair of shoes in the locker, plus I added my watch, fuel, socks, calf sleeves and FlipBelt to the foot locker.  Super easy. I pulled it out on race morning and had everything I needed for the run other than my clothes.  VERY nice having everything in one place!  Quick pics below before I stuffed the rest of the goodies into the shoe locker.  Lots of room.  Sealed up the shoes and the smell (if that’s an issue). 

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The real gem of this collection was something I didn’t use initially when I packed up.  It was the large Fitness Locker.  I took this with me for my dirty run clothes.  It’s water proof & antimicrobial.  I was thinking it would be prefect for my wet, nasty marathon clothes.  Little did I know how much I would need it.  There was non-stop rain at the Kentucky Derby Marathon.  Upon finishing the race, I had a wet singlet, bra, shorts, compression sleeves, socks, flip belt & visor.  Normally, I would have been thieving the bag in our hotel room that’s reserved for dry cleaning, but not this time.  I threw ALL those clothes & the visor into the Fitness Locker and zipped it up.  Done.  No wetness.  No smell.  Then I threw the Fitness Locker in my gym bag with all my other CLEAN clothes & zipped everything up. 

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Then we headed over to Cincinnati, where I did it all again.  Got done with the Flying Pig Marathon the next day.  No rain but this time we had heat, humidity, sprinklers & water hoses.  Same scenario when I got back to the hotel.  I was drenched, my clothes were drenched.  So I grabbed the Fitness Locker, which didn’t smell at all from the Derby race, and unzipped it to add the clothes from Flying Pig:  wet singlet, bra, shorts, compression sleeves, socks, flip belt & visor.  The bag was now full with 2 full sets of wet clothes but it easily zipped & I tossed it into my regular bag with the remaining clean clothes.  Easiest travel I’ve ever had with wet, gross, dirty clothes. I’m very happy to add these Eagle Creek Pack It Sport bags to my travel collection.  Check out their website if you need help organizing your fitness clothes & gear or need to transport wet/gross clothes to and from the gym or while traveling.  Prices are very reasonable and that is the best part!

Okay, that’s the latest edition of my “Favorite Things” list.  I think these are all relatively new products that are noteworthy.  I hope they help you as much as they have helped me.

Do you have any new products that you’re loving?  If so, let us know in the comments below!

** Happy Running & TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Back to Back Marathons, 2 Marathons in 2 Days …. Tips for a Successful Double!

I’ve ran two back to back marathons this year.  Yes, that’s 2 marathons in 2 days.  The first was the Mississippi Blues Marathon & First Light Marathon in January.  The second, just last weekend with the Kentucky Derby Marathon and Flying Pig Marathon.  Amazing or Stupid?  That is the question. 

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Sometimes, I manage to over commit.  Sometimes, its not my fault.  The first time I did back to back days of big mileage was in September 2013 when Women’s Rock first came to Chicago.  That race was a mess.  They ended up changing the date without notifying participants.  I was then faced with a 1/2 marathon on Saturday & an organized 20 miler on Sunday.  I was vested & had paid lip service to both events.  I was hoping I wouldn’t die.  I didn’t.  And to be honest it was way easier than I had anticipated.  As a result, it spurred my confidence that big mileage, on consecutive days, was possible IF I did it correctly.  Myself & Nicki at Women’s Rock (Sept 2013).

Womens Rock w Nicki

From that day, I moved onto the Inaugural Dopey Challenge in January 2014.  That’s 4 straight days of running.  5K (THUR), 10K (FRI), half marathon (SAT) & full marathon on SUN.  I was hoping I wouldn’t die.  I didn’t.  As a result, it spurred my confidence that big mileage, on consecutive days, was possible IF I did it correctly.  My BFF Minnie Mouse & myself at the first ever Disney World 10K.  Inaugural Dopey Challenge 2014.

Minnie Mouse & Me

From the Dopey Challenge, I moved into my 4 for 40 challenge for my 40th birthday in April 2014.  My challenge.  My rules.  I wanted to run 4 marathons in 4 weeks for my 40th birthday.  It was kinda a big deal (to me) and ended up being one 50K and 3 marathons in 21 days.  I was hoping I wouldn’t die.  I didn’t.  As a result, it spurred my confidence that big mileage, on consecutive days/weeks, was possible IF I did it correctly.

BUT then life happened.  I ended moving to Indiana.  I gained 26#s, which I’ve been battling since summer 2014.  My plantar fasciitis took control of my life as I left my IL home, and with it my amazing chiropractors (Landgrebe Chiro in Tinley Park, IL).  Once I was settled in Indiana, I tried to get back on track with healthy eating, fitness & running.  I was facing down my first double marathon weekend in January 2015.  Same double as this year (Mississippi Blues & First Light) but I didn’t make it to the start line!  Why?  I, or should I say my new chiros & PTs, couldn’t get my PF under control.  By the time January 2015 rolled around, I could barely walk, let alone run 2 marathons in 2 days.  I’ve since found an amazing chiropractor at Optimum Performance in Ft Wayne, IN.   My PF is gone.  I’m totally pain free.

There’s the background on my build up over the last several years.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend running 2 marathons in 2 days but I did have some experience of big mileage on back to back days so it wasn’t an insane jump for me.  Or not as insane as some would think.  I wasn’t really nervous.  I was pretty sure I wouldn’t die.  And I didn’t.

If you are considering a back to back, whether it be 2 half marathons or 2 marathons, here are a few tips.

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Have fun with it.
  • Don’t over train.  I was way too serious the first time (when I was in the throws of PF).  I had a lot of high mileage days, back to back.  High mileage piled atop high mileage.  Let’s just say, I didn’t help anyone fix my PF.  And I never had the chance to even start the first race, let alone finish the second one.
  • Recovery is key.  Both during training and on race weekend.  I roll with “the stick” and on a foam roller.  I use a Recovery Drink after big runs/races.  I use Nighttime Recovery caplets when my legs feel heavy or sore.  I don’t shy away from an ice bath or cold pool.  I use compression during and after hard runs/races.  And I do try to get extra rest.  That means sleep.  Yes, sleep.  I take rest days after big runs and leading up to race days/weekends.  You can’t run a double marathon weekend if you are exhausted, hurt or hungry.  Take care of yourself!
  • Eat real food.  Part of fueling up for a double marathon weekend or recovering from one is about what you put in your body.  Dieting?  Wrong answer. You need to eat.  Proteins.  Fats (healthy fats).  Carbs.  Sugars.  If you are on a weight loss journey, marathoning is not for you.  I spend a lot of time fueling up and then feeding the machine after.  As a result, my weight is high but I’m healthy.  I can’t focus on losing weight and still make sure I’m fueled up and recovered.  True story.
  • Take care of your feet!!  Rotate shoes.  Wear good socks.  I prefer Injinji socks because they prevent blisters & the loss of toe nails.  I also slather on the Aquaphor BEFORE I put on my socks.  I use so much Aquaphor  that you might think I get it for free.  I don’t.  But it works and I love it.  Injinjis + Aquaphor = SUCCESS!
  • Fueling.  This is tricky!  Fueling for one marathon is hard!  Now do it correctly and be ready to run again on day 2!  I’ve have some stomach issues, in running and real life.  I finally went to the doc and got some stronger meds.  Imodium was not doing it for me.  Enough said.  But I’m now able to fuel properly during the first race without losing everything and being sick for hours (or more) afterward.  I also make sure to use my salt tabs if its hot and/or humid.  Then I go into recovery mode directly after the race (see above) to refuel & feed the machine for day 2. 
  • Fueling for day 2.  Plan on having extra fuel.  The first time, we were not prepared to deal with the hunger on day 2.  We took the normal amount of fuel that we would need for a marathon.  We almost starved.  We ate food from aid stations that we normally wouldn’t touch.  We ate food from bike support people.  We would have hurt someone for a cliff bar, and we almost did.  Smile
  • Pick your day 2 destination wisely.  We tend to go where our friends go and I suggest you do the same.  The more people you know racing, the better.  But if you are doing this solo, make sure the 2 races are in close proximity.  I’ve heard people flying from one race to another.  That’s not my reality.  Our first double had a 3.5 hour drive time between races.  That was almost too much.  This time it was under 2 hours and that was perfect.  Remember, you “might” be tired.  You don’t want to spend all day recovering in the car.
  • Forget what PR stands for and take it easy.  2 marathons in 2 days is a lot for a normal person.  Run easy on day 1.  Walk up the hills.  High five the kids.  Thank the volunteers.  Do NOT run fast.
  • Prepare for some initial stiffness on day 2.  Especially if day one is cold, wet, windy or hilly.  The conditions of day one have as much of an effect on your body as what YOU do during that race.  Start out slow on day 2, let your body loosen up on its own and you’ll be surprised how good you feel after 3 or 4 miles.  But still take it easy on day 2.  This is about endurance, not speed. You want to walk away smiling, not limping! 
  • Schedule a massage for 2-3 days post double.  You’ll need it & your body deserves it.  You have one body.  Respect it.
  • Rest post double.  I go into full rest mode.  I’m not a “streaker”.  It’s not for me or my body.  I value my rest days.  If I’m feeling sassy or antsy, I’ll swim or bike.  But really, it’s Thursday and my plan is to drink wine and watch tv tonight.  I have one objective & that’s to be healthy so I can keep running, swimming and biking.  As a result, I err on the side of caution and rest an extra day or 2 beyond what most consider normal.  But really, what the heck is normal?  2 marathons in 2 days probably is NOT considered normal. 
  • Frame of mind.  Lastly, if you think you can do it, then you can.  As with everything, be confident.  Know you can do it.

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Have you ever ran a double half or double marathon weekend?  If so, share your tips for success! 

** Run Happy AND Healthy ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Flying Pig Marathon …. A Pigcredible Race

The Flying Pig Marathon was my 32nd marathon.  Let it suffice to say that I know a good race from a bad one and I’d put Flying Pig at the top.  This was definitely one of the best races I’ve ran to date.  I’d go back to run the hills of Cincinnati anytime.  They did an amazing job with a lot of people, in very warm conditions.  Plus I’d like to shout out kudos to the communities, all of whom embraced this race as their own and were PROUD to showcase their town, their neighborhoods and they brought fun, food, music & games curbside for the runners to enjoy.  Incredible, Cincinnati, absolutely incredible.  Thanks for letting me run YOUR town.

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The theme this year was “Get Oinked for Life”.  As I understand it, they have a different piggy theme each year.  But the swag is always amazing.  This year they gave a gender specific tee, poster, gym bag (with yoga mat holder) & a buff at the finish line.  I’ve seen finisher hats in years previous but it was a buff this year.

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Nice sized expo with lots of Flying Pig logo’d merchandise.  I normally don’t buy much from the expo but I had a feeling this was going to be a great race so I grabbed a visor & an insolated water bottle, which was a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati.  

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Lots of piggy photo ops too.  If you didn’t get your pic with one of the many cool looking piggies, then really, can we even be friends?  Get excited, people!  Have some fun!  WhoooHoooo!  Me & Lindsay Glitter Girl on the Run leaving the expo on the right.  Pigs FLY in Cincinnati!  Yes, they do.  And thanks, Lindsay for being excited about all the cool piggies!  Smile

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This race was much larger than I anticipated so getting to the start & into the corrals on Sunday morning was a bigger process than I anticipated.  We had plenty of time but there were a lot of people (over 39,692 participants for the entire weekend)!  I said goodbye to Lindsay as she went into our corral.  Pre-race selfie with Lindsay below! 

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Her run plan was to crush the hills.  My run plan was to 1) not let the hills crush me, 2) have fun, 3) find some bacon, & 4) run with my friends!  So I went back a corral to be with friends and hope that they would walk up some of the hills with me!  Found Julie B at waiting for us at the entrance to Corral F!  Julie B, Tamyra & I walking up one of the bridge inclines around mile 3.  All smiles. 

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The sun was coming up.  The fog was lifting.  It was turning into a glorious day and we were all happy to be in Cincinnati to Fly with the Pigs!

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I found bacon immediately within the first couple miles (blurry pic but I was excited!!).  Then I found Elvis.  We ran in and out of Cincinnati several times.  Over 3 different bridges, past a few more. 

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Past Horseshoe Casino & into Eden Park.  The views in Eden Park were breathtaking.  It was hard not to linger and enjoy the view.  Most everyone was stopping for pics & I love to see that.  Runners ENJOYING the race vs zooming past all the cool stuff!

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We said goodbye to Eden’s park, passed under a cool footbridge & headed to the split for the half & full marathons.

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The split was huge.  There were 12,532 half marathoners (including walkers) and they split at an intersection with one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen (pic below).  Then the full marathon continued and had 3,861 finishers (including walkers).  I would like to note that the full initially had 4,737 registered runners.  Not sure how many bowed out or dropped to the half pre-race but the conditions got very tough and a lot of people were not able to finish.  I really hope that we didn’t lose 850+ people over that last half of the race.  That’s a big discrepancy in registered vs finished.

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After we dropped the half runners, we started to stretch out and head toward the neighborhoods.  There are a lot of races where I’d tell you to stick with the half.  So many races put all the sites & fun in the first half because the number of half runners always trumps the full marathoners by a lot.  They focus on those runners and then just stretch out the course for those of us who “have to” run the 26.2 distance.  Cincinnati was NOT like that.  There was plenty to see and fun to be had in the last half of the race.  Plus, I’ve honestly never seen as better proration of volunteers to runners.  Even the people who didn’t volunteer in an official capacity brought the party to the curb as we passed thru their neighborhood.

I’ve never ran a race with so much entertainment.  Live music.  Boom boxes.  Car radios.  Bubble Machines.  Mini Basketball stations.  Cheerleaders.  Singers.  Bands.  Children cheering and high fiving.  Mascots.  Fun, fun, FUN!

I’ve never ran a road race with so many food stations.  Bacon.  Need I say more?  Chocolate.  Hershey Kisses.  York Peppermint Patties (Pig Mints!!).  Graham Crackers.  Chocolate Graham Crackers.  Twizzlers.  Pretzels.  Oranges.  Watermelon.  Fruit cups.  Swedish Fish.  Pringles.  Trail Mix.  Candy.

I’ve never ran a race with the level of community support that I saw in Cincinnati.  Full on block parties.  Lots of drinking in the early a.m.  More piggy decorations than I knew to exist.  Beer shots.  Mimosas.  Margaritas.  Music.  Cheers.  Laughter.  Painted streets.  Encouragement galore.  And dogs.  If you love dogs as much as Cincinnati loves pigs, then you will be in heaven.  Big dogs.  Little dogs.  Old dogs.  Puppies!!  Fat dogs.  Skinny dogs.  Hairy dogs.  Friendly dogs.  Scared dogs.  LOL!  I loved the Cincy dogs as much as I loved the people!!   

The race stretched out.  Hill after hill.  Big hills.  Little hills.  But always hills. Hard race.  Don’t let all the fun deter from the hills cuz Cincinnati is know for hills more than fun.  There was over a 1000 feet of climbing and just as much descending (ironically not much  more climbing than in Olathe KS for the Garmin Marathon that we thought was flat & fast!).

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Our turnaround point was the Village of Mariemont.  Cute community!  By this time, I was soaked.  It was hot. Full sun.  I was dumping water on my head & I was drenched.  So, no pics by me but I grabbed this from the Mariemont Inn website because I wanted you to have a small taste of Mariemont.  The entire area was just this awesome. 

Mariemont Inn

By the time we got to Mariemont and were headed back to the City, the temps were soring and the runners were starting to suffer.  Some had been suffering for quite some time. I was hearing a lot of ambulance sirens.  I was worried about those around me. I was doing okay but going at a very pedestrian pace.  Lots of walking.  Lots of water intake.  Lots of electrolyte intake.  I hit every sprinkler and loved the Cintas station that set up with icy cold towels, dry towels and full water hoses with shower heads!  About the time things started to get really bad, race officials had gotten ice and were bringing it back to runners.  They had gators loaded with cases of water, huge bags of ice and were proactively headed from the finish back toward the runners still on course.  I was very impressed that although they had not planned for the higher temps, they were proactive and did what they could to help the suffering runners.  That’s a great race organization that is able to react quickly to a less than ideal situation. 

There were also about 30 bike support people on course who were watching the runners very closely.  They had supplies on their bike and would go get something a runner needed.  Med & aid stations toward the end were stocked with margarita shot blocks with extra salt, Coca Cola and things that we normally don’t see at road races.  I was very, VERY impressed with the Flying Pig Marathon.  I will definitely go back and run it again. 

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Registration for 2017 is now open.  You can register HERE for the May 7, 2017 marathon for $70 (or the half for $60) thru May 15, 2016.  Get Oinked for Life!

I’m headed into triathlon season now.  My next marathon will be on October 1st in Fort Wayne, IN.  The Fort4Fitness event that I’ve loved since its inception in 2008 is offering its first ever marathon and I can’t wait to run in my back yard and rock the run in Ft Wayne.  Flying Pig reminded me a lot of Fort4Ftiness in the way the communities come out to support the runners and that made me even more excited about the upcoming Fort4Ftiness Marathon.  I hope to see YOU in Ft Wayne on October 1st!

** Run Happy, All.  Have Fun & Enjoy ALL the Races.  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Kentucky Derby Marathon – 2016

I headed to Louisville last weekend to run my 2nd Kentucky Derby Marathon.  I love this race and it wasn’t difficult to talk me into a repeat visit.  I’m a huge fan of races in small towns where we can park the car at the hotel, then walk to packet pickup, dinner & the race itself. Its good for the runners AND spectators. 

MarathonMini Logo SPONSOR COLOR no year.eps

The expo is a nice size.  Not huge but a decent size compared to some of the smaller ones we have been to as of late.  Quite a few vendors to cover whatever you may have forgotten or to grab something special to remember your trip.  Packet pickup was quick and painless.  The full marathoners walked away with a gender specific tee & a hat for race swag. 

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Race day was just as painless.  The race started on Main Street about a block or two  from our hotel.  No gear check for us, so we just made our way to the corral and got in line.  Race started at 7:30a and we left the hotel at 7:00a.  Rain was on the forecast so we grabbed a selfie before we got wet.  Smile  Me, Katie & Julie M.  We tried  about 4 selfies.  I look equally as goofy in each one.  Yes, this is the best one.  No, I have no idea what’s going on with my hair.

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There are so many things I love about this race and I talked about a lot of them when I ran in 2014.  See that post HERE.  Race starts on Main Street and you run past all the local businesses, bars, restaurants, the huge YUM Stadium, the Louisville Slugger Museum and so much more.  The first miles of the race really showcase a lot of what Louisville has to offer, including the University of Louisville.  It weaves in and out of downtown.  Constant crowd support.  Neighborhood children out to cheer on the runners.  Good community support. 

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But honestly, everyone is just waiting for mile 8 and to enter Churchill Downs.  This was definitely a highlight for me last time and I was anxiously awaiting it once again.  By the time we got to this point, it was steadily raining on us and had been for a while.  So no pics from this round but I have some from 2014!

Churchill Downs

We run into the entrance of Churchill Downs, thru the area where all the tents are located and I envision various vendors for race weekend, then thru the tunnels, under the track and into the back lots.  Pic below from 2014.

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Even though it was raining, there were still several horses out practicing when we ran thru.  It’s very cool.  I’ve always wanted to go to the Derby and this renewed my interest to make that happen.  Cool venue and I love running it.

Once we are out of the Downs, around mile 9, the half and full marathons split.  Although, I always enjoy the company of the half runners, and find it way easier to keep a slow steady pace when all of them are around, I was ready for a bit of solitude and for the road to open up.  The Derby Festival Marathon weekend is best known for it’s “mini” marathon (half marathon to anyone how doesn’t live in Indianapolis IN or Louisville KY).  There were 10,434 half marathoners and a mere 1,811 full runners.  So the road did in fact open up quite a bit as we said goodbye to the “mini” runners.  But we weren’t alone.  There were always people around and still a good number of spectators out, even for a rainy day. 

Now we were headed for Iroquois Park.  This is the hardest part of the race with lots of up & downhill sections but the scenery is spectacular.  I must say, I found this section particularly hard last time (2014) but it really wasn’t that bad this year, thanks to all the ridiculously hilly races I’ve managed to run over the last couple years.  There were some tough ups but I walked them.  And I found a surprising number of downhill sections which I don’t remember from last time!  The gentle rain made everything that much more beautiful and the road was wide open so that we could easily run the tangents up and down the hills and around the winding roads.  Very nice. 

After Iroquois Park, it was all downhill.  Like seriously.  I think we may have had 1 or 2 inclines after that but it was otherwise flat terrain.  We ran past so many amazing churches and historical homes, back thru the University of Louisville campus and we were headed back to the downtown area. 

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The aid stations were fully stocked and staffed, even with the rain.  They offered water, Gatorade & Cliff Shots in several spots.  Lots of potties and medical stations, if you needed them.  Plus spectators who came out even with the weather.  By the time we hit mile 23, it was a full on downpour.  I was happy to have a visor and just kept my head down and ran.  It was then that the rain finally penetrated my shoes as we could no longer see dips in the pavement but rather just splashed thru.  It didn’t dampen anyone spirits but there did seem to be a lot of people cramping and hurting in those last miles and I think it was a lot about the weather and the cool rain on their warm muscles.  Julie & I stopped 2-3 times to dig Biofreeze out of our bags for people who needed some assistance.  But alas the finish became visible and we put another marathon in the DONE column.  We even saw our friend Erica at the finish.  She killed her race and beat us by a few minutes (or more).  Smile  Julie, Random Dude, Erica & me.

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The Kentucky Derby Marathon is an awesome race.  Great spectator support.  Great community support.  Great course.  Great police/safety.  Great aid stations.  And its fun without too many crazy hills.  Put this one on your list if you haven’t already, it’s worth the trip to Louisville to run the Derby. 

The Derby Marathon was the first marathon of the weekend.  Yes, the second double marathon weekend of 2016.  We finished, showered, and drove to Cincinnati OH for the Flying Pig Marathon.  Come back tomorrow for that recap. 

** Run the Derby Marathon ** Amanda – TooTallFritz