Spartan Giveaway WINNER!

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Today is the day!  Let’s get someone a FREE race entry to start out their 2017 season!!  I have one Spartan Race entry to give away to a lucky someone.  The random number generator selected number 8, which is Liz Lew!  Congrats, Liz!image 

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Liz, please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com to collect your code for the free entry to any open US Spartan Race of your choice.

The rest of us can go here to select our 2017 the Spartan Races!

Thanks for entering!!  Now, let’s start planning for 2017!

** Arooo ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Huff 50K Trail Run – 2016

The Huff 50K Trail Run is traditionally one of the largest 50Ks in the Midwest.  The course is thru scenic Chain O Lakes State Park in Albion, IN & features well groomed trails that are wide enough to run 2 or 3 abreast.  At least most days.  The 2016 Huff presented a series of weather challenges in the form of snow & freezing rain that resulted in low turnout and even fewer finishers.

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Knowing that the weather was going to be less than ideal on race day, I went to pick up our packets early at Running Around Screen Printing in Columbia City.  Easy in and out. Packet included the normal hand/foot warmers, Huff Logo tee & a water bottle with the Huff logo. I also picked up socks & popcorn at the race site.

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Race day started at 8am.  We arrived early.  Roads weren’t too bad on our journey but others weren’t as lucky.  I immediately noticed that the tent wasn’t very full and the lines to the potties weren’t that long.  I mentally noted that probably less than half the normal runners had shown up, but it was hard to tell.  The One Loop & Relay race was scheduled to start at 8am but the timing system was literally frozen.  They got the “one loopers” going about 8:10am.  Off goes Aby & Annika for their very first Huff experience!!  Pic of us in the tent pre-race.

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50K runners followed shortly.  Very low key.  Very relaxed.  We started running off the start line and made it maybe 50 feet before the entire group started walking.  We had hit the snowy trail & progress had slowed immediately.  That was the theme of the entire day.  Slow.  Steady.  Just keep moving forward.  My calves & quads & hip flexors were burning from effort before I hit the one mile mark.  Running thru the snow was intense.  You couldn’t really “see” the ground or trail, there was a layer of fresh powdery snow to plow our way thru and it made running hard ….. and slow.  But it was beautiful!

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Trail groomers had spent all week marking & grooming trails, running snowmobiles over the trails and trying to pack down the snow as much as possible.  In some areas the efforts were well noted, in others the snow was so powdery that packing it down was next to impossible. 

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Bridges with steps were impassable due to a layer of ice covering them and railings that were covered with ice and impossible to hold.

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As we were running, the first loop was warmish, probably 30 degrees with a cooler feels like temp.  I knew I was overdressed but I was more prepared for the temps to cool, and the freezing rain that was to come throughout the day.  We got lucky in that it never poured freezing rain on us.  It was a light misty rain.  One where you knew you were wet but weren’t being pelted by rain.  By mile 8, I had a layer ice over the bill of my hat.  My zipper on my jacket was a chunk of ice.  My bib was frozen stiff.  The trails were starting to get more slippery and there was less fight with the fluffy snow.  And the temps were dropping.

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I kept looking forward to the end of the first loop.  My TRI team was working the aid station with the Huff Couch and I was looking forward to seeing some friendly faces!  They even got a few pics of me & a few of Aby & Annika when they passed thru.

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Aby & Annika – In the black & white jackets.

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Loop 2 was hard.  I didn’t have as much of an issue starting loop 2 as I have in past years.  I just did it.  No thought.  I just ran past the tent and kept on moving.  I had no idea what I was in for, at all.  I had hopes that the trail would be packed down and the powdery snow would be less of an issue.  That was true.  But what I didn’t anticipate was that the powdery snow would have packed and turned to a mound of ice.  I had Yak Trax in my drop bag, which I passed up without even thinking of stopping for them.  Yak Trax aren’t a huge help in fluffy, powdery snow.  But I had made a huge mistake.  I slipped and slided thru the entirety of the second loop.   It was super icy.  Yak Trax would have given me some traction.  At one point, when I reached a long service road heading into the Rally Aid Station, I could barely get down that road.  It was so icy.  And the snow was plowed up on the side of the road and covered with a layer of ice so I couldn’t walk in the snow, it was too deep.  30 people passed me on that road alone, all laughing at me.  Once I got to the end and had to cross over to the aid station, I about fell (again), in the middle of the road.  A kind lady with ice spikes on her shoes actually grabbed my arm and pulled me across the ice to safer ground.   But alas, the Rally Aid Station is on high ground and it down, down, down from there.  I was quite fearful as to how I’d make it down while still on my feet.  Fortunately, the snow on the side of the trail wasn’t too deep and I was able to walk in the thicker snow.  It had a layer of ice on it but once I broke thru, it was much safer.  That’s how I got thru all the downhill sections from mile 23 thru the finish.  And I did finish.  It was a long fought battle. I was fatigued.  Sore.  I walked a lot more because of the ice than the fatigue so it took forever but really, in the end, the finish is all I wanted.

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It took me 7 hrs & 50 minutes this year.  An hour longer than last but a finish is a finish.  I changed out of my wet clothes, then went over to hang out with my TRI team at the Huff  Couch aid station.  Done, Done, Done!!

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This year the 50K had 231 finishers, compared to 377 for last year.  Many who started, didn’t finish the first loop in time to start the second & were given a 1 loop finisher medal.  We had a total of 423 finisher in the one loop & 50K for this year.  Compared to 666 for last year.  Then the relay division was a huge tell all of what we faced.  This year we had 8 men teams & 7 women teams finish.  Last year we had 8 men teams, 10 women teams & 20 mixed teams.  The weather was frightful and I congratulate everyone who had the courage to show up and run.  Rough day but I know I’ll see you all out there again next year!  Cheers to 2016 being in the books & 2017 being on the horizon!

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Rock N Roll San Antonio 10K & Marathon …….

December has been a total whirlwind & I’m way behind on race reports.  As a result, I’m going to combine the Rock N Roll San Antonio 10K & Marathon report. 

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Rock N Roll San Antonio was the first weekend of December.  The 10K was on Saturday & the 5K, 1/2 & full marathon were on Sunday.  Initially I thought I was going to be solo on this trip so I signed up for the 10K & Marathon so that I would have something to occupy my time.  I anticipated amazing weather and a bit of escape from the cold, ice & snow of the Midwest but I was pretty much wrong on every accord.  I left a land of ice & snow & entered a land of cool, cold rain.  Flood Warnings.  Thunderstorm Warnings.  Temps that were unseasonably cold in San Antonio.  It was hard to really see & do much because there was so much pouring rain.  Looked like a fun city, we were just pretty limited to our activities.  Fortunately, we had an amazing hotel that was steps from a huge shopping mall & I had company.  Huge win!  Meet my friend, Nicki.  She’s a big fan of RnR races & is always with me at RnR Chicago!  She made the trip to San Antonio to share the RnR fun!!

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I’ve really come to love Rock N Roll races this year.  I’ve used my Tour Pass as much as my budget would allow, and maybe a little bit beyond that.  Smile

Rock N Roll provides a series of events for everyone.  You can participate if you are a beginner or a serious athlete.  If you’ve been following me for a while, you know these multi-event weekend races are my favorite because I know people at all levels of fitness & ability.  I like it when we can ALL go to an event and each find something that is fun & challenging without excluding anyone.  Thanks, Rock N Roll Marathon Series!!

RNR San Antonio 10K – Saturday

The 10K was all about fun.  After I found out that Nicki was joining me, I decided to run with her.  Its always more fun running with a friend!  The 10K start was at Sunset Station.  Cool area!  Only a 5-10 minute walk from most of the downtown hotels.

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Light Rain with a “feels like” 43 temp.  Everyone was freezing & I should have probably worn arm warmer cuz when the hard rain really started right before the start, I must admit, I was cold.  But we were ready to run!

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Since the rain was light for the 10K, kinda off and on, I tried to take a lot of pics.  I knew the entire weekend was supposed to be rainy.  I took advantage of the light rain, the slow pace due to flooded streets and I took my sweet time, stopping for as many pics as I liked.  Course highlights:  Alamo City Music Hall, San Antonio Museum of Art (2nd pic below), Methodist Hospital (6th/last pic below), Crocket Park & so many beautiful churches.

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I will say this must be the quietest race that I ever ran.  None of the buzz that is part of usual road races.  It was deadly quiet.  I tried to get the crowd going a couple times by signing, hooping/hollering but they all looked at me like I was crazy.  Solemn crowd.  I’m not sure if the weather dampened their spirits or there were a lot of new runners out on course, but its something I’ll always remember about the San Antonio 10K….. the quietness.…. except for Nicki & I.

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More running.  Several passes over the Riverwalk. Tobin Center of Performing Arts.  More churches.  Majestic Theatre.  Buckhorn Museum of Texas.  Then the finish at The Alamo.

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Loved the 10K.  Great race.  Very low key.  Good for beginners. Several water stops with port-o-potties.  Music, even with the rain!!  Lots of volunteer & police support.  Great route.  2,014 finishers. 

RNR San Antonio Marathon – Sunday

Sunday was the main day of events.  A lot more energy & a normal sized RnR crowd!  Rock N Roll ran the 5K with 1,484 finishers, the 1/2 marathon with 10,711 finishers & the marathon with 2,587 finishers.  It was cold & rainy.  Heavy rain with wind.  Lots of flooding.  If you are the person who doesn’t like to get your feet wet, I hope you stayed tucked in your bed at the hotel.  It was wet and I don’t mean maybe.  It rained hard for the first 12 miles.   So hard that I had trouble wrapping my brain around it.  I was numb & honestly had a hard time keeping my head in the game.  I couldn’t see much thru the pouring rain, so no pics were to be taken.  Some streets were so flooded that I stopped to walk thru not knowing how deep the water.  I thought I heard thunder several times but never saw lightening.  I honestly expected to get turned into the finish when I reached the half turnoff, but that didn’t happen.  Around mile 9, I finally accepted the weather that was given to me, put my head down and started to run.  I’m not sure what I was doing before that but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with feeling sorry for myself than running.  And I must say that normally the rain doesn’t bother me but I was cut to the core with coldness.  I had on a tank, shorts & arm warmers.  I was dressed appropriately.  I know I would have been miserable with more layers of wet clothes but that didn’t make me feel better. It was probably a “feels like 40” temp but I couldn’t keep warm. 

I’ll go thru the course highlights but honestly, I’d be remiss to say that I actually saw much of anything. I ran thru some areas that I knew would be really cool if I could see them but I really had to tuck my head and fight to keep moving.  The cold rain & wind was stiffening my joints up and rotating my legs was becoming a chore.

Course highlights:  Aztec Theatre, Commerce Street Shops/Restaurants, Milam Park, Historic Market Square, San Fernando Cathedral, Market Street, Crockett Street & Historic Crockett Hotel (where I stayed – Loved it!), The Alamo, First Baptist Church of San Antonio, San Antonio Museum of Art, Overtime Theater, The Grotto, Pearl Brewery, Josephine Theater, Paper Tiger Theater, St Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, Allison Park, San Antonio Zoo, The Doseum, Alamo City Music Hall, Blessed Sacrament Academy, Mission County Park, Mission San Jose, Steves Homestead Museum, Historical King William Neighborhood, & the King William Park.  

My favorite part of the run was at the end running thru the Historical King William Neighborhood.  Very cool, old, historic homes.  Loved it. 

This would be a flat & fast course, if the weather were good.  It seemed like a very level course and I didn’t strain with any big climbs that I recall.  Lots of scenic spots.  The music as always, was great.  I was surprised that even with the pouring rain, most of the acts were still out on course.  This isn’t always the case with entertainment on rainy courses.  Lots of port o potties, aid stations, medical stations.  Lots of volunteers & police support.  Course was very well marked.  We had several spots where the course went in both directions but never was it confusing.  Good course, I’d like to run it again under different circumstances.

Finish was in Alamo Park, like the previous day.  Easy to get my bearings and find my way back to the hotel.  Like all the RNR marathons, I received a finisher jacket.  I got a bigger one this time so that I could wear it for winter with my layers underneath.  This jacket has become a staple in my running closet.  Thin, reflective & water resistant.  I’m very happy to have several, even if they are all the same color.   SWAG below, with Remix medal for doing both the 10K & the marathon.  Cool medals.  Cool SWAG.

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That’s the end of my Rock N Rolling this year!  Its been a great year and I traveled several places because of the Tour Pass.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and thank Rock N Blog for the opportunity to do this.  I know this was a really long report and if you made it this far, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  My favorite RnR race of the year was …… New Orleans.  RnR New Orleans is one of my favorite marathons of all times.  It’s a great race, you see all of New Orleans in one shot & the weather was perfect.  Check out RnR New Orleans or one of the other great RnR events!!

** Happy Rock N Rolling  ** Amanda – TooTall Fritz

Spartan Race FREE ENTRY Giveaway …..

In honor of the NBC airing of the 2016 Reebok Spartan Race World Championships on Christmas Day at 5pm EST, we are giving away ONE open heat entry to a US Spartan Race of your choice! 

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The 2017 Spartan Races will feature NEW season passes.  New medals.  New locations.

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Even with all the NEW stuff that Spartan is offering, they will still deliver the same great experience that will leave you walking away feeling like you REALLY accomplished something.  Who knows, you may even feel like a badass.  Smile

In case you’re new to the scene, a Spartan Race is an obstacle course race (OCR) 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 HERE & a map with pop up with your recommended location. There are so many great venues this year and several early season races that will deliver you out of this cold, snow & ice & into a nice warm climate.  You can check out the race calendar or plan your racecation to a warm local by clicking on one of the early season races below:

No matter where you decide to race or at what distance, as always HAVE FUN!

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Spartan Races has given me one FREE race entry to give away. US Races only.  Open Heat Races only.   What do you need to do to win?  Just comment below and tell me what’s the hardest endurance type event that you’ve ever completed.   If it’s a Spartan Race, great.  If not, we still want to know!  Giveaway begins NOW & goes until noon EST on Thursday, 12/29/16.  Let’s get some one a free entry to start off the new year!  Remember, you can only win if you leave a comment below! 

** AROOOOOOO *** Amanda – TooTallFritz