Rock N Roll Chicago – 2017 Edition

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The Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 marathon is one that I keep returning to, year after year.  Not because timing is great for me (its my momma’s birthday weekend EVERY year).  But because my friends & family love this race.  Since I moved away from the Chicago area, this is a great excuse to come back & reconnect with some people I rarely get to see, plus Aby loves this race.  Its always been my MO to go where my friends go.  Racing with friends is always more fun!!  And for anyone under 30, MO is “method of operation”.  Apparently that’s not a common acronym at this point in time.  I was just informed the other day that Aby has NO idea what that means (and I use it pretty frequently).  Smile

Aby, Nicki & I hit the expo on Saturday at McCormick Place.  Always plenty of parking at McCormick.  Easy in and out.  We even received discounted parking this year which was a bonus!!  Plenty of vendors.  A couple photo ops. 

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Having to go downtown for the expo is a perfect excuse to enjoy the city by walking around, having a late lunch & Aby usually insists on ice cream.  Ghirardelli’s anyone?

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Race day starts bright and early to try beat the summer heat & humidity of the Midwest.  We got downtown around 5:15a for a 6:30a race start.  Temps were probably in the 70s and not nearly as hot & humid as normal.  Thank goodness!

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And we are ready to ROCK!  Nicki for the 10K.  Aby for her 3rd half marathon & as for me, well, I was just there to have fun.  I’ve probably done 30 some half’s at this point.  Not my race distance of choice currently but Chicago offers a 5K, 10K & half marathon.  Great for the whole family & a great girls weekend where there is something for everyone!  I particularly love races that have multiple distances so its more inclusive for runner friends at all levels!

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It took about 2 miles before I realized that I was going to have to say goodbye to my “little” runner girl.  Aby had a poor buildup for the race.  Lack of motivation after losing her favorite running partner this summer!!  But race day brings magic and well, she was ON FIRE.

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Good bye, girl.  I must admit, the miles kinda slogged on from that point.  I wasn’t tired or hurt but had just come off the IM 70.3 Muncie the week before and I was facing down 2 half ironmans within the next month.  I didn’t want to put too much effort into this race.  I want to be healthy and that means that I can’t give it my all every time I hit the pavement.  I’m at that point in life, and age wise, where I have to train smarter, not harder.   So I slogged thru the miles.  Slowly. 

The course winds thru the streets of Chicago.  I’ve ran the race several times at this point so I know the course.  The spectators were concentrated at key intersections but it was otherwise  a pretty quiet day.  Like a training run with lots of friends! 

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Highlight was that I knew I had a chance of seeing Aby around mile 9, where there is a short out & back on MLK Drive between miles 8.5 & 9.5.  So unless she had gapped me by over a mile, which was a real possibility, I had a chance of spotting her.  And had I been even a few minutes slower, I would have missed her.  But I saw her briefly, shouted “great job” and she shouted that she was going to try to “break 2”.  I said, “Go get it!!” and she was off again.  She broke 2 on her 3rd half marathon!  1:56 for her!!!!  Great job, Aby!!!

Once we finished the out & back on MLK Drive, we head toward McCormick Place & the last 3 miles of the course.  There is always a giant inflatable Brooks Running guitarist at the 10 mile mark.  Happy to see him, as usual.  Then on to finish the race! 

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Finished! 

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Aby was flying high from her new PR.  We all agreed that the race was great.  Well ran.  Plenty of aid stations.  Lots of places where the City of Chicago had opened hydrants to cool off runners.  Amazing volunteers, great course support, great crowd/traffic control.  Overall, if your going to run a race in mid July, in the heat & humidity of the Midwest, this is one of the best.  Thanks Chicago for continuing to support the Rock N Roll Marathon series & their quest to bring one of the best running races to Chicago, each and every year. 

SWAG – Gender specific technical tee & race medal below.

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Next up, the Ironman 70.3 Ohio.  So I’ll be back next week to tell you all about that race.  Have a great weekend & I hope you ROCK your runs, no matter how big or small, at whatever distance YOU love! 

** Rock N Blogger – Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon – 2016

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Year after year, I return to the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  In fact this is my 4th appearance (2012, 2014, 2015 & 2016 – In 2013 I did IM 70.3 Racine which is always the same day).  Why have I ran so many times?  Don’t I like to experience new events vs repeating the same one over and over?  Well, this is a popular race & I always have friends who want to run.  My daughter LOVES this race.  I LOVE Chicago.  And ultimately, I go where my friends & family want to go.  And RNR Chicago is where the fun is in July!   #RNRCHI  So let’s run!

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Part of this year’s RNR CHI crew.  From Left:  Nicki, Me, Julie B, & Aby. 

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Aby & Nicki ran the 10K.  Julie B & I ran the half. 

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I must say, this was the most fun I’ve had (so far) at RNR CHI.  This was a no pressure year. I’m currently focusing on my nutrition & recovery so I can hopefully kill IM 70.3 Steelhead.  Therefore,  I wasn’t worried about the weather or what was to come, I just settled in with Julie B and ran.  The weather was amazing this year.  Coolish, high 60s at the start.  In the 70s at the finish.  Cloud cover.  Light breeze.  Little did I know that the great weather was due to a storm brewing nearby.  Hmmmm…..

Early 6:30am start, cuz its July & we want to beat the heat!!  Corral start.  Corrals were separated by 2-3 minutes.  Course was crowded but I never felt hindered.  Once thru the first mile, our corral had already thinned out and we were free to run whatever pace we could manage. Aid stations & porta potties every mile or so.  Bands every couple miles.  Gels between mile 9 & 10.  Cold sponges at mile 11.  The half was 100% on the streets of Chicago this year, from start to finish.  Nice course.  As for the 10K, they started with the half, then split early, within the first 1/4 mile of the race.  They turned off the streets and onto the lakefront path at Dusable Harbor, then ran the path to McCormick Place.  They finished with the half route for the last 3ish miles.  A couple pics from the course.

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This race is about fun.  I know some feel the need to race every event and that’s great, but that’s not where I am at this point.  I’d rather enjoy the run with friends than rush off and try to win.  Smile  So I’m thankful for my run friends, like Julie B who put up with my non-stop chatter while we run.  Fun day in Chicago!  And we beat the storm but just barely.  We finished and I immediately made a dash for my car.  It started raining, just as we hit the parking garage.  By the time we were out of the parking garage it was a total downpour.  So I missed hooking up with some of my other friends who ran.  I missed utilizing the VIP tent for the after party.  But ultimately, I go to an event for the running aspect and I loved RNR CHI this year!  Thanks Chicago!  Thanks Rock N Roll Marathon series!!!

At the finish with Julie B. 

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Swag.  Finishers medal.

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If you are interested in running Rock N Roll Chicago next year, they are doing an early bird pre-sale now!  The half is only $50, the 10K is $35 & the 5K is $30.  You can register here.   If you are interested in any of the remaining 2016 Rock N Roll events, feel free to use my discount code (TTF2016) for $15 off any half or full events.  I believe its active for every race EXCEPT San Antonio, as of right now.  I’ll be running the full in Vegas in November, then San Antonio in December, in case your interested.  Smile

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** Rock YOUR Run ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Chicago Spring Half Marathon Race Review

I can’t say that the Chicago Spring Half Marathon was even on my radar until a free code for the race started circling on social media.  I looked up the race and proceeded to register assuming the free code would NOT work.  But it did work and all of a sudden I was registered for a half marathon on the Lakefront Path in Chicago. 

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That short window where they offered the race for free resulted in a sell out for this race for the first time in it’s history.  While I got in for free with a lot of other people, I had other friends who didn’t get thru during the “free” window and they in turn paid to register in order to join the fun for the day.  It was a brilliant PR move and to be honest, had I not had the free code, I wouldn’t have registered.  I’ve ran several races on the Lakefront Path now and well, they are generally over crowded and not too much fun.  This race, as well as 13.1 Chicago, seem to be the exception to that rule.  Both races have an elaborate corral system, stager the start between corrals and manage to keep the traffic on the path controlled and enjoyable

And the views are pretty cool too. 

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The race also offered potties, aid stations and medical support every 1.5 miles or so.  There were 2 fueling stations offering energy gels.  I also saw at least two Race Guards running the race and offering support to runners.   I saw a lot of my friends thanks to the out and back course.  Yes, I may have ran the Chicago Lakefront Path a billion times but the views and seeing my friends race never gets old.   Xaarlin was also out there taking photos with her Super Pooch.  Thanks, girlie!!  And my apologies for spotting your pup before I even saw you. Smile

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The race was a simple out and back.  About a 10K out and then back with a little zigzagging thru a parking area to get back to The Park at Lakeshore East where a buffet breakfast awaited our finish!  Nice!

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It was a great day to be out and run in Chicago.  It was a great race.  It was very well organized and I really appreciated being able to grab breakfast without having to wait in a long line.  Everything about this race was smooth and easy, and I for one appreciate that.  We even got a cool shirt  and cool medal (photo of the medal courtesy of Nicole F because I have a mushy brain and forgot to take one).

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Lastly, another great thing about this race is that it also offers a 10K so that you friends, who don’t dig the half marathon, can also run!  Thanks for going Nicki!!

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** Happy Running & Racing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

WINNER … Michelob Ultra 13.1 Chicago

Lots of excitement over the giveaway for the Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1 race entry!  This is a great race and I can see that all of you love it as much as I do, so let’s pick a winner!

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The random number generator selected #34.

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Number 34 is Kari Routledge!

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Congrats, Kari!  I know you will enjoy 13.1 Chicago!  Email me as soon as possible at amanda@tootallfritz.com so that we can get you registered!  Then get ready to run on June 7th!

For all of the rest of us, go HERE to register. 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Happy Friday GIVEAWAY for the Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1

We are fortunate that Chicagoland is BURSTING with half marathon pride.  It’s the perfect race distance for so many and as result Chicago has really embraced the distance and offers road racers a variety of events at that distance.  One of my favorite races is the “13.1 Chicago”.  This year Michelob Ultra is the key sponsor and the official name is the Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1.  I ran last when it was the Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Chicago (race report HERE).  Before the big name sponsors, it was simply 13.1 Chicago and well, that’s how I’ll always think of it! 

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This year 13.1 Chicago is on June 7th.  Once again it occurs on the same weekend as the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relays.  Since I’m spearheading an all ladies ultra team for Ragnar Chicago, I will unfortunately not be able to run the 13.1 event in 2014.  However, if my calendar permitted I would be there and I hope to see lots of pics of all of you enjoying this amazing event!

What does 13.1 Chicago have to offer that puts it heads above the other Chicago half marathons?

  • Unique Southside location, starting at the South Shore Cultural Center where Mr. & Ms. Obama were married, running thru the beautiful trails in Jackson Park, and covering sections of the lakefront trail that most of us never run.
  • Beautiful views of the city of Chicago while you are running north on the course.
  • Amazing backdrop for photos when you run back south toward the finish line.  Photo below courtesy of Xaarlin (Pain is Nothing). 

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  • Sophisticated starting corral system which seeds participants well and allows for space on the course to run YOUR race. 
  • Low traffic on run course, even when running the Lakefront path. 
  • Shade on the run course.
  • Out and back race where you can see your friends come and go for the majority of the race.  This is definitely one of my favorite things about this run.  I saw each and every one of my run buds, the fast ones and the ones behind me too! 

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  • After race BEACH PARTY! 

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This is a great race, certainly my favorite of this distance in the city of Chicago.  They also offer a 5K if you (or a friend) is not up to the half distance.  Take your friends to this race because you are going to want to stay and enjoy the after party!

NOW, did you want to win a FREE ENTRY to the 2014 Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1?    If so, please make a comment below and tell me your all time favorite half marathon (so far), it doesn’t have to be a Chicago event.  For a second entry, like the TooTallFritz Facebook page.  For a third entry, like the 13.1 Marathon series Facebook page.  Let me know which of the above you did so that I can assign your entries correctly! 

Giveaway starts now and runs until Wednesday (March 26, 2014) at 9am when a winner will be selected via a random number generator.  Good luck, all! 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Zooma Chicago Ambassadorship & Discount Code!!

I could spend a bit to time today bitching complaining about the weather but I think we all feel the same way.  I’m cold.  You’re cold.  BRING ON SPRING!!  Let the crocus bloom!!

I had a very bitter start last night to my Jelly Bean Virtual Race Series as I was bundled up from head to toe and couldn’t help but reminisce about the start of last year’s series when I ran in a tank top.  I know last year was unseasonably warm in March but I’m looking for a slight warm up!

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But that’s right, I’m not complaining so let’s move on to something fun!! 

I was recently selected as an Ambassador for the Zooma Women’s Race Series event in Chicago!  Last year the Midwest event was located in Wisconsin and I “may” or may not have been green with envy as all my friends traveled up north for the race.  However, this year, they moved the Midwest event to Chicago so I’m IN!!!  I get to race and I was lucky enough to be accepted as one of their 2013 ambassadors.

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Zooma is a ladies event and they offer a Half Marathon and 10K distance along the north shore of  Chicago at Montrose Harbor.  I always love running up at Montrose and I’m excited to go back for the Zooma Chicago race on August 10th!!  Although I will, no doubt, be begging for the return of cold weather by August, I’m currently in love with the idea of basking in the sun with my friends at this amazing event.  There are so many great offerings for Zooma that I’m going to bring the description directly from the website so that I don’t miss anything!

Zooma Chicago promises:

  • Entry into an unforgettable, professionally-managed and timed half marathon or 10K race
  • Access to a full weekend of yoga, sponsored cocktail hour, and a Fitness Expo
  • ZOOMA Signature Swag Bag, including a cute tech tee, yoga mat, reusable bag, and stainless steel water bottle (over $50 value)
  • Water and Cytomax Sports Performance drink on the course
  • Water, Cytomax Sports Performance drink, Muscle Milk Light and food at the finish line
  • GU Energy Gel station along the course
  • Wine from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly at the After-Party Expo
  • Necklace designed exclusively by Satya Jewelry for ZOOMA for all finishers
  • Post-race massage, shopping and live music at the ZOOMA After-Party Expo

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I’ll be honest, this race isn’t cheap.  It’s pricy.  It’s women only.  It’s the only race my friends and I signed up for the first day it was available.  We are in.  We were in before I was accepted as an ambassador.  We are in for the fun, the friendship, the camaraderie, the necklace, the bubbly, the post-race massage.  We are ALL in.  We won’t be missing a thing.  In fact, I “booked” my mom babysitter for the weekend over a month ago.  I’m super excited!!

If you want to join the fun at Zooma Chicago on August 10th, here is a 10% discount code that you are welcome to use and share with your friends.  Discount/Promo code is:  CHIAMB6

The half marathon is currently $105 and the 10K is $75.  You can register HERE.  And if you want to get really crazy and take full advantage of this girls “fit weekend”, including the FRI night activities, then go ahead and book a room at the host hotel, Landgam Chicago.   I’ll be there with my girls and we will be having a blast without our lil ones relaxing.

If you are feeling lucky,  Zooma is giving away an entire weekend package for two, plus many other goodies in the Zooma 2013 Run the CHI-TOWN Sweepstakes.  Please enter HERE to win and tell all your girlfriends to do the same!  Good luck to you!!

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  Hope to see you at Montrose Harbor on August 10th!

** Run. Laugh. Celebrate.  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **