Monster Dash 5K Race Review

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When I signed up for the Monster Dash, it was really on a whim.  I honestly hadn’t heard many positive things about Team Ortho’s event management skills or the Chicago Monster Dash.   But the jacket was cool. Reflective skulls on one sleeve, and a reflective Monster Dash Finisher logo on the back.  Here is Amy C  below modeling hers with her son Quinn, and Mr. Michael.  Yes, Michael photo bombed their adorable photo!  He just couldn’t imagine anyone would want their photo taken without his presence.

Monster Dash_2012_Michael PhotoBomber

   Kids Hoodie:

    Monster Dash_2012_Kids Hoodie

Once I was signed up and not necessarily expecting a great race, I figured we better make our own fun and dress up.  Well what fun is it to dress up solo when you can get a group of  F’N Runners to do the same?  So we had 18 Brides of Frankenstein (photo below on the left) and lots of others who participated by wearing a costume.  F’N Running Club photo below on the right. 

Monster Dash_2012_Brides of Frankenstein

 Monster Dash_2012_group

Run with Jess from Peoria even caught wind of our plan and decided to join us!  Jess & I below (her photo, which I stole):

Monster Dash_2012_Jess & Me

As for the race, it was everything I expected and more.  Yes, the race was crowded at the start, on the Grant Park broken and cracked sidewalks, and on the lake front path.  Yes, the run/walkers refused to line up in the proper pace group.  Yes, people were handing out candy and I was constantly tripping over candy or someone trying to grab candy. Yes, Aby beat me again.  Yes, it was disorganized and lacked direction at some very key points, like near the finish line where the front running 5K runners (like Aby) were stumbling up onto the back of the 5K field and nobody was there to give proper direction.  However, it was very festive and the atmosphere was charged with energy & excitement.   We also had a ton of F’N support came out to hold our bags, cheer for us and take photos.  Here are Aby and I (left below) about a half mile into the race.  I tried to pass her about 30 seconds prior to this photo and she kicked it into overdrive and left me in the dust.  And you can see that she is still floating while running UP THE HILL into the finish! 

Monster Dash_2012_Aby &Me beginning   Monster Dash_2012_Aby finish

I’m looking a little crazed happy in my on course photo (photo credit to Chicago Monster), and you can definitely see that I’m NOT floating up the hill to the finish but totally representing the underpronated foot strike which I have been trying to correct.

Monster Dash_2012_Me big    Monster Dash_2012_Me finish

All in all, I basically decided that the fun of the event outweighed the poor management, the fact that they didn’t have half of our sizes in the guaranteed SWAG, the fact that this type of event draws non-runners who don’t respect the fact that its important to line up by pace newbies who don’t race much, or the fact that the 5K race was considered a “fun run” and wasn’t chip timed.   The day spent with my friends, my kids and my F’N Runners made it another glorious race day in the CHI.  And it was a glorious day to race.

I even enjoyed hanging out for a few minutes listening to the band at the post-race party in Grant Park.  Plus, those medals that I normally don’t pay much attention too……well, these are pretty cool.

Monster Dash_2012_Michael & Aby medals Monster Dash_2012_Medal & Bib

If time and scheduling permits, I would run the Monster Dash again in the future.   The venue was great for this event.  If everyone lined up properly by pace at the start, I think it would take off much smoother and the course wouldn’t initially seem so narrow and crowded because it did thin out once you ran away from the idiots. I also have hopes they will get a little bit more serious about the 5K portion of the event and decide to throw us a chip in the future.  I need to run this distance when the family is in tow and although I always “run for fun”, it is a serious distance to me and I’d like to knowhow fast Aby ran it to get a little respect.  I also hope they work things out a little better in the SWAG department and get people the proper sizes.  I know Team Ortho is taking on a lot right now and growing fast so I’ll give them some slack but they’ve gotta get it together if they want the want to continue to grow and be successful in the CHI.   Good start but needs work.

So what’s your 2012 Halloween running costume?

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

Dress For Success….. Or For Fun?

My thought processes about running have changed over the last couple years.  While I am still “serious” about my running, I don’t mind having a little fun with the process and wearing a crazy funky outfit or costume.  I have found that a fun outfit not only makes me run faster happy but it also makes other people smile.  So bring on those sparkle skirts!  Team Sparkle has one of my favorite accessories.  At $25 with free shipping, I can dress up almost any outfit for any occasion. 

QuadCities_2012 girls

I’ve also come to realize that the more friends I peer pressure encourage to dress up, the more jaw dropping the reaction of other runners fun I have at the race.

 Hilton Crew_pre-race   Nicole-Me- Green Men_Maggie_Kelly

chicago marathon_2011

Recently, I’ve even branched out to add funky socks.   Every holiday, Target has festive socks for $5.  That’s where I normally go for the socks to complete my outfit.

RFK Winnings            

This week things got really crazy when I decide to run in a tutu for the Monster Dash.  Come on, all the cool kids are doing it, right?  Maybe not, but I am, and so are 16 of my closest friends.  🙂  So we recently had a Tutu Making Party to create these fabulous tutus.  Ordering the tulle and elastic by bulk, we managed to keep the cost to $5.  Wow, that’s a cheap costume and we certainly won’t talk about what a HUGE PITA it was to cut all that tulle from its 100 yard rolls.

Now, the tutu making process was SUPER easy.  I followed the very scientific approach previously used by Kelly to make these babies:Venus 2012_Lauren Erin Kelly MacKenna Me 

Tutu Making:

  • Elastic – Fit it around your waist, stitch or double knot ends together
  • Tulle – Two 25 yard rolls needed for 1 tutu
  • Cut in strips of desired length
  • Tie tulle around elastic using double knots
  • For ease of assembly, put the elastic band around a chair
  • So easy that anyone a child could handle the task!

tutu_aby

Tutu__on chair

tutu_nicki aby me 

This was easy & super fun!  Trust me.  If we can knock these things out while drinking corona having fun, you can do it too.  Try it and then send me photos!  Look for 17 black & white tutus on the Monster Dash Chicago course!

If you would like a more “technical” outfit, try RunningSkirts.com or SkirtSports for amazing skirts that are cute and work well for running long or short distances.

Have you tried dressing up for a race?

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Race Mentality

After the varying critiques on the Monster Dash, I have been thinking a lot about Race Mentality.   Some people race for fun or to go with their friends, they like a big party and crowds to propel them forward, while others race for time or as a measure of their fitness.  Think for one moment about the types of races on which you choose to spend your $$, and ultimately why you register.

For me, I like to race alot.  I like to run fast.  I always want to run faster and am frequently disappointed readjusting my goals to a faster pace than I can possibly run my fitness will allow.  The race is a reward for every time I haul my butt out of bed in the middle of the night early morning so that I can get a run in without disrupting the family (too much).  Race day is the day that is all about me.  I don’t need a crowd, or a partner standing beside me at the start line.  In fact, I would prefer not to have a partner/friend at the start unless we have the “run your own race” agreement.  If you’ve been racing with me over the years, you’ve heard me say it, particularly if you were once a newbie……. Run your own race.  You probably think I am a total bitch  really competitive but that isn’t the case.  My only competition is me because I’ll never be fast enough to win.  And I just want to encourage you to run THIS race for you, to compete against yourself for your own personal reasons and at your pace.  Please don’t wait for somebody else unless you specifically registered with the intent to be a pacer/helper.  Don’t hold back because it is comfortable, will hurt less or because you’re scared.  Push your limits.

Running fast takes big balls guts.  Put in your miles first so you have a good base and then go out there and run your heart out.  Be prepared, be focused and be confident that you can run faster than is really possible did the work to reach your goal.  If all else fails, put your name/website on your shirt so you will be ACCOUNTABLE for your race. 

And probably the best tip I can give is DON’T follow me.  I run off the start like somebody is going to pay me $$ for a good first mile performance……and then I crash and burn in the middle miles, then put in a half-assed attempt to pull it together at the end.  I’m not good at this, just overconfident hoping that today is going to be the day that I can “hang on” and pull out a good race.  This might be the day, you never know………

I’d like to thank Bob H. at RaceExpressions.com for getting this shirt together for me on the fly….so that I can be accountable and so that you might spot me and kick me in the ass encourage me thru the middle miles.   If you see me, YELL!  This is actually the third shirt RaceExpressions has created for me, using designs I have sent to them.  Great local company who really goes the extra mile to help out their customers.  Now, let’s just hope I can squeeze myself into it cuz it’s a “little” tighter than I would like snug .  Of course, now that the weather appears to be pretty cool, who knows if I will actually get to use it.

What is your Race Mentality?  Do you race for fun, to get good photos or have a good story to tell?  Do you do it for your friends?  Or do you run balls out hard like me and just try to hang on for as long as possible?

Happy Running!  Be proud that you are out there getting it done, regardless of what motivated you to do it in the first place, and know that I too am proud of you!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Did I Leave It on the Trail?

Ever heard anyone say not to leave your best run on the trail/road?  Well after a hardish run on Monday, then another  harder than I would have liked  run last night, I now have  the perfect excuse concern that I will not be fully recovered by the Hot Chocolate Race on Saturday.  Let me introduce you to my fast friend, Susan D. from the Frankfort Running Club.  Yes, this is the same Susan D. who did the guest post on the Monster Dash yesterday.  Let’s hope she doesn’t block me as spammer  isn’t tired of me after so much interaction in one week! 

Sometimes  your partner is feeling good and well, you aren’t.  The “plan” was for a slow, easy pace but Susan was ready to RUN!  I tried to inconsipuously drop some rocks in her shoes to weigh her down remind her of the pace.  I also tried to throw a harness around her shoulders and let her drag me a hint by running a couple of steps behind her…… but alas, when a girl has fast feet, it is time to fly!  I just hope some of that speed and bounce rubbed off on me as I prepare for race day!  If not, then  I will TOTALLY blame her know to go at it easier before the next race!

We ran west on Old Plank Trail.  This is by far the trail that I run the most so I am very familiar with it.  I love this trail because it is very long, straight and flat.  If you are a non-ultra runner, then you mostly likely won’t run out of trail over the course of one run.  If you are a biker/triathlete then this is a good trail for you up to about the 1/2 Iron distance (round trip), then after that you will need to make some laps or maybe just go home cuz you’re crazy.  Even though its flat, it is still beautiful and generally has decent tree cover from the sun on those warm weather days.  Here are a few photos of our journey.

Thanks Susan for getting out there with me and making it happen.  Now please excuse me while I tend to my recovery.

5.05 miles – 47:14 – several stops for photos, road/car crossing stop x2

“Run”way Fashion – RunningSkirts.com RunLove Fleurs Triathlon Skirt – photo below is of the RunLove Fleurs print but my skirt doesn’t have the capri pants underneath. Image 12011 Sunburst Races (Notre Dame) 1/2 Marathon A4 shirt – I’ve received several A4 shirts this year and the ones that are women’s specific fit and feel really nice!  “Under the Skirt”, cuz you’re dying to know, is the  SkirtSports.com Hipster Briefs.  As for my recovery, Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale & CEP Compression calf sleeves.  LOVE the CEP sleeves!  I haven’t tried the full socks due to the Plantar Fasciitis issues and not wanting my heels compressed but I really love the sleeves.  I wear them around the house, sleep in them, wear them to work, etc.  Great product and since they aren’t “socks” I don’t worry about constantly washing them.  After the success I’ve had with the compression calf sleeves and the compression 3/4 tights, I would probably consider investing in a full length pair of compression tights for year round continuous, non-stop wear winter.

P.S…..after a night of sleeping in the CEP sleeves, I’m feeling good!  So let’s race! 

Who’s racing this weekend?  Where?

Cheers,                                                                                                                               Amanda – TooTallFritz