Courthouse Classic 5K – LaGrange, IN

Each year on the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend, a small town close to where my parents live hosts a 5K to raise money for a local Cross Country team.  If you are near LaGrange, IN on Father’s Day weekend, I highly recommend you stopping by to run the Courthouse Classic.  The timing works out well for me as I like to go home for Father’s Day anyhow, plus any race I run by my parents is EASY because they are always happy to help with the kiddos while I’m running!  Thanks, Grandma & Grandpa Fritz for your enthusiasm and love for your grandchildren!

Although I did not run this year, for obvious reasons I have ran several years previous so feel qualified to review the race as both a runner and spectator.  Michael & I posed for a photo with Aby pre-race. 

Courthouse Classic Me-Michael-Aby_2012

We also met up with Adella and her hubby, Austin so I grabbed a photo of all three runners.

Courthouse Classic Aby_Adella_Austin_2012

This race starts and finishes at the courthouse in LaGrange.  It’s easy to find in the center of town, surrounded by red brick streets, located on the ONLY thru street.  You can’t miss it.  Registration is available online, via a mail in form or on race day.  The “early bird” fee is $14, with $17 being the cost of race day registration.  Very reasonable pricing to enable the whole family to participate by running or walking.  There is also a 1 mile fun run for the kiddos that is $9 as an early bird & $12 race day. 

Normally, I don’t mention much about sponsors unless I’m contracted to do so but this race is sponsored by the local supermarket, Millers SuperValu.  And let me say, if you can run a race where a supermarket is a key sponsor, do it.  Lots of loot!  Each year when I pick up my race packet, they hand me an envelope with my shirt, bib/timing chip, & safety pins plus a large brown grocery bag filled with…… GROCERIES!  Each year, they hand me the bag, I’m confident that my race fee has just been exchanged for food for the family. 

Courthouse Classic Loot_2012 My goodie bag items are on the left side of the shirt, Aby’s goodie bag is on the right side.  Last year was the first year I registered Aby.  Due to her age, and the popularity of their one mile “fun run”, the race director sent me an email and asked me if I had intended to register Aby (age 9 during the 2011 race) for the 5K or if I wanted to change her to the fun run.  I thanked them for the inquiry and giving a shit and responded that Aby would be running the 5K.  At packet pick-up, they had a special bag set aside with Aby’s name on it.  Rather than giving her groceries, they put together school supplies, candy, juice pouches, and a plethora of kid-friendly items.  Huge thumbs up!  They did the very same thing this year!   Thank you, Miller’s SuperValu!

This race also takes good care of the spectators and community members who come out for the event.  They are grilling dogs, brats & nitrate free meats before the race even takes off, in addition to having drinks, muffins, subway subs, cookies, cupcakes, local grown potato chips and a ton of other items for everyone present. 

Courthouse Classic food_2012

The race course, although not exciting, is an easy to follow out and back, USAT certified route.  They also offer chip timing but there isn’t a mat at the start line so it’s just a convenience for data gathering purposes.  And it’s guaranteed to be hot and steamy with a 9am EST start time.  This race is ALWAYS hot, don’t plan to run too fast cuz it’s probably not going to happen but they do have 1 water stop, which you can hit 2x if you are able to duck in on the return route, plus the finish is down hill.  Sweet race, really.

Last year, this was Aby’s 3rd race ever and she ran a 33:19.  She looks tiny standing next to me in the 2011 photo.

Aby & Me_Courthouse Classic_2011

This year, she looks like a freight train running to a 30:37 finish.  I love the little boy who really doesn’t want to be chicked but really can’t do anything about it.  🙂

Courthouse Classic Aby_2012                Courthouse Classic Aby2_2012

And my girl, Adella took 2nd in her age group!  Goooooo, Adella!  Here is a pic of me & Adella from the archives.  This girl is not afraid to get out and run regardless of the weather.  That’s my kind of running partner!  Great job, Adella!

Me&Adella_Dec 2011

Overall, the Courthouse Classic is a great race.  I encourage you to take the family and give it a try.  Small town friendliness and hospitality with a pre/post race buffet of food that anyone would love.  Go run, then eat!  I’ll see you there for 2013! 

Oh, and don’t forget to stop at Foltz’s Bakery as you are leaving town, best chocolate cream filled subs you will EVER taste, promise!  And now you know why I run, cuz I LOVE to eat!  🙂

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K – Race Review

As soon as the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K was announced, there was a group of us who immediately signed up.  I mean, really, an indoor, guaranteed 70 degree race in February, YES, I’ll give it a try.  This was, of course, way before somebody stole got ahold of the course map.  Initially all we knew was that it was a “single” loop, inside, certified course 5K race.  And then the course map was released and holy shit wow, it looked a little hairy!

This isn’t the exact course we ran because the start/finish line were not the same and since I knew were I started, the finish line actually surprised me.  It was way before we would have re-entered the other building for a sprint back to the start/finish area.  I didn’t have a clue that things were slightly off until I hit the 3 mile clock and then I knew I had messed up because I should have been running much faster that close to the end.

All in all, I will say the race was good.  It was non-traditional but good.  They had 3 inconvenient packet pick up locations and then also race day registration with a final packet pick up.  Had I known there was race day pick up, I would have certainly done that but according to the website, packets could only be picked up previous to the race.  So I went to the closest location to my work, in downtown Chicago, in the rain to get the packets for us Southsiders.  Not convenient for us but I’m sure it couldn’t have been worse.  The packets were sparse, included a long sleeve unisex tech shirt, a magnet, a small backpack and some literature. 

I think just about everyone I knew commented positively about the shirt, so it appears to have been a hit with the majority.  For me, it won’t get any much wear since it was a  unisex size.  I did try it on and it was just awkward and ill-fitting.  But I did like the design/color and would have worn it had it been a ladies size.

Getting to and from the race was very easy.  The race was at McCormick Place in Chicago, easy access and lots of parking.  However, once we got up to the race area it was a bit chaotic.  They had a mini expo going, runners were all over the place and there were lanes roped off in every direction.  However, in the midst of this chaos was also a lot of organization, the start area was clearly marked, they had indoor bathrooms and portable units.  I saw a gear check and the Starbucks was open.  🙂

We never did unite with our entire group which shouldn’t have been an issue with this small of a race.  Thankfully, I took a couple of girls with me!  Nicki, Kristina & April. We also brought our own cheering section since it was inside and the kiddos wouldn’t freeze.  Nicole (April’s daughter), Aby & Michael and they did a great job too because I heard Aby screaming, “Go Mommy!!!”  on several of my turns. 

And of course, since we made such a spectacle, we got to hook up with Aurelia’s family too so that was even better, plus she took the group photo.  Thanks, Aurelia!  From left:  Tim (Aurelia’s Hubby), Uncle Bill, Nicki, Kristina, April & Me.

The start was very organized and they had the paces clearly marked.  Then each group had a 2-3 minute head start on the group behind them.  This totally prevented the bottle neck at the turns which I had anticipated upon seeing the course map.  The first mile was by far the worse as the lanes in the “start” building were narrower and shorter but there was plenty of room and the lanes were marked off with tape.  Although there was a mass of runners everywhere you looked, there was never a question as to where you were going, just lots of turns.

I was also concerned about the flooring.  They had removed the floor coverings and it was bare concrete  in an unfinished state.   So it wasn’t slippery at all.  The biggest problem area was running from the start building into the finish building across a nicely finished, slippery hallway.  It was very short though and not a problem for me.  Then once we hit the finish building, the lanes were wider and the turns weren’t as tight so it was much easier to navigate.  I would also say the temp dropped a good 7-10 degrees upon entering the second “finish” building, so the conditions were nice and cool for running.  They had one water stop at approximately the 1.5 mile mark (I’m guesstimating).  I was very concerned approaching it that the floor would be slippery, particularly since the lady in front of me honestly tried to grab 5 cups before actually connecting with one.  I just stayed toward the middle to avoid the water, and her spillage, and I was fine but I was also in the first group that took off, so not sure how people further back in the pack felt about the situation.

It was good, I took it slow on the turns, and there were a lot of turns.  My right calve and both hips are feeling those turns now but I am overall very happy with this “indoor” race.  I would have enjoyed being able to have longer stretches to run without turns, I definitely feel as if the turns slowed me down because I was in a “better safe than sorry” mode but there was definitely room to run your own pace and no bottlenecks.  Also the number of volunteers was outstanding.  They really worked hard to make this first time race an event which will become a staple of the running community for the years to come.

Upon hitting the finish, there was immediately bananas, water, and Propel for refueling.  Once we got past that, there was a timing station set up with multiple units in which you could enter your bib number to get immediate results as far as your time, your current standing against those who had finished before you, and  your division totals.   I run a lot of races and I believe this is the first time I have ever seen this and I like it.  A lot.

Good race.  Good organization.  Good charity sponsor.  Good overall event.  I’d probably go back to run it again.  I finished in 23:59.  That’s my best time of the year so far for the 5K distance but I still have some considerable work to do on my fitness level for this distance.

Did you race this weekend?  If so, tell us when and where.  If you ran the Warm Your Heart, what did you think?  Would you go back?

Happy Running,                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz