Little Rock Marathon – 2017

2017 has been all about preparing Aby & Annika to run their first marathon.  I must admit when they said they wanted to run a marathon, I tried to talk them out of it.  Marathons are long.  And hard.  And tough mentally & physically.  The distance will frequently break experienced runners.  The girls are young.  Aby is 15 & Annika just turned 17.  Yet they wanted to run a marathon.  It was really hard to wrap my brain around.  Its not something I would recommend for any teen, let alone those I know & care about!  Initially I wasn’t sure how to react but I put on the “mom hat” and explained to them that an early spring marathon would require them to be running outside, all winter long, in the early a.m. when I was running.  No sleeping in, I wanted them out there with me for every long run so I could monitor their progress, fueling & how they were tolerating the distance.  They would not be deterred.  In fact their first “long run” was the Huff 10 Mile Trail Race which was hilly, hard, snowy, cold, with freezing rain.  Absolutely miserable conditions. 

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I asked them after Huff, do you still want to run a marathon that requires winter training?  Yes.  So we signed up for the Little Rock Marathon.  The 2017 theme was “Runalicious” featuring candy, bright colors and lots of fun.

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An abbreviated training plan & a somewhat mild winter delivered us to Little Rock mostly healthy & ready to run.  The girls were slightly nervous but mostly calm.  I heard them say many times “we trained for this, we can do it”.  But they were notably tired from the travel so we tried to keep things pretty low key & not do much.  The Expo was a great size for a small town race.  There were 2181 marathon & 3699 half marathon finishers on Sunday, plus a 5K & 10K on Saturday.  Lots to do Marathon weekend .  Something for everyone.

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We hit the expo, picked up our bibs, walked around town, found ice cream, took some pics & then had take out for dinner.  I think we were all asleep by 9pm. 

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We woke up to rain.  Heavy but steady rain with a “feels like” temp of 43 as we headed to our corrals.  We were none too early either because I didn’t want the girls out in the cold rain for too long before we started to run.  I was a bit surprised to see how busy the streets were & the back up getting into the corrals.    Pace wasn’t an issue for us but I really wanted to be around the 4:30 pace group because that was the pace where we would start out.  I didn’t want to waste too much energy weaving around people in the early miles.   We were on the “just finish it” plan but we wanted to stay together & I wanted to try to keep a consistent pace.  I knew that I would have to be paying attention in order to keep them slow & steady.  They are XC runners and they just want to GO!

Pre Race:

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In the corral, headed to the start.  What are they thinking?

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And we are off!  Let’s Run!  #Runalicious

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The beginning is crowded.  Normal for most races & a great time to ease into a pace rather than take off and regret it later.  Also a great time for pics.  But apparently my selfie game was OFF cuz I couldn’t get all three of in a pic for anything. 

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The course had changed since I had ran in 2014.  I didn’t really know what to expect and was kinda okay with that.  This was my 39th marathon, 2nd time at Little Rock.  I kinda enjoy just running the course and enjoying it for what it presents.  We headed over to North Little Rock first, looped around.  Ran over a few bridges (steep inclines & declines, yes, please!).

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The girls were calm.  We all agreed that we didn’t feel awesome but we didn’t feel horrible and that’s a pretty sweet spot to be in on marathon day. It curbs expectation but also delivers a bit of hope.  Patience is the name of the game.  You must be patient in the marathon or you’ll have a very bad day. 

The rain continued.  Light but steady.  People were complaining.  We just ran past them & pulled our hats/visors a little lower to block out the rain & wind.  Back over the bridge into downtown Little Rock.  Over the trolley tracks.  I tripped but didn’t fall.  We laughed.  Down Market Street, along the Arkansas River, around the Heifer International campus.  And then back thru town, up a few hills.  Then I recognized a street from last time and knew the Governor’s Mansion was coming up.  Aby had asked me 100 several times by this point if the Governor would be out.  I didn’t know but was hoping so & sure enough, I could see his guards  flanking him from pretty far down the street.  I pointed out who he was (verses the guards) and the girls ran right up to him for a photo.  Thanks for standing out in the rain, Governor Hutchinson, you made their day!

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Then Little Rock Central HS:

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The Capital Building:

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My favorite part of the course – Miles 14-17:  Hillcrest area, Kavanaugh Boulevard, North Lookout Road & Alsopp Park.  Breathtaking area.  Aby & Annika running relaxed & easy between mile 16 & 17.

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After we left Alsopp Park, reality hit as we entered an out and back loop along Riverfront Drive.  The out & back covers miles 18-23.  I knew if something were going to go wrong, it would be in this section.  Not only is it boring but very windy because its along the river & a little daunting because you can see the runners in front of you coming back while you have seemingly “forever” until the turnaround.  This section is mentally exhausting but the girls looked strong.  Aby was starting to get antsy.  The 4:30 pacer crept up on us and we ran with her for awhile.  Aby was not happy.  She wanted to be IN FRONT of the 4:30 pacer.  Annika said, “who cares!”.  LOL!  But Aby really did not want to let her pass.  The pacer was only running with one other person so we ran with her for a while.  It was entertaining because everyone had something to say as she passed them.  Many, like Aby, were not happy.  “Oh no!”  was the common remark as she passed.  I told her it was like running with the Angel of Death.  Nobody was happy to see her that late in the game.  I asked if she was on pace, and she was ahead of pace.  She was planning to stop & walk at mile 20 to get back on track.  We stayed in her vicinity until she walked.  I didn’t want to stop at mile 20 but rather push on to mile 22 for our last “pit stop”.  Then I knew that we would be pushing to the finish. 

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After 22, it was heads down.  The pace was getting progressively faster but I knew there was a hill at mile 24 that was super ugly & would probably slow us down.  So I just let it go.  They looked good, hadn’t blown up, were well fueled, looking to run faster & well, I figured I had done my job at that point.  If something happened in the last 4 miles, we’d just deal with it.  And I’m happy to report, no blow ups.  They killed it!!!  The Lipstick Station at mile 26 was on the opposite side of the road this time, so I almost missed it.  I went back to grab lipstick for us, sending the girls on and it was a sprint to the finish for them.  Great job, ladies.  1 & 2 in their age group (15-19). 

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Awesome race.  Lots of crowd support.  Volunteers, police & everyone seemed happy that we were there.  Sometimes when a marathon rolls into a town, the residents aren’t happy because it’s a huge inconvenience for them.  I genuinely feel welcome each time I go to Little Rock. If you are looking for a smaller race that feels like home, this is a great one.  Elevation is much greater on the 2nd half, so save something for the bigger hills.  There were 3 hills that were bad enough that we walked part of them but otherwise, we ran the entire race other than potty stops (2) and the photos we took.  It was a great day in Little Rock & I’d be happy to go back.

SWAG was a unisex race shirt & lipstick (if you grabbed it at mile 26) and a medal that’s heavy and bigger than your head.  For those of you who ran 2014, I’ve added the two medals together for comparison.  They are both over 2#s and I can’t hang them with my other medals for fear of pulling down the rack/rod.

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Details on the 2014 Little Rock Marathon HERE.

** Hope Your Run was Runalicious ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Garmin Marathon (or Half) FREE Entry Giveaway – 2016 – Welcome to the Land of Oz

Lions & Tigers & Bears ….. Oh my!   What does that phase mean to you?  In my world, I grew up singing this phrase over and over.  Its one that my friends and I would scream, shout & sing while chasing each other around in a game of tag, keep away or while out in the dark pretending to be scared of the unknown.  The Wizard of Oz was more than a movie to us.  We incorporated the story line and plot into our own playtime antics.  We dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween.  We named our dogs Toto.  We had Wizard of Oz lunch boxes.  The Wizard of Oz was and still is a classic.  Here is a pic of Aby at 14 weeks, absolutely enthralled with the movie.   I know the feeling.

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So how many of you are aware that there is an #OzRun in Olathe (O-Lay-th), KS sponsored by Garmin?  The Garmin Marathon, In the Land of Oz is on April 16, 2016.  Who’s running with me?

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If you’re a Wizard of Oz fan, this is a must run event.  If you are a Garmin fan, this is a must run event.  If you are a Marathon Maniac, Half Fanatic or 50 States runner, you’ll end up at the Garmin Marathon because it’s where your friends are going and because this is the premier marathon in Kansas.  So who’s running with me now?

This is the 13th year for the Garmin Marathon but it is still a smaller race that caters to the runners.  There were less than 4000 finishers in 2015 so know that you will be getting the red carpet, I mean, Yellow Brick Road treatment.  I anticipate this race to grow exponentially over the coming years so am happy to be running while its still smaller and focused on delivering a quality race to the runners.  See the finish line below.  Just follow the yellow brick road!   Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow ……

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The start/finish will be mere steps outside of your hotel room at the new Embassy Suites Hotel at the Olathe Convention Center.  After our hotel fiasco in Tulsa, you know I’ll be staying there.  Book HERE for a discounted rate.

This will also be the location of the Emerald City Finish Line Festival which will offer runners freebies such as:  snacks, beer, a meal, chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, yoga stretching & live music.

Sounds awesome, right?  The Garmin Marathon has graciously decided to give away ONE entry to any race of your choosing.  Giveaway starts NOW and runs until Christmas Eve (12/24/15) at 8am CST.  I’ll do a quick drawing on Christmas Eve morning so we can announce a winner and make sure that someone has a great start to Christmas 2015.  To be entered you MUST comment below.  You can also get additional entries by jumping thru a few hoops (listed below).

  • Comment Below – Required – 1 Entry
  • Garmin Customer – 1 Entry (tell us which product you own)
  • Like the TooTallFritz Facebook page HERE – 1 Entry
  • Like the Garmin Marathon Facebook page HERE – 1 Entry
  • Like the Garmin Facebook page HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow TooTallFritz on Twitter HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow the Garmin Marathon on Twitter HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow Garmin on Twitter HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow TooTallFritz on Instagram HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow the Garmin Marathon  on Instagram HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow Garmin on Instagram HERE – 1 Entry

Total of 11 possible entries. Just let me know in the comments what actions you preformed so I can allot you the proper amount of entries.  Good luck.  I’ll announce the winner on Christmas Eve morning!

** Let’s Run the Land of Oz ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Flying Pig Marathon (or Half) FREE Entry Giveaway – 2016

Year after year, there are a few races that I hear about time and time again.   It’s not because they are fast & flat and everyone crushes their PR.  It’s because the race offers more than a course of 13.1 or 26.2 miles but also an EXPERIENCE.  Flying Pig is one such race.  I’ve been asked a 100 times if I’ve ran Flying Pig.  My answer has always been, “no”.  But that’s about to change, because I’m headed to the Flying Pig Marathon for 2016 and I want YOU to join me!

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The 2016 theme is “Oinked For Life” where we are encouraged to fly with the pigs cuz they put the “fun in run”.  Flying Pig is known for a fun filled weekend with events for the entire family.  It’s also a big fundraiser for local charities hosting the Piggest Raffle Ever & Pig Drop to start off the weekend in style!  Can’t wait, I’ve never been to a Pig Drop!

They’ve also joined a fast growing trend where races offer some sort of “challenge” which results in extra bling, swag or rewards for participating in more than the main event.  The Flying Pig is all about getting everyone involved in the activities in and around the community for the entire weekend.  This year, there will be both a 3 Way Challenge (10K, 5K & Half Marathon) and a 4 Way Challenge (10K & 5K & Marathon).  Or you can do either Challenge “with Extra Cheese” and toss in the Little Kings Mile on Friday Night.  As an added incentive to walk or run the Little Kings Mile, the Pig Drop is at the Little Kings after party and I know you don’t want to miss that!  Additional details from the website below:

3-Way / 4-Way Challenge with Extra Cheese

You’ve asked for a new challenge at the Flying Pig, so we’ve come up with a new, fun series within Flying Pig weekend: The 3-Way and 4-Way Challenge with Extra Cheese! It combines the Skyline Chili 3-Way (Toyota 10K, Tri State Running Company 5K and the half marathon) and 4-Way (10K, 5K and full marathon) with a twist—the Little Kings Mile on Friday night of Flying Pig weekend!

Skyline Chili 3-Way and 4-Way Challenge with Extra Cheese finishers will receive additional premiums for their great achievements, including a 3-Way/4-Way finisher’s shirt, an additional 3-Way/4-Way Challenge finisher’s medal, and a plaque to display all five event medals. Start your Flying Pig experience a day early, and be one of the first to sign up for the 3-Way or 4-Way Challenge with Extra Cheese!

So if you are in it for the bling and swag, then sign up for the 3 or 4-Way Challenge “with Extra Cheese”!  I’m certainly looking at my schedule to see how much fun I can fit into one weekend!   I’ll definitely be running the marathon, hopefully one of the challenges too. 

The 2016 finishers medal has not yet been unveiled but here is the 2015 version for marathon finishers.  Cute!

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It all sounds super cool, right?  Okay, let’s get you set up to win a FREE entry into the half or full Flying Pig marathon on Sunday, May 1, 2016.    If you are interested in being entered into the drawing, please comment below (one point).  If you REALLY want to win, then you can get additional entries by jumping thru a few hoops (listed below).  Just let me know in the comments what actions you preformed so I can allot you the proper amount of entries. 

  • Comment Below – Required – 1 Entry
  • Like the TooTallFritz Facebook page HERE – 1 Entry
  • Like the Flying Pig Facebook page HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow TooTallFritz on Twitter HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow Flying Pig on Twitter HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow TooTallFritz on Instagram HERE – 1 Entry
  • Follow Flying Pig on Instagram HERE – 1 Entry

Total of 7 entries available for this giveaway.  Let me know in the comments what to credit you.  Note:  it’s a freebie if you already follow me or the Flying Pig Marathon on any of our social media channels.  Smile  Giveaway goes from now until December 16, 2015 at noon CST.  Good luck!!

** Let’s Fly With The Pigs ** Amanda – TooTallFritz