River City Rat Race 10K …. Ft Wayne, IN

On Sunday, Aby & I ran the River City Rat Race 10K in Fort Wayne, IN. 

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They offer both a 10K and 5K.  It’s a downtown Ft Wayne race that runs thru the streets, a few neighborhoods, local parks and hits some of the Rivergreenway trails.  In fact, Runners World magazine noted this as “One of the most scenic 10Ks” ever ran by writer Hal Higdon.   Impressive statement and I was looking forward to the race.  Plus, this is the first race that Aby & I have ran together in years.  Fun!  Let’s get started!

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The race started at 2pm on Main Street.  Sunny & 70.  Amazing October day!!  Packet pick up was directly across from the start line.  Easy, quick.  In and out.  There were a couple portable toilets outside but there were also bathrooms inside that were available to us.  Win!  Race started on time with the boom of a cannon.  Away we went down Main Street headed for Columbia Avenue. 

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Route was crowded in spots.  Corrals were well marked but as with most small races, runners just jump in anywhere.  Aby & I had planned to stay together and run an easy pace.  We had ran 9 miles at sub 10 min pace the day before but still wanted to come to experience the Rat Race, even though neither of us were conditioned to race it.  We locked in between 9:10 & 9:20 and just stayed together and enjoyed the run.  We were definitely playing it safe but Aby is coming off an injury and well, my back is pretty crabby and I have to stay pretty upright and in control to keep it from hurting when I run.  Better safe than sorry, right? 

Race Route:

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Lakeside Park & the Rose Garden:

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Before we knew it we were half way, passing thru the Old Fort and dropping the 5K runners.  I really loved how they designed this route with us all running past the 5K finish.  This worked out great for parents who wanted to run the 10K but knew their kids could only do the 5K distance.  The kids went off the 5K finish & mom/dad went on for an additional 5K.  Kinda cool.  They also have one price for this race.  $30 for both the 5K & 10K.  If you choose to downgrade to the 5K due to injury, scheduling, etc., no need to do an official race change.  The race officials were specific that you would be timed for the race you ran, and would not need to make an official “race change”.  Nice touch.  Made it easy for everyone. 

Official Race Photos, anyone?  Free.  Posted to Facebook.  Parking was free too, if you’re keeping track.  Smile

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Off for the final 5K.  It was heating up.  I know 70 degrees isn’t hot and I wasn’t running hard but it was definitely warmer than I would have liked!  I believe there were 3 or 4 water stations and I utilized each one. 

Once we headed out of the Old Fort, they turned us onto the St Mary’s River Trail portion of the Rivergreenway.  Very scenic.  The entire run was scenic.  I really enjoyed it.

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Then up and out to head back downtown to tour some of the local businesses.  Harrison, Berry & Columbia Streets.  It was fun running thru this downtown section on a Sunday with everything quiet.  I must say last time I was on Columbia Street, I was much younger and it was nighttime.  Cool to see it in the light of the day.  Calm & peaceful.  This was definitely my favorite part.  And it was shaded.  Lots of room for running too.  Bonus!!

On to Headwaters Park.  Lawton Park.  Then back to the Old Fort for the finish.  Upon finishing, there was a big spread of food.  Mini sub sandwiches, apples, bananas, granola bars, pretzels & fruit snacks to name a few items.  Then awards on site. 

I run a lot of marathons now.  Not many shorter distance road races.  But what I love about these small local races is seeing all the runners I know.  Its awesome to see so many runners show up in the middle of a Sunday afternoon for no other reason than to run and socialize.  Running is about so much more than the miles.  Its about fun and fitness and camaraderie.  This race embodies all of that.  A great race for the whole family and I loved seeing so many families participate together.  I’ll definitely go back for a repeat run. 

Great race.  Great organization.  Great volunteers.  Great highlight tour of Ft Wayne.  I’d highly recommend this race to others.  If you want to go fast though, start toward the front.  If you don’t care about pace, then no need to stress about some of the tighter sections of the course.  Definitely worth running. 

Long Sleeve, performance tech, Brooks race shirt below.  Unisex sizing.  I love long sleeve tech shirts, hoping it fits okay. 

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** Run Fort Wayne **  Amanda – TooTallFritz

Unrelated side note:  My GoMacro giveaway is still going on thru 10/31.  Enter HERE to win an assorted tray of GoMacro THRIVE Bars (12 bars – $26.28 value). 

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Fort4Fitness Half Marathon … 2015 Edition

It’s no secret that the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in Fort Wayne, Indiana is my favorite.   I’ve ran about 30 half marathons so can say that with confidence.  This was my 5th Fort4Fitness half and my worst performance (2:06:49) here to date.  However, it’s also the location that holds my current half marathon PR (1:53:20).  Great race.  Great town.  Amazing experience.

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I used to come from the Chicago area to run Fort4Fitness but am now local, living only 30 minutes away from the start line. Big win!!  However, this race is in the middle of Cross Country season, so I’ve missed it more than once due to motherly/spectator duties. It’s also on one of the busiest race weekends of the year.  This year F4F was competing with the Mill Race Marathon (Half & 5K) in Columbus, Indiana, the Chicago Half Marathon and the Quad Cities Marathon (Half, Relay & 5K).  Despite the busy time of year, F4F pulled 7,242 competitors to its various races on Saturday alone.  That’s not counting the kids or Seniors who completed their events on Friday night. 

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What F4F does right and where other races might want to take note, is they realize that events like these use community resources.  Not only on the day of the race but in the months and weeks leading up to the big day.  So how do you keep a community happy about events that use the resources which are bought and paid for with their tax dollars?  You get as many community members involved as possible.  The F4F events are focused on community health.  Getting the community active and moving, not just on race day but all throughout the year.  They also have made necessary changes to accommodate as many people as possible.  When the race started in 2008, there was a half marathon and a 4 mile event.  Since that time the following events have been added:  kids and senior marathon, 10K, wheelchair events (half, 10K & 4 mile), and a Double Play and Triple Crown where you can participate in two or more events on race day.  If you are really daring, go for the Triple Crown and RUN.ALL.THE.RACES. (half marathon, 10K & 4 mile) for a total of 23.3 miles of fun and 4 medals!  

Participant Breakdown:

  • Half Marathon – 2,078
  • 10K – 1,887
  • 4 mi Run/Walk – 3,254
  • Wheel Chair Half – 9
  • Wheel Chair 10K – 8
  • Wheel Chair 4mi – 6
  • Double Play (4mi/Half – 30,  10K/Half – 27, 4 mi/10K – 67) – 124
  • Triple Crown (Half, 10K & 4mi) – 98

In addition to the runners, the community members really come out in mass to watch and cheer for the runners.  They line the streets with music, signs and banners.  Then the neighborhoods seem to have a competition as to which community can bring the most spirit.  Oakdale, you won this year according to my unofficial decision.  Congrats.  

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One of my favorite things about this race is that there are long stretches where you can just run.  Some quiet stretches thru parks, others thru quiet neighborhoods with big fancy houses, and a lot of street time thru Ft Wayne.  It’s really a great mix for a road race, mostly flat, a few hills but nothing crazy. 

F4F provides a great race that you would expect from a big city but with the ease and convenience of small town living.  Packet pick up is easy & quick.  Parking is within a half mile of the race start.  Lots of free parking but I did pay $4 for a spot in a garage.  Potties, water & Gatorade every 1.5 miles.  Stadium finish inside Parkview Field with runners being announced before they hit the finish line.  Huge Jumbotron for spectators to watch incoming runners.  Stadium seating for spectators and plenty of room for the after party.   And concessions are open, so grab a beer and celebrate with friends after the big finish!

Gender specific shirts, designed by a local artist!

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Nice medals, whether you collect 1 or all 4.  I only had time for one because I wanted to be present and spectate/cheer/scream my head off at Aby’s Cross Country meet.

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I highly recommend making a plan to come to Ft Wayne next year for Fort4Fitness.  Registration is OPEN.  Race is Saturday, October 1, 2016.  Click HERE to register for any of the races, including the 4 medal Triple Crown event that is only $95 during this super early bird period.  Half Marathon is currently $45!  It’s deal time, who wants to commit?

See you next year!!

** Run The Fort ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon – 2013

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Saturday turned out to be an amazing day for the 6th annual Fort4Fitness event.  Out of the 6 years since it’s start, I have ran the half marathon 4 times.  I missed 2009 with a brand new baby boy who was only 20 days old and I missed last year due to a conflict with the Cross Country schedule.  Barring any unusual circumstances, I’ll definitely be back in 2014!  

This is by far one of my favorite events of the entire year.  The atmosphere is festive, fun and family friendly.  Each and every year, I am amazed at the growth of the field size and how well the organizers are able to manage the increase in numbers.  The Fort4Fitness weekend brings a health & fitness expo, kids marathon, senior marathon, 4 mile run/walk, 10K and  half marathon.   This variety of events allows my entire family to participate as well as many, many of my local run friends who are out for fun, fitness or possibly even running for time.   A few friends from high school, who I saw at the start:

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The 4 mile event hosted 3603 finishers with an average time of 1:00:02, the 10K had 1834 finishers with an average time of 1:14:41 and the half bought 2515 finishers with an average time of 2:14:54.  Each and every participant finished in grand style, on the jumbotron as they made a lap around the track at Parkview Field.

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It was no secret that I was running for time on Saturday.  The day was beautiful with temps just under 60 degrees at the start.  Bright sun.  No clouds.  Lots of energy.  I felt fresh.  I was loose, even my hamstrings were cooperating for once.  I was ready to run.  One minor snafu, I for the second time this month forgot my pre-race fuel (banana) in my bag.  No worries, right?  Right!  I did have one gel with me which I normally take around mile 8, I just adjusted and used it at mile 2 instead.  Smile

Start of the race is by cannon.  Each race has a separate start (4 mi at 7:30 am, Half at 8am & 10K at 9am).  We hear the cannon go off and we inch toward the start and I’m across in just a couple minutes.  First mile is slightly congested, no big thing.  8:30 min/mi split.   Mile 2, back on track, 8:17 split.  Mile 3-7 are all exactly 8:20 splits.  I felt good, in control, wasn’t running too fast but wasn’t slacking either.  AND THEN I HIT THE WALL, or maybe it hit me.   It happened just as fast as someone flipping the light switch, I was done.  No, I take that back, I wasn’t done, my legs were done.   My vision got a little fuzzy, I knew I was low on fuel and I think my legs were “possibly” still fatigued from the previous weekend’s half marathon/20 miler “double”.  Who knows.  I tried to speed up several times but it wasn’t happening.  So I just smiled, enjoyed the race, focused on being thankful that I was running pain free and just kept moving toward the finish.  It was a 1:56:xx type of day.  Fastest half of the year, so far, and just a beautiful day to run with friends.  It was also a bit of a confidence boost that there are fast times in my legs, I just need to tweak my recovery and nutrition a bit more.

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A few random thoughts:  1)  I missed seeing the National Guard this year. They are usually stationed between mile 11 & 12.  I was looking forward to seeing them and they weren’t around.  Maybe they had something more important to do?  2)   Where did those hills come from toward the end?  That’s what I love about racing the same course again and again,  I always THINK I know the course but the hills got me this time when I was already on my downswing. I won’t forget about them next year!

Saw a few friends at the end too!  Aby, Me, Adella & Brandi.  Both Adella & Brandi were on my track & XC teams in high school.  LOVE that we are all still running!

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Great swag – a reusable Vera Bradley tote bag & a half zip technical pullover (unisex sizing).

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Great course with constantly changing scenery starting with downtown views, heading toward the river, then into Foster Park, then thru some old very established neighborhoods with a “few” rolling hills.   Great on course support offering 9 water/aid/potty stations.  Last aid station, “may” have an extra table set up for beer shots too or maybe not, you’ll have to run and see for yourself.  Smile

See you next year in Fort Wayne!!

Amanda – TooTallFritz