Indianapolis Monumental Marathon ….. 2016

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Saturday was the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  This was my 3rd time running this marathon.  First at the inaugural event in 2008, 2015 & then this 2016 version.  The race has grown by leaps and bounds because its well ran and has a reputation for being flat and fast.  This was my fastest marathon for 2015 and my 2nd fastest this year (and I’m not at all in good shape right now).  Its small enough to feel intimate but big enough to feel fun and like a real road race.  I really love it.

The expo is medium sized.  Local vendors.  We found some good deals from a local run store that had 30% off everything, even high tech winter run jackets!  Packet pick up was smooth & fast.  They also give a commemorative poster which lists every registered participants name.  Nice touch.  This is last years poster (hard to see with the glare in my sun room, sorry). The one this year wasn’t as cool and I doubt I’ll put it up but I love that they do this.

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The Monumental Marathon is a downtown Indianapolis race.  We stayed downtown so that we could walk to the expo, dinner and the start/finish line!  I think we left our hotel 30 minutes before the start and had plenty of time. There are start corrals but they are not policed so as always, plan for slower runners to find their way to the front.  Its inevitable.   The first mile is very crowded and slow.  If you are looking to hit a particular pace from mile one, that’s difficult and I’d encourage you to start closer to the front, or plan accordingly for that first mile to be a minute slower.  Try to take it all in before you put the hammer down, enjoy the city and the crowds and the remember why you run.

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This is a race where I normally have a lot of friends running with me, so we just start behind the corrals and enjoy ourselves.  We don’t rush.  We don’t push.  We just run.  Things definitely thin out after a couple miles but really, there are quite a few runners until the half marathon turns off around mile 7.5.  This year my crew had 3 high school girls in tow.  They were running the half.  One for the first time.  Two for the second time.  So I just stuck with them and had fun.  I love watching the enthusiasm of young runners.  These 3 ran Cross Country for their school this fall and they have a lot of spirit.  They entertained the crowd around them the entire time by cheering, yelling & singing.  I loved every minute of it.  This is what running is to me …. fun, fitness & friendship.  M, A & Aby (on the right). 

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They are getting ready to turn off for the half.  Good luck, girls!!

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The half and the full sold out this year. 2016 was the biggest year so far.  They had 8,154 finisher for the half.  2,762 finishers for the 5K.  And 4,237 finishers for the full.  There was also an extra medal for the runners who ran both the Indianapolis Half Marathon earlier in October, in addition to the Monumental Half.    More Bling = More Runners!

As the half turned off, the road opened up in front of me and I think we all sighed from relief.  I love the energy from the half runners but its nice to get down to business and start focusing on my race.  I remember feeling the same way last year.  It doesn’t scare me that the crowds thin.  We still have ample spectator support.  There were still a lot of runners out there.  I was never alone, just free to run whatever pace I wanted. It was a great day.  Warmish.  I saw several bloggers report that it was in the high 30s when we started but it wasn’t that cool according to my AccuWeather app.  It was 47-50 degrees by the 8am start time. No wind. And the sun was coming up. My crew had on arm sleeves and could have gotten away without them.  I was very comfortable pre-race in shorts, a tank & arm sleeves.  And it was going to heat up as we ran.  Time to get down to business and run.

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After the half split, we headed to the State Fair Grounds.  Then a long straight stretch down Washington Boulevard.  Love this part.  Lots of room to run and it’s a night straight stretch that doesn’t require much thinking.  Not a lot to see.  Traffic on the other side of the road but many motorists cheer us on as they wait in traffic.   Then onto Broadripple.  Riverview, which is short but scenic.  Meridian Drive.   Butler University.  Beautiful campus.  Lots of older alums hanging out but where are the students?  Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Lovely area.  White River Parkway.  Burdsal Parkway. Miles 21-22 ocne and go, that always seem to be a challeng.  Fall Creek Parkway.  Back on Meridian and heading back downtown, we are getting close!!!  We can see Monument Circle in the distance and keep pushing forward.  Finally, mile 25.  Then 26.  Then the finish.  That lovely finish.  Another one in the books.  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you, body.  Thank you, mind for pushing me thru another finish.

In all, this is a great race.   I’d love to run it again next year if it fits into my schedule.  Lots of water & potty stops, plus medial about every 1-1.5 miles.   20 aid stations in all.  They also had at least 5 food/fueling stations.  Plus so many kind spectators that set up their own personal aid stations offering Halloween Candy, beer, water, pretzels, oranges, etc.  Great race.  Great community & spectator support.  Thanks, Indy! 

Swag:  Gender specific tee, finishers hat & medal.  Last year we got a hat too.  That one had the year embroidered on the hat.  This one was more “generic”, probably so they can use leftovers for years to come. 

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Great race, hope to see YOU next year!

** Run Indy, Be Monumental ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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TBT … Inaugural Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Report – 2008

Thanks to my Facebook “Memories”, I found a race report that I published on Facebook, prior to inception of the TTF blog site.  It was published on this day (11/3) back in 2008.  This was my 2nd marathon.  It was during a time when I only ran one marathon a year, poured my heart into training & frequently was disappointed on race day. 

 

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The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2008 came after a very long TRI season.  We were also trying to conceive Mr. Michael, who arrived on 9/7/09.  I was tired.  And emotional.  Two things that can make a marathon difficult at best.  Smile

 

Indy Marathon (11/1/08) – Race Report

November 3, 2008 at 12:06pm

Indy put on a great race this weekend! The weather was perfect, the course was perfect, I fueled properly……so why did I do more walking than running?
I’ll never know why certain race days end in utter disappointment and tears. Saturday was such a day. I had my miles in, I had a good attitude, I was ready to run, unfortunately my body didn’t get the memo!
I knew I was off almost immediately as my pace was slow and I didn’t have anything more to put into pushing the pace faster. I tried to convince myself that since the weather was cold I was just a bit sluggish and that as soon as I warmed up then I would be able to settle in and start pacing properly. Realistically, when looking at 26 miles, a slow pace isn’t really too big of an issue, I can pick it up later or just run slower. No big deal either way because to me the marathon distance is really about personal achievement and not the clock time.
Things just never came together and they went from less than ideal to pretty bad. I was upset not because I was slow but because I felt bad all over, from my head to my toes! I was upset that I normally can run, even if it is slow, through all my training runs and now it was race day and I not only didn’t want to run, I didn’t even want to walk! Had I been close to home or on a training run, I would have scrapped the day. Some days just aren’t for running and I am old enough to know and accept what I’m given. However, I wasn’t in a situation where I could just get in my car and go home, or call Mick and have him come rescue me. Sigh….so I finished, not because I wanted to but because I didn’t have another reasonable option. It was a 4:50 finish; I was 2:09 at the half, so the majority of the walking did come in the last half. I ran/walked a 4:54 in Memphis last December and felt a whole lot better about it than I did the Indy finish. Not sure why but my emotions took a huge toll on me too, which I think just made it that much worse. And I know I have the ability to run in the 4:15 to 4:30 range…..but that would require that I actually keep moving the entire time! Smile
Looking back, I am thankful I had the desire, motivation and ability to train for another marathon. I am thankful I had a great friend (Abby) awaiting my finish to give me a tissue and commiserate with me! I am also thankful for the great people I met along the course, some who were having good days, other who weren’t.
I’m super sore today, obviously my ego has been bruised badly, and I’m gonna take the week to relax and realign myself mentally. Hopefully by Friday I will be “back” and looking forward to a Saturday long run and maybe even possibly the Tecumseh Trail Marathon.

Cheers to being “upright and moving forward” regardless of how we feel. Amanda

2008 & 2015 Indy Monumental Finisher Medals

Indy Monumental - 08    Indy Monumental - 15

I always say that “time changes almost everything”.  And I still believe that.  If you had told me after I wrote this race report, that in 8 years I’d be going back for my 3rd Indy Monumental Marathon AND that it would be my 35th marathon in all, I’d have told you that you were nuts.  But apparently the joke’s on me.  This Saturday will be my 3rd Indy Monumental Marathon.  And it will be my 35th marathon. 

** Cheers to Whatever Adventures the Future Brings ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Interested in more posts on the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon?  See the links below.

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Then vs Now – 11/5/15

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon ….. 2015 Version – 11/10/15

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). 

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon ….. 2015 Version

Saturday was the 8th running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana.  There were 13,826 finishers, which is 395% larger than the inaugural event in 2008 (only 3500 finishers).  I believe this is a great representation of how running in general has evolved and increased in popularity over the last 8 years.  While marathon running has definitely seen a pick up in competitors (1,114 in 2008 verses 3,999 in 2015 here), the half marathon is where the real party is growth wise.  At the inaugural event in 2008 there were approximately 2,386 half marathoners in Indy but in 2015 there were 7,288!  Wow!  That’s amazing.  I love seeing so many crazy runners out there pounding the pavement!    Now let’s run!!

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The race started at 8am on Capitol Avenue beside the Capitol Building.  It was a crisp 40 degrees with a light wind and the sun was just coming up.  Excitement was definitely in the air.  I knew so many people running.  Many looking to smash an old PR.  Some looking to just finish.  It was crowded.  Lines to the potties were long and when we went to get in our corral, there wasn’t room and we waited on the sidewalk until the gun went off.  There were 5 of us who wanted to run together.  Not ideal but hey, what’s ideal?  We had 2 young girls with us who were running their first half marathon.  The plan was to stay easy, relaxed and to make sure they were feeling GOOD when they made the turn off for the half.  I think we all remember our first half and it wasn’t because we were smiling at the end.  Okay, maybe you were smiling.  I wasn’t.  In fact, I wanted to give my running shoes to the first homeless person I saw.  That first half of mine is almost like a nightmare and if I can help even ONE person to avoid making the same mistakes I made, then I’m happy.  So I was very focused on keeping the girls close and keeping the pace easy.  That’s if they were even interested in staying with us cuz it’s hard to really know what teens are thinking.  But alas, we were a band of 5.   And that calls for a selfie! 

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The first miles were crowded.  Very crowded.  The streets in Indy weren’t real wide in most places.  We did a lot of weaving.  Of course, ALL the walkers started in front of us.  So we ran, weaved, talked and smiled.  Dropped the girls at the turn off for the half (approx 7.5 miles) and was I pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t total desolation like we normally see when the half splits.  Lots of runners still in it for the full but things calmed down and we weren’t weaving very much.  It was after the split that I started to take inventory of the day.  It was a cool day.  No humidity.  Indy was relatively flat.  We weren’t running fast but not slow.  I had a couple “niggles” that were tightening but overall, I felt pretty decent.  I had taken a full week off previous to Indy.  I know most “runners” would gasp at that but I’m all about listening to my body and showing up as fresh as possible.  As a result, I was feeling pretty fresh.  I thought I could actually post a decent time if I could hold it together.  It’s been so long since I had a race with good weather, I honestly didn’t even know what “decent” was anymore but I was pretty comfortable in the 10-10:15 range and just held on to it.  No pushing.  Just patient, methodical running.  Mile 10, Halfway, Mile 15, Mile 18, Mile 20, all right in the 10-10:15 range.  And I ended up finishing under 4:30.  It’s been a long time since I finished under 4:30 and I was one happy camper!!!

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Race was very well supported with volunteers, medical & police trying to keep the unruly drivers at bay.  We had water/Gatorade every mile, sometimes closer.  Lots of potties.  Multiple food stations, Boom Energy Gel, Oranges, Bananas.  Local residents had set up their own stations and were handing out beer, Twirlers, pretzels, Halloween candy and more.  The residents were very supportive and most of the drivers were very patient but I did see the police on multiple occasions dealing with angry drivers. I was very impressed with how well the officers managed the crowds; I know that’s a tough job.

This is a race where packets need to be picked up prior to race morning.  It’s a great excuse to stay over in Indy and enjoy the beautiful city.  View from our hotel overlooking Monument Circle.

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Expo was a decent size and had a nice number of vendors.  Gender specific shirts.

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Finishers received a finishers medal and a finishers hat.  Nice touch.  I like finisher “swag” that isn’t just doled out at packet pick-up.

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Overall, this is a great race.  I’d definitely run it again.  The course covered a good portion of the city and we ran on some great roads and thru some awesome neighborhoods.  Indy didn’t shove us off into the corner but paraded us thru town and showed us the sites.  It was a great experience and if you are wondering if you should run next year, do it.  #BeMonumental, you won’t regret it. 

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon …. Then Vs Now

As I prepare for the 2015 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, I can’t help but reflect on the first time I ran it in 2008.  The 2008 event was the inaugural race for Indy Monumental and I don’t think any of us expected it to grow the way that it has over the last 7 years.   There was no “expo”, only packet pickup at the Capitol Building.  I didn’t have a crew.  Or a blog.  Or know 25-30 people running.  I had one crazy friend who made the trip with me to Indy from Chicagoland.  And pretty much everyone else in our lives thought we were insane.  Like totally insane.   Abby S & I in front of the Capital Building at packet pickup.

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2008 was the year of the triathlon.  I probably thought of nothing else in ‘08 other than TRIing and TRYING to get preggo with Mr. Michael.  And damn, I was skinny!  I’m pretty sure I never appreciated how thin I was at that point in time.  I bet I ate every dang thing that I wanted and drank my fair share of Corona Lights too!  Ah, memories!  But seriously, 2008 was THE year.  Abby S and I competed in 6-7 Olympic TRIs, a Duathlon, 3 half marathons for me (4 ore more for her), I did my first 70.3 TRI and ran my 2nd marathon at Indy.  Good times. 

However, I remember the ‘08 Monumental race being very emotional for me.  I was off my birth control (trying to conceive) and exhausted.  We had been racing hard since mid May that year and Indy Monumental was on Nov 1st.  I didn’t understand that training cycles need to be cyclical.  I didn’t understand the importance of rest in life or racing.  I just kept the training/racing cycle going and I crashed and burned at Indy.  And shed a billion tears in the process.  This is where I learned that crying and running are NOT compatible.  So when I tell the Cross Countries girls to suck it up cuz the tears make it harder to run, well, I’m only be honest cuz I know from personal experience.  Tears and running do not mix, if you want to breathe.

Monumental was the end of my racing season for 2008.  I did run a local turkey trot but that was it.  And I conceived before year end.  Rest helps a lot of things:  muscle recovery, emotions, hormones, and conception.  Smile

Needless to say, I don’t remember a lot from the ‘08 Monumental race other than my state of emotion.  Hard to see thru those tears.  So I’m really looking forward to the 2015 race, which will be my 24th marathon.  I look forward to SEEING what Indy has to offer.  My only goal this year is to NOT cry.  I’m in a totally different state of mind these days with my running, not so focused on speed but thankful to just be moving,  running, racing, and thankful for my life “on the run”.

Here is the 2008 Inaugural race medal and race shirt.  The shirt has been repurposed in a race t-shirt quilt but I found the square for a quick photo.  Love my t-shirt quilts and all the memories they evoke. 

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Good luck to everyone running the 2015 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon!  If you see me, shout!  I’d love to meet you!  I’ll be wearing a Marathon Maniac shirt, probably the long sleeve yellow one.  See you Saturday!

** Be Monumental ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

2015 Sunburst Races WINNER & Discount Code!!

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We now have a winner for a FREE entry into one of the 2015 Sunburst Races!   The free entry is good for the half or full marathon.  I am running the full so I’m hoping you pick that too!!

South Bend

The winner was selected via a random number generator.  Entry #1 was the first person who commented and entries were counted on a first come first served basis.  Just that easy!  So who won?!?

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#40 – You’re the winner!  Lisa!  And I know a lot of Lisa’s so please contact me if you are the winner.  Here is the comment and I will match it up with the recorded email address so don’t cheat, even if you are a really great friend of mine, cuz I won’t let you claim someone else’s free entry! 

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Lisa – Please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com to claim your free entry to the Sunburst Races!

As for the rest of you, I hope to see you in South Bend on June 6th!  Go HERE to register now before you lose your nerve so that you have something solid to focus on since the snow may finally be melting.  Use Discount Code:  Sunburst2015 for $5 off at checkout!  That code works for every event.  Now go register and let me know to look for you on race day!

** Run South Bend ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Sunburst Races Marathon (or Half) Giveaway – 2015

It’s that time again, let’s start thinking about the spring and early summer marathon calendar!  I know that most of us have been in a major rut with this nasty weather but that’s about to end.  What better way to motivate yourself and refocus but to sign up for a race?  How about one of my favorites, the Sunburst Races Marathon & Half?  I just signed up for the marathon and hope to see a lot of friendly faces out on course with me. 

Sunburst Marathon Start

The Sunburst Marathon & Half is on June 6, 2015.  That is 99 days away.  Plenty of time to train and be ready to RUN South Bend!  The event offers a variety of races over the weekend and pulls a great crowd to downtown South Bend.  It’s a fun atmosphere and there are events for the entire family.  The race starts in the downtown area, weaves thru town, along the river walk, and thru some nice neighborhoods where the residents come out in force with food, water, sprinklers, music and create a supportive environment for all runners.  This is definitely a race where the community is behind the event!   And the river walk is breathtaking!

South Bend River Walk

The races finishes on the beautiful Notre Dame campus where there is a big after party with lots of food and fun so that you can await the finish of friends and family.  Check out the Sunburst Races Marathon & Half website and figure out which event you want to run for 2015!

Sunburst had generously offered to giveaway ONE free entry to the Sunburst Races.  The entry is to the race of your choosing! Join me in South Bend on June 6th and see why so many people love this race!  Giveaway starts right now and will run until Thursday, March 5th at 9am when I will draw the winner via a Random Number Generator.

To be eligible for the giveaway, you MUST comment below.  You can earn a second entry to the giveaway by liking the Sunburst Races Facebook page HERE, just let me know in the comments section so I can credit you with an extra entry.   Good luck!!

Not required for this giveaway but please feel free to follow along via Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for everything TooTallFritz!

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Pokagon State Park–Trail Running

Trail running can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be scary if you know what to expect.  I’ve ran the trails at Pokagon State Park multiples times now and have found it to have some of the best trails in Northeastern Indiana.  Why?  The trails are accessible year round.  There are a variety of trails from easy to hard, with varying surface types.  All  trails are short and within close proximity to a road, or the Pottawatomi Inn.  Trails are well groomed and wide enough to run with a friend.  Best of all, the trails are marked well.

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And if weren’t paying attention to the last couple of signs, then look at the “You Are Here” maps,  or notes/maps on particular points of interest, which are scattered throughout the trail system.

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Pokagon is a place you can go with your family for hiking, swimming, camping or horseback riding.  Or you can run for fun or even train for a marathon or ultra.  It’s good for short distance runners AND long distance folks.  I’m particularly excited to get Aby and some of her Cross Country friends up there this summer!  

I usually park at the Potawatomi Inn and start on one of the trails which begin at “The Inn”.   If it’s dark, I run on the roads within the park until the sun comes up.  Got a great pic last weekend of some of the holiday lights.

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At this time of year, there is little traffic in the early mornings.  It’s a good time to tour the campgrounds, roads and paved trails while there isn’t too much hoopla.   Bathrooms are still open but lacking toilet tissue.  There will be a few scattered campers and park workers moving about in their vehicles.  And the Inn will always have guests who are coming and going. You will not be alone. 

The two trails which are easiest to connect with are those which lead to/from the Pottawatomi Inn.  Trails 1 & 3.  Trail 1 is easy to find by going down by the beach and it picks up to the side of the playground.  A nice easy trail that is in the woods with views of Lake James and some of the houses which surround the water. 

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Good trail for beginners or seasoned trails runners.  A couple hills but nothing scary.  If you have a young Cross Country runner, or a new 4 legged friend to train, this would be the perfect trail developing an excitement about trail running while still keep everyone close to people, park roads and The Inn.  Well traveled trail.  Bonus, if non-running family members want to go with you to the park, they can play on the beach and playground while you take a short trail run.  Big win for everyone!!  Trail 1 & 3 highlighted in yellow below.

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Trail 3 starts in the parking lot of the Potawatomi Inn, in the Northeast corner.  You can park your car and be on the trail in 30 seconds.  In my opinion, Trail 3 is the heartbeat of the entire trail system at Pokagon.  You can access every trail in the Park, plus the Beechwood Nature Preserve loop via #3.  If you ever get lost, run towards 3 and you’ll eventually start seeing signs for The Inn which is why I suggest you park your car there.  The trail starts in the woods, runs across some wetlands with a few cute bridges with benches for sitting.  Great trail, not too technical. 

trail 3_metrail 3  trail 3_benchestrail 3_benches2

Then #3 leads wherever your heart desires, just check the map and go!!  Since most of the trails are loops, if you have a long run to do, you can run most of the trails without backtracking or even thinking too much about what to do, or where to go.  I see a sign for a trail, I just take it.  It generally loops me back to the trail I was standing on when I saw the sign.  Super easy trail system, I promise!!

Hardest Trail  – #9.  This trail takes you up, Up, UP and eventually overlooks Interstate 69 before going back down to reconnect with Trail #3.

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Point of Interest – Hell’s Point, on Trail #3.  I expected it to be harder to get to with a name like Hell’s Point but it wasn’t too difficult, just follow the signs and run the trail.  Fun set of stairs and a nice view from the lookout!

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Hidden gem – Beechwood Preserve Loop, which is not part of Pokagon but accessible from Trail 8.  Lots of wildlife.  Short loop which is good for walkers.  Super secret parking lot off of 127 to access this area and make it a family friendly adventure (no strollers).  Even has a half loop sign if you want a shorter route.  One big hill if you do the full loop.  Yeah, I walked that hill!  Smile

Beechwood loop_off trail 8

Easiest Trail – #7.  Grassy loop with a nice view of a wetland.  Lots of water fowl in this area.  Benches everywhere to sit and rest or watch the wildlife.

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Biggest attraction:  Toboggan Slides.  Open from the Friday after Thanksgiving thru February.  Yes, I’ll be taking the kids.  Looks super fun and slides pick up speed of 35-40 mph.  Sounds terrifying and exhilarating!  Image source

TobogganRun

Pokagon State Park is amazing, go check it out cuz I know you’ll love it as much as me!  It offers over 1200 acres of fun from water activities to hiking and trail runs.  Great fun for the entire family!

** I’ll See YOU On The Trail ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Carmel Marathon Recap …. My 2nd Marathon in 7 days

The Carmel Marathon weekend was a Team Tough Chik event and I was excited to go meet some of the ladies who I had previously only known “on line”.  We did dinner.  We talked.  And then we ran.  Perfect meet-up!!  Plus  I’m just loving the Team Tough Chik run singlet this year so it was the  perfect excuse to make it’s debut at the first warm race of the season!!

I also was able to hang with Katie, From Ice Cream To Marathon, once again and we always have fun!!   Plus my friend, Julie made the trip with me so that she could knock Indiana off her 50 States quest!  And of course we saw, Mike (Run Nerds Rock) since this is a hometown race for him.  Good times pre & post race!

Carmel Marathon_me&katieCarmel Marathon_julie & meCarmel Marathon_katie mike me

The Carmel Marathon was a new one for me.  I had heard good things about it from past participants and the early bird entry fee was low, like really low.  Maybe $30 for the half and $40 for the full?  So I signed up around Thanksgiving of last year when they were doing a registration blitz and I heard that several other Toughies were going.  It’s a small race with 833 finishers for the full marathon and 1431 finishers for the half.  

Parking was free and close to the start.  Since we were “newbies” to the race, we parked at the first parking spot we came across and this resulted in us having about a 15 minute walk to the start.  This also put us a bit behind schedule because the start area was jam packed with people, runners and family members alike.   We headed to bag check and found a very long, single file line, with probably 40 people in front of us.  Bags were just being accepted and tossed to the ground.  There was no attempt at any sort of initial organization.  That bit me in the butt when I realized that I left something very important in my check bag.  I tried to retrieve it, they just stared at me blankly and told me that they had no idea where my bag might have gone.  Boo for me!  Sad smile

Then we hit the potties.  Long lines there too and not nearly enough potties for the crowd.  We were, in fact, still in line to potty when the start gun went off.  Boo for me and hundreds of other people.  Sad smile

Then we finally got thru the potty line and headed to the start.  People were still streaming thru the start line so no worries on our part other than we had hoped to run with a pace group.  The course was flat with a few very small inclines.  Good terrain with all of the course being on paved forest preserve paths, thru neighborhoods or on busier streets where they reserved one lane for the runners.   Aid stations with water every 2 miles.  Gatorade at every other stop.  One food station which offered bananas.  No gels offered on course.  Very little crowd support despite a super sunny day and warm temps which inched up toward 70 degrees.  Friendly volunteers and police support but some seriously unhappy residents that we were blocking traffic. Sad smile

Overall, this is the race you want to run when you feel great, don’t need much help and are looking for a clear course to just bust a move.  If you are a person who needs a little love from the crowd to boost your mood or help propel you thru the end miles, then maybe find one a little bit larger or with a community that is fully invested in a marathon on their city  & neighborhood streets.  There were a lot of people really hurting toward the end of this race.  Not a lot of people were talking.  Nobody was singing.  Sad smile  This is one of the very few places I’ve been where almost everyone was walking at the end.  It was warm so I know that was an issue for many.  Then there just wasn’t much support out there for those of us at the back of the pack.  It was a good race, that was done well but it was a drag and those end miles REALLY drug out forever.  Cool swag though:

Carmel Marathon_swag

Lastly, this was my 2nd marathon in 7 days.  Last week’s ultra was only 3 seconds slower per mile than this marathon.  My legs are definitely tired.  In fact my quads feel like hamburger and my right hip is irritated.  I am facing down 2 more marathons this month to finish my 4 for 40 quest.  I knew this wasn’t going to be easy but a challenge is never easy or it wouldn’t be considered a challenge.  I’m hoping for a party awesome atmosphere this weekend at the Derby Marathon so that I can get a little help from the crowds to carry me thru to the end!  I know #3 will be the hardest so I’m crossing my fingers that Louisville will be out in force to help me get this done!

don't stop

Let me know if you are headed to Louisville for the Derby Marathon this weekend.  I would definitely love to know a few people out on course! 

** Questing for 4 Marathons in the 4th Month of 2014 for my 40th Birthday **            Amanda – TooTallFritz

Winner!! Sunburst Marathon Giveaway…

Everyone was super excited about the Sunburst Races giveaway!  I hope you still join me on May 31st, even if you didn’t win!

Sunburst_stadium jumpers

Without further ado, the winner of the Sunburst Race giveaway is #37.

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Number 37 is rl262 

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Congrats, Mr. rl262!  I’m sorry I don’t know your name but please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com and we will get you registered for the Sunburst race of your choice! 

Everyone else who would like to run the 2014 event, please register HERE!

I’ll see YOU in South Bend on May 31st!

Sunburst

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **