Run River City Marathon Relay

This year Peoria brought us their first annual Run River City marathon weekend.  The fun filled weekend offered a marathon, 4 person marathon relay, 25K, 5K and kids marathon.  While I normally don’t like to travel for races because it’s a PITA for my family, Peoria is the hometown of my friend & fellow Team Tough Chik teammate Run With Jess, so it was quickly decided that a trip to Peoria was in order.


Almost instantaneously, we decided that our event of choice was the marathon relay.  We had one goal:  To Have Fun.  Since we were looking for fun, plus both Jess and I were already members of a 200+ all ladies team, we started looking to fill the remaining two relay spots with Team Tough Chik members.  I mean, the uniform is already in place why not utilize our team members, right?  In under 24 hours, Carmen of She Runs Everywhere and Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik (and creator of the Tough Chik clothing line and Team Tough Chik) were on board for the first ever Team Tough Chik marathon relay.  Pre-race photo:  Me, Carmen, Jess & Shannon.


We rolled into the River City in waves, grabbed our packets at an outdoor “expo”, which very small, and then quickly checked out the swag.  The swag bag included a gender specific new balance shirt, bib and a few advertisements.  No worries on my end, we paid $35 each for the relay.  I come to run, not go home with a bunch of stuff that I’ll never use.


Then a bit of sightseeing!  I love a small town where you can walk around and check things out!  Riverfront Park & one of the many bridges connecting Peoria to the “real world”.

Riverfront Park  Bridge

But really, we came to run and were super excited to get started on Sunday morning.  The event kicked off with a super elite field of wheel chair racers at 6:55 am, quickly followed by the marathon, relayers and 25K runners.

WC Start

Temps were warm and humid at the start with a little cloud cover but the sun quickly burnt off the clouds and took the times all the way up to 89 degrees by the finish.

Leg one kicked off at the start by Katie, who was a last minute sub for Carmen due to injury.  The girl smoked those first 6 miles and hauled axx into the first exchange to handoff to me.

Team of 5  Katie to Me handoff

I was off for 7 miles of fun.  Initially thru the flats of the riverfront area of Peoria, then quickly up and out of town via a monstrous hill on Main Street.  Although I’m a notoriously poor uphill runner, I did keep moving.  Other runners gave into walking/clawing their way up and then the stronger hill runners passed me up as if I were standing still.    Here I am still looking fresh as I get ready to tackle “the hill” and you may also notice that my pink FlipBelt came in super handy once again as I stuffed the blue relay baton thru it to free up my hands!

Me_curve_baton in flipbelt

The 7 miles didn’t exactly fly by as I had expected because the heat soaked to my being quickly around mile 3.  I could feel my fingers swelling and my face start tingling.  I was finding it super hard to acclimate to the first hot race of the year so I just tried to focus on moving forward and being thankful that I was relaying rather than running the 25K or marathon.  I heard lots of complaints while I ran about the lack of mile maker, clocks, bathrooms, and runners wanting the water stops to be more frequent due to the heat.  Each water station was placed anywhere from 0.5 to 2 miles apart.  They seemed random and it was difficult to anticipate their locations.  The website listed them here:


  • Water stops will be at miles 2, 4, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 8, 10, 11, 12.5, 14.5, 1.5, 16, 18, 18.5, 20, 21, 22.5, 24.5, 25, 25.75

  • Honey Stinger gels will be at miles 11 and 21

  • Gatorade will be at miles 4, 6, 8, 12.5, 16, 18.5, 22.5

I must say that I was super happy to see Shannon awaiting my arrival at the second exchange!  I was totally melted by this point and she looked fresh, happy and ready to run her 5.5 miles of hills.

Handoff to Shannon

Shannon’s California conditioning was exactly what we needed for the toughest leg of the event.  She was used to the weather and the hills and BOOM, smashed her leg.  Thanks, Shannon!!!  Before we knew it, she was coming in to hand off to Jess who totally rocked the last 7.7 miles all the way back DOWN to the riverfront. Yes, I’m totally jealous of that big downhill she got to run! 

Shannon handoff to Jess

Team Tough Chik running to the finish!!

Team Running In

So much fun.  Sub 4 hour finish (3 hours 56 minutes).  We placed 4th out of the 50 “all women” relay teams and 22nd of out of all 123 relay teams.  And in case you were wondering, “This is What Tough Looks Like”:

Team photo_baton

Great time.  I’d definitely do another marathon relay. Thanks to Jess for busting her butt trying to figure out the mangled course directions for driving to the relay exchanges.  Thanks to Dave, Jess’ hubby, for helping us on course, doing some of the driving, and taking all of these amazing photos.  Thanks to Carmen for being such a good sport, despite her injury, hanging with us during the race and finding us a last minute replacement!  Lastly, thanks to Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik for making us cool running clothes coming all the way from California to run with us.  Much love to all of you!

Overall I loved Run River City and recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap, scenic, tough, hilly marathon.   Good bang for the buck.  And if you’re in it for the bling, well you won’t be disappointed!


**Run River City ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** **

A Family Affair ….

As a wife and mother who is employed full time with a lengthy commute, exercise is sometimes a luxury rather than a necessity.  I frequently cram it, exercise that is, into the day when it really doesn’t fit.  Like,  I should do that massive pile of laundry BUT I’m going to take Michael and go run with the jog stroller instead.  That  pretty much defines this week.  We crammed a lot into a little time.  Aby’s done with track so it was “make-up” week where we tried to get our life back and still take care of business.

Dentist & Group run.  I’ll spare you the bloody photo of them pulling Aby’s tooth.  However, we followed up the dental visit with a Tuesday run with the F’N Running  Club.  Gotta balance the bad with the good, right?


“Big People” Appointment & Zoo.  Quality time with the kiddos has been mostly in the car as of late.  One parent present at a time.  Probably won’t win us parent’s of the year but I think they dropped our application years ago, so no worries!  Anyhow, we needed a day off for “big people” stuff and then decided to take the kiddos and hit the zoo for some good ole family fun.  The Dinosaur’s Alive exhibit at Brookfield Zoo was a big hit with us!

Zoo_May 2013    Zoo_May 2013_giraffes     Zoo_May 2013_dino_kids  Zoo_May 2013_dino_color  Zoo_May 2013_dino

Then we hit another FNRC run last night as a family (you can barely see Michael peaking out of the jogger beside Aby in the middle) after I promised Aby ice cream if she could manage to slug a few miles out with Michael and I.


So we’ve had a busy week but still managed to have some fun.  All my run miles have been slow, back of the pack runs with Michael in the jogger and my shoulders burning because the jogger and I aren’t friends..  I’ve biked on the trainer a few times and tried my best to get the house back in order.  NOW, I’m looking forward to the weekend. 

No family affair this weekend.  I’m heading to Peoria, IL to spend some time with a few of my favorite Team Tough Chik members (Jess, Shannon – The Original Tough Chik, Carmen & Nicki T) as we show Run River City how to put together one TOUGH relay team.  Go Toughies!!!!

If you are headed to Peoria to Run River City, look for our Team Tough Chik relay.  Or the amazing sign that Jess made which I’m sure will pop up around the marathon course. 

Team Tough Chik sign_Jess

** Get Out and Run, With Or Without the Family ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **