Veterans Half Marathon & Hill Repeats

I’ve been fighting a head cold with headaches and earaches off and on since the Chicago Marathon. On Thursday last week, the sickness upped it’s game and came at me full force with increased  aches & pains and a swollen sore throat.  I cried “uncle” and called the doc for meds.  They didn’t work their magic immediately and I continued to get worse.  I didn’t think I’d be running the Veterans Half Marathon because on Friday I couldn’t get out of bed until about noon.  The race was three hours away from home and I didn’t know if I could even drive that far.  I would have stayed home had the kids not been driving me crazy I not planned a fun day with my mom on Saturday.  Soooooo, I hauled it up and out of bed on FRI afternoon, drank my Spark and hit the road with my lovely angels fighting in the backseat in tow.

On Saturday, I was actually feeling decent so headed over to the Veterans Half thinking I would just run like the wind after being sick, not hydrating, and not eating for two days.  Yeah, I ran like the wind all right. 


Before we get to the running part ….. I was able to pick up my packet on race morning.  Super cool in my world.  Even cooler, the packet pick up was in a large heated tent.  The static temp was nice at around 43 degrees on Saturday morning but the wind had been howling all night and well, it didn’t stop when the sun came up.   I was also feeling “slightly” chilled from being sick and I was shivering before I even left my car.  I found FREE parking a block away from the start, dashed from my car to the potty, then to the warm tent where I was happy to wait in line for my packet.  While in line, I also met Kasey, a fellow Team Tough Chik member who was running the full in order to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs.  She crushed the full, got a new PR and qualified to be a “maniac”.  Great job, Kasey!!!

veterans_me & Kasey

Then the start went off with the boom of a cannon and I took off like I was going to win.  Fortunately my brain caught on pretty quickly that my body wasn’t quite up for a hard run.  I was pretty empty on the energy front.  My legs weren’t heavy because between life, work and being sick, I hadn’t ran all week but I was just empty.  So I settled in and focused on covering the distance.  I soon realized that the distance and my lack of energy were not my only issues, but that wind came back full force as soon as we hit the country roads outside of town.   No trees or houses for windbreak, just us and the open road.  This photo is early on as we are headed out of town.  This particular road is smooth and flat, which wasn’t the case with all the roads.  However, the race director did an excellent job of marking the course so that was never any confusion as to direction or the distance ran.  Loved the all the stars on the road!!!

Veternas_route  veterans_mile marker

I used to run a lot of miles on country roads so am very familiar with way the roads slant for water runoff, wind, hills and also those fresh country smells which accost you when you least expect.   I was ready for all of that and have ran similar country races, like the 13.1 Valpo, which is also known for high winds.  However, Veterans was just a battle for me.  I felt like I was constantly running uphill and against the wind.  I kept hoping for that same wind to eventually PUSH me but that never happened.  Thankfully, I saw a few friendly faces spectating who helped me out a lot.  My friend Adella even made a “Go Amanda” sign.  Thanks, girlie!  And she managed to capture this amazing photo of me looking angry and as if I might hurt someone like a graceful gazelle.  Smile

Veterans_me & adella  Veterans_me running 

I finished in 2:03 and was super thankful that I hadn’t signed up for the full version because I don’t think I had it in me.  Despite the wind and my lack of energy, It was a great race.  Very well supported with plenty of aid stations handing out gels, water & Gatorade.  Loved the hospitality that the race officials, volunteers and local law enforcement showed to all the runners.  It took so many people to put this race together and they did an amazing job.  I’d definitely consider giving it another go in the future.  It’s a small race but I was never alone.  The full marathon had 206 finishers in the double loop course and the half marathon had 257 finishers.  They also offered a 5K which brought another 168 runners to the event. 

Love good swag?  Check out this cool full zip, unisex jacket.


I already tested it out on SUN for hill repeats with Aby.  After struggling up a few hills on Saturday at Veterans, I’ve decided that I REALLY need to work on my hills.  So Aby went with me to show me how it was done.  How does she fly up and down the hills so fast? 

Hill Running_aby_Nov 2013   Hill Running2_Nov 2013   Hill Running_Nov 2013 

We managed 10 hill repeats, each up/down was approximately 0.25 miles.  Fun.  Okay, not really.  Even Aby was begging to stop after #3 but who gets better after 3 repeats?  LOL!


I hope you had an awesome weekend. 

** Run With The Wind ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Sunburst Races – Half Marathon (2013)

On Friday I realized that I wanted to run the Sunburst Half Marathon on Saturday morning.  I wasn’t registered.  I didn’t have a sitter.  However, I was heading to my parents for the weekend so had family to help.  I jokingly called this my “super secret race”,  facebooking and tweeting the same.  However, it had been on my radar for months, I just hadn’t registered.  On Friday, the kids and I swooped into South Bend, IN just in time to register before the 8pm close of packet pickup/registration.  Here I am after registering for my “secret” race.


I’ve ran Sunburst before so I knew that registration and packet pick up would take about 2 seconds.  I also knew there wouldn’t be an “expo” to distract us from getting in and out of town quickly.  I also knew that it would be easy to convince the kids to make the stop because the South Bend Chocolate Company has a café downtown with amazing ice cream.   I could probably get my kids to run to the moon and back for ice cream.  No joke.  I use this to my advantage all the time.  Sometimes daily.  It’s an amazing tool for manipulation motivation.  So in 20 minutes I was registered,  received a cool women’s size tech shirt which actually fit me, and the kids had ice cream to go.  BAM!  Back in the car to finish the trip to Grammie’s!

shirt   choc co

Race day for Sunburst starts at 6am with the full marathon, followed by the 5K run at 7:15am, the half at 7:30am, the 10K at 7:45am and a 5K Fitness Walk at 9am.  Something for the entire family.  Seriously.  Try something!  Last time I ran (2011), I wanted to be sure to get into town before the marathoners started for fear of road closures & parking issues.  Not necessary.  South Bend is a small town.  Hospitable.  Loads of FREE parking.  No stress.  This time, I rolled into town easily at 6:45 for the 7:30 am start of the half.  The biggest snafu, if I can even call it one was waiting in line for the inside bathrooms at the Football Hall of Fame.  Took about 10 minutes. Of course, AFTER the race I did see a row of port-o-potties outside the venue but I failed to notice those pre-race.  No big deal.  There is nothing to do pre-race anyhow and parking is only a couple of blocks from the start.  I even went back to my car to grab some extra anti-chafe when I realized it might not pour rain on us the entire event like I had previously thought.  I did spot a few friends pre-race but was so focused on retrieving my anti-chafe that I failed to grab a photo.  Major fail in my opinion but I decided to steal their photo off Facebook and Photoshop myself in …… oh wait, I can’t Photoshop!  So here is Courtney & Kris getting ready to rock out their second half TOGETHER!  Loved seeing these ladies on the course!!

Court & Kris

The start came fast and was flawless.  On time.  It looked like rain but it wasn’t raining.  It was 70ish with 88% humidity at the start.  A little sticky for me.


I started slow.  I remembered the course so knew I had some hills to run and a lot of residential neighborhood’s to face, plus twists, turns, ups & downs.  As random as this course seems while running it, I like it.  What I like is that it’s shaded in A LOT of spots!  Plus we get a few miles along the river which is refreshing.


When I ran in 2011, they had to shut the race down due to heat.  I personally was able to finish before the red flag but  I remember it being so hot that I ran 5-6 miles, then had to start run/walking for self preservation.  It was hot as heck but I remember the shady areas, the kind volunteers and the residents who brought their sprinklers and water hoses to the streets to help keep us cool.  My memories did not disappoint me, it was just as nice this time around and I enjoyed the race despite the warm temps and humidity. 

I was smarter this year and started dumping water on myself at the first aid station.  Although the sun wasn’t out yet, I was warm.  I just kept steady and focused on running.  The sun then came out around the half way point (yikes!!).    To be honest, I’m not in good enough shape to run fast but I did well enough until the last 3ish miles.  I didn’t feel bad during those miles but had plugged into my iPod in the 9th mile and I totally fell off pace.  Like by 2 minutes per mile.  I have to be the ONLY person in the world who can’t run with music.  I just can’t focus.  I must have been dancing down the streets instead of running because I was totally surprised that I wasn’t going to be even close to the 2 hour mark.  LOL!  Lesson learned, leave the earbuds at home!  I did finish just a few seconds under 2:05 and I’m actually happy with that.  I didn’t push.  I didn’t stress. I just kept moving.  As a side note, this was exactly one year after I tore the tendon in my right foot.  The entire race was a bit of a celebration for me.  I wanted to be there.  I wanted to run.  I wanted to celebrate how hard we (Dr Alexis & I) had worked for the last year to get my foot back in the game.  And I had no pain.  Win!     

I ran to the finish in the Notre Dame stadium just ahead of my friends who started the FULL Marathon 1.5 hours before me!  LOL!  So I got to celebrate with them for a few minutes before I hopped the bus back to the start area.  I saw some F’N Runners too!  First Mary.  Then Keith.  Then Nicole F & company!

Me&Mary Me&Keith

Me, Nicole F, Carol K, Heather Z & Suzanne S


These ladies in the photo above (and Keith too!) are EVERYWHERE.  I’m pretty sure if I ran in Alaska, they’d be standing at the finish with me.  LOVE THAT!  Thanks for always making me feel like I have a friend in town, even if I travel to the event solo!

The Sunburst Races are nice.  Many who race Sunburst live and die for the finish on the Notre Dame Football field.  It’s cool but not being a football fan, I’d be happy to finish anywhere, just let me stop running NOW!!!  The events are very organized.  Lots of aid stations.  Lots of port-o-potties.  Lots of friendly volunteers.  I saw GU on the half course one time.  I saw wet sponges one time.  Small event (490 finishers for the full, 1377 for the half, 1162 for the 10K, & 3271 for the 5K).  Great support from the town.  I never felt unwelcome or had issues with cars being angry about waiting for us to pass.  However, there are lots of twists and turns in the course, a few not so nice hills and I’ve heard the full is rough.  To be honest, I haven’t heard any good things about the full course and lots of negativity.  I haven’t ran the full so I will reserve judgment but do know that if you pick a small town marathon with low registration numbers that it’s going to be hard.  Very hard.  You’ll be running a lot of solo miles and you’ll need to dig deep to pull out a finish.  I know that’s easier for some than others, which is why I like the distraction of big races for that distance, but I wanted to point it out.  Be prepared if you want to try the full.

Great race!  See you in South Bend next year!!!

** Run South Bend  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **