Women Rock Chicago Half Marathon

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Today was the inaugural Women Rock Chicago race series presented by Team Ortho.  The series offered a half marathon, 10K and 5K so basically you and ALL your girlfriends could go and enjoy one of the distances.  The event had a fun theme and provided  AHHHHMAZING swag so that drew in a lot of ladies for the inaugural event!  Since I ran specifically for the swag, I’ll just put that up now and get it out of the way.  Women Rock Tech full zip jacket, sliver finishers pendant with a small ruby & large “W” (valued at $110), and a champagne glass.

Womens Rock Chicago_SWAG   Womens Rock Chicago_necklace

The race was a women’s themed event so my girlfriends and I used that as an excuse to dust off our sparkle skirts!!  Michelle, Nicki, Dawn, April & I showing off our “sparkle”.  🙂

Womens Rock Chicago_group

The half marathoner started at 8am with the 10K and 5K participants following at 8:30 am.  The course was the typical Chicago Lakefront Trail run so I fully anticipated it to be 1) crowded, 2)  slow and 3) have lots of newbie runners that are “all in” for theme more so than the running.  I was not disappointed.  I was not running for time, in fact needed to keep myself in check and run a controlled, focused race that didn’t push my endurance or stir up too much lactic acid so that I can run our F’N 20 miler tomorrow with my run club.  I managed to do that and to be honest the crowds helped.  I did find myself in the outside lane all most of the time passing a lot of other runners but when I looked at my watch, I was in a comfortable range, felt good and was definitely controlled so just kept moving forward and passing.  In fact, I kinda chuckled once the half marathoners ran up on the back of the 10K participants.  I knew they had joined us and that did in fact add to the congestion but they were staying to the right so I just kept moving past them.  I passed a couple ladies and one said to the other, “Wow, they are running fast!”.  Her friend said, “Yes, THEY are running the half”.  Made me chuckle cuz the runners I know have a much faster 10K than half marathon pace.  However, the new people on the trail were refreshing and I enjoyed interacting with them and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED seeing all the sparkle skirts, tutus & my F’N run club friends who came out to run!!

The aid stations were plentiful, every 2-3 miles.  They offered water and a blue electrolyte drink.  As much as I like blue ANYTHING, I passed due to my sensitive tummy.  Lots of potties too.  Volunteers were plentiful but some of the aid stations were short.  I had to backtrack one time to get water.

Typical Lakefront Trail view.  Beautiful.  Some shade and a breeze once we headed back north.    A course that was a bit of a maze for the half marathoners:   One sidewalk loop around Grant Park to get onto the Lakefront Trail heading north, turnaround at the Riverwalk (just south of Navy Pier), run south to 31st Street Harbor, then back north to the Riverwalk, then return to Grant Park to run the sidewalk loop again to the finish.  No my favorite course by far.  A bit of confusion at the end once we hit Grant Park, especially toward the end when the crowds thinned out for the half.  However, overall it was a decent race. 

Bottom line, I’m a ROAD RUNNER for a reason.  I prefer a fast street route where we bust thru the CHI like the pros.  Most of the themed races are designed for the masses, not for running fast.  I wouldn’t run this race if my objective was to run fast (between the race participants, the bikers, the normal runners, dog walkers and rollerbladers it was VERY busy).  This is a race designed for FUN so just enjoy it!

Best part, hanging with my friends at the finish!

Womens Rock Chicago_me & nicki_champagne  Womens Rock Chicago_champagne

** Women Rock ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Charity Raffle for RMHC

This week starts the kickoff of the Chicago Marathon training season!  Everyone is excited.  Everyone is ready.  Everyone is planning ahead to make the 2013 race the best one yet.  Those of us who have chosen to run for charity are also strategizing as to how to make our fundraising campaign as successful as possible for our charities.  My charity is the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Yes, we still have entries available on our team if you didn’t get one of those coveted lottery spots!!    Go here to become a 2013 team member for RMHC.

RMHC logo

I have chosen to run for RMHC for many reasons but most importantly because I want to help the kids and families not only of Chicago and the US but around the world.  The RMHC mission speaks to me by helping out the kids and families of injured, disabled & terminally ill children stay together.  They focus on normalcy and helping the family to feel connected, offering creature comforts, fun and a home base that is less like a hospital and more like a home.  They provide a place to stay, meals and support these families regardless of their financial status.  They focus on keeping families together during times of crisis.   That I like.  That I support.  That is something I would want for my family.

So without further ado, I’ll start introducing the raffle prizes.  I am still collecting raffle items so email me if you would like to donate something!   Currently we have just under 30 items with prizes ranging from $6 up to $189.  I’ve been hoarding saving and stashing things away for this all year, so I hope that we can really put some $$ away for RMHC.  My goal is to raise $5000 this week.  You will receive 1 entry into the raffle for every $10 donated to RMHC via my fundraising page HERE.  If you see a prize that you REALLY want, then please make a comment below and if your name is drawn then I will do my best to accommodate your request.

PRIZES

1)  Pro Compression Marathon Socks – $50 Value.  Your choice of color & size.  These are my go to socks for compression.  They are long enough for my long legs and come in a variety of colors and sizes.pro compression_gree socks_me

2)  Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – $65 value.  Your choice of color & size in the Gen2 style.  These are the only compression shorts I wear.  I love them.  I like both generations for various reasons but the hot pink Gen2 shorts really makes a statement as they are working at keep me together. 

Aspaers_gen2

3)  Tough Chik $25 Gift Card – You get to chose what you want from the Tough Chik store!  Lots of amazing things from cycling, running, TRI gear to casual tees.  My new favorite, which just dropped yesterday, is the “Tougher Than I Look Tank” which is priced at $28.  However, YOU can pick anything you like with this gift card!

TOUGHER_TANK

4)  Venus de Miles Illinois FREE ride entry + Tee (medium) + Water bottle – $189 value.  Join myself, the other Venus de Miles Ambassadors and ladies from all over the tri-state area as we cruise Lake Forest in style on July 28th.  This ride offers a 25 & 61 mile option.  It’s totally free for YOU and the mandatory fundraising requirement will be waived.  The ride includes fully stocked rest stops every 12-15 miles, on course support, breakfast  & activities pre-ride, and a big ladies style bash after the event.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this event.  Check out the website or read more about the 2013 event HERE or my 2012 experience HERE

image   venus de miles tee

5)  Bastille Day 5K/8K FREE entry – $37-$42 value.  Run one of the best races in town on Thursday, July 11th for free!  This race claims to be “Bringin’ Happy Hour Back” so I have massive expectations for fun, Fun, FUN!  The race is in Lincoln Park offering a 5K or 8K option followed by a block party.  Join me to celebrates the French Independence Day and we will show Lincoln Park what HAPPY HOUR is all about!  Whoooooooop!!

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6)  Women Rock Chicago Calendar & Headband (x2) –  Value is “priceless”.   I scored two MEN of Women Rock Chicago calendars which have been signed by Mr. April & Mr. July!  You are welcome!!!  These calendars are filled with fun and hot men.  Each calendar comes with a Women Rock Chicago headband.  Two winners here, try not to fight but I know you want these!!

women rock chicago calendars              women rock chicago calendars2

7)  AdvoCare prize pack – $32 Value.  One AdvoCare blender bottle, 3 packets of Spark (mango strawberry), 3 packets of Post Workout Recovery Drink (chocolate), 3 pouches of Rehydrate Gel (lemon), & 3 packets of Rehydrate drink (mango pineapple).  AdvoCare is my go to for nutrition and sports performance products.  I don’t shop around.  This is what I trust.  This is what I use.  These products are safe, tested, legal, plus focus on giving us what we need for our bodies without all the “extra” additives and sugar.

advocare prize pack

8)  Punkeelove Headbands (3 bands – 1 winner) – $44 Value.  I love sparkly headbands that DO NOT slip.  These are the only ones that I buy.  I’ve tumbled and rolled down the lakefront path (no joke!) and these stay in my hair.  They don’t flip off the back of my head while I run either cuz who wants to pay big $$ for a cute sparkly headband then lose it in a race on the first wear.  Not me.  This prize pack includes a purple, black &  pink band.  What more could a girl possibly need?  Oh and they are adjustable so you can share them with the little divas at home too!

punkeelove_3

9)  Mission Athletecare prize pack – $17 value.  I am including two of my favorite Mission Athletecare products.  They are my go to for sunscreen, anti-chafe, lip balm, muscle care & foot cream.  I really like this stuff.  CVS carries some products and then I get the rest online.  This prize pack includes an Anti-Chafe stick & a 50 SPF Kids Continuous Play Sunscreen.  I use the kid sunscreen all the time so this is what I had in the cabinet and this is what’s in my purse right now.

mission athletecare_2

10)  Road Runners Sports 2 Bottle Belt (size medium) – $29.99 value.  This is my favorite water belt.  It doesn’t move.  It holds 14 oz of water at one time, plus has  small pouch for keys, phone, or gels.  Fuel Belt branded bottles. Road Runner Sports designed belt. 

road runner sports_water belt

11)  Team Tough Chik visor – $18 value but you can’t get it unless your ON THE TEAM and I probably won’t let you win it unless you are on the team or promise to sign up next year!!  This is a Headsweats brand visor with a velcro adjustment strap.

team tough chik_visor

12)  Flip Belt – Black (size large) – $24.99 value.  It’s been soooo hard for me to save this and not use it.  I have a yellow and pink one that I wear constantly.  I run in them, race in them and sometimes wear one if I’m out with the kids and don’t have pockets.  Great belt that fits a ton of stuff but doesn’t bounce or move around. 

flipbelt_black

13)  CytoSport prize pack – Muscle Milk Light (Cytosport product) is a headlining sponsor of the Zooma Women’s Series.  I have a prize pack from our sponsor which includes several of their Muscle Milk & CytoMax products.  Prize pack includes:  2 Muscle Milk snack bars, 1 Muscle Milk Light (chocolate) ready to drink, 1 Muscle Milk Light (peach) ready to drink, 1 CytoMax ready to drink, 5 CytoMax mix packages, 2 packages of CytoMax Energy Drops & 1 CytoMax water bottle. 

muscle milk prize pack

14)  Tough Chik Boston Tough Boston Strong performance wicking tee by Alo (x2 – both size medium) – $22 value each.  Get one of these tees while they are HOT!  They sold out immediately on the first printing.  They run small so these mediums fit like a small.  Two winners here.  Each winner will get a tee & a Tough Chik sticker!

Tough Chik_Boston Strong

15)  Lock Laces – $7.99 value.  Yellow lock laces.  Great for running, triathlon or little ones who can’t keep their shoes tied!

lock laces_yello

16)  BioFreeze prize pack – $31.50 value.  Number one topical pain reliever for athletes!!  This prize pack includes a full size pain relieving gel and a full size can of 360 spray

biofreeze

17)  Handana – $18 value.  The Handana is all the rage!  Used by runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts everywhere, this is your answer to gracefully wiping away snot & sweat during a workout.  It may seem a little “out there” but it’s a practical solution to a problem that we all share.  Second photo from the Amazon website.

handana  handana2

18)  Team Tough Chik sponsor prize pack (x3 – three winners).  One of the benefits of being on Team Tough Chik is the backing of our amazing group of sponsors.  We aren’t just paying for cool clothes & access to an amazing network of women but also cool prizes and discounts from our sponsors.  A few of our sponsors are in this prize pack below:  Nuun – 1 full size tube of fruit punch nuun & 1 nuun water bottle, Cliff Bars – 1 Cliff Bar & 1 Cliff Builder bar, BodyGlide – 1 “For Her” product, Reflect Sports H2O swim shampoo sample & a John Wayne Cancer Foundation 30 spf sunscreen sample.

team tough chik_sponsor pack  team tough chik_sponsor pack2

19)  ibungee Speed Laces – $6 value (x2 – two winners).  Neon Green & Yellow.  The ibungee speed lace system claims to be the #1 seller for speed laces.  They are great for running, triathlon & the little ones in your family.  Installation is easy, just make sure you get them long enough!  There are 38” laces so long enough to cut to your specific needs.  Two winners here.

ibungee 

20)  Adidas Sport Headbands – 5 headbands (black, pink & white) – $9.99 value.   I haven’t tried these yet, a friend gave them on to me because she knew that I liked headbands but since I was collecting for this, I just tossed them in the pot.  They look cute!!

adidas headbands

21)  GU prize pack –  14 GU gels, $24 value.  GU is undeniably the most popular “on the go” fueling option.  We have 11 regular gels:  2 TRI Berry, 3 Strawberry Banana, 1 Mandarin Orange, 2 Espresso Love, & 3 Peanut Butter.   Then the prize pack is topped off with 3 of the coveted Roctane Gels in the Chocolate Raspberry flavor.  You’re workout will definitely get a boost with these!

Gu prize pack

Wow!  That’s it!  If we don’t get any other prizes, then I will draw 26 winners next week on Thursday, June 13th at 9am via a random number generator.  This is one instance where you can win more than one prize.  Please share this with your friends, blog readers, run club members & anyone who might be interested.  The idea behind this is to do the best we can for Ronald McDonald House Charities and in the process help as many families as possible.  My personal goal is to raise $5,000 thru this raffle and then not talk about it again.  Please help spread the word!  Each $10 donation (increment) to my fundraising page = 1 entry into the raffle.  No donation is too small, now go help me spread the word and GOOD LUCK

** Raising $$  For the Kids ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

2013 Shamrock Shuffle 8K

It wouldn’t be fair to title this a “race review” since I’m clearly in love with the race.  I do understand that it’s not for everyone; however, it is definitely a tradition for me!  I love everything from the family friendly expo to the fast paced race thru the streets of Chicago.  Add in the green sparkle skirts, green men, and the amazing atmosphere and it would be hard to keep me away. The Shamrock is really a weekend event for me, not just a race.  I have friends who come from out of town and locals who go with to the expo for a full day of downtown shopping.  The expo was good this year with lots of stuff for the kids:  a magician, balloons, noise makers, sunglasses, candy and snacks galore!  There were a few things for the parents too from great deals on gear/shoes to naked men models from the Women Rock Chicago calendars.  (L to R:  Me, Pam, Mr. April, Amy, Mr. July & Nicki)

Womens Rock Models

Aby even made a shoe painting with Nike Free’s!

Aby Shoe Painting   Aby Shoe Painting_finished

And we came home with lots of loot.

Expo Loot

Sunday was race day.  The expo & downtown walking/shopping, plus my marathon training took its toll and my legs were definitely tired.  I knew this.  What I didn’t know was how that, plus my lack of speed training, plus my extra 6 lbs would effect my race time.  I can honestly say that this is the first event in a long time where I toed the line having no idea what to expect.  So I ran by feel.  Can’t trust the GPS watches downtown anyhow because one minute they say your running a 3:50 pace (right, I wish!!!) and the next it reads a 16:50 pace.  Total confusion.  If you “need” your watch, then go with a foot pod. The course was particularly crowded this year, possibly because I was running slower.  I did lots of weaving around.  The course had a detour, due to a jumper on one of the bridges over the Chicago River, but the course change was imperceptible and seamless.  As always, the Shamrock organizers did a fantastic job of running us thru the city streets as fast as possible.  I loved every minute of it and although I never ran particularly fast, I felt good, had zero foot pain and just enjoyed the moment. Last year I run just under 39 minutes even with a bit of a wardrobe issue.  I should have been faster.  So yesterday, as I was entering the 3rd mile, I flipped over to my time view in an effort to get under 39 minutes again this year.  I didn’t make it.  I finished in 39:23, officially a 7:56 pace although my weaving gave me a lot more real estate than the normal 8K distance so my Garmin pace recorded a 7:35.  Does it matter?  NO!  However, I was unofficially shooting for a 7:30ish average and to be honest, the race felt a lot more controlled that last year so I’ll take it as a win.  Smile My official goal for the 2013 Shamrock was to have fun and get a photo with the green me.  Guess who I saw as soon as I crossed the finish?

Green Men & Me

Hell, yeah!  Mission accomplished!  Let’s go grab some of that free beer now!  Thanks ladies for hanging downtown with me and sharing those beer tickets!  I had a blast.  My fellow lushes Shufflers from L to R (back):  Meg, Dawn, Michelle, Nicki, & Kerry.  Front:  April & Me.

AfterParty

Apparently we looked like we were having an amazing time because fellow Shufflers were giving us their unused beer tickets as they were leaving the Green Men found us again and took another photo with us.

Green Men_group

And they gave us their card.  Find the Green “Guys” on Facebook and “like” them cuz I know you already LOVE  them.  Fun times!!!

Green Guys_card

Until next year, keep on Shuffling! ** ShamROCK Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Other Shamrock Shuffle posts & photos hosted by the MagMileRunner blog hop:

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