Happy Thanksgiving & Let’s #OptOutside for Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey, all!  The holidays are a wonderful time of year, full of traditions.  Some of us start our day with a local Turkey Trot while others are already warming the kitchen with the smell of homemade pumpkin pie.  I want to wish each and every one of you a joyous Thanksgiving!  I’ll be thinking of you all and hoping that you are surrounded by friends, family and someone who loves you!


The holidays are full of tradition.  When I lived in IL, I would always host a Black Friday run at Waterfall Glen.  There wasn’t a hashtag for #OptOutside.  There wasn’t a big corporation behind the movement to get people outside.  Nobody was talking about health, wellness, fitness, friends or family on Black Friday.  No, they gave their thanks on Thursday and moved on to retail madness on Black Friday.   Some big retail chains are saying NO this year.  REI in particular started the push to #OptOutside for Black Friday by giving all of their employees the day off with pay.  Many other retailers has followed suit.  I encourage all of you to #OptOutside for Black Friday.  Let’s wait for Cyber Monday to get all those amazing deals for our little angels, from the comfort of our home, where we can shop in our PJs.  That’s what I’ll be doing. 

If you need a place to go on Black Friday to #OptOutside, I’ll be leading a group run at Pokagon State Park, in Angola, IN.  Details HERE.  If you don’t want to follow me, then you can follow Lilo.  She promises an AMAAHHHZING trail run!  Or if you aren’t close to us, then REI has a link HERE to find a place to #OptOutside.


** Let’s Hit The Trails With Lilo & #OptOutside on Black Friday ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Route 66 Marathon Race Review & Where NOT to Stay in Tulsa

The Route 66 Marathon is in the done column & so is the great state of Oklahoma!  This was my 25th marathon and the 15th state in my quest to run a marathon in every state.  In order to be totally honest, when Judy talked us into Rt 66 we signed up, I didn’t exactly know where Tulsa, OK was on the map.  So I think I asked a few questions before pulling the registration lever:  1)  Can we drive there?  2)  It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, can Julie get time off from her retail J.O.B.?  3)  Is anyone else running?   Turns out EVERYONE was running, so it was a done deal.  We went to Tulsa, Oklahoma with 2000 other Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics & 50 States Club members.  I’m in the back.  Don’t worry, I can’t see me either.  Smile


Tulsa was a 12 hour drive from Auburn, IN.  Takes longer when you have car trouble and have to stop every 2 seconds to turn off the car to reset the code and/or try to find a dealership with an open service department, in God’s Country, on a weekend.  Yeah, that happened but we finally rolled into Tulsa early Saturday afternoon.  Tulsa is in the north east corner of the Panhandle State.  Hello, Oklahoma!


I was scheduled to be part of a Blogger Forum at the expo Saturday afternoon.  We made it in time for that and I got to meet some other bloggers and hear some great stories about running, blogging and life.  From left to right:  Esther, Jim, Joules, Angela & me.

Blogger Expo

The expo was a decent size but packet pick up was crowded and the computers went down causing long lines and some crabby runners.  Sad smile  Fortunately, we were in and out of the expo pretty quickly. 


We hit some key booths:  Garmin & Gypsy Runner (cuz Amy runs a lot of the same races that we do, so we are totally BFFs, right?), then on to the hotel and dinner.

Normally, I try to keep things positive and upbeat but from runner to runner, I feel the need to share.  If you are planning to run this race next year, I’ll tell you where NOT to stay.  The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tulsa WEST – Sand Springs, 101 West Marrow Road, Sand Springs, OK.  Although we had called BEFORE we booked a reservation and were guaranteed late checkout, the manager did not honor that request when we checked in on race weekend.  And she was rude.  We were told to get our stuff out of the room on race morning, then come back after the marathon and she would check to see if they had a DIRTY room they had not yet cleaned.  IF she could find a dirty room, then maybe she would let us shower there.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I don’t want to shower in a dirty room where I don’t even know the former occupants.  This was a very unpleasant experience and now I’ve removed the Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express from my list of acceptable hotels.  I run a lot of races.  I travel for running, work and leisure and I have to admit that most places we stay are very accommodating.  Nobody has ever rudely sent me on my way, without a shower, for a 12+ hour drive, after running for 4-5 hours.  And hopefully this will never happen again.  We had multiple friends who had a great experience at the Double Tree, 616 W. Seventh Street, Tulsa, OK.  Do yourself a favor and stay there instead.  

Onto the race itself.  Very cold morning.  Race start and finish were in two separate locations but there were shuttles between those spots.  Win!!  We were underdressed and froze our bums off awaiting the race start.  But once the race started it was worth the wait.  There were starting corrals with very strict watchers making sure everyone was in their correct place.  5 minutes between corral starts.  Each corral was sent off in a flurry of confetti. 


As always the first 3-4+ miles were super crowded, although for once, I didn’t have to run around a lot of walkers who started ahead of me.  But the streets were narrow and I wouldn’t so much see the hills we were running but rather feel the momentum going up or down.  It was a strange feeling but a cool one.  The course was beautiful and a perfect highlight reel of Tulsa:  Cascia Hall, Woodward Park, Rt 66 Pedestrian Bridge, University of Tulsa & amazing neighborhoods that were both pet & kid friendly.  It looked like an awesome place to live with so many houses showcasing lots of unique character.

Rt 66 Bridge

Bands.  Lots of bands.  The Rock N Roll series has NOTHING on The Rt 66 Marathon.  Nothing.  I heard more live music in this race than I’ve heard in all of my combined races this year.  Everything from Folk to Gospel to Rock to Bongo drums (we saw that guy 5x, he was committed to us in a HUGE way).  Great show, Tulsa, really great. 

Community support!  Wow.  Marathons take a long time.  This one took me personally FOREVER to run.  The community was out in full force, even in the chilly temps, with kids, dogs, food, drinks, jello shots, mimosas, beer shots, and even offering therapeutic rollers for those of us who had gotten a “little” stiff from the hills.

Hills?  Did I say hills?  Yes.  Lots of hills.  More than I had expected and I didn’t fare very well on them either.  Without going into all the bloody gory details, I fell last week while running and managed to mess myself up pretty good.  Well, I didn’t really know how messed up I was til I started hitting those hills.  Apparently I did more than bloody myself in the fall.  My hips are WAY out of line now and I stretched some of the muscles around my right hip and left knee.  So I was a hurting momma in Tulsa on Sunday and to be honest, had it not been for my BRF, Julie, I would have quit.  I almost quit anyhow.  But she “carried” me thru and stayed with me even though she could have ran so much faster. 

So, did we take the detour?  Heck yeah!.  The Rt 66 Marathon offers a Center of the Universe detour.  It adds 0.3 miles to your marathon and you get a cool looking coin for taking the challenge.  DONE!


And we finished.  Cool medal.  Cool after party.  The Marathon Maniacs had their own special Maniac Corner where we traded in our medals for special Marathon Maniac medals.  Super cool.  This really is a must do marathon if you are a Maniac.  It’s a GREAT race with lots of support from the race volunteers, the local law enforcement and the community.  And THAT’s what makes for a  great marathon.  Julie, Judy & Me in Maniac Corner cuz we are definitely some sort of maniacs. 

IMG_8921 IMG_8919 IMG_8924

Thumbs up for Tulsa & the Route 66 Marathon!

** Rock the Route at Rt 66** Amanda – TooTallFritz

How to Stay Motivated Thru The Winter

I can already see it.  It’s happening to my group runners at the YMCA of DeKalb County and it’s happening to some of my friends.  The Winter Blues are moving in and the snow has yet to fly in NE Indiana. 


I know that the time change put a real damper on things.  It seems like it’s dark ALL THE TIME now.  But that doesn’t mean that we give up until spring.   As always, let’s focus and make a plan to combat those winter blues!!  First, consider trying a new fitness activity or class.  Use the winter months to get stronger, leaner and even more amazing.  Make this winter YOUR B*TCH. 

summer bodies

I’m taking #1 to heart this year!  I’ll be starting a CrossFit Endurance class on December 1st.  Tuesday & Thursdays @ 5:30am.  Feel free to join me if you are local and want to make 2016 your best year to date!  I’m going to get strong AND stay ahead of those winter blues!!!

  • CrossFit Tactical Strength
  • 513 Incentive Drive, Ft Wayne, IN 46825 
  • (260) 310-5360 

CF Tactical Strength 

Second, I think it’s important to not only do some different activities during the winter months but reconnect with what you really love.  For me, running is my game.  I love it.  But pounding the pavement gets BORING.  So I really try to mix it up in the fall and winter months.  The way I do that is by hitting the trails.  I leave my music at home.  Grab my 4 legged running partner and we run.  If I get tired, we walk.  If a hill is too steep we walk.  I don’t have a mileage goal, we just run and enjoy the amazing environment.  Bonus:  the trees provide a wind break on those blustery days!  Secret:  Running in the fresh fallen snow is invigorating and gives a sense of peace.

snowy trails

Third, don’t go too long without a real plan.  I know you just killed your fall races.  Nailed some amazing goals, maybe even got the big BQ.  Bask in the glory!  Take some time off!  Put your feet up in the recliner and cuddle the little ones.  And then figure out what’s next so that you have a definitive point to get back to work.  I find that putting a spring marathon on my calendar keeps me honest thru the winter months.  I can be lazy like anyone but sometimes I need a reason to get my butt out in the cold to move my body.   My 2016 Spring Marathon will be the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.  May 1st, 2016.  Far enough ahead that I get some down time.  Close enough that I don’t get lazy. 

flying pig

Think about how you want your winter to look this year.  Think about what strides you would like to make while others are spending time in hibernation.  Think about the goals you have on board for 2016 and how you can get one step closer by focusing on improving yourself in the off season! 

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ll talk more about CrossFit Endurance and how to train for the Flying Pig Marathon DURING THE WINTER.  For now, I’m pretty focused on the Route 66 Marathon this weekend and the fact that I’m speaking on the blogger panel Saturday at 3pm, Expo Stage.  If you are at Rt 66 this weekend, find me and tell me how you plan to make this winter YOUR B*TCH. 

** Stay Motivated THIS Winter ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Marathon Recovery

Marathon recovery is different for everyone but I do suggest allowing the body ample recovery time.  Regardless of whether you had a good or bad race, the itch to run is a powerful one.  I know you want to get back out there and hit the trail.  Is that wise?  Well, let’s think about that for a minute. 

think about it

Was this marathon was an “A” race?  If a person ran hard to meet a goal, regardless of whether the goal was accomplished or not, then that person needs more rest than others.  Effort, both perceived and actual, exhausts the body and mind requiring more time for recovery.  So, did you run hard?  If the answer is yes, then you need a good recovery plan with lots of focus on nutrition, protein intake, rehabbing the muscles thru rolling, icing, stretching, chiropractic and/or massage therapy.  Take care of the body that takes care of you!! 

Take Care of Your Body

People who “race” marathons need WAY more recovery time than those of us who run but never really leave our comfort zone.  I’m frequently asked how I run so many marathons a year.  Well, I never used to run a lot of marathons.  I used to only run one per year.  But I ran harder!  Way harder.  And I was tore up afterwards for a much longer period.  Over the years, my body has adjusted to the mileage demands but in return, I never really ask it to push itself.  I run slow and try to be steady.  If there is a nasty hill, I walk up that hill.  I keep things pretty chill.  For me, the ability to keep running is way more important than my finish time.  It took me years to learn that.  While it’s not a philosophy that would make everyone happy, it works for me.  Running is one of the few things that gives me peace.  It quiets my mind and soul.  I don’t have to think or I get to think about whatever I like.  So its important to me to stay healthy and keep moving.  Now how do we keep you moving forward?  Proper recovery!

  • Take in Protein, Carbs & Water immediately after the marathon.  This serves a couple purposes in bringing the glycogen levels back up (since you depleted them!) and getting the recovery process started! The optimal carb to protein ratio for recovery is 3:1 or 4:1 depending on who you ask.  We need between 10-20 grams of protein for proper recovery, so that means we need 40-60g of carbs.  Too difficult to do the math?  Plan ahead so you don’t have to think.  Stash your recovery food/drink in your check bag.  If they hand out chocolate milk at the finish line, your golden, drink it.  I use the AdvoCare Post Workout Recovery drink so I don’t have to do the math.  Start refueling as soon as you get across the finish line, it can make a difference on how you feel not only for the rest of the day but also for the rest of the week!  Don’t let a nauseous tummy stop you from eating.  Food is what you need to start feeling better. 
  • Rehydrate.  This is so obvious but I’d be negligent if I didn’t stress its importance.  I normally chug a bottle of water as soon as I cross the finish line.  I get the water down and my recovery drink ASAP.   Less to carry.  Puts me on the recovery fast track.
  • Stretch or Roll as soon as you can.  I keep “The Stick” in my car or hotel room.  If I forget it, I borrow one.  It’s important.  The act of rolling increases the blood flow to achy muscles, tendons & ligaments.  The faster the blood gets moving, the faster the recovery process.  The blood starts working to heal those microscopic muscle tears that cause soreness.
  • Compress.  Thought compression was a joke or a object of commercialism to steal more of our hard earned $$?  It’s not.  Compression works.  If you are in a bad way, compress the entire lower body with compression tights or a compression shorts & compression socks combo. Compression does the same thing the rolling does, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the rolling.  Compression keeps the blood flowing even when you are sitting or driving home.  Compress today, feel good tomorrow. 
  • Ice.  I know you hate those dang ice baths but it’s the quickest way to handle swelling in the lower extremities.  You can knock out icing the hips, quads, hamstrings, knees, calves, ankles & feet ….. all at once.  Looks like a better deal now, right?  Sit in the empty tub, start filling with cold water, add ice once water is above hips.  Sit for 15 minutes.  Yeah, it sucks but it’s work it.
  • Stay on top of food/hydration throughout the week.  You’ll be hungry.  Eat.  Lean proteins, good carbs, fruits/veggies and drink lots of water to flush the lactic acid out of your mucles.  Try not to eat all the Halloween Candy.  But if you do, refocus the next day and start again.  I keep a high quality protein drink handy at all times.  Once again, I’m an AdvoCare user/distributor so I use AdvoCare Muscle Gain.  I also have an ace up my sleeve and use the AdvoCare Nighttime Recovery on days leading up to/away from the marathon when my legs are heavy/sore.  I’m sure there are other great products on the market, feel free to use what you like, this is what has worked for me over the last 9 years.  I mention it so that you know to look for something extra when you are struggling with recovery.  I have it down to a science at this point.  Find what works for you.
  • Light activity for the week (or more) following the race.  I avoid running for 3-4 days.  Then I just go slow and get the blood flowing.  I practice yoga, stretch, swim and cycle when I don’t run.  I never stop moving but I can’t run every day like some people, so I need to switch it up.  This will also prevent burnout from intense training plans by doing non-running things post marathon. 
  • Rest.  Sleep.  Go out for dinner & drinks with hubby.  Enjoy some free time, not related to “the run”.

What has worked best for you for fast recovery?  Tell us!  Everyone is different and we need as many tips as possible! 

** Speedy Recovery Wishes ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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!!


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! 


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!!!


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.


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

 IMG_8695   FullSizeRender

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.


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.


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. 

IMG_8520     IMG_8694

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

Ghosts And Ghouls Spooktacular 5K –Auburn, IN

Anyone want to run a 5K?  If you are a marathoner, I think I just heard you groan.  If you are a marathoner who gained 26#s last year, then you might be me I definitely heard you groan.  But alas, one of Aby’s class projects was to host this 5K.  She needed runners.  So I ran.  It was a great race.  Well organized.  Easy route that was well marked.  And I won the Women’s Master division with a time of 24:04 which snagged me a Kroger gift card and some free food from Arby’s.  Yay!!


The 5K was sandwiched between Trick or Treat hours for our local businesses and the residential Trick or Treating in Auburn, IN.  My fear was poor turnout due to holiday fun.  In fact, we struggled as a family and had to divide and conquer.  Hubby took the little man trick or treating.  I went to the 5K. 

The 5K was a project based learning assignment hosted by the DeKalb New Tech program.  The class was raising money for DCIC Ministries, Shelter Ministries, Salvation Army, and Warm A Heart.  All of these organizations are Christian nonprofit charities serving Auburn, IN and the surrounding communities in DeKalb County.   They offer various services and help our community in numerous ways by feeding, clothing, educating, providing medical vouchers and/or financial assistance to those in need.  The New Tech program was hoping to raise $2,500 to split between these organizations but due to timing and poor turnout, they only collected $735.  All items for the 5K were donated (bibs, water cups, water, prizes) so the registration fees were 100% profit.  They still need to raise $1,765 more to meet their projections.  If you would like to help with a small (or large) donation, please email:  JBitting@dekalbcentral.net.

I love these small 5Ks with a purpose.  They are focusing on their community by trying to get everyone moving while also trying to make a difference and help those in need.  Next year, I’ll try to be a more involved to help get the word out and get a bigger runner base.  But for now, I can only try to help boost the donations.  I know lots of people are looking for end of the year deductions.  No need to wait til December, give now and you can help these charities make a better Christmas for people who need assistance.

** Running For A Cause ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Sleep, The Missing Link In Your Recovery

Possibly one of the most important things you can do for your body other than eating right, is to get the proper amount of sleep.  I know, you are busy!  I know you are up and down all night with the kiddos (and pets).  But you have to sleep if you want your body to fight off all the nasty germs/illnesses and recover from your training plan.  It’s a must.


This is all I could think about last night as I was up and down a billion times with my dogs.  We had a rough one last night and every time I went up and down the stairs, my legs were screaming at me.  My left foot hurts and my legs are fatigued.  On a good note, next week I get to cut back on workouts to freshen up for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  On a bad note, I’m pretty crabby.

There is a great article by Jeff Kuhland on rest and recovery HERE, which outlines 7 “elements” for rest and recovery.  The #1 “essential element” is sleep.  See the excerpt from the article below:

Sleep is the most important time to recover. Adequate levels of sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. You need to get enough sleep, which is between seven to ten hours for most athletes. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup. 

  • Hours slept before twelve at night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.
  • Sleep in the most natural setting possible, with minimal to no artificial lights.
  • Wakeup with the sun if possible.
  • Fresh air and cooler temperatures help to improve the quality of sleep.

Seven to 10 hours of sleep per night.  Who is getting that?  And who is able to wait til the sun comes before they have to wake up?  Not me, or anyone else I know.  So what can we do about it?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go to bed earlier.  I’ve been going “upstairs” early.  Like between 7:45 & 8:30pm.  Some days it feels like a punishment.  Other days it’s a relief to get Mr. Michael settled early and have a bit of quiet in the house before sleepy time. 
  • Drink hot tea or take a hot shower before bed to relax. 
  • Use that crockpot & try to get dinner on the table earlier so that you aren’t cleaning up the dinner plates and rushing the little ones to bed at 8pm.  So hard for me.  I had everything cleaned up by 7 or 7:15p last night and it felt like a huge win. 
  • Read, write or do something for “you” directly before you turn out the lights.  Step away from the kiddos for a minute and just breathe.  Yoga, anyone?
  • Get that workout in before dinner so that your endorphins have time to dissipate before bedtime.  I’ve never been a fan of the evening workout but when I hit a workout after work, I keep it short & sweet with lower intensity. 
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.  Article HERE from the Cleveland Clinic on what happens when you drink alcohol before bed.  Think scary nightmares, sleep walking and frequent waking. 


  • No hydrating after dinner.  I have a huge issue with this and usually drink a glass of water after dinner.  That combined with my high water intake during the day leads to frequent potty breaks at night.  I need to be better about this.  My old weim wakes me up 2-3x a night to potty.  It’s super frustrating when I have to get up before her and then I have 3 dogs ready to go outside.  Yes, I have 3 dogs, which leads to the last thing.
  • We aren’t supposed to sleep with our pets.  If you have a dog, or two, or more in your bed at night, I don’t have to tell you why.  This graphic says it all.  My lovlies cause me a lot of unrest at night.  But I still love them and wouldn’t change a thing.

sleep with your dog

Do yourself and your body a favor and try to get some extra rest.  I know I can’t make up for sleep deprivation but sometimes on the weekend I like to lay down and rest for a bit mid day.  Makes me happier and allows me to stay up longer with the kiddos for fun things like movie night.  If you need me, I’ll be thinking about sleeping cuz I’m a little short on it for the week. 

Any other suggestions on sleeping, getting to sleep or staying asleep?  Let us know!

** Sleep to Recover ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Work In Progress …..

I wanted to touch base with all of you today and talk about a few things.  So many of my blogger friends, run friends & Facebook friends are just killing it right now.  I mean KILLING IT.  Running killer times.  Lifting heavy weights.  Qualifying for Boston.  Conquering new and horrific challenging distances. And I’m proud of them.  They worked hard and they deserve everything that comes to them and more.  But there is a whole group of us, myself included, who are also working hard but it doesn’t look quite as great on paper.  That’s because we are a Work In Progress.  And let’s be honest, some of us will forever and always be just that …… a Work In Progress.

Work In Progress

Social Media can be as great as it is horrible.  There is so much to motivate us and even more to tear us down.  Let’s build our network accordingly.  Keep the motivators, get rid of those who spew negativity toward us and others.  Focus on what we can control.  Identify our weaknesses.  Be positive.  Know that things don’t change over night.  Fitness, life, parenting and work can be hard and getting where we want to go can be a painfully slow process.

Slow Process

In real life, there are road blocks. U-Turns.  Detours.  And people who want to tear us down, possibly because they are miserable and too afraid to chase their own dreams.  They see us “going for it” and call us selfish, bad mothers, single-minded and/or obsessed.  Well, they are right, I am obsessed.  I’m obsessed with my own personal wellbeing.  Obsessed with wanting to be the best person I can be today, tomorrow and well into the future.  But I still have to take the detour like everyone else.  Life is hard.  It’s how we chose to react and handle what is thrown our way that defines us as people.

road block

Don’t let the fear stop you from chasing down what you want.    Don’t let the excuses build a wall around you.  Don’t let stress be an enabler.  Think for a minute.  What’s the plan?

  1. What can I control?  ANS (for me):  Only my actions and reactions.
  2. What is my weakness?  ANS:  I’m a stress eater and let my emotions enable binge eating.
  3. Be positive –   I always get in my workouts, even when everything else is falling apart.
  4. Know that things don’t change over night –  I’ll keep chipping away at fitness even when it seems like my goals are hopeless.  I’ve created mini goals to keep things focused and manageable.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve been in a period of constant change, chaos and struggle.  I look back at the “easy days” longingly and wish that just a fraction of the easiness would return to our lives.  I know that it will.  I have faith that better times are ahead but for now, I’m focusing on what I can control.  I’m doing pretty well with my food, except for the bags of mini health bars that hubby keeps bringing home for me.  Unfortunately, today I told him not to bring them home anymore because they are the TTF kryptonite.   Sad smile  More salads, fresh veggies, spaghetti squash dinners.  Less Heath Bar candy. 


More StairMaster and Strength Training, less mindless running.  I can barely move my 35# kettlebell at this point and that makes me sad. 


And most of all, no matter what, I refuse to give up.  Even if I never get back to where I “once was”, I’ll keep working toward new goals.  Pursing new things with dogged determination because I know that for me, fitness is about more than the size of my jeans and more about the state of my mind.

Workout for Me

I’m a Work In Progress and I’ll never give up ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Long Beach Marathon Race Review

Marathon #23.  State #14.  Long Beach Marathon. Long Beach, California. 


The Long Beach Marathon was expecting close to 20,000 participants and record high temps.  The story was all about the weather and staying safe.  Unfortunately, I have a bit of experience in the heat, in fact every marathon I’ve ran this year (6 to date) has had temps above 85 degrees at the finish.  But that doesn’t mean I like running in the heat and it doesn’t make it easier and I’m not getting used to it.  In fact, I may be getting a little grumpy.  But the views around Huntington, Seal & Long Beaches made the heat tolerable.

IMG_8381  IMG_8420

What Long Beach served up besides temps near or at 100 degrees was a beautiful location,  a large expo and nicely ran race with multiple distance options.  There was a Kids Mile, 5K, Half Marathon, 20 Mile Bike and the Marathon.  The expo was large with almost 90 vendors.    Packet pickup was smooth, easy & they even offered a shirt exchange option, if by chance you needed a different size shirt.

Race morning, the roads surrounding the race all closed at 5am.  There were a lot of parking areas, some of which could be pre-paid prior to race day.  Lots of potties and a stream of people heading toward the start.  The 20 Mile Bike, Wheelchairs & Marathoners were scheduled to start at 6am; however, due to the heat, race officials also gave the half marathoners the option to start at 6am (instead of 7:30a).  So we had an additional 10,000 people opt to start running at 6am.  This resulted in total chaos.  There were no start corrals.  Just bodies of people waiting to start running. 


We started running about 6:15am, along with everyone around us.  Without start corrals, runners were not ordered according to pace and we all know the walkers want to start as close to the front as possible.  So the first few miles were slow and we spent a lot of time weaving around other runners without trying to expend too much energy since we knew it was going to be a tough day.  I immediately felt warm.  Like too warm.  So I was very focused on not pushing and staying as comfortable as possible.  At every aid station, I made sure to drink Nuun (if offered), water and dump water on my head and body.  I knew I needed to keep my body as cool as possible in order to squeak out a finish.  The first 6 miles were good.  It was dark, the sun was coming up, we were protected from the sun.  Around mile 6, we ran around Rainbow Harbor and had an amazing view of the Queen Mary.


Then we ran past the aquarium & start area, and into the sun as we headed toward Alamitos Beach and a long straightaway with beach views and full sun.


Things were still good around Alamitos Beach but I could feel my body slowing.  Involuntarily.  We weren’t running fast but too fast for me and the dance with the sun.   Alamitos Beach turned to Junipero Beach, then we passed the Belmont Pier and the Belmont Pool which is famous for holding the 1968 and 1976 Olympic Trials and because it was used as a training pool for the 1984 Olympics in LA.  But things were still good.  We were still smiling.  We were still together.  Lara, Me & Julie.


After the Belmont area, we turned out onto Ocean Boulevard and away from the sun, said farewell to the Half Marathoners and headed east into the surrounding neighborhoods.  That’s pretty much when the fun ended.  Miles 10.5 to approximately 23.75 were thru neighborhoods, on busy roads.  The highlights were the Marine Stadium and California State University Long Beach.  The University campus offered up a few hills but also some much needed shade.  Coolest thing I saw in these rough miles was this fun pyramid building on the CSU campus, which we passed 2x.

California State Pyramid

The race was well staffed, had plenty of water & Nuun.  Three stations for Honey Stinger gels.  Two stations for ice.  Two stations with misting fans.  One beer station.  Lots of port-o-potties, which were clean.  Volunteers and police were very supportive.  Residents were supportive offering cold bottles of water, pretzels, donut holes and oranges from their own homes.  But I’m not going to lie, it was hot and my tummy was super upset from the heat and the extra fluids I needed to survive the heat.  It was really quite miserable.  Julie, Lara & I split.  It was all about survival.  And we did survive but that was about it.  This is one race where I think I’d recommend the half over the full.  I don’t feel like I saw anything exceptional after we split from the half.  If you are in it for the beach views, you’ll see them all before mile 10.  Then it’s just more pounding of the city streets.

Finish was downhill.  Thank freaking goodness.  Cool medal.  Cool shirt.  And California is officially checked off the list.  Huge shout out to my friends Lara & Nels who shuttled us around, fed us, and housed us during out brief visit to the Golden State.

IMG_8467  FullSizeRender  IMG_8472

What’s next?  Hopefully at least some cooler weather and maybe just one decent marathon time for 2015?  Race wise, look for me at:  Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (11/7), Route 66 Marathon + Detour (11/22), Huff 50K (12/19), and then we will be picking up our deferred races (due to injury) from last January for the Mississippi Blues Marathon (1/9/16) & First Light Marathon (1/10/16).  Yes, a double marathon weekend.  Sounds fun, right?!? 

Lots of races ahead.  I took most of the summer off for TRI training and we’ve spent a ton of time and $$ fixing up the IL house over the last month or so.  The IL house will be on the market at the end of this week and we are ready to get back to business as usual.    Let’s do this!!!

** Run Happy and Safe ** Amanda – TooTallFritz