The Week of The Big Race ……

September certainly opens the door for the fall racing season but October is marathon month.  So many great races.  So little time.  This year I did NOT register for the Chicago Marathon.  Yes, I love the race.  Yes, most of my IL and IN friends are running it.  No, I didn’t cave like I always do and toss up a huge entry free for a race that I’ve ran time and time again.  This year, I’m heading to Long Beach, California for the Long Beach Marathon


I picked Long Beach cuz it was 1)  on the same day as Chicago and 2) because my friend Lara moved out to the Long Beach area at the same time my family moved to Auburn, Indiana.  I haven’t seen Lara since their move and I can’t wait to see her and her amazing family.  We’ve spent so much time over the last 5 years pounding miles on dark trails (her and/or her hubby) that I frequently think about them while I run.  I smile with thoughts of the stories we’ve told a million times and can’t wait to create new ones. 

Long Beach won’t be what I initially imagined.  Lara is a super fast runner who never complains about my slower pace.  When I signed up back in February, I had thoughts of a new marathon PR.  I envisioned myself fit and fast.  I imagined the perfect race.  But life isn’t perfect, so my vision has changed and I’m not at all sad about that.  We will have a great time running the Long Beach area, singing, dancing and laughing over the course of 26.2 miles.  It’s going to be hot.  94 according to accuweather.  But we’ll be together and we are lucky enough to have another friend, my girl Julie M., along for the fun.  And fun we will be having.  Look at this amazing course.  Lots of blue water to bring us a breeze and beautiful sites. 


Since we are facing a hot race, I’ve reviewed a couple of my old posts about the week leading up to important races/marathons.  Feel free to check out the Race Week Do(s) & Don’t(s) or the Marathon Week post for pre-race tips.  For us, we will be hydrating with electrolytes all week.  We have packed the salt caps and our favorite run visor.  We won’t be carb loading so much as eating healthy nutritious foods with complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats.   It’s pretty apparent that nobody will be PRing on a 94 degree day, no matter how spot on their training or how amazing their fitness.  So we have put our expectations in check and we’ll focus on the positive:  enjoying our race, making sure everyone is hydrating and keeping up with fuel/electrolytes, and having as much fun as possible being together and doing what we love.  I’m thankful for crazy friends who think that fun = running long.

crazy friends

** Wishing YOU a Great Marathon Season With Crazy Friends ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Fort4Fitness Half Marathon … 2015 Edition

It’s no secret that the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in Fort Wayne, Indiana is my favorite.   I’ve ran about 30 half marathons so can say that with confidence.  This was my 5th Fort4Fitness half and my worst performance (2:06:49) here to date.  However, it’s also the location that holds my current half marathon PR (1:53:20).  Great race.  Great town.  Amazing experience.


I used to come from the Chicago area to run Fort4Fitness but am now local, living only 30 minutes away from the start line. Big win!!  However, this race is in the middle of Cross Country season, so I’ve missed it more than once due to motherly/spectator duties. It’s also on one of the busiest race weekends of the year.  This year F4F was competing with the Mill Race Marathon (Half & 5K) in Columbus, Indiana, the Chicago Half Marathon and the Quad Cities Marathon (Half, Relay & 5K).  Despite the busy time of year, F4F pulled 7,242 competitors to its various races on Saturday alone.  That’s not counting the kids or Seniors who completed their events on Friday night. 


What F4F does right and where other races might want to take note, is they realize that events like these use community resources.  Not only on the day of the race but in the months and weeks leading up to the big day.  So how do you keep a community happy about events that use the resources which are bought and paid for with their tax dollars?  You get as many community members involved as possible.  The F4F events are focused on community health.  Getting the community active and moving, not just on race day but all throughout the year.  They also have made necessary changes to accommodate as many people as possible.  When the race started in 2008, there was a half marathon and a 4 mile event.  Since that time the following events have been added:  kids and senior marathon, 10K, wheelchair events (half, 10K & 4 mile), and a Double Play and Triple Crown where you can participate in two or more events on race day.  If you are really daring, go for the Triple Crown and RUN.ALL.THE.RACES. (half marathon, 10K & 4 mile) for a total of 23.3 miles of fun and 4 medals!  

Participant Breakdown:

  • Half Marathon – 2,078
  • 10K – 1,887
  • 4 mi Run/Walk – 3,254
  • Wheel Chair Half – 9
  • Wheel Chair 10K – 8
  • Wheel Chair 4mi – 6
  • Double Play (4mi/Half – 30,  10K/Half – 27, 4 mi/10K – 67) – 124
  • Triple Crown (Half, 10K & 4mi) – 98

In addition to the runners, the community members really come out in mass to watch and cheer for the runners.  They line the streets with music, signs and banners.  Then the neighborhoods seem to have a competition as to which community can bring the most spirit.  Oakdale, you won this year according to my unofficial decision.  Congrats.  


One of my favorite things about this race is that there are long stretches where you can just run.  Some quiet stretches thru parks, others thru quiet neighborhoods with big fancy houses, and a lot of street time thru Ft Wayne.  It’s really a great mix for a road race, mostly flat, a few hills but nothing crazy. 

F4F provides a great race that you would expect from a big city but with the ease and convenience of small town living.  Packet pick up is easy & quick.  Parking is within a half mile of the race start.  Lots of free parking but I did pay $4 for a spot in a garage.  Potties, water & Gatorade every 1.5 miles.  Stadium finish inside Parkview Field with runners being announced before they hit the finish line.  Huge Jumbotron for spectators to watch incoming runners.  Stadium seating for spectators and plenty of room for the after party.   And concessions are open, so grab a beer and celebrate with friends after the big finish!

Gender specific shirts, designed by a local artist!


Nice medals, whether you collect 1 or all 4.  I only had time for one because I wanted to be present and spectate/cheer/scream my head off at Aby’s Cross Country meet.


I highly recommend making a plan to come to Ft Wayne next year for Fort4Fitness.  Registration is OPEN.  Race is Saturday, October 1, 2016.  Click HERE to register for any of the races, including the 4 medal Triple Crown event that is only $95 during this super early bird period.  Half Marathon is currently $45!  It’s deal time, who wants to commit?

See you next year!!

** Run The Fort ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Ironman 70.3 Steelhead Race Report

As I previously mentioned, life around the TTF household has been slightly chaotic thus the lack of a timely race report.  In fact, it’s been down right stressful!  But we keep on keeping on, right?  Yes!  So I showed up for Ironman 70.3 Steelhead overweight, undertrained but ready to tackle whatever the day tossed at me.  Remember, I do this for fun.  I run, train, TRI as a stress reliever and for a little bit of “me time” amongst the chaos.  Total bonus is when I get to spend time with friends.  Aby and Julie M were my race weekend support crew and we rolled into Saint Joseph & Benton Harbor MI with smiles on our faces!


We hit packet pick up, listened to the pre-race meeting, figured out the new swim course, racked my bike and hit the expo while Aby constantly reminded us that she just wanted to go to the beachIMG_7760

There is something final about leaving your bike in transition.  Most of us are on our second or even third or more bike.  We started at the bottom with a low level road bike and worked our way up.  We have an emotional attachment to our bike that is hard for people who do not ride to understand.   Most of my friends actually have a name for their bike, I do not.  But I still love it.  And I spend a lot of time with it.  And it never sasses me or talks back.  Smile  So I bid my bike farewell and it sits in transition, awaiting my return and trying to soak up the calm before the chaos of race day begins.

When I return it is race morning.  It’s full on chaos.  Transition is packed.  It’s still dark.  Trying to set up transition in the dark, with 2499 of our new friends, just begs for things to be forgotten at the bottom of the transition bag!  But we are finally set up and started inching our wetsuits on for the swim start.   Wendy, myself & Judy getting ready to head to the beach for our 1.2 mile swim! 


Swim waves went out in 4 minute increments.  Judy was in the first wave at 7:00 am and Wendy and I were 12 minutes behind at 7:12am.  There was a last minute change to the swim course to keep the swim start & finish close together on the beach.  The change resulted in us having to swim further out into the mammoth body of water known as Lake Michigan.  What Lake MI delivers on a given day is just a surprise so I was ready for the worst like IM 70.3 Racine in 2013 and hoped for the best.  New course:

Steelhead Swim

Water was calm at the start!  Yes!  But the course wasn’t as nice as the pretty picture above.  We were swimming at an angle and it seemed like every buoy turned us a bit and we had to reposition.  It wasn’t as easy as it appears, plus I felt VERY crowded in the water, both by the ladies in my wave, as well as the fast swimmers behind me.  It took me a good 3 buoys to get myself together and just do my own thing but then as soon as I’d get in a groove I’d have a swimmer in front of me swimming perpendicular to me.  I need to be more aggressive in the water but I’m not at this point.  Swimming is the easy part of the TRI and I don’t really rush.  When someone is swimming the wrong way in front of me, I stop and let them clear my path.  Doesn’t make for a very speedy swim but keeps me comfortable.  Something I need to work on for the future!  Anyhow, I finally navigate the swim course, it was marked well and easy to follow.  No clock when I got out of the water, which was odd, but I could make out the start line clock, that read 8:00 am real time.  That put me in the water for 48 minutes and I was happy with that considering my lack of swim training.  However, Ironman clocked me at 55 minutes via my chip so I’m not sure how I messed that up.  Or why I was in the water so long because overall the swim was decent, I wasn’t panicky, there were some rolling waves out on the back side of the course but nothing too crazy.  I kept moving but yes, I did stop numerous times to avoid “random” swimmers.  But it was a beautiful day and I kinda enjoyed the cool, crisp, clear water.


No wetsuit strippers but I managed to get unzipped and unsuited.  On to the bike!  The bike as you know, can make or break you and is the longest segment of any triathlon.  This race is a half ironman, AKA 70.3 race, where all the mileage equals 70.3 miles at the end of the day.  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike & 13.1 mile run.  I had been having bike issues most of the season.  Issues with my shifters.  Issues with getting out for longer rides.  Too many issues.  I really had no idea what I could do on the bike so the plan here was to hold back on the first half, eat, drink and relax.  Get thru the nasty/bumpy section of bad road, then try to be somewhat “fresh” for the last half and all those uphill sections (which suck the wind and energy right out of me).  One loop course, which is my preference.  I hit the half way mark (28 miles) right at 1 hour 30 minutes and vaguely remember thinking, “wow, if you keep this pace, you might break 3 hours”.  But then I dismissed the thought immediately because I knew that there were some nasty uphill sections to come.  I really didn’t have much of a strategy.  As I’ve said, I’m super bad riding uphill, I was down into single digits so many times, 9mph was very common.  But I USED the downhill.  No matter how tired I was when I got up the hill, I was ready to rush the down.  And I did that to the best of my ability. At the end of the ride, when my butt hurt so bad I wanted to toss my bike I was tired, that’s what held me together, crushing the downhill.  Then eventually the thought that just possibly, if I kept pushing, I might, just might break 3 hours on the bike.  And I did.  2 hours 59 minutes on the bike.  HUGE triumph for me after a summer (full year really) of trials and tribulations.  Happy girl. 

IM Steelhead_bike

After a phenomenal (for me) bike, I hit the run.  I hadn’t done one brick all season and my legs had trouble spinning off the bike.  Took about 3 miles to get in my groove.  Course had two run loops.  There were 3 big hills on the first loop.  2 on the second.  I walked the entirety of each hill.  I also walked thru each of the aid stations and made sure that I got enough fluids, ice and refueled with coke and small bites of banana.  Run went well.  I wasn’t dead but not speedy.  I thought I’d run a 2:15 but at the end of the day I was at 2:21 with the walking.  It was a good day.  We had cloud cover, which was  a HUGE help (especially to those who melt in the heat, like me).  Temps were in the high 70s at the finish (78 degrees).  It was a bit sticky with humidity but manageable thanks to the clouds. 

IM Steelhead_Finish2  IMG_7773  IMG_7791

I’ve now participated in all 3 Midwest Ironman 70.3 events.  Muncie in 2012, where I took a DNF due to a torn tendon in my foot (race was also downgraded to Olympic distance due to extreme heat – 108 degrees).   Racine in 2013 where the monster waves and bumpy roads stole the show.  And now Steelhead.  There were things I liked about each of these events.  The bike course at Muncie was FUN and the hills seemed manageable.  Not too steep but big enough to produce some speed.  The run in Racine was beautiful with scenic views of Lake Michigan.  But Steelhead was different.  It felt like home.  My family goes up to Saint Joseph MI on occasion for day or weekend trips, year round.  My friends Judy & Julie M both have “cabins” within a reasonable distance of the race site.  In fact, we actually went up and I was able to ride the course once before race day.  So, yes, it’s a big fancy race, but one that felt like it was on our home turf.  And there is no denying the home field advantage.  And that’s how this race felt, like I had an advantage cuz I knew where to hold back on the bike and where to push.  I really enjoyed Steelhead.  Great race.  Great volunteers.  Plenty of aid stations on the bike (3) and on the run (5 each loop). 

In closing, I’ll address the full Ironman issue one more time.  I’m frequently asked “when” I’ll do a full ironman.  First, a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) just isn’t for everyone, so it’s important to realize that it’s just not what some people call fun.  But for myself, I’ve been dreaming about the full distance since my first half in 2008.  Then I was blessed with a bouncing baby boy in 2009.  Baby boy is growing, CRAZY and is becoming more self sufficient each and every day.  In fact, he started kindergarten this year and will be turning 6 in just a couple weeks!!!

Aby & Michael - First Day of School - 2015

I think we are finally at the point where I could tackle it, IF I could justify spending the money to register.  In fact, I’ve been upgrading my equipment for years so that I’ll be ready when the time finally arrives.  However, the last year has brought us a lot of change and financial strain.  We have taken steps to rectify the problem (Hello, NONPAYING IL renters, I’m talking to you.).   Then, maybe, I can tackle the full ironman.  It’s something that I think about every day.  I even think about it when I should be sleeping.  It’s definitely “on the list” but I need to make sure that its something the family can endure in terms of time commitment to my training and also the $$ commitment of the registration fee and travel expenses.  Plus, I need to find a race that will NOT interfere with Aby’s Cross Country season.  So those are a few of the reasons as to why I’m not YET an IronWOman.  But I’ll get there and it will be all the sweeter when I do because I waited for the right moment.

just because

Keep Pushing For YOUR Dreams – Amanda – TooTallFritz

Ready Or Not ….. Ironman 70.3 Steelhead

I didn’t ride my bike or swim at all in 2014.  The move (packing, finding an IN house on a tight time table, finding renters for the IL house, and actually getting all of our stuff from the old house/barn to the new one) was quite a project.  I ran when I could but that was pretty infrequent too between April & September (2014).  When spring 2015 came around, I had a real itch to get out on my bike.  However, I wasn’t real familiar with all the roads in my new area.  Drivers here had ran me off the road while running more than once.  And I knew of 2 ladies who were hit and killed while riding their bikes in IL (different areas) early in the season.  I was a bit nervous about getting out on the road.  Actually, I was scared.


I finally got my bike out after the local coffee shop, Jeremiah’s Brewed Awakenings, ran a promo for Bike Month in May.  I think the promo was that they would give a free coffee to anyone who completed 7 items on the bike month promo sheet.  I never did turn in my sheet but I did dust off my bike toward the end of the month and take it for a spin.  And I was a happy lady.  I started riding around my area.  Even found a couple good routes with a few hills.  Set my basement up for some marathon bike trainer sessions because I was  having trouble getting out the door between kids, work and Aby’s Cross Country schedule.  Signed up for Ironman 70.3 Steelhead.  And then my basement flooded with my bike trainer in it and all plans were halted.

FullSizeRender IMG_7291 IMG_7313

When there is a crisis at home, mom doesn’t leave to go ride her bike.  So all swimming and biking stopped with the basement flood.  It was emotional.  It was exhausting because we (hubby, kids & I) had to clear out and demo the basement.  Insurance didn’t help much at all.  In fact, it didn’t even help enough to pay for the replacement of our geothermal heat/air unit.  And when it rains it pours, right?  So it was at this exact same time that’s our IL renters decided they weren’t going to pay rent anymore.  Now our home is in a partial demo’d state with no heat/air.  Current basement pic below.


We’re paying for 2 houses and an eviction lawsuit to try to get the renters (can I call them that if they aren’t paying???) out of our IL house.  Lot’s going on and not much to do with training or triathlon.  But over the last three weeks I’ve tried to get my shit together mentally & physically salvage my training because the IM registration fees are pretty high and am hoping for another 70.3 finish.  

attitude is everything

I’ve only managed a couple swims but I’ve ridden numerous times, mostly 25 milers but I’ve been riding. 

IMG_7699  IMG_7698  IMG_7662

I even took a day off work to go ride the Steelhead course with a few amazing athletes.

IMG_7661  group

We took a practice swim that really sucked in Lake Michigan but at least Laura N. was able to get my wetsuit zipped  This is a real win because of course, I’m now “a bit” heavier than the specs of the suit recommend. 

IMG_7664  IMG_7665

So the good news is that I won’t drown because my wetsuit technically fits.  And I should be able to cover the 56 miles on the bike because I’ve trained for almost a full 3 weeks.  Smile  And well, I can run a half marathon.  So I guess I’m ready to do a half ironman!  Right?  Right! 

So there it is, all laid out.  Steelhead, I’m coming.  Whether I’m “Ready or Not”.  I wasn’t going to win anyhow, so I’ll just keep ticking off the miles until the finish line is in sight.

success occurs

** I TRI ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Aby’s First Half Marathon …..

I’ve always put limits on Aby.  She wanted to run her first 5K when she was so small that she called them K5s.  She’s wanted to run a half marathon for years and I told her, “not til you are 13”.  She wants to run a full marathon and I say, “not til you’re 16”.  Good or bad, that’s what I’ve done.  I see kids a lot younger than her running longer races and I don’t judge those parents but for Aby, I worry about injury and burnout.  Quite frankly I want her to be a runner and fitness enthusiast for life, not one who has accomplished everything before she can drive.  So we have limits.  

your limits

I did let her participate in the Mini Muddy Buddy when she was 5. 


Her first 5K was at age 9.  She took 2nd place in her age group.

abyme_ringinginspring_2011  aby_ringinginspring5k

In the interim between that first 5K and now, we’ve ran a lot of 5Ks, 4 milers, 8Ks, teamed up for duathlons and ran countless miles together sometimes when she would have rather ran alone

aby & I_mokenasummertimestrides5k Aby & I_du aby_fort 4 fitness aby-me_nov-2013

She’s also ran a few Cross Country seasons.  And she’s been there to support me and spectate a “few” marathons.  

  Aby  aby_spectates

Now she is 13 and has finally made it to her first half marathon.  We had planned this race for quite some time.  She picked it last year before she even turned 13.  I registered us both.  Created a training plan.  And she ran all summer, slowly building up to the 10 mile long run and race day.  The Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon on July 19th (2015) was her first half marathon.  We spent the weekend in the Chicago area.  Picked up her XC spikes for the upcoming Cross Country season.  Hit the expo.  Spent time with friends. 

IMG_7629 IMG_7630  

Race day arrived and it was hot.  And humid.  Temp was upper 80s with a “feels like” time of 96 degrees.  The plan was to run slow.  Very slow.  And to make sure we finished under our own power.  I’ve seen way to many people go down in hot races.  I’m always overly cautious about pace in the heat. 

IMG_7651  11745790_941404859215999_847369050857064087_n

We stuck together.  Walked thru the water stops since a lot of the volunteers hadn’t showed up since it was so hot and we had to wait in line for fluids.  Took our time.  And enjoyed ourselves.  I didn’t want her first half to be miserable even though the conditions were less than ideal.

11178360_941460542543764_1250352607325805047_n  aby & I 

At mile 11, she took off toward the finish and notched off her first half marathon finish!  Goooooo Aby!!!  She was flying!

Aby_finish  IMG_7657 

My baby girl is growing up!  She ran a smart race and had fun.  Lots of time to add speed later but her first half marathon was fun and that’s something she will always remember. 

Cheers to our friend Nicki who spent the weekend hanging out with us!  She has ran a lot of races with Aby and I over the years. The weekend wouldn’t have been complete without her there to witness Aby’s first half finish.  Thanks, Nicki!!. 


I know that I won’t always be able to run and race with Aby but I certainly cherish the times we’ve had thus far.  She’s getting older.  She has her own agenda.  But fortunately, at this point, she doesn’t have a driver’s license so she still depends on me for a ride.  Smile

** Making Run Memories, One Race At A Time ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Fitletic Hydration Belt Giveaway WINNER & Discount Code

I have a winner!!!  Is it you?!?  Today I am giving away one Fitletic Hydration Belt. 


The random number generator selected #88.


#88 is Gila Robinson! 


Gila, please contact me ASAP at so that we can get you set up with your new hydration belt.  I’m sure you have lots of miles to run this summer and we want you to be hydrated and ready to rock any distance you choose to conquer! 

For the rest of us,  we can order our Fitletic Hydration Belt HERE using the 10% discount code:  amanda10

Run Happy & Hydrated ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon–Duluth MN

As most of you know by now, I’m on a quest to run a marathon in every state.  And I’m on a budget.  As a result, I’ve pretty much given up running races that are less than the 26.2 distance.  I’ve also pretty much given up running marathons in state’s that I’ve already “checked off” unless the race is free.  I pick races based on my (and Julie’s) calendar.  I don’t stress about the course.  Or the weather.  Or the details.  It’s an adventure.  The bigger, the better.  The more the merrier.  Join me!!


We picked our Minnesota race because Julie said she wanted to knock off MN this year.  I can’t say this was my first choice for MN because, well, we are road runners!  But alas, it   fit into our weekend warrior calendar and it was super affordable at a mere $35 entry fee.  You absolutely can not beat trail races for the price, the hospitality, the fun and the level of commitment that they give to each and every runner.  The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon wins the TTF Award for the “Best Bang for the Buck” in 2015.  I don’t even care that it’s only July.  They already won.  $35 entry fee = $1.34 per mile.  Our race took forever 7 hours & 37 minutes = $4.60 per hour.

The aid stations were stocked with coke, ginger ale, sprite, powerade (BLUE!!!!), ice, ice water, pretzels, M&Ms, candy, fig newtons, sandwich cookies, frosted oatmeal cookies, gingersnap cookies, potato chips, watermelon, bananas, salt, salt capsules, and a ton of stuff that I can’t remember.  I probably ate/drank more than the $35 entry fee.

There was also an army of volunteers who encouraged us, filled our water bottles, wiped our tears, recorded our numbers, pointed us in the right direction and handed us paper towels & wet wipes in case we needed to go to the bathroom clean up.

The race started promptly at 6am at the Lake Superior Zoo.  There was no big start banner.  No chip timing.  No pomp.  No circumstance.  But there were people making announcements to get us in the right spot and there were bathrooms. Runners came to run and everything else is left on the trail.

The first 2.5-3 miles of the race climbed the ski trails of Spirit Mountain.  Once we started hitting nice roads and fancy bridges we knew we were close to the top!

IMG_7539   IMG_7540

Then we started seeing the ski lifts and we came out of the trees for breathtaking views of Lake Superior in the early morning fog.  Absolutely amazing.

 IMG_7534         5

The trail was very well marked with orange ribbons.   I never once questioned our direction.  Organizers spent a lot of time clearing trail for us rather than just using ordinary trails already cut in the parks through which we ran.  There was a lot of planning to get us from Duluth to the finish in Carlton, MN on this point to point course.   It was a creative path.  A difficult one.  Not the most technical of all that I’ve ran but extremely hard and probably the most fun so far (and that’s saying a lot cuz we ran the Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake WI Extreme Trail  Marathon last July).  Take a peak at the various terrain from steep trails along ridges, to roped off trails to help us navigate the terrain & not fall …..

IMG_7547  IMG_7568  IMG_7551

To hills, both up and down as far as the eyes could see.

IMG_7577  4  IMG_7579

Beautiful ferns.  Bridges.  Obstacles.

IMG_7572  IMG_7574  IMG_7575

Water crossings.  Mud.  Roots.  Rocks.

  1  2  IMG_7594

Parks.  Rivers.

IMG_7592 3

Every step of this was amazing.  And hard.  Very hard.  But we smiled and laughed almost the entire 7.5+ hours.  If you are a trail runner, the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon is a must.  If you are an ultra runner, then this race is just a warm up for the MN Voyager 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon at the end of July.  Like what you see in these pics?  Try the Voyager and you’ll get to run it twice.

As you know from the above post, we finished.  And were happy to see the car and some clean clothes at the end of the race.  To our surprise, we also received a very unique handmade finishers medallion and a gender specific soft, tee.  Nice!


I’m forever grateful for the good friends I’ve made over the years while “on the run”.  A special thanks to Julie for running some of these crazy races with me!  I can’t wait til we tromp off into the woods for the next adventure!  IMG_7590

** Maybe We’ll See YOU On the Trail ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Fitletic Hydration Belt Review, Giveaway & Discount Code

fitletic logo

There is a new name in the fitness industry in regards to hydration belts. According to the buzz on the trail, this is the current “go to” company for  hydration needs on the run.  Those of us who have been using hydration belts for years want the low down on Fitletic.  If you are like me, then you’ve previously spent hard earned $$ on poor fitting hydration belts that slip, slide & drench you with water. 

fitletic bannner

Fitletic sent me a 12 oz belt to review.  That included two 6oz water bottles on an adjustable strap with a large pouch that fits an iPhone 6 (the 6+ would probably NOT fit into this pouch).  Inside the pouch was an interior slit type pocket for credit cards, money and an ID.  The belt also included toggles for a race bib & 2 slots for energy gels.  The gel slots were definitely designed for the most popular gel, GU brand.  But I was able to fold the top of my AdvoCare Rehydrate Gel enough to get it into the slot tightly enough to stay put.

IMG_7306         IMG_7521

Aby and I ran with this belt on two different long runs.  A 9 miler in the POURING rain.  And a 10 miler last weekend.  I wanted both of us to use the belt because we have different body types.  I have a hydration belt that I have been using for YEARS but I can’t seem to find one that fits her curvier frame.  Every belt that we buy for her slides all around and she ditches it less than a mile into the run.  The belt I wear, that also fits her, is no longer available cuz I use my stuff until it dies on the trail.  We both had success with the Fitletic belt  and liked the way that it rode and more importantly stayed put and didn’t move around.  I also let a friend try it out while we were running because she too has issues with poor fitting hydration belts.  We were 3 for 3 on this belt with big smiles and all thumbs up.  Smile  Here is a back view of myself with the belt.  I normally wear my bottles on the back.  That’s what I’m used to doing.  However, if you wanted instant access to the pouch, or you’re racing and need the bib toggles, wear it facing front. 


There are little grippers on the inside of the belt that I haven’t seen on other hydration belts.  They remind me of the grippers on the inside of bike & TRI shorts.  These little boogers really help hold the belt in place so it doesn’t move around.  Great idea!

IMG_7305  IMG_7515

The Fitletic hydration belts come in a variety of color accents, all with reflective piping.  There are two size options:  12 oz (2 – 6 oz bottles) or 16 oz (2 – 8 oz bottles).  If you are running long for marathon training or if you are a trail runner who can’t rely on a spot to refill water, then I’d recommend the 16oz belt.  The 16oz option is more compatible with traditional hydration belts.  Personally, if I go much bigger than 8 oz bottles on a belt, my experience has been that they really start to weigh me down. 

For the purpose of this giveaway, we are giving away one 12 oz Hydration Belt, a $39.95 value.


The giveaway starts NOW and runs til WED, July 15th at 11am EST.  That’s 10am for those of you in the CHI.  In order to be eligible for the giveaway you MUST make a comment below.  Tell us about your favorite way to stay hydrated on the run!  Do you already use a hydration belt that you love?  Do you drop water along the way?  Do prefer a handheld or even a hydration pack?

For extra entries, you can get one additional entries for doing the following:

  • Like Fitletic on Facebook HERE 
  • Follow Fitletic on Twitter HERE
  • Follow Fitletic on Instagram HERE

Four possible entries, make sure you let me know in your comment if you did anything additional.  Example:  “My favorite way to carry water on the run is to have my hubby drive beside me in the car and hand me my water bottle whenever I’m thirsty!  I also liked Fitletic on Facebook.” 

If you have to have one of these belts before you win the giveaway next WED, and I totally get that, then feel free to order one HERE using the 10% discount code:  amanda10

**  Happy HYDRATED Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

For the most up to date info on future giveaways, follow TooTooFritz on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Marion Rotary For Shoes Marathon & Hot Weather Running Tips

Marion Rotary For Shoes_logo

Marathon #21 was in the great state of Iowa, in Marion, just north of Cedar Rapids.  It was the Marion Rotary For Shoes Marathon.  And it was hot.  And hilly.  But I had a great group of friends who made the trip with me.  From left, meet Lindsay (Glitter Girl on the Run), Judy F, Amanda W (Get to Goal), Derek, Julie M & myself.


We also met Kim from Running on the Fly and her friend, Barb (not pictured). 


The 2015 Marathon for Shoes was held in June for the first time.  The first two years were held the third week in April and apparently the weather both years was crazy cold with either snow or wind/rain/sleet.  So the 2015 edition was pushed out til June and cold it was not.  In fact it was hot.  So hot that most of us would have done a choreographed rain dance had we thought it would produce a cloud or drop of rain from that beautiful blue but steamy sky.  But alas, no rain.

Packet pickup was at a local school gymnasium and there were a handful of vendors.  Nice, friendly people.  Easy packet pick up.  Free parking.  Nike tech shirt as the SWAG.  You could have been in and out with your shirt & number in less than 10 minutes.  But you had to get your packet the night before the race or there was a late pickup fee the morning of the race.


The race started in front of a local high school at 7am.  Easy, free parking.  A handful of port-o-potties.  Chip timing.  Beautiful blue skies.  The race started on time without much of a production.  We were across the timing mat in less than 30 seconds, along with the half marathoners and a handful of relay runners.  Not a huge race, less than 500 people at the start. 

Then came the hills.  One right after another.  Then a few more. And the never really stopped.  The temps that were in the mid 70s at the start climbed to mid 80s by the finish.  The course was mainly on country roads with some neighborhoods.   There were a couple sections where we ran along busy highways separated from the zooming cars by orange cones.  Highlights were an old cemetery and a small park.   The coolest thing we saw was a piece of art in the form of corn stalks just before mile 7.


Around mile 7, the half marathoners turned off and it got pretty lonely.  I’ll be honest, I was so thankful to have friends running this race!  We mostly stuck together and just dealt with the hills heat as it came.  Very slowly.  With lots of walking.  Aid stations were every 1.5 miles or so apart.  They offered warm water & watermelon AdvoCare Rehydrate (tasty and way better than traditional sugar laden sport drinks for your body!).  There were lots of people on bikes offering bike support, asking us if we were okay, calling SAG for those who needed a ride and calling 911 for those who dropped.   There were a handful of spectators scattered throughout the 26.2 miles.  The best spectator award goes to a nice couple who put out their sprinkler as we ran thru one of the last neighborhoods.  We were super thankful for that sprinkler and ran thru it like a bunch of 5 year olds.  I think I even squealed with delight!  Winking smile 

Running in high heat and 100% humidity is pretty dangerous.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  However, weather for pre-registered events is an absolute unknown.  There is no way to predict what the day will bring but only what we can do to make our chances to survive the elements a bit better.

Tips for running in the heat:

  • Wear a hat or visor
  • Wear sunscreen to keep your skin from frying
  • Dump water on your head and body to keep yourself as cool as possible
  • Wear light colored clothing
  • Use ice or cold water to increase the rate of cooling
  • Run thru sprinklers or open hydrants, if available
  • Use sponges or cooling towels if the event offers these things
  • Take your time, decrease your pace, and WALK to keep your body temp as even as possible
  • Replace lost salt with salt tablets, electrolyte drinks/gels or by eating salty foods

Bottom line, even if you do all of the above, your rate of success will depend on how your body can ultimately deal with the heat.  Some people handle it much better than others.  Some people can’t handle it at all.  One of my friends still has a headache from the heat and dehydration suffered on Sunday.  Another friend had no idea why we struggled so much because she “loves running in the heat”.   It’s all about your body and how it can adapt to the conditions and that is super hard to predict.

Ultimately, everyone in my group finished, most of us with bragging rights over our new “personal worst” time.  But we finished under our own power because we did what was necessary for us and that meant slowing WAY down to endure the weather.  Here is Judy and I running around the track toward the finish line.  We were two happy campers to have finished another marathon in yet another new state. 


Being safe always trumps running fast.  It’s certainly not fun but something we all learn over time.  If you ran in Marion on Sunday and are feeling bad about your race, know that only 124 people FINISHED the full, only 243 FINISHED the half and there were only 9 relay teams that crossed that finish line.  Finishing really was winning in Marion IA on Sunday.  Be proud.

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Sunburst Marathon …. 2015

I’ve ran the Sunburst Races multiple times but each time, I’ve ran the half marathon.  It’s definitely the race with the most participants and a manageable distance for me when I’m also training for other events.  The full marathon, is a bit of a push.  Always difficult.  Always taxing.  Always an event where anything can happen.  But I took the gamble for 2015 and threw my cards in for the full.  26.2 here I come … and fortunately, Julie came too.  Smile


This was our 20th marathon.  Although we haven’t ran all the others together, we have ran a good number together over the course of 2014 & 2015.  So it was a bit of a celebration and we were excited to be on the same number at the same race.

Temps were cool, in the low 60s at the start and climbed to 70 degrees by the finish.   This race is known to be a “hot one” so I was happy about the weather!  The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.  Easy packet pick up the morning of the race.  Easy, free parking!  Cute shirt.  Early 6am start to get the marathoners on their way before things got too busy with the other races.


Due to the construction at the Notre Dame stadium, both 2014 and this year (2015) boasted new finish line areas and new courses. 


I thought the course this year was very well laid out.  We saw lots of sites.  Ran various trails & waterfront paths.  And we were mostly shaded, which is a huge bonus!

IMG_7089    IMG_7090  IMG_7092

As usual, the aid stations were plentiful, approximately every mile in most areas.  There were a couple aid stations that offered GU, wet/cold sponges & bananas.  Nice set up and friendly volunteers.

We ran thru the same neighborhoods as in previous years but didn’t spend so much time “circling” as we had in the past and that made me pretty happy.  I’ll be honest, I had not heard anyone say anything positive about the Sunburst Full from previous years.  Most of the people I know who have ran it previously don’t plan a return trip.  As a result, I was nervous about about the race.   But I think the course change really knocked it out of the park.  There were a couple spots that could still use some improvement but overall I think they really did a great job.  And they added a killer character building hill at the end.  Both the full and the half ran up “Hallelujah Hill”.  Or at least we were supposed to run up it.  Julie and I walked.  She probably could have ran it cuz she is a decent hill runner but I was in walking mode by then.  Smile


The finish on the Irish Green was much better planned out this year.  There looked to be plenty of space to hang out and wait on friends.  Melanie & Jill were awaiting our finish after their first half at Sunburst so it was nice to see some friendly faces at the finish. 


#20 is in the DONE column!  Next up, the Marion Rotary for Shoes Marathon in Marion, IA on Sunday! 

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **