Matteson Dash Into The New Year 5K (New Years Eve 2011)

New Year’s Eve 2011 began this morning by meeting a group of gal pals and participating in a local 5K.  The event was appropriately named “Dash Into The New Year” and was in Matteson, IL.    Meet Kristina, Kate S., Maggie – Run for Pi, Kate LF., Kelly – Running (Kell)ometers, Me, & Kim.Although it was a cool day to most people, it wasn’t bad when you were running, low 30s with a few ice patches on the ground.  The course was flat except for one overpass that consisted of a decent incline/decline that we were fortunate enough to run twice.

We all know that I haven’t run in almost two weeks and I have been bitching concerned since I was noticing daily the snap leave my legs.  Like, I mean climbing the stairs has been a chore.  So basically, I was awake all night and scared shitless at race time.  Kim and I trying to stretch and calm my nerves

I did try to run a little, less than a mile, before race time just to make sure I was loose and kinda ready.  I knew this was going to hurt and I was right.  I took off too fast like normal, but my first mile time was buried around 7:15….yeah, not good when that’s max effort.  It just slid down into a total comma from there.  Hi Maggie, Bye Maggie.  Hi Kelly, Bye Kelly.  Hi Kate S., Bye Kate S….OMG are we almost done?  At the point when I normally tire, I just keep telling myself to PUSH-PUSH-PUSH.  There was no pushing today, it was all about hanging on and keeping my legs moving, no push, no snap……just hang on, pretty please?  I will tell you that I thought the course was pretty good.  I didn’t mind the overpass (x2), I like a course with character, but it was just cruel that they pulled us almost all the way back to the start/finish then made us take an extra little loop to finish off before we crossed the finish line.  Great race but I was “cranky” by then and not amused by the short detour.  But it was super short and quick as far as detours are concerned.

Great music before and after the race, indoor area to stretch and wait for race time, adequate snacks, water & Gatorade but I didn’t see any on course support/water stations.  This isn’t a problem for me but I know some people like water, even during a short race.  There were lots of Matteson police to help with road closures and directions.  Good race.  I’d run it again.

I know that Maggie – Run for Pi, PR’d today.  YAY, Maggie!  Not sure how the other F’N Runners did compared to their norm but they all looked good.  However, those youngin’s stacked the Women’s 20-29 age group so deep that only Kelly – Running (Kell)ometers was able to take home an award.  Here is Kelly accepting a 2nd Place award, she was 1 second in front of Maggie – Run for Pi.  Yikes!

The age groups were deep, 10 years, and two awards were given.  Tough!  My age group was soft today so I got lucky.  I also took a 2nd but in Women’s 30-39 with a 24:30 (unofficial…no chip timing).  Me & Kelly – Running (Kell)ometers with our 2nd place medals.  Whew, I’m looking “soft” and dissheveled….that’s how I felt today too.

And lastly, myself and my girlz, Kristina & Kim.  We were just missing Nicki T. today or we would have all been present.  Kristina and Kim both had a great race, so proud of them for coming out in the cold to run and meet some of the F’N Runners!

All in all, I’m happy.  I knew I wasn’t going to be fast today but it could have been worse.  It felt worse.  The good news is that my feet don’t hurt. I have some tightness in my hips and glutes but my feet DO NOT HURT.  So I’m taking this as a positive.  I did a total of 5.3 miles today with warm up and cool down and MY FEET DON’T HURT.  So we will see what tomorrow bring.  I’m hoping to go out for a bit tomorrow and run very slowly.  It’s a nice way to start the new year if you can manage it.

Next up, the Midwinters Cruise 5K in Park Forest, IL on January 15th.  This event is hosted by the Park Forest Running and Pancake Club.  Super friendly group!  Come.  Run.  Eat Pancakes.  Yum!!  Where is your next race?

Happy New Year,                                                                                                    Amanda – TooTallFritz

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The 8th Day of NO RUNNING…..

The 8th day of NO RUNNING leaves me feeling pain-free but frustrated sluggish and fatigued.  Yeah, I know, not exactly how one would expect to feel after “rest” but this is exactly what happens.  The fitness leaves faster than it comes.  I have done a few push ups, stretches, etc. but nothing to keep the snap in my legs.  Plus the staycation has brought lots of bad for the body good food and alcohol so I am up 5 lbs.  Yikes….can’t wait to race on Saturday in Matteson and Dash into the New Year….somebody is going to have to pull me!  Kate, Kelly, Maggie…..HELP!

Yesterday’s main project was to get hubby a new toolbox for work.  The way most of us think of a “toolbox” would probably mislead one into believing this project should be easy but when looking for a toolbox as tall as Ms. TooTall…it’s not so simple.  We ended up with some massive thing similar to this I think.

Then the rest of the day we spent eating and drinking.  Great for somebody who wants to run fast in 2 days…..oh well, family first, right?  Like the stand up quarter trick?  Yep, I have skilliz.

Then we came home to watch a movie so momma could put on her slippers.

Low key day….we are starting to go crazy without the kiddos to chase around.  We have only been without the kids since Monday afternoon and it seems like forever.  What to do today….. nothing, go get the kids, go downtown, Merrillville IN?  Hmmmmmm…..  What would you want to do without the kiddos?

Cheers,                                                                                                                        Amanda – TooTallFritz

On My 7th Day of No Running…..

On my 7th day of NO RUNNING my truelove continues to distract me!  This running hiatus came at an odd time as Hubby and I are also enjoying a mini “stay”cation without the kiddos.  So we have been running around like fools in an attempt to distract me from thinking about running have fun and enjoy ourselves and not worrying about whether Michael is climbing my sister’s curtains and jumping from the top of her stairs do a few things that we normally can’t fit into our busy kid friendly schedules.  On Day 1 of staycation, we went shopping, plus had dinner & drinks.  I know this sounds totally lame isn’t exciting to most of you but shopping with the kiddos is a chore and not fun.  Plus, we bought lots of fun things for ME!  Yay! 

And there is not even one remotely running related item in that loot pile.  I know most people had running things on their Christmas List but running for me is different. I’ve been doing it for a long time so I don’t really have a wishlist.  I buy a few pieces of clothing each year to add to my collection but already have all the big items.  So I did get a few pair of compression socks for Christmas but basically have what I need otherwise.

Day 2 of staycation was blinging it up,  wearing some of my new loot and hitting the local NON-Smoking casinos.  Illinois is non-smoking so better and easier to stay local so as not to have to deal with the nasty smoke from the Indiana & Michigan casinos.Hollywood Casino (formally Empress) had a beautiful tree!

We were also able to bring home some $$ between Harrahs & Hollywood!  Love it when I have black chips in my possession.  I never spend them, just hoard hold onto them so I feel special.  I had used most of the green by this point and was heading to cash out so we could move on for more fun.

Do you ever opt for a local “stay”cation over the big price tag of airfare/hotel in a new and different city?  We seem to take this option a lot now with the dogs kiddos.  First, we have 3 dogs that don’t like to be boarded so we end up begging a friend to stay at the house when we are out-of-town to “dog-sit” which is a PITA.  Secondly, we never have much time.  Why waste a ton of  $$ to go somewhere for 3 days?  Thirdly, we live in a great area in that there is a bunch of things to do in the CHI.  Fourth, Mom couldn’t get anymore time off work this year so we couldn’t ask her to come and watch the kids/dogs here I like to sleep in my own bed.  So vacation or staycation?

Cheers!                                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz

Run with Me Later?

Yesterday when I came home from Christmas with the Fritz Clan, my Nike+ GPS Sportwatch was jealous had apparently not received the memo that I need to am taking some time off running. 

Makes a girl feel guilty!  If you don’t run much and are just into “toys”, I wouldn’t recommend the Nike+ GPS cuz you just might throw it out the window.  If you don’t run within 3 or 4 days the damn thing starts goading encouraging you to get your ass out the door.

Christmas with the Fritz Clan was awesome.  As soon as we finished with Christmas Morning here, we headed to Grandma’s for more fun.  To Grandmother’s house we go…….Lots of food….like every baked cookie/candy you can imagine.  YUMMY!  And more presents.  Aby & Mick.  

The Fritz Brothers…..Jim & Dad.

The Grandkids:  Aby, Michael & LexiMick helping Michael with presents.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas holiday and are looking forward to the New Year!  Hope to see all of you at the Dash into the New Year in Matteson on NYE morning….including a new friend, Rose, who I met at the Cheesecake Factory yesterday!  Rose, I’ll be looking for YOU!

Cheers and Many Blessings to all of you!                                                                      Amanda – TooTallFritz

The Stockings Were Hung……Christmas Eve 2011

Well our stocking aren’t hung by the chimney with care because we bought the cheap house don’t have a chimney.  But the stockings are out and awaiting their goodies! 

We had a great day with many of the Thanksgiving Misfits returning for the Christmas festivities.  As I have previously mentioned, the Illinois side of the immediate family is very small, just my 4 and the in-laws, so I we always like to include friends who are available for drinking and eating celebration.  I always wanted a huge family with lots of screaming kids so the misfit friend factor really helps by adding more screaming kids livliness to our festivities.  Here is a photo of those little screamers angels.

Unless you are used to having a lot of little ones running around, I can’t possibly convey the difficulty of getting them all in one spot, looking at the camera simultaneously, somewhat smiling or at least sitting where we put them and NOT have one kid picking their nose.  Sorry about the nose picker but shit happens.

For many years, we have tried to adhere to some low-key traditions for the sake of my own excitement the kiddos.  We usually go to church on Christmas Eve but this year the service was at 9pm so it was too late for my lil man.  Even though church was out we  still moved forward with our other traditions.  We went outside and put food out for the dogs reindeer. 

Why YES, those are Quaker Oaks!

We give one gift…..always jammies. 

We also put cookies and milk out for Daddy Santa.Jealous of my tacky festive table-cloth, aren’t you?

After Reindeer Feeding, Gift Opening (only 1), and Cookie Placement, we read Twas The Night Before Christmas.  This is our version.

Then one last glance at Norad’s Santa Tracker and the kiddos are off to bed!  Although the kiddos are already tucked away in their beds, I just checked and Santa is currently dropping presents in Santa Claus, IN….then heading to Indy, then to Michigan.  Get those kids to bed so you can stay up and drink some wine Santa can come!  Love the Santa Tracker, that has been a HUGE motivator getting the kiddos to bed on Christmas Eve! 

Merry Christmas Everyone!!  I hope that Santa leaves lots of gifts under the tree for your little ones! 

What type of holiday traditions do you have?

Merry Christmas,                                                                                                      Amanda – TooTallFritz

What’s for Dinner?

One of the very few perks of working in a downtown office is easy access to the lake front path for lunchtime runs  the holiday treats.  I know I have already mentioned that I have done poorly okay, really bad this year on avoiding the treats, in fact I have been seeking them out!  Yum, Yum, Yum….and I’m +2 on the scales too, if you must  know.  Not good, but Yum, Yum, Yum.  Well, today marks the last work day of the year for many people.  Julie and I will still be slaving away in the office tomorrow if you must know but MOST will be off tomorrow, Monday and possibly all of next week.  Well, at 2:30pm today we received another shipment delivery of holiday goodies.  More than ANY small office could consume.  Two of these…….

Lot of cookies, more than I have seen since last year’s delivery.  And yes, I brought one home.  Should have just said NO.  But I couldn’t.  It’s for Me & Jeni H. the kiddos on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, right?  We will see how long they last.  We already took a sampling.  Notice a few missing?  Maybe….hurry over to get yours!

And of course, I pulled off all the Lindor Truffles for my own personal stash safe keeping. 

My stash looks more like this: 

And since I have already ingested enough calories today to support a small family, might as well wash it all down with a few of these:Yeah, I’m not cooking tonight.  It’s cookies, Lindor Truffles & Amstel Light….or the fam can dig some leftovers out of the fridge.

What are you having for dinner?  Or are you stopping by here to share my stash?  Come on over, I’ll be wrapping the rest of the presents other than the Santa gift for Aby that will probably never arrive.

Amanda – TooTallFritz

 

Winter Solstice 2011

Winter Solstice begins tonight at 11:30 pm.  So what did we do to celebrate?  We ran.  What is my favorite way to celebrate any occasion?  Running and drinking.  I ran with the F’N Running Club then they went to the bar and drank.  At least it was 50/50 success ratio for me and the “celebration”.

Tonight/Tomorrow marks the climb up OUT OF THE DARKNESS toward daylight and spring.  The shortest day of 2011 will soon be in the done column and I’m happy about it.  Although it has yet to get cold and nasty in the CHI, and we have not had any snow, the darkness just lingers.  In fact, according to the numbers we currently have 6 hours and 6 minutes LESS daylight than during the Summer Solstice in June.  It certainly is nice to think about June right now but the current reality is darkness.  Most of us get up, go to work and come home in darkness.  Unless you are retired, or a SAHM with an awesome friend/family member to help out with the kiddos, most of your runs have been in the dark.  I hope you broke down and bought the KnuckleLights or goaded someone into buying them for you for Christmas!

Most of the F’N Running Club does have KnuckleLights, head-lamps, flashers/blinkers, etc. now for safety so we were back at it tonight for our usual Wednesday Night Run.  We tried to make it a Christmas Run but not everyone had festive attire.  That’s okay, 8 people showed up to run in the dark……  Me, Susan, Jeni, Brian P., Kathy, Vera & Maggie

I picked up those festive socks for $5 at Target. Lots of different styles!

Brian F., Jeni, Susan, Brian P., Kathy, & Vera

The group ran between 3 and 5 miles and then headed to the bar at varying paces.  We really enjoyed our visitor from Boston, Vera, who is a long time friend of Maggie‘s.  Had to get a pic of them together.  Those long-lasting friendships tear me up really rock!  Love the hat too, Vera!

4.0 miles – 34:51 for  me, no stops other than for traffic at road crossings.  This will be my last run until the NYE 5K in Matteson.  I have decided that it’s in my best interest to give my right foot a rest.  Although the orthotics and cortisone shot have done wonders in eliminating the heel pain, I have noticed now that the heel pain is gone I also have some other issues.  The outer bone on my right foot is shooting pain when I walk or run.  Although it probably didn’t help that I fell down the stairs with Michael in the dark on FRI this is a set back, I need some time off to evaluate if this is just an aggravation in conjunction with Plantar Fasciitis or if it is something independent.  So, no running til NYE, then we will see how the foot fairs after a fast 5K…..at least I hope it’s kinda fast.

Think happy thoughts for me and my bum foot!  I shall return.  Big things for 2012 and I want to be healthy.

Cheers!                                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

Dear Santa…..

Dear Santa,

I realize I am you are really busy at this time of year but please don’t forget about the gifts I ordered from Amazon and Toys R Us  you, which will represent the BIG Santa gifts for our children.  Ironically, the BIG Santa gifts have yet to arrive be put on the sleigh.  I am absolutely sure that FED-EX  you have it under control but I just wanted to send out a friendly reminder.  Please forgive me for being cheap and not upgrading the shipping sending this last-minute reminder.  I would appreciate any help that you, or  your elves, could provide in lighting a fire under the shipping process  getting those gifts on the sleigh. 

Thanks again and Merry Christmas too ALL of you working in shipping/receiving/delivery at the North Pole!

Many Blessings                                                                                                                Momma Mrs. Santa – TooTallFritz

All Dressed Up…..

On Monday nights, the local running store, Running For Kicks sponsors a fun run out of the store front in Palos at 6pm.  For over three years, I have wanted to participate in one of these runs; however, my schedule sucks timing is wrong for me as the store is about half way between work and home.  If I stop at the store it is usually an hour before the run or a half hour after.  Today, I saw that they were doing a Christmas Fun Run and I attempted wanted to fit it in so that I could dust off my red Team Sparkle Skirt.  I honestly thought I could make it…until I hit Christmas rush-hour traffic.  Here is a photo of the RFK Christmas Group Run…..stolen photo alert….RFK facebook page. 

Great looking group.  Do you see anyone missing?  Right, I didn’t make the start.  I was probably 8 to 10 minutes late but as all of you know, that’s a good mile shy of the pack.  So I was all dressed up with nowhere to go…..red-team-sparkle-sketch.jpg

However, I came to run and I was going to run.  I run solo all the time but don’t drive 45 minutes each way to do it.  Mel D. pointed me in the right direction and off I ran into the darkness with my KnuckleLights.  I must say Mel’s directions had a little to be desired were vague seeing as I had neither been to a previous RFK group run nor ran in Palos ever before other than on race courses that RFK has sponsored….and my race motto is merely to follow the people in front of me.  I never stress about looking at a map, etc.  However, today I was running blind and trying to make the best of it.  Thank goodness for the CountryGirl sense of direction.   I did manage to catch a group of walkers and they gave me some very valuable instructions.  Then I somehow stumbled onto a group of runners.  But other than the few people I saw, I just tried to enjoy the neighborhood lights and the mild temps.  It was a really beautiful night….and HELLO…..I was wearing a RED SPARKLE SKIRT.  Here are a few homes that really caught my eye so glad they didn’t call the cops on me for photographing their homes.

I am happy that I was able to get out and grab some road time. I just ran a couple of loops multiple times, then when the homeowners started peeking out their windows, I would move onto another loop til I got in enough miles, then I headed back to the store.  In all, it was 6.56 miles in 1 hr 4 min.  Not lightning pace, but I did take some photos, plus had some directional issues, and I always am extra cautious in the dark.  So it was a good run for me.

An added bonus, I saw Judy & Kate when I got back to the store.  Then I begged got a few photos.  Gail & I: 

Gail was rockin’ some AWESOME socks.  Not sure which were hers but I was jealous!  Note:  photo stolen from the RFK facebook page!

Mel D. & myself – Lots of respect for this man, he helps a lot of people and genuinely cares about me you and my your running and foot pain.  Thanks, Mel!

I strongly encourage you to head over to RFK for one of their fun runs; but leave the house early so you don’t miss the start they are loads of fun with people you know and love, plus they will probably even feed you.  Sorry, I didn’t get to see more of you tonight.  I honestly tried, just don’t have enough minutes in the day.

Try to find the silver lining in any situation.  Some people have real problems so I need to remind myself don’t sweat the small stuff.  There will be other days, other runs and more life to live.  Try to do the best with what you have for today!  What is your best advice for handling the day-to-day disappointments mishaps?

Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                 amanda@tootallfritz.com

Carey – Extended Family – Christmas 2011

It is super hard to get the entire family together now as each of our families grow, and add spouses/children; however, this year, one of the Carey sisters sent us all an invite for a quick Christmas get together.  Fortunately I was in town, so yesterday was a jammed packed day for Ms. TooTall.  First, I ran with the F’N Running Club, then stopped for a few missing Christmas presents, then home to make Chicken Pot Pies for the Carey Family Get Together. 

Although this will never be a cooking blog, here is the pot pies in progress.  They were super easy:  1 bag of frozen chicken breasts cooked/shredded (I always cook my chicken in the crock pot, then pull it a part), Pillsbury Ready Made Pie Crusts, frozen peas/carrots/green beans (thawed), Campbell’s Cream of Celery (small can) and Cream of Chicken (large can) Soup concentrate, LOTS of Garlic & Pepper. 

They turned out really well, I would probably add a little chicken broth next time too because in an attempt to make sure they were thick and not runny, I went the other way and I think they needed a little more moisture although they certainly weren’t dry at all. 

We are also POTTY TRAINING full-time now.  Thanks to Nicole R. for posting on facebook that her 2.5 year old little one was taking the plunge cuz it was a big kick in the ass motivator for me to make it happen for Michael before the holidays because 1) he is ready, 2) it needs to happen and 3) time is of the essence.  So we are “all in” so to speak and there is no going back.  We went both days this weekend with very few accidents.  We even went to Aunt Sue’s last night in big boy pants and although mommy took the Resolve and a roll of paper towels he didn’t have one accident.  But who would want to potty in something this cool?

Aby has been pivotal in the potty training too because she helps him when I am folding laundry in another room and encourages him to go, even when he doesn’t want to do it.   These two will be inseparable for life, their bond is really remarkable.  Aby is an AWESOME Big Sis and I am super proud of her! 

Michael really isn’t into photos.  Aby – age 10 and Michael – age 2 (and three months cuz that’s important when you are a lil guy). 

Aunt Sue’s tree was really cool because it was decorated with Disney Characters.  I sat with the kiddos and we spent some time looking at all the ornaments.  Of course, Michael’s favorite was still a big Santa.  The kid is obsessed with loves Santa. 

The Carey, Labriola & Kunz Families

 The Carey, Labriola & Kunz Grandkids

Also, as an added bonus besides getting the kiddos together to run off some energy, Aunt Sue presented the Carey family with a coaster of their family crest.  She recently took a trip to Ireland to dig up some family history and one of her objectives was to find their crest…..mission accomplished. 

Super cool!  Makes me wonder, do the Fritz’s have a family crest?

How many family get-togethers will you be doing this holiday season?  Yesterday was the first of 3 for us.  I actually love doing the family thing, especially when other kiddos are involved so that ours can interact with their cousins.  How about you, do you like or dread the family functions? 

Happy Holidays!                                                                                                               Amanda – TooTallFritz