Dry Rot Leads to…..

Yesterday was an AWESOME day.  It was another beautiful day in the CHI and I somehow managed thanks to hubby doing toddler duty to fit in a run and a swim!!  I met up with a few F’N Runners to run 3 miles in the Hickory Hills extension.  Here is the 4:30 group:  Wayne, Kathy & Me with Susan behind the camera. 

It was hot as hell but a few raindrops started to fall as we were getting ready so I threw on a hat to shield my eyes.  Then it never did rain, which would have been nice to cool off the temps a bit.  We just did an easy 3 miles, which wasn’t so easy between the hills and the heat but we put it in the done column.  We also saw a ton of F’N Runners on the trail as there was also an early bird meet up for those who could start at 3:30.  I really do love seeing so many friendly faces on the trail.  I also met a triathlete named Kim who I am hoping will eventually join us for some fun runs!  Email me, Kim!!!

After the run, the real fun began as it was THE day that I was scheduled to get my ass back in the pool.  To be honest, I haven’t been in the pool since the completion of the Great Illini Challenge 70.3 in September of 2008.  To be honest, I would never get in the pool again if it weren’t for triathlon. To be honest, YES, I love triathlon that much that I got a tattoo forced myself to get back in the pool.  So after a long pregnancy/baby break for Mr. Michael,  I feel as if the family he is now mature enough for me to get back to what I really love.  And it all starts in the pool (stock photo, not me):

So that I can make it to the start line:

So that I don’t let those bitches swimmers swallow me up:

So that I can meet the first goal of making it OUT OF THE WATER:

So that I can hit the bike:

So that I can thank my Lord & Savior each time I am able to get off the bike, back on my own two feet, RUN (my favorite part by far) and most of all, FINISH:

I knew it would take a little acclimation to get back into the swim.  I’m not a fast swimmer but somewhat consistent and my major goal for this season is bilateral breathing.  This will be very beneficial in hopefully helping me swim straighter, more efficiently and allow me to be more flexible when the water is rough as I will be able to breathe on whichever side has less wake.

In order to facilitate some of these new goals, I got a small group together for a beginner swim clinic with a young lady I know who first and foremost is an awesome person, but who also swam competitively in High School and is a former lifeguard.  Thanks, Jackie!  This forced my accountability and made me dig out my swim gear when I would have been content to put off swimming for a “couple”  more months.  It was a joke at the pool that my swim gear was so old that everyone was surprised my google straps weren’t dry rotted.  When I took my goggles out of the box, they were in fact in intact.  Well, they lasted most of the session before the straps broke.  The new blast of chlorine did not agree with their age.  So apparently I need new goggles.  Ok.

Well, then the real “giggle” was when I got out of the pool and realized that my TRI top which was fine when I got into the water had basically disintegrated in the chlorine.  Thankfully, there was a solid panel in the front, and the “issue” was with the mesh on the sides and back.  The mesh DID NOT hold up to the new blast of chlorine either and when I got out fo the pool the top was VERY threadbare.  Thank goodness for my new Team Tough Chik TRI top which just arrived, and does NOT have mesh panels! 

I basically filled the garbage can at the pool with about half of the gear with which I started.  Good times and thank goodness for solid front panels in TRI tops. 

Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction? 

Last call for the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts winner Bridget Walters.  If you know Bridget, tell her to contact me soon or I will have to draw another winner.

Happy TRIing,                                                                                                                 Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                 amanda@tootallfritz.com




The Early Bird Got the Worm – Aspaeris Pivot Shorts WINNER!

This is truly a case of the early bird gets the worm.  The random number generator chose #3!  This gives the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts win to Bridget Walters.  Congratulations, Bridget!  Please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com so we can get you the shorts!!

I want to thank everyone for participating in this giveaway.  It was a lot of fun on my end and I really appreciate all of the interest.  For those of you who did not win, please use the 25% off coupon code:  PC2012 to place your orders. 

Thanks,                                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                              amanda@tootallfritz.com

March Madness?

March Madness for many may be ball sport related but for me the Madness of March 2012 is all about the weather.  My family and I are rushing around trying to fit in as many outdoor activities as possible afraid that the weather will make an attempt to return to winter.  As of yesterday, we had 4 straight days over 80 degrees and I wonder if that is a record?  Today may “only” reach 79 degrees but time will tell.

Yesterday I met up with the F’N Running Club to enjoy a run thru the Hickory Hills extension.  It was labeled the St. Paddy’s Day run and ironically, I showed up in pink.  Don’t ask.  Kathy showed too but was in red and refused to be in the pic so she was the photog for the day.  Thanks, Kathy!  From left back:  Me, Kevin, Lisa, Brian, Jim, Kim, Susan, Nicole, Tara, & Angela.  From left front:  Jeni, Don, Julie, Diane, & Maggie.

We also saw Melissa, Wayne & Nicole F. out running the trails.  WooooHooo, F’N Runners!  It was a beautiful day with temps in the low 60s when we began. 

Since it was so nice, I took full advantage of it by stopping for several pictures.  I was having breathing issues too so it was a good break until I realized the group was waiting on me while I was lolligagging

It was a 9 mile day for me on Saturday.  Not what I like distance wise for a long run but between the hills and my breathing, it was enough for one day.

Today I set out to meet up with the Park Forest Running and Pancake Club in Schubert Woods.  I didn’t make official run plans for this morning because last night was date night and well, no need to plan something that may not happen.  But, of course, we were home and in bed by midnight and Michael gets up between 5 and 6 am no matter what, so I was up to run.  I decided to go meet up with the Pancakers since I haven’t run with them in a looooonnnnnnng time, like my last run with them was the day before I found out I was preggo with Michael in February 2009.  And the bonus is that they run at 8 am on Sunday’s and somewhat close to my house so it wasn’t a big rush.

I wasn’t really sure where I was going, which was a bit stressful, but I knew I had to head toward Sauk Trail and Western, then what??  I had the map up on Eve my gps and as soon as I got close to that intersection I saw Chestnut Street pop up to the north and that triggered a buried memory that I was supposed to head that way.  So I did, turned on Chestnut (off of Western Ave in Park Forest) and ran right into a trailhead. Yay for dumb luck!

Unfortunately, I only saw one car and nobody waiting around so I assumed that nobody was coming.  I knew this Sunday run group was really light so I thought possibly with the racing schedules today or St Paddy’s Day the long run yesterday, that nobody was going to show, so I took off running right at 8 am.  I was instantly in LOVE with the beauty of this trail and wondering why I had never been able to come before now.

The main trial is a 4 mile loop.  There were lots of access points with parking and port-o-pots, plus I even saw picnic areas.  The trail had light traffic for today and was mostly shaded.  This will be an awesome spot to run when the temps are soaring this summer!  I only had one spot where I questioned the direction, and ended up running  a short spur that lead to a road before returning to the main trail.  So if you go by yourself, just say on the loop and keep going in a circular motion.  However, my lolligagging and picture taking misdirection allowed the Pancakers to catch me!  When I came back to the main trail after that short spur, I saw Mark B, Sue & Rob H (who mostly runs with Yankee).  I picked up the pace and ran a bit with them before Sue & Rob dropped at the trailhead to return to their cars.

Mark & I ran on to hit the “The Shoot”, a set of woods across Sauk Trail for a few more miles.  And then we picked up Alexis! 

Alexis is a local chiro who I have attempted to make contact with on many occasions over the years.  However, it seems our schedule between work and kids is not very compatible so this was our first meeting and I’m super excited to have finally met her!  According to Jenny G, Ms. Alexis recently “pipped me to the pole” in a local 5K race, so it’s good to know the chick who very recently kicked my ass racing.  Now I while can keep my eyes open for her “sneaking up” on me in the future!

The “Shoot” was an older section of the trail and very shady with mature trees and mossy green on the trail.  Super sweet!  This photo was in motion, so not as clear as I’d like but still cool! 

Today was a little over 8 miles for me.  Not fast at first but a few fast miles in the middle with the group, then I had to back off toward the end because I was toasted.  But I could breathe much better today and that is a huge WIN.  I was seriously thinking I’d have to go to the doc.  Yikes!  But I’ve pocketed hubby’s inhaler and am feeling decent.  Yay!!

Have you tried any new trails lately?  Do you think all trails look the same so find yourself content to run the same place all the time or are you always up for an adventure?

Last day to enter the Aspareris Pivot Shorts Giveaway HERE.

Happy Adventuring!                                                                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz

Drink Your Water!!

If you know me in real life or have been following for a while, you already know that I’m a water pusher.  I drink it all the time, all day long.  No soda for me, just water and beer.  I had a bottle with me non-stop roaming the streets of Miami and sitting on the beach.  I take a bottle of water to lunch with when I’m going out.  I’ve even been known to pull it out of my purse at a restaurant.  I have no shame.  I drink my water. 

As the temps in the  CHI are particularly warm this week, I wanted to remind all of you to drink your water too.  Water is not only good for hydration but it also is a natural way to flush toxins from the body.  So put down the coffee and grab a bottle of water!  If you aren’t a water drinker, then this may be tough for you, so just start by focusing on getting 2 liters down per day.   Then as you get used to it, you can increase the volume if you like.  My preference is to drink 4 liters a day.  Usually I get in 3 and the 4th is questionable but the goal is 4.  I drink out of liter bottles, which I refill, so I know exactly how much I’ve had. 

So as you go into this holiday weekend where alcohol consumption may be the center of your celebration, go in hydrated.  And don’t forget to get your long run in on Saturday so you don’t have to worry about it on Sunday after “celebrating” Saint Patrick’s Day. 

Please see the article below to learn more about the benefits of water.

                        Top 11 Health Benefits of Drinking Water by Mangosteen Natural Remedies

You will be amazed of the benefits of drinking water as follows: 

Benefits of Drinking Water

  1. Lose weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes down the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water reduces hunger, it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories. Here are the further details on how to achieve fat loss by drinking water.
  2. Natural Remedy for Headache: Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although many reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.
  3. Look Younger with Healthier Skin: You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases skin elasticity.
  4. Better Productivity at Work: Your brain is mostly made up of water, thus drinking water helps you think better, be more alert and more concentrated.
  5. Better Exercise: Drinking water regulates your body temperature. That means you’ll feel more energetic when doing exercises. Water also helps to fuel your muscle.
  6. Helps in Digestion and Constipation: Drinking water raises your metabolism because it helps in digestion. Fiber and water goes hand in hand so that you can have your daily bowel movement.
  7. Less Cramps and Sprains: Proper hydration helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, so you’ll less likely get cramps and sprains.
  8. Less Likely to Get Sick and Feel Healthy: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and other ailments like kidney stones and heart attack. Water with lemon is used for ailments like respiratory disease, intestinal problems, rheumatism and arthritis etc. In other words one of the benefits of drinking water is that it can improve your immune system. Follow this link for further information on how lemon water can improve your health.
  9. Relieves Fatigue: Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If your body lacks water, your heart, for instance, needs to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells, so are the rest of the vital organs, your organs will be exhausted and so will you.
  10. Good Mood: Your body feels very good and that’s why you feel happy.
  11. Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Related to the digestive system, some studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with bladder lining.

Can you see the importance of water to your body after understanding the above benefits of drinking water?

That is such a great article and full of reasons why you should go refill your water bottle now! 

On a totally unrelated sidenote, the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts giveaway is going on thru the weekend and I will draw a winner on Monday morning at 9am.  If you would like a chance to win but have yet to jump thru the hoops, please go to the link HERE and do so now.  If you can’t wait for the win but need a pair now, click on the Aspaeris link above and use the coupon code:  PC2012 for 25% off.  Go get yourself a pair!

Happy  Water Drinking,                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

Constantly Searching….

I am in a constant state of searching for motivational quotes, pictures or experiences.   This is not because I feel unmotivated but because I am banking them for when there is a need.  Or possibly so that I have them to draw on towards the end of a scorching hot race where it looks like I’ve just come off a swim rather than a run.

Many people who are just getting on the fitness/running train think that it’s easy for those of us who have been doing this for a long time.  They possibly think that marathon #5 is a cake walk in comparison to marathon #1.  Or the 20th half marathon will be easy because 19 have come before.  However, this isn’t necessarily the case.  Yes, we’ve done it before but life, and training, is different each and every day.   Part of being successful with fitness and running is being flexible and putting in the time/miles no matter what.  And a race is never easy unless you just aren’t trying.  Sometimes I get a little snippy when I hear somebody at a race say, “that was easy”.  After I heard this at a race last year, I spontaneously turned and looked at the lady and said, “well, you should have run harder”.  Not my best moment, I agree.  I realize that I REALLY need to think before I speak.  However, she looked at me and said, “you’re right, I should have, I will next time”. 

So if it’s easy, then it probably wasn’t worth your time, $$ or effort.  If you are taking the easy route then you may never get where you are going and you will certainly never maximize your potential. 

Not maximizing our potential is possibly one of the greatest fears of those of us with a few more miles under our belts.   We work hard to see results but have to be realistic that we will eventually age out and have to readjust our focus and goals.  So while you may be just jumping on the fitness train, we are running against time trying to be the best we can be before we start sliding in the opposite direction.  So no, this marathon is NOT easier because I have more experience.  In fact, it will be harder.  Expectations are higher. Goals are higher.  The fear of not maximizing potential will be higher.

I urge you not to settle, not to accept the limitations put upon you but to keep searching and keep reaching and keep moving forward to maximize your potential.  Every day counts.

Stay Motivated,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

I Won & Here’s a Giveaway – Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

Last night I went to the Running For Kicks Shamrock Fun Run in Palos.  I am coming off some higher miles, at least for me, so it probably wasn’t the smartest move but I wanted to go so that I could wear my green Team Sparkle skirt again!   However, knowing that my legs were extra fatigued, I was smart and grabbed my Aspaeris Pivot Shorts (APS). 

These are the only compression shorts I own and I really like them.  They have two layers, which I initially thought would be awkward but they go on easier than most compression wear, plus they stay in place and don’t move even during hard speed workouts on the treadmill.   I really love the way the compression feels on my hips and legs when I run.  Even though my legs were very fatigued last night, the compression adds just enough pressure to keep the blood flowing and help ease the soreness.  I actually feel pretty decent today.  Now if the shorts could just push me up those Ishnala hills! 

Here is the official description from Aspaeris:

Aspaeris Pivot Short™

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts™ are actually two pairs of shorts bonded together. The Outer Short is a high performance compression short designed to support your muscles. The Inner Short features our breakthrough, Dual Sensory Compression Bands™.

These cross-knit bands guide your muscles into the proper position, thereby improving your pivot performance, which helps prevent ACL and hip injuries.

The Aspaeris Pivot Short™ is not an ordinary compression short. Athletes who try the APS™ report feeling more confident in their ‘pivot moves’ and almost all feel more in control without being restricted.

 I ordered a pair of the APS at the beginning of the year and liked them so much that when we were gathering sponsors for our Chicago Ragnar Relay Team (You Just Got) Chicked, I contacted them to see if they would be interested in sponsoring our team.  I got lucky and they said yes!  So this added a few more pair of these babies to my collection.  My first purchase was practical and black in color, then I was a bit more adventurous with the sponsorship and added a pair of red and white.    The white worked out well for the Shamrock Fun Run because I won 2nd in the Most Festive Dressed contest!  Yay!  So nice to look good and feel good!  Thanks Aspaeris!

Through the Aspaeris Sponsorship for the Ragnar Relays, I agreed to tell YOU about these shorts and provide my honest opinion regarding my thoughts on the design and performance, which was easy for me because I already owned a pair and knew what I thought” about them.  In return for my sharing this information (and YOU reading it), they agreed to give one follower a free pair of shorts in their preferred size and color.  So if you would like a chance to win a free pair of shorts, a $60 value, here are the hoops through which you will need to jump:

  • Become a follower of this blog  (click on the +Follower button at the bottom) – 1 entry
  • Become a Facebook fan of TooTallFritz – 1 entry
  • Become a Facebook fan of Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – 1 entry
  • Link this post up to your Facebook page and announce the giveaway to your friends – 3 entries
  • Link up this post up to your blog and announce the giveaway to your followers – 5 entries

After you have done some/all of the above, please leave a comment in the comments section below and tell me what you have done and how many entries to assign you (max of 11).   If you are already a follower and a TooTallFritz Facebook fan, that is 2 free entries for you, just let me know that you would like to be entered in the drawing!  I will randomly generate a winner via a Random Number Generator on Monday, March 19th at 9 am.

If you don’t win, or can’t wait to try a pair of these out, then please feel free to use the 25% off coupon code:  PC2012 to get a discount on the Aspaeirs Pivot Shorts now. 

Good Luck,                                                                                                                   Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                               Amanda@tootallfritz.com

Spring Forward….

Yesterday was the first day of Daylight Savings 2012.  Being from Indiana, I have a love/hate relationship with Daylight Savings.  My entire life prior to moving to Illinois did not include changing the clocks twice a year.  Honestly, it just seems silly to me. While I understand the concept, it just doesn’t seem practical.  Apparently, somebody with a little power decided that it was getting dark too early so they passed a law to move the clocks back in the fall and forward in the spring.  Really?  Who sold that?  Now that was one damn good salesman.  Side note:  I would like to personally thank whoever came up with the “Fall Back, Spring Forward” slogan.  If not for that little diddy, I would NEVER know which way we were headed!

If you have kids and/or pets, you know that they have no regard to the hour on the clock so it is quite possible that YOU along with me are very crabby and tired today.  I feel dazed and confused.  What day is it?  What time is it?   Did that clock change automatically or do I need to change it?  Sitting here at my computer I see 3 different time displays which read drastically different times:  9:40, 10:02 & 8:40….hmmmmm, HELP!

My legs are also very tired today and I have a few minor twinges of pain/fatigue.  In the last 8 days, I raced a half marathon and a 5k, and I squeezed in a total of 50 miles.  Although this is totally unremarkable for some, this is very remarkable for me and my legs are definitely telling me anyone who will listen that they are whooooped.  I actually knew that before yesterday but that didn’t stop me from going out with Aurelia and hitting the trails in the beautiful sunshine.  We met up at  Yankee Woods and ran almost 11.5 miles.  I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Aurelia, stop & wave!

The Yankee Runners were also out and running hard.  We saw our fellow “Team Skirt” runner, Judy, and I begged her to stop for a photo.  Thanks, Judy!  Judy, Me & Aurelia:

I’m trying not to fall down into the ravine behind me:

Because apparently the 4 legged creatures don’t even go down there but run the ridge instead:

Aurelia flying back to the car, just down the hill then we are finished!!

After the run, I was shot, actually I was shot at about the 8th mile but as soon as I walked in the door of the house, Aby was adamant that we go out hiking.  Ummm, really?  Now?  Can we wait til after nap time?  No?  Okay, let me shower off fast and we will go hiking.  So off we went with Michael and Libby to the Monee Reservoir which is right down the road from our house.  They have some shorter hiking trails that are mostly grass.  The reservoir and wetlands surround the trail so if you go out that way, be prepared to get your shoes muddy!  The section we took was very scenic and just at 3 miles. 

Michael, Aby & Libby:

Me & Libby:

A few Black & Whites.  I actually don’t care for black & whites but my camera was still mad that we had to get up early to go running so it deleted a few of my Yankee Woods pics and then switched to B&W for some of the Monee Reservoir pics.  Touché camera, you win.   Are we even now?

Libby taking Aby for a drag:

Libby wanted to be off leash sooooo badly.  However, we were in a busy area with lots of other people/dogs, close to a busy road and train tracks.  She is a bird dog and as most know, they are bird dogs first and pet’s second, so she can be so focused she “forgets” to listen to her mommy.  Plus, I can’t be a bird dog mommy and a human mommy at the same time without somebody losing out.  So she had to stay in the “people” area rather than thrashing thru the brush and water on the hunt.

It was lots of fun going to the Reservoir, so close to home but still a bit of a change for the kids and Libby.  They loved it.  Maybe we will try Goodnowe Grove next weekend!  We have stayed pretty close to home the last couple of years due to Mr. Michael’s age but he is much better at traveling and trying new things now.  Toddlers are fun, particularly once they are potty trained!  🙂

What did you do this weekend?  Were you able to get out and enjoy the weather?

Happy Running,                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz

Oak Forest Fleadh 5K – Race Report

Fleadh – festive event of Irish traditional music and dancing; festival of Irish or Celtic culture.

Where to start in regards to the Oak Forest Fleadh 5K?  Well, it’s a great big party and when it comes to parties that include running, I like to be right there in the middle of it, especially when the party is basically in my own backyard.  Yep, I’m there.  I was number 59, so it “might” be safe to assume that I signed up early too.  🙂

A lot of things have changed over the last few years, one thing is that I have attempted stopped being so serious.  Not as serious about my seriously messy house, or my crazy toddler who seems to always be defining death safety and not as serious about me or my running.  Part of that transition has allowed me to have more fun while running and do stupid stuff like dressing up.  The St Paddy’s Day races are the BEST for dressing up.  I highly recommend you being as OUTRAGEOUS as possible and trust me, you will fit right in with all the other lunitics runners.  Our group had previously chosen a green sparkle skirt from Team Sparkle for our St Paddy’s Day racing fun!  Here are the F’N Runners minus Susan M who was floating around with her friends and family.  Top left:  Kim, April, Judy, Gennie, Kristina, Nicki.  Bottom left:  Aurelia, Maggie – MagMileRunner, Melissa – MadMamaOf4, Aby, & Me.

The “after” photo – minus half our sparkly crew.  April, Gennie, Me, Maggie, Aby, Nicki, Kristina & Kim: 

 F’N age group placers, who the announcer kept calling Team SKIRT. Maggie, Aby & I – all 3rd place finishers. 

Judy F. was also a 3rd place finisher but must have been frozen and had to leave bailed before awards and Nicole F. (F is for FRITZ!!  WHOOOOOOP!) took 2nd.  I believe it was possibly a PR day for most, if not all, of the F’N Runners other than myself.

                                                               The LOOT:Holy crap, this is one of the largest loot bags I have ever received.  There was some cool stuff, lots of coupons that can be actually used and some fun things like:  cups, can cozies, pens/pencils, stick-it pads of paper, letter openers, screw driver, cookies, candy, gripper pad to open jars.  And the award for the ODDEST goodie bag item ever has to go to the “Convenience Bag” for the disposal of vomit and urine.  Ummmm, Thanks?

Overall though, Oak Forest puts on a great race.  This is one of my favorite courses because it is soooo easy.  And I don’t mean easy as in flat because this isn’t the case but it breaks down into 3 parts very easily and you know exactly where you are and how far to go at all times.  The finish will never sneak up on you here unless you are too involved in running up the gigantic hill into the nasty wind or you were merely absorbed in your music.  From the start line, it is almost one mile out (north) on Cicero Avenue, then one mile in a neighborhood, then one mile back south on Cicero to the finish.  Done.   Perfect.  I believe I saw 2 waterstops and there were a few spectators.  It was short and sweet.  Not easy but well defined.

As for my race, I’m getting faster.  This race was a 23:47, which is the fastest 5K thus far for 2012, and considering the wind and hills, plus the near 40 miles that I ran in the last 7 days, I’ll take it.  Although my legs were definitely fatigued, I was more mentally prepared for both the wind and hills this year and did improve over last year’s 24:19 finish.  So that is a definite win!  I still have a lot of work to do but things are looking UP!  And it was a total bonus to be able to run the first mile with Maggie, so I had somebody to at least talk to a little bit.  Not that we said much but it was “kinda” like we were in it together for a minute before she ran away from me to secure another PR for herself.  Go, Maggie!!!!

This race really grew in size this year too.  Last year they recorded 330 finishers with the last recorded finisher at 1 hour and this year they had 542 finisher under the 1 hour mark.  Plus, last year I won my age group and was considerably slower in this race.  In my opinion, this year’s 3rd place finish is even more rewarding since the competition is getting better.  That’s what I like, let’s ALL get better and kick some ass!  Yay!

So if you have a chance to run the Oak Forest Fleadh in the years to come, I would definitely recommend it!  The post race party delivered raffles, lots of food, FRS, massages and a free beer at one of the local establishments!  Plus the community also had a full day of Fleadh events including a parade for the family!

Happy FESTIVE Running,                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

The Journey of One….

As a follow-up to yesterday’s Don’t Count Yourself Out post, I asked my friend Angela to write up a little something about her journey.  Angela is a good friend of mine who I have known for years.  When we first met, I believe it is safe to say that she was NOT a runner.  But alas, she finished the 13.1 Miami Beach race on Sunday right there along side 3200 other RUNNERS!

Angela’s Journey (unedited)

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Author Unknown

Until 3.5 years ago, I had no idea how to re-write my ending.  I was constantly unhappy with the face and body that looked at me from the mirror.  I was in a constant state of wanting to change, but lacking the power, dedication and knowledge to do so.  But when my daughter was born, a switch in me flipped.  It occurred to me that if I didn’t want her to grow up with the same body image issues I have had for my entire life, I had to make a conscious effort to change the path of my life.  Otherwise, she would most likely end up as I did—a teenager ashamed of her morbidly obese mom and incredibly lacking self-confidence.  

So a few weeks after Summer’s birth in September 2008, I began the new chapter of my life.  I was 220 lbs.  I enrolled in a boot camp at our local YMCA.  By showing up and giving my all, I was able to win a six month membership that helped keep me on the right track.  

My neighbor was a runner. My husband was  a runner.  For so long I had sat around and said “I could NEVER do that.  I’m not built for it.”  But I finally made the decision to give it a shot. I was tired of staying behind and of saying I couldn’t.    So one day I started running.  I made it less than half a mile and thought I was going to die. But I didn’t.  Every day I went a little farther.  And farther.  Until one day I made it all the way around the 3 mile loop in our neighborhood.

In February 2009, I ran my first ever race, a local 5K.  It was so great to have something active to do with hubby. 

But I still had a very love/hate relationship with running.  I hated it while I was doing it, and I hated the thought of doing it, but I was always proud of myself afterward.  It wasn’t until Christmas 2009, when we took a trip to Missouri and got basically snowed in, that my attitude shifted.  As I ran on a treadmill at the Y there, after being holed up with my two crazy kids for several days, I realized I would never again look at running the same way again.  When we got back home to South Florida, it was no longer something I just did. It became something that defined me. 

Lucky for me TooTallFritz and I had become friends in my former life.  I picked her brain a lot. She wrote in her last post that sometimes you are lucky enough to have a friend who will support you and give you motivation, and she was that friend for me.   I always knew if I was hung up or stuck, I could drop her a line.

I don’t race much.  My race history can be summed up as a couple of 5Ks and a sprint distance triathlon.  I don’t run to train for things.  I run to stay sane, to be strong, and to set a good example for my kids.  I would race more if we were not on such a tight budget.  Every single year, I plan to do a few races, but I usually end up doing only one.  I’d been thinking about doing a half marathon for a while, but was having a hard time justifying the expense.  I finally took the leap last year and signed up for the Miami Beach 13.1 in March 2012.   You have to understand.  Up to 3.5 years ago, this fell under the category of IMPOSSIBLE.  UNIMAGINABLE.  UNATTAINABLE.

Now, nothing is impossible.   The whole thing was made absolutely perfect by the fact that Amanda decided to make a destination race of it and came to see me for this thing.   I always tell people that if I can run, they can run. Nothing is impossible.  The only limits that apply are the limits that you impose on yourself.  Sometimes I have a hard time coming to terms that I will never be the fastest—in fact, everyone I know is significantly faster than me.  But no one has my story, and I have to remind myself of that often.  I finished my first half in 2:49:52.  It was made extra awesome by all of the friends waiting for me at the finish.  By Amanda coming back to run those last few miles with me.  

Nothing is impossible.  Dream big and go for it. 

Angela – March 9, 2012

I think we can all agree that this is an amazing journey. It’s amazing because she wanted to make the change and she did it.  Nowhere will you see her say that it was easy.  We all know it w

Continue reading

Don’t Count Yourself Out…..

Most of us start running for fitness.  We start as run/walkers and we build.  Very few people I know are like my friend Abby S. who was a spectator at the London Marathon and decided on the spot that she too was going to run a marathon.  Of course, Abby had never ran a single mile prior to that decision but she signed up for the 2007 Chicago SCORCHER Marathon and ran it.  Because she wanted to do it.  Because she could do it.  Because who knows what tomorrow will bring and where it will take a person.   Abby  & I in the 2008 Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon in Ft Wayne, IN.

For those of us “builders”, it’s a process. We don’t start out with the intention to run long and the thought of a marathon NEVER enters our mind.  If we are lucky, we have one friend who is on the fitness bandwagon and will help and encourage us through daily emails and mentoring.  If we aren’t that lucky, we slug along ourselves, watching our food intake and fitting in as much exercise as we can muster, probably giving up much-needed sleep in the process.  We are sore from not knowing the proper protein to carb ratio for recovery (4:1).  We are discouraged because we are hungry from not eating enough but we are DETERMINED to do whatever it takes to lose the baby weight or the freshman 15 or the “just married” blissfully ignorant to our heath 25. 

Regardless of your level of education on health, wellness & nutrition in the beginning, you will start  do research, ask questions, and learn what works for you.  Your body will get stronger and while it will never be easy, you will be able to do “more” with the same level of effort.  If you run/walk, you will be able to run longer, or possibly you are running the same distance but you are getting faster.  You will meet new friends who are EXCITED about your new lease on life and your new healthy activities.  Your new friends will create a support system for you that you may not have had at home.  You will gain the courage to join a group run.  You will say that you can’t really run because you have bad knees.   And then before you know it you will be standing on the start line…..because that is where your new friends are standing.  You are ready to run your first race.  It is probably a 5K but this is just the beginning.  You know you will NEVER be ready for a half or full marathon, well, maybe you can try a half.  You know, just run/walk it.  With training, it might be a possibility.  And the “group” is signing up for a full, which is 9 months away.  Where will you be in 9 months?  Could you?  Hmmmm, let’s see how the half goes…….

Don’t count yourself out.  Each day is a new day.  Your abilities today have no reflection on where you will be in 6 months or a year.  Surround yourself with positive people who have a CAN DO attitude and you too will realize that YOU CAN DO the unimaginable. 

Where will you be 12 months from now?  Don’t be afraid to wonder, what if?

Dream, Imagine, Believe!                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz