8 Days til Ragnar Chicago – 8 Ragnar Questions Answered

There are so many questions floating around about relay races, some people live under a rock haven’t even heard about them and others just don’t know much about them.  So here are the top 8 questions which I get regarding Ragnar.

Ragnar Chicago Header

  1. How do you get a team together?  Answer:  I joined a team that was partially formed by RunWithJess.  You may think you know a ton of people who run and would jump at the opportunity to participate in such a momentous event but getting 6 (for an ultra team) or 12 people (for a regular team) to commit, pay and show up is a bit of a reality check.  **I actually know a local team who needs 2 runners for the race NEXT WEEK.  If you are interested, please let me know and I can get you in contact with them.  They have a regular team and you could pick your position, distances for the 3 legs you would need to run could be as low as 13 miles (total) or as high as 20 miles, you get to pick.  Girls or guys welcome.  2 people  needed.**
  2. Where will you sleep?  Answer:  Due to the way our 6 chick team is set up with us rotating, I will be running every 6th leg, we will also need to drive, navigate, and encourage/aid the teammate running at the time…..I really don’t see much sleep in our equation, like I probably won’t waste the space by taking a pillow/blanket.
  3. Where will  you go to the bathroom?  Answer:  This is a big issue!  We have been warned that we can only go to the bathroom in the designated areas, drop-off points and/or official port-o-pot locations.  Fun, I hope we don’t have any GI issues.  This one could get a little messy…..quite literally.  Oh, and we will get disqualified if we go to the bathroom anywhere other than an “official” location.  Awesome.  I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for one of these….

    porta potty

    Wonder if we could get a little trailer, rent a port-o-pot and haul it behind the van?  Maybe charge $1 for every non-team member who would like to use it?  I bet it would pay for itself.  🙂

  4. What will you eat?  Answer:  A lot of relay teams actually take the time to stop, eat, get coffee, etc.  However, I don’t think that will be in the cards for us since we are rotating runners so quickly and will be spending all non-drive time in line for the port-o-pot.  Our team is planning to take our food.  We have a few runners ME, ME, ME who may, or may not, have a sensitive tummy and we want to control the food intake as much as possible.  I’m seriously considering getting giant tortilla wraps, spreading them heavily with peanut butter and rolling it up with a giant whole pickle in the middle.  This will give me carbs, fat, protein & salt.  Sounds crazy but I won’t have to worry about soggy bread!  Whatcha think? 
  5. Do you really have to run all night?  Answer:  You betcha!  (Can you say that in the Sarah Palin voice?)  Each person in the van needs a reflective vest and is required to wear it during the run portion and at any point when they are outside the van from 7:30pm til 6am.  Huge thanks to MagMileRunner and RunningKellometers for letting us borrow their vests!  Basically if it’s your leg to run and it’s dark, congrats, your running in the dark.  I’d suggest a nice pair of KnuckleLights so you can see where you are going, so much better than headlamps!  Each runner also needs a red blinker for their bum back.   This means if one person gets lost, everyone following their little blinker will most likely follow them into no man’s land.  Awesome.
  6. What happens if somebody gets injured or sick during the race and cannot complete the relay?  Answer:  This is a very REAL issue.  You cannot sub in runners after the race commences.  Whoever you have in your van must complete the legs assigned.  Therefore, if Suzie gets injured, then one of her van-mates will need to run the remainder of her legs or possibly carry her, if they are really nice.  🙂injured runner being carried
  7. Is there a time frame in which you must complete the race?   Answer:   According to Ragnar rules, each runner needs to maintain an 11 minute mile pace.  However, each team member had to identify a 10K pace (I padded mine with a “few” extra minutes considering I will be running 33 miles in total….hoping not to fizzle out!!) in order for the race director to select start times and order the teams in a way that the event runs smoothly.  They don’t want too many people/runners moving thru an area at any given time.  Basically, you need to stick to your pace because there is a lot going on to which you are not privy.  So pick an honest pace and try to stick to it so that it doesn’t domino a series of events which you cannot control.  If your team runs too fast, Ragnar officials can hold your team for up to a couple hours to get your team back on track pace wise.  No mention if you run too slow which I hope isn’t a personal problem for me!
  8. Are you crazy?  Or maybe the exact question was “Have you lost your mind?”  Answer:  TBD.  I don’t think I’m crazy but that is according to my personality.  For some, this type of thing would be considered crazy.  I personally try to do ONE thing each year that is “outside MY box”.  The “ONE THING” isn’t always fitness related but normally that’s the kind of challenge I gravitate toward.  Just one thing.  Once a year. Something to impact me as a person and push my limits.  2012 = Ragnar Chicago.  If that’s crazy then, move over cuz this crazy runner is barreling thru….. all the way from Madison, WI to  Chicago.  WhoooooooHoooooooo!


Do you also try to  do something every year that you consider to be “outside the box”?   Do you have any Ragnar questions which you would like me to “attempt” to answer?       

** Happy CRAZY Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

9 Days til Ragnar Chicago – 9 Things Ragnar Chicago

We are officially 9 days out from the start of the Ragnar Relays 2012 Chicago edition!

Ragnar - I Ragnar 

So today’s focus will be on 9 things Ragnar “Chicago Style”!

  1. The Chicago Edition of the Ragnar Relays includes 198.3 miles of run fun which travels  the Midwest from Madison, WI to Montrose Beach in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. ragnar-map2
  2. Each team participating will have either 6 or 12 participants.  The 6 person team is considered crazy an ultra team,  meaning that each member will be running more than the 26.2 distance over the course of the event. Here is my crazy ultra team – You Just Got Chicked.   We are Team #85 and we start our fun run at 7:30 am on Friday, June 8th.ragnar_ladies_tree
  3. The race will blow thru 3 college towns:  Madison, WI  (University Wisconsin – Madison),  Evanston, IL (Northwestern University) and lastly Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood for a view of the Loyola campus and a run down the beautifully shaded Sheridan Road.
  4. The course will include two big name trails:  The Glacial Drumlin Trail and the Oak Leaf Trail.  The Glacial Drumlin Trail is 52 miles in length and considered to be one of Wisconsin’s best bicycle trails.  It is an abandoned rail trail, which always means flat and fast if you are looking for speed.  Expect to pay a fee for a day pass to enjoy this gem. DSCN4514-Glacial_Drumlin_TrailThe Oak Leaf Trail is free and consists of a network of trails surrounding the Milwaukee area.  This trail is also a rail trail of 108 miles in length.  Of those 108 miles, the trail boosts over a quarter of its mileage along the shores of Lake Michigan!                                                                                                                  Oak Leaf Trail                  Oak Leaf Trail 2
  5. Those of us familiar with relays are probably going back to our school days and thinking about passing the baton.  No, we do not need to carry a baton for 200 miles.  Each team will be issued a slap bracelet which we will transfer to each new runner.  Photo source:  Team – My Big Fat Ragnar Wedding, Ragnar Napa Valley.  See recap HERE.                           ragnar-bracelet 
  6. Each team will travel in 1 or 2 vans to get runners to/from exchange points.  We will have 1 van for our 6 lovely chicks.  Hmmmmm, how to decorate the van to suit our team/personalities?
  7. Each team may, or may not, have a driver to navigate the course.  I believe as of last week, our runners serve as the athletes, drivers and spotters/navigators.  I think the navigation scares me more than the running and driving.  🙂
  8. Short of injury or illness, we must keep the same rotation of runners.  I’m “Chick 3” and will be running the legs for runner #3 and runner #9.  The legs include:  #3 (2.7 miles – easy), #9 (8.2 miles – very hard ……gee, I hope it’s dark too), #15 (5.3 miles – moderate), #21 (5.3 miles – moderate), #27 (5.6 miles – hard), #33 (4.8 miles – moderate).  Total  for Chick 3 = 32.1 miles and I’m dedicated to an 8:30 pace.
  9. Our race starts at 7:30 am on Friday, June 8th and if we maintain pace, then we will be finished and sipping beer on Montrose Beach approximately 30.25 hours later, which is 1:45pm on Saturday, June 9th.  Look for us, we’ll be there .                                              Montrose Beach

Have you ran any relay races?  Any tips for us? 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

No Regrets…

I live with a “No Regrets” mentality.  I don’t waste time looking back at what has been and lament about things I did wrong or even wish that things were different.  I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that God plays a huge roll in every aspect of our lives even if we don’t understand why or recognize the work He has done.  No regrets, things are as they should be and it is our job to accept.  No regrets.

So each year, I jam as much as possible into my life because I know that at some point this will all come to an end and all that will be left are the stories.  In fact, I frequently see  a shirt that One More Mile makes that sums it up perfectly.

there will come a day_shirt

In fact, if you know me in real life, you have probably heard me say on occasion, “oh, that’s gonna hurt…. but it will make a good story”. 

Last week should have been my biggest training week for the Chicago Ragnar Relays but life “kinda” got in the way.  Even my running watch noticed.

NikeWatch_Are We Running Later

I may have mentioned it before but if you are going to be a slacker, don’t buy the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch, it totally calls you out.  I’ve only had one other time when I saw a message on my watch and that was when I took some time off at Christmas to try to get the Plantar Fasciitis in check.

Between life, and an attempt to heal my left hip from tripping on a crack in the sidewalk and jamming it up and also NEEDING to heal the aching Plantar Fasciitis, last week was a bit light on workouts.  You’d think I’d feel better and refreshed but I don’t.  I do think we are making progress with the hip but the PF is out of control.  The current method of treatment for the PF is a process of scraping the fascia to break up any scar tissue/residue and hopefully eventually curing the PF to the point where I won’t need the orthotics.   It hurts like hell.  It’s not going well and has inflamed the PF back to it’s original state of pain.  It hurts to walk and run.  It hurts to stand.  It hurts.

I did manage 2 runs this weekend.  A beautiful 10.5 miler on Saturday morning.  The trail is alive and beautiful and makes me happy to be out there moving. 


It took 5 miles before the hip loosened up and I could actually run faster than a 9:30.  The second half of the run was much better and I was back down into the 8:45 range, not great but I was comfortable for most of it until probably the last mile when the hip really started burning and the PF was getting extremely cranky.


But I was happy to be out!  Then Sunday, I went 7 miles and that wasn’t pretty.  The hip didn’t bother me at all but the PF was very angry from the Saturday run so it was a run/walk fest.  Yesterday I rested.  The PF is even worse today.  Hmmm….how to handle the next month?

So, although I have “no regrets”, I certainly am not excited that the official kickoff to Chicago Marathon training started yesterday.  I can manage the pain with TRI training because the intensity of the run is low; however, I know from experience that the pain just increases and spreads with the high mileage that marathon training requires.  And then I have that little thing called the Ragnar Relay which is in 10 days. and oh yeah, I’m on an ultra team.  Hmmmmm……..

No regrets but things could be looking a little better at this point.  🙂

No complaints but anyone have a cortisone shot in their pocket?  I know that doesn’t fix anything but it sure does make things a lot more bearable.  You wouldn’t tell Alexis L that I got a cortisone shot while she was trying to cure my PF, would you?  Shuuuuussh, cuz I’m seriously thinking about it.

How was  your weekend?  Did you print your training program for the Chicago Marathon?   If not, you need to think about doing that.  If you are in half marathon shape, and are not freaking out about the fact that you have to run a marathon in 18 weeks, you will need to start training the first week of July.  If you are not in half marathon shape, then you need to start training…….. yesterday.

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com **

Recharge Your Battery!

As we approach the holiday weekend, I want to take a minute to remind you to take some time for yourself and rest.  Everyone needs to recharge their batteries on occasion and this 3 day holiday is the perfect time!

recharge your battery

Many of you will be racing and I hope after that you will kick your feet up, grab a cold bottle of beer water and eat some frozen grapes. Red grapes are tastier then green when frozen, in case you are wondering, and the kids love them!

feet up in Miami

Although, I won’t have my feet up in Miami this weekend, I will be at the lake, on the boat or lounging on my patio.  A tropical location is NOT necessary to enjoy some R&R.

lounge chair hammock

So grab a cold beverage, a lounge chair or hammock, and commence recharging.  We have a full summer ahead of busting our asses bustling activity and this may be the last chance you get to take a few minutes for yourself.

How do will you be recharging yourself this weekend?

** Happy Recharging ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Landscape Cross Training!

No, I’m not out of town.  No I’m not injured so badly that I can’t run or bike.  No I’m not working late even though I should.  What I AM doing is working on my annual Landscape Cross Training which occurs in a mad rush the week prior to Memorial Day weekend.  Tonight will be the third night in a row of Landscape Cross Training.

Fortunately, the weeds and giant thistles have been pulled prior to them going to seed.  Yay!  🙂

         Pulling Weeds   thistle_big ones

I have repurposed an old, torn pool cover for ground cover in an attempt to keep SOME thistles from popping through my mulch!

Pool Cover

I have purchased some new shrubs in an attempt to retake the thistle thriving territory.


weigela wine & roses

I have spread mulch, more mulch and then yep, I have more to spread.


I’m still not done but it’s Wednesday and I will trade in some cross training for running with the F’N Runners!  Then I’ll go home and hopefully finish planting & mulching…..so I can  start work on the pool.


Which may or may not have some living creatures.

frog swimming

So we can have a pool party!


Any landscape cross training for you this week?  Any green swimming pools that you are trying to bring back to life for the holiday weekend? 

** Happy Landscaping ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Neuropathy Awareness Run


Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the peripheral nerves—the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs.  It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.  Peripheral neuropathy’s course is variable; it can come and go, slowly progressing over many years, or it can become severe and debilitating.  However, if diagnosed early, peripheral neuropathy can often be controlled.

On Sunday, I hauled my ass out of bed went to an awareness run for Neuropathy.  There is one lady in our running club who suffers from the disorder and has started a support group to help others with the condition. 

I’m pretty sure that none of us really knew anything much about the disorder prior to the info that we have gleaned from Jenny G over the last several months.  I’m pretty sure that none of us really wanted to get up early on a Sunday to go run in the heat but in true F’N fashion, we showed up to support a good cause.

If we have nothing, we at least have each other, right?

I did a little research via The Neuropathy Association and Medial New Today and learned a few things.  All of the information below is from one of the above websites as I have zero knowledge of Neuropathy which I can call my own.  Please refer to the above sites for more in-depth information or go to my favorite resource for all things medical, the Mayo Clinic website HERE.

  • Neuropathy causes a weakness in the arms & legs.
  • Neuropathy is characterized by tingling, numbness and pain in the extremities.
  • May cause lack of coordination.
  • There are over 100 types of neuropathy.
  • 20 million American’s currently suffer from this disorder, ages vary.
  • 30% of the cases are a side effect of diabetes, 30% are from “unknown” reasons and/or causes.
  • Other non-diabetes causes include:  autoimmune disorders, tumors, infections, toxins, heredity, & nutritional imbalances.
  • This is treatable and will improve once any underlying causes are corrected.
  • Don’t panic, it could be worse!

If you or somebody you know needs more information, please feel free to contact the Illinois Peripheral Neuropathy Support Group at ipnsg.com for more information on this disorder and how to stay active despite the numbness and pain.  Remember to always be proactive with any situation!

Anything to add regarding Neuropathy?  Do you have any type of disorder (that you’d like to share) that causes you constant pain when you run or cycle?  Can you imagine how it would feel for each step you take to be a painful one?  Okay, if you share my “love” for Plantar Fasciitis, maybe you can but that will eventually go away we hope.

**Happy PAINFREE Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Devil Dash 5K – Peotone – Race Review

This was another jam packed weekend.  Friday included an intense session with Alexis L, the Chiro/Muscle Manipulator/Miracle Worker.  I left feeling excited but sore.  Let’s hope a couple sessions with her leave me repaired and ready to kick some butt!

I also managed a 30 mile bike ride despite several mishaps, including a badly broken bike that led to dirty hands an emergency trip to a trailside bike shop.  Huge thanks to Plank Road Cyclery in Frankfort for reattaching the derailleur.


Saturday brought the Devil Dash 5K in Peotone which was a fundraiser for Aby’s school district.  Last year this race was a week earlier so we were able to participate in this and some of the other local races; however, this year, the local races all fell on the same day.  Poor planning on everyone’s part, in my opinion,  but certainly easier on the checkbook and my body.

Devil Dash 2012

The Peotone race is one that I will participate in, as long as I am able, and as long as my kids are in the school district but it’s not one that’s going to draw a big crowd even if they don’t do it on the same day as everyone else.   We had 68 finishers this year and I was 13th, the 3rd woman overall.   Aby was 27th.  She was the youngest runner but did not receive an award because they did not have an age division for her.  The age groups started at age 13 and they were a bit skewed compared to other races.  My normal age group would be 35-39 or 30-39 if it’s a small race.  However, my age group was 33-45 on Saturday. 

The race was very family friendly and we took the entire family & a few extras!  Aby, Michael & Jackie are below in the first photo.  Me, Aby & Nicki & Michael are in the second photo.  Aby & I were rocking our Team Tough Chik singlets although neither of us were feeling too tough after this race!

Devil Dash_2012_kids & jackie Devil Dash_group

Out of the 68 finishers, there were lots of run/walkers, mom’s with jogging strollers, etc.  We all came out to help raise money for our kids school district.  I doubt we had many participants out of the district but this was about our kids and that’s why we at the start line.

My time wasn’t in the normal range, not even for a less than ideal day but I ran, and I finished in 26:41.  Always consider a run and a finish a success because there are so many people who would love to be able to do what YOU do, each and every day.  Try not to beat yourself up when you don’t perform as you want/expect.  We are very fortunate for our health, even with a few aches & pains, and our desire to get out and be active, feel the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces! 

The course was a bit shy of the 5K distance last year and I ran a 22:17….huge difference, I know, but we had two different days and two different courses.  The 2011 race was cool, overcast and seemed to be the perfect race.  I was feeling good and strong the entire time and I remember thinking the course was great.  I think I was #6 overall last year, 2nd female and I won my age group.

This year it was hot, the course was slightly long (3.3 miles) and it seemed like we made a million turns.   I felt lost in a town that I am in several times a day.  I know it’s all perception but this was quite possibly the longest 5K ever both literally and figuratively.  I also was having trouble and couldn’t get a full stretch on my stride.  This started when I tripped over the crack in the sidewalk, see that recap HERE, and has progressed into something of its own.  I feel as if I have bricks hanging off each side of my bum!  When I stride out to run fast, it’s like my leg catches and its just too tight to hit full stride.  How the heck do I explain that to the chiro?  She’s gonna think I’m crazy!!  So the fact that I was struggling physically quite possibly attributed to my less than ideal race.  You can see in the photos that it doesn’t look as if I was picking my feet up at all.  Going to talk to Ms. Alexis about this on Friday.

devil dash 2012_me devil dash 2012_me2 devil dash 2012_me3

Aby was apparently having no trouble getting her feet off the ground.  🙂

devil dash 2012_aby  devil dash 2012_aby3 devil dash 2012_aby4

There was 1 water stop at the half way point, volunteers or police at every turn, except the turn into/thru the Jr. High parking lot and park district area.  We ran thru this area last year and we ran thru it again this year although I have no idea if this was part of the new route.  If we had cut this area and ran straight into the water stop, I’m pretty sure that we would have been right on the 3.1 mark but we all did the same thing and ran the same route regardless of if it was right or wrong so that’s all that matters. 

No chip timing and the start commenced by the sounding of a horn, which left us all looking around wondering if we should start…..which we eventually did take off.  Kinda funny really.  We received a nice technical tee that was a men’s size.  There were lots of post race snacks/drinks and the awards were given out as soon as people realized they had won something.  The race was overall much smoother than last year but I’m holding out for the 3rd time is the charm and hoping that the 2013 route will be more runner friendly, have fewer turns and is on the money distance wise.  Not a bad race for the price it’s 2nd year but I know they will do better in the future. 

After the race, hubby took us out on the boat so we could lick our wounds for some  R&R!  Yay, thanks honey!  Aby and Michael love the boat and being on the water. 

Kids on Boat_5-19-12

I am making an effort this year to cover up more and protect my sunspots face from the sun.  I have always been a sunscreen nazi but am also going to try to wear a hat and glasses this year for added protection.  I opted for the Ryder Shots sunglasses because of the photchromic property which lightens and darkens the shade of the lens to the conditions.  I have been wearing these non-stop on the run and bike for over about a month so knew they were light weight and wouldn’t bother me and I was right, I didn’t have to take them off once the entire day.  Big win for me!  I think I’m going to add a pair of the polarized Ryders to my “collection” for our boat outings. 


Did you race this weekend?  How did you perform in the heat wave?  Tell us how you did!  Do you like to boat and spend time on the water or is it all pool time for you?

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

A Family Affair….

There are several reasons why I love my running club but the number one reason is that we get out the door, no matter what.  Rain, Sleet, Snow, Darkness and even when we have our kids & fur babies in tow.







FN Runners_12-18-11



Palos Half_Maggie

Thanks F’N Runners for making me and my family feel like we have found a home amongst the running community. 

Sometimes we even have a little post-run fun!


FNRC_Shamrock 2012

Have you found your running/fitness family yet?  If not, better start searching or you can join us.  The more the merrier!

Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **  amanda@tootallfritz.com

Reality Bites….

I hate to use the term “Reality Bites” but as runners & athletes we want our body to move at 110% all the time.  We work hard and give as much as we can manage in the limited amount of time we are able to carve out of work, family, life, and the dreaded commute.

At the point in time when we realize that our body doesn’t have a 110% to give, we must then deal with reality.  Not ignore the situation but deal with it so it does not get worse.  Hear me?  If you are hurting, listen to your body and do something about  it.

I’m 2 days away from the race that I ran the very fastest last year, the Devil Dash 5K in Peotone.  On May 14, 2011, I ran this race in 22:17, which is smokin’ fast for me!  I’d like to run well this year.  I have no idea if I can run a 22:17, I’d hazard as guess as to NO, probably not.  I’m not particularly fast this year, not particularly slow either but just hanging in the mediocre range.  However, my left hip is screaming at me. 

Did I mention that I tripped over a raised crack in the sidewalk three days before my last half marathon?   Stock photo, not “my” crack.  That sounds really bad, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I “probably” forgot to mention it.  Well, I jammed up my left hip because I’m clumsy and I tripped. I have been stretching, icing & taking motrin but this hip never properly recovered from Mr. Michael’s birth so it leans toward the damaged side on a good day.  I had bad big issues with it last spring, which I attributed to “overuse”.  That’s what everyone else wants to blame but I seriously don’t think that is the real cause.  Hello, Mr. Michael.  Anyhow, I firmly believe that this hip issue is also the root of my Plantar Fasciitis, which still lingers in a muted state most of the time even with the expensive orthotics, the treatments & the 2 cortisone shots I’ve had over the last 6 months.

So reality hit last night when my “tight” hip started burning during our run.  Yep, had to cut my favorite run of the week short.  I left after 8 miles to go home and cry soak in an ice bath.  I’m calling Alexis L for an emergency miracle session as soon as I’m done bitching with this post.  I’m not happy but I know it could be far worse, like Lisa E pedaling her axx off on the stationary bike with her broken foot cuz she can’t run.  Or a high school alum of mine who won’t be participating in the Olympic Trials (or London) cuz of nagging injuries.  As always, reality bites.

How long do you wait before contacting a doc regarding a nagging “tightness” or pain?  I always think it will work itself out but I’m still waiting and its been 14 days.  The “tightness” keeps getting worse not better.  Not the direction I’d like to move.  Any chance I can run super fast on SAT after a miracle magic chiro session?

I’m off to call the chiro!  Let’s hope I can get in….

Happy PAIN FREE Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com


Aby is 10 years old.   She is very young 5th grader and she has the mentality of a kid.  I’m a firm believer that she is at a very sensitive age and she needs guidance and structure but there isn’t much need to kill her in the workout realm.  Running should be fun for her and if she doesn’t enjoy it then we encourage her to try band, choir, dance, martial arts, etc. whatever she would like to do to keep moving.  Active children are GOOD, it’s tough on us but it really does keep them out of trouble. 

Aby started asking to run races when she was really young, probably 4 or 5.  I said, “No”.  I kept telling her she couldn’t run a race until she could pronounce it.  At the time, she called 5Ks a “K-5”.  Once she was 6, I let her do a few kid races, like the Mini Muddy Buddy.


When she was 7 & 8, we were dealing with pregnancy & new baby fun with Mr. Michael. 

Aby&Michael_first mtg Aby&Michael_jogger

When she was 9, I finally relented and let her start racing.  Her race debut was the Ringing In Spring 5K in Valpo in April 2011 where she took her age group for the win.  She didn’t stop racing, or placing, all summer.  Ringing in Spring, Devil Dash 5K in Peotone, PTO 5K in New Lenox, Mokena Summertime Stride,  Courthouse Classic in LaGrange, IN, Fort4Fitness 4 miler in Ft Wayne, IN.  She ran these all herself, not with me.  I ran my race, which some say is “mean” but my theory is that if she was old enough to want to do it, then she was old enough to push herself to the finish. And she did.  Each and every time.

Aby & Me_RingingInSpring_2011


Aby & Me_Devil Dash 2011

 NL PTO 5K Aby&I_Mokena Summertime Strides 5K Aby & Me_Courthouse Classic_2011

89041-1770-021f Apparently, the timing was right, she was having fun and we soon got notice that 5th graders could join the middle school kids for Cross Country.  Wow, that was new; it wasn’t like that when I was a kid.  So after a great summer of road racing, Aby turned 10 and moved into school sponsored running.  Things changed.  She was having fun during the summer, I would encourage her and cheer for her and it was very low key.  The crowds were big at our local 5Ks so she always performed well in the pack and did well in her age group.  Now she was competing with kids much older and stronger.  She struggled but kept her head up and kept running.  Although her school program was very underdeveloped, there were several young girls on the team who bonded and fought thru together.  I was always around but since I was “mom”, Aby didn’t think I knew anything.  If I tried to help, or give advice, she would roll her eyes, so I settled for the supportive “mom” roll and let her do her thing.Aby_CC_2011

Then track season rolled around and the “fun” left with all the young distance runners who quit the track team.  The middle school track system doesn’t allow much for distance runners anyhow, just the 1600 meters, which is a mile and basically it’s a full out sprint now.  Super scary!  Our little country school had two “distance” runners.  One girl who went to state in Cross Country (yep, she is fast) and Aby.  Gulp.  It was a rough season, Aby put herself out there each and every time and got pulverized on the track.  She doesn’t know how to sprint a mile. There wasn’t much coaching direction and parental intervention was a “No-No”.  Aby was running but not competing, not focused, just running laps and she wasn’t having much “fun”.  😦

Aby_first track meet 2012_4-2-12

Although, she had a nice sprint to the finish in the last 100 meters, the race was over way before then.  Hubby & I knew she was not even close to reaching her potential but she was frustrated so we continued to be supportive, encouraging parents.  I told her that I would help her during the summer if she wanted but she didn’t care.  Her best 1600 (mile) on the track was a 7:16.  That’s a good mile time for anyone but not competitive with the girls on the track.

Last night I did my first triathlon brick.  I biked 10 miles, then put on my running shoes and quickly ran to the end of our road & back.  It was a whopping 1.4 mile run.  Stellar, I know.  When I hit the drive on my return, Aby wanted to be dropped a mile from the house to run a timed mile.  So hubby dropped us off.  My goal was to get her under 7 minutes but I didn’t tell her that.  She ran hard, but not uncomfortable, I could tell she was running harder than I had seen her run all track season.  I was watching our pace.  She was fading.  I was encouraging her to stay with me.  To push.  To just hang on.  To focus.  I also gave her tips to focus on her arms and her feet would follow, to run with her abs and not her legs.  I slowed the pace to reel her in closer so she wouldn’t give up.  I hit the mile at 7:05.  She was a few steps behind, probably a 7:07!  Not under 7 but damn good!  Go Aby! 

How many times do you thing we will have to do this during the summer?  How long before she is the rabbit encouraging me to stay with her?  How does a 10 year old run so fast?  It’s going to be another exciting road racing season for us!  Stay tuned and if you have any tips for this Mom-Coach-Rabbit, please let me know!  Aby said I was hard on her, too hard, but that it was good and fun.  🙂

Cheers ** VERY Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz