Shout Out to Jogging Stroller Mom’s

It’s no secret that I would do just about anything go out of my way to avoid running with the jogging stroller.  I consider running to be equivalent to therapy and I wouldn’t go sit in a therapist’s office with my little one(s) dropping juice cups, throwing things “overboard”, asking for snack refills, leaning over trying to get their little fingers caught in the spokes, or asking “mommy when can I run?”  However, it is frequently sometimes necessary to pull the jogger out and run with the kids.  Here we are on Saturday’s run preparing to brave the mid-day temps:

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All of our jogging stroller runs are an adventure!  I don’t have a pace goal in mind because I am awkwardly pushing an additional 45 lbs in a stroller that perpetually rolls to one side or the other, needing constant readjustment and I don’t stress about anything other than watching to make sure the kiddos are safe.   I normally have a loose distance goal in mind but that is dependent on the kids, the weather, the traffic, and the corresponding attitudes of all three of us.  On Saturday, I was hoping to run 4 miles and we actually covered 4.1 miles so it was a total success!

We make frequent stops on our jogging stroller runs:  for snacks, to pick up garbage, to investigate random things we see, to throw rocks in the creek, to pick up sticks, to refill sippy cups/get “a drink”.  I can’t remember the last time, we did a jogging stroller run and did not bring home some random item that we found roadside.  On Saturday, we brought home some very immature, green walnuts.  Warning:   Walnuts are sticky from sap! 

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Sometimes, if the ride is somewhat smooth or the little man is particularly tired, he falls asleep.  He loves going “running” with us and really enjoys seeing everything we pass, and telling me to run faster.  When he conks out, I know he is exhausted.  Saturday is one of those days.  The little man couldn’t make it thru without a catnap.  Aby and I actually stopped for the walnuts water and noticed him snoozing.

                    Michael_sleeping in jogger_7-28-12                    me & aby_7-28-12

All of the jogging stroller runs are fun.  I really enjoy them but look at them as more of an activity with the kiddos rather than a true training run.  Each time I see a mom on the trail with a jogger, I throw her a shout out and say “looking good” or “doing great”.  I know how hard it is to run with the jogger and I know that she is either out on a family “fun run” or didn’t have any other option if she wanted to get in some semblance of a workout.  I know she is determined and focused on her health.  It makes me proud to see her out there making it happen!  Great job, ladies!

A few jogger stroller tips:

  • Purchase the best jogger your budget will allow.  I went cheap and purchased a Garage Sale Special.  It’s not a well known brand and certainly not ideal for long distances.  My stroller is constantly rolling off the road everywhere but forward. 
  • Try out several strollers before laying out a ton of money.
  • Get a stroller with an adjustable handle to accommodate your height.  Mine isn’t adjustable and I get a pain between my shoulder blades when I run with it because the handle is too low.
  • Keep the run fun and don’t have unrealistic expectations about pace.
  • Know that in addition to propelling your body own body weight, you will also be propelling the weight of the stroller, snacks, toys and your little one so once again, adjust your pace expectations.
  • Get a stroller with a fixed wheel or one that has the option of fixed position.  This will be safer for your little one and avoid the stroller veering off road if you hit a bump, rock or something on path.
  • Get a stroller with a larger front wheel, these roll smoother and faster than the small wheel variety and transverse rough terrain much easier.
  • Make sure the stroller has a harness to hold the little one upright at all times.  My little guy sometimes likes to lean down and try to touch the wheels when we run and it freaks me out because I’m afraid he will get hurt.
  • Be grateful for the desire and motivation to run, even with the extra weight in tow.  It’s worth it!  I promise!

As with all products, there are a million choices, so try to find one that works best for you and your budget.  If you need to go cheap, then do it, the most important thing is to be able to get out and run.

Please give a shout out to all the jogging stroller mom’s you see on trail; those ladies are working hard! 

If you use a jogger that you love, please comment and give the brand/model!    Any other jogging stroller tips?

Random Side Note:  I joined a DietBet Challenge today!  You probably know by now that I love a good challenge and Kelly set this up for all of us who need a little late summer incentive.  If you need to force yourself to lose a few pounds, jump on this with us!  You can win real $$.  Is that enough incentive to get your ass moving, clean up your food intake and drink your water?  I’m in!

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

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Venus de Miles 2012 – No Redemption

VenusdeMilesIf you hear ladies talk about Venus de Miles, you will most likely hear tales of laughing, bonding, sipping cocktails, facials & mani/pedi’s way before you realize that those ladies rode 25 or 61 miles before hauling themselves into the after party where the fun was waiting.

My story is a little different because I’m lucky like that I had mechanical issues but I’ll get to that soon enough.  The day started off a little rocky with a 3:45 am wake up call.  The ride was in Lake Forest, IL which was approximately 1.5 hours from my house in absolutely perfect traffic.  Traffic was not perfect.  I allotted more than enough time but shit happens there was a really bad accident in Chicago and I was in gridlocked traffic which moved approximately 1 mile in 45 minutes.  I made it to the ride “in time” but was very rushed. 

As soon as I got to the ride site, I saw a few Chicago Running Bloggers assembling for a photo so strolled over at the last minute to meet them on the fly.  Lauren, Erin, Kelly, MacKenna & Me:

Venus 2012_Lauren Erin Kelly MacKenna MeI stole the photo from Kelly who was much more organized & “ready” than myself.  Please flip over to her blog to read her Venus recap HERE.  Kelly also made those adorable tutus for herself, MacKenna & Jenny G (not pictured).  They were a huge hit and the ladies also sported white feathered angel wings on their back!  So, awesome!

Once we hit the start line for the 61 mile ride, things slowed down a bit.  We were all a bit anxious but had to sit thru a few speeches and introductions.  Cool idea but we were ready to ride.  Kelly’s start line photo with me in the “this is what tough looks like”  Team Tough Chik jersey.

Venus 2012_Start LIne

The ride started about 7:05 am but things didn’t speed up much as we had a police escort to pull us out of town.  The escort was nice but slow, averaging between 11 and 14 mph.   The pack was thick and the ladies were getting antsy.  One lady even rode up and asked the officer to speed up.  That didn’t go over well and I certainly would not recommend anyone trying it.  Ever.  Don’t bother the police escort.  They are their to help you and keep you safe.   

Once the escort delivered us to a local bike path, we were on our own and off with the wind.  The course was well marked and the front group was averaging around 20mph.  The speed was hit and miss though because the course was unpredictable in spots.  We had lots of turns, were on/off road, sidewalks, paved bike paths, crushed gravel trails, neighborhood streets, rural roads and busy thoroughfares.  The surfaces were inordinately good for the most part but everyone had to pay attention as the course would turn in a moments notice.  A few times, we would have to double back to make a turn.  Some ladies got lost.   I did notice 2 spots where signs were either forgotten or possibly removed before we arrived but that was not the norm.

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The rest areas were very frequent, initially I thought too frequent but apparently it worked out in my favor.   Rest areas were located at approximately mile 15, 31, 42, & 51.  Each location was fully stocked with water, ice, electrolyte drink that actually tasted good, Luna bars, peanut butter, cookies, brownies, pretzels, fresh fruit, and much, much more.  If fueling or hydration was an issue for anyone, then it was there own issue because I was out on that course so long I could have ridden a century for almost 7 hours and I was never once hungry or thirsty.

Overall it was a great ride which was put together very well.  I’d recommend it to anyone.  I wish it were closer to my house but the northern suburbs are much more cyclist friendly so I absolutely understand the venue choice.

Ride Report End ** My Journey Begins

As for my personal ride, it wasn’t ideal.  I seem to have a black cloud which is following me as of late.  When I get on my bike, the black cloud seems to get very active and the thunder and the lightening come fast.  At this point, I had thought almost everything on the bike had been replaced within the last 2 months but I was wrong.  The ride was awesome for the first 30 miles.  I was pounding the miles, hanging on the back of the lead group, really enjoying myself.  We were just starting to get into a few rollers and the fatigue in the legs was starting to surface.  I don’t climb well, so the group would pull away on the uphill and I would catch back up on the down.  It was good and I was having fun!  Then I hit something on an uphill around mile 30 and heard a “whoooosh” of air leave my back tire.  Flat.  I stopped, had the tools & supplies to fix the tire but was positive I couldn’t personally make it happen.  A cyclist, Cathy, stopped to help within a few minutes.  Thanks, Cathy!  Then Adam, an on course bike support rider stopped and let Cathy go on.   At that point, Cathy had almost everything done but my CO2 cartridge was giving us fits and we couldn’t get air into the tire.  So Adam worked on it, couldn’t get it, then used his own CO2, and he slowly filled the tube.  It looked good, I started putting everything back on the bike, I rolled it forward to get on and it immediately popped again.  He changed it for the second time with his own supplies because I only carry one spare, and he noticed a puncture in the tire.  Thankfully the rest area was only 1 mile away and he rode with me to deliver me to the rest area bike support tent where they had more supplies.  Greg, Trek Downers Grove, replaced my punctured tire & tube 2 more times before finally sending me on my way.  Between the roadside assistance & the tent support, I was out of the ride for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Venus 2012_Greg When I got back on course, it was not a smooth ride.  Greg told me that it was going to be bumpy but I should be able to limp it to the next bike support tent.  If I understand it correctly, my new tire needed to stretch out and it wasn’t properly seated.  Every time the tire went around it was like I hit a bump.  So I was just bumping my way along and the course sweepers, or the caboose as they called themselves, came up on me.  I was the last person on the course at mile 31.  Awesome.  So I joined the caboose and we powered thru to the next rest area and rolled directly over to Torsten, the rest stop #3 Trek specialist.

Venus 2012_Torsten & MikeTorsten, with Mike “The Sweeper”, pulled a MacGyver and used electrical tape to cover my damaged rim wheel tape to allow the tube to sit in its proper spot and then the tire somehow slipped into position.  I can’t even pretend to understand but I was told a billion times to make sure I took my bike into the shop to get this fixed properly.  He also told me that “X” bearings were shot and needed to be replaced but by then my brain was mush and I have no idea what else is wrong.  Good news, this short 15-20 minute repair got me thru the remainder of the ride.

Me at the last rest area with Mike & Elizabeth, the course sweepers.  I rode with them for a solid 20 miles and then said my thanks and departed without them as they needed to wait on a few ladies we had passed.

Venus 2012_me mike elizabethMile 51 – I’m no longer bringing up the “very” end but I was really ready to be done with the ride.  I powered thru the last 10 miles with one gear.  A hard gear.  There were rolling hills.  I passed where it was safe and continued to move up but the party was all but over by the time I got in and well, I was just grateful to be within walking distance of my car finished.  I could have partaken in the festivities but it was time to go home to the family, so I drank my two freebie beers, ate a little lunch, which was awesome & hit the road.

I have so many thanks to give:  1)  My F’N Runners, Jenny G, Lisa M, & Lynn S who waited on me to finish, even though they rode the 25 mile ride and were probably finished way before I even had problems.  I knew I could count on them to pick me up if I necessary and really appreciated them hanging around when I know they just wanted to go home.  Lynn, Lisa & Jenny (photo source – Jenny G) below: 

Venus 2012_Lynn Lisa Jenny

2)  The Chicago Running Bloggers, Lauren, Erin, Kelly, & MacKenna who were so kind and encouraging both during and after the ride.  3) The numerous people who participated in my bike support and ultimately helped me finish the ride:  Cathy, Adam, Greg, Torsten, Mike & Elizabeth.  Thank you all for everything you did!  It’s beyond obvious that I couldn’t have finished without you!

I’m just glad this was a ride, not a race.  It was well supported and well, if a girl were to have major problems, this was the ride for them to happen.  Have you ever had major issues on a ride that required assistance?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Up – Venus de Miles

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I’m super excited about this weekend.  I recently registered for the Venus de Miles, 61 mile, all ladies ride.  I saw it come thru on an Active Swaggle Deal of the Day.  Normally, I’m not a big “biker”.  I ride to TRI.  Period.  I’d like to think that I have improved my biking during the time that I have not been able to run been rehabbing my injury but I’m still not a “biker”.  I’m a runner and triathlete.  I swim to TRI.  I bike to TRI.  I hope that I continue to improve my riding after I finish the Great Illini 70.3 on September 1st but let’s not jump too far ahead, right?

I wouldn’t have signed up for Venus de Miles had I not been injured and not able to do run races & TRIs it not come thru on the Swaggle.    I believe with the Swaggle, plus my Active Advantage Membership, I paid $47.  The ride is in Lake Forest, IL and I have no idea where that is other than “up north”.  I know they have lots of big expensive fancy house up there because my J.O.B is appealing property taxes. 

I have ridden in a non-triathlon group atmosphere exactly twice.  Let’s just say neither experience went well.  The first time, circa spring 2007, I took my shiny new road bike to a local bike club for a Sunday group ride.  Everyone was warm and welcoming and they immediately handed me a map for the days route.  Huh?  A map?  Can’t I just follow somebody?  How can I read a map and ride my bike at the same time?  Then they asked my pace.  What?  Pace?  “Um, I don’t know, I just bought this bike yesterday and I never had a computer on my Walmart Special mountain bike.”   I believe they frowned.

The ride options, if I remember correctly, cause trust me I’ve tried to suppress the memories for YEARS, were 26, 40 something, then it jumped to 60 something.  I was going to “try” the 26 mile option but was a bit nervous as my longest previous ride was 11 miles on my Walmart Special.  So the 60 mile group who planned to average 18-22 mph took off like they were being chased.  The 26 mile group included a lot of older men, one on a recumbent bike and let’s just say the pace was very “relaxed”.  So I was tooling along with them and just REALLY wanted to ride my new bike to see what it would do.  Well, two older men blazed past us, which was not difficult at our relaxed pace, and I made the stupid split second decision to go with them.  I recognized them from the parking lot so just went.  They were riding a decent pace and I was having fun.  I was amazed at how quickly the miles were ticking off and loved watching them accumulate on my new computer.  The men were very nice and didn’t seem to mind my following them.  Then the miles really started to climb and I was wondering when we were going to turn back toward our start location.  We didn’t turn.  We kept riding AWAY from my car.  I was getting distressed because by that point I had no idea how to get back by myself so I kept following.  Then they got lost.  Awesome.   Then we ran out of water.  Awesome.  At some point during this fiasco, we had to stop and look at the map, which was now crumpled, folded and sweaty from riding against my person.  This was when I learned that they were attempting to follow riding the 60 mile route.  Awesome.

Somehow, I we managed to hit the half way point and stopped to refill our water.  The fasties original 60 mile crew had already had breakfast and were preparing to leave.  I was frantically thinking about how I should proceed.  This was a point in time before every cyclist and runner carried a cell phone on their person.  So when everyone left the half way point, I left too and continued following.  I didn’t have much left and I definitely could NOT go another 30+ miles.  I was all done.  I rode to the point where we hit a busy road which I recognized, just south of a town not too far from my house.  They stopped at the stop sign;  I rolled thru the ditch and into somebody’s front yard.  The bike crew asked what I was doing.  I said, “I’m all done”.  The response, “Come on, we are planning to stop right up here at a gas station”.  I said, “No, I’m stopping right here.  I’m finished”.  They rode away.  I just sat there.  In fact, the people from the house eventually came out and asked if I was okay.  What to say?  Hell, NO I’m not okay!  I just rode 40+ f’ing miles.  My ass hurts.  My legs are jello.  I’m so dehydrated, I can’t even cry!  I think I said I was fine and managed to stand up.  I was about a 1/4 of a mile from a bar.  I walked my bike to the bar.  I can’t remember it well but I must have had $ for a beer, or else hubby paid for it later, because I remember drinking a Corona and a ton of water.  I called hubby on the bar’s phone.  That was my first and last ride with that group.

The second attempt at a group ride went “better”.  I joined the Folks On Spokes Easter Ride.  I rode solo, got to pick my distance, the ride was supported and well marked but I didn’t finish.  They pulled the route too close to my house so instead of making a turn, I just rode home….. with a few people following me.  Oooops, sorry about that.   Thankfully my house was only 2 miles from the “missed” turn so they didn’t have too far to back track.  🙂

So Venus, you are my redemption.  I will ride. I will finish.  I will have my cell on my person.  If by chance you live on the Venus route and see me laying motionless in your yard, please hand me a Corona Light and the phone. 

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Anyone else riding Venus de Miles on Sunday? 

Have you ever ridden a group ride or large cycling event like Venus?  How did it go for YOU?

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

Invest In Yourself….

I keep seeing the same photo of a woman being posted on Facebook.   A photo of a woman who I have known for a very long time.  A lovely photo.  She looks beautiful but she isn’t the same person I once knew and I was thankful the photo was tagged so that I could identify her.   At some point, surgery happened.  Now the smile that shines comes from a nice tight face which looks full and perfectly defined.  Her body which was once petite and thin has become quite voluptuous with time and money.  She looks lovely, yet it makes me sad.

These photos represent the same path of so many women who are unhappy  inside and out. They can’t accept what life and time has given them.   I always encourage people to invest in themselves but this is not the type of investment I personally recommend.  I refuse to judge anyone who makes this choice but wish other steps could have been taken to foster self-esteem.  I certainly understand the “look better, feel better” motto but nobody is perfect.  Please embrace your imperfections.  For example, I was fortunate enough to inherit the Fritz nose.  It’s not lovely.  It’s not even straight.  It’s not even close to being small and petite.  People constantly ask me if it has been broken.  No, not broken, I was born this way! 

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In order to feel better on the inside and out, invest in yourself.  Make a time investment.  Everyone deserves a little “me” time away from the chaos.  Find something that helps you feel better about you and fosters self-worth and self-confidence.  This doesn’t mean hitting the bar with your friends for drinks.  Who feels better about themselves after that?  Who is better prepared to dive right back into family life after cocktail hour?  Not me!  Hit the gym, go for a walk, run, ride your bike, connect with nature.  Do something to clear your mind and suddenly you will be a lot more appreciative of life as it is even with all those little bumps in the road.

Focus on building your confidence.  If you feel good about yourself, just the way that you are, you will be more productive and be a better mom, wife, employee and athlete.  Be confident!  Here are a few tips from eHow to help you get the job done, please take the time to read thru these tips as they can help you in so many aspects of your running life.

  1. Confidence is one of the most important factors to building self esteem. In order to be confident, one must become very positive. Love yourself no matter what people say about you, and always keep your head up high.
  2. When building self esteem, it is very important to include positive self talk. This may be a very silly skill to you, but to some people, this can help a lot. When you use the self talk method it reduces your stress. Also, sending a good message to your brain can improve your self esteem.
  3. Choosing good and supporting friends is also one of the most important ways to improve your self esteem. Make sure to choose friends that will not criticize you, or make fun of you in any way. Having supportive friends can boost you self esteem magnificently. Anyways, why would you want to have a friend that makes fun of you?
  4. Volunteering for any city or services builds self esteem also. When you volunteer for an organization, you make yourself feel better, in return, building your self esteem. Not only do you help yourself, but you also help others. When the people you help say thank you, you become very confident and proud of yourself.
  5. If you are struggling with building self esteem, try something new. When you try something new, make sure that it is a little out of your comfort zone. When you accomplish something out of your comfort zone, it makes you feel like you are the king of the world.
  6. Setting healthy goals is a very important method. When you set out to accomplish something new, and achieve it, it makes you feel very confident. Also, setting goals helps you to accomplish new tasks.
  7. Having fun may be the most important factor when it comes to building self esteem. Sometimes, people are not confident with themselves, so they do not go out and have fun. Having fun and laughing makes you feel better, and relieves a lot of stress you may have.

So according to tip #7, drinks with friends is sometimes acceptable, after you hit the trail and get your workout in for the day!  🙂  Just remember to take the time to get out and reconnect with you so that you can be thankful for the blessings in your life.  The poorest attitude will be corrected within the first mile of a run.  I promise.  Things always look better when the blood gets flowing!  Use the eHow tips above for life, running/triathlon, dealing with boss & family.  Be confident, stay calm, cool and collected and know that you are AWESOME!

** Love Yourself ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Mission AthleteCare Discount Code

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I just wanted to let you all know that Mission AthleteCare just sent a 20% discount code which is good thru August 30th!  The coupon code is:  TooTallFritz20

If you want to purchase any products, feel free to use that code on their website HERE.  I don’t make any $$ but you will save 20%. 

I’ll be talking more about Mission AthleteCare in the future and giving away more of their awesome, paraben free goodies but for those of you who want/need a few things now, this will save you a little bit. 

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

Mixing Things Up & Giveaway Winner

I have just reached the point in rehab where I am able to run a little bit at a time.  Yesterday was 2 miles in the dark at a conservative 9:19 pace.  A two mile run, although quite an accomplishment, and testament to the effectiveness of my rehab, still does not constitute a full workout.  So I’ve been doing a lot of random things to fight the boredom and keep moving.  Yesterday included the 2 mile run, then a 30 minute StairMaster session.  Today began with a 9.5 mile ride on the trainer and tonight I will do my weekly swim workout.  I just try to focus and keep moving while utilizing workout DVDs, various pieces of equipment like the elliptical & StairMaster and I ride my bike both inside and out.  While riding on the trainer is not fun, think running on the treadmill mindless and super boring, it certainly has it’s benefits.  The trainer gives me freedom to ride in the dark, when I’m with the kids and when the weather is less than ideal, like this morning during the thunderstorm!  I admit, I feel empowered by the fact that I can ride my bike even when it’s not an option to take it outside.  

My bike set up is below.  I move the bike on and off the trainer all the time, by myself.  So if you are looking for an indoor riding option while the kids are napping, playing or watching a movie, there is no need to spend extra money on a spin bike, just purchase a trainer and use the bike you already own.  I bought this fluid trainer years ago via an online sale at Performance Bike.  I think it was $139 circa 2006.  Just an idea to keep things moving even when the weather is bad!  And this is way cheaper than a treadmill!bike on trainer_my trek

Now, the giveaway winner!  Last night around 8pm, I read Aby all of yesterday’s comments on “keeping cool” and let her choose the winner.  She had a tough time deciding between two but finally decided that Susan D’s suggestion to freeze her underwear was the best, most creative and funniest suggestion!  She and her brother then promptly ran to their rooms for a pair of clean undies to put in the freezer.  Thanks, Susan…..I really appreciate your “suggestion”. 

Aby’s second choice was Brian P’s idea to hit every ice cream joint on the south side.  Aby loves ice cream more than almost anything and she had a very rough time awarding Susan the win when it ousted Brian’s ice cream suggestion.  Since Mission AthleteCare has been so generous with the goodie pack:

Mission Care Package

I decided to award Brian a prize too.  Susan D wins the EnduraCool Towel  & Brian P wins a 5 hour Anti-Chafe Stick.  Please send your mailing addresses to amanda@tootallfritz.com and I’ll get your prizes out ASAP!

The 5 hour Anti-Chafe Stick is one more anti-chafe product in the Mission AthleteCare line.  I had previously tried the Anti-Chafe Cream and compared it with Body Glide and was not impressed.  Body Glide vs 5 hr Anti ChafeThe Anti-Chafe Cream works well for bra strap rubbing but did not perform well with the chub rub that I experience in the inner thigh area.  It’s an issue for me and I keep Body Glide in my purse and use it constantly when I wear skirts or shorts.   So I’m a big Body Glide fan for both life and running/triathlon.  When the Anti-Chafe Stick arrived, I assumed that it wouldn’t be able to compete with Body Glide but I was wrong.  It actually goes on much smoother than Body Glide and works just as well, if not better.  So just in the “application” aspect, I now put the Mission AthleteCare Anti-Chafe Stick ahead of Body Glide.  This is big in my world and I’m happy they sent me some to try because I probably wouldn’t have bought any since the cream wasn’t my favorite.  Thanks, Mission Athlete!  Brian, I hope you like this product as much as I do!  Enjoy; I know your feet and body are taking a beating during marathon training in the heat and hopefully this will help prevent blisters on your feet and soothe any other hotspot/chafing areas you get while on the run.

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What is your favorite anti-chafe product?

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

Middle of the Road….. & Quick Giveaway

The great thing about living in the middle of nowhere country is that at 4am, traffic is non-existent and it’s just me and the coyotes open road.  Since I am bouncing back from the torn tendon in my foot, I am slightly cautious about footing.  This morning, I took the flattest/smoothest section and ran down the middle of the road with my Knuckle Lights shining a bright path in the darkness.  Here is the road I ran this morning but in the light, at 5:45 am.  Still not “too” busy.Country RoadsI know all of you have been battling the heat and humidity for marathon training while I have been rehabbing my injury.  Inside.  In an air conditioned, zero humidity environment.  Today was my first hot run and let’s just say, I need to adjust quickly.  It was 83 degrees at 4:30 am with a feels like temp of 87.  It was not only warm but very humid as the rainstorms were still miles away.  I only ran 2 miles, at a very relaxed 9:19 pace but it was stifling.

Aby, my soon to be 11 year old, has been running in the heat all summer.  She has raced several 5Ks, is running 2x a week at Cross Country Camp and basically suffering thru the miserable heat & humidity just like all of you. Courthouse Classic Aby2_2012 She may be young but has figured out a few great ways to stay cool while running.

1)  She freezes her water bottles and takes them to Cross Country Camp frozen so that they will still be cold when she needs them.  In fact, we just picked up this Nathan Thermal QuickShot Handheld for her at the Sports Authority booth of the Rock N Roll expo.  We paid $11 but Running Warehouse looks about the cheapest online for $16.95.  I hope she’ll let me borrow this sometime.

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2)  She also found a 180s Quantum Cooling headband ($15 online, $12 expo) that is activated by sweat and/or water to continuously cool her head.  It also has a slot for ponytails, which made her squeal with delight.

Cooling Headband

3) She has also stolen borrowed my new Mission Athletecare EnduraCool Towel.  The towel that Mission just sent me last week.  The towel that I only have used one time.  The towel that stayed cool for hours, even hanging on the chair to dry.  The towel that I should have had on my run this morning.  The towel that is hidden away in her Cross Country bag.  I’m going to get this one back unlike my gps watch which she has commandeered.  Is it over-the-top to give a gps watch as a birthday present to an 11 year old?

               EnduraCool            EnduraCool_me

I hope all of you have also figured out a few unconventional ways to keep cool during these sweltering summer runs!    In case you haven’t I’m going to do a fast giveaway to get one EnduraCool Towel into somebody’s hands in time for this weekend’s long run.  So if you want an EnduraCool Towel, then put on your creative hat!  This needs to stay PG because I’m going to let Aby pick the winner at 8pm tonight (winner to be announced tomorrow morning).   

Please make a suggestion for Aby (age 11 – 6th grade) of a crazy/funny way to stay cool this summer.  Ideas can relate to being “on the run”, cooling off post run, or dealing with the heat in “real life”.  In order to respect the laws of creativity, it does not have to be something which is actually feasible or even something which we could implement.  We just want to make her giggle.  Think/Create an idea & comment below!  Good luck!

Info on EnduraCool Towel from Mission’s Website:

Mission’s™ Enduracool™ is made from a proprietary performance fabric that instantly cools when wet with water or sweat, wrung out and snapped in the air to activate the sustained cooling properties. Use during or after competition to provide sustained cooling on your neck, head or other hot zones.

How It Works: A revolution in cooling, this performance fabric absorbs and retains sweat and water, circulating the molecules while regulating the rate of evaporation to ensure an instant cooling effect against the skin for hours, without feeling wet.

Towel Dimensions: 12.25″ x 33″

image

 

** Stay Cool ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

A Few Lessons….

Last week, I learned a few new things.  I may be an “old” dog but I’m always up for new tips or lessons!

1)  No matter how new your swim cap may be, always have a spare in your swim bag.  Swim caps rip.  They are not made of a special material which will last forever.   They do not care that you hold a sentimental attachment to them because you just recently finished their event.  Swim caps rip.

swim cap_ripped 2)  While swimming, your sinuses will discharge.  If you want to avoid constantly wiping snot off your face while you swim, maybe use a nasal rinse before getting into the pool  We will all thank you for your extra effort.  nasal saline As an added benefit, this will help with your allergies and flush any germs from your nasal passages that may help you avert the sniffles.

3)  Read reviews of products you own.  No matter how well you think you know your gps watch product, somebody might know something you don’t know.  Last week, I learned that my Nike+ Sportwatch GPS was waterproof up to 50 meters.  Hmmmm, news to me!  This was actually the only complaint I had about my watch, the fact that I couldn’t swim in it.  Well, I was wrong, I CAN swim in it and I did so last week.  Watch still works perfectly!

Watch_water 4)  If you take your bike out and it’s loose, dropping screws and you feel generally unsafe, pack it up and go home.  Things will not end well. 

Me_bike fall 5)  Along the same lines, if your bike isn’t handling well, it drops a water bottle on you because your cage is loose & you just hit a monstrous bump, maybe unclip BOTH feet before rolling down a concrete dip to retrieve the dropped bottle.  Once again, things “may”  not end well.  See above photo.

6)  If you haul your kids out of bed before dawn to go run 1 mile with the F’N Running Club, make sure you don’t look like you are going to run just 1 MILE.  Own that mile in celebration of a new beginning as we kick injury to the curb, albeit very slowly.  🙂  

Me&Michael_Stars & Stripes Yes, I did go to the grocery store like this afterwards!

“Run”Way Fashion:  2011 Chicago Marathon swag shirt, RunningSkirts.com stars & stripes triathlon skirt, Zensah Compression Sleeves in Stars & Stripes.  This is the first time I’ve tried the Zensah brand of compression.  I must admit, my love for the stars & stripes pulled me in and I fell instantly in love with the look and feel.  I wore the compression sleeves for a short run (1.6 miles), a .5 walk/run with the kiddos, play time on the playground and then hit the grocery, so probably for 4 hours total.  Yes, people stared at me in the grocery.  If you don’t want people to stare when you wear workout gear in public, maybe go with something less amazing a bit more traditional.

So far, I really like the sleeves, not too tight, not too hot, not too boring.  Just right.  I’ll definitely be wearing these a lot more as I begin to rebuild my mileage.

Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Winner of Chicago Half Marathon Giveaway

A huge thank you to all of you who participated in the giveaway!  If you didn’t win this time, don’t be discourage, try again!  More goodies to come soon!

Chicago Half Giveaway

Congrats to  #3 – Annabelle W. for winning the free entry to the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9th.  Annabelle said that the race fees where bankrupting her and I think we all know how that feels!

Please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com for further details.

If you haven’t signed up for this race yet, consider doing it soon.  It’s a great race!  Plus, if you ran the 13.1 Chicago and also complete this race then you will receive a special Windy City Challenge medal for your awesome efforts!

Windy City Challenge:image

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Getting Back in the Groove….

Theory states that it takes 21 days to create a good habit.  So if you are just starting a workout or running routine, know that it won’t be easy but it does become more manageable if you stick with it. 

good-habits addictive

Those of us who have been on the fitness train for a while know that the smallest things can cause a bump in our routine and attempt to derail our fitness.    Therefore, we have to be extra vigilant when our routine hits a snag.  Vacations are one of those things which are bittersweet for me.  I love to go, get away and have fun but I miss my fitness routine and my bed and my fresh food and my dogs.  Since my return on Saturday afternoon, I have been hitting it really somewhat hard to attempt to get back into my routine mentally.

Saturday afternoon – 40 miles on the bike (trainer), 50 pushups, rehab exercises & barefoot strides.

Sunday – Felt ridiculously guilty but between unpacking for 4, laundry, grocery store, party food prep, outdoor work, playing with the kids & the FNRC Splash N Dash, I didn’t workout.  I wasn’t happy about it but some days are just not long enough.

Monday – 30 minute swim in the cool waters of a local indoor pool.  I had the entire pool to myself and it was the best swim I’ve had in a while, mostly due to those cool water temps.  Plus I tried a new pair of goggles that worked out really well, the TYR Velocity Metallized goggles.  They were cheap ($15.95), and I had an email special/promo code, thru TriSports.  I was super pleased.  They fit well and I liked being able to use the slide at the side to tighten them up for a quick adjustment in the water!goggles_trisports One I got home from the swim, I did 100 push ups, rehab exercises & barefoot strides in the yard.

Tuesday – 16 miles on bike (trainer), 50 push ups & rehab exercises

The bottom line is that life will occasionally get in the way of your workouts.  Vacations come/go, kids get sick, parents need help, the J.O.B. gets crazy.  This is normal, take a deep breath and accept it.  Just don’t let the “little things” become an excuse to derail YOUR fitness.

** Keep YOUR Fitness Train Rolling! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **