Running in the Heat ….

I think summer has finally arrived.  The heat and humidity have been circling the CHI like a shark considering the most strategic plan of attack.  It’s swooped in a couple of times only to be abruptly scared off; however, it’s not leaving this time.  So how are we going to handle running in the heat?   I’m going to cry cut my run short and head for my car!  Okay, I admit that I did do that last night but that’s not my normal method of heat management.  Here is a fast and friendly list that anyone can use to try to keep cool while running cuz the bottom line is that if you run, you will be running in the heat sooner rather than later.

Running in the Heat Cartoon

  • Hydrate – I know this is a no brainer but it’s of utmost importance.  You need to be consuming good fluids which hydrate, all day, every day.  Not beer.  Not wine.  Water.  Remember that alcohol dehydrates you, for days if you go on a binder like I did last weekend and will cost you after the fact.  One day/night of drinking will take many more days to replenish what was lost.   The alcohol is a diuretic, gets into your muscles and flushes out all the good stuff that you’ve worked so hard to put into your body.  It causes you to lose excess water (and vitamins & minerals), slows the pumping of your blood which decreases the amount of oxygen to your already depleted muscles and inhibits your body from pumping enough blood to get to your skin which is one of your natural, self-cooling methods. Scientific, huh?  I know, go get the real info HERE, then go fill up your water bottle.
  • Dress appropriately – Once again, sounds easy, right?  Maybe, maybe not!  When Chicago heats up, it’s no joke.  Think people in the ghetto city busting open fire hydrants cuz it’s so hot they could die.  Yep, it’s THAT hot.  So don’t take it lightly, dress in lightweight, cooling, moisture wicking tops with as little material touching you as possible.  One of my favorite “hot weather” tops is the Saucony Ignite Singlet ($30) and the Saucony Hydralite Tank ($25) which is on Last Chance Clearance for $12 HERE if you are an XS.  It’s so light, you can barely feel it.  I have 4 of ignite singlets, see an older model below (with Susan D) in pink.  On the “bottom”, my favorite hot weather skirt is Race Belt Skirt ($45) from SkirtSports.  The black & pink Race Belt Skirts come in an airy light material that has a lot of tiny pinholes.  Super for cooling & they dry FAST when they get wet!  Try a skirt this summer!!

Me&Susan_Jelly Bean_4-4-12    image

  • Hat, Visor & Sunglasses – Although, I’m not necessarily a hat person, it will help keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes.  If you can double up with a visor & sunglasses, even better!  If you can get your hands one of the 180s Cooling Visors ($25), much, MUCH better!  I was totally kicking myself that I didn’t have it last night when I had to bail on my run cuz I thought I would pass out.  The 180s cooling visor is my go to visor when it’s hot.  And in case you were wondering on sunglasses, I’m still rocking the Ryder Shot Photochromic’s that I reviewed last year HERE which are the only glasses I’ve worn on the run more than once or twice.  I really like them!  They are lightweight and don’t move even when I have sweat water pouring down my face.

  me_8-11-12_180s Visor  image Kankakee River State Pk_me & Lib_11-11-12

  • Carry or drop water for your runs.  If  you don’t like to carry your own water, consider dropping some along your run route or circling a path with a fountain.  I need a lot of water when it’s warm.  I drink, then dump.  If I’m wearing a hat/visor then I’ll get that wet  too!  This keeps my head cool(er) and the wetness provides a barrier from the heat.   The easiest way for me to carry water is via a hydration belt.  I’m not good with handhelds because I don’t like to hold onto anything.  My favorite hydration belt is below, it even went to Ragnar FL Keys with me.  The Road Runner Sports R-Gear Double Duty 2 Bottle Belt ($26.99) is light, doesn’t move, fits well, has Fuel Bottle brand “bottles” but is an exclusive Road Runner Sports design.  I particularly like the reflective pouch at the front and the plastic casings for the bottles to keep them from falling out, plus I can still wear it with my FlipBelt.  Win, Win!image
  • Sunscreen – The one thing that most people forget.  It will not only provide protection from the sun but also offer an immediate cooling effect upon application.  I also personally think that if you can keep your skin from heating up and burning, your internal cooling systems have an easier go and can work at keeping you cool on the run.  No science behind that, just personal opinion.  Real science is below:

Sun block or sweat block?
While use of sunscreen can reduce radiant heat absorption, many athletes are concerned that sunscreen will also hamper sweating. However, data from a 2000 research study published in the Journal Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that use of sunscreen doesn’t affect thermoregulation — in fact, it may actually enhance overall body cooling. This data, while preliminary, should convince those who believe sunscreen will compromise their performance to start protecting their skin.

  • Schedule Your Run around the heat!  If you are able, try to avoid the hottest hours of the day when the sun is blazing.  Ideally speaking, its best to run before the sun rises or after it sets but I know that’s impossible difficult for many of us. 
  • Slow Your Roll – This is not a good time for a PR, or even a killer workout.  When the heat is high, run by effort.  Do not look at your watch and get discouraged, just run at a comfortable effort.  If you are feeling hot, faint, weak or just “off balance” then don’t be ashamed to back off or even walk.  Remember that a good day is a day that you get home safely under your own power.  Nobody checks your watch to see how fast you were running BEFORE you passed out and needed emergency assistance.  Take your time and get home safely!

There are just a few of my favorite hot weather running tips.  If you know of more good tips or have a good article in mind, please link it up! 

** Always Run Safely ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Saint Joseph, MI …..

Sometimes life gets so busy that we stop having fun.  Stop enjoying the gifts that we have been given.  Stop appreciating life.  It’s times like those when I am tired, fed up and just exhausted, that I need to leave.  Take time out.  Go off and  have some fun, adult style.  Yep, that means I leave those kiddos at home.  They will survive one day or one weekend, or even a week without you me and we’ll all be happier when upon our return.

This weekend was one of those “mommy timeouts”.  I left the kiddos home and hubby and I just went.  We weren’t responsible.  We drank in excess.  We ate food that wasn’t healthy.   We, okay …. probably just me, were loud.  We just had fun and didn’t really care who knew it.  Carefree.  Careless.  Maybe even a little crazy.Mick&I

I’m not really sure the sleepy little beach town of Saint Joseph, MI was ready for us as we rolled into town on Sunday but really, it’s almost summer so we tried to break them in right!  Normally when we go to Saint Joseph, we spend most of our time on, or in, the water.  However, this time the weather was cool so our friends took us in their boat to town, tied it to the wall and we walked around for a bit.

boat_tied up

 On boat

Pretty town, nice riverfront area with walking/running paths, nice views of the water!     riverfront path       St Joe_view of water from town

Lots of shopping!!  Sometimes, little touristy towns like this price a family girl like myself out of the shopping.  However, I was super happy to find a couple cool things that I liked and which I could also afford.  First find, was this cute necklace for a boutique type store.  Price tag with tax:  $39  Second find was a local winery, White Pine Winery, which had a store front and offered wine tastings!   Cost per bottle with tax was about $26 for the Merlot.  Reasonable!!  Plus wine tastings are always fun!!

necklace  WhitePineWinery_sign  WhitePineWinery_me

If the beach is your thing, St Joseph has long stretches of beautiful beaches.  The most popular is Silver Beach which is accessible from town. 

St Joe_beach   Silver Beach

Saint Joseph, MI is a 1.5-2 hour drive from the Chicago area.  Close enough to pick up and go but far enough that it feels like vacation.  If you can’t leave the kids at home, no worries, there is plenty for them too from swimming, parks & fountains to the Chocolate Café by South Bend Chocolate Company to the Curious Kid’s Museum!  Check out the St Joe Today website for all the latest info on the upcoming events, festivals and activities.  And if you like wine, make sure to check out the White Pine Winery  and go like their Facebook page HERE for all the latest info on wine tastings and special blends. 

** Take Time Out and Enjoy Life ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CUTE Summer Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis Support

Yes, I know it’s currently FREEZING in Chicago but Mother Nature can’t take away the fact that summer is coming!  The warm temps have been playing peekaboo with us for the last month and I have been starting to think about my feet more and more.  While most people equate summer with flip flop season unless they are a marathoner who currently doesn’t have many toenails some of us have foot issues that don’t mesh well with the Reef & Roxie movement.  Therefore, we need to be more concerned about what we slide into this summer!

image

I want you to know that just because your feet aren’t perfect, this does NOT mean that you  need to settle for something less than stylish for your summer footwear.  I went thru this last year with my Plantar Fasciitis while shopping at a “specialty” shoe store.  Needless to say, I didn’t care for any of the grandma “retro” styles and the sales lady told me that I was going to have to forget about style and think more about my feet.  WRONG!  Let get real, life is too damn short to walk around in ugly shoes! 

So whether you are running a marathon, sightseeing, or heading the beach, please know that there are shoes available for your feet that fit, help keep your aches & pains in check and LOOK GOOD!  A few of my favorite functional & supportive sandals are below.   I know, you want to thank me.  You’re welcome.  And yes, this list is years in the making.

Birkenstocks –  Not just for hippies anymore!  When I was in college, these things were all the rage but I was less than impressed.  However, they have come a long way in the last 15-20 years!  My favs are the Gizeh style, which comes in 20+ colors ranging from $89.95 to $120.  Before you freak out about those prices, try to remember that you have a foot issue happening and you need to protect your feet.  Support and protection costs $$.  Sorry, it was hard for me too but I don’t like to be in pain sooooo I ponied up the cash for good sandals.  Pool Patent Gizeh’s below for $89.95.

image

I have an older model (Papillio Gizehs in black/silver) that I’ve worn now for a couple of years.  They have held up well, look cute and are my go to when I want something a little “nicer”. 

birkenstock

My everyday flip flop & boating shoe is from Merrill, the old Lilac Thong which is available only at discount retailers now.  Several color choices, comfortable & they offer stability.  I didn’t like the braided piece so I cut mine off.  I have these in black & brown cuz I’m just that exciting.  Currently they retail between $56 & $80.  I paid $80 for mine from Merrill last year.  The current Merrill sandal styles are out now and available HERE.  Much better quality than what you will find in most “flip-flop” styles.image

If flip flops aren’t your thing, or maybe you plan to get a little down & dirty in your summertime footwear, Keen offers several nice options.  The Venice is a great shoe for multi-terrain wear.   It retails at $95 and is good in the water, in the mud or just wearing around town.  They have a lot of underfoot support including arch support, and a metatarsal ridge, which offers support  UNDER  your toes.  Plus they come in a lot of cool colors.  WINNING!  Thanks, Keen!

image

If you need something with a little more protection or if you plan to hit the trail hard this summer, then Keen knocked it out of the park with this Arroyo II.  This hybrid waterproof hiking sandal is the best of best, plus you can add your own insole if orthotics rule your world like they do mine.  You won’t find these in a bunch of fancy colors, this shoe is more about function than fashion.  However, if you’ve been on the trail as of late you already know that these are way cuter than those clunky hiking boots!  The Arroyo II is gonna set you back about $100 but they are heavy duty with big lugs and they come ready made to tear up your local trail.

image

A few newbies that just found their way to my closet, please don’t tell hubby yet, are the Keen Bali & the Keen Kona Flip.  Both are a little more reasonably pricee at $65 & $50 respectively.  However, don’t let that lesser price tag fool you, these babies still offer lots of protection to the foot, arch and the plantar fascia.  They are adorable and come in a variety of colors, offer good traction for the pool deck, dock or boat.  No worries if your little monsters kiddos are dripping water everywhere, you won’t end up getting wet til they send a giant splash your way you’re ready.

image   image

I hope this helps and gives you some ideas on alternative summer footwear!  Don’t let some nasty bitch sales lady talk you into buying something ugly in the name of foot health!  You have options!

If you’ve also been on the search for years to find summertime footwear that’s GOOD for your feet, please let us know about the good ones!

** Keep Your Feet Healthy, Happy & Look Cute Doing It ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Learn to Love the Rain …

I’ve always been one of those people who love the rain.  It started in high school when I was a high jumper and everyone just HATED the rain.  As a high jumper, if it’s raining, you are not only going to get wet but rather SOAKED because each time you hit the mat after a jump, the water sprays up on landing and then you sink into whatever is left.  Not ideal but kinda cool, right?  And then when I figured out how much other jumpers despised the rain, it made me giddy.  Their bad attitude fed my fire and I always excelled in the rain.  Good times, photo below from my freshman year, spring of 1989. 

me_high jumping_freshman_1989

Not much has changed since then other than the 13 lbs I gained and the fact that I couldn’t jump that high if someone paid me, I still giggle inappropriately when people are pissed off, and I still love the rain.  

Today, however, I look at the rain a little differently.  It’s calming.  Cool.  Refreshing.  Restorative.  I see the rain for what it is for the environment, washing away all the dust, dirt, grime and helping nature clean up our mess.  It’s the nourishment for the trees and flowers that are in full bloom.  We need the rain.

hibiscus_raindrops

On the weekends, a rainy day is a good excuse to stay inside, sleep in and restore the body and the soul.  It gives us a break to spend time with the family catching up, hanging out and just being together.  It slows the world down, if only for a bit, as everyone takes time to refresh and restore themselves, just as Mother Nature intended for the outside world.

Rain is a good thing.  If you haven’t taken a minute to go out and run in the rain, try it.  Everything is different.  Quiet.  Glistening.  Refreshed.  Restored. 

Take a hint from Mother Nature, follow her lead.  Just as our outside world needs to take a break from the chaos, so does our body and soul.  Don’t be afraid to just chill on a rainy day and soak up your surrounds.  Allow yourself to feel the calm.  Allow yourself to refresh.  Allow yourself to restore and replenish.  Allow yourself to repair.  We need the rain.

** Learn to Love the Rain ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Take a Chance ……

For most of us, life isn’t easy.  We go thru good times and bad times and in my world, I like to say that life is “cyclical”.  Normally, if I can hang tight thru the bad, the good is right around the corner.  Sometimes.  Not always.  There will be a point in life when we all just need to kinda look around and reevaluate things.  How comfortable am I with what is happening?  Am I happy?  Did I settle for this job, this life, this body because it was “easy”?  Is there anything I can do to improve myself or my situation?  Maybe, just maybe, I should take a chance and make a change? 

Don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Don’t be afraid to roll the die of chance and change the odds if you don’t like the ones that came up the first time.  Take a chance on life.  Take a chance on fitness.  Take a chance on YOU.

make a wish take a chance make a change

Always remember that we are in control of our life and much of our destiny.  We make choices each and every day that will affect the rest of our lives.  And yes, indecision is a decision.  So don’t be lackadaisical, too carefree or “settle” for something less than you want or deserve.  If we just blow things off and ignore “the” situation, that is in fact surrendering control.  So what have you been ignoring?  Are you pants getting tighter?  Is your fitness off kilter?  Are you daydreaming about something big that you’re too afraid to tackle?  Maybe it’s time to take a chance?  Take a chance on life.  Take a chance on fitness.  Take a chance on YOU.

Change requires courage.  Make the decision to change and repeat after me:  “Failure is not an option”.  Keep rolling those dice until the odds are in your favor.  It won’t be easy but nothing is impossible.  Take a chance.  Roll the dice.  Rewrite your future, today.  As they say, today is the new tomorrow.

Today

**  Take A Chance on YOU ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Run River City Marathon Relay

This year Peoria brought us their first annual Run River City marathon weekend.  The fun filled weekend offered a marathon, 4 person marathon relay, 25K, 5K and kids marathon.  While I normally don’t like to travel for races because it’s a PITA for my family, Peoria is the hometown of my friend & fellow Team Tough Chik teammate Run With Jess, so it was quickly decided that a trip to Peoria was in order.

imageimage

Almost instantaneously, we decided that our event of choice was the marathon relay.  We had one goal:  To Have Fun.  Since we were looking for fun, plus both Jess and I were already members of a 200+ all ladies team, we started looking to fill the remaining two relay spots with Team Tough Chik members.  I mean, the uniform is already in place why not utilize our team members, right?  In under 24 hours, Carmen of She Runs Everywhere and Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik (and creator of the Tough Chik clothing line and Team Tough Chik) were on board for the first ever Team Tough Chik marathon relay.  Pre-race photo:  Me, Carmen, Jess & Shannon.

PreRacePhoto

We rolled into the River City in waves, grabbed our packets at an outdoor “expo”, which very small, and then quickly checked out the swag.  The swag bag included a gender specific new balance shirt, bib and a few advertisements.  No worries on my end, we paid $35 each for the relay.  I come to run, not go home with a bunch of stuff that I’ll never use.

SWAG

Then a bit of sightseeing!  I love a small town where you can walk around and check things out!  Riverfront Park & one of the many bridges connecting Peoria to the “real world”.

Riverfront Park  Bridge

But really, we came to run and were super excited to get started on Sunday morning.  The event kicked off with a super elite field of wheel chair racers at 6:55 am, quickly followed by the marathon, relayers and 25K runners.

WC Start

Temps were warm and humid at the start with a little cloud cover but the sun quickly burnt off the clouds and took the times all the way up to 89 degrees by the finish.

Leg one kicked off at the start by Katie, who was a last minute sub for Carmen due to injury.  The girl smoked those first 6 miles and hauled axx into the first exchange to handoff to me.

Team of 5  Katie to Me handoff

I was off for 7 miles of fun.  Initially thru the flats of the riverfront area of Peoria, then quickly up and out of town via a monstrous hill on Main Street.  Although I’m a notoriously poor uphill runner, I did keep moving.  Other runners gave into walking/clawing their way up and then the stronger hill runners passed me up as if I were standing still.    Here I am still looking fresh as I get ready to tackle “the hill” and you may also notice that my pink FlipBelt came in super handy once again as I stuffed the blue relay baton thru it to free up my hands!

Me_curve_baton in flipbelt

The 7 miles didn’t exactly fly by as I had expected because the heat soaked to my being quickly around mile 3.  I could feel my fingers swelling and my face start tingling.  I was finding it super hard to acclimate to the first hot race of the year so I just tried to focus on moving forward and being thankful that I was relaying rather than running the 25K or marathon.  I heard lots of complaints while I ran about the lack of mile maker, clocks, bathrooms, and runners wanting the water stops to be more frequent due to the heat.  Each water station was placed anywhere from 0.5 to 2 miles apart.  They seemed random and it was difficult to anticipate their locations.  The website listed them here:

NUTRITION

  • Water stops will be at miles 2, 4, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 8, 10, 11, 12.5, 14.5, 1.5, 16, 18, 18.5, 20, 21, 22.5, 24.5, 25, 25.75

  • Honey Stinger gels will be at miles 11 and 21

  • Gatorade will be at miles 4, 6, 8, 12.5, 16, 18.5, 22.5

I must say that I was super happy to see Shannon awaiting my arrival at the second exchange!  I was totally melted by this point and she looked fresh, happy and ready to run her 5.5 miles of hills.

Handoff to Shannon

Shannon’s California conditioning was exactly what we needed for the toughest leg of the event.  She was used to the weather and the hills and BOOM, smashed her leg.  Thanks, Shannon!!!  Before we knew it, she was coming in to hand off to Jess who totally rocked the last 7.7 miles all the way back DOWN to the riverfront. Yes, I’m totally jealous of that big downhill she got to run! 

Shannon handoff to Jess

Team Tough Chik running to the finish!!

Team Running In

So much fun.  Sub 4 hour finish (3 hours 56 minutes).  We placed 4th out of the 50 “all women” relay teams and 22nd of out of all 123 relay teams.  And in case you were wondering, “This is What Tough Looks Like”:

Team photo_baton

Great time.  I’d definitely do another marathon relay. Thanks to Jess for busting her butt trying to figure out the mangled course directions for driving to the relay exchanges.  Thanks to Dave, Jess’ hubby, for helping us on course, doing some of the driving, and taking all of these amazing photos.  Thanks to Carmen for being such a good sport, despite her injury, hanging with us during the race and finding us a last minute replacement!  Lastly, thanks to Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik for making us cool running clothes coming all the way from California to run with us.  Much love to all of you!

Overall I loved Run River City and recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap, scenic, tough, hilly marathon.   Good bang for the buck.  And if you’re in it for the bling, well you won’t be disappointed!

Medal

**Run River City ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com **

A Family Affair ….

As a wife and mother who is employed full time with a lengthy commute, exercise is sometimes a luxury rather than a necessity.  I frequently cram it, exercise that is, into the day when it really doesn’t fit.  Like,  I should do that massive pile of laundry BUT I’m going to take Michael and go run with the jog stroller instead.  That  pretty much defines this week.  We crammed a lot into a little time.  Aby’s done with track so it was “make-up” week where we tried to get our life back and still take care of business.

Dentist & Group run.  I’ll spare you the bloody photo of them pulling Aby’s tooth.  However, we followed up the dental visit with a Tuesday run with the F’N Running  Club.  Gotta balance the bad with the good, right?

FNRC_TUE_5-14

“Big People” Appointment & Zoo.  Quality time with the kiddos has been mostly in the car as of late.  One parent present at a time.  Probably won’t win us parent’s of the year but I think they dropped our application years ago, so no worries!  Anyhow, we needed a day off for “big people” stuff and then decided to take the kiddos and hit the zoo for some good ole family fun.  The Dinosaur’s Alive exhibit at Brookfield Zoo was a big hit with us!

Zoo_May 2013    Zoo_May 2013_giraffes     Zoo_May 2013_dino_kids  Zoo_May 2013_dino_color  Zoo_May 2013_dino

Then we hit another FNRC run last night as a family (you can barely see Michael peaking out of the jogger beside Aby in the middle) after I promised Aby ice cream if she could manage to slug a few miles out with Michael and I.

FNRC_THUR_5-16-13

So we’ve had a busy week but still managed to have some fun.  All my run miles have been slow, back of the pack runs with Michael in the jogger and my shoulders burning because the jogger and I aren’t friends..  I’ve biked on the trainer a few times and tried my best to get the house back in order.  NOW, I’m looking forward to the weekend. 

No family affair this weekend.  I’m heading to Peoria, IL to spend some time with a few of my favorite Team Tough Chik members (Jess, Shannon – The Original Tough Chik, Carmen & Nicki T) as we show Run River City how to put together one TOUGH relay team.  Go Toughies!!!!

If you are headed to Peoria to Run River City, look for our Team Tough Chik relay.  Or the amazing sign that Jess made which I’m sure will pop up around the marathon course. 

Team Tough Chik sign_Jess

** Get Out and Run, With Or Without the Family ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Motivation or Lack Thereof….

Despite the fact that “spring has sprung”, I’ve certainly had very low motivation since the Lansing Marathon.  The marathon didn’t go as I had hoped and it left me feeling empty, tired and “slightly” hopeless.  And then I got sick immediately thereafter.  Yes, I’m finally feeling better but I’m not as strong.  I’m not fast.  I not motivated.  I’m not feeling at all like myself. 

What to do?  Look at more  springtime photos?

Jenny G came late to the party and sent me some lovely photos from Lake Katherine that she snapped over the weekend.

Lake Katherine    Lake Katherine_blooms

And Keith G, ran one of my favorite trails, Waterfall Glen in Darien, IL over the weekend.  Yay for more beautiful photos!!

Waterfall Glen_Keith   Watergfall Glen_keith

I have been running.  And biking.  Nothing too crazy.  A few miles here and there.  I did a 20 mile “long bike” on Saturday on the trainer, then took it outside on Mother’s Day for a 10 mile “long run” last Sunday.  So I’m moving.  Just not focused on time or pace or racing. 

Know that’s it’s okay if you aren’t feeling the need to just “kill” every run.  Sometimes your body and mind need a break.  They will let you know when they do and it’s always wise to listen.  So as of right now, I’m “just” running.  At whatever pace I can manage. I’m just soaking up the sunshine and enjoying how lush our local trails have become with a little bit of rain and heat.

OPT_LUSH_5-12-13

** Just Keep Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Spring Has Sprung, Virtually & In Real Life

I’m so enchanted with the sights and smells of springtime that I was really interested to see what YOU were discovering in YOUR neighborhood!  So yesterday, I threw down a quick challenge on my Facebook page asking readers to send me a springtime photo from their run/walk/bike adventures. 

Deb M sent me a couple cool photos from her morning run at McCarthy Park in Tinley Park, IL!

McCarthy Park Lagoon  McCarthy Park Lagoon2

Kelly The Culinarian took a stroll with her pooch, Napoleon at Centennial Park in Addison, IL.

Kelly J_pooch

Keith G was running between the raindrops at Brookfield Woods, in Brookfield, IL when he spotted a beautiful flowering tree.

Brookfield Woods

Kelly over at Running Kellometers is taking it easy while nurturing the development of  Baby #1; however, she didn’t have to put much effort into capturing an amazing spring photo.  This magnolia tree is just outside her front door.  Yes, I’m jealous.  I think this is my favorite flowering tree.

magnolia tree

Christina P, outside of Indy, has been enjoying some time with her favorite 4 legged BFF.  This little one doesn’t look like it will be moving up to the long run anytime too soon but it will definitely take first place for being such a cutie pie!!

Christina P_pooch

What spring means to me depends on the day.  I’m a springtime “baby” so love spring by default.  For me and my little ones, each year we look forward to baby birds, flowering trees and well manicured lawns.

baby birds_5-9-13  flowering trees

I also look forward to my lunchtime runs thru the city of Chicago and on the lakefront path.  It’s all good when I’m running with the wind but it wasn’t so funny on the way back!  My favorite days aren’t necessarily the sunny, warm ones but I have a particular love for the foggy, gloomy, rainy days like today.  Mom, was it raining the day I was born?  The gloom brings me cool running temps and fast feet.  That I LOVE!

Lakefront_5-10-13_collage

So spring has definitely sprung in the Midwest and everyone I know is loving it!  Get out there and enjoy the fresh crisp mornings before things turn hot and humid.

** Spring Has Sprung & I’m Loving It ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Spring Brings MORE Runners!!!

We are starting to have a few nice days here and there in the Midwest.  It seems like winter really doesn’t want to say good bye but alas it is inevitable.  The trees and flowers are blooming and I’m actually considering some outdoor gardening.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  But I have been enjoying the flowering trees both in my yard and trailside.

Blooming Tree

I’m also enjoying all the activity on our local trails.  The same trails that were somewhat deserted all winter long due to snow, ice and overall treacherous conditions.  The same trails that if I ran at an “off” time, I could run for miles one end without seeing a single soul.  Now the trails are bustling with activity.  Walkers.  Runners.  Bikers.  4 legged friends, both domestic and otherwise. 

The size of our group runs are increasing at a very fast rate too.  During the winter season, it would be the same reliable few, each and every week, but now we have new faces at every run!  Wednesday night runners below!!

FNRC_5-8-13

We have so many new faces that I think I’ll buy name tags for next week’s run!!  I was at the trail 2 hours last night and I only managed 5.71 miles but I got to socialize with lots of new and old friends.  Next week, I’ll be more prepared so that I can get my miles in and still enjoy the company those on the trail.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.

Are you noticing new people out on your local trails?  If you’re still running solo, and would like to change that, put a sign up at your local gym, school and/or park and start your own running club!!  YOU can do it!!!  You’re not the only one out there running the trails, no matter how desolate things seemed thru the winter.  Spring has sprung and people are itching to get out and run!  Take advantage of the situation and make new run friends!!

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