13.1 Chicago – Race Entry Giveaway!

I am sooo excited to announce that I have free race entry to giveaway for the 13.1 Chicago event on June 9, 2012! 

Coming off the recent 13.1 Miami Beach race (recap HERE) makes this that much more exciting for me and I am super envious that I will not be hitting the pavement with you on June 9th!

This is a very unique race for the CHI as it does not go through the loop or the same tired section of the Lake Front running path that you may have run a million times in recent races.  THIS race according to the website:  starts and finishes at the Historic South Shore Cultural Center (SSCC) on Chicago’s south side. The SSCC offers beautiful views of both Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline and has hosted many notable events, including the wedding reception of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The 13.1 mile course takes you along the Lake front Path past La Rabida Hospital. After passing the hospital, you will run through Jackson Park, home of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, the Osaka Japanese Garden, a strolling garden on Wooden Island. You will then pass the Museum of Science & Industry, the only original building remaining from the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and one of the largest science museums in the world. You will then head back to the Lakefront Path to almost 35th Street before heading back south, past the 63rd Street Beach House and finishing at the SSCC. This course is 13.1 miles of perfect Windy City experience.

This is a  totally different race experience than what you normally get in Chicago and I will definitely be out there with you next year!

So if you would like a chance to win a free entry to the 13.1 Chicago 2012 race, an $80 value, you probably already know what to do but here are the hoops through which you will need to jump:

  • Become a follower of this blog  (click on the +Follower button at the bottom or top of the page) – 1 entry
  • Become a Facebook fan of TooTallFritz – 1 entry
  • Become a Facebook fan of 13.1 Marathon Series – 1 entry
  • Link this post up to your Facebook page and announce the giveaway to your friends – 3 entries
  • Link up this post up to your blog and announce the giveaway to your followers – 5 entries
  • Agree to do a Guest Race Review of the 13.1 Chicago for the TooTallFritz blog after the race (if you win the free entry) – 4 entries

After you have done some/all of the above, please leave a comment in the comments section below and tell me what you have done and how many entries to assign you (max of 15).   If you are already a follower and a TooTallFritz Facebook fan, that is 2 free entries for you, just let me know that you would like to be entered in the drawing!  I will randomly generate a winner via a Random Number Generator on Monday, March 26th at 9 am.

And for all of you running the 13.1 Chicago, feel free to enjoy the after party, then head to North Beach to cheer in the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay teams.  That’s where I’ll be….. running it in with the Ultra Team (You Just Got) Chicked!  See you next year, 13.1 Chicago!

Good Luck,                                                                                                               Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                             amanda@tootallfritz.com

The Journey of One….

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

Angela’s Journey (unedited)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing is impossible.  Dream big and go for it. 

Angela – March 9, 2012

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

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13.1 Miam Beach Race Review

So for the last month I have been anxiously awaiting the Miami Beach trip to spend quality time with my momma, meet my on-line friend Angela for the first time and to run the 13.1 Miami Beach race.  Miami certainly did not disappoint.  Mom and I had an excellent time and the weather was unseasonably warm reaching the low 80s each day.  We were able to have fun in the sun, walk around and enjoy the city and do whatever we desired without worrying about the weather.  Super nice, relaxing and we had an awesome time. 

I also really enjoyed meeting Angela.  I was a little “under the weather” when we left for the trip and the head cold: sore throat, ear aches & headache was back full force by late SAT afternoon, which unfortunately was shortly after she arrived.  I certainly wasn’t myself but did enjoy her company and meeting her in real life.  She is a sweet person, great/loving wife/momma and a kick ass runner.  We had non-stop conversation until my voice totally went out.  A silent TTF is a very sad thing.  😦

We kept it very low-key the night before the race.  We walked the beach and talked, walked thru the city a bit, ate at an awesome restaurant and went to bed early.  At that point, I had already realized that the weather would not be good for me ideal and the fact that I had been eating in restaurants and consuming way too many calories, sodium and other additives which are not part of my normal diet would also probably not be a plus in my quest for the 1:50 but I tried to stay positive and BELIEVE that it was possible.

If you would like to read a race report on a perfect race, please click over to RunWithJess for her race recap of the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon HERE.

This race was not perfect in any aspect.  We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to 72 degrees and 90% humidity, 9 mph winds with warnings of wind gusts up to 30-40 mph.  As soon as I stepped outside the humidity hit me hard, just breathing, not exerting myself at all.  I was feeling crappy with the head cold but had taken some Motrin to calm the ear/headache issues so felt okay by race time.  We met up with a few of Angela’s friend’s and then we were off racing into the dark.

I lined up with the 1:50 pacer trying to believe that it was still a possibility but knew almost immediately that it was just a dream for a day like this.  So I let the pacer run away from me at the first water stop around 1.5 miles.  I knew it was vital for me to hydrate properly if I were going to finish.

At this point, we were on a very ugly bridge, which was scenic as it was the bridge closest to the cruise ship docks and we had a decent wind off the water but  I was nervous.  Really nervous.  Not because the 1:50 pacer was GONE but because it was very early in the race and I was already thinking about bagging it.  The bridge was several miles long with two very large inclines and corresponding declines, then a long flat section in the middle.  The temp wasn’t horrible but the humidity was just thick.  I walked for the first time in the third mile going up the second nasty incline.  I didn’t walk for long, just long enough to regroup.  It was somewhere in this section that I realized I was going to have to treat this race like any other scorcher and run it water stop to water stop.  I walked thru every water stop from there on out, drinking both gatorade and water and also dumping water on myself then just tried to keep moving to the next.  I had made the conscious decision to finish no matter how long it took and no matter how much I had to walk.

Somewhere in the 4th mile the 2 hour pace group powered past me looking very solid and stong.  It was so evident in these early miles who were the locals versus the visitors. We “visitors” already looked like wilted flowers and the locals were powerful and stong in their home territory.  It was almost funny, had I not been the wilted flower.

The course map was very simple, we ran a big square, so it was easy to break it down into quarters.  As soon as we got off the first series of bridges, it was into town for a short shady jaunt, then a long set of second set of bridges with the ups/downs, then the homestretch.  I saw my momma at mile 12 and stopped and drank her water talked to her.

The water stops were about every 1.5 miles.  It seemed like a long way to run without water but I am glad they weren’t more often or my time would have been even slower I would have overdrank.  There were live bands or music every 3 or 4 miles, the volunteers and police were plentiful and friendly.  The post race party was hopping with lots of food, beer, massages and live entertainment.  Everyone looked to be having a great time!

Overall it was a good race and very scenic, just a bit too warm & humid for Ms. TooTall.  The finish temp was 82 degrees.  For me, my race strategy sometimes gets revised to self-preservation, which means running smart and safe to the finish.  My body really just shuts down in the heat/humidity, it’s not even a conscious decision, the body just slows down.   So I safely made it to the finish and that makes me happy regardless of the time.  I was officially a 2:08:22 finisher and I’ll take that!  Always good to make it back for the post race photos!  Chris, Jess, Me & Angela:

After the finish, I walked/jogged back for Angela so it was a total 16.5 mile day for me.  I’m a bit sore but not bad.  My biggest “pain” is from the slanted/grated roads that gave me a huge blood blister on the side of my big toe.   I did as lot of weaving around trying to find a flat spot to run but it was difficult.  Here is the “loot”: 

There wasn’t an expo, the goody bags only had the shirt, one sample of biofreeze, and the backpack.  Although, it was a decent race, I don’t feel as if I’m missing out by not yet having ran the Chicago race.

After the race, we were up for some more fun in the sun but that was not in the cards.  Rainstorms came thru and the temps dropped to 62 before we left Miami that evening.  The high winds were ripping the palms right off the trees! 

We did walk back to our favorite area for lunch but overall with the temperature drop and high winds we were just thankful to have been able to enjoy our days previous and it was easier to pack up and head to the airport.  A few of my favorite sites before leaving, most are from a small street called Espana Way with lots of little shops and restaurants.

How do you do with “destination” races?  Are they hard for you or do you always rock them?  This was my first and probably my last unless I luck into being somewhere when a random race is happening.  I race close to home where I am usually familiar with the conditions, can sleep in my own bed and eat my own food prior to race day.

Happy Running,                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz

Fun in the Sun – Miami – Part II

Yesterday was a huge day and I feel like we fit in as much R&R and fun as possible. The first thing on my list was a run so that I could attempt to acclimate my body to this climate a bit for the race. I know I don’t have enough time to acclimate properly but I at least wanted to know how I was going to feel. So I went out about the time the sun came up and it was just a beautiful day.

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I just ran/walked took some photos and just enjoyed the sights. I LOVED the performance of the Tough Chik tank in the heat. I never even noticed it was there which was a huge win. I also tested out a new (to me) product in the Mission Skincare line. They had a 5 hour anti-chafe cream that I compared to body glide. I am a body glide lover so was wondering how this would compare.

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I used it the day before while walking around town and didn’t love it. So thought I better give it a try on a low intensity run. It goes on like paste, and it’s sticky. The stickiness doesn’t really go away. I didn’t chafe but just felt sticky. So I guess it “works” but I prefer the feel and texture of the body glide.

After the run, mom & I had a light breakfast and then spent several hours under an umbrella on the beach.

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Then shopping, lunch and general sightseeing fun.

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Now off to pick up my packet for tomorrow’s race.

Run/Walk thru the CHI…..

Yesterday I hauled my ass self away from the office with the intent of knocking out an 8 miler.  Well, that didn’t happen.  But it was a beautiful day in the CHI and the sun was trying to peak out!

I wasn’t very far at all when I realized that my legs were very fatigued.  So I readjusted my goal from 8 miles to 6.  Then I got to Oak Street beach and realized that I wanted to walk.

So I walked.  And realized I was only 2.5 miles in and if I wanted to walk at this point, then I better just turn around and head back for the office cuz it wasn’t going to get better so I turned around and the now 6 miler turned into a 5.

In addition to the heavy fatigue, my right calf was also screaming talking to me.  The good news is that the ankle which was bothering me last week was silent, unless I just couldn’t hear it’s whimpers over the screams of the calf muscle.  I’m thinking that a 2013 edition of the Warm Your Heart rat maze will NOT be in the cards for Ms. TooTall.  Yep, the aftermath on my body was too much for a 5K distance.   Not worth it in my opinion.  Too many hairpin turns.  I’m coming off the Plantar Fasciitis injury and am still not 100% so it probably affected me more so than a healthy person.  The calf muscle that was screaming after the Warm Your Heart race and also during this run, is the same one which was swollen and so damaged that it finally sent me to the doc for the Plantar Fasciitis in September.  I know this is all related.  That’s okay, it will bounce back and I’ll know better for next year. 

In the interim, I enjoyed a nice run/walk thru the city. 

Chicago is getting ready for St Paddy’s Day!

So it was a good day to get out and enjoy the city but a very unproductive “run” per say.  It’s okay, just a perfect excuse to take it easy the next couple of days in preparation for Sunday’s race in Miami.  And fortunately, I have been doing this long enough to know that this will in NO WAY affect my performance.  It’s just a bump in the road, the work has been done, the miles put in and I will be READY TO RUN a kick ass race on Sunday. 

Cheers!                                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz

 

 

I’m a Tough Chi(c)k

I’m a tough chick.  I’ve known that for a long time.  As with all bitches ladies, some days are better than others but overall, I’m up there on the tough scale.  Over the last couple years, I became aware of a clothing company appropriately named, Tough Chik.  How fun is that?  I had browsed their website multiple times but their products just weren’t exactly what I wanted at the time.  They had lots of cute running tees but I don’t wear tees while running, or otherwise, and the performance line was small so I have been patiently waiting for them to expand the line.    I don’t mind spending money on performance clothing even though I have a ton but I don’t spend it on stuff that I don’t love. 

Towards the end of last year, my beloved Tough Chiks, who I been stalking but had yet to make a single purchase, announced they would be organizing a team for 2012.  Anyone who joined the team, by purchasing from the Team apparel line, would not only be part of the inaugural Team Tough Chik but also have a year’s worth of discounts for all Tough Chik apparel, get discounts for numberous yet to be named sponsors, and possibly get a ton of random freebies in our team package.  So basically we were purchasing a mystery package and well, I’m all about surprises and taking a chance, especially when the Team Tough Chik package looked to be just my style in regards to performance, function and fashion.

The team packages will be mailed sometime in March so I have been anticipating the delivery for several months.  Then I saw that the TC performance line started to expand and I was intrigued.  I’ve had my eye on this:

But I didn’t buy it.  I thought it was cute but I didn’t know how the sizing would work, I have this team package coming and the contents might not fit and since it’s custom I was sure that returns/exchanges wouldn’t be an option, so I was waiting to see how the sizing of the team gear would work for my body.  I have an odd body shape.  I’m long and lean but have a very poochy belly cuz I like to eat and drink instead of doing core work.  As a result, I have to be careful with my clothing not being too tight thru the belly or I look ridiculous.  I know you will be shocked but I also have an issue with my height and some of the TRI and running tops are too short and I certainly won’t wear anything that doesn’t have proper coverage so I was still waiting.  I figured that after the team package arrived and I had a better idea on sizing that I would try a few other things, like the pink tank above.

However, Tough Chik pulled a fast one and put something out that I COULD.NOT.RESIST.  Many of you know that my favorite race is the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago.  Each year, I try to harass encourage as many of my friends as possible to run.  This year I even strong-armed pursuaded a large group of ladies to run with me in green Team Sparkle skirts.  And since the occasion will be so festive, I have also purchased shamrock socks, white leggings for under the skirt and a green pullover.  But this green “i run” tank will hopefully match the Shamrock outfit perfectly: 

Yep, I couldn’t resist but took the plunge and purchased my first TC product.  It was relatively cheap at $30, plus there was an option of matching arm sleeves which I will probably need at the Shamrock Shuffle.  And most importantly, it fit PERFECTLY.   The tank is designed to be form-fitting thru the chest and then has a drop to a looser fit thru the mommy tummy.  YAY!  WIN!  I was so excited last night when I tried it on that I couldn’t even contain my excitement but took some pics, posted them on Facebook, tried to get 3 of these in the PINK (above) for me and my girls running 13.1 Miami on Sunday….. but shocker……. they are sold out of the pink in some sizes…..more to come soon!

Arm Sleeves ($25) with little Tough Chiks:

Back:

I can not wait to run in this top.  The fit is so nice, it was hard to take it off.  The seams are flat and the arm holes go up high enough that I don’t anticipate any chafing in the underarm flab department, this really seems like the perfect top and let’s say that I have been thru a “few” brands to know a lot by just the initial try-on.  Most tops I order never make it to a trial run but just get sent back immediately.  I have never found any running tops that I really love but am very hopeful with this one.  And quite honestly, the price point is so low compared to other technical brands, that I’m hoping this top performs half as good as I expect.  You may only see me on the trail in Tough Chik i run tanks this summer.  I’ll take this tank to Miami for a test drive this weekend and let you know how it performs.  More later.

Do you have any running tops/tanks that you absolutely love?  What is the price range?  Let’s find some good stuff at a good price for a change!  Tell us what you like!

Happy Running,                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

 

 

No Honey Buckets in the Midwest…….

Due to the weekend chaos, I decided to try to get a 10 miler in last night instead of this morning.  This wasn’t exactly ideal since by Friday night, I’m usually very tired and just want to chill but I wanted to get it out of the way since the entire week has been less than ideal.  The Wednesday 10 miler turned into a 4, then I have an indoor 5K race on Sunday, and 13.1 Miami Beach next weekend.  Plus I needed to break in those fluorescent pink Saucony Guide’s! 

The weather was good at 28 degrees and there was no snow or wind when I began.  However, that quickly changed.  I parked at Ridgeland, ran east to Matteson and back for my first 4 miles.  It’s very scenic in the first mile east of Ridgeland with a large pond on both sides of the trail.  Very tranquil.

Then I picked up Kate for another 6 miles and by that time it was getting fun.  The snow had started and the wind was ridiculous coming out of the west blowing the snow right into my eyes.  Plus the wind was at the point where I.COULD.HARDLY.STAND.UP.  But, of course, Kate was up for some miles. 

We started off running into the wind to get that out of the way and that first 3 out were tough!  It was hard to talk and we were slightly over a 9 minute mile, which felt like we were moving in slow motion!  Once we hit the turnaround though we were flying until I realized I need a bathroom STAT!  That slowed us considerably while we hunted for one and I had to just totally stop a few times to “refocus”.  Sorry Kate!

This whole process really had me thinking about running in the midwest in the winter.  Personally, as a Midwesterner, almost everything seems better on the west coast.  Port-O-Pots included.  And what was on my mind during last night’s run?  Well, Port-O-Pots cuz I had to “go”.  Several west coast run-bloggers have mentioned their beloved Honey Bucket’s many times over the last several years.  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

As a winter runner in the midwest, you will find that all of those readily available bathrooms, port-o-pots and water sources that you hit during the spring/summer/fall have all been locked up, or taken away, during the winter.  Well, that doesn’t mean that you still don’t need those resources but alas they are unavailable.  Kate and I were on a quest to find one yesterday when “the urge” hit me late in our run.  So nice to be out running with a friend and have such an issue fun.  Embarrassing but since she will not only be a Ragnar Relay partner but also a Chicago Marathon training partner, I guess she would have eventually realized that I have some “issues”.  Still not ideal though on my part.  😦  And note to self:  Cheese & Crackers pre-run is NOT a good snack.

Of course, all the nice, indoor facilities were locked.  The port-o-pots at the parks had been removed.  And one lonely Waste Management potty was left at Ridgeland Avenue.  Thank goodness for whoever pays for that one to stay and be maintained.  Not only was it open and available but it was also stocked with the necessities. 

And the best part, although those 50-60 mph winds tried their darndest to tip this potty while I was inside, in the pitch black darkness, I got lucky and made it out unscathed.  Some days are definitely better than others!

Anyone want to make a list of port-o-pots that are still available in the winter?  I may need to readjust my running routes to include these places.  So tell us if you know of any potties that are out along Old Plank Trail!

Happy Running,                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz

Believe….

As cliché as it sounds, I believe…….

I know that the numbers on the treadmill do not define me.  I know that I have not been hitting the speeds/durations that I need in order to run as fast as I want.  But I believe that my hard work will pay off with positive results.  I am working harder than I have ever worked before, logging more miles than in years gone by and I know that when race day arrives, I  will bring everything I have to the table.  What does that mean?  I will bring my attitude and BELIEVE that I can run faster than is possible.

I began simple speed interval work about 5 or 6 weeks ago with the intention of getting back into 22:xx shape for the 5K distance.  However, I do not anticipate the upcoming Warm Your Heart 5K at McCormick Place to be a test of the progress of my random speed work since the course map looks as intricate as a good maze. 

After a brief review of this course map, I have decided that this looks like a fun race where I will get to go and hang out with friends but not one that will count as a real test of 5K speed since I can only imagine huge bottlenecks at each of those turns.

However, as I look forward to the next several weeks of training I see the 13.1 Miami Beach race in my immediate future.  I anticipate this to be a good test as to my current level of fitness.  I haven’t raced a half uninjured since last June and that day ended up being sweltering hot and although I finished in a run/walk fashion, they did end up calling the race and closing it down due to the dangerous conditions.  So I don’t feel as if that race was a good indication of half marathon speed since I was in survival mode.  I raced a couple other halfs afterwards but they were in a very injured state with the Plantar Fasciitis.  Therefore, I have HUGE expectations for 13.1 Miami Beach.  I have been trying to get to the 1:50:xx mark in the half marathon for 2 years and I now believe that I will be able to attain this goal with my current level of fitness. 

So I have one more week to train without blowing it and then it will be R&R with my momma in Miami before Ms. TooTall bags a goal that is 2 years in the making.  I’m not really sure there will be room for many other people in the race once my attitude hits the start line.  Watch out Miami Beach…….I’ll be flying in for you, very soon!

Believe in yourself and know that the impossible really is possible if you BELIEVE

Do you have any lofty goals which you fully expect to achieve this year?

Amanda – TooTallFritz

I Wear My Sunglasses……Almost Never

My biggest running “wardrobe malfunction”.  Sunglasses.  And I don’t know how to fix it.

This is the current assortment of various sunglasses that I have bought for running, and/or stolen from my children cuz I thought they “might” work for running.  This does not include the 10+ pair I have purchased over the years and returned, or the 5+ pair that I have given to random running friends, or the countless pairs that I have pitched onto the sidelines at races.  If I’m actually wearing sunglasses and you like them and/or need a pair, just follow me for a couple of miles and they can soon enough be yours!  I just can’t deal with them when the “pressure” is on and I’m attempting to running fast.

However, the problem is that I NEED them.  My eyes are very sensitive to light and burn when they are not protected.  I am frequently looking at the ground to avoid tripping too much light in my eyes.  Along with the sensitivity to light, I also have poor vision which is why I’m always looking at the ground, so the tint can’t be too high or I can’t see.  For that reason, I’m quite certain that my sunglasses spend way more time in my hair than on my face.  As soon as the sunlight disappears, the glasses have to come off.  And although, I would like to look tough in a pair like LoLo Jones, I don’t.  But I have honestly considered more than once ordering a pair of Oakley’s so that I can be JUST LIKE Lolo!  However, I’m pretty sure she would look tough & cool and sexy in anything so that probably wouldn’t translate well for me.  Plus, if I pay that much $$ for pair of glasses then all of you will be following me around at races waiting for me to pitch them, right?  But Lolo, does look tough in her Oakley’s.

And Desi always looks like a badass tough in hers too.  I think she can run faster when she has them on because it masks her level of discomfort, as if one would be uncomfortable running in the 5:15 to 5:30 range x 26.2.  Think the same would work for me? 

So basically I’m on the quest for a the perfect sunglasses that will be comfortable and make me run faster not look ridiculous. The criteria:

  1. Lightweight;
  2. Rimless on the bottom so that I can wear them on the bike too (bugs in the eyes hurt @ 20 mph);
  3. Narrow in width, I have a very narrow face thus the reason I can wear my toddler’s sunglasses;
  4. Inexpensive – preferably in the under $50 price range, but up to $100 would be okay if they are AWESOME;
  5. Light colored lenses that don’t have too much tint, multi-lens option would be even better;
  6. No crazy nose pieces that will get caught in my hair;
  7. Somewhat cool looking while not over taking my face.

Please give me some suggestions!  I have 13.1 Miami Beach in 3 weeks and I am hoping it will be sunny.  I can’t show up to run without a pair of glasses after hanging in the CHI all winter and not having seen the sun for months.

Do you wear sunglasses or just go without?  What brand?  Feel free to link up your favorites for me, as I seriously need to find something that will work.

Thanks,                                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

Inspiration in Numbers

I find the energy at the FNRC runs these days to be unbelievable.  The number of people with the variety of runners and paces is absolutely inspiring.  It is hard to “hold back” and not run too fast when the energy is so high.  Although difficult to explain, it is similar to the feeling of racing where the excitement is so high, and you have focus on relaxing and keeping the pace easy enough so as not to bonk die before the end. However, this is NOT a race but our normal group run atmosphere, on our home trail, with our friends.  I not only feel lucky to be part of this group but am constantly inspired by the influx of newbies.  I feel compelled to run strong, NOT BITCH COMPLAIN and strive to be better so that I am a good example for those who put their heart on the line and have the courage to step up to run with our group.  I know joining a group run can be scary but it appears that A LOT of YOU people are overcoming their fears and stepping up to join us!  Thank you, newbies!  You push the rest of us to be better, and be present, not only for all of you but for ourselves.  Amazing!

Today we had two groups, an early group of longer runners who drug themselves out of bed for a 7am start.  Here they are from left:  Joe, Pat, Kate, Mary, Kelly, Susan, Joyelle, Lynn & Lara.We then had to push a little bit to be on time to pick up the second group of sleepyheads runners.  When we got to the next pick up we doubled in size.  Here is the group that made it to the 2nd pick up from Top left:  Dawn, April, Jennifer, Nicole, Kate, Gennie, Kelly, Lisa, Me, Lara, Joe.  Bottom left:  Cathie, Nicole, Melissa.

So the two groups equaled 19 people, then we “found” Diane (not pictured) along the way and she made 20!  Thank you, Diane for making an appearance so we could break yesterday’s record of 19!  Whoooop!

The run was really awesome on all levels from the weather, the atmosphere to the conversation.  Great day!  I had initially planned to run with my Ragnar Vanmates this morning and was fortunate to have many more on the trail!  My Ragnar Van:  Kate, Lara & Me.

We also saw Lara’s Hubby our Van driver out training this morning so made him stop for a photo op too!  And since Kelly is one of our volunteers, we had almost the entire Chicago contingent of Team “Chicked” for the pic:  Kelly (volunteer), Lara, Nels (driver), Kate & Me.

The group really was all over the board this morning with paces and distances.  We had a large group of run/walkers, and everything from 3-12 miles at various paces.  I needed 12 this morning and Joe showed up a few minutes early to squeeze in two miles with me before the rest of the group arrived.  The majority of the group ran 10 miles.  The temps were cooler initially at 24 degrees but we didn’t have the wind today and it was a beautiful day to get out and burn some calories run before the Super Bowl parties this afternoon.

My total:  12.07 miles in 1:49.  I was hoping to keep it around 9 minute miles today and we did very well.  We were faster for the most part but then had to slow to a walk thru a few icy sections so it worked out to a 9:03 average.  Can’t complain about that.  I am pushing for a sub 1:50 in the 13.1 Miami Beach race in 4 weeks.  It seemed very doable until Ang told me that 6 or 7 miles of the 13.1 were bridge inclines……hmmmmm, don’t count me out yet.  I’m feeling strong.

Any big plans for Super Bowl?  Who are you rooting for this year?  Did you get a run/workout this morning?

Happy Running,                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz