Favorite Things …… 2013 Edition

Every year as the holidays approach, readers start asking for a list of my favorite things.  This year I haven’t found a ton of NEW run things that I love but I do have a few favorites. 


My favorite lifestyle tees this year are the Whooha Gear, Regret Nothing tee ($24) & the Tough Chik, I Run Because tee ($22), which is actually on my wish list!  Both of these are inexpensive items that deliver a message.  The bold, neon orange Regret Nothing tee is one of my absolute favorites that I wear constantly (and you can still use the INSPIRE discount code for 10% off).  However the “Run Because” tee holds a special spot in my heart.  Shannon from Tough Chik sent out a poll asking ladies for the reason as to why they run.  All of the quotes in the heart of that tee are from MY friends, YOUR friends, and random Tough Chiks everywhere.  We may not all run for the same reason but we will run united as Tough Chiks FOREVER!

Whooha_regret nothing    image

My favorite running items this year?  The Asics Emma Racerback ($34) & the Athleta Relay Capris.  My “Emma” is always dirty.  As soon as it comes upstairs from the wash, I pull it for a treadmill run.  The butter soft, lightweight fabric makes this baby the BEST shirt I own for a hot, sweaty workout.  They have three colors, I only own the Energy Print but would definitely buy more if I didn’t feel guilty cuz my workout wardrobe is larger than what most people own for “everyday wear”.  My go to “bottoms” are always the Athleta Relay Capri pants ($69).  You can say what you want about how costly the Athleta items are but these capris stand the test of time.  I only add one pair of capri’s to my “collection” every year and well, I’m still wearing the original black ones that I bought 4-5 years ago.  I’ve since added navy, cobalt blue, asphalt and the new sandstone inkblot ($74) to my closet.  They come in tall and standard sizes, fit perfectly, don’t move when I run and they also have a zip pocket in the back that is large enough for my iPhone.  I don’t own any other capri pants cuz these are perfect and stylish.  Total win!

Emma Racerback   veterans_me & Kasey   me_after 20 miles (march 2013)_blue lock laces 

Something that’s been on my wish list for a LONG time, is a pair of aviator sunglasses.  Why?  Cuz all the cool kids wear them and well, lots of fast runners in my area do too.  Somehow my brain now equates aviator sunglasses with cool people who run fast.  Yeah, let’s just go with it.  Since it’s no secret that it’s hard to find a pair of sunglasses to fit this oblong, skinny face, I thought I was out of luck …… until I saw that Smith Pivloc was making a “slim” version of their Serpico style.  Enter into my world the Smith Pivloc Serpico Slims ($90-$119).  According to Aby, it doesn’t matter what sunglasses I wear, I’ll never be cool, or fun and she is NOT amused.  Sorry, Aby.  Actually, no, I’m not sorry.  I will continue to embarrass you for THE.REST.OF.YOUR.LIFE.  Love you, babe!

Smith Optics_SerpicoSlim  me & Aby_nov 2013_serpico slim

Last but not least, I have to cover the feet.  My feet take me EVERYWHERE and for that reason, I don’t wear cheap shoes (or socks!).   When I’m not running, or hanging with the kiddos, then I’m probably downtown in the Windy City for the J.O.B.  It gets cold downtown fast.  And stays cold forever.  I need a boot that is comfortable, stylish and can take me thru the snow & ice then directly into the office.   My boot of choice for the 2013-2014 winter season is the Keen Bern Baby Bern Boot ($170).  Love these bad boys!  They are light and comfy, keep my feet warm but also don’t cause my feet/legs to overheat either, which is super important if your day ends up as long as most of mine.  I’ve already worn them several times this season and they are the best boots I’ve owned to date.  One day last week I put them on at 5am and wasn’t able to take them off til 7pm.  Long day but my feet felt great, no rubbing, no fatigue, just happy feet!

image   Keen_bern baby bern boots

You’re next, what are you loving this year?  Tell me, I’d love to try something new!

** These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Spooktacular 5K Review & Giveaway Winner

I have been trying to hit quite a few local 5Ks as of late.  The primary reason is to keep Aby running and having fun in her off season and secondly to try to keep myself pushing so that I can hopefully get up to speed sooner rather than later.  I almost feel as if racing each weekend is backfiring on me because I seem to be getting slower which in turn just kills my confidence. 

If I’m honest, I also have a few things working against me.  I am carrying almost 10 extra lbs from not being able to run this summer and it doesn’t seem to want to move out now that I’m back at it.  It is very difficult for me to lose weight, I have to be almost perfect with my intake and I’m not even close to perfect.  I’ve been hitting my workouts hard, plus trying to race and I’m not getting results in either area.   I just don’t feel like I can move.  It could be the extra weight.  It could be the lack of fitness and endurance.  It could be a lingering issue in my hamstrings that is literally being hammered out on a weekly basis but the bottom line is I have heavy feet/legs that I can’t lift up to run fast.  I do feel like I’m getting stronger; I’m just not seeing it materialize in the 5K results.  So I raced this weekend, I race next weekend at the Hot Chocolate 5K and then I’ll be stepping back and not racing again until Thanksgiving Day at the Running For Kicks 4 Mile Turkey Trot.  I won’t give up because I know it takes forever a long time to build back up but as always the waiting is the hardest part.

On Saturday, I was out of town and found a 5K somewhat close to my parents, the Spooktacular 5K in Warsaw, IN.  I found the race thru the Run Indiana website.   The race was hosted by the Kosciusko County YMCA.  It was small, cheap and well ran.  I rolled into the parking lot at 8:48 am for an event that started at 9.  I “normally” don’t like to cut it that close but the cross country travels from my parents house to the race site took a “little” longer than I had anticipated.  I easily found parking, ran inside, handed them $20 and my entry form,  and they handed me a bib (with chip timing!) and a shirt.  I was registered by 8:50 am.  I hit the indoor bathroom and was out the door for a very brief warm up by 8:52 am.  The race started on time at 9 am. 

Spooktackular 5K_2012_swag

I was a bit nervous standing at the start line because nobody wanted to be near the front.  I’m not familiar with the town at all, and found myself damn near in the front row as everyone kept backing away from the start.  As the race director spent a few minutes discussing the route, I busted out laughing thinking, I’ll never remember all this!  My motto is always to follow the people in front of me and the people in front of me were disappearing before the gun even went off!  So we started the race and I was still laughing, hoping that a few people would take off and of course they did and I just settled into my pathetic pace.    The cool thing about this town is that they must be very bike friendly because each side of the road had a bike lane, so between the random sidewalks and the bike lane, I never felt crowded or unsafe running on the side of an unclosed road.  The course was easy, had plenty of volunteers helping direct runners and it was thru a scenic neighborhood beside Winona Lake and then thru the lakeside parks and artisan area. 


It was a bit of an adventure and I was looking around checking things out probably more than I was focused on the race.  I kept thinking I’d like to go back and check out the area with the family.  I really liked the course and there were some rolling hills but nothing crazy.  And I do feel like using the word “hills” is somewhat of an exaggeration.  There were a few inclines and declines but nothing too intense.

I do not think there was water on course and there were not bathrooms but this is normal for a small 5K.  There were about 60 finishers and several of those were run/walkers. 

The awards ceremony was nice.   They had the normal age group awards and gave awards 3 deep.  This was definitely a race where almost everyone walked away with an age group award.  That always makes me happy for people and I feel like they deserve something for getting up and out on a cold morning!

I took 1st in my age group with a 25:25, photo below.  I was 4th female overall.

Spooktackular 5K_2012_1st Age Group

“Run”Way Fashion for the Spooktacular:  Athleta Hurdle Top – $69 &  Athleta Relay Capris – $69.  The Hurdle Top is a new favorite of mine and I’ve worn it several times now.  It is long, so don’t order a tall unless you have a much longer torso than me or you’ll have to return it like I did.  I normally wear a tall in the  Athleta tops but not this one!  The top fits great though once I figured out the proper size.  It has a small zip pocket in the front, plus long arms with the thumb hole for these cooler fall days!  I also love the reflective accents and it has tiny stripes that I didn’t notice when I ordered it.  Several color choices.   Cute!   As for the Relay Capris, I have these in 3 colors, the black (above) which I purchased 3 seasons ago, the blue which I purchased last year and the asphalt (below) which I purchased this year.  These capris last and they are the perfect length.  They come in regular and tall (for me!) and are a little longer so they hit below the knee.  Great fit.  Great look.  Very flattering. Plus the waist comes up a bit higher to hold in my mommy tummy.  Total win!

image   image

Did you race or just get out an enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend?  Do you have a couple pieces of clothing that are your current fall favorites?  Tell us!

The winner of the Nike+ SportBand is #5 – Julie Belka. 


Julie, please contact  me at amanda@tootallfritz.com to claim your prize!

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Fall Is In The Air….

This morning when Michael tore me out of bed I got up, I was giddy with excitement seeing a temperatures in the 50s.  As soon as I could manage it, I was dressed to run.


“Run”Way Fashion – Saucony Ignite Singlet & Athleta Relay Capris

One of the best things about the arrival of fall is that some of our favorite summer wear, like the Saucony Ignite Singlet is on sale!  The Ignite Singlet is currently on “Last Chance” Sale for $22 along with a lot of other great items.  If you have been sweating away the summer in one or two things that you can’t seem to keep clean, then you might want to check online to see if your favorites have hit the clearance racks yet.  Aby and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these singlets and we both pull them out first when they are clean.  We both have a blue & corral colored singlet but I can only seem to find photos of us in the coral. 




I just ordered us a couple more off the Last Chance sale.  I’m looking forward to wearing this one since neon green is my favorite color!   They are so light and airy that they work well for both hot & steamy indoor workouts as well as running! 


Another staple to my wardrobe for anytime fall running is the Athleta Relay Capri.  These babies are NOT on sale.  Never.  But they are worth the $69 price tag.  If I’m wearing capris, which is all the time other than extreme heat or extreme cold, then they are these Relay Capris.

imageI ordered my first pair 3 years ago, in black and they still look like brand new.  I ordered the navy ones last year and then just added the asphalt color this season.  To say the least, I love these awesome pants.  They don’t move, which I love.  They come up a bit higher on the mommy tummy, which I REALLY love.  They have a zip pouch in the back which fits my key, gel, phone (will only fit by itself), etc.   They also include a removable WATERPROOF pouch for inside the zip compartment for those of you who leave the trail looking like you went for a swim instead of a run.  You will also notice reflective accents for my middle of the night early morning run sessions, plus they come in special sizes, like tall, need I say more?  I love these pants and so does everyone else so if you want a pair, I’d order soon before fall really arrives and/or everyone receives their new catalog because these go on backorder fast and who really needs a pair of capris in December?

What are your go to run/workout clothing items?  Anything on sale that we need to know about?

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

Reset on Speed…….

This week should be my 3rd week of speed sessions.  The goal is to get back to running 22 minute, or faster, 5Ks.  After the long miserable stint with Plantar Fasciitis, I lost a lot of speed.  The initial plan was to do 2 speed sessions per week in an attempt to boost performance for the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K at McCormick Place at the end of the month.  However, it hasn’t worked out that way.

  • Week 1, 10x200m – CHECK
  • Week 2 – Session 1 – Sick baby – Didn’t happen
  • Week 2 – Session 2 – Should have been 6x800m but I couldn’t hang so I limped thru greatly modified the session to a sub par workout.
  • Week 3 – Session 1 – Didn’t happen – Late/Hard run night before and I wasn’t recovered.

So today was Week 3 – Session 2 and as I looked back over the folly I called “speed” work, I decided that I need to push the reset button and start over. 

At the beginning.  Fresh.  At a point where I had the confidence I could nail the workout and move forward. 

So back to the 10×200 I went.  I’m a sprinter at heart and that works well for me and fits well into the middle of my workday.  I can hang, no matter what.  And I did.  Great workout.  Not easy but I made it.  Success!  Now let’s see what next week will bring.

I also managed to grab a half hour on the bike today.  Not exactly what most people would call a “brick” but it’s about a close as my schedule will allow.  I also need time in the saddle to get used to riding again since I don’t ride with a chamois before spring comes and I roll her out for some real miles.  I know it’s as exciting to see me on my bike, on the trainer, in the same spot in my dining room gym as it is for me to ride there but alas, here I am:  I was very excited that my new Athleta Relay Capris came today!

I had ordered these in the fall and they were back ordered til December 15th so I canceled the order but I recently caved ordered them again, in the only color that was available for immediate shipment…..blue.  They are awesome!  They fit perfectly, are long enough (I did order the long), have a small zip pocket in the back, don’t move and feel like butter.  Nice!  I find myself with very few capri tights and will definitely order these in the other colors and wait for the backorder to ship.  Aby wants a pair too.  I can’t even tell which are my running clothes/shoes/socks/sunglasses, etc. now because she is creeping up on me in size and then she wants the same things I have so we have doubles of everything.  And it all looks the same.  And it’s not cheap buying my 10 year old clothes from Athleta & RunningSkirts.com, they should have a half price racks for kids.

“Run”Way Fashion:  The Athleta Relay Capris (above), and both workouts were in Tek Gear performance tops.  I purchased the Tek Gear at Kohl’s on a super sale, last season.  The shirts are cute, have nice material, have a small pocket in the back and I think worth the money, especially on sale.  I bought the white (above) and this green one: 

Do you buy any technical gear at bargain prices?  Any good bargain brands you can share with us?

Happy Running!                                                                                                                   Amanda – TooTallFritz