2nd Annual ENHS Alumni Fun Run

Last year, a friend had an idea to get our old high school cross country team together for a run.  This certainly isn’t an easy concept with the team spread far and wide.  Add families to the mix and it’s impossible to pick the perfect date; however, this year we doubled in size and I anticipate the same will happen next year.  We don’t race.  We run.  We don’t make it alumni “cross country runner” specific.  We include everyone who has any desire to show up and run or walk.  I’m pretty proud of the range of people who came out from ultra runners, marathon “maniacs”, newbie runners, fitness focused individuals to run/walkers. 

From back from left:  Jenny, Hollie, Kris, Jenn, Butch & Troy.  Front from left:  Adella, Me, Rose, Jennie & Melissa.  Melissa’s hubby Mike was kind enough to take the photo.

ENHS_2013 fun run_group

We ran the same course as last year, following the Bixler Lake Walking Trail.  It is approximately a 3.4 mile loop.

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The temps were cold and we “may” have even fought rain/sleet/snow but the morale was high and everyone seemed genuinely happy to be running with old and new friends.  They didn’t even complain verbally that I marked the course UP the hill, instead of around it.   Butch & Mike tackling the hill. 

ENHS_2013 fun run_hill  

Me LOVING the hill (photo from last year’s run).   

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I really enjoyed the run, the day, the camaraderie and meeting a few new people.  I love this trail.  I love the versatility and how it moves thru the woods, over steams, by the lake and on local roads & walking paths.  I also love how the  loops is short and can accommodate all ability levels.  It’s marked, starting at the Sherman Street trail entrance, go check it out!!  Mike, Adella, Melissa & Hollie at a steam crossing.

ENHS_2013 fun run_stream

We even saw OTHER runners out and about.  I was super excited, particularly when I learned that there is a local run club, the Noble County Runners!!  I spend a lot of time in the area and look forward to having others to run with in the future.  This is really huge for me because I log a lot of summer mile,s solo, up on the country roads by my parents home.  I’ll now have a resource to tap into for long runs and hopefully will meet new people who I will see on the Indiana racing circuit.   Big win plus it make Mom & Dad happy if I’m not running the roads all aloneSmile

Thanks to everyone who came out to the 2nd Annual ENHS Alumni Fun Run!  I’ll see you again next spring, if not before.

If you are local to Kendallville, or Noble County, Indiana feel free to checkout the Noble County Runners to find a new run friend or two!!

** Run, Walk, MOVE ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

1st Annual ENHS Alumni Fun Run

This weekend was one which myself and a few of my high school alums have been looking toward to for quite some time.  We planned our very first Alumni Fun Run!  Ironically, those of us in the planning department were all out of towners so we erroneously scheduled it during the local spring break, which “possibly” attributed to poor turnout.  Those of us who did show up came quite a way to make an appearance.  Steven (AL), David (IN), Jenny (OH), Adella (IN), Melissa (Indianapolis, IN), Me (IL).

Thankfully, Jenny was one of the planners which brought her two brother and father or we would have been very low on numbers!  Family Photo:  Steven, Dad, David & Jenny.

Thanks Dad for cheering us on for this fun run just like you used to during our cross country and track days.   Your support was much appreciated then and also today!

The day was perfectly overcast with temps in the low 40s and very high spirits.  Jenny, Adella & I arrived a little early to mark the course.  We chose the Bixler Lake Trail in Kendallville, IN because that is where we went to high school and well, that was our only option.  It was a 3.5 mile loop with a few hills but mostly flat.  Approximately one mile was thru the woods on the south side of Bixler, then the rest thru the park and around the lake for a return to our starting point.

Adella kindly took a picture of my ass me marking the trail.

The big hill was very root heavy.  We tried to mark out most of the roots for safety issues.  I really loved this hill and they were “kinda” laughing at me.

Our day:

We had a great day catching up, talking about the past/present/future and just hanging out doing one of the things that we love most, running.  I am so thankful to all of you who came and I am sorry that so many others missed it.   This was truly a great time.  A few of us did 3 loops for a 10.5 mile day, including Adella who logged her longest run EVER!  Great job, Adella!  And a few did 2 loops for 7 miles.  I challenge the Kville locals to go run the trail within the next couple of weeks and email me a photo.  In return, I will mail you a hat from our fun run and you can count yourself as a virtual participant!  I marked the trail on the grass, except for a few spots up in the campground area where I was blonde not thinking and marked the road instead.  It is easy to follow, the markings will last quite awhile and it really is a nice jaunt around the lake.  Go now and become our virtual partner for the First Annual ENHS Fun Run and then hopefully we will see you in person next year!

For more photos of the Bixler Lake Trail, feel free to review the January post where Adella & I did a scouting trip on a snowy afternoon HERE.

Today is my birthday so the kids and Grandma were busy baking and crafting while I was out playing running.  I returned to much excitement and lemon bars for my birthday treat.  Then later mom & I made a spinach, artichoke, roasted red pepper pizza!  Yum!  Obviously I like to eat as much as I like to run!

Happy Birthday Song over my morning yogurt!

I managed to squeak in a Birthday Recovery Run this morning too and knocked out the Jelly Bean 5K and 10K through Run with Jess for a total of 9.3 miles.  Although the Jelly Bean is billed as a Virtual Race, I am considering it to be more of a Challenge.  This week will be super busy with two Track meets for Aby, a busy work schedule, a midweek midday date with hubby and the Good Friday Waterfall Glen Run.  Yep, I signed up for all four events:  5K, 10K, Half Marathon, & a 13 mile bike.   I realize with the current schedule that I will have to sacrifice my swim this week.  And I need the bike Gods to make sure my bike computer comes in at the Trek Store this week so that I can get it installed, have the maintenance issues taken care of and be ready to ride by Saturday.  I have a very narrow window for the bike, Saturday.  That’s my window.  Period.  Worst case scenario, I can pop out a guesstimated 13 miles on the trainer but I’m tired of guesstimating my miles and have totally lost my motivation to bike on the trainer.  I need the computer now.  Pathetic, I know but it is no fun riding without knowing how far and how fast I’m traveling!

What was on your plate for the weekend?  Any virtual racing for you?  Any real racing?  Anyone going to run the Bixler Trail to participate in our Fun Run virtually?  Let me know!

Happy Running,                                                                                                     Amanda – TooTallFritz

Time Changes ALMOST Everything……

It was a busy weekend.  I went home to my parents with the kiddos for a trip to the Shrine Circus.  We have been going every year since Aby was 1 and now with Michael only being 2, we will be sitting in those same seats for many years to come.  I know we shouldn’t go because of all the sticky animal rights issues and we recognize that we are just perpetuating the problem but the kids love it, so we keep going back.  Then Sara and I whisper back and forth the entire time about how unnatural it is for the animals to have to do tricks, etc, all the while the kids are ooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing.  Auntie Sara & Michael, of course, he was being a stinker and wouldn’t look at the camera.

Grandma F & her girls – Lexi (Sara’s Daughter), Grandma & Aby:

Lots of fun but Michael kept demanding that the elephants “come, now!”  He was screaming at the top of his lungs, “Elephants, COME!”  At one point, he even insisted that he would go get them himself.  Yep, that’s my boy.  Sometimes if you REALLY want something then you just can’t wait but have to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

On days like this when I’m at the parents, I usually get up in the dark really early and go for a run before all the fun begins.  However, on Saturday when my alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning, I opened my eyes to shut down the alarm and realized that my head was pounding.  Killer headache before I even woke up.  Yikes!  So, I {gasp} opted to skip the run.  Once I finally was able to haul myself out of bed to go to the circus I soon discovered that “sleeping in” was a good option as we had a nice 1″ cover of snow and the roads were a mess.  I wouldn’t have made it far before I would have had to turn around for safety issues.

However, the change of run plans ended up being a great thing because I decided to run a new trail, mid day, in the town where I went to high school.  I had previously seen a  trail map of the Bixler Lake Walking Trail which was a perfect 3.1 mile loop around Bixler Lake.  Wow, things have changed since I went to HS.  This trail didn’t exist then.  I must admit my expectations were not high but I managed to recruit my pal Adella and she was brave enough to leave her warm house and snuggly kiddos break trail with me around Bixler. 

I was slightly nervous about getting lost, which if you know Kendallville, IN, this sounds RIDICULOUS but it was a trial thru the woods and well, I was anxious.  So I was beyond happy that Adella came out with me!  We soon realized that this “new” trail was AMAZING!  I took a billion lot of photos but will try to pare them down for you.  Here is the view from the parking area at the Sherman Street entrance which is only about a 1/4 mile from the HS. 

We ran about a 100 meters before I asked Adella if she would sit her ass on this snowy bench for the sake of a photo.  I know you are all green with envy, wishing it were your ass in the snow you were here with us.  

Sites from the Bixler Lake Trail

The wooded section was short, I was too busy taking photos talking with Adella to notice exactly how far but I would guestimate it being possibly 1/3 of the 3.1 mile loop, so roughly a mile.  However, the snow and terrain did not make it a quick trip thru the woods.  The area was also very wet, I would anticipate it being extremely wet in the spring and summer.  There were many places were we crunched thru snow/ice and into a little bit of  water.  Not deep but it was in the upper 20’s so definitely below freezing, and there was a wicked wind too so everything was frozen pretty good.  Just don’t wear your new shoes out here if you are gonna bitch worry about getting them dirty.  Once we busted out of the woods we were in familiar territory near the camp sites and pavilions where we used to run Cross Country. 

Hey random walking dude, can you take our picture?  A few sites from up by the camp sites. 

The remainder of the loop was much less eventful as we had to run the road back around the lake.  There were some improvements over the last 20 year as the K-Ville Parks & Rec Dpt has added a walking path and street lights beside a portion of the lakeside road.

Other things seem timeless……just the way we left them.

Kudos, Kendallville for the “new” improvements.  I’m impressed and I will definitely be back!  Thank you!  Please add a Starbucks next.

Saturday was a 9.22 mile day.  I ran the loop once with Adella, then we did some easier street miles, then I re-ran the loop solo.  The first loop was with Yak Trax that worked really awesome on the snowy trail but then I had to take them off once we hit the road.  The second loop, I ran without the Yak Trax and had some serious slippin’ and slidin’ going on in the wooded area.  So I give the Yak Trax a thumbs up in appropriate conditions.

Today (Sunday), I squeaked in a quick 5.5 miles as the kiddos were having breakfast with Grammie & Grampie.   I LOVE being at the lake with the parents because they honestly don’t mind my disappearing for a few miles.  Here is the sun coming up over Witmer Lake. 

                                             Swamp lands around the lakes:Lastly, the spot where LilWhiteDog ran out of the cornfield and into my heart forever.  I hope he is doing well in his new home.Great weekend running and otherwise.  I hope all of you had some fun and are ready to start a new week!  Did you do anything exciting or were you able to try anything new?

Happy Running!                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

Lunch Break….on the Lakefront

I love the option of hitting the lakefront path for a good run at “lunch” when I can cut the ties to my desk get out.  I  normally don’t leave for lunch so this is quite a treat when I make it happen.  I must say, there are many days that I just carry my clothes back and forth to work because I can’t MAKE IT HAPPEN so today is an awesome day!  Quick obligatory “blogger bathroom photo”. 

Then I literally hit the street running before my boss saw me leave so I didn’t change my mind.  The worst part of running in the city is getting the gps to find a signal having the patience to weave thru the pedestrians, and wait out red lights/street crossings, while heading to the lakefront.  Upon arriving at the lakefront, its smooth sailing.  Allow a brief shout out to the Chicago Parks Department for their fastidious upkeep of the Lakefront Path.  Once I hit the Lakefront path today, I was met by these babies: 

The Chicago geese are probably the most aggressive visitors you will encounter on the lakefront path; however, I have never actually seen them chase anyone.  I just have horrible flashbacks of the Bixler Lake geese, which chased us during the summers of EN CC practice so the sight of any geese while running makes me scream and run like a little girl tense with anxiety. 

If you have extra $$ and a big ass boat, you might have spent some Chicago summers here at the Columbia Yacht Club.

Great view of Navy Pier: 

Ohio Street Beach….wow, Lake Michigan is angry.  Is the snow finally coming?

In the summer you will see Chicago Lifeguards watching this strip between Ohio Street Beach and Oak Street Beach.  You will also see swim lanes for open water swimmers and triathletes who are grabbing a lunchtime swim in the lake or trying out a rented wetsuit.

Running north along the lakefront can be cold and windy as there is no protection from the wind and elements.  On a bad day, I would say run south toward McCormick or try the Riverwalk Path.  However, today was perfect at 33 degrees with a nice wind coming off the lake.  Ear band and gloves required but I was dressed for it so really enjoyed being out there!  As always, when I rounded the curve to Oak Street Beach I got a blast of wind and the waves were really splashing and leaving shit debris pretty far up on the trail. 

Memorial Day thru Labor Day, Chicago has a temporary outdoor, limited fare cafe with alcohol drinks here at Oak Street Beach.  It’s nice to sit on the beach and have a pricey lunch with cocktails. If you are shopping the Magnificent Mile, you can walk right across Michigan Avenue, after shopping Prada on Oak Street, and hit the beach for some R&R.  In this photo you can see the winter remnants of the outdoor cafe.  It’s a much different site “in season” and I encourage you to come and check it out when it gets warm!

Hey strange dude, randomly walking the lake front path without much apparent purpose……would you be so kind as to take a photo of me before the waves suck me out to the bottom of the lake?

On days like this when I am crunched for time, I run 6 miles.  The North Avenue sign is my 3 mile turn around. 

It’s just close enough to North Beach to make you want to run an extra mile or two or 10 .

But alas, I need to run back to work, so flipped and headed back toward the city.

Another great run in the CHI.  It was slow, 1:02 for 6.13 miles but that included 28 multiple photo stops, and major road crossings getting to and from the lake front path and some lollygagging.

Dress appropriately and get out there for a run!   You will be happy once you get your ass out the door.

“Run”way Fashion:  Athleta Headwinds Jacket (mine is the 2010 model), Athleta Base Miles Headband, & Manzella Sprint Glove Liners.

Manzella Sprint Glove Liners - Women's

Happy Running,                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz