Favorite Things….2012 Edition

Christmas may not be on your mind but it is on the mind of some, myself included.  I’ve been asked to identify a few of my favorite things as a few ladies I know are starting to pen their Christmas lists. 

My current absolute favorite thing is the new GPS Running Watch for Dummies Garmin Forerunner 10.  At $129, I believe that this is the best bang for your buck on the GPS Running Watch market.  I own the green one.  Aby put a pink one on her Christmas list.  This is a simple device that doesn’t create a mountain of data that you don’t have time to study anyhow out of your run.  What you do get is a constant update of your time, pace and distance.  There is also a virtual pacer, which will tell you that you are constantly behind, ahead or on your desired pace.  

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Aurelia & I’s run last night is below.  We both had tired legs and were talking non-stop but damn we were consistent! 

   Garmin_green_run stats     Garmin_green_splits

  • Smallest, most comfortable GPS watch on the market for women.
  • It fits my arm very well and I can actually wear the watch all day long. 
  • Looks somewhat fashionable in a casual sense.
  • Uploads to the Garmin Connect, shows a map of the run, plus mile splits (but I personally can’t get it to connect to Daily Mile).
  • Device records 7 runs before overwriting, so don’t be lazy about uploading or you’ll lose the data if you care
  • Device records “Run Records” for the fastest mile, 5K, 10K, Half, & Full marathon.
  • Auto pause feature which pauses the time/pace/gps when you need to hit the bathroom/stretch then it automatically starts back up when you get moving again.

Second, you know I love the Wrist Saver (starting at $12.95) from Personal Savers.  They are currently running a Facebook Special for the next 3 days and if you buy a Personal Saver product, you get a free (refill) bottle of pepper spray.  Discount Code:  FB-FREE-PEPPER

Personal Saver _FB special

 WristSaver_pink_me

Third, Whooha Gear products.  I love the things I own in addition to their message.  I did a recent post and giveaway HERE.  This purple I Run Burnout Hoodie for $40 is on my Christmas list.  I’m hoping that Santa buys me a large using the 10% off coupon code:  TTFWhooha

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Fourth, another wish list item of mine is this pair of Keen – Laken High Boots that I have been stalking “watching”.  At $190, they are a bit outside my budget and probably Santa’s but hey, this is a WISH list, so I can wish!  Plus, with our cold, windy Chicago winters, I think I actually NEED a pair of these or at least that’s what I’ll be telling Santa.  🙂

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If Santa can’t afford the Keen Laken’s above, then my second choice which isn’t that much cheaper would be these Keen Sunriver High Boots at $130.  These cute purple boots (more color options)  also just so happen to match the purple I Run Burnout Hoodie that’s also on my list. 

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Last but not least, I have several new favorites from Brooks Running.  Aby and I have the Nightlife Essential LS 1/2 Zip for $65.  It’s bright, plus very soft and has a great fit.  There are other color options if you’re not into pink.  I wore it for the Hot Chocolate race and I think it helped others pick me out of that massive crowd, see the crappy lit photo below.  🙂

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The Brooks Pure Cadence are another favorite at $120.  I have two pair of these (different colors) but I prefer the bright pink color.  These aren’t my training shoes but I love them for short races!  They are cute, flashy and they are comfortable enough to wear all day long if necessary.  Win, Win!

Brooks Pure Cadence_pink     Hot Choc_2012_Nicki Me Pam

Since running makes me happy, I’m of course drown to the Brooks Run Happy campaign.  Therefore, I grabbed one of the EZ T LS Run Happy shirts off the women’s sale section for $23.  They have several color options but I picked the orange.

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Always remember when shopping online to first check the sale, clearance or last chance sections before making a final decision.   You can get a lot of great deals in the sale section and save some serious cash!

Good luck making your wish list!  Remember your blessings and do your best to not get swept up in Holiday Fever.  I personally pledge to limit my holiday spending to fit within my budget.  I pledge to cut back on a few expenses now in order to have a cash Christmas so as not to have extra debt hanging over my head at the start of the new year.  I pledge to remember my local charities/food pantries this holiday season and throughout the year. 

I wish each and every one of you a joy filled, healthy and happy holiday season!

**  Happy Holidays ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Weekend in Review….

This was a great weekend but certainly one that has been in the planning for many months.  It’s was Chicago Marathon weekend but alas, I wasn’t going to be able to have much marathon “fun” so I was ecstatic when Maggie’s PR contact at Brooks Running hooked us up with an opportunity to meet Desi Davila at the expo on Friday night. 

Me, Sara, Jeni, Desi, Maggie & Kelly

After our initial intro, Brooks performed a gait analysis for each of us and recommended shoes.  I’m currently in a light stability shoe (guidance shoe in Brooks terminology) and apparently that was right on target.  They recommended I choose between the Brooks Ravenna or Pure Cadence which I already own x2

image    Brooks Pure Cadence_pink

While we were taking turns for gait analysis Desi hung out and chatted with us.  She was very tiny shy, cool, down to earth and didn’t seem to mind hanging out.  She too is on the injured list so that was our main topic of conversation when I was personally talking with her.  She is currently on total rest but plans to return to training soon. 

I’ve been a Desi fan for quite some time, probably before she was on the radar for most, specifically because she trains close to Chicago and has ran the Chicago Marathon a few times.  So I was excited to meet her and happy to have had the opportunity.  Thanks, Maggie.  Thanks, Brooks Running.  Thanks, Desi for coming out to spend a bit of time with us.  Thanks to whoever stuffed the goodie bag with this amazing Brooks Infinity Wind Shirt

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We were also introduced to a few gear testers from Brooks and hit the lakefront with them for a run.  Although we only ran a few miles, it was so much fun to meet other local runners and spend some time doing our favorite thing…..running! 

Brooks Fun Run_10-5-12

After the expo fun, I was off for my busy weekend.  Aby had sectionals on Saturday morning.  She ran her heart out but didn’t qualify for state.  She hit the hills like a pro and pretty much pushed the entire race and was very happy afterwards.  It wasn’t an easy race or an easy sectional and I’m super proud of my baby girl for giving it her all this season.  Now time for her to rest a bit and run some local 5Ks with her momma.  🙂

After freezing our bums off at sectionals, we were on the road to Indiana for my High School 20 year class reunion. 

ENHS 20 yr reunion

ENHS 20 yr reunion_me & mick

I had lots of fun & enjoyed spending time with my classmates.  However, I was honestly a “bit” sad that I was in Indiana instead of Chicago on Marathon Weekend.  I even got up very early on Sunday morning to look for the marathon on tv but nothing.  I tried to stream it live on my phone but nothing.  However, I did manage to receive the runner tracking and Facebook updates!

Since I couldn’t be there in person, my girl April took the time to make a “Flat Fritz” just to make sure that I got to go, enjoy the atmosphere and encourage the members of our F’N Running Club.   It was hysterical, very sweet and absolutely made me feel like I was part of their day!  Thanks, April!

                         Flat Fritz & April                April, Flat Fritz in backpack & Kim

 Flat Fritz w April    Flat Fritz w April & Kim

Flat Fritz in pack.      Jenny G’s happy to see me!     I’m cheering for the runners!

Flat Fritz   Flat Fritz w Jennyl  Flat Fritz_chicago

I hope you had an amazing weekend, whether you were traveling, running, or hanging with friends. 

** Cheers ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

The Heel to Toe Drop Debate……

I’m not very adventurous in my running shoes purchases for the sole reason that not a lot of shoes fit my foot.  I have a very narrow heel so my heel slips out of the heel cup of most shoes.  For years, I have trained in Saucony and raced short distances in Nike for this very reason.   Over the last couple of years, the minimalist shoes have made an appearance and while not all runners have jumped on the band wagon, the minimalist movement has affected most of us.  I’m not interested in entering the debate as to which is better, traditional or minimalist running shoes, however you can go HERE or HERE if you would like more information.

I’m all about funky colors and cool looking shoes but I first and foremost, choose shoes based on fit and feel.  I like a shoe with some guts and a little cushion. Yes, I basically want to walk on clouds.  If I feel a stone thru the bottom of my shoe while running, I won’t wear them again which is why I shop at Running for Kicks because they will take my shoes back after I run/race in them if for WHATEVER reason I do not like them. 

This spring, the minimalist movement affected my running shoe, the Saucony Guide 5.  Saucony moved their entire collection from the traditional 12 mm heel to toe drop to an 8 mm drop.    Saucony Guide 5 pictured below.

Sauc Guide 5       Sauc Guide 5a

To say the least I was nervous. Although I was excited about them being 1.5 oz lighter, I was nervous about the change in the heel to toe drop.  In actuality, I never really noticed a difference in the drop but loved the new fit, lightness and style cushion.   Click on the green link, if you are interested in a full review and comparison of the Saucony Guide 4 vs 5.

 Me_Schubert Woods_bridge_5-13-12      Saucony Guide 5_pink_ocean                 

For people like me who forefoot strike, the lower drop is ideal.  We have less shoe that we weren’t using anyhow to haul around.  This never was an issue when I didn’t have other options know any better but last night, I went to purchase a new pair of lightweight shoes for 5K races and we went thru the entire fit process again and I tried on a large variety of shoes.  Although, I like to have a pair of shoes specifically for shorter races, I can’t go to “race flats” because I’m not fast enough my current state of injury/recovery is not conducive to shoes without cushion and support.  

You may wonder why I need a pair of “racing” shoes since I’m not really that fast and that would be a great question.  For me, “race” shoes are like a frame of mind.  You slip them on when you want to run fast and only when you want to run fast.    It’s more mental in my opinion than physical.  It’s a break from the normal training regime, a special day and it requires a fast pair of shoes.  Yes, shoes CAN make you run faster but only if you BELIEVE.   🙂   Retired racing shoes, Nike Lunar Flys.

So last night as I was going thru the lightweight shoes that would work for me, one of the shoes I tried was a lightweight trainer which still had the 12 mm drop.  While the shoe looked really cool is a very popular brand, I felt like I was going to fall on my face.  The heel was noticeably higher than the forefoot and all the cushion was in the heel without any much under the ball of the foot.  It didn’t feel good to stand in those shoes and running was worse.  I was a bit surprised the larger drop was so noticeable.  I wonder if it was just a difference between my normal brand and that one, or if a minute 4 mm difference is really that noticeable to my feet?  Or did my injury play a role?  I could actually feel the tear site pull from heel to toe imbalance when I was running in those shoes.  Not good for my tender foot.

The next two pair I tried had a 4 mm drop and I was instantly nervous about those thinking this was TOO close to minimalist for my body type.  I was concerned less drop equaled less protection/cushion.  I was wrong.  Both shoes were adequately cushioned in the forefoot where I strike, they both fit like a glove and were light on my feet.   They made me FEEL light and fast, like I was ready to run with the wind!  So my new 5K race shoes are….

Brooks Pure Cadence 

Brooks Pure Cadence, a lightweight shoe with cushioning and light stability.  And…..my heel doesn’t slip!  I’ve never ran in Brooks before but I’m loving the fit and feel of this shoe.  They will make their run debut at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K at the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, September 9th.  More on the race day feel/fit later! 

I encourage you to go to a local running store that will take the time to talk with you about your needs, concerns, injury history and then fit you accordingly.  Find a store that encourages you to run in all the shoes they have in your size/foot type either on a treadmill or the sidewalk outside the store.  Don’t be shy to run in the shoes during the fit session because you need something that feels good on the run, not in the store.  A good running shoe store will also allow you to return shoes that you do not like, even after you have ran in them.  If you buy your shoes at a store where you and your kids do not feel comfortable, talk to the local run clubs and find out where their runners buy shoes, you will probably even find a club discount floating around.  Running shoes are an integral part of your health and training and a good store wants to help you.   

Are you a minimalist runner?  Can you tell the difference in the heel toe drop just by trying on a shoe?  Do you have specific shoes for racing?

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