Routine is Key …..

As we all know, things are so much easier when we create a routine and stick to it. However, many of us are flying by the seat of our pants despite our best efforts to stay on schedule. Creating a schedule is an elementary idea. Super simple until you have to start squeezing every aspect of your life into those little boxes on a calendar. As you have probably already figured out ……. your family, job, workout routine, child chaffering services, cheerleading, refereeing, dog training, shopping, cleaning, cooking AND sleeping can’t all be squeezed into one little box. It’s a mess. The writing for one box is always encroaching on other boxes. Things are always falling out of MY boxes. In fact, sometimes things are hanging over the edge of the box and then slip out when I am least expecting it, like when I am trying to grab Michael something else that is attempting to JUMP from the box.

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Regardless, the schedule is messy and tricky and a total PITA until we get it mastered. So let’s brainstorm a little bit and come up with a few things that can make our lives calendars a bit more manageable!
1) Meal Planning. I really think this is at the top of the list. We, as mom’s, spend a lot of time cooking. We want healthy options for ourselves and any of our little munchkins who will eat the good stuff too, but we are so busy in the afternoon/evenings getting our little angels where they need to go that we come home exhausted at 8pm (or later) and basically collapse. If a meal hasn’t already been planned or started, its pizza again! Yes, again, like we probably already had it once this week. And while nobody in my house complains about pizza, it’s just not a great option nutritionally, or financially, if it is constantly a Plan B. So think about what you want to feed your family BEFORE the week starts. Get together ingredients for a couple crockpot meals if you are gone a lot for after-school activities. Make larger meals so that you can have leftover night & just reheat everyone’s favorite meal of the week. Buy individually wrapped/packaged fish fillets that bake in about 15 minutes for when you are in a hurry but still want something healthy. Don’t be embarrassed about buying the bagged salad because tossing a side salad on the table EVEN WITH PIZZA is better than breadsticks something starchy! Cut the corners where you need to but focus on overall healthy meals that taste good, are quick to prep and make the family happy.

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2) Get the run and/or workout out of the way BEFORE the day starts. I know we are all busy. And tired. And busy. Everyone wants to sleep as long as possible. But get out of bed and go do your workout early. This is really the only time for most of us. If it doesn’t happen before the day starts, it’s not going to happen at all because we are too focused on the family to take time back out for us. It’s too easy to decide to clean the house instead of go for a run. Or make a good dinner instead of heating up leftovers. I know. I’m right there with you. So get out of bed and go run or take yourself to the gym before the chaos ensues!

3) Give the kiddos chores. Sounds mean? Not at all, this is about life, responsibility, learning to help others. Divide & conquer the house cleaning, laundry and dishes! Don’t worry if things aren’t perfect and if the towels aren’t folded the way that you like, go read Runners World a book rather than refold those towels!!

4) Divide & Conquer! Don’t be afraid to ask your significant other for help. Some people still live in the dark ages where they think that the women need to do everything. And while your hubby may not be a rockstar house cleaner, laundry fairy or babysitter, LET THEM HELP! Send them to the store so that you can pick up the kids. Text them and ask them to put the laundry in the dryer and to “please” not dry your favorite running tights. LET THEM WATCH THE KIDS whether they like it or not while you run! This is super important ladies. The father of your children are FATHERS. They are partially responsible for your little angles. If you don’t let them help parent the kids, then they will be clueless and that’s on you. I know you are amazing moms. I know that you are superwomen and can do it all.  But sometimes just remember that you don’t have to do it all because you are part of a partnership. And if you are not part of a partnership, I can only hope that you have an amazing mother, BFF, sister or a network of women to help you because running a household while staying sane is not easy.

5) Be flexible and schedule in downtime! A schedule is only as good as the people using it. Realize that nothing is ever perfect. Nobody is perfect. Life isn’t perfect. And takeout pizza isn’t going to kill the family when you forget to turn on the crockpot before you leave for work if things go awry. Do your best to plan things out, use all your resources to balance the workload as much as possible but understand that shit things happen and be ready to roll with it when it arrives. That’s the secret to a busy schedule: flexibility. I also think its super important to have downtime. I try to keep Sunday’s open. No I don’t like Sunday birthday parties or movie dates or shopping trips. I want to stay home on Sunday and not do anything. I’ll probably be tackling my long run before the sun comes up but after that I’m showering, putting my jammies back on, making a big breakfast for the family and then hopefully finding my way to the recliner to watch movies or read. That’s it. I bust my butt all week in hopes for some downtime on Sunday.

Do you have any scheduling tips OR maybe the secret to end the chaos? If so, PLEASE tell us!!

Last day to enter the RMHC Raffle for a chance at $400 worth of prizes – Enter HERE!

** Finding My Routine ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Fundraising RAFFLE for RMHC & the 2014 Chicago Marathon!

RMHC

Time to get this party started!  It’s Shamrock Shuffle weekend and spring is on the way whether it likes it or not.  The Shamrock is the official kickoff of the Chicago racing season that culminates with the Chicago Marathon.   This year the Chicago Marathon will take place on October 12, 2014.  And it will be massive, just like always.

Chicago Marathon_start view

The marathon will bring world-class athletes, rising stars, talented age groupers, experienced marathoners and beginners alike.  So many want to come here, to run the streets of Chicago.  For the very first time in the Chicago Marathon history, the marathon has gone to a lottery system.  Yes, there are so many people who want to run the Chicago Marathon that we actually crashed the system last year.  Therefore, it has been decided that if one would like to run in 2014, they need to have guaranteed entry via a charity (like RMHC and yes, we still have spots available!!), a legacy of 5 CHI marathons or more, or a super fast time (3:45 for women, 3:15 for men).   Everyone else hits the lottery and good luck to YOU, if that’s your chosen path.

For me, I can’t imagine NOT running the Chicago Marathon since its in my backyard, so I decided to run with Ronald McDonald House Charities once again.  They are an outstanding organization.  I believe in their cause and am always amazed with the number of families they help every  year, both here in Chicago and around the world.  It wasn’t a difficult decision at all for me to sign up with them again for 2014. 

So today, I’d like to start the fundraising process and am beginning with a raffle.  For each $5 donation to my RMHC fundraising page HERE, you will get one entry into this raffle.    What do we have for the raffle? 

1)  A jumpstart to your next Super Hero costume with a New Balance run singlet featuring the Incredible logo!  You’re INCREDIBLE!  I know it.  You know it.  All your friends know it.  Now tell the running community at your next race!  3 run singlets available.  Women sizes:  S, M & L – 3 winners.  If you want one of these babies, let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to mention which size you need!   Value – PRICELESS  Winking smile

Incredibile Shirts     incredibles

Source for Incredibles photo

2)  Injinji – Over The Calf  Compression toe sock prize pack!  The Injinji socks have become a stable in my run world.  You won’t catch me very often sporting something other than Injinji.    I particularly like the over the calf compression style for long runs and marathons because they hold on my toe protectors so nicely, and help my crazy feet stay blister free!  I have every color they have made thus far and can’t wait for them to come out with more colors/styles!!  For you, I have a two pair, pink & purple { BIG THANKS to Frogger for donating the purple ones!!}.  Size medium,  which works for women shoe size 9-11.5 and men shoe size 8-10.5.  I’m also tossing in an Injinji hat because I know once you start wearing these babies, you are going to love them as much as me and you’ll want to shout it to the world at least when it’s raining.  One winner for the entire prize pack.  Value – $118.

Injinji OTC

3)  Emergen-C prize pack!  As optimistic as I want to be about spring being on its way, I’m honestly scared that this winter may NEVER end.  Aby and I have lived off Emergen-C all winter long, taking it daily, and we’ve faired particularly well compared to most.  This is also what I use when I taper for a marathon to ward off the “sickies” in those last couple of weeks before the big race.  This prize pack has 2 boxes of Tangerine flavored drink mix packets (30 packets per box), 2 boxes of Raspberry flavored packets, one Emergen-C Headsweats visor & one over the shoulder bag.  One winner for the entire prize.  Value – $86.

Emergen C    Emergen C_2

Okay, that’s the roundup for this raffle!  If you are interested in supporting RMHC, donate HERE.  If there is something above that you would like when your name pops up AS A WINNER, please make sure you tell me in the comments below. The raffle will go from now until Friday, April 4, 2014 at 9am at which time 5 winners will be selected via a random number generator.  Good luck and thanks to all of you who have helped me and RMHC in the past, and those of you who choose to support the cause this year!  Remember no donation is too small!   One entry into the raffle per $5 donation.  If your name comes up more than once, then you will receive more than one prize.    Good luck!

** Running For A Cause ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Charity Raffle for RMHC

This week starts the kickoff of the Chicago Marathon training season!  Everyone is excited.  Everyone is ready.  Everyone is planning ahead to make the 2013 race the best one yet.  Those of us who have chosen to run for charity are also strategizing as to how to make our fundraising campaign as successful as possible for our charities.  My charity is the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Yes, we still have entries available on our team if you didn’t get one of those coveted lottery spots!!    Go here to become a 2013 team member for RMHC.

RMHC logo

I have chosen to run for RMHC for many reasons but most importantly because I want to help the kids and families not only of Chicago and the US but around the world.  The RMHC mission speaks to me by helping out the kids and families of injured, disabled & terminally ill children stay together.  They focus on normalcy and helping the family to feel connected, offering creature comforts, fun and a home base that is less like a hospital and more like a home.  They provide a place to stay, meals and support these families regardless of their financial status.  They focus on keeping families together during times of crisis.   That I like.  That I support.  That is something I would want for my family.

So without further ado, I’ll start introducing the raffle prizes.  I am still collecting raffle items so email me if you would like to donate something!   Currently we have just under 30 items with prizes ranging from $6 up to $189.  I’ve been hoarding saving and stashing things away for this all year, so I hope that we can really put some $$ away for RMHC.  My goal is to raise $5000 this week.  You will receive 1 entry into the raffle for every $10 donated to RMHC via my fundraising page HERE.  If you see a prize that you REALLY want, then please make a comment below and if your name is drawn then I will do my best to accommodate your request.

PRIZES

1)  Pro Compression Marathon Socks – $50 Value.  Your choice of color & size.  These are my go to socks for compression.  They are long enough for my long legs and come in a variety of colors and sizes.pro compression_gree socks_me

2)  Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – $65 value.  Your choice of color & size in the Gen2 style.  These are the only compression shorts I wear.  I love them.  I like both generations for various reasons but the hot pink Gen2 shorts really makes a statement as they are working at keep me together. 

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3)  Tough Chik $25 Gift Card – You get to chose what you want from the Tough Chik store!  Lots of amazing things from cycling, running, TRI gear to casual tees.  My new favorite, which just dropped yesterday, is the “Tougher Than I Look Tank” which is priced at $28.  However, YOU can pick anything you like with this gift card!

TOUGHER_TANK

4)  Venus de Miles Illinois FREE ride entry + Tee (medium) + Water bottle – $189 value.  Join myself, the other Venus de Miles Ambassadors and ladies from all over the tri-state area as we cruise Lake Forest in style on July 28th.  This ride offers a 25 & 61 mile option.  It’s totally free for YOU and the mandatory fundraising requirement will be waived.  The ride includes fully stocked rest stops every 12-15 miles, on course support, breakfast  & activities pre-ride, and a big ladies style bash after the event.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this event.  Check out the website or read more about the 2013 event HERE or my 2012 experience HERE

image   venus de miles tee

5)  Bastille Day 5K/8K FREE entry – $37-$42 value.  Run one of the best races in town on Thursday, July 11th for free!  This race claims to be “Bringin’ Happy Hour Back” so I have massive expectations for fun, Fun, FUN!  The race is in Lincoln Park offering a 5K or 8K option followed by a block party.  Join me to celebrates the French Independence Day and we will show Lincoln Park what HAPPY HOUR is all about!  Whoooooooop!!

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6)  Women Rock Chicago Calendar & Headband (x2) –  Value is “priceless”.   I scored two MEN of Women Rock Chicago calendars which have been signed by Mr. April & Mr. July!  You are welcome!!!  These calendars are filled with fun and hot men.  Each calendar comes with a Women Rock Chicago headband.  Two winners here, try not to fight but I know you want these!!

women rock chicago calendars              women rock chicago calendars2

7)  AdvoCare prize pack – $32 Value.  One AdvoCare blender bottle, 3 packets of Spark (mango strawberry), 3 packets of Post Workout Recovery Drink (chocolate), 3 pouches of Rehydrate Gel (lemon), & 3 packets of Rehydrate drink (mango pineapple).  AdvoCare is my go to for nutrition and sports performance products.  I don’t shop around.  This is what I trust.  This is what I use.  These products are safe, tested, legal, plus focus on giving us what we need for our bodies without all the “extra” additives and sugar.

advocare prize pack

8)  Punkeelove Headbands (3 bands – 1 winner) – $44 Value.  I love sparkly headbands that DO NOT slip.  These are the only ones that I buy.  I’ve tumbled and rolled down the lakefront path (no joke!) and these stay in my hair.  They don’t flip off the back of my head while I run either cuz who wants to pay big $$ for a cute sparkly headband then lose it in a race on the first wear.  Not me.  This prize pack includes a purple, black &  pink band.  What more could a girl possibly need?  Oh and they are adjustable so you can share them with the little divas at home too!

punkeelove_3

9)  Mission Athletecare prize pack – $17 value.  I am including two of my favorite Mission Athletecare products.  They are my go to for sunscreen, anti-chafe, lip balm, muscle care & foot cream.  I really like this stuff.  CVS carries some products and then I get the rest online.  This prize pack includes an Anti-Chafe stick & a 50 SPF Kids Continuous Play Sunscreen.  I use the kid sunscreen all the time so this is what I had in the cabinet and this is what’s in my purse right now.

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10)  Road Runners Sports 2 Bottle Belt (size medium) – $29.99 value.  This is my favorite water belt.  It doesn’t move.  It holds 14 oz of water at one time, plus has  small pouch for keys, phone, or gels.  Fuel Belt branded bottles. Road Runner Sports designed belt. 

road runner sports_water belt

11)  Team Tough Chik visor – $18 value but you can’t get it unless your ON THE TEAM and I probably won’t let you win it unless you are on the team or promise to sign up next year!!  This is a Headsweats brand visor with a velcro adjustment strap.

team tough chik_visor

12)  Flip Belt – Black (size large) – $24.99 value.  It’s been soooo hard for me to save this and not use it.  I have a yellow and pink one that I wear constantly.  I run in them, race in them and sometimes wear one if I’m out with the kids and don’t have pockets.  Great belt that fits a ton of stuff but doesn’t bounce or move around. 

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13)  CytoSport prize pack – Muscle Milk Light (Cytosport product) is a headlining sponsor of the Zooma Women’s Series.  I have a prize pack from our sponsor which includes several of their Muscle Milk & CytoMax products.  Prize pack includes:  2 Muscle Milk snack bars, 1 Muscle Milk Light (chocolate) ready to drink, 1 Muscle Milk Light (peach) ready to drink, 1 CytoMax ready to drink, 5 CytoMax mix packages, 2 packages of CytoMax Energy Drops & 1 CytoMax water bottle. 

muscle milk prize pack

14)  Tough Chik Boston Tough Boston Strong performance wicking tee by Alo (x2 – both size medium) – $22 value each.  Get one of these tees while they are HOT!  They sold out immediately on the first printing.  They run small so these mediums fit like a small.  Two winners here.  Each winner will get a tee & a Tough Chik sticker!

Tough Chik_Boston Strong

15)  Lock Laces – $7.99 value.  Yellow lock laces.  Great for running, triathlon or little ones who can’t keep their shoes tied!

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16)  BioFreeze prize pack – $31.50 value.  Number one topical pain reliever for athletes!!  This prize pack includes a full size pain relieving gel and a full size can of 360 spray

biofreeze

17)  Handana – $18 value.  The Handana is all the rage!  Used by runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts everywhere, this is your answer to gracefully wiping away snot & sweat during a workout.  It may seem a little “out there” but it’s a practical solution to a problem that we all share.  Second photo from the Amazon website.

handana  handana2

18)  Team Tough Chik sponsor prize pack (x3 – three winners).  One of the benefits of being on Team Tough Chik is the backing of our amazing group of sponsors.  We aren’t just paying for cool clothes & access to an amazing network of women but also cool prizes and discounts from our sponsors.  A few of our sponsors are in this prize pack below:  Nuun – 1 full size tube of fruit punch nuun & 1 nuun water bottle, Cliff Bars – 1 Cliff Bar & 1 Cliff Builder bar, BodyGlide – 1 “For Her” product, Reflect Sports H2O swim shampoo sample & a John Wayne Cancer Foundation 30 spf sunscreen sample.

team tough chik_sponsor pack  team tough chik_sponsor pack2

19)  ibungee Speed Laces – $6 value (x2 – two winners).  Neon Green & Yellow.  The ibungee speed lace system claims to be the #1 seller for speed laces.  They are great for running, triathlon & the little ones in your family.  Installation is easy, just make sure you get them long enough!  There are 38” laces so long enough to cut to your specific needs.  Two winners here.

ibungee 

20)  Adidas Sport Headbands – 5 headbands (black, pink & white) – $9.99 value.   I haven’t tried these yet, a friend gave them on to me because she knew that I liked headbands but since I was collecting for this, I just tossed them in the pot.  They look cute!!

adidas headbands

21)  GU prize pack –  14 GU gels, $24 value.  GU is undeniably the most popular “on the go” fueling option.  We have 11 regular gels:  2 TRI Berry, 3 Strawberry Banana, 1 Mandarin Orange, 2 Espresso Love, & 3 Peanut Butter.   Then the prize pack is topped off with 3 of the coveted Roctane Gels in the Chocolate Raspberry flavor.  You’re workout will definitely get a boost with these!

Gu prize pack

Wow!  That’s it!  If we don’t get any other prizes, then I will draw 26 winners next week on Thursday, June 13th at 9am via a random number generator.  This is one instance where you can win more than one prize.  Please share this with your friends, blog readers, run club members & anyone who might be interested.  The idea behind this is to do the best we can for Ronald McDonald House Charities and in the process help as many families as possible.  My personal goal is to raise $5,000 thru this raffle and then not talk about it again.  Please help spread the word!  Each $10 donation (increment) to my fundraising page = 1 entry into the raffle.  No donation is too small, now go help me spread the word and GOOD LUCK

** Raising $$  For the Kids ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com