Zooma Chicago Half Marathon Race Review ……

The Zooma Women’s Series came to Chicago on Saturday for the inaugural event.   Zooma Chicago offers both a Half Marathon and 10K run.  It is a ladies race that is geared toward bringing women runners together with an entire fitness focused weekend. 

The fun started with a small expo at the swanky Langrahm Hotel

Zooma_langrahm lobby            Zooma_langrahm_hall  

We were able to mix, mingle and shop with several vendors and I was excited to see a few of my all time favorites:  Whooha Gear and the lovely Dimity and Sarah from Another Mother Runner.  I “may” have purchased a few things.  The new “Regret Nothing” tee from Whooha Gear and the “I Run Things” tee from Another Mother Runner.  Both of these fit me to a “tee”.  Smile

image   image

Zooma can easily claim the prize for the best swag bag in town.  Our goodie bags included a navy women’s specific performance tech shirt with a cool logo, a beautiful water bottle that Aby already stole for Cross Country, a yoga mat & cool reusable bag.

Zooma_bag        Zooma_SWAG

The race venue was at Montrose Harbor on Saturday morning.  This is a massive area that is really hopping on the weekends.  However, it was easy to spot the venue as it was close to Lake Shore Drive and not too far into the park.  I was easily able to unite with my fellow Team Tough Chik members, the Chicago Running Bloggers and the Zooma Ambassadors and hit the start line on time.

Fellow Toughie – Margaret, Casey, Nicki & Myself:

Zooma_Team Tough Chik

Chicago Running Bloggers:

Zooma_Chicago Running Bloggers

The race started right on time at 7:00am with both the Half Marathon and 10K runners starting together.   The event was chip timed and the course was primarily on Chicago Park District property, thru various parks and on the Lakefront Path.

Without getting into my personal race which was merely a race from one potty to the next I’ll break the event down by Pros and Cons.


  • Ladies Only
  • Amazing SWAG Bag
  • Vendors who work to empower and encourage women of all shapes, sizes & skill levels
  • Free shuttles to/from host hotel
  • Small Race for first timers with 652 half marathon finishers & 311 finishers for the 10K
  • Large Venue that is easy to find
  • Lots of public parking if you get there early
  • Lots of people on the public park & lakefront paths so that you don’t feel “alone”
  • Lots of shade thru said parks

Zooma_lake front path 

  • Aid stations with potties every 2-3 miles
  • Cocktails and a boxed lunch at the finish
  • Cool PR medals to all those running the distance for the first time or crushing a new PR
  • Lovely Finisher’s Pendant that Aby already claimed as her own

Zooma_necklace    Zooma_necklace2


  • Costly, early bird registration was $105 for the half
  • Packet pick up was at a downtown Chicago hotel so parking was an issue
  • Course was on heavily populated trails during prime usage time for marathon training & recreational use for local residents
  • Non Zooma participants weren’t excited to have us on location, and “may” have yelled obscenities at us
  • Course was confusing in spots without proper signage or race marshals for direction.
  • Half & 10K courses crossed at times creating more confusion
  • Boring – Felt like a training run with so much chaos and so many non race participants milling around
  • Most runners expected an out and back lakefront run with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and we only had one small section, which we ran 2x, that offered the beauty of the Chicago lakefront.

Zooma_lakefront path 1

Overall, I liked everything about Zooma Chicago other than the actual 2013 course.  I’m hoping they make a change for 2014 so that our ladies have a bit more direction and also space to run or walk as they please. 

Note to those who use the Chicago Lakefront Path – Please respect one another.  I’ve now on several occasions had the opportunity to personally witness certain users of the path yelling at, or being rude to others.  It’s a public path.  Share.  Your activity is not MORE important than anyone else’s.  In some instances, it’s absolutely impossible to “GET OUT OF THE WAY”.  I’m sorry.  I’d move if I could because I don’t want you to run me down.  You are making us locals look bad and quite frankly you downright scared some of my Zooma friends.  I’m embarrassed.  Grow up and take your rage to a more appropriate venue, like the boxing ring. 

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Spring Has Sprung, Virtually & In Real Life

I’m so enchanted with the sights and smells of springtime that I was really interested to see what YOU were discovering in YOUR neighborhood!  So yesterday, I threw down a quick challenge on my Facebook page asking readers to send me a springtime photo from their run/walk/bike adventures. 

Deb M sent me a couple cool photos from her morning run at McCarthy Park in Tinley Park, IL!

McCarthy Park Lagoon  McCarthy Park Lagoon2

Kelly The Culinarian took a stroll with her pooch, Napoleon at Centennial Park in Addison, IL.

Kelly J_pooch

Keith G was running between the raindrops at Brookfield Woods, in Brookfield, IL when he spotted a beautiful flowering tree.

Brookfield Woods

Kelly over at Running Kellometers is taking it easy while nurturing the development of  Baby #1; however, she didn’t have to put much effort into capturing an amazing spring photo.  This magnolia tree is just outside her front door.  Yes, I’m jealous.  I think this is my favorite flowering tree.

magnolia tree

Christina P, outside of Indy, has been enjoying some time with her favorite 4 legged BFF.  This little one doesn’t look like it will be moving up to the long run anytime too soon but it will definitely take first place for being such a cutie pie!!

Christina P_pooch

What spring means to me depends on the day.  I’m a springtime “baby” so love spring by default.  For me and my little ones, each year we look forward to baby birds, flowering trees and well manicured lawns.

baby birds_5-9-13  flowering trees

I also look forward to my lunchtime runs thru the city of Chicago and on the lakefront path.  It’s all good when I’m running with the wind but it wasn’t so funny on the way back!  My favorite days aren’t necessarily the sunny, warm ones but I have a particular love for the foggy, gloomy, rainy days like today.  Mom, was it raining the day I was born?  The gloom brings me cool running temps and fast feet.  That I LOVE!


So spring has definitely sprung in the Midwest and everyone I know is loving it!  Get out there and enjoy the fresh crisp mornings before things turn hot and humid.

** Spring Has Sprung & I’m Loving It ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Slow Times in the City….

As with everywhere, even the city of Chicago becomes slow and almost desolate at times.  Yesterday and today are such days as the workers/commuters are finishing things up before the holiday with many already on vacation.  We are suspended somewhere between the normal hustle & bustle of city life and the approach of the holiday.  Most take delight in this short, temporary lull which precedes the Black Friday rush.  Things are good.  Quiet.  The streets are empty with few to be seen.  The trains carry only a scattering of commuters, all with the same sole desire to go back home to their family for the upcoming holiday.  It’s a tranquil time, even in Chicago.  The fog veiling the city just adds to the desolate feel. 

It’s cool but not cold. 


Gloomy but not rainy.


Quiet but not silent.


Calm but not motionless.


Its a great time to be a runner in the city.  Easy to take a few steps and be at peace in the surroundings that are normally alive with constant activity.

I’m wishing you a very happy holiday with lots of happiness, laughter and maybe a long peaceful run (or two) where you can reconnect with yourself and have a minute to give thanks for all the blessings in your life.

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

The Windy City….

The only story in Chicago these days is the weather.  No, nobody cares about the election, we just don’t want to fly away as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy bear down on us.  We are currently under a Wind Advisory and a Lake Shore Flood Warning.  Shocker, the lakefront path is closed.  And yes, they are serious. In case you were contemplating going out there to “take a peak”, please be careful so you don’t get swept into the surf like last time. 

The lakefront path was last closed on September 30, 2011.  Some idiots people didn’t believe that the path could really be closed.  NBC Chicago was kind enough to capture some of those individuals on film for our viewing pleasure to help us realize the seriousness of the situation.  Please, do watch the video below:

On that day (above), the “surf” was only 10-15 foot.  Today, and for the next couple of days, they are predicting 20-30 footers on Lake Michigan, plus wind gusts around Chicago up to 60 mph.  Some idiots adventurers are out enjoying the waves.  See this crazy guy surfing at Montrose Beach.  Photo courtesy of Chopper 7HD, ABC7Chicago:


Now, I know you all expect me to go out and get you some REAL.LIFE.PHOTOS.  I want you to know that I’m not really considering it.  I have submitted a proposal to the Association of Chicago Running Bloggers to find a few brave souls to create a human chain of running bloggers to break thru security, sprint to the lakefront and take as many photos as possible before we 1) get swept away or 2) are forced asked to leave.

I almost feel guilty considering something so crazy adventurous with Gingerfoxxx out of town.  I know she is going to be so sad to have missed the theatrics fun but I’m hoping that Running Kellometers and Mag Mile Runner are up for the task at hand.  So if you see a bunch of crazy women Chicago Running Bloggers bound together in a human chain, be swept off the lakefront path and into the surf……feel guilty.  Very guilty.  Cuz we were just there trying to get YOU a few photos!  🙂

Post inspired by another crazy Chicago Running Blogger, Xaarlin.com, who is seriously wanting to go get some photos of those big waves. 

Be safe my friends!

** Happy Adventure Seeking ** Amanda – TooTallFritz