Favorite Things….

As all of us are reflecting on our blessings and how thankful we are for our family and friends, it got me thinking about some of the “little” things in my life for which I am thankful. 

 Introducing a few of My Favorite Things

OPI Nail Polish – A girl wants to look good and we can’t afford don’t have time to be dashing over to the nail salon all the time.  Serena Williams Grand Slam+ Red Shatter + Clear Top Coat

Adele – 21 Album – I have been obsessed loving Adele since summer.  It took me a little longer to jump on the train but I am on and currently sitting down for the ride.  LOVE!   Please get me the 19 cd for Christmas, Mick! 

Eve – “My” In Car GPS/Computer – She takes me everywhere, even where I don’t want to go, and more importantly she brings me home.  She also downloads my favorite cds so that I don’t have to carry all of Alan Jackson‘s cds in my car and she makes helps me answer my phone even when I don’t know where it is or can’t reach it.

Stella &  Dot – Snake Orb Pendant Necklace – Quite possibly the only “fashionable” thing that I currently own.  It has been featured in several magazines and my friend Elizabeth B. just became one of the Stella & Dot stylists.  CLICK ON THE LINK and  BUY ONE FROM HER NOW!  As a side note, Michael LOVES this necklace and is constantly grabbing it to kiss the snake and then just keeps hissing at me and the snake.  Absolutely precious but I’m sure my necklace will hit Mick’s Costume Jewelry Repair Shop before the weekend.

The Stella & Dot Renegade Necklace is on my wish list & the current feature in Lucky Magazine:   

 

Fresh somewhat Healthy Foods that are portable and easy to throw in a bag for travel & work cuz I REALLY like to eat!  I prefer greek yogurt, for the added protein benefits; however, it is currently “out of stock” in the TooTall fridge.  The Dannon Oikos Honey is my absolute favorite cuz it tastes like dessert .

Today’s emergency foods:

Carmel Cremes – cuz a girl can only eat so many apples, bananas and yogurt.

These are obviously all non-Running related items.  I talk about the running things that I obsess over love all the time so I feel it would be redundant to add those things back in here when you already know that I love my Nike+ GPS, the CW-X compression tights, the CEP compression calf sleeves, Athleta, Knuckelights & RunningSkirts

What are a few of your favorite things?  Tell us!!

Be thankful for EVERYTHING in your life.  All is just as God planned……the good, the bad, and even the really ugly. 

Amanda – TooTallFritz

 

Hot Chocolate 15K (2011) – Race Review

I find it difficult to take a race seriously which is focused on promoting chocolate or beer, or music for that fact.  However, the RAM racing series made a real effort this year to make this a serious race.  The updates for this year included a new course thru the city streets and a corral system to put the faster runners in a better position to well, run fast.  If you want to run fast then you don’t want to be on an overcrowded lake front path with 500 other people who are all attempting to squeeze thru two water-stop tables “together”.  As soon as I saw the updated course map, I knew this would be a great race for me and a few friends because 1) it would be serious enough for me and  2) it would be fun enough for them.  This was a win/win situation in my opinion:  chocolate, fun and good racing!

The pre-race is all about getting a few photos into position so that you can check your gear and get into the corrals on time.  Most races I run are very formal and I’ve learned the hard lesson that if you aren’t there early, you may be starting at the back!  Here are the ladies who were available for the pre-race group photo….Me, Gail R., Michelle N., Marti, Trisha D., and Nicki T.

After the group photo, we separated and dashed over to Grant Park.   I was immediately impressed with the number of volunteers standing around asking runners if they needed help.  In fact, one of these nice people pointed us toward gear check.  I had two 5K runners with me and their gear check was in a different location than the 15K but they also started the race before me so it wasn’t a problem to get their gear checked and get them to the start before I even had to think about my race.  My only complaint for the pre-race has nothing to do with RAM Racing or the Hot Chocolate Race itself but the poor conditions of Grant Park, which is still recovering from the destruction caused during the Lollapalooza Festival in early August.  Many areas of the park have been closed off since Lollapalooza but it appears they are trying to reopen it.  I would bet my ass hazard a guess that this was the first event, in this area of Grant Park since Lollapalooza.  The grassy areas were very SATURATED with water and mud.  There was “some” grass but definitely more mud and water.  In fact, people kept asking if it had rained the previous night.  RAM Racing did  attempt to combat the problem by putting down plywood to walk to/from 5K gear check but short of covering the entire field, it was useless.  I have gotten less muddy on soggy trail runs than I did just getting these ladies thru the 5K gear check.  Oh well, not the fault of race officials.  So we are off to the 5K start!  Photo Op for Nicki T. and I at the drop off. 

Gear check and the start were in close proximity, there were loads of volunteers to direct us, the port-o-pots where plentiful and things were seemingly organized and running on schedule.  However, due to unforseen circumstances, the race start had to be delayed due to a semi truck getting stuck under one of the overpasses on the race route.  The delay was approximately 15-20 minutes while emergency personnel attempted to clear the situation.  When they did start the 5K runners it was with a revised route to avoid the problem area and that also elongated their race.  In my opinion, there aren’t many good reasons to delay the start of a race while I am out there freezing my ass off on the start line but this was beyond their control.

The 15K gear check was not nearly as muddy, I dropped my gear and left to figure out where I needed to be for my corral.   The volunteers were a little confused at this point as to where I should be going since the 5K was still in staging, and they sent me in a general direction to search out a green sign.   I apparently messed it up but instead found my way close to the start and a “green sign” with my corral letter.  Then I saw the 15K runners start to move up and realized I wasn’t in the correct spot but fortunately, since it was loosely organized at this point, I was able to just jump in with the “B” corral, or what was supposed to be the “B” corral.  I noticed that we had a few extras as I saw several “O” people, a few “A”s, and lots of “C”s.    I was told by other runners that things were confusing and nobody really knew where they were supposed to be, so some just jumped in line like I did when they saw the runners start to move into staging.  I wasn’t real concerned at this point though as I was so close to the start, I knew it wasn’t going to make much of a difference. 

Once the gun went off, we all had to squeeze thru the start banner to cross the timing mat, which only covered half of the street.  I initially thought oh, crap! it would be a problem but it went smoothly and we were off and running very quickly.  Even though I saw walkers as soon as I passed the start line, they never really interfered with the majority of runners and everyone around me seemed to be running a good pace, regardless of the letter on their bib.  It wasn’t overcrowed and I really was able to run as fast as I wanted without too much traffic interference for most of the race.  Of course, it was busy thru the aid stations and on turns but other than that it went well.  Although I didn’t use any of the aid stations, it appeared that there was both water and Gatorade on both sides of the street in multiple places throughout the course.  I saw several spots for port-o-pots but was fortunate enough not to need one!  I did hear the potty lines were long but other than the marathon, I have always had an issue with lines at the on course potty locations.  All in all, I think it was a good race!  I think they did a good job with the updated course and am sure they will continue to improve the race in future years.  My impossible goal was to run 1:15 and I was on target all the way thru, even toward the end until I hit the Roosevelt Bridge, which EVERY race in Chicago runs so I was expecting it.  Well, I basically clawed my way up that bridge on my hands and knees…..it wasn’t pretty….can’t wait for those photos!  So the bridge took me out.  Congratulations Roosevelt Bridge, you claimed another victim.  I finished in 1:16:40 but was happy with the effort although angry with the bridge.

Post-Race, big thumbs up to the Ghirardelli Chocolate!  Very tasty!  They gave us hot chocolate and a chocolate fondue plate with a 1/2 banana, pretzel rod, 3 apple slices, 1 medium marshmallow and I may be missing something but not much.  It was very good but thankfully I had already ingested my AdvoCare Post Workout Recovery drink and a bagel that I had brought from home or I would have been starved and probably getting the shakes from not taking in enough calories.  I always bring what I need for my own recovery because I don’t want to be shaking and vomiting trust anyone to have what I need to recover properly.  After a hard run/workout  you need a  4:1 carb to protein ratio to properly recover and since I don’t like to count calories or numbers at all, I always do the Advocare Post Workout Recovery drink so I am sure to get what I need without worrying about how to make it happen.  I strongly encourage you to always take what you need to a race in terms of your own fuel and recovery products.  Don’t count on the race to have it for you.  You need to get in the recovery product within one hour of when you finish, faster if you can, then you can have some fun……which is exactly what Nicki T, myself and Kristina H. did after the race!

Note to self……avoid the port-o-pot back drop for the next photo.

Blue Moon!

I’d definitely run this race again.  It was fun, I thought the course was good, the corrals worked for me and I think it will just keep getting better.  And any day that I can get away from the kids out of the house and spend some time with my girls, plus run a good race is a WIN for me.  So I guess I’m in and I WILL RUN FOR CHOCOLATE!

“Run”way Fashion….let’s just say I had a whole lot of wardrobe malfunction going on during the race….Brooks Glycerin Diva Running Jacket was super cute and I’ve worn it for non-running purposes multiple times and love it but it kept riding up while I was running!  I also had on my Alo TooTallFritz.com shirt that RaceExpressions.com did for me and the jacket basically kept  grabbing the shirt and pulling that up too!  Then on the bottom, I stupidly opted out of wearing the CW-X Compression 3/4 tights because they were dirty and instead chose the SkirtSports Under the Skirt Capri Pants because they are soft, awesome feeling, and have pockets but apparently I need to downsize because they kept slipping and felt like they were falling down until I was about half way  thru the race and apparently my sweat kicked in to hold them in place.  These are really awesome pants, just don’t think I will race in them again unless I get a smaller size.

Did you race this weekend?  How was it?  Would you run a theme race like the Hot Chocolate, the Monster, or the Rock N Roll races, or do you avoid them like the plague for being too commercial?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Running,                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz.com

Halloween Hangover

I must say that I enjoy Halloween but am happy to say good-bye to it for another year.  Each year it is a fight with the kiddos as to how much candy they can stuff into their faces before I notice convince me to let them eat.  And I must say that it is also a struggle for me in an attempt to not stuff my own face limit my consumption.  I think we did pretty well last night with the kiddos not getting too out of control and I had 3 fun size Almond Joys.  Now, we still have a GROCERY BAG of candy left in the house so we will see how it goes from here on out.

Prior to the Trick or Treat extravaganza, I made a last-ditch effort to pad my mileage close out the month properly.  I decided on a Midlothian Reservoir/Yankee Woods run that would be about 6 miles.  The Reservoir, with a connect to Yankee for 1 loop, plus return is slightly under 6  so I parked my car a bit further from the trailhead becasue I’m OCD so that I got in a few extra steps to make it a full 6.  The intent was for a quicker pace, speedy turnover type running without wearing myself out. 

Since these trails are somewhat secluded in parts, I grabbed my Wrist Saver pepper spray and I was off.  If you need a pepper spray, this one is AWESOME.  It velcros onto the wrist and doesn’t move!  I love it and also attach it to the jogging stroller and/or Aby’s bike when we are running/hiking as a family.  The watch is the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS, another great product for a very reasonable price.  I am of the opinion that all technology is somewhat disposable due to the constant updates and changes.  I refuse to pay a lot for something that will be obsolete before the end of the month.  One of my favorite things about the Nike+ watch is that they frequently update it thru the net.  You plug-in for a charge, or to upload a run, and get a message that a new upgrade is available.  I purchased the watch on the pre-order before it even hit the stores so got an “original”.   They have made SEVERAL updates via the net to add features that were requested by consumers.  I really appreciate this rather than them just putting out a newer and better model that turns my original into a dinosaur.

Midlothian Reservoir:

The Midlothian Reservoir section is pretty short, about a mile, then you need to run a path by Central Ave for about a 1/2 mile to get into Yankee.  Once you hit the Yankee sign, one loop is 3 miles and  you can fly right back to the Reservoir to your car!  Yankee  Woods:

6 miles – 52:15 –  several photo stops and a road crossing x2

“Run”way Fashion – Freebie Alert:  RunGirl shirt from Women’s Running Magazine.  Great Magazine!!  And they give a free shirt with a 2 year subscription.  I don’t wear a lot of freebies but this one fits perfectly!

CWX Compression 3/4 tights.  Yep still wearing them and love them EVEN more today but I need more pink shirts!   Frogger –  I looked and they do have 3/4 for men.  You might want to talk to Mel; I picked these up at Running for Kicks.

Cheers & TRY not to eat too much Halloween candy!                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz

Dogged Endurance

In order to fit everything into today that I wanted/needed, I had to get rolling in the middle of the night pretty early.  I was “slightly” tired since I haven’t slept since I got knocked up with Mr. Michael and the obligatory bathroom-blogger photo showed as much.

A few run essentials, if you are also running in the dark, are pictured below.  The Knuckle Lights are a great product which I highly recommend!  They really light up the night and the roads, so much better than a headlamp.  I am also loving the SPI-Belt since it even holds my humongous DROID phone.   

It was soooooo dark.  The older I get the more terrified  cautious I am in regard to the dark and the road conditions.  Today I was at my parents so had to run on a busy road to hit the less traveled country roads.  Once I hit the first country road I breathed a sigh of relief thinking I was in safer territory.  However, that feeling didn’t last long as I was barely into mile 2 when I heard a rustling in the corn field and “something” jumped out at me and freaked me out started running beside me!  I immediately went for my pepper spray since I had been bitten by 3 dogs in less than 4 months at the beginning of the year was being cautious but this LilWhiteDog was not out for blood but apparently just wanted to run.  I can appreciate that. 

I didn’t anticipate my friend to go too far, usually a friendly dog may run a 1/2 or full mile with me but never more than that before they turn back toward home or get distracted onto a new adventure.  However this LilWhiteDog was in it for the long haul.  I must say that it stressed me out slowed my progress as I was afraid it was going to get hit by a car or that it was running too far for its lil legs, or that it needed water, etc.  I greatly enjoyed the company and he certainly took my mind off the task at hand but I wanted the LilWhiteDog to go home where it would be safe and be loved and be able to rest!  I hit my turn-around at mile 5 and he also made the u-turn.  At this point, I was relieved thinking when we got back to where he initially joined me that he would go back home.  So I ran on thinking that he would be safe soon enough.  I did notice the LilWhiteDog to be unusually savy about life on the road.  He always ran into a ditch when a car was coming, he stopped and listened intently when a “mean dog” sounded its bark, and he just was incredibly intelligent and worldly for such a lil thing.  I was impressed. 

We get back to the road where my friend LilWhiteDog joined me and he kept running beside me.  We hit the busy road and I took my turn and prayed that he would stay but he followed.  I almost cried thinking he would never make it the length of BusyRoad without being hit by a car but he did.  And then he took the turn into the lakeside subdivision with me.  And then he turned into the driveway with me.  And then I closed the door to the house and prayed he would FINALLY go home.  But he didn’t.  LilWhiteDog jumped up on the door and started barking/whining.  Did I mention that the Parents just tore down the lakeside shack and built a NICE new house remodeled the cottage?  Did I mention that the Parents HATE don’t like dogs?   LilWhiteDog found the patio doors/windows to look into the great room.

LilWhiteDog wasn’t leaving.

A couple of hours later we left to go trick or treating and LilWhiteDog chased my car down the road, then stopped and walked back to my parents.

Several hour later we came home and didn’t see LilWhiteDog but then a lady power walking came down the street with a mysterious partner……LilWhiteDog.  I encouraged her to take him home and she laughed.  I was packing up the car and guess who came back.

Auntie Sara was strong-armed decided to take LilWhiteDog home back to Ft Wayne to see if she can pawn him off on one of her friends find him a home, otherwise he will be going to the Allen Co Animal Shelter tomorrow or Monday.  Aby and I are hoping Uncle David falls in love with him she finds him a good home.

Good-Bye and Good Luck my friend LilWhiteDog.

10.04 miles – 1:43:46 – This is super slow for me but I stopped many times to try to get photos in the dark with my flash which was a TOTAL FAIL didn’t work out, then I had to get off the road multiple times for either my safety of that of my running partner, plus I walked in the 7th mile for a little bit because  I felt like it my hips were tight.

“Run”way Fashion:  It was under 40 degrees so I needed long sleeves and went with my Nike Chicago 2016 Candidate City shirt which I still wear even though I’m the only one who wanted to the Olympics in Chicago we lost the bid.

And I tried out the new CW-X compression 3/4 quarter tights, which I really liked! 

Women’s 3/4 Stabilyx Tight – Black/Raspberry

The Stabilyx tights provide optimum targeted support to the core and knees. They’re ideal for activities with lateral motion such as skiing and snowboarding and for athletes seeking our best form of knee support. The patented CW-X Support Web™ bands together the muscles and ligaments of the lower leg to stabilize the knee and reduce vibration for increased efficiency. The CW-X Support Web™ also harnesses the midsection, supporting the lower abdominals, hips and back to channel power through the core. Variable compression facilitates circulation during and after activity, minimizing lactic acid build-up so that you can be active longer and recover faster.

I have been having issues with my hips and knees and just general lower leg aches/pain since the Plantar Fasciitis has reached the advanced stages.  Apparently, I am running funny my form is deteriorating.  I could definitely feel the added support, particularly in my hips and probably the part that I LOVED the most was that I didn’t have to pull them up one time!  That alone was worth the price!!!  I don’t know yet about the recovering faster part, I didn’t have time to lounge in them so don’t know if it really counts.   Photo below is “me” not a “stock” photo.

I definitely look forward to wearing them more in the future, now just wish I had more pink shirts cuz I am really picky like to match.

Cheers,                                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz