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.


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 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. 


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!


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!!


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!


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.

mission athletecare_2

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. 


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!

lock laces_yello

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


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.


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 **

Run River City Marathon Relay

This year Peoria brought us their first annual Run River City marathon weekend.  The fun filled weekend offered a marathon, 4 person marathon relay, 25K, 5K and kids marathon.  While I normally don’t like to travel for races because it’s a PITA for my family, Peoria is the hometown of my friend & fellow Team Tough Chik teammate Run With Jess, so it was quickly decided that a trip to Peoria was in order.


Almost instantaneously, we decided that our event of choice was the marathon relay.  We had one goal:  To Have Fun.  Since we were looking for fun, plus both Jess and I were already members of a 200+ all ladies team, we started looking to fill the remaining two relay spots with Team Tough Chik members.  I mean, the uniform is already in place why not utilize our team members, right?  In under 24 hours, Carmen of She Runs Everywhere and Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik (and creator of the Tough Chik clothing line and Team Tough Chik) were on board for the first ever Team Tough Chik marathon relay.  Pre-race photo:  Me, Carmen, Jess & Shannon.


We rolled into the River City in waves, grabbed our packets at an outdoor “expo”, which very small, and then quickly checked out the swag.  The swag bag included a gender specific new balance shirt, bib and a few advertisements.  No worries on my end, we paid $35 each for the relay.  I come to run, not go home with a bunch of stuff that I’ll never use.


Then a bit of sightseeing!  I love a small town where you can walk around and check things out!  Riverfront Park & one of the many bridges connecting Peoria to the “real world”.

Riverfront Park  Bridge

But really, we came to run and were super excited to get started on Sunday morning.  The event kicked off with a super elite field of wheel chair racers at 6:55 am, quickly followed by the marathon, relayers and 25K runners.

WC Start

Temps were warm and humid at the start with a little cloud cover but the sun quickly burnt off the clouds and took the times all the way up to 89 degrees by the finish.

Leg one kicked off at the start by Katie, who was a last minute sub for Carmen due to injury.  The girl smoked those first 6 miles and hauled axx into the first exchange to handoff to me.

Team of 5  Katie to Me handoff

I was off for 7 miles of fun.  Initially thru the flats of the riverfront area of Peoria, then quickly up and out of town via a monstrous hill on Main Street.  Although I’m a notoriously poor uphill runner, I did keep moving.  Other runners gave into walking/clawing their way up and then the stronger hill runners passed me up as if I were standing still.    Here I am still looking fresh as I get ready to tackle “the hill” and you may also notice that my pink FlipBelt came in super handy once again as I stuffed the blue relay baton thru it to free up my hands!

Me_curve_baton in flipbelt

The 7 miles didn’t exactly fly by as I had expected because the heat soaked to my being quickly around mile 3.  I could feel my fingers swelling and my face start tingling.  I was finding it super hard to acclimate to the first hot race of the year so I just tried to focus on moving forward and being thankful that I was relaying rather than running the 25K or marathon.  I heard lots of complaints while I ran about the lack of mile maker, clocks, bathrooms, and runners wanting the water stops to be more frequent due to the heat.  Each water station was placed anywhere from 0.5 to 2 miles apart.  They seemed random and it was difficult to anticipate their locations.  The website listed them here:


  • Water stops will be at miles 2, 4, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 8, 10, 11, 12.5, 14.5, 1.5, 16, 18, 18.5, 20, 21, 22.5, 24.5, 25, 25.75

  • Honey Stinger gels will be at miles 11 and 21

  • Gatorade will be at miles 4, 6, 8, 12.5, 16, 18.5, 22.5

I must say that I was super happy to see Shannon awaiting my arrival at the second exchange!  I was totally melted by this point and she looked fresh, happy and ready to run her 5.5 miles of hills.

Handoff to Shannon

Shannon’s California conditioning was exactly what we needed for the toughest leg of the event.  She was used to the weather and the hills and BOOM, smashed her leg.  Thanks, Shannon!!!  Before we knew it, she was coming in to hand off to Jess who totally rocked the last 7.7 miles all the way back DOWN to the riverfront. Yes, I’m totally jealous of that big downhill she got to run! 

Shannon handoff to Jess

Team Tough Chik running to the finish!!

Team Running In

So much fun.  Sub 4 hour finish (3 hours 56 minutes).  We placed 4th out of the 50 “all women” relay teams and 22nd of out of all 123 relay teams.  And in case you were wondering, “This is What Tough Looks Like”:

Team photo_baton

Great time.  I’d definitely do another marathon relay. Thanks to Jess for busting her butt trying to figure out the mangled course directions for driving to the relay exchanges.  Thanks to Dave, Jess’ hubby, for helping us on course, doing some of the driving, and taking all of these amazing photos.  Thanks to Carmen for being such a good sport, despite her injury, hanging with us during the race and finding us a last minute replacement!  Lastly, thanks to Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik for making us cool running clothes coming all the way from California to run with us.  Much love to all of you!

Overall I loved Run River City and recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap, scenic, tough, hilly marathon.   Good bang for the buck.  And if you’re in it for the bling, well you won’t be disappointed!


**Run River City ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** **

Flip Belt Giveaway Winner


I was wearing the Flip Belt again this weekend and someone asked me, “Do you REALLY like the Flip Belt or did you just say that?”.  It surprised me.  Sometimes I forget that some of my readers don’t know me personally.  Don’t know how I feel about things.  Don’t know how I feel about this blog.   Don’t know how I feel about honesty. 

So, for the record, you probably won’t hear about the things I don’t like unless it’s a really big deal …..  like a race that we all paid a lot of money for and then got the short end of the stick.  I don’t want to throw a lot of negativity out there because there is truly something for everyone and just because it doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you.  However, if I tell you about it, then I like it.  In fact, I really like it.  If I don’t tell you about it, then well, I have other things I like better.  On a similar note, the way I work the giveaways, is I normally go after products, for you, that I already own and like.  So I don’t have to worry about getting something for free, reviewing it, and then having to write about it if I don’t like it.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, the Flip Belt and the Yurbuds Inspire for Women headphones (Review HERE) are both products that I went after that I didn’t already own.  I took a chance because of the wonderful things that other people, who I knew personally, had already said about them.  It worked out very well both times.  I now own 3 pair of the Yurbuds Inspires (green, yellow & pink) and I have ordered two additional Flip Belts (pink & black, in addition the yellow they gave me).

Now you know.  If I say I like it, I really do like it.  In fact, I probably love it.  Smile

Now back to the Flip Belt that I LOVE!  So far I’ve used it on every outdoor run since it came in the mail.  Runs as short as 4 miles and as long as 20.  It works great for me.  Doesn’t bounce.  Doesn’t move.  Holds lots of stuff.  It even holds my shirt down if it’s cold.   Bonus!  I looked at the sizing chart (below) and was between sizes.  I’m an 8-10 in pants.  I ordered the large because I like things to ride on my hips and not my stomach.  It was the right size for me.


The Flip Belt Winner is #117, Stacy Kirk.




Congratulations, Stacy!  Please contact me at  I need your email address to send to Flip Belt so they can set up an account for you!

For the rest of us, Flip Belt set up a 15% discount code:  tootallfritz.  Feel free to use the code and share it with your friends if you like.  It’s active now.  I’ve already placed an order using it.  The code expires on April 25, 2013. 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Flip Belt Review & Giveaway…..


I have been seeing a lot of hoopla on the Flip Belt.  I was intrigued.  However, I have two “fitness” belts already and I don’t love either one of them.  I was, therefore, reluctant to purchase another for fear of it being just “ok”.  I got lucky and Flip Belt agreed to send me one to try even though I’ll never be as buff or naked as their amazing models below:


They have lots of great colors and I couldn’t decided which one I wanted so I ultimately picked yellow since it looked so good in their ad.  Yep, I LOVE a good marketing campaign and definitely missed my calling.   I’ll have what she’s having.  Just give me what the model is wearing.  Yes, PLEASE take the exact outfit off the mannequin at the store cuz that’s what I want too.  Smile

If you are feeling a bit more decisive than me,  here are the color choices below, plus they have a few limited edition colors on the sidebar of the Flip Belt webpage.


I don’t think I had this thing more than a day and I busted it out of the package.  I was really excited to try it.  My current belt has one stretchy zip pocket.  It has worked well enough because my giant phone (a droid) fits into it; however, I can’t put anything else it in and well during marathon training, I need to carry a lot more than just my phone.

So as I prepared for the first outing with the Flip Belt, in the pouring rain, I loaded it with my car key, an energy gel, my phone and an iPod.   At the last minute, I opted to leave the iPod in the car since it was raining cats and dogs and I usually don’t use an iPod while I run anyhow.  I was also thanking my lucky stars that during the ordering process, I elected to add a free waterproof phone bag to my order.  So I slid my phone into that bag (a plastic bag with a ziplock) and I was ready to run.  At least as ready to run as anyone who has 15 miles to put in during a downpour.  We did get a brief period when the rain stopped (for about 2 seconds) so I threw off my hat and had Susan snap a photo of me wearing the Flip Belt.  Thanks, Susan!!

Flip Belt_full pic

The belt is a continuous loop which you step into (or pull over your head) and has multiple openings to slide items into the loop.  The openings are a bit stretchy so that you can fit a gigantic phone inside, plus lots of other goodies.  The entire circumference of the belt serves as a giant holding cell so you can stuff a lot into it, if necessary.   The concept of the “flip belt” is that you can flip it into you and seal the openings with your body if you are concerned about something slipping out.  I can’t see that happening since the belt is stretchy and snug but if you have that fear, just flip it inward and keep your belongings safe!


I put the belt on, ran and forgot about it.  Then I remembered I had it on only because one of the other runners managed to spy it under my jacket saying, “Is that one of those flip belts?”.  I was like, oh yeah!  At that point, we had ran a good 12 miles and I hadn’t thought about it once.  That means, it didn’t bounce.  It didn’t slide.  It didn’t do anything that bothered me.  In my opinion, that is what makes good technical gear, something that benefits me but doesn’t bother me.  Something I wear and forget about.  I was sold at that very instant.  I was excited and sent out a tweet as soon as I got home!


Instagram & Tweet from 3/10/13




Since that day, I’ve worn the flip belt on every outdoor run, including last Saturday’s 20 miler.  I slide it on and forget about it.  LOVE THAT!!  I am also looking forward to using it in races so that I have my phone on me when I need it rather than having to leave it behind in gear check.

If you want to try the flip belt, they have offered one lucky reader their choice of any size/color Flip Belt ($24.99 value).  In order to be eligible to win, please comment below and tell me what kind of fitness belt you currently use and more importantly, do you like it?  You can then get one bonus entry for liking Flip Belt on Facebook HERE and leaving a separate comment stating that you did so, including your FB name for verification purposes.  And you can get a third entry by following them on Twitter HERE.

One winner will be drawn via a random number generator on Monday, March 25th at 9am.  Good luck!

** I  Red heart the Flip Belt **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **