Beautiful Day in Chicago!

This week has been a bit of a scramble but I did manage a swim on Monday (70 laps = 1750 yards = .99 miles = 40:04 minutes) when Aby’s track meet was canceled due to rain.  Yesterday I squeezed in a lunchtime shake out run.  My legs were still heavy from Sunday’s race so I needed something slow and relaxed.  When I run at lunch, I always hit Chicago’s lakefront and it was a perfect day yesterday for lollygagging and photo taking!  I ran out on the lakefront, then came back thru Grant Park to get a view of the fountain!

Sears Tower:

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Entrance tunnel (under Lake Shore Drive) to Grant Park by Museum Campus:

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Shedd Aquarium:

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Chicago Skyline looking North toward Navy Pier:

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Grant Park:

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Buckingham Fountain:

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All in all, I ran 4.5 miles at a very leisurely pace.   The City is so alive, there are lots of people milling around doing the tourist thing and I love seeing them and seeing the sights myself in the brightness of spring.  It’s the days that I can get out and run at lunch that really help me appreciate the beauty of Chicago.

People frequently ask what I do when I get back to work and am hot & sweaty.  I wash up in the bathroom!  If I actually go to the gym, to run on the treadmill, I can shower there.  However, I normally run outside so I just wash up and use the Yes to Cucumber Wipes.  Then I tell people to stay away from me.  🙂

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Over the next 3 weeks, I will be focusing on increasing my run miles.  A couple days a week I will be running more than once (2x and eventually 3x per day).  My first multi run day will be this Saturday with a hilly 13 miler in the morning and a 5K Fun Run in the afternoon.  I will continue to build the bike miles.  I will also be focusing on getting out as much as possible on mid-day lunch runs to acclimate to the heat pre-Ragnar.  The heat is the one thing we can not control and we will be running all hours of the day & night, particularly since there are only 6 of us running the 200 miles.  Stay tuned for lots of fun training in the weeks ahead!  Oh, and send me a truck load of ice for ice baths, okay?

What is your next goal and/or focus?  Everyone needs a goal, please share yours with us in the event that something YOU are doing might inspire and/or intrigue someone else!

Happy Running **  Amanda – TooTallFritz ** **

Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon (2011) – GUEST Race Review

I have heard many mixed reviews on the Monster Dash in Chicago.  Some people have made comments about loving it and loving the course while others absolutely thought it was one of the most poorly run races in the CHI.  I have never personally ran the race as it is always on Halloween Weekend and my mommy/family duties always trump my own desires any other weekend plans.  Since I couldn’t personally run, I begged put out a request to my friends at the Frankfort Running Club for a Guest Review of the race.  They had a rather large group of runners who had been excitedly planning for the day forever for the last several weeks and I had hoped that somebody would help me out.  The following photos and review are from Susan D. of the Frankfort Running Club.  Thanks so much Susan for helping me out; I really appreciate it!   

Cheers,                                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz

Race Report by Susan D. – Frankfort Running Club

What could make for a better Saturday morning than waking up before dawn—after an anxious night of sleep — to take the 6:14 train into Chicago for the Monster Dash?  Hoping on the train with a motley crew of runners was the perfect way to start my weekend.  Our group consisted of both beginning and veteran runners, some as young as 6th grade (one of my former third grade students!) some as old as, well…me.  A few of us were doing the Monster Dash Half Marathon, and others were doing the 5K.  And yes, there were costumes involved.  I proudly rode the train with a keg of beer (costume of course, although there was some real beer involved!), as well as a tube of Preparation H, otherwise known as “The Official Ass Cream.”  I myself was not brave enough to wear a costume, but I was much inspired by the creativity of others!

Once we arrived in Chicago, it was a short walk to Grant Park, but a long, cold wait for the run to begin.  Along the way, we got several strange looks and many “thumbs up” for the tube of ass cream roaming the streets with us.  I was feeling a little lame that I showed up in a running skirt and Halloween shirt.  Plus the people wearing costumes looked warm and cozy!

When the run finally started, those of us doing the half marathon were separated from the 5K group.   The first few miles are always tedious.  Why do people get in the 9:00 pace group when they are going to start walking right in front of you at mile two?  So after some weaving and zigzagging, we were finally able to hit a rhythm at mile three.

Now this course wasn’t really flat and smooth.  There were a fair share of potholes, puddles, grassy surfaces, and inclines that we had to overcome, but three of us who trained together managed to stay together for the entire run.  During our practice runs, we kept a steady conversation, but not today.  There were a few sentences – maybe a few swear words – uttered here and there, but the focus was on…well, staying focused.  And it was getting warm.  Suddenly my Halloween t-shirt didn’t seem so lame.  Those costumes that looked so snuggly now looked suffocating.

At the 7 mile turnaround (good God, was it ever going to arrive?), the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier looked so far away.  By mile 10, I was starting to think about a tall frosty beer.  And I don’t really drink.  Costume watching kept me occupied for a while.  I could admire the creativity of the “Hooter Girls”/Guys that were running in front of me, but then I started to get angry that two guys in tight orange shorts both had a better butt than me.  So I worked up enough anger to pass them. 

The home stretch wasn’t too bad, and it was fun to be greeted at the finish by our friends who ran the 5K.  But wait…how come they got trick-or-treat candy at their water stops and we didn’t? 

We decided to catch a later train home and refuel at Kitty O’Shays.  The train ride home was filled with fun stories and new friendships, and nothing can beat that on a Saturday morning that started out dreary and dark, but ended up crisp and sunny.  And when I finally got home, I didn’t care how much they hurt my feet, but I put on my high heeled boots and went out to celebrate with a night on the town.  But ouch…my feet sure did hurt on Sunday morning!

Susan D.

TooTallFritz Readers – Please post your own experiences on the Monster in the comments section!  I’d  love to hear your thoughts as well! 

Thanks,                                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz