Virtual “Racing”…..

We definitely live in an “on line” type world where many spend the vast majority of their day interacting with their keyboard instead of real people.  It should be no surprise that we are doing everything “virtually”.    For some, this provides an excuse to hide behind a computer and develop a fantasy life that they are too afraid to actually live.  For others, this has bolstered their confidence, allowed them to make new friends, and ultimately given them the courage to step outside their box and DO THINGS that they never thought possible.  Think for a minute how the internet has affected your life over the last 5 to 10 years? 




The world is literally at our fingertips.  A few keystrokes and we can find out about anything we want to know.  We can find people who share our interests.  We can find people who have done what we have only dreamt of doing ….. until now.  Seeing their adventures and knowing it can be done has given many the courage to TRY.  To get up off the couch, get out of the house and to DO SOMETHING new.

Do Something

For many, the idea of going to the gym, hitting a local group run or interacting with other people in a fitness type atmosphere is super intimidating.  They stress over not being fit enough.  Not being fast enough. Not being healthy enough.  Not being worthy of interacting with other fit people.   They want to be “better” and “more fit” before they start running with the group.  They want to be faster before they sign up for that local 5K.  Everyone fears being left behind.  Being last. 

These fears have bolstered our online community. They have helped birth virtual races and challenges.  A virtual race or challenge can be completed anywhere, anytime and by anyone willing to give it a try.  It allows a person to anonymously join a community of people all doing the same thing.  It allows them to take part in something they may not have had the courage to try if the event where happening “in real life”. 

These virtual challenges are everywhere.  Some cost $$ to join.  Many are free.  Some have online pages, or forums, for daily group support.  Many just require you to cover the distance or activity and record the results.    Some are as simple as doing 50 pushups every day for a month.  Others require one to cover a certain “race” distance.  Some are for charity.  Others offer cash and prizes just for participating.  There is a virtual race or challenge for all levels of fitness and ability.  Run one.  Walk one.  Join one.  In fact, join two! 

I’m currently participating in two virtual challenges.  Not because I wouldn’t be moving or doing something anyhow but because I like trying new things, being focused and meeting other fit people with whom I may not normally interact.  The Spring Bootie Buster Challenge by Amanda at Run To the Finish, forces me to drink my water, eat my fruits & veggies, and workout daily.  It offers an online community where I can talk with other members, be accountable and be encouraged by the progress of others.  I paid to get into the challenge.  I am eligible for weekly prizes NOT for being the best in my category but for recording my points each week.  It’s a 7 week challenge.  It’s about accountability.

water   Fresh Berries   

The other virtual challenge in which I am currently participating is the Jelly Bean by Run with Jess.  I like this one because it’s free, it offers multiple events and there are a lot of great prizes available just for participating.  Each year the Jelly Bean Virtual Race becomes my Jelly Bean “Challenge”.  I personally take the challenge to do all the events within the 11 day window.  If all of the events are not for you, that’s okay too, pick one or two that best suits your current fitness level.  The idea is to just move it, at any distance or speed in which you are able.  A virtual race is rarely a “race”, it’s just a way to challenge yourself to complete a certain task.  My Jelly Bean “race results” & a few event photos are below. 

  • 5K – 25:05
  • 10K – 56:03
  • Half Marathon – 2:09:19
  • 21K Bike  – 44:01

Jelly Bean_2013  me_3-23-13_jelly bean  Team Tough Chik 2013 tri kit _on bike

So if your nervous about getting out “in real life” and joining the fit community, take it slow and get comfortable at home by joining a virtual race or challenge.  Get to know us online so that you realize that we aren’t just crazy health nuts but instead, normal people, just like you.  These challenges are created because we understand, we’ve been there, we know how hard it is to get moving and stay moving.  We know that the process is intimidating.  Join us virtually and then when you’re ready, hit the road with us at any pace you are able.  It’s about the journey, not the pace at which you cover the distance.  Get started today!

** Move It, Virtual or Otherwise ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **


I normally don’t take the bait join challenges because well, I’m frequently at a different level than the target audience.  I’m not being pretentious, I just don’t need much motivation to get out the door because I enjoy getting out the door.  I enjoy moving.  I enjoy the time away from my screaming kids chaotic family.  I enjoy quality ME time. 

There are a few challenges to which I fall prey.   Not so long ago, my Ragnar Relay Chicago teammate Run with Jess put on a week long series of virtual races called the Jelly Bean Virtual Race.  She offered a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon & a 21K bike.  I took that as a “challenge” and did all 4 events.  My theory has always been “Go Big or Go Home”. 


I know I’m not a snowboarder but the pic above is just too cool!  By the way, can somebody replace that snowboarder with a runner?  Love you people with mad skills in graphics & Photoshop!

So I haven’t really been “challenged” since the Jelly Bean but Jeni at Sparkalish Roar threw down a small informal challenge this week.  She suggested just focusing on one small goal for the week, like drink more water (which I do) or do 10 pushups every day for a week.  Well, the pushup thing is something with which I really struggle.  YES, I need this!  I’m in the challenge for 10 pushups (minimum) every day this week and hopefully everyday for the rest of my life!  So on Tuesday, I did 12 pushups.  Sounds pathetic, right?  Well, I struggle with upper body strength so this is good for me!  You have to remember  not  to compare yourself to others when setting a goal or accepting a challenge.  The purpose of a goal or challenge is to do something for YOU that will improve YOU.  So don’t go out and run 30 or 40 miles because TTF you know somebody who does that each week.  Focus on choosing a goal that is challenging for you personally.

I have been really focused on dropping the pudge for the Palos Half eating clean this week and drinking my water.  Then I added this little challenge to my schedule.  TUE – 12 pushups, WED – 15 pushups, THUR – 15 pushups & today I did 17!   Whoooooop!

I also upped the ante by eliminating Starbucks from my calorie count occasional routine until after the Palos Half.  Jeni upped the ante on her end by adding chin-ups/pull-ups to her routine.  Damn, that bitch she is tough!  So I went shopping.

pull up bar

In case you are confused, that’s a chin-up/pull-up bar that hubby so kindly put together and installed for me while I was sleeping last night.  

I can’t do any,  not even one pull-up.  How long will it take before I can do 5?  Aby sent me a text message that she did 2 pull-ups before school this morning.  Great, I love it when my 10 year old is stronger than me.    Michael did 4 assisted pull-ups before heading off to a tough day at daycare.  Even better when my 2 year old is stronger than me.  I WILL conquer this.

How about you?  Do anything stupid lately?  Have you accepted any interesting challenges?  Wanna do some pull-ups with me?  Wanna spot me?  Go get yourself  a pull-up bar at Wal-Mart and for $19 you can suffer accept the pull-up challenge too!  How long will it take YOU to be able to do 5 pull-ups?  Let’s race to OUR 5 pull-up goal!  🙂

Challenge yourself, no matter how BIG or small, just step outside of you comfort zone toward a better you!

Happy Friday!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

Perfect Running Weather….

This week has been good weather for running with temps in the low 50s.  Last night I had to get started a little early so that I could knock out the Jelly Bean Virtual Race Half Marathon for Run with Jess, which I am considering a “challenge” since I wanted to do all 4 events but am a “little” short on time this week.  When I hit the trail a little before 4pm, it was cool and there was a slight wind.  I had to seriously convince myself that it was “ok” to leave the jacket in the car!  I knew I would be warm within a mile or so and didn’t want to have to deal with something to carry or tie around my waist once I warmed up.

It was a beautiful afternoon and Old Plank Trail has really come alive over the last couple of weeks with budding trees/flowers everywhere.  I love you, Spring!

I even saw a new runner on the trail.  I wasn’t really sure how to treat him as I couldn’t identify a consistent pace……should I pass him, or will he pass me, or is he going to attack me?  I was cautious, to say the least, with my new “friend”.

Soon after I left Mr. P in the dust, I caught up with Susan D. who unknowingly was signing on for a rather quick 10 mile run with Ms. TooTall.  Thanks Susan for helping me complete the Jelly Bean Half!

We caught up on life and crushed some miles before picking up the rest of the Wednesday Night F’N Runners.  I asked them to stare into the sun stand by the lilacs for the photo since I’m in love with Spring.  🙂  From left:  Cathie, April, Nicole, Susan, Kathy & Me.  Wayne is “manning” the camera, apparently he was the only guy who wasn’t afraid of the peacock felt confident enough to run with us F’N chicks.

It was just one of those perfect runs.  Everything was right:  the weather, the company, my legs were fresh since Aby had track meets all week and it was a great run.  We took a few small water breaks but basically just kept pumping out the miles.  The goal was to go sub 9 for every mile and other than the peacock photos 2nd mile and one 9:03, all the splits were well below 9 minutes miles.  We finished the 13.1 in 1:54:35 and for a Wednesday night, running a Jelly Bean-Old Plank Half, that’s pretty darn good.  Thanks Susan for helping me slug out those miles!

Have you done any random, non-supported half marathons that were not part of a training plan?  How did it go?  Was it hard to push without the adrenaline of race day?  We certainly didn’t run all out but this was faster than a normal Wednesday night jaunt on Old Plank.

If there is anyone left who has not already registered, or won a free entry, to the 13.1  Chicago on June 9th, they are offering the TTF readers a $5 off discount on registration through April 22nd.  Use the code:  131BLG5

Last point of business, the PunkeeLove Headband Giveaway goes til Monday morning.

Happy Running,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

1st Annual ENHS Alumni Fun Run

This weekend was one which myself and a few of my high school alums have been looking toward to for quite some time.  We planned our very first Alumni Fun Run!  Ironically, those of us in the planning department were all out of towners so we erroneously scheduled it during the local spring break, which “possibly” attributed to poor turnout.  Those of us who did show up came quite a way to make an appearance.  Steven (AL), David (IN), Jenny (OH), Adella (IN), Melissa (Indianapolis, IN), Me (IL).

Thankfully, Jenny was one of the planners which brought her two brother and father or we would have been very low on numbers!  Family Photo:  Steven, Dad, David & Jenny.

Thanks Dad for cheering us on for this fun run just like you used to during our cross country and track days.   Your support was much appreciated then and also today!

The day was perfectly overcast with temps in the low 40s and very high spirits.  Jenny, Adella & I arrived a little early to mark the course.  We chose the Bixler Lake Trail in Kendallville, IN because that is where we went to high school and well, that was our only option.  It was a 3.5 mile loop with a few hills but mostly flat.  Approximately one mile was thru the woods on the south side of Bixler, then the rest thru the park and around the lake for a return to our starting point.

Adella kindly took a picture of my ass me marking the trail.

The big hill was very root heavy.  We tried to mark out most of the roots for safety issues.  I really loved this hill and they were “kinda” laughing at me.

Our day:

We had a great day catching up, talking about the past/present/future and just hanging out doing one of the things that we love most, running.  I am so thankful to all of you who came and I am sorry that so many others missed it.   This was truly a great time.  A few of us did 3 loops for a 10.5 mile day, including Adella who logged her longest run EVER!  Great job, Adella!  And a few did 2 loops for 7 miles.  I challenge the Kville locals to go run the trail within the next couple of weeks and email me a photo.  In return, I will mail you a hat from our fun run and you can count yourself as a virtual participant!  I marked the trail on the grass, except for a few spots up in the campground area where I was blonde not thinking and marked the road instead.  It is easy to follow, the markings will last quite awhile and it really is a nice jaunt around the lake.  Go now and become our virtual partner for the First Annual ENHS Fun Run and then hopefully we will see you in person next year!

For more photos of the Bixler Lake Trail, feel free to review the January post where Adella & I did a scouting trip on a snowy afternoon HERE.

Today is my birthday so the kids and Grandma were busy baking and crafting while I was out playing running.  I returned to much excitement and lemon bars for my birthday treat.  Then later mom & I made a spinach, artichoke, roasted red pepper pizza!  Yum!  Obviously I like to eat as much as I like to run!

Happy Birthday Song over my morning yogurt!

I managed to squeak in a Birthday Recovery Run this morning too and knocked out the Jelly Bean 5K and 10K through Run with Jess for a total of 9.3 miles.  Although the Jelly Bean is billed as a Virtual Race, I am considering it to be more of a Challenge.  This week will be super busy with two Track meets for Aby, a busy work schedule, a midweek midday date with hubby and the Good Friday Waterfall Glen Run.  Yep, I signed up for all four events:  5K, 10K, Half Marathon, & a 13 mile bike.   I realize with the current schedule that I will have to sacrifice my swim this week.  And I need the bike Gods to make sure my bike computer comes in at the Trek Store this week so that I can get it installed, have the maintenance issues taken care of and be ready to ride by Saturday.  I have a very narrow window for the bike, Saturday.  That’s my window.  Period.  Worst case scenario, I can pop out a guesstimated 13 miles on the trainer but I’m tired of guesstimating my miles and have totally lost my motivation to bike on the trainer.  I need the computer now.  Pathetic, I know but it is no fun riding without knowing how far and how fast I’m traveling!

What was on your plate for the weekend?  Any virtual racing for you?  Any real racing?  Anyone going to run the Bixler Trail to participate in our Fun Run virtually?  Let me know!

Happy Running,                                                                                                     Amanda – TooTallFritz

The Jelly Bean Virtual Race via RunWithJess

One of my Ragnar Relay teammates, RunWithJess is doing a Jelly Bean Virtual Race this upcoming week.  She secured some AWESOME sponsors who have donated a TON of prizes.  I  was late to the game as always and just signed up yesterday but I wanted to share this with you in case you too have neglected to sign up.  First and foremost, the race is FREE and since it’s virtual, that means you can do it virtually anywhere.  🙂   Plus, if you enter, then you will also be eligible to win one of the random prizes which the sponsors have donated. 

Race Options: 

  • Run 5K (3.1 miles)
  • Run 10K  (6.2 miles)
  • Run Half-Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Bike 21K (13 miles)



  • SparkleSkirt (the tech skirt)
  • iTunes gift card
  • iPod shuffle & Cap/Water Bottle from Sexy Mom’s Running Club
  • Road ID gift card
  • Aquaphor gift pack
  • Bob Harper DVD
  • Nuun tablets & Nuun T-Shirt/Water Bottle 
  • Tough Chik – T-Shirt/Cap/Sticker
  • KnuckleLights
  • Gu
  • Lululemon gift card
  • Autographed copy of Life on the Run (Bart Yasso)
  • Fitsok
  • PF Chang’s gift card
  • Reebok running shirt

You can choose one or more distances to complete over the race week from April 1 to April 8th.  Of course, I signed up for all 4 events, Go Big or Go Home, right?  You also have the option to purchase a race shirt which says “Running takes Heart and Sole“.  Good one, Jess!  Love it!

Head over and sign up for something today and good luck on winning one of the prizes!  Don’t you just love the chance to win a prize when you will be doing the same thing you do each and every day?  Here is your reward for your continued dedication to fitness!  I’ll see YOU on the trail!

Happy Running,                                                                                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz