Run/Walk thru the CHI…..

Yesterday I hauled my ass self away from the office with the intent of knocking out an 8 miler.  Well, that didn’t happen.  But it was a beautiful day in the CHI and the sun was trying to peak out!

I wasn’t very far at all when I realized that my legs were very fatigued.  So I readjusted my goal from 8 miles to 6.  Then I got to Oak Street beach and realized that I wanted to walk.

So I walked.  And realized I was only 2.5 miles in and if I wanted to walk at this point, then I better just turn around and head back for the office cuz it wasn’t going to get better so I turned around and the now 6 miler turned into a 5.

In addition to the heavy fatigue, my right calf was also screaming talking to me.  The good news is that the ankle which was bothering me last week was silent, unless I just couldn’t hear it’s whimpers over the screams of the calf muscle.  I’m thinking that a 2013 edition of the Warm Your Heart rat maze will NOT be in the cards for Ms. TooTall.  Yep, the aftermath on my body was too much for a 5K distance.   Not worth it in my opinion.  Too many hairpin turns.  I’m coming off the Plantar Fasciitis injury and am still not 100% so it probably affected me more so than a healthy person.  The calf muscle that was screaming after the Warm Your Heart race and also during this run, is the same one which was swollen and so damaged that it finally sent me to the doc for the Plantar Fasciitis in September.  I know this is all related.  That’s okay, it will bounce back and I’ll know better for next year. 

In the interim, I enjoyed a nice run/walk thru the city. 

Chicago is getting ready for St Paddy’s Day!

So it was a good day to get out and enjoy the city but a very unproductive “run” per say.  It’s okay, just a perfect excuse to take it easy the next couple of days in preparation for Sunday’s race in Miami.  And fortunately, I have been doing this long enough to know that this will in NO WAY affect my performance.  It’s just a bump in the road, the work has been done, the miles put in and I will be READY TO RUN a kick ass race on Sunday. 

Cheers!                                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz



Just Felt Like Walking…..

I went out at lunchtime today to grab some miles.  I didn’t necessarily feel like running as my legs were still heavy from yesterday’s 5K……gasp…Yes, I said heavy from a 5K.  MY theory is that if it didn’t hurt, you probably should have run faster so I try to put my all into every effort regardless of the race distance.  However, that snowy ground cover was calling my name since the temps were broaching the mid 40s and I knew it would soon melt away.  So I overdressed and got my ass out the door. 

I had momentarily forgotten it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day until I hit the road and noticed all the extra people/kids on the streets.  It was such a perfect winter day in that the snow was visible but the temps were unseasonably warm.  The 44 degree temps felt like 54 to me and I was WAY overdressed and heated up quickly.  I know this will sound weird but I don’t really sweat but today was a different ball game since I overdressed, I was soaked in no time.

In the fall I was able to grab an awesome pic on the lake front path with which I fell in love.  My plan was to go back to the same area in each season and try to do the same photo so that I can frame them all individually but in a collage setting on my wall.  It didn’t work out exactly as I had hoped because my photos are similar but not the same, which shouldn’t surprise me but was still a slight disappointment.  I mean grabbing the photo was number one reason I got up and out today.  

I was also able to grab some other pics of the Lake Front Path in a snowy state.  It was fun and since my legs felt like lead anyhow there was no pressure as far as trying to keep a certain pace not that I really ever feel that pressure

Shedd Aquarium:Planetarium: 

A very deserted Burnham Harbor:

Lake Front Sledding Hill: 

As always, once I haul myself out the door, I really enjoy being out there.  Today was no different and knowing this could be the last day for a while with real snow on the ground made it even better.  Now the heavy, heavy, heavy legs didn’t feel great but I stopped for a gazillion lot of pics, walked on an off a few times, plus had the added stops of getting too and from the path, which is always slow going with traffic lights and pedestrians.

I was totally in a “just felt like walking” mood today.  It happens to me a lot.  I want to be out there but my body just isn’t fresh enough to keep moving very fast.  I won’t can’t even tell you how often, I just stop and walk.  It may or may not be for long, sometimes I just take Lisa E’s 6 Step Rule (you can stop and walk but after 6 steps you must resume running or do something that resembles running) sometimes I don’t give a shit care and walk for as long as I like.  Running, or walking, or just getting out there is for me and nobody else.  So if I want to walk, I walk.  Since there are so many newbie runners around as of late, I thought it was important to point that out.  It’s okay to walk……just keep moving forward and keep GETTING OUT THE DOOR.

Happy Running,                                                                                                      Amanda – TooTallFritz


Lunch Break….on the Lakefront

I love the option of hitting the lakefront path for a good run at “lunch” when I can cut the ties to my desk get out.  I  normally don’t leave for lunch so this is quite a treat when I make it happen.  I must say, there are many days that I just carry my clothes back and forth to work because I can’t MAKE IT HAPPEN so today is an awesome day!  Quick obligatory “blogger bathroom photo”. 

Then I literally hit the street running before my boss saw me leave so I didn’t change my mind.  The worst part of running in the city is getting the gps to find a signal having the patience to weave thru the pedestrians, and wait out red lights/street crossings, while heading to the lakefront.  Upon arriving at the lakefront, its smooth sailing.  Allow a brief shout out to the Chicago Parks Department for their fastidious upkeep of the Lakefront Path.  Once I hit the Lakefront path today, I was met by these babies: 

The Chicago geese are probably the most aggressive visitors you will encounter on the lakefront path; however, I have never actually seen them chase anyone.  I just have horrible flashbacks of the Bixler Lake geese, which chased us during the summers of EN CC practice so the sight of any geese while running makes me scream and run like a little girl tense with anxiety. 

If you have extra $$ and a big ass boat, you might have spent some Chicago summers here at the Columbia Yacht Club.

Great view of Navy Pier: 

Ohio Street Beach….wow, Lake Michigan is angry.  Is the snow finally coming?

In the summer you will see Chicago Lifeguards watching this strip between Ohio Street Beach and Oak Street Beach.  You will also see swim lanes for open water swimmers and triathletes who are grabbing a lunchtime swim in the lake or trying out a rented wetsuit.

Running north along the lakefront can be cold and windy as there is no protection from the wind and elements.  On a bad day, I would say run south toward McCormick or try the Riverwalk Path.  However, today was perfect at 33 degrees with a nice wind coming off the lake.  Ear band and gloves required but I was dressed for it so really enjoyed being out there!  As always, when I rounded the curve to Oak Street Beach I got a blast of wind and the waves were really splashing and leaving shit debris pretty far up on the trail. 

Memorial Day thru Labor Day, Chicago has a temporary outdoor, limited fare cafe with alcohol drinks here at Oak Street Beach.  It’s nice to sit on the beach and have a pricey lunch with cocktails. If you are shopping the Magnificent Mile, you can walk right across Michigan Avenue, after shopping Prada on Oak Street, and hit the beach for some R&R.  In this photo you can see the winter remnants of the outdoor cafe.  It’s a much different site “in season” and I encourage you to come and check it out when it gets warm!

Hey strange dude, randomly walking the lake front path without much apparent purpose……would you be so kind as to take a photo of me before the waves suck me out to the bottom of the lake?

On days like this when I am crunched for time, I run 6 miles.  The North Avenue sign is my 3 mile turn around. 

It’s just close enough to North Beach to make you want to run an extra mile or two or 10 .

But alas, I need to run back to work, so flipped and headed back toward the city.

Another great run in the CHI.  It was slow, 1:02 for 6.13 miles but that included 28 multiple photo stops, and major road crossings getting to and from the lake front path and some lollygagging.

Dress appropriately and get out there for a run!   You will be happy once you get your ass out the door.

“Run”way Fashion:  Athleta Headwinds Jacket (mine is the 2010 model), Athleta Base Miles Headband, & Manzella Sprint Glove Liners.

Manzella Sprint Glove Liners - Women's

Happy Running,                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz

Chicago’s Perfect 10 (2011) – GUEST Race Review

There’s a new race in town and since I don’t have a money tree in my back yard time to run them all, I was thankful that I had an “eye” at the race in a runner named Diane F. (& Company) from the Frankfort Running Club.   This was an inaugural race so there wasn’t much press on it, in fact, I haven’t even heard much about it in the days post-race.  The Perfect 10 did start and finish at one of Chicago’s most family friendly attractions, Navy Pier, so I’m very interested to see how it went just in case I can suck my family into attending one race next year.  Thanks to Diane F. for taking the time to compile this report and send some photos cuz the visual is almost more important than the words.

Race Review by Diane F. – Frankfort Running Club

The Good:      

  • Weather was AWESOME!
  • Start was fast!  I couldn’t even tell you where the start was as we had JUST enough time to get to Navy Pier, potty, and get to the start line (and take a pre-race photo).
  • Ran along Navy Pier (gorgeous) and lakefront (past Grant Park, behind Shedd Aquarium, past Soldier Field and down to about 31st St.)
  • Miles were CLEARLY marked and each mile marker ALSO had a clock!
  • LOTS of water stations (I think there were 4)
  • Music at, I think, 2 water stations
  • Packet pick up was easy
  •  Shirts are cool
  • Medals are AWESOME!
  • Results were posted to the website quickly.
     The Bad: 
  • Not enough post race food!  (only water and banana)
  • Not enough camera people!  (only 2 and they were about 10 ft from each other)
  • 10K and 10 milers started at the same time (though they were supposed to start 10K after 10M, but I think because of the time change they had to do all together) So it made for a kinda cramped area along the path (though it was short-lived) 

 It was a PERFECT day and race.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would definitely do it again and recommend it to anyone else. 


Awesome job, Diane F.!  Thanks for taking the time to articulate your thoughts on the very first Chicago Perfect 10!  If I may be presumptuous read between the lines, it sounds like you had a great race, had fun with your friends, Perfect 10 had a good start and did lots of things right but possibly has a small post-race food budget few kinks to work out for next year. I advise ALL race directors to bring on the food or go to Indiana to see how races feed people post-race.  Runners like to eat, in fact you can ask my hubby most run to eat.

Anyone else run the Perfect 10 this weekend?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section! 

Happy Running & EATING!                                                                                                      Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                       

Lakefront Run _Chicago

It was rainy earlier today but Mother Nature knew you needed some photos and that my cheap ass I didn’t want to ruin my new phone in the rain so she was kind to me!  As with all lunchtime runs, I got ready in our ladies washroom.  Apparently I need a blogger-bathroom-photos 101 course cuz these photos were horrible the best I could get.

I hit the street for a dash to the lakefront path. On days like this I actually don’t HATE enjoy working downtown and being able to run at lunch when I can’t pry Mr. Michael off of me just can’t get it done at home.  The chore of getting to/from the lakefront is probably harder than the actual running.  I spend a good deal of time weaving around the uncool non-runners pedestrians, waiting at traffic lights and then finally I hit the lakefront at Monroe Harbor after crossing Lake Shore Drive (LSD).   The first glimpse of the lake and the sun attempting to peak out is refreshing.

I frequently head South toward McCormick Place because:  1)  It’s a less traveled route, most runners and tourists head North toward Navy Pier, Oak Street Beach, North Beach, etc.;   2)  The path is slightly off the water so if the weather is less than ideal, there is a bit of a shield between runner, water & elements;  3)  McCormick Place has a bathroom right off the path; and,  4)  Portions of the trail have a soft shoulder for my plantar fasciitis the injury prone .

As I hit the Museum Campus, still in Monroe Harbor territory, I noticed two “ship wrecked” vessels.  Remember last week when I planned to run the lakefront but ran Yankee Woods in the ‘burbs instead?   Well, it was because portions of the lakefront path were closed due to 25+ foot waves.   About a month ago when we had waves “almost” that high nobody was smart enough realized they should stay away from the water and several runners/bikers got swept into the lake.  This time officials closed the path  to protect the stupid people and apparently it was a good move…..these sail boats were destroyed by the waves.

Moving on into the tunnel under the drive to Museum Campus.

Coming out of tunnel….STUNNING view!

This is about a mile from McCormick, if I run to McCormick it’s a 6 mile trip, if I want 8, I go a little further.  I took a lot of photos in the beginning and then put the phone away to make up some time.  The last photo stop was actually on the return and I had to stop, climb up off the path and onto the lawn at the Shedd Aquarium to grab a crystal clear pic of the Chicago Skyline.  Now that’s priceless!

8.01 miles – 1:14:19 –  several street crossings to/from lake front, lots of photo stops and even stopped to take a photo of a group of tourists on their camera so everyone could get into the shot.  GREAT day to get out and run!

“Run”way Fashion:   Athleta Accelerate Tee (select sizes on a killer sale now!), Athleta Quick Step Capri, Feetures No Show Tab socks, Saucony Guide 5 shoes

Cheers,                                                                                                                        Amanda – TooTallFritz