Oak Forest Fleadh 5K – 2014

Oak Forest Fleadh_logo

The Oak Forest Fleadh 5K was on Saturday morning.  It’s a race we have ran before, this is our 3rd time actually, so we knew what to expect.  It’s one of the many Shamrock theme races in our area and this one has a great course with 2 miles on a normally very busy road, Cicero Avenue.   Yes, I do keep coming back specifically to run on Cicero Avenue.  Smile  Something great about busting it down the middle of a city street that is normally brimming with traffic!

Oak Forest Fleadh_course

Easy packet pick-up, a block from the race site on several different nights leading up to the event OR you can get your packet the morning of the race.  Win, WIN for me!  I also like that the event collects food for a local food pantry so we took lots of goodies with us for donation.  This is the fifth year for the event and I’m happy to say that it gets better every year.  The event is in a prime location at the most busy intersection in town but the organizers do a great job keeping everyone safe by directing traffic, shutting the roads down, and setting up the pre & post race events in the train station parking lot AWAY from the traffic. 

The Fleadh 5K is a fast race which is close to home, cheap and convenient.  I also love that this year they gave the option of a cotton long sleeve tee or for an additional $5 we could upgrade to a technical long sleeve wicking tee.  Nice touch.  I think when I registered the cost was $25 with a $5 fee (optional) to upgrade the shirt.  Super affordable for both Aby and myself to run. 

Temps were in the low 30s on Saturday morning but it was snowing hard, and blowing, and then snowing some more, maybe even snowing sideways, yeah, I think that’s an accurate description.  Despite the weather, the race director and the village did an excellent job salting the road and everything was clear, even the side streets in the neighborhood.  I was super happy and it was safe even it the wind was fierce and I had to wear sunglasses to keep the snow out of my eyes. However, the weather did effect turnout.  Originally, they had about 700 registered runners but only 350 who showed up to run in the blowing snow.  I didn’t have as much in my legs as I had hoped and quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be my “best 5K ever” but I was able to run well enough for an age group win.  My friend Aurelia passed me in the last mile (to secure 3rd place overall female!!) and tried to get me to pick up my feet.  Her words did help a little because I tried to go with her but my legs were just heavy.  Thanks for the encouragement Aurelia!!  And my girl Aby took 1st in her age group too.  It was a good day for all of us!

Oak Forest Fleadh_14_Aby   Oak Forest Fleadh_14_Aby Aurelia Me

Big THANKS to Nicki T. for not defriending me on Facebook after this race too.  She always goes to all the local races with me and well, we usually don’t get good weather.  It’s always a topic for conversation as to weather she should “reevaluate our friendship”.  LOL!  But hey, what are friends for, right?  Let’s all suffer have fun together!

Now for the SWAG!  Loving the shirt design this year!

Oak Forest Fleadh_SWAG_Aby

Great local race for a reasonable price.  Potties at the start/finish.  Two water stops on course.  The majority of the race is on Cicero Avenue too so plenty of room for spectators!  I’ve also heard that the after race “bar scene” is pretty good too but I normally go home.  So if you want to give the Oak Forest Fleadh a try, maybe schedule in time for a green beer or two after the race!

** See You Next Year ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Courthouse Classic 5K – 2013

Every year we head to the lake for Father’s Day and also participate in the Courthouse Classic in LaGrange, IN.  The race is always the day before Father’s Day, on a Saturday and benefits the Lakeland Cross Country teams.  Good race.  Good cause.  Good family fun.


One of the sponsors for this race, if you don’t remember from last year’s report, is a local grocery store so our goodie bag always contains groceries and usable items.  Then they specifically pack Aby’s for a “kid” and give her school supplies, candy and activity books.

My SWAG bag, Aby’s SWAG bag & the cool tee for the 2013 race.

Courthouse Classic 2013_me-swag Courthouse Classic 2013_aby-swag Courthouse Classic 2013_aby-shirt

This race is cheap too, which is especially nice if you are taking the entire family.  The 5K run/walk pre-registration cost was $14 and the 1 mile fun run (kids only) was $9.  Win!! 

This was Aby’s third year running this event.  I like running the same event annually because it’s about the only way to compare your fitness or lack there of over time.  And while I am getting slower, Aby is getting faster without even training, which is super exciting.

Aby’s Courthouse Classic 5K history in time & photos:  2011 (age 9) – 33:19,  2012 – 30:37 &  2013 – 25:09

Aby & Me_Courthouse Classic_2011  Courthouse Classic Aby2_2012   Courthouse Classic 2013_me-aby

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t all hip on returning to run this year and registered only after Aby begged.  I didn’t run last year (the 2012 race) because of a torn tendon (which happened on June 2, 2012).  I’m okay now but still not running fast and I’ve been having a hamstring “issue” that seems to dislike any sort of uphill/incline or long/open stride.  In short, I honestly can’t run fast, even when I try.   In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve ran fast that I wish I could just erase those “fast” times out of my brain to eliminate my constant disappointment.  I’m trying to focus on the fact that 1) I can run and 2) running makes me happy.  Does running faster make me happier?  Yes.  But only a little.   I just want to run and I want to be able to do it with Aby while she still wants to actually do it with me.  So I registered for this race even though I knew it would be a disaster I wouldn’t be fast and I wouldn’t be able to perform up to my own expectations. 

To complicate the situation, I’m TRI training and Friday is my long bike day.  And while I felt good on the 55 mile bike ride Friday ….

Team Tough Chik_2013 kit_6-14-13

My legs were “slightly” fatigued when I hit the start line on SAT morning.  Oh well, it’s not always about me and we were here to get Aby off her ass running and ready to start training for Cross Country season.  And thankfully my friend Adella came along so that I had a shoulder to cry on friend in misery. 

We all three stand on the start line together, somewhat near the front.  The gun goes off.  Aby takes off.  We follow.  My little girl has one mission in life, to beat her momma at any and all foot races.  Good news, I just need to stay close and she runs.  If I get close enough to pass then she surges to get further ahead of me.  It’s a game of cat & mouse.  We play it for about a mile.  We hit the mile mark, which has a volunteer reading splits:  7:45.  I think at this point I may have laughed.  I was pushing it, not dogging it, pushing it and starting to fade.  I, of course, think back to split times from “years gone by” when they started with a 6 instead of a 7 but that’s been a while now so I push it out of my head.  I keep pushing and keep fading.  My legs feel like bricks.  My quads burn.  My hamstrings ….. well you don’t really want to know what they were saying.  Good bye, Aby.  Good bye, Adella.  Good bye, Noble County Runner, Jim! 

Although, I didn’t remember this course being so hilly (a few small inclines in reality!) from years previous, I did remember the finish to be downhill.  By the time I reach this downhill, Aby and Adella were waiting for me and probably wondering if I DNF’d.  I finished my slowest Courthouse Classic 5K to date:  25:51.  Hmmmm, I should probably be disappointed but I’m going to revel in the fact that Aby didn’t steal the car and leave me did well, that Adella hung tight with her to try to push her when I couldn’t and that I ran and finished another race that last year I couldn’t even have walked.  So it’s a win in my book and I’ll keep chasing down my little girl.  I doubt I’ll catch her but I’ll keep trying if for no other reason than to make her surge ahead and run faster, even if for just a minute.   Goooooo, Aby!! 

When results came in, Aby won her age group.  Adella took 3rd in “our” age group and I finished in the 4th spot.  In unprecedented fashion, the race officials gave out a 4th place award for age groups this year.  I’ve ran a lot of races and never seen age groups go 4 deep.  Thank you!!  It was nice to be able to take a pic with the girls and us all have some “bling” to show for our run.  Me, Aby & Adella below.

Courthouse Classic 2013_me-aby-adella-trophies

“Run”way Fashion:  Team Tough Chik run singlets (this is what tough looks like) and RunningSkirts snow leopard skirts.

Yep, I’ll be back for the 2014 Courthouse Classic.  Come try to beat me.  I might be faster.  I might be slower.  Who knows what another year will bring, but I’ll be there.  It’s a tradition for us. 

** Run the Courthouse Classic ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Cat & Mouse…..

The time is here.  The time is now.  It is officially the time which Abby S. and I used to talk of and wonder about years ago when my baby girl wanted to start running “K-5s” with us.  Back then, my little Aby was probably 4 or 5 and I told her that she couldn’t run a 5K until she could actually say it correctly.  Big Abby and I  laughed and wondered how long it would take before little Aby would be faster than her mom.  I’m pretty sure we won’t need to be wondering for much longer. 

While I was off rehabbing my foot this summer, my baby girl, who just turned 11 came into her own in the running realm.   She keeps asking, “Mom, am I faster than you now?”  I keep saying, “Yes”.  She says, “Because your hurt?”  I say, “Yes, because I’m hurt but you would be faster even if I were healthy”.

Aby and I’s running journey started “together” in April 2011 at the Ringing In Spring 5K when she ran her first 5K.  She took 1st in her age group with a time of 33.03.  She was 9.

Aby & Me_RingingInSpring_2011    Aby_RingingInSpring 5K_1st AG

We’ve ran a lot of races since that day but one thing always holds true.  I always finish before her.  I don’t wait for her.  I have never ran a race “with” her and we don’t train together.  I run my race, she runs hers.  Some people think this is cruel but I think its real.  I can’t hold her hand when she races in school, so I don’t do it on the 5K course.  I always tell her to follow the crowd and she won’t get lost.  I finish, then go back for her.

Fast forward to this year.  She has gotten much stronger and faster.  I let her race the 5Ks that I pre-registered us for even though I had to sit them out due to injury.  She ran the Courthouse Classic (with Adella & her Hubby) with a good but not necessarily impressive time of 30:37, then the Short Run Long Day 5K (with the F’N Running Club) in 29:46.  Decent times but still in the “fun” zone.

Courthouse Classic Aby_Adella_Austin_2012          Aby & Michael_Frankfort 5K

Then Cross Country season started and she decided that she was no longer running “for fun”.  She turned on the jets and became a 7:00 min/mile runner overnight.  JUST.LIKE.THAT.

Aby_Running_out of woods_10-2-12   Aby_Running_10-2-12

She now floats when she runs.  Her best time for the 2 mile this year was a 13:54.  That’s a 6:57 pace.  Yep, sub 7.  Yep, she just turned 11.  Yep, faster than mom.

So this weekend we will run our first 5K together (Fallen Firefighters 5K Run in Bourbonnais, IL) under Aby’s new reign as the fastest runner in the house.  She asked me if she was going to beat me.  I said, yes.  Then I said, “but know that if you are in front of me, you better not slow down because I will be RUNNING.YOU.DOWN. every step of the way.  And I expect the same from you.  If I’m ahead, I will be running my ass off trying to keep you from catching me.”  I mean, that’s how everyone treats their 11 year old, right? 

Now who’s the cat and who’s the mouse?  I’m not even sure at this point but it sure is a game and it’s officially starting this weekend. Let the fun begin!

What I do know is that Aby will most definitely beat me on Sunday.  I know that I am still recovering so not up to a realistic speed as of yet.  I know that my speed has a cap, even in a healthy state and hers does not.  I probably need to get used to looking at her back but I will always keep pressing and letting her know that I’ll be there if she waivers.  I can’t wait to see how this fall racing season shapes up.  Yesterday, a lady on the trail ran a PR for her 5K because we were trying to keep Aby in sight.  She was super excited.  Aby asks me on the way  home, “What’s my 5K PR?”.  I said, “I’ll tell you on Sunday”. 

Feel free to come out and watch the showdown between Aby and I.  Or come run so that I have a shoulder to cry on when she totally kicks my ass.  Better yet, bring the cooler.  I like Corona Light.

Aby&I_Mokena Summertime Strides 5K

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Phoenix Phun Run 5K – Race Review

I never used to run 5K races.  They are short but not sweet and I’m more comfortable running a slower clip for a bit longer period of time.  To be honest, they weren’t even on my radar because a 5K was “only” 3.1 miles.  My focus was on half marathons, marathons and triathlons.  Everything changed last year when Aby wanted to start running.  She and I began the local 5K circuit in April of 2011 at the Ringing In Spring 5K in Valparaiso, IN.  Since then, we have ran quite a few 5Ks in both Indiana and Illinois. 

First thing I learned about 5K racing?  If you think it’s “only” 3.1 miles, then you aren’t running hard enough.  As a seasoned distance runner, I expected it to be easy and it wasn’t.  Ironically, when you run a faster pace it hurts creates extra stress on your body.  Who knew?  Not me!  The second thing I learned was that, I liked the 5K distance a lot and I was able to run as fast as I wanted while not having to worry about needing to taper from my longer miles, or my body being depleted of fuel on the run, or even dehydrating during the race or not feeling well enough to drive home.  It was a good, fun distance for me that I really enjoyed AND I was able to share it with Aby.  Good thing I enjoy the distance because now as my foot heals, 5Ks are my max race distance for the next several months.  So I’m going to hit quite a few, try to build up some speed while still rehabbing my foot so that I can take a down cycle in the winter months then KILL the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K in March.

Yesterday, I ran the Phoenix Phun Run 5K which was a fundraiser for Lincoln Way North in Frankfort, IL.

lincoln way north

This was a no frills type race.  Nicki T. and I showed up with the kids in tow and registered on site.   Photos Below:  Nicki & I  and Aby & Michael who were our cheer squad.

Phoenix Phun Run_2012_Nicki & I   Phoenix Phun Run_2012_Aby & Michael

The on-site registration fee was $30 and we received a cotton unisex t-shirt which I’ll never wear.  No chip timing, no official “start” line but plenty of volunteers to get us lined up properly. 

Phoenix Phun Run_2012_start

They even offered a 100 yard dash for the kids before we started and they recruited Michael who totally kicked butt and won!

Phoenix Phun Run_2012_Michael runs    Phoenix Phun Run_2012_Michael's medal

The kids race started at 8:00 am and was followed immediately by the 5K at 8:05.  A local law officer shot a starter pistol to signal the 5K start and we were off.  I never saw a course map online, or the day of the event, but I tend to just follow the person in front of me.  The course was well marked with white arrows on the ground, plus volunteers were stationed throughout the course to direct and aid runners.  I saw 2 water stops but no bathrooms on course, which is normal for a 5K.

I must say this is my favorite 5K thus far.  We ran a short distance thru a residential area around Lincoln Way North.  The traffic through the neighborhood was non-existent and we were soon directed onto a running/bike path which I didn’t even know existed ran the perimeter of a large retention pond.  The terrain was varied with a few small inclines/declines and it was just a nice peaceful, scenic run.  The event was small with 66 official finishers so the path was never overcrowded or constricting.  It was just a beautiful Sunday run.  The nature of the course also allowed you to see the runners positions around the pond so it was pretty easy to focus on the person in front of you, then the next one, etc.  Good course!

Then the finish was on the track and they had donuts, luna bars, bananas and water afterward.  Perfect. 

My race went well.  I’m definitely getting stronger.  I ran a 24:54, which was an 8:00 min/mi pace.  I wasn’t pushing hard, just tried to stay slightly faster than my comfort zone and keep moving.  I still slowed down a lot toward the end but I felt stronger this week and didn’t notice my lack of endurance as much.  That’s a win in my book.  Speaking of win, my awesome chiro, Alexis did win the ladies race and took 2nd overall with a 20:32.  Although, the results only listed bib numbers and I’m pretty confident they mixed up my bib and the man with the jogging stroller in front of me listing my time as 24:45, Aby thinks I was the 2nd overall female.  I did come home with some bling.  Here is  a photo of Alexis, Michael and I with our medals.  Alexis and Michael both took 1st and I was 2nd. 

Phoenix Phun Run_2012_Michael Me Alexis

Before you ask, I made Aby sit this one out because she had a Cross Country Invite on Saturday.  I don’t want my baby girl to get too fatigued or chance getting hurt for a “Phun Run”. 

Huge shout out to TTF reader, Greg P. who dominated his age group! 

Great job to all the Phoenix Phun runners!  This was a great race and as long as our schedule permits, I’ll will be back for next year!

What’s your favorite 5K so far this year?

** Happy Racing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com