8 Days til Ragnar Chicago – 8 Ragnar Questions Answered

There are so many questions floating around about relay races, some people live under a rock haven’t even heard about them and others just don’t know much about them.  So here are the top 8 questions which I get regarding Ragnar.

Ragnar Chicago Header

  1. How do you get a team together?  Answer:  I joined a team that was partially formed by RunWithJess.  You may think you know a ton of people who run and would jump at the opportunity to participate in such a momentous event but getting 6 (for an ultra team) or 12 people (for a regular team) to commit, pay and show up is a bit of a reality check.  **I actually know a local team who needs 2 runners for the race NEXT WEEK.  If you are interested, please let me know and I can get you in contact with them.  They have a regular team and you could pick your position, distances for the 3 legs you would need to run could be as low as 13 miles (total) or as high as 20 miles, you get to pick.  Girls or guys welcome.  2 people  needed.**
  2. Where will you sleep?  Answer:  Due to the way our 6 chick team is set up with us rotating, I will be running every 6th leg, we will also need to drive, navigate, and encourage/aid the teammate running at the time…..I really don’t see much sleep in our equation, like I probably won’t waste the space by taking a pillow/blanket.
  3. Where will  you go to the bathroom?  Answer:  This is a big issue!  We have been warned that we can only go to the bathroom in the designated areas, drop-off points and/or official port-o-pot locations.  Fun, I hope we don’t have any GI issues.  This one could get a little messy…..quite literally.  Oh, and we will get disqualified if we go to the bathroom anywhere other than an “official” location.  Awesome.  I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for one of these….

    porta potty

    Wonder if we could get a little trailer, rent a port-o-pot and haul it behind the van?  Maybe charge $1 for every non-team member who would like to use it?  I bet it would pay for itself.  🙂

  4. What will you eat?  Answer:  A lot of relay teams actually take the time to stop, eat, get coffee, etc.  However, I don’t think that will be in the cards for us since we are rotating runners so quickly and will be spending all non-drive time in line for the port-o-pot.  Our team is planning to take our food.  We have a few runners ME, ME, ME who may, or may not, have a sensitive tummy and we want to control the food intake as much as possible.  I’m seriously considering getting giant tortilla wraps, spreading them heavily with peanut butter and rolling it up with a giant whole pickle in the middle.  This will give me carbs, fat, protein & salt.  Sounds crazy but I won’t have to worry about soggy bread!  Whatcha think? 
  5. Do you really have to run all night?  Answer:  You betcha!  (Can you say that in the Sarah Palin voice?)  Each person in the van needs a reflective vest and is required to wear it during the run portion and at any point when they are outside the van from 7:30pm til 6am.  Huge thanks to MagMileRunner and RunningKellometers for letting us borrow their vests!  Basically if it’s your leg to run and it’s dark, congrats, your running in the dark.  I’d suggest a nice pair of KnuckleLights so you can see where you are going, so much better than headlamps!  Each runner also needs a red blinker for their bum back.   This means if one person gets lost, everyone following their little blinker will most likely follow them into no man’s land.  Awesome.
  6. What happens if somebody gets injured or sick during the race and cannot complete the relay?  Answer:  This is a very REAL issue.  You cannot sub in runners after the race commences.  Whoever you have in your van must complete the legs assigned.  Therefore, if Suzie gets injured, then one of her van-mates will need to run the remainder of her legs or possibly carry her, if they are really nice.  🙂injured runner being carried
  7. Is there a time frame in which you must complete the race?   Answer:   According to Ragnar rules, each runner needs to maintain an 11 minute mile pace.  However, each team member had to identify a 10K pace (I padded mine with a “few” extra minutes considering I will be running 33 miles in total….hoping not to fizzle out!!) in order for the race director to select start times and order the teams in a way that the event runs smoothly.  They don’t want too many people/runners moving thru an area at any given time.  Basically, you need to stick to your pace because there is a lot going on to which you are not privy.  So pick an honest pace and try to stick to it so that it doesn’t domino a series of events which you cannot control.  If your team runs too fast, Ragnar officials can hold your team for up to a couple hours to get your team back on track pace wise.  No mention if you run too slow which I hope isn’t a personal problem for me!
  8. Are you crazy?  Or maybe the exact question was “Have you lost your mind?”  Answer:  TBD.  I don’t think I’m crazy but that is according to my personality.  For some, this type of thing would be considered crazy.  I personally try to do ONE thing each year that is “outside MY box”.  The “ONE THING” isn’t always fitness related but normally that’s the kind of challenge I gravitate toward.  Just one thing.  Once a year. Something to impact me as a person and push my limits.  2012 = Ragnar Chicago.  If that’s crazy then, move over cuz this crazy runner is barreling thru….. all the way from Madison, WI to  Chicago.  WhoooooooHoooooooo!

Crazy_Runner

Do you also try to  do something every year that you consider to be “outside the box”?   Do you have any Ragnar questions which you would like me to “attempt” to answer?       

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

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88 Laps….

For me, swimming is a task like no other.  When I run or bike, I have a constant stream of thoughts and am actually able to work things out in my head.  When I swim, I focus on not drowning, breathing, stretching my stroke and counting my laps.  I have random thoughts that come and go but mostly, I just focus on not drowning and counting.  No joke.

88 laps in a 25 yard pool is equivalent to the 1.2 miles I need to swim in the two half iron events in which I will be participating this year.  I swam the full 88 laps yesterday for the first time.    I am only 55 days away from the July 7th Ironman 70.3 Muncie.

A few of my random thoughts….

  • 44 minutes, the amount of time it took me to swim 1.2 miles in my last half iron event.
  • 56 minutes, the amount of time it took to swim the 88 laps yesterday.
  • 4, the minutes I hope to eliminate from my swim with it being in open water and not having to turn around every 25 yards.
  • 5, the minutes I hope to eliminate from my swim by using my wetsuit that will hold my momma hips up in the proper position.
  • 10, the number of mini prayers I sent up asking for water temps on July 7th & September 1st to be cool enough to be USAT wetsuit legal.
  • 78, the max water temp for an event to be wetsuit legal.
  • 3, the lap I was swimming when I started thinking about Kelly’s post on her first swim lesson.
  • 4, the lap I was swimming when I thought about contacting Maggie’s cousin, Coach Judie, or MJ at TriSmart , or anybody somebody to tell me if my swimming is even remotely adequate.
  • 50, the number of times I tried to “hear”  my stroke like Kelly discussed in her post on the first swim lesson.
  • 0, the number of flip turns I performed.
  • 6, the number of times I stopped to readjust my goggles.
  • 4, the number of times I breathe in 25 yards.
  • 7, the number of years that I have owned the TRI tank I was wearing that I will never again wear.  Can you say skintight and see thru?  UGH!

2XU Tri top

  • 35, the lap I was swimming where it finally all came together and I relaxed.
  • 36, the lap I was swimming when I started to wonder if the turnover rate of my arms during the swim is also called cadence like the rate of turnover of foot fall/pedal stroke while running/biking.  Answer:  YES, look HERE.
  • 3, the number of sets I did to equal 88 laps.  Set 1 = 48 laps, Set 2 = 30 laps, Set 3 = 10 laps.  Don’t ask why, it’s random, just like my thoughts.
  • 25, the lap in the 2nd set where I was wondering if CrazyBoyDon actually counts laps or if he somehow adapts 99 bottles of Beer on the Wall to keep track…..  88 laps to swim in the pool, swim one down, flip it around….yeah that doesn’t work. 
  • 1, the lap in the last set where I realized that I don’t know how to kick.  I have spent so much time “not kicking” to save my legs, that the kick just seems foreign to me now.
  • 12 the number of times Michael asked me if I had been swimming with Santa when I got home.

Santa Swim

Michael is obsessed with Santa and wants to go swimming with him so badly.  He is always flailing around the bathtub pretending to swim with Santa.  If you know of any swimming Santa’s, please let me know.  PLEASE

What do you think about when you swim?  Will you be thinking of swimming Santa’s the next time you go to make some laps?  Maybe you should! 

Santa Swimming_scuba

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

Race Photos……F’N Running Club

In the aftermath of the Southwest Half Marathon, our running web pages have been flooded with photos of us half marathoners running. Normally, those photos are rather painful to look thru and I’m not saying they were all good this time around but we were an exuberant group on Sunday. You know why? We knew the photogs! The people photographing us actually knew us by name, were screaming out our name as we approached and we were happy to see them! Thanks to Gail from Running For Kicks & the F’N Cheer Squad: Maggie – MagMileRunner, Diane, Julie & Lisa for making all of us look good!

Take a look at my F’N Running Club. Since I know after you see these photos, you will want to be one of us, here are rules to joining our “club”. 1) Show up, 2) Be happy orFake it, 3) Show up. See, everyone is welcome! I’ll see you tomorrow at the Grainery at 5pm for the Wednesday run!

Our F’N Runners

Kelly – Running Kellometers: Palos Half_Kelly

Lori & Susan: Palos Half_Lori & Susan Aurelia: Palos Half_Aurelia

Susan & Wayne: Palos Half_Wayne-Susan

Brian & Kevin: Palos Half_Kevin Melissa: Palos Half_Melissa

Steve & Jenny: Palos Half_Jenny

Me: Palos Half_2012_happy

Thanks Gail & our own personal F’N Cheer Squad for making all of us look as if we are having the times of our life. You guys ROCK!

Do you have any good or interesting race photos? Send them to me and I will post them on Friday!

**Update! Great minds think alike! Maggie is doing a photo challenge of good race pics. Please go visit her at magmilerunner.com and send your awesome photos to her! She will be posting them on Monday. I’m going to defer the good race photos post to her! Enjoy!**

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

Good Friday Waterfall Glen Run {2012}

What a beautiful day to hit the trail and meet some new people.  In fact, we had so many newbies show, I can’t even remember everyone’s name!  That is a huge success in my book.  Thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to come run with us this morning!  It is much appreciated and I hope to see all of you again!  The morning crew, courtesy of Maggie – MagMileRunner, from back left:  Kathy, Wayne, Joe, Christy, Fredric, Mark, Eric, Jim, Brian, Lonna, Cathie & Amanda W.  Front left:  Maggie, Me, Kim, Susan, Keith, Missing a few names:  girl in blue, girl in black, girl in pink, Angela.

I apologize on the missing names, if anyone can fill in the blanks, I will make the edit.  Sorry!!!

In addition to the sunshine, we also had temps in the 40s, and the woods were alive with springtime noises, scents and active critters although I didn’t actually see anything of significance.  Here are a “few” photos of the day.

I think we all had a great run.  Our paces were far and wide but we all made it back in with a smile on our faces.  I really love this trail.  It’s not too technical but is a nice jaunt thru the woods.  There are a few hills but nothing too taxing and the scenery is totally worth the short drive.

Thanks again to everyone who made the trip. Next “official” Waterfall Glen trip will be on Black Friday.  Plenty of time to plan for that one, right?

Enjoy your race season, folks.  I’ll see you on the trail or on the road.  Get after it this year, who knows what next year will bring!

Happy Running,                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

Sharmock Shuffle 2012

Now onto the good stuff!!  RACE DAY!! 

Race day was insane but went very smoothly!  Those of us who drove in or took the Metra Electric arrived in the city early with plenty of time to spare.  Some of the F’N Runners braved the Rock Island Metra and arrived a little later and we didn’t see them before the start.  Here is our early bird “skeleton” crew.  See the green sparkle!   

It was fun seeing a few of our friends pre-race but it was short-lived before we ran off to our corrals so that we wouldn’t be locked out like last year!  The photogs had a hay day between all of us dressed up and the fact that we were also early before the big crowds arrived.  I bet we got stopped for photos 10x before we made it to gear check.  Me, Rachel & Lisa.

Each year, the organizers change a few things.  Starting last year, they separated gear check into two locations and it was a challenge.  However, this year we knew what to expect and dropping gear was easy and smooth.

In Corral B awaiting the start, we had plenty of time to chat, do some light stretching & take some photos with Maggie’s (MagMileRunner) camera since the rest of us checked our phones/cameras with our gear.  Source:  MagMileRunner:  Maggie, Kelly (Running Kellometers), & Me.

The boys:  Brian & Kevin:

The race started on time, as usual, and being that we were toward the front we were across the start line in a matter of minutes.  The first mile is always a little clogged and I didn’t run as fast as I should have but it was good and exciting to see all the people waiting and cheering for us.  I was trying to keep the boys in sight because I knew they would run just outside of my comfort zone.  The temperature was perfect in the mid 50s and the sun had not yet broken thru the clouds so I was hoping for a good race.

All was good until the mile 2 clock when I realized I made a judgment error by wearing arm sleeves for the first time ever.  They were cute, comfortable, fit perfectly PLUS they matched my ToughChik irun tank so it didn’t even occur to me pre-race that they weren’t a good idea.  However, at mile 2 I was burning up and they had to come off!  The theory behind arm warmers is that when you get warm you just pull them down to about your wrist and leave them “on”, or take them off and tuck them into a pocket, etc b/c they are small.  I tried pulling them down but was so warm I was “kinda” freaking out.  Plus they were covering my watch and didn’t look good inside out.  I ended up pulling them all the way off but didn’t have anywhere to stash them so I was holding them in my hands.  Then I realized the guys were gone.  Ugh!  I carried them until mile 3 and knew I had to ditch them.  But I didn’t want to ditch them since this was the first wear!   They were so cute!  However, I couldn’t carry them and am not sure how people run carrying their cameras, fuel and other valuables because I just can’t do it so I scanned the crowd for a worthy recipient.  Any Tough Chiks out there spectating?  It took a while but I finally saw a lady in what I thought/hoped was a Chicago Marathon half zip and she was in the front row.  In a very dramatic fashion, I pointed at her and said, “ToughChik for YOU!!!” and I threw the arm warmers between her feet.  I can only hope she not only keeps them but also orders a green irun tank to match.  May my sacrifice bring another Tough Chik into the ranks?!?

With the arm warmers gone, I tried to refocus on the race but apparently just zoned out in the 4th mile with an 8:08 split.  Not sure why, I was running, slightly distracted by a father/son interaction that was not positive from my perspective but I was pushing or so I thought.  I skipped the water stop so no excuses there, my turnover was just not as quick as it should have been but I felt good.

The goal was to make it in the 38s this year.  As soon as I ditched the arm warmers I switched one of the watch stats to “time” so I could focus.  I knew the 38 was barely within reach AND I still had to climb the Roosevelt Bridge.  I was apparently slowing down cuz  Kelly (Running Kellometers) zoomed past me like I was walking.  Was I walking?  Maybe.  I clawed my way powered up the bridge and jogged sprinted  to the finish line to see that I had barely made it.  A 38:56 finish.  Woooooooop!  Success at the BEST.RACE.EVER.

Lots of photos, here are a few, more to come later (like the pic with the green men!!!!)  My favorite race day photo by far is of Rachel & Lisa from WI.  The E. family always does a serious pose followed by “muscles”.  Cracks me up, every time.  Lookin’ good, ladies!

Tim & Aurelia – A couple that Shuffles together stays together!

Me & Susan:

Fun times at the Shamrock Shuffle 2012!  The race was great, plenty of water stops, plenty of bathrooms, gear check in was great, gear check OUT was horrid, post race party looked awesome although I never attend but that may change next year and most importantly, it looked like EVERYONE was having fun.

Lessons learned:

  • No Arm warmers while racing if above 50 degrees.
  • No Knee High socks even cute ones with Shamrocks if above 50 degrees.
  • Need more focus in the middle miles.
  • Early arrival is good!

Special shout out to LaurenRuns for stopping to visit after the race.  Thanks, Lauren!  Great to meet you!

The End of Shamrock Shuffle 2012, at least until more photos are published!!

Happy Running,                                                                                                       Amanda – TooTallFritz

Oak Forest Fleadh 5K – Race Report

Fleadh – festive event of Irish traditional music and dancing; festival of Irish or Celtic culture.

Where to start in regards to the Oak Forest Fleadh 5K?  Well, it’s a great big party and when it comes to parties that include running, I like to be right there in the middle of it, especially when the party is basically in my own backyard.  Yep, I’m there.  I was number 59, so it “might” be safe to assume that I signed up early too.  🙂

A lot of things have changed over the last few years, one thing is that I have attempted stopped being so serious.  Not as serious about my seriously messy house, or my crazy toddler who seems to always be defining death safety and not as serious about me or my running.  Part of that transition has allowed me to have more fun while running and do stupid stuff like dressing up.  The St Paddy’s Day races are the BEST for dressing up.  I highly recommend you being as OUTRAGEOUS as possible and trust me, you will fit right in with all the other lunitics runners.  Our group had previously chosen a green sparkle skirt from Team Sparkle for our St Paddy’s Day racing fun!  Here are the F’N Runners minus Susan M who was floating around with her friends and family.  Top left:  Kim, April, Judy, Gennie, Kristina, Nicki.  Bottom left:  Aurelia, Maggie – MagMileRunner, Melissa – MadMamaOf4, Aby, & Me.

The “after” photo – minus half our sparkly crew.  April, Gennie, Me, Maggie, Aby, Nicki, Kristina & Kim: 

 F’N age group placers, who the announcer kept calling Team SKIRT. Maggie, Aby & I – all 3rd place finishers. 

Judy F. was also a 3rd place finisher but must have been frozen and had to leave bailed before awards and Nicole F. (F is for FRITZ!!  WHOOOOOOP!) took 2nd.  I believe it was possibly a PR day for most, if not all, of the F’N Runners other than myself.

                                                               The LOOT:Holy crap, this is one of the largest loot bags I have ever received.  There was some cool stuff, lots of coupons that can be actually used and some fun things like:  cups, can cozies, pens/pencils, stick-it pads of paper, letter openers, screw driver, cookies, candy, gripper pad to open jars.  And the award for the ODDEST goodie bag item ever has to go to the “Convenience Bag” for the disposal of vomit and urine.  Ummmm, Thanks?

Overall though, Oak Forest puts on a great race.  This is one of my favorite courses because it is soooo easy.  And I don’t mean easy as in flat because this isn’t the case but it breaks down into 3 parts very easily and you know exactly where you are and how far to go at all times.  The finish will never sneak up on you here unless you are too involved in running up the gigantic hill into the nasty wind or you were merely absorbed in your music.  From the start line, it is almost one mile out (north) on Cicero Avenue, then one mile in a neighborhood, then one mile back south on Cicero to the finish.  Done.   Perfect.  I believe I saw 2 waterstops and there were a few spectators.  It was short and sweet.  Not easy but well defined.

As for my race, I’m getting faster.  This race was a 23:47, which is the fastest 5K thus far for 2012, and considering the wind and hills, plus the near 40 miles that I ran in the last 7 days, I’ll take it.  Although my legs were definitely fatigued, I was more mentally prepared for both the wind and hills this year and did improve over last year’s 24:19 finish.  So that is a definite win!  I still have a lot of work to do but things are looking UP!  And it was a total bonus to be able to run the first mile with Maggie, so I had somebody to at least talk to a little bit.  Not that we said much but it was “kinda” like we were in it together for a minute before she ran away from me to secure another PR for herself.  Go, Maggie!!!!

This race really grew in size this year too.  Last year they recorded 330 finishers with the last recorded finisher at 1 hour and this year they had 542 finisher under the 1 hour mark.  Plus, last year I won my age group and was considerably slower in this race.  In my opinion, this year’s 3rd place finish is even more rewarding since the competition is getting better.  That’s what I like, let’s ALL get better and kick some ass!  Yay!

So if you have a chance to run the Oak Forest Fleadh in the years to come, I would definitely recommend it!  The post race party delivered raffles, lots of food, FRS, massages and a free beer at one of the local establishments!  Plus the community also had a full day of Fleadh events including a parade for the family!

Happy FESTIVE Running,                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

Saucony Guide – 4 vs 5 – 8mm Drop

After running a full cycle in the “new” Saucony Guide 5‘s with the 8 mm heel to toe drop, I feel like I can give an accurate and honest review of the changes of this shoe.  First off, the new Guide’s LOOK really cool, although this is the last thing we are supposed to consider when buying a shoe, let’s be honest, it kinda matters.

I have been running in Saucony exclusively other than short 5K type races since 2006/2007.  Due to my size and forefoot strike, I have to change out my shoes approximately every 300 miles or 3 months.  I really like to get 3 months out of a pair of shoes if possible but that is usually pushing past the 300 mile mark.  So let it suffice to say that I am familiar with the Saucony line, particularly the Ride (Pre-Michael) and the Guide (Post-Michael – Don’t ask how my foot changed so much from having a baby but that’s not the only thing that changed so C’est la vie).

The Guide 5 is by far the most attractive pair of Saucony’s I have ever owned.  It’s actually nice to be sporting a pair of “cool” shoes for once.  🙂  This new version with the 8 mm heel to toe drop is also 1.5 oz lighter.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it is a noticeable difference.  I notice it when they are on my feet and I had both pair in my hands last night and the Guide 5s were considerably lighter than the 4s.

The Guide 5s also fit like a glove.  It was love at first fit for me when I slipped these on my feet.  They are soft, much softer than the previous versions and they feel more airy like the Nike’s that I just love.  Great fit in the store, great fit on the run!

Although I was initially impressed with all the new changes, these shoes broke down quickly.  And I mean very quickly.  I ran the bottom off these shoes by the time I broke 200 miles and that’s just not cool.  I ordered a new pair from Running For Kicks once I hit 220 miles because my body was telling me it was time to switch them out; however, since the shoe has won so many awards and has a massive ad campaign in progress, it seems the shoe’s popularity has soared!  Therefore, I had to wait 3 weeks for these shoes to come off the backorder and be delivered to the store.  In the interim, I panicked ordered a limited edition of the Guide 5 from another source but have yet to receive those either.  However, here is a peek at these beauty’s which I will be sporting with my girls at 13.1 Miami Beach!  We decided to coordinate with pink & black and these babies will look pretty cool with our color scheme. 

So just this week my ankle, feet and hips started aching backordered Guide 5’s arrived at Running For Kicks.  I immediately picked them up and got to hit the trail with them last night.  I certainly didn’t go far as I have some nagging aches that I need to kick in the ass evict before the Miami race; however, I was able to catch up with my F’N Runners for a bit.  Good looking group showed up in the rain, if I do say so myself!    From Left Back:  Susan, Cathie, Wayne (newbie!!), Dawn, Kathy, & April.  Left Bottom:  Nicole C, Jeni – Sparkalish Roar, Meg & Nicole W (April’s Daughter!).  Not pictured:  MagMileRunner, Diane & myself.

I ran 4 miles with this crew before bowing out to go home to Amstel Light Motrin & the last remaining sample of the Arctic Ease wrap.  Although the Arctic Ease is not as cold as ice, it is certainly more convenient than icing when you have a toddler don’t have time to sit down.  They are temporary though, I had a larger covering that I had purchased at the Chicago Marathon expo and when I went to pull it out, it was moldy.  This has happened with other wraps I have had too.  They don’t last real long but are certainly handy. 

As I was self medicating making dinner, I started to think about the difference between the Guide 4’s and 5’s, knowing darn well that the fact that I ran too long in the current pair of Guide 5’s was the reason for my new aches/pains.  This prompted me to dig out my old shoes which I have been using to commute back and forth to work.  Since the Plantar Fasciitis issue, I haven’t worn a real pair of non-running shoes for quite some time, so I live in my Saucony’s.    The Guide 5’s are on the left, the Guide 4’s on the right.  You can see the wear is so much worse on the 5’s with 285 miles verses the 4’s with 330 miles.

Forefoot of the Guide 5’s:

Forefoot of Guide 4’s: 

In my opinion, it is conclusive that the Guide 4 wore much better than the Guide 5.  That being said, I still think the Guide 5 is a better shoe in all aspects but I find it unfortunate that I will be getting even less wear out of the new version that I did previously.  Is it worth it, probably yes but still not good for my bank account. 

Do you buy the same shoe each time and know exactly how the updates affect your body? Any shoe you can tell us about that specifically made noticable changes to the good or bad?

Happy Running,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

 

Gloomy Runday……

I live work in a high-rise building in downtown Chicago.  I  normally arrive in the dark early  morning and leave mid afternoon. It’s unusual that I leave the building during the day for “lunch” and in this office space, I no longer have a personal office, nor do I have access to a window unless I specifically seek one out.  So when I plan to run after work, I do so without regard to the weather.  And generally speaking,  my life really doesn’t have many time allowances to reschedule runs/workouts anyhow, so the weather is hardly a factor in my decision to run or not run.

So yesterday afternoon, as I was watching the running related facebook pages working, I started to notice my Wednesday night runners begin to drop like flies.  We normally have a pretty solid core group that shows up to run with the F’N Running Club, but yesterday we were a little light.  My run friends had awesome alibis.  Brain P was packing for Ireland.  Yeah right, like men actually pack their own bags?  HaHaHaHa…..ok, maybe some men.  Melissa EM was getting a massage?  Hmmmmm, yeah, me too.  I want a massage.  Can I join you?  Jenni H & Meg couldn’t come cuz hubby wasn’t home to help with the little ones.  Okay, that one “might” have been legit but it was ironic that once I stepped outside the fluorescent lights I realized the weather was super crappy less than ideal. It looked something like this (not my photo but couldn’t get the source).

By the time I drove all the way back to the Burbs in a cold, drizzly rain, even I didn’t really want to run and was wondering if it was too late to get in with Melissa for a massage.  But alas, I hauled myself out of my car and just started running because although it was cold and wet, I knew that I REALLY did want to be out there putting in some miles.  The gloominess was actually peaceful.  There was a bit of ice and snow left on Old Plank east of Frankfort and the wildlife was out thinking they had the world all to themselves.   I saw several white tail deer, rabbits, birds, squirrels and other small animals.  It was as close to a real trail run as I’ve had for quite a while.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  Majestic.

And since I wasn’t the only one who wanted to run, we still had a nice group of F’N Runners.  Top from left:  CrazyBoyDon, Diane & Maggie – MagMileRunner.  Bottom from left:  Dawn, Cathie, Susan & Me.  Brian F was nice enough to take this photo.  Thanks, Brian!

Another great run!  Thanks to those of you who came out because I am not sure I would have been strong enough to go by myself if we hadn’t planned to meet up as a group.  It was just one of those days where you start out and you just aren’t feeling it but as always, I think we were all happy as we were driving home. 

A special shout out goes to Don for coming out in the rain.  His schedule usually doesn’t allow him to make an appearance on weeknights and it was great to see him, although he did push our pace a bit.  CrazyBoy is getting strong….P-90X, maybe?  Gotta check that out! 

Happy Running!                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

Six Degrees of Seperation…..Virtual Run For Sherry Arnold

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.

Today was the day for the Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold.  Running communities throughout the world sponsored virtual run/walks to honor Sherry, a “fallen” runner, and all of the other runners who have left their homes to go for a run and never returned.  I think each time we hear a story of a runner who has gone missing it cuts to each of our soul’s.  I usually remember the names of these individuals for years, if not forever, after the fact.  I find the six degrees of separation  reference to be true in most instances and this time most of us need even fewer “degrees” as many of us are connected to Sherry thru her cousin Beth at Shut Up + Run.   We may not know Beth personally but we know her “on-line”.  We may not have known Sherry personally but we knew her thru the stories which Beth took the time to share.

So today, we did the only thing that we could possibly do…..we ran.  Here is the group that showed up in single degree temps today to run.  I only wish I could say that our static temp was indeed 6 degrees, but the truth of the matter is that it was 8 degrees at the start with a “feels like” temp of -2.  The wind was howling and viscous so we grabbed a quick pic and took off running!  From back:  Kim, Susan, Kerry, Jenny, Kathy, Brian, Lori (middlish in purple), Stacy (Lori’s hubby!!), & CrazyBoyDon.  Front:  Joe, Meg (Jeni’s 11 year-old – middlish in black), Aby (my 10 year-old), Jeni – Sparkalish Roar, & Melissa.

As we were moving toward the trial, I also gave some brief safety tips.  I will highlight them here in case nobody could hear me with the howling wind.

    • Run with a friend or a group when possible.
    • Carry a pepper spray or something to defend yourself if necessary.  I like the PersonalSavers.com Wrist Saver.  At $12.95, it’s definitely a good deal in my opinion.  I ordered the small but its a tight fit on me.  I did that though so that Aby can also use it. 
    • Run without music or just use one ear bud with music at low volume if you must have it.
    • Pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
    • Make eye contact with the people you meet and the drivers of the cars that pass you up.
    • If you are running on the road, run against traffic.  It’s the law and it allows you to see what is coming at you.  React appropriately and don’t be afraid to dive in the ditch if necessary.  I step off the road ALL THE TIME.  I do not trust that cars see me.  Plus, as soon as I see a car, I immediately look behind me to see if one is coming from the other direction, which will inhibit the oncoming driver from moving over to give me more room.
    • Don’t take a ride from strangers.
    • If at all possible carry your cell phone with you in case you have an emergency.  I know today’s cell phones are usually big and bulky so we can surf the web so I had to purchase a spi-belt to carry mine.
  • I also use knucklelights (see above) at night and ALWAYS run in clothing that is VERY reflective and has multiple reflective accents.  Always assume that cars/drivers/people CAN’T see you!
  • Tell a family member (or leave a note!) your running route but also inform them that the route may change if the situation changes.  I always leave the house with a plan but frequently change it up due to circumstances:  something that makes me feel uncomfortable, a wild animal, the wind, the traffic patterns, etc.  So make sure the family knows the “intended” route but also have them be aware that shit things happen and a route is never written in stone at least for me.
  • Trust your instincts.  If it feels wrong, then it is wrong and it’s your responsiblity to change the situation.

So today, we ran for Sherry, no moment of silence or quiet reflection, just a quick safety check and then the joy of running.  May Sherry and all the other “gone missing” runners feel our joy today and take comfort in our remembrance of them doing their favorite thing, regardless of the weather. 

And of course, Michael wanted to participate too but with the weather, there was no way that I was taking him out in the jogger.  So we grabbed a photo with him once we got home.  And some of our friends who joined virtually who were not able to be in Frankfort, IL today.  Angela from sunny Florida.  Lynn who is local but couldn’t make it out with us today.  Several of our F’N Running Club members were racing today and couldn’t join us in person but still ran with Sherry’s bib on their back’s.  From left:  Amanda – Get to Goal, Kelly – Running Kellometers, Gennie & Maggie – MagMileRunner:

Did you get in any miles for you OR Sherry today?  If so, link up some pics for us!

Any safety tips that I missed?  If so, please share.

Happy SAFE Running,                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                             amanda@tootallfritz.com

Half-Assed….

This week has been a bit crazy.  I’ve been all over the board as to where I’m going, what I’m doing, and which problem has my main focus.  Quite frankly, I feel like I’ve done a half-assed  poor job with everything.  And yes, half-assed is a real word, at least according to the Urban Dictionary

1. half-assed  
 
Doing an activity only partly, or without one’s whole self involved; doing something without caring, or without putting anything into it.

On Monday, I went to Running For Kicks and did “half” of their fun run.  Yes, I stole Gail’s photo again off the Running For Kicks facebook page. 

I did 3.05 miles in the “hills”.  Since none of my girls were around, it was a bit difficult to find a partner at my pace.  Fortunately, Chuck took mercy on me and ran some 8:45s with me before I spun out and raced home.

On Tuesday, I did a speed workout with half of my attention capacity, the other half was back at my desk with my deadline work. I also had half the amount of energy I needed to MAKE IT HAPPEN.  And of course, I had half the time I would have liked, so it was super important that the dreadmill work WITH me and not against me.  And while I wasn’t as happy and cheerful as this chick below, I did okay. 

It was  a very systematic workout that allowed me to zone out and not have to focus on too much of anything other than NOT getting thrown off the back of the treadmill.  And while I DO NOT recommend you do as I do, I will put my workout below just incase you need a starting point for increasing your speed a bit.  I’m supposed to be running much faster with longer intervals, I just can’t seem to muster it at the this point in time.  Therefore, I do what I can do on the given day and refuse to beat myself up over not being better.  All of the following was done at a 1.0 incline.

  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 3 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min SPRINT at 8.5 mph which was within seconds quickly downgraded to 8.0 mph
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.1 mph
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.2 mph
  • 1 min walk @4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.3 mph
  • 1 min walk  @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.4 mph
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2  min sprint @ 8.5 mph (much better this time but still HARD for me!)
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 3 min jog @ 5.5
  • TOTAL = 30 MINUTES!

 Then yesterday was my normal Wednesday night run with the F’N Running Club.  I was very excited going in, even showed early to log some miles. 

The sun was shining and I even had to scramble for a pair of sunglasses….thanks, Michael for letting me borrow your toddler “Mater” glasses!  However, I soon realized that I was only half focused.  I had  scheduled our local Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold  shortly before I  started running and the entire situation was just weighing on me.  Not just the horror of what happened to Sherry but of the fact that bad things happen to good people ALL THE TIME.  And it sucks.  Then the memories of past runners who didn’t make it home flooded my memory:  Chelsea King (age 17) from CA in 2010.  Patrick Mizwicki (age 14) from Lincoln Way East in 2011, a nameless woman, who has probably been forgotten by many, who was killed on our local suburban trails circa 2007/2008.  All traces of that news article has been swept away  because I REALLY looked for her name.  A lot weighing on me lately so I wasn’t my normal cheerful self by the time the FNRC showed up.  But we had a great turnout so that was awesome!  Left Back:  Kathy (who always looks glamorous and “made-up” to me), Lori (newbie!), Diane, Dawn, Aurelia, Rick, Maggie – MagMileRunner, Me & Brian.  Front:   Jeni – Sparkalish Roar & Meg.

It was good run but it’s hard to get those girls to slow down under that 8:45 mark.  I was dragging but made it thru.  My total for the day was 10.26 miles.  But I’m feeling it.  I have some soreness and not in a “good sore” type of way.  I need to rest today, and possibly tomorrow, so I can be ready for the weekend.

If you can make it out to our Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold (and every other missing/murdered/dead runner) then please come and join us.  We will be running in Frankfort, IL at 7:30am on Saturday.  Everyone is welcome; I’m even bringing my daughter.  I will do a brief Runner Safety talk before the run.  I’ll be brief, I promise!  Feel free to run as little or as far as you like….just come.  If you are not local, then print the bib HERE and do it on your own or get a group together in your area.  If you send me photos, I will post them all!

Happy Running,                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz