2012 …… In Review

Seven days out from Christmas and I’m in disbelief that the year is almost gone.  Most of the time at year end, as I’m sitting in this position looking back, I’m able to take pride in the goals set and attained.  Not so much this year.  I struggled to build back up after some time off at the end of 2011 (a failed attempt to clear the plantar fasciitis).  Then I tore the tendon in my foot at the beginning of summer.  I will not run 1000 miles this year.  I did not run a 1:50 half marathon which I thought was an absolute no brainer.  I did not break 6:30 for a half iron event which I also thought was a no brainer.  I did not complete even one triathlon.  I did not run a marathon.  I did not maintain my weight.  I did not do a lot of things that I had thought were so very possible at the beginning of 2012.  But alas, it wasn’t a bad year. 

Occasionally, we just need to “let go” of our goals and go with the flow.   Some things are absolutely beyond our control.   You know the difference between being lazy and not making it happen verses life/injury got in the way and derailed the plans.  So if your life, or God’s plan for your life, got in the way this year and you DID NOT #MakeItHappen, then please take a minute, right now, and let it go.  Next year is another year.   The point of making goals is to constantly challenge oneself and be the best person that you can be at any given time.  Sometimes, the best we have at a given moment is sitting in the rocker ….. rocking our sick child.  Or icing an injured foot over a cold Corona Light.

So as I look back, I do not see failure but instead I look at the positive things that I did accomplish.

I got a photo with THE Green Men at the Shamrock Shuffle this year!  Major accomplishment!  Expect to see this photo several times a year from now til eternity.  I’m VERY proud!  (Nicole F, me, Green Man #1, Maggie, Green Man #2, & Kelly)

Nicole-Me- Green Men_Maggie_Kelly

I raced my first relay event with my “baby” girl, Aby.  Tinley Park Duathlon where my “baby” OFFERED to run for me so that I could still participate even though I was still very early in the injury stage and couldn’t even walk without a limp.

tinleydu_12_meaby

I watched that same baby girl become not just her own person but a really FAST runner.

Monster Dash_2012_Aby &Me beginning

I managed to keep my crazy lil man safe “enough” to make it through 2012.

Mattessien State Park_kids on trail_Aug 2012

I’m still married. (This will be the only time that you will see me in a bikini…..only photo I have of hubs & I from 2012 and I may delete this section before I actually publish).

Mick & I_july 4 2012

So 2012 was not only a good year but a great one!  I encourage you to focus on the positive and do your damndest to make 2013 EVEN better.  We only live once.  Make it count.

** Cheers to Making It Count **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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#Orange_Up

One thing I love about the million blogs I follow are the random contests!  Last week Run With Jess posted a fun contest for the ING NYC Marathon and a charity known as the Orange Laces Nation – ING Run For Something Better.  This charity tackles the fight against childhood obesity.  According to the Run For Something Better website: 

Changing Children’s Lives Through Fitness

Imagine if childhood obesity didn’t threaten the health of so many children across America. Imagine if we could give our nation’s children a way to get moving and a reason to get excited about physical activity …

We can and we are! ING Run For Something Better is helping kids learn that exercise is fun and rewarding. Through our free school-based running fitness programs, ING Run For Something Better challenges children to get active, set goals and start a lifetime habit of physical activity. Each program is capped off with a fun running event involving the school or even the larger community.

Since I am a firm believer that kids need to be active to be healthy, I wanted to support Jess and the Orange Laces Nation in Orange Up Week!

It was an easy task to complete, Jess just asked that we go running in something orange.  Since I had a new pair of Pro Compression socks in ORANGE that I had yet to try out, I was excited!  Plus this week was Halloween.  Plus it’s hunting season.  It’s never a bad idea in my opinion to run the trails in bright orange in October & November!

The hardest part was getting a photo of my ensemble while running alone, in the woods, on Halloween.  This is the best I could do:

Orange Up_TooTallFritz

“Run”Way Fashion:  Orange 2010 Chicago Marathon Nike 1/2 Zip,  Orange Pro Compression socks, Red/White/Gold Saucony Guide 5s which were just released but now on sale in the Last Chance Sale Section at Saucony.com  for $82 because they dropped the Guide 6s.   You can also get an additional 20% off the last chance prices with the coupon code:  20LCNOV 

image

It was a beautiful day to be out on the trails so I was happy to have the extra incentive to #MakeItHappen.  I even tried a new (to me) trail spur in Yankee Woods and was pretty happy to be so BRIGHT with all the coyotes wildlife I saw and managed to scare off.

         Bremen Woods_10-31-12    Bremen Woods 2_10-31-12

Do you like, and participate, in the random challenges and contests that bloggers create?  I do because I love having a bit of extra motivation to #MakeItHappen!

** #Orange_UP ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Inspiration at Every Turn

Looking for a little inspiration?  Look around you.  Some people see inspiration at every turn, be it a beautiful sunrise (photo stolen from courtesy of Chick #1 – Julie – Ragnar Relays),

Sunrise_Ragnar_Julie 

Children at play,     Michael & Aby_fireman 

Or men and women who are constantly pushing their limits.  I’d like to introduce you to one of those people,  April W.

April W

When I met April at a party in November 2011, I quickly learned that she was registered to run her very first half marathon in July 2012, the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon.  It looks like an amazing race, who wouldn’t want to run it?  Well, probably NOT April since she wasn’t a “runner”.  She wasn’t a runner but she signed up for a half marathon?  My immediate thought was, “Hmmmm…… I wonder if she knows that’s 13.1 miles?   I’m certainly not going to be the one to break it to her!”.  I figured one of her friends below: Cynthia & Jen with April….

    April_11-11

might eventually shed light on the situation and the distance since they were running too.  Maybe?

Over the course of the evening and a couple hundred vomit inducing glasses of wine, I learned that April was going to start training for her half in January.  Like after the new year?  Like everyone else who decides to start something new but can’t quite commit to starting “right now”?  Ok, sure.  I still invited her to come run with the F’N Running Club because we have all levels of runners.  We welcome everyone, fasties and run/walkers alike.  If you want to run, just show up, we are happy to have you and that’s not an exaggeration in the least!  Did I think April would ever show, not really but I’m always hopeful and I tried to be very encouraging and let her know that she would fit right in with the group.

The first week of January, I got a text message from April saying she was ready start running but didn’t know what to wear.  Apparently, I’ll give my cell # to any random wannabe runner after a few glasses of wine.  Possible character flaw?  See the F’N Runners run outside, year round to get a break from our screaming children take advantage of the fresh air.  I gave April some tips on what to wear for cold weather running and told her we just so happened to be running the very next day and she should come out.  And she SHOWED UP along with a lot of other crazy people.  This was January 8, 2012.  April is in the light blue jacket, middle back, wearing a black hat.  This is her first run of the year.

april_hickory-creek_group_1-8-11

I was so proud of her and several other newbies who had showed  up on that cold January day that they were the inspiration for my post on Courage.  I can’t even tell you how proud I was that she had the courage to show up.  I hope that I did her and the other newbies justice in the “Courage” post and I hope it gives others the courage to get out the door and try something new. 

April didn’t give up.  She didn’t lose motivation when the new year faded.  She just kept showing up and pushing her limits.  Left middle back, black hat.

april_1-11-12

She was even running solo without the group.  She was strong and had the will to Make It Happen.

april_1-13-12

And she started racing (right side, black vest, pink top, black hat), first up was the Midwinter’s Cruise 5K:

midwinter-cruise-2012_group 

Then the Shamrock Shuffle 8K (middle, black hat):

April_shamrock 2012

And the Soldier Field 10 mile!

April W_SF finish 2012

                               April W_kissing SF medal

Next up is the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 15, 2012.  There is not a doubt in my mind, I know she will cover the distance with a smile on her face.

Inspiration lives around us each and every day.  Inspiration is at every turn if you just look and listen.  Take a look around and find somebody YOU know who inspires you to get out the door and keep working hard.  Nobody can do it for you.  Nobody did it for April.  But you can look at others and use them as inspiration to keep pushing. 

Let’s hope April comes back after her half and gives us an insider look into what has motivated her to keep pushing, moving, running and being an inspiration to her family, community and all of us F’N Runners.  Thanks, April!  And the big question, will April keep running after Napa to Sonoma?  I’m betting, YES!

Who inspires you to keep moving?  Remember Angela C? She is another real person who inspires me daily.  If you haven’t already, read Angela’s story HERE.

** Hoping YOU Find Inspiration ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

You’ve Got This!

There are so many awesome races taking place this weekend and I want to wish each and every one of you well!  I know that people normally say:  Good Luck!

Good Luck Running Ladies

However, I want you to know that you don’t need luck because you have done the work and the race is yours to own.  You’ve Got This!!

You've Got This

So think positive thoughts, when the race gets rough, repeat “I’ve Got This”Make it Happen for yourself, for your hard work, for the sense of accomplishment and pride you will feel when you cross the finish line.  Do the best that you can do on the particular day and never have any post race regrets.  Remember, if the weather is less than ideal, you are not alone but have all of your racemates who are dealing with the same exact weather conditions as you. 

You’ve Totally Got This…..now go put an awesome race in the books!

Where are you racing this weekend?  Tell us so that we can send happy, positive thoughts your way!  I’ll be in Palos at the Southwest Half Marathon on  Sunday.  Look for  me and say, HEY!

Happy Racing,                                                                                                                 Amanda – TooTallFritz

No Cheerleaders on the Homefront?

I am constantly reading blogs and/or facebook posts about how people are so lucky, and so in love with live, and how everyone at home is sooooo supportive of them and their endeavors.  Well, let’s get real for a minute.  I generally think the people posting over and over again that “Life is sooooo GOOD!” are lying wistful thinkers.  I immediately think they are trying to convince us, the reader, that their life is in fact as good as they would like it to be or possibly even more so, they are trying to convince themselves.  Please forgive me if your life really is “Soooooo Good!”.  Congratulations.  Really.  I am happy for you.    Cheers to all of your Sunshine & Rainbows!Life for the rest of us isn’t “always” sunny.  In fact, we sometimes (gasp) struggle.  We struggle with motivation, we struggle with our needs vs desires, we struggle with time management, we struggle with $$, we struggle maintaining sanity and not taking out our frustrations on others, we struggle with MAKING IT HAPPEN, we struggle with the fact that our hubby’s aren’t standing on the sidelines of every long run with the pom-poms.  Our lives are REAL and sometimes that means real complicated.  And messy. 

I’m okay with that.  I don’t expect you to be perfect and please, don’t expect it of me or others in your life.  Know that it’s okay if your life doesn’t look as good on paper as your neighbors.  Know that it’s okay if you have to struggle to MAKE IT HAPPEN.   The important thing is that you are out there making the effort and trying.  Yesterday may not have been the best but focus on making today better.  And know that each day you get  a fresh start to do things differently than you did yesterday. 

I encourage you to thank the Lord for the gifts you have been given.  I encourage you to acknowledge and accept that we are all different, have different lives and different circumstances.  I encourage you to Make It Happen FOR YOU, regardless of who is in your cheering section. 

Cheers,                                                                                                                               Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                              amanda@tootallfritz.com

Interested or Committed?

As the new year fast approaches, I have been hearing lots of chatter amongst runners about what 2012 will bring.  There is a lot of peer pressure encouragement of some to make this the year to attempt the marathon distance.  So, in case this is YOU and you are feeling the pressure, let’s just break it down a bit so you can decide if you want to commit.  There is a big difference between loving to run and committing to a marathon.  I certainly don’t want anyone to lose the love for running because of peer pressure committing to a marathon.  

  • Most Training plans are 18 weeks
  • If you are “thinking” of running the 2012 Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2012, training will start the week of June 4th.
  • 18 weeks is a LONG time to train, if you keep a 10 mile base, you can jump into the beginner plan at week 5 and make it a 13 week training plan, thus commencing the week of July 2nd.
  • You CANNOT skip the long runs.
  • You will be tired and hungry.
  • Your social life will suffer from lack of alcohol early bedtimes.
  • You will be proud each week as your mileage increases.
  • You will be in disbelief that although you crawled to your car barely made it back last week that you managed another mile or 2 “this” week.
  • You will learn to love ice baths.
  • You will get acquainted with Toe Protectors.
  • You will learn about nutrition and what your body needs to recover.
  • You WILL be able to run 26.2 on October 7th even though you will never have covered that distance previous to that day.
  • You may cry, hyperventilate, vomit, crap your pants have to make a pit stop, get chub rub, lose a toe nail or three …..but you will never be prouder than crossing the finish line.
  • You will swear that you will NEVER run another marathon.
  • You will be on the start line with all your friends on October 6, 2013. 
 
Here is the Hal Higdon Beginner Marathon training plan.  I don’t know many people who would need to start at this point, but it’s an option.    Check out Hal Higdon’s site  HERE to browse his other options, or just show up and run what I run and you’ll get there. 
 
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Sun

1

Rest

3 m run

3 m run

3 m run

Rest

6

cross

2

Rest

3 m run

3 m run

3 m run

Rest

7

cross

3

Rest

3 m run

4 m run

3 m run

Rest

5

cross

4

Rest

3 m run

4 m run

3 m run

Rest

9

cross

5

Rest

3 m run

5 m run

3 m run

Rest

10

cross

6

Rest

3 m run

5 m run

3 m run

Rest

7

cross

7

Rest

3 m run

6 m run

3 m run

Rest

12

cross

8

Rest

3 m run

6 m run

3 m run

Rest

Rest

Half Marathon

9

Rest

3 m run

7 m run

4 m run

Rest

10

cross

10

Rest

3 m run

7 m run

4 m run

Rest

15

cross

11

Rest

4 m run

8 m run

4 m run

Rest

16

cross

12

Rest

4 m run

8 m run

5 m run

Rest

12

cross

13

Rest

4 m run

9 m run

5 m run

Rest

18

cross

14

Rest

5 m run

9 m run

5 m run

Rest

14

cross

15

Rest

5 m run

10 m run

5 m run

Rest

20

cross

16

Rest

5 m run

8 m run

4 m run

Rest

12

cross

17

Rest

4 m run

6 m run

3 m run

Rest

8

cross

18

Rest

3 m run

4 m run

2 m run

Rest

Rest

Marathon

I personally adapt a version of his advanced plan and then fit in what I can.  I would be running more than this on the weekends but never rarely fit in all the miles during the week.  I also am a big proponent of rest days.  After I run a 20 miler, I will rest, not run a 3 mile recovery run on Sunday or Monday.   This may be why I will never BQ but my body needs that.  I do it for fitness and to push my limits.  This means that some days I walk cuz I feel like it need it.  I will probably walk some during the marathon, especially if it’s hot.  My personal goal is to cross the finish line. I know others have more concrete goals and that is okay but this is an excruciating difficult distance for me so an accomplishment in itself.  I know it’s much easier for some than others and I hope it’s easy for you.

Look thru the training plan here, browse the net a bit, and then make your own decision as to whether you want to commit.  As with anything, if you want it, you and only you have to MAKE IT HAPPEN.    I’ve made my decision, how about you?

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

1000 miles – Check!

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions to be broken but rather focus on a goal that I can work toward during the year which forces me to make a conscious, continued effort to maintain fitness.  This year, my goal was to run 1000 miles, prompted by another blogger, Tall Mom on the Run.  Tall Mom created a challenge to others to “move” 1000 miles throughout the year.  For me, this meant running.  She published a shared spreadsheet and all those involved in the challenge added in their mileage at their leisure. 

I am happy to say that I bumped past my 1000 miles on Saturday’s run.   I was so close all week but with the flu and Mr. Michael’s poor sleeping habits it was hard to get in those last few miles.  To be honest, it has been a struggle all year to rack up miles, and focus on fitness, due to injuries and Mr. Michael.  I never could have reached my goal without some major support at home from hubby and him doing baby duty on the only morning he would have a chance to “sleep in”.  So I am very thankful for his help and the fact that he didn’t bitch too much frequently helps with Michael so I can squeeze fitness into our very busy life.  Thanks, Mick!

Attaining the 2011 goal makes me reflect a lot on where I want to go for 2012.   When one is part of a family, they must also consider others and the sacrifice that they too will make to “help” YOU achieve a goal.  So I do not take goals lightly, it is a serious thing for me and I hope that it is for you too.  I frequently put what I want to achieve on the back burner in order to pick something that is realistic and doable for all of us.  For example, I really want to do an IronwoMan but I know that at this point in our lives, it would be impossible to TRAIN for that type of committment and also LIVE life and PARTICIPATE in the family and WORK a full-time job.  So alas, this isn’t the year, and quite possibly there won’t be time for IwoM training until the lil man is considerably older and can make his own breakfast more independent.  However, my bike has sat on the trainer for several years now and it will be coming off this spring.  I will be going back to triathlon and may possibly just stick to the International distance to keep the peace the training requirements in the manageable range.  So you can look for me and my beautiful bike on the TRI circuit again next year.

And I’ll be probably be wearing my Team TOUGH CHIK jersey.   

Check out the intro to Team Tough Chik and join me and lots of other ladies who will be racing under that name this year……running, biking, TRI-ing. 

Make it Happen!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                            amanda@tootallfritz.com

Step Outside the Box

As the sun sank from the sky last night, I was just arriving at the Grainery in Frankfort to meet up with friends for a run.  Fortunately, I was a few minutes early so was able to run around like an idiot and grab a few photos.  The first was looking west on Old Plank toward the Grainery  thru the power lines.

Then I ran east on the trail to grab a few photos within a short distance of the parking lot as the sunlight was fading. 

The life around the pond seems to be dying with the autumn.  I think winter is heading our way, like it or not.

I was really amazed at how differently everything looked in low light.  I normally run in the dark or as the sun is coming up and this was a nice change.  I look forward to comparing similar photos in the winter, spring and summer.   I must say one of my favorite things so far about blogging is that I am now making a better effort to document my surroundings by photographing some of the beautiful sites that I take for granted on a daily basis.  God is good.

At this point, the light was fading fast and I jogged back to await the arrival of a few Frankfort Running Club ladies.  Note to the earring wearing crowd, don’t wear french wires while running in low 30 degree temps……ears get cold from the inside out. 

Susan D. and Maggie W. soon arrived and I quickly ushered them into the bathroom light for a quick photo.

After the ladies so kindly obliged my abnoxious photo request, we ran off into the dark.  I just recovered from the stomach flu so the plan was to be short and slow.  I must say this was a perfect run.  I really enjoyed the added dynamic which Maggie brought and I hope that she comes back!  Work & life are crazy, the holidays are coming, then the flu and not that you care but it’s total pandemonium which is on Aby’s spelling list this week  at home with a male, second born, toddler/child in the house.  Chaos reigns.  This run was a great stress reliever that was much-needed and I was thankful to have been along for the “ride”.  In all aspects it was easy, fun, brought about a new friendship and was filled with conversation about living life, making goals, accountability, future endeavors and stepping outside the box of your personal comfort zone.  

I challenge you to try something new……join a running group, train for a triathlon, hike the Grand Canyon, learn to snow ski, register for a road race, just pick something different and MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Muster the confidence to attempt something that a younger, more immature you would have never had the guts courage to try.  Time is of the essence.  Where do you plan to go next?  

Nike+ GPS Stats – 3.96 miles – 36:46 (9:18 pace)                                                                 Garmin GPS Stats – 4.00 miles – 36:46 (9:09 pace) 

“Run”way Fashion – I got a super “one day deal” from SkirtSports on this Happy Hour V-Neck long sleeve.  LOVE.  Can I wear this every day?  Go to the SkirtSports page to sign up for their email deals or check them out on Facebook!

Step outside of “your” box……soon,                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                 amanda@tootallfritz.com

Make It Happen……

I stole this from Facebook and felt the need to post it.  This is so true and so important for people to understand.  Just make it happen and don’t worry about your speed, or lack there of, or anyone else’s for that matter.  I love the Nike slogan, “Just Do It“, because it says the same thing.  Make it happen; Just Do It; Push YOUR limits!

Happy Running!                                                                                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz