Spotlight Runner……

Last month, Mel from Running For Kicks asked me if I would be the next “Spotlight Runner” for the store.  I was, of course, honored to be chosen.  They just started choosing Spotlight Runners this year and I was excited to be part of it!  As we all know, I’m a huge fan of Running For Kicks “the store”, Mel the owner, and the employees who are always around when we need them. Hey, Gail!  No revolving door in this retail establishment but real people who know  YOUR name and actually care about YOUR feet and running performance!  Read more on my respect for Running For Kicks HERE.

Mel sent me a list of questions and asked me to answer them for the Spotlight board.  Of course, I wasn’t brief, just not my nature, and they had to cut my answers for the actual “board”.

RFK_spotlight runner_me

I would have posted this much sooner but had been hoping to get into the store for a photo with “the” board.  Due to my injury, I told Mel to put those Saucony Fastwitch 5s back on the shelf and I didn’t get in until this week when Aby needed shoes (she’s a Mizuno girl). 

Saucony Fastwitch 5:image


     Aby’s Mizuno Inspires:image

So Aby and I stood beside the board for a photo!

RFK_spotlight runner_aby & me Since I know that nobody probably had time to stop and read the question/answers, I’ll post them below.  It’s easy to see why editing was necessary!  🙂

  1. What made you decide to take up running?   I have always been a runner. Initially I was a sprinter and high jumper through HS & College, then moved toward longer distances as I “aged”.
  2. Why do you run?   I run for so many reasons but there was one solid reason as to why I made my return to running. After college, I took a bit of a “break” from running. I was burnt out. I was working on my masters degree, had a full-time job, got married, had Aby and woke up from my honey/baby-moon and was “suddenly” 30 lbs overweight. Reality hit and I knew one solid way to get the weight off……I laced up the very next day to go for a run. I only made it 1.4 miles (had to measure it with my car!). That was on February 1, 2005 and I haven’t stopped running since. It took a lot of research/learning to figure out how to fuel my body properly to get out of it what I wanted on a daily basis. Once I figured that out, I was unstoppable. My mileage went from that initial 1.4 miles all the way up to 26.2 at the St Jude’s Marathon in 2007. Anything is possible if you allow yourself to dream!
  3. What are some of your goals or races for 2012?   I have two goals for 2012 – to run a 1:50 half marathon and to go under 6:30 in one or both of my half ironman races.
  4. Do you have a favorite race?   My favorite local race is the Shamrock Shuffle. I love the crowds, the atmosphere, the people and being able to run a killer pace thru the streets of Chicago. However, my all time (annual) favorite race is the Fort4Fitness Half in Ft Wayne, IN. I grew up near Ft Wayne, my family still lives there and we make it a family affair each year. Mom pushes Michael in the jogger and walks with my niece in the 4 mile, Aby and my brother-in-law run the 4 mile, and my sister and I run the half marathon. The fact that we all participate in some way makes this my favorite by far.
  5. Your favorite running shoe?    My favorite running shoe is the Saucony Guide, by default b/c its the only shoe that fits my foot. Sauc Guide 5a
  6. Do you have a favorite trail to run?   Currently, my favorite trail is Schubert Woods & “The Shoot” in Park Forest, IL. Its close to my house but I feel like I’ve gone somewhere special when I hit that trail.
  7. Do you have any advice to give to a new runner or someone that would like to start running?   My advice  – LACE UP…..GET YOUR BUM OUT THE DOOR….. Have the courage to make it happen for you! You will only do it if you really want it, so don’t talk about it, don’t ask anyone’s permission, just put your shoes on and run.
  8. What runner do you admire?   The runner I admire is Aby, my 10 year old daughter. She has been asking to run since she was 4 years old. I kept saying “no”. I didn’t want her to do it just because I did. I didn’t want her to get tired, hurt or burnt out. I didn’t think she was ready to run a “K5” before she could say it properly as the rest of us know it: 5K! Thankfully, life intervened about the point in time at which I didn’t think I could hold her off any longer. I was fortunate enough to conceive Mr. Michael and the pregnancy/birth/recovery allowed me to hold her off running until she turned 8. I let her start run/walking with me at age 8, at age 9 she started racing some local 5Ks with a bit of success in her age group, at age 10 as a 5th grader she started running Cross Country & Track. This track season has been rough on her. She is a young 5th grader, constantly racing in the 8th grade races. She gets beat, she gets last, she keeps trying and getting faster (7:07 mile so far!). This is really what it’s all about, knowing you may never be the best, knowing somebody will always be faster, hoping that at least one person is slower and staying in the game for love of the run. She loves to run so she keeps on running and improving. Can’t wait to see how she progresses in the years to come. She inspires me to be better each and every day.
  9. Chicago White Sox’s or Cub’s?   BOTH!  I’m from Indiana so do not have a “home” team. I’m also admittedly not a “ball sport” person. The ball sports don’t interested me at all. However, I’m an athlete and I know how much each person puts into their sport and their game. Years ago, Hubby said to me during a Super Bowl game, “You root for whoever have the ball, don’t you?” Yep, I want everyone to have success at that which they have put in so much work and passion. This is why running is such a great sport, there are lots of winners and each person can win their own game by pushing their own personal limits.
  10. Won a million dollars in the lottery, what would you do?    If I won the lotto, I would make sure that Peotone had a first class athletic complex & track. They are still running on a gravel track due to lack of funds and lack of taxpayer support in the district.  😦
  11. Dream vacation location?  I’ve always wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro. Tropical jungles, expansive beaches, The Carnival, crazy Voodoo stories/practices and they “stole” the 2016 Olympics from Chicago so they must be “the bomb”, right?. Sign me up for a trip in August 2016, please.

This is quite possibly more than any of you wanted to know about me but there it is in black & white.  And if you haven’t stopped into Running For Kicks lately, go back and check them out.  They rock and they actually care about you.  Mel, even sent me a note asking how my injury was doing.  How many running store owners do you know who would do that?  Thanks, Mel for always being concerned about me and  Aby, how we feel and the way we run! 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Like A Kid at Christmas…..

As I drove away from the Running For Kicks fun run last night, I was so giddy, I felt like a kid at Christmas.  The excitement lasted the entire 45 minute ride home and thru the remainder of the evening.  I was totally high off the run.  I actually wondered if the feeling was the “runners high” that people talk about but I’m quite certain I have never personally experienced.  The reason does not matter, just let it suffice to say this was the most “fun” I have had on a run in a very, very long time.  And that’s saying quite a bit because I actually like to run and find it enjoyable most of the time.

The fun run participants were so numberous, many didn’t even make the picture but here are the ones who bothered to stand still for the 2 seconds for Gail to snap the photo.  I’m in the back, just right of middle in the red shirt with the HUGE reflective log in the middle. 

Good to know that the reflectivity of my Athleta Hopkinton Top is no joke.  Don’t say that you didn’t see me coming! 

After the group photo, most of these people took off in a sprint but the F’N Running Club people were awaiting the arrival of MagMileRunner (Maggie) so this gave me an opportunity to grab a few photos.  Me & Gail….yes, I often cut myself off.  I  need a cell phone photog class.

FNRC Runners, minus MagMileRunner:  Aurelia, Kate, Running (Kell)ometers – Kelly, Get to Goal – Amanda, Joe, & Me:

Then Maggie arrived and we were off and running.  Apparently we ran thru “the hills” of Ishnala but it was dark and so much fun that I didn’t realize there were many hills.  I did notice an occasional downhill because of the downward momentum.  Not sure if we ran up those hills or not.  We might possibly have been running faster than some might consider fun and I secretly knew that I was sabotaging today’s speed workout on the dreadmill but I was having so much fun it was hard to give a damn care.  On the miles where my watch beeped and I knew we didn’t have “many” stops, we were right between 8:40 and 8:44.  Take that Ishnala!  

One might say the RFK runners invaded the Ishnala subdivision in a similar manner as to how children invade a neighborhood at Halloween.  There were runners EVERYWHERE.  Most of the runners had blinking lights and/or reflective wear.  Even though it was dark, we were very visible and you could see runners at almost every intersection.  None of us really knew the route so there was a lot of running, stopping, and jumping on the back of a passing group.  Then we would pass our “leaders” just to get to an new intersection and again stop to “discuss” the route and/or await an approaching group for direction.  It was quite an adventure and so much fun!  I’m so happy that I finally made it on time out for a RFK Fun Run!

When we returned to the store, we were greeted by the smell of chili with all the fixings and lot s of smelly runners.  The Mizuno Rep was also in the house and brought shoes for everyone to try during their fun run, then they raffled off 2 pair of shoes!  No, I didn’t win but I was hoping I would!  Here is a look at the store with everyone eating and awaiting the raffle: 

I encourage you to make it a point to get to Running For Kicks for one of these awesome group runs.  There were paces from walk, run/walk to really fast people.   Monday nights at 6pm, rain or shine!

Happy Running!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                   

RunKeeper App

Since apparently I was really stupid blonde yesterday and left my running watch plugged into my work computer, I thought today would be a perfect day since I had no other choice to try out the RunKeeper App, which I had previously downloaded to my phone.

This is the app that I always recommend to those who are afraid to get OCD about running do not have a gps watch.  The app is FREE, which is my favorite part, plus it will download to all “app running” smart phones, not just the iPhone.    I had heard that this thing is a real battery killer but at 4am my phone usually has a full charge and is ready to go so I was hoping I could get a short run out of it for testing purposes. 

As most of you know by now, I frequently run in the dark, alone, on my very desolate, coyote ran roads.  Therefore, I rarely use an iPod due to safety issues.  This RunKeeper App is like the partner I’ve never had!  It talks to me and pretends to be my friend, just like the gps in my car……LOVE!   Although her voice wasn’t as snotty affluent sounding as Eve (my car gps), I was still pleased and will soon be thinking of a name for my new electronic partner……what do you think about Viki……like from Will Smith‘s I, Robot movie?   She, Viki(?), started me off with a very nice “Activity Started” type command/comment.  Then continued to update my progress periodically with distance/time/pace stats starting around the 0.4 mile mark.  

Overall, I was very pleased.  My favorite part by far was the audible/talking stats.  It was very helpful since it was dark and Viki kept spouting out my distance/pace.  When I run in the dark I have the tendency to be terrified run slower since vision, roads, wild animals, etc. are an issue.  I also don’t check my watch much because I am focused on the immediate dangers task at hand.  So it was nice to know my progression, or lack there of, even though I wasn’t actively seeking the information.  Since this run was short, the app didn’t affect my fully charged battery at all.  I also ran a known distance to verify the accuracy of the gps and was happy with that.  I will also note that it worked seamlessly from my spi-belt, I didn’t touch it at all except to start and stop the application.

Additional facts:  syncs with Garmin, info recorded on your phone plus an online account (no manual upload necessary), records gps route, pace/distance stats, plus an elevation chart.  Good stuff and it’s free, which is even better.  So if you are too cheap  relaxed to buy a gps watch, here is your product.  Not sure how much luck you will have with a 20 miler in the woods but hey, you get what you pay for sometimes its good to go unplugged.  

4.09 miles – 38:33 – stepped off the road 2x for cars, major fumbling getting the mammoth droid in and out of the spi-belt.

“Run”way Fashion – Capri pants from Athleta and a Mizuno Renegade Top with reflective accents for added visibility.  I rarely buy anything that doesn’t have multiple reflective logos/accents.   Be safe & smart!

Happy Running,                                                                                                                   Amanda – TooTallFritz