The Sun On My Face …..

Despite the warm up we had last week, the cold returned to the Midwest before any of us could even get used to any possible spring like conditions.  It was nice while I lasted?  Maybe.  I’m not even sure at this point.  However, I did decide to haul it up and out on Saturday morning to put in some real miles.  On the road.  Away from the safety of my treadmill.  It was  a balmy 20 something and while I wasn’t frozen, I was none to warm either BUT the sun was shining and that was a big win!  It was a glorious day and I was happy to be outdoors and running with the wind some good friends!  It was so much fun that I decided to go take a peak at the trail, hoping that the two spring like days we had last week started a massive thaw cuz I want our trails back!  Some thawing occurred, yes.  But we have a long way to go as you can see below.  That’s hard packed ice.

Old Plank_Frozen_2-22-14

I dug in the archives to get a historical perspective of trail conditions around this time over the last couple years.  Same trail, about 3 miles east on March 6, 2013 is pictured below.  That’s a fresh dusting of snow.  Runnable.  Pretty safe.  Beautiful.  I remember last year being on the trails most of the year.  I also remember calling the Village of Frankfort and the OPT committee to ask if we could get a section plowed.  I’ll spare you the details and just let you know that the trail will not be plowed.  Ever.  They are committed to leaving the trail “natural” in whatever state the conditions provide so that it can be used for seasonal activities. Respectable.

Snow OPT_black white_3-6-13

Another section of the same trail, 1.25 miles east of the snowy black & white is pictured below on March 7, 2012.  Now that looks like it was a good winter to run.  Smile

Old Plank_3-7-12

I know that eventually the snow and ice will melt away on the trails but as for now, I’m dreaming of springtime.  Not running in circles in a subdivision.  Not running every single mile on the treadmill.  Just long stretches of open trail that is clear and dry.  Until then, I’ll just be thankful for the sun on my face and all of those amazing runners who run outside every week,  no matter what.  I even took Aby out to join them on Sunday so that she too could get an outdoor run under her belt in prep for the upcoming track season.  It was only 11 degrees and the sun was hiding so wore our brightest outfit to make sure that traffic could see us at all times.  Hehehehe!

Me & Aby_2-23-14

** Dreaming of Spring ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Running Happy…..

I know my fitness is in the toilet due to my stint as an injured runner but I’m back on the trail and could not be happier.  I’m not fast.  I’m not smooth.  I’m not pain free but I’m happy as hell!  Last night Michael and I hit OPT with the jogging stroller and 2 flat tires.


He wasn’t really into sitting in the stroller but did enjoy the trail east of the Grainery because he normally doesn’t make that trek.


Everything is so green and alive and the trees helped shade us from the fading sun.  We didn’t see any critters but we weren’t exactly quiet either.  We chatted, he told me to run faster, we saw a few people, stopped for a few photos, and I let him out a few times to run. 

Michael_running_7-31-12     Michael_running2_7-31-12

Things are good again.  We ran 4 miles and I basically decided if I could just run, even if it wasn’t long distance, even if it wasn’t fast, then I’d be happy.  Very happy. 

** Run Happy ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

1309 Days……

It has been 1309 days since my last non-trainer real bike ride and you probably think that I have been missing it. And you’d be wrong. People laugh when I say that I swim to TRI or I ride to TRI. They think I am joking really don’t understand that the other two disciplines which I practice are done only so that I can toe the line in a Triathlon. I swim and bike quite possibly so that I appreciate the run more. When I swim, I pray to my Lord & Savior to get me out of the water safely and onto the bike. When I am on the bike I am loudly cussing begging to be delivered to my running shoes. Then WHY do I TRI? I do it for the “fun“, for the challenge, and so that I will put my running shoes on a pedestal from which they will never tumble. I LOVE TO RUN. I AM A RUNNER.

So the bike shop laughed when they saw my brand new bike from 2007. I put some serious miles on it in 2008 training for a 70.3 but as soon as the race was over, it went on the trainer and has not come off until its trip to the bike shop yesterday. Why, you may ask? I was trying for Mr. Michael and soon after that 70.3, I got lucky and conceived. I am a restricted activity preggo woman who is allowed to walk. Nothing else, walk. As if you don’t think a normal pregnancy is not an eon, now think of a preggo runner who is not allowed to jostle her little package, at all. I was told I could walk. I asked if I could elliptical and I was told, NO.  “NO! No marathons for you. You can walk. You can only walk!”……Now go back and repeat that quote in a Japanese accent. It almost isn’t the same if you can’t hear the words in the Japanese accent of my 5 foot tall OBGYN. I could walk, I could only walk. Okay, I walked and ate. The two things didn’t go real well together. By now you have probably figured out that what goes into the body has to be somewhat countered by your activity level and your calorie burn. It wasn’t pretty but I had a beautiful baby boy so it was ALL worth it!

On September 7, 2009 my bouncing baby boy arrived 366 days after that 70.3 in 2008. Lots of extra things going on with him so it took me a bit to get back to the run. 2010 & 2011 focused just on my lil man the run and now 2012 brings Triathlon back to me. One way or another, I’m going back to triathlon. I have already registered for two 70.3s this year. You may think it would have been wise to get back on the bike PRIOR to registering for a few races but that would be self-defeating. I knew I wouldn’t get back on the bike without the TRIs already on the schedule. So today was Day 1 of TTF on the bike. All I can say is OUCH. The first 13 miles with the wind at my back was awesome. Cold but awesome. The 2nd 13 miles was good because I was on the trail and I saw lots of my run friends, some of whom were doing their 20-22 milers today for the Illinois Marathon on April 28th. The last 13 miles sucked. Really sucked. Uphill into the wind sucked with tired legs, a sore upper body and a pain in the neck and shoulders. Sucked. Now I am totally wiped out, mad at the bike, and hoping I bounce back so I can get a good run in tomorrow morning.

My number one thought on the bike: I’D RATHER BE RUNNING!!! What do you think about while you ride?

Happy Running or TRIing,                                                                                       Amanda – TooTallFritz


No Honey Buckets in the Midwest…….

Due to the weekend chaos, I decided to try to get a 10 miler in last night instead of this morning.  This wasn’t exactly ideal since by Friday night, I’m usually very tired and just want to chill but I wanted to get it out of the way since the entire week has been less than ideal.  The Wednesday 10 miler turned into a 4, then I have an indoor 5K race on Sunday, and 13.1 Miami Beach next weekend.  Plus I needed to break in those fluorescent pink Saucony Guide’s! 

The weather was good at 28 degrees and there was no snow or wind when I began.  However, that quickly changed.  I parked at Ridgeland, ran east to Matteson and back for my first 4 miles.  It’s very scenic in the first mile east of Ridgeland with a large pond on both sides of the trail.  Very tranquil.

Then I picked up Kate for another 6 miles and by that time it was getting fun.  The snow had started and the wind was ridiculous coming out of the west blowing the snow right into my eyes.  Plus the wind was at the point where I.COULD.HARDLY.STAND.UP.  But, of course, Kate was up for some miles. 

We started off running into the wind to get that out of the way and that first 3 out were tough!  It was hard to talk and we were slightly over a 9 minute mile, which felt like we were moving in slow motion!  Once we hit the turnaround though we were flying until I realized I need a bathroom STAT!  That slowed us considerably while we hunted for one and I had to just totally stop a few times to “refocus”.  Sorry Kate!

This whole process really had me thinking about running in the midwest in the winter.  Personally, as a Midwesterner, almost everything seems better on the west coast.  Port-O-Pots included.  And what was on my mind during last night’s run?  Well, Port-O-Pots cuz I had to “go”.  Several west coast run-bloggers have mentioned their beloved Honey Bucket’s many times over the last several years.  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

As a winter runner in the midwest, you will find that all of those readily available bathrooms, port-o-pots and water sources that you hit during the spring/summer/fall have all been locked up, or taken away, during the winter.  Well, that doesn’t mean that you still don’t need those resources but alas they are unavailable.  Kate and I were on a quest to find one yesterday when “the urge” hit me late in our run.  So nice to be out running with a friend and have such an issue fun.  Embarrassing but since she will not only be a Ragnar Relay partner but also a Chicago Marathon training partner, I guess she would have eventually realized that I have some “issues”.  Still not ideal though on my part.  😦  And note to self:  Cheese & Crackers pre-run is NOT a good snack.

Of course, all the nice, indoor facilities were locked.  The port-o-pots at the parks had been removed.  And one lonely Waste Management potty was left at Ridgeland Avenue.  Thank goodness for whoever pays for that one to stay and be maintained.  Not only was it open and available but it was also stocked with the necessities. 

And the best part, although those 50-60 mph winds tried their darndest to tip this potty while I was inside, in the pitch black darkness, I got lucky and made it out unscathed.  Some days are definitely better than others!

Anyone want to make a list of port-o-pots that are still available in the winter?  I may need to readjust my running routes to include these places.  So tell us if you know of any potties that are out along Old Plank Trail!

Happy 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 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                                                                   


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

 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

Inspiration in Numbers

I find the energy at the FNRC runs these days to be unbelievable.  The number of people with the variety of runners and paces is absolutely inspiring.  It is hard to “hold back” and not run too fast when the energy is so high.  Although difficult to explain, it is similar to the feeling of racing where the excitement is so high, and you have focus on relaxing and keeping the pace easy enough so as not to bonk die before the end. However, this is NOT a race but our normal group run atmosphere, on our home trail, with our friends.  I not only feel lucky to be part of this group but am constantly inspired by the influx of newbies.  I feel compelled to run strong, NOT BITCH COMPLAIN and strive to be better so that I am a good example for those who put their heart on the line and have the courage to step up to run with our group.  I know joining a group run can be scary but it appears that A LOT of YOU people are overcoming their fears and stepping up to join us!  Thank you, newbies!  You push the rest of us to be better, and be present, not only for all of you but for ourselves.  Amazing!

Today we had two groups, an early group of longer runners who drug themselves out of bed for a 7am start.  Here they are from left:  Joe, Pat, Kate, Mary, Kelly, Susan, Joyelle, Lynn & Lara.We then had to push a little bit to be on time to pick up the second group of sleepyheads runners.  When we got to the next pick up we doubled in size.  Here is the group that made it to the 2nd pick up from Top left:  Dawn, April, Jennifer, Nicole, Kate, Gennie, Kelly, Lisa, Me, Lara, Joe.  Bottom left:  Cathie, Nicole, Melissa.

So the two groups equaled 19 people, then we “found” Diane (not pictured) along the way and she made 20!  Thank you, Diane for making an appearance so we could break yesterday’s record of 19!  Whoooop!

The run was really awesome on all levels from the weather, the atmosphere to the conversation.  Great day!  I had initially planned to run with my Ragnar Vanmates this morning and was fortunate to have many more on the trail!  My Ragnar Van:  Kate, Lara & Me.

We also saw Lara’s Hubby our Van driver out training this morning so made him stop for a photo op too!  And since Kelly is one of our volunteers, we had almost the entire Chicago contingent of Team “Chicked” for the pic:  Kelly (volunteer), Lara, Nels (driver), Kate & Me.

The group really was all over the board this morning with paces and distances.  We had a large group of run/walkers, and everything from 3-12 miles at various paces.  I needed 12 this morning and Joe showed up a few minutes early to squeeze in two miles with me before the rest of the group arrived.  The majority of the group ran 10 miles.  The temps were cooler initially at 24 degrees but we didn’t have the wind today and it was a beautiful day to get out and burn some calories run before the Super Bowl parties this afternoon.

My total:  12.07 miles in 1:49.  I was hoping to keep it around 9 minute miles today and we did very well.  We were faster for the most part but then had to slow to a walk thru a few icy sections so it worked out to a 9:03 average.  Can’t complain about that.  I am pushing for a sub 1:50 in the 13.1 Miami Beach race in 4 weeks.  It seemed very doable until Ang told me that 6 or 7 miles of the 13.1 were bridge inclines……hmmmmm, don’t count me out yet.  I’m feeling strong.

Any big plans for Super Bowl?  Who are you rooting for this year?  Did you get a run/workout this morning?

Happy Running,                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz

19 Runners and Counting……

I was fortunate that hubby agreed to watch the kiddos to be able to get out for the Saturday run with the F’N Running Club, and WOW, I’m super glad I didn’t miss this one.  We had 19 people this morning including myself!  Look for the newbies!  Top from left:  Eve, Jim, Amy, Brian, Stephanie, Susan, Nicole R, Kate S, Mary, Kelly, Gennie.  Bottom from left:  Julie, Joe, Diane, Nicole C, Jeni, Melissa, Kate LF, Meg.

Great turnout for an early morning run in FEBRUARY!  I can’t even imagine how many  will drag their butts out of bed show up come spring/summer.  So as of today, I believe this is our largest group run to date.  I am certainly hoping we beat that number tomorrow!

Even though it is the beginning of February we were able to run the trail.  We had a very light dusting of snow during the night which made the trail a little slippery in spots but overall it was very pleasant.  The temps were mild, starting out around 34 with a bit of a breeze but by the time we hit the turnaround all of that was forgotten and we were stripping our gloves and outer layers.  It really was a beautiful day with a great group of people. 

Joe coming back from the turnaround.

Most of the runners went 6 miles today.  However, we did have a large group of run/walkers who went 3 miles, then a few ladies who went 4 miles.  The paces varied from the run walk group up to about a 7:45-8:00 pace.  Today was the fun/short day for most of us so we were focused on trying to be good and not run too fast which was really hard with so many people and the overall excitement.  It was certainly fun with so many friendly runners on the trail!

Tomorrow we have moved the run to the Grainery in Frankfort where the parking area is more accommodating to our growing numbers.  Hope to see you at 7am tomorrow!  The group will be running from 3-10 miles…..surely that will fit into your plan, right?  Okay, then we will see you tomorrow!

Mileage – 6.06 – 58:41 with multiple stops.  Fun Factor – HIGH.

Happy Running!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz