Fundraising RAFFLE for RMHC & the 2014 Chicago Marathon!

RMHC

Time to get this party started!  It’s Shamrock Shuffle weekend and spring is on the way whether it likes it or not.  The Shamrock is the official kickoff of the Chicago racing season that culminates with the Chicago Marathon.   This year the Chicago Marathon will take place on October 12, 2014.  And it will be massive, just like always.

Chicago Marathon_start view

The marathon will bring world-class athletes, rising stars, talented age groupers, experienced marathoners and beginners alike.  So many want to come here, to run the streets of Chicago.  For the very first time in the Chicago Marathon history, the marathon has gone to a lottery system.  Yes, there are so many people who want to run the Chicago Marathon that we actually crashed the system last year.  Therefore, it has been decided that if one would like to run in 2014, they need to have guaranteed entry via a charity (like RMHC and yes, we still have spots available!!), a legacy of 5 CHI marathons or more, or a super fast time (3:45 for women, 3:15 for men).   Everyone else hits the lottery and good luck to YOU, if that’s your chosen path.

For me, I can’t imagine NOT running the Chicago Marathon since its in my backyard, so I decided to run with Ronald McDonald House Charities once again.  They are an outstanding organization.  I believe in their cause and am always amazed with the number of families they help every  year, both here in Chicago and around the world.  It wasn’t a difficult decision at all for me to sign up with them again for 2014. 

So today, I’d like to start the fundraising process and am beginning with a raffle.  For each $5 donation to my RMHC fundraising page HERE, you will get one entry into this raffle.    What do we have for the raffle? 

1)  A jumpstart to your next Super Hero costume with a New Balance run singlet featuring the Incredible logo!  You’re INCREDIBLE!  I know it.  You know it.  All your friends know it.  Now tell the running community at your next race!  3 run singlets available.  Women sizes:  S, M & L – 3 winners.  If you want one of these babies, let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to mention which size you need!   Value – PRICELESS  Winking smile

Incredibile Shirts     incredibles

Source for Incredibles photo

2)  Injinji – Over The Calf  Compression toe sock prize pack!  The Injinji socks have become a stable in my run world.  You won’t catch me very often sporting something other than Injinji.    I particularly like the over the calf compression style for long runs and marathons because they hold on my toe protectors so nicely, and help my crazy feet stay blister free!  I have every color they have made thus far and can’t wait for them to come out with more colors/styles!!  For you, I have a two pair, pink & purple { BIG THANKS to Frogger for donating the purple ones!!}.  Size medium,  which works for women shoe size 9-11.5 and men shoe size 8-10.5.  I’m also tossing in an Injinji hat because I know once you start wearing these babies, you are going to love them as much as me and you’ll want to shout it to the world at least when it’s raining.  One winner for the entire prize pack.  Value – $118.

Injinji OTC

3)  Emergen-C prize pack!  As optimistic as I want to be about spring being on its way, I’m honestly scared that this winter may NEVER end.  Aby and I have lived off Emergen-C all winter long, taking it daily, and we’ve faired particularly well compared to most.  This is also what I use when I taper for a marathon to ward off the “sickies” in those last couple of weeks before the big race.  This prize pack has 2 boxes of Tangerine flavored drink mix packets (30 packets per box), 2 boxes of Raspberry flavored packets, one Emergen-C Headsweats visor & one over the shoulder bag.  One winner for the entire prize.  Value – $86.

Emergen C    Emergen C_2

Okay, that’s the roundup for this raffle!  If you are interested in supporting RMHC, donate HERE.  If there is something above that you would like when your name pops up AS A WINNER, please make sure you tell me in the comments below. The raffle will go from now until Friday, April 4, 2014 at 9am at which time 5 winners will be selected via a random number generator.  Good luck and thanks to all of you who have helped me and RMHC in the past, and those of you who choose to support the cause this year!  Remember no donation is too small!   One entry into the raffle per $5 donation.  If your name comes up more than once, then you will receive more than one prize.    Good luck!

** Running For A Cause ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Chicago Marathon ….. 2013 Edition

It’s no secret that I keep running the Chicago Marathon even though I don’t really consider myself to be a marathon runner.    Marathons are hard, I don’t care who you are or even if you say they aren’t.  However, I like the training as sick as that sounds and I like being part of one of the best marathons in the world.   There are only 6 World Marathon Majors (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago & New York).  One of those majors is in my backyard.  People fly here from all over the world to participate in OUR marathon.  Yeah, I want to be a part of it too. 

The expo is top notch with vendors bringing us amazing gear and samples from all over.  LOVE me a good expo!  Coolest part of the 2013 expo?  I loved the magnet display where we were able to take a magnet & sign our name on the wall.

expo_magnet 

The SWAG is always a Nike tech tee so we know that it will be a quality piece.

swag

The race itself is big.  Like really big.  Two waves, 45,000 registered runners, 1.8+ million spectators.  My friend Katie and I were hustling to the start so that we were in our corrals before they closed the gates.  We had plenty of time but it’s hard to know that prior to actually reaching the corrals themselves.  Fortunately, Ronald McDonald House Charities gave us warming blankets to take to the start cuz it was a bit chilly standing around in 43 degree temps waiting to run.

Me&Katie_prerace   Me_start

I wore that blanket for almost an hour before ditching it as I inched closer to the actual start line.  I was in Corral E and once the race started, we moved up quickly and were ready to cross the start line in under 10 minutes.  The organization at this event is next to none. 

Start

The energy is always high at the Chicago Marathon.  The spectators and runners alike are excited, happy and this year the cooler temps got us started perfectly.   In fact, my corral started FAST, like faster than I wanted to run so I was happy to stop off at the first aid station to use the potty and let some of those fasties go!  No tummy troubles, I was just over hydrated and needed to make a stop.  I was super happy that I stopped early because 1) it wasn’t too crowded and 2) I felt SOOOOO much better! 

LaSalle Street, circa 3.5 miles.  Course is steadily filled with people but not crowded to the point I couldn’t move.  I never felt inhibited but didn’t exactly have a “race pace” to which I needed to adhere so it was good for me all around.  Smile

LaSalle

My favorite part of the course, every year is up north, leaving the Lincoln Park area and entering Old Towne on Sedgwick Street, between miles 9 & 10.  And let me just say, Sedgwick spectators, you were some of the BEST on the entire marathon course and that’s saying A LOT cuz I was really paying attention this year.  What an amazing neighborhood with well-groomed row houses and massive mature trees to shade us from the sun.  LOVE this area!

 Sedgwick  Sedgwick_me

As I snaked along the course this year, I tried to be focused on what was around me, enjoy the experience, not push the pace cuz I know damn well the end gets SUPER HARD for me, pay attention to the spectators/volunteers/police/medical/entertainment as well as the other runners and just be happy to be running healthy.  I took photos.  I talked to people.  I waived to spectators, high fived the kiddos and I made an effort to encourage every RMHC runner who I passed.  I may have even sent a text message or two.  Regardless, I had fun.  A lot of fun.  And when my body started to tighten up, I stopped to stretch and began walking thru the water stops.  By having a focus as to when I could walk, I think I actually spent less time walking all together.  I wasn’t moving very fast toward the end but I was moving and I was grateful for that!

I also saw my girls, April W, Dawn B & Aby at various spots along the course.  Here is Aby and I at mile 17, where I was happy to stop running for a photo.  These ladies made my day.  I looked forward to seeing them each and every time and it kept me moving knowing that they would be “right around the corner”.  THANK YOU, ladies!!

Mile 17_with Aby

Thru the 26 mile course, we had 20 aid stations.  Each aid station was 2 city blocks long. Potties first.  Then medical.  Then fluids.  Gatorade at the front.  Water at the back.  No worries about missing the aid station, there was more than ample time to grab what you wanted/needed.  Lots of potties at each station too, which I appreciate.  Plus, each station lined BOTH sides of the street, so it didn’t matter which side you prefer to run, the aid was there for you.  Lots safety staff & friendly volunteers.  I also saw stations offering energy chews, energy gels & bananas.  Then there were many amazing spectators handing out their own supplies, like mini waters, popsicles, pretzels & Oreo cookies.  THANK YOU to everyone who fed me along the way.  The orange popsicle from Pilsen was by far my favorite treat during the marathon!

And then the finish finally came!  And I was thankful.  Photo courtesy of Nicole F.

finish shoots

Look Ma, both feet are off the ground as I “bust it” toward the finish!  Super exciting after 26.2 miles on the run!  26.94, if you count that potty stop and oh, yeah, I’m counting it!

Finish_me   me_medal

Afterwards, I hobbled walked back to the RMHC tent in Charity Village to join friends, get stretched out, eat, drink & be pampered by one of the best charities around.  Thanks to all of you who donated to RMHC to make this the best marathon experience to date.  RMHC not only takes care of the families in need but also us charity runners.  I’m so thankful to them for all they do for us on marathon day!  Such a class act!

RMHC food STRETCH Me-Aby_Katie 

Great race.  Great atmosphere.  I’d  highly recommend the Chicago Marathon to anyone who is looking to run a big race and have fun doing it!

For me personally, it was an amazing experience.  My fun day brought me to the finish in 4:28.  No, I didn’t push the pace but I had fun and walked away with a smile on my face.  And that’s a win in my book.  Smile

** See you in 2014 ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Charity Raffle for RMHC

This week starts the kickoff of the Chicago Marathon training season!  Everyone is excited.  Everyone is ready.  Everyone is planning ahead to make the 2013 race the best one yet.  Those of us who have chosen to run for charity are also strategizing as to how to make our fundraising campaign as successful as possible for our charities.  My charity is the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Yes, we still have entries available on our team if you didn’t get one of those coveted lottery spots!!    Go here to become a 2013 team member for RMHC.

RMHC logo

I have chosen to run for RMHC for many reasons but most importantly because I want to help the kids and families not only of Chicago and the US but around the world.  The RMHC mission speaks to me by helping out the kids and families of injured, disabled & terminally ill children stay together.  They focus on normalcy and helping the family to feel connected, offering creature comforts, fun and a home base that is less like a hospital and more like a home.  They provide a place to stay, meals and support these families regardless of their financial status.  They focus on keeping families together during times of crisis.   That I like.  That I support.  That is something I would want for my family.

So without further ado, I’ll start introducing the raffle prizes.  I am still collecting raffle items so email me if you would like to donate something!   Currently we have just under 30 items with prizes ranging from $6 up to $189.  I’ve been hoarding saving and stashing things away for this all year, so I hope that we can really put some $$ away for RMHC.  My goal is to raise $5000 this week.  You will receive 1 entry into the raffle for every $10 donated to RMHC via my fundraising page HERE.  If you see a prize that you REALLY want, then please make a comment below and if your name is drawn then I will do my best to accommodate your request.

PRIZES

1)  Pro Compression Marathon Socks – $50 Value.  Your choice of color & size.  These are my go to socks for compression.  They are long enough for my long legs and come in a variety of colors and sizes.pro compression_gree socks_me

2)  Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – $65 value.  Your choice of color & size in the Gen2 style.  These are the only compression shorts I wear.  I love them.  I like both generations for various reasons but the hot pink Gen2 shorts really makes a statement as they are working at keep me together. 

Aspaers_gen2

3)  Tough Chik $25 Gift Card – You get to chose what you want from the Tough Chik store!  Lots of amazing things from cycling, running, TRI gear to casual tees.  My new favorite, which just dropped yesterday, is the “Tougher Than I Look Tank” which is priced at $28.  However, YOU can pick anything you like with this gift card!

TOUGHER_TANK

4)  Venus de Miles Illinois FREE ride entry + Tee (medium) + Water bottle – $189 value.  Join myself, the other Venus de Miles Ambassadors and ladies from all over the tri-state area as we cruise Lake Forest in style on July 28th.  This ride offers a 25 & 61 mile option.  It’s totally free for YOU and the mandatory fundraising requirement will be waived.  The ride includes fully stocked rest stops every 12-15 miles, on course support, breakfast  & activities pre-ride, and a big ladies style bash after the event.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this event.  Check out the website or read more about the 2013 event HERE or my 2012 experience HERE

image   venus de miles tee

5)  Bastille Day 5K/8K FREE entry – $37-$42 value.  Run one of the best races in town on Thursday, July 11th for free!  This race claims to be “Bringin’ Happy Hour Back” so I have massive expectations for fun, Fun, FUN!  The race is in Lincoln Park offering a 5K or 8K option followed by a block party.  Join me to celebrates the French Independence Day and we will show Lincoln Park what HAPPY HOUR is all about!  Whoooooooop!!

image

6)  Women Rock Chicago Calendar & Headband (x2) –  Value is “priceless”.   I scored two MEN of Women Rock Chicago calendars which have been signed by Mr. April & Mr. July!  You are welcome!!!  These calendars are filled with fun and hot men.  Each calendar comes with a Women Rock Chicago headband.  Two winners here, try not to fight but I know you want these!!

women rock chicago calendars              women rock chicago calendars2

7)  AdvoCare prize pack – $32 Value.  One AdvoCare blender bottle, 3 packets of Spark (mango strawberry), 3 packets of Post Workout Recovery Drink (chocolate), 3 pouches of Rehydrate Gel (lemon), & 3 packets of Rehydrate drink (mango pineapple).  AdvoCare is my go to for nutrition and sports performance products.  I don’t shop around.  This is what I trust.  This is what I use.  These products are safe, tested, legal, plus focus on giving us what we need for our bodies without all the “extra” additives and sugar.

advocare prize pack

8)  Punkeelove Headbands (3 bands – 1 winner) – $44 Value.  I love sparkly headbands that DO NOT slip.  These are the only ones that I buy.  I’ve tumbled and rolled down the lakefront path (no joke!) and these stay in my hair.  They don’t flip off the back of my head while I run either cuz who wants to pay big $$ for a cute sparkly headband then lose it in a race on the first wear.  Not me.  This prize pack includes a purple, black &  pink band.  What more could a girl possibly need?  Oh and they are adjustable so you can share them with the little divas at home too!

punkeelove_3

9)  Mission Athletecare prize pack – $17 value.  I am including two of my favorite Mission Athletecare products.  They are my go to for sunscreen, anti-chafe, lip balm, muscle care & foot cream.  I really like this stuff.  CVS carries some products and then I get the rest online.  This prize pack includes an Anti-Chafe stick & a 50 SPF Kids Continuous Play Sunscreen.  I use the kid sunscreen all the time so this is what I had in the cabinet and this is what’s in my purse right now.

mission athletecare_2

10)  Road Runners Sports 2 Bottle Belt (size medium) – $29.99 value.  This is my favorite water belt.  It doesn’t move.  It holds 14 oz of water at one time, plus has  small pouch for keys, phone, or gels.  Fuel Belt branded bottles. Road Runner Sports designed belt. 

road runner sports_water belt

11)  Team Tough Chik visor – $18 value but you can’t get it unless your ON THE TEAM and I probably won’t let you win it unless you are on the team or promise to sign up next year!!  This is a Headsweats brand visor with a velcro adjustment strap.

team tough chik_visor

12)  Flip Belt – Black (size large) – $24.99 value.  It’s been soooo hard for me to save this and not use it.  I have a yellow and pink one that I wear constantly.  I run in them, race in them and sometimes wear one if I’m out with the kids and don’t have pockets.  Great belt that fits a ton of stuff but doesn’t bounce or move around. 

flipbelt_black

13)  CytoSport prize pack – Muscle Milk Light (Cytosport product) is a headlining sponsor of the Zooma Women’s Series.  I have a prize pack from our sponsor which includes several of their Muscle Milk & CytoMax products.  Prize pack includes:  2 Muscle Milk snack bars, 1 Muscle Milk Light (chocolate) ready to drink, 1 Muscle Milk Light (peach) ready to drink, 1 CytoMax ready to drink, 5 CytoMax mix packages, 2 packages of CytoMax Energy Drops & 1 CytoMax water bottle. 

muscle milk prize pack

14)  Tough Chik Boston Tough Boston Strong performance wicking tee by Alo (x2 – both size medium) – $22 value each.  Get one of these tees while they are HOT!  They sold out immediately on the first printing.  They run small so these mediums fit like a small.  Two winners here.  Each winner will get a tee & a Tough Chik sticker!

Tough Chik_Boston Strong

15)  Lock Laces – $7.99 value.  Yellow lock laces.  Great for running, triathlon or little ones who can’t keep their shoes tied!

lock laces_yello

16)  BioFreeze prize pack – $31.50 value.  Number one topical pain reliever for athletes!!  This prize pack includes a full size pain relieving gel and a full size can of 360 spray

biofreeze

17)  Handana – $18 value.  The Handana is all the rage!  Used by runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts everywhere, this is your answer to gracefully wiping away snot & sweat during a workout.  It may seem a little “out there” but it’s a practical solution to a problem that we all share.  Second photo from the Amazon website.

handana  handana2

18)  Team Tough Chik sponsor prize pack (x3 – three winners).  One of the benefits of being on Team Tough Chik is the backing of our amazing group of sponsors.  We aren’t just paying for cool clothes & access to an amazing network of women but also cool prizes and discounts from our sponsors.  A few of our sponsors are in this prize pack below:  Nuun – 1 full size tube of fruit punch nuun & 1 nuun water bottle, Cliff Bars – 1 Cliff Bar & 1 Cliff Builder bar, BodyGlide – 1 “For Her” product, Reflect Sports H2O swim shampoo sample & a John Wayne Cancer Foundation 30 spf sunscreen sample.

team tough chik_sponsor pack  team tough chik_sponsor pack2

19)  ibungee Speed Laces – $6 value (x2 – two winners).  Neon Green & Yellow.  The ibungee speed lace system claims to be the #1 seller for speed laces.  They are great for running, triathlon & the little ones in your family.  Installation is easy, just make sure you get them long enough!  There are 38” laces so long enough to cut to your specific needs.  Two winners here.

ibungee 

20)  Adidas Sport Headbands – 5 headbands (black, pink & white) – $9.99 value.   I haven’t tried these yet, a friend gave them on to me because she knew that I liked headbands but since I was collecting for this, I just tossed them in the pot.  They look cute!!

adidas headbands

21)  GU prize pack –  14 GU gels, $24 value.  GU is undeniably the most popular “on the go” fueling option.  We have 11 regular gels:  2 TRI Berry, 3 Strawberry Banana, 1 Mandarin Orange, 2 Espresso Love, & 3 Peanut Butter.   Then the prize pack is topped off with 3 of the coveted Roctane Gels in the Chocolate Raspberry flavor.  You’re workout will definitely get a boost with these!

Gu prize pack

Wow!  That’s it!  If we don’t get any other prizes, then I will draw 26 winners next week on Thursday, June 13th at 9am via a random number generator.  This is one instance where you can win more than one prize.  Please share this with your friends, blog readers, run club members & anyone who might be interested.  The idea behind this is to do the best we can for Ronald McDonald House Charities and in the process help as many families as possible.  My personal goal is to raise $5,000 thru this raffle and then not talk about it again.  Please help spread the word!  Each $10 donation (increment) to my fundraising page = 1 entry into the raffle.  No donation is too small, now go help me spread the word and GOOD LUCK

** Raising $$  For the Kids ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Distracted!

Normally, I am a very somewhat focused individual.  I work in a job that is deadline oriented.  My co-workers are Me, Myself & I so there isn’t any “back-up” and there is no question as to “if” it’s going to get done.  It HAS to get done before the deadline,  NO.MATTER.WHAT.  In addition to the J.O.B, I have a long commute, family responsibilites:  hubby/kids/pets/house, etc., and I love to get my run on as often as possible so its normal for me to have a time deficient .   Therefore, my interaction with social media, email, reading and other “fun” things has to be limited.  It sucks is difficult to be an adult.

However, I must admit, I am currently struggling to focus on anything except the buzz on the facebook boards regarding registration for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.  My friends and F’N Running Club buddies are signing up at an alarming rate.  People who said “no way” yesterday, signed up today.  In fact, they are not the only ones registering, over 25,000 people registered in the first 24 hours!  Wow.  I am getting slammed with messages, updates, etc. of new people who are running and a good number of people who have also chosen to run for Ronald McDonald House Charities along with me!  I am so excited!  It looks like I will not be standing on the start line “alone” this year but will have lots of “friendlies” standing right beside me and ready to tackle the momentous occasion as a team.  Thank you to all of you who have registered and/or are planning to register!  This is going to be the best year ever!  And PLEASE contact Charles R. at RMHC if you have any thoughts or questions about becoming a Charity Runner.  You will not be sorry, the experience RMHC offers is like no other:   private bathrooms, free post race massage, great food/drinks before and after the race (for you plus your family & friends!), and of course, Ronald McDonald and the entire RMHC crew will literally roll out the red carpet to cheer and congratulate you upon finishing!  It really is an awesome experience.

With all of these fun things happening, I’m surprised I was even able to pry myself away for a run yesterday!  But I did!  The temps on Feb 1, were amazing at 50 degrees and it was a beautiful day to run! 

The best thing about the weather was that we got to get back on the trail for the first time in several weeks.  WHOOOOHOOOO!  I love you Old Plank Trail!

Here are a few pics from the walking trail around the  pond.  This is the route I take when I have the kiddos because we like the water, wildlife and seasonal grasses.  It’s certainly not the same in the winter but still good to appreciate the beauty of what will be in spring/summer.

There were a few spots which were snow and ice-covered but for the most part the trail was clear. 

I was able to grab 4 miles and watch the sun begin to set before picking up the F’N Running Club for the Wednesday Night Run. 

Two new people tonight!  Can you spot them?  F’N Runners from Top Left:  Rick (newbie!), Joe, April, Aurelia, Meg, Susan, Dawn.  Bottom Left:  Me, Brian P, Brian F, Nicole (newbie!), & Cathie.

Great turnout!  We had all ages/paces covered from a 12-year-old runner & UP no way you will get the ages out of the rest  of us, run/walkers to 7:30 pace range.  Good job FNRC!

Most of the group ran 4 miles, and a few went 6 miles.  It really is a very casual and supportive atmosphere if you are interested in trying a group run, we most definitely can help you along!  Come out and join us!

My mileage for the day was 10.35 but most of those were very leisurely miles with some photo ops plus walking in the snowy/icy spots.  Great run!

Happy Running!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz