Avoiding Burnout…..

While many of us are on the workout/running train constantly and never seem to get bored with the task….


Please know that everyone is in a different place and there are plenty of people who are currently struggling to get out there and do it again.  Yes Hollie, this post is for you.

Get Up Time to Run-cartoon

I know there are some people who are super awesome and can run every day, like Shelly HERE.  However, it’s not something that my body or mind can handle.  My hat is off to all of you daily runners.  I personally only run 3 or 4 days a week.   My time and family obligations do limit my running but my body also creates its own limits because I can’t take the daily pounding.  When I run, I tend to run a longer distance to “make up” for the days I can’t run. 

In order to avoid burnout, it is good to change up your routine.  Here are a few things you  might try in order to keep the workouts/runs fresh and fun.

  • Run new and different routes
  • Run with a friend or try a group run
  • Try a trail run instead of just pounding your miles out on the road
  • RACE!!  If I keep a race on my calendar every so often, it keeps me focused and in the game.
  • Go for a swim Triathlon anyone?
  • Ride your bike
  • If you have access to a gym, try a class:  kickboxing, spinning, yoga, pilates, or strength training.
  • Better yet, try ALL of the classes at your gym, make it a challenge to try a  new class each week.
  • No gym?  Get some new fitness DVDs for your TV.  Tae Bo, Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, Bob Harper’s Yoga (See RunWithJess’ Yoga Challenge), Belly Dancing, Hip Hop Abs, P90X.
  • No TV?  Get a few weights or resistance bands for the house and follow the billion various strength workouts in the fitness magazines.  Do push-ups, squats, stretching, jumping jacks, sit-ups.
  • Go for a walk or hike thru the woods
  • Play Tag and Hide & Go Seek with the kids outside

The key to being healthy is moving.  That doesn’t mean that you have to run every day or run high mileage, do what is enjoyable to you.  If you feel as if you are burnt out on running, I am reluctant to say stop running but that is certainly a decision you have to make for yourself.  If you stop running, even for a couple weeks, know that you will lose fitness and have to rebuild.  It happens to all of us, we refocus and rebuild all the time for various reasons.  However, if you are already struggling a bit with motivation or why you run, starting at the bottom again to totally rebuild your fitness may cause more questions and/or depression.  So if you decide to stop running for a bit, focus on other fitness activities to keep you strong and fit.  Keep your chin up, reduce running to a fewer number of days per week, and add in a few new things to keep it fun and fresh.  You will be happy and running faster and stronger before you know it.  Everyone goes thru spells of frustration and fatigue, this is totally normal.  Relax, breathe and refocus.

As a side note, many people are getting burnt out due to improper fueling.  If you are tired all the time, then it may not just be about your running but how you spend the first hour after your run.  I use a Post Workout Recovery Drink after my runs and this helps refuel my muscles and reduces fatigue.  Think about what you do AFTER the run and consider that it may be affecting your NEXT run.  Hydration and fueling is a real issue as to why many people are frustrated fatigued on a constant basis.  You don’t have to do what I do, just do something to help yourself get to the next workout as recovered and fresh as possible.

What is your favorite type of cross training?  How many days a week do you run?  Any other ideas as to how to keep the fitness routine fresh & fun?

Stay Active!                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz.com


I normally don’t take the bait join challenges because well, I’m frequently at a different level than the target audience.  I’m not being pretentious, I just don’t need much motivation to get out the door because I enjoy getting out the door.  I enjoy moving.  I enjoy the time away from my screaming kids chaotic family.  I enjoy quality ME time. 

There are a few challenges to which I fall prey.   Not so long ago, my Ragnar Relay Chicago teammate Run with Jess put on a week long series of virtual races called the Jelly Bean Virtual Race.  She offered a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon & a 21K bike.  I took that as a “challenge” and did all 4 events.  My theory has always been “Go Big or Go Home”. 


I know I’m not a snowboarder but the pic above is just too cool!  By the way, can somebody replace that snowboarder with a runner?  Love you people with mad skills in graphics & Photoshop!

So I haven’t really been “challenged” since the Jelly Bean but Jeni at Sparkalish Roar threw down a small informal challenge this week.  She suggested just focusing on one small goal for the week, like drink more water (which I do) or do 10 pushups every day for a week.  Well, the pushup thing is something with which I really struggle.  YES, I need this!  I’m in the challenge for 10 pushups (minimum) every day this week and hopefully everyday for the rest of my life!  So on Tuesday, I did 12 pushups.  Sounds pathetic, right?  Well, I struggle with upper body strength so this is good for me!  You have to remember  not  to compare yourself to others when setting a goal or accepting a challenge.  The purpose of a goal or challenge is to do something for YOU that will improve YOU.  So don’t go out and run 30 or 40 miles because TTF you know somebody who does that each week.  Focus on choosing a goal that is challenging for you personally.

I have been really focused on dropping the pudge for the Palos Half eating clean this week and drinking my water.  Then I added this little challenge to my schedule.  TUE – 12 pushups, WED – 15 pushups, THUR – 15 pushups & today I did 17!   Whoooooop!

I also upped the ante by eliminating Starbucks from my calorie count occasional routine until after the Palos Half.  Jeni upped the ante on her end by adding chin-ups/pull-ups to her routine.  Damn, that bitch she is tough!  So I went shopping.

pull up bar

In case you are confused, that’s a chin-up/pull-up bar that hubby so kindly put together and installed for me while I was sleeping last night.  

I can’t do any,  not even one pull-up.  How long will it take before I can do 5?  Aby sent me a text message that she did 2 pull-ups before school this morning.  Great, I love it when my 10 year old is stronger than me.    Michael did 4 assisted pull-ups before heading off to a tough day at daycare.  Even better when my 2 year old is stronger than me.  I WILL conquer this.

How about you?  Do anything stupid lately?  Have you accepted any interesting challenges?  Wanna do some pull-ups with me?  Wanna spot me?  Go get yourself  a pull-up bar at Wal-Mart and for $19 you can suffer accept the pull-up challenge too!  How long will it take YOU to be able to do 5 pull-ups?  Let’s race to OUR 5 pull-up goal!  🙂

Challenge yourself, no matter how BIG or small, just step outside of you comfort zone toward a better you!

Happy Friday!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

Perfect Running Weather….

This week has been good weather for running with temps in the low 50s.  Last night I had to get started a little early so that I could knock out the Jelly Bean Virtual Race Half Marathon for Run with Jess, which I am considering a “challenge” since I wanted to do all 4 events but am a “little” short on time this week.  When I hit the trail a little before 4pm, it was cool and there was a slight wind.  I had to seriously convince myself that it was “ok” to leave the jacket in the car!  I knew I would be warm within a mile or so and didn’t want to have to deal with something to carry or tie around my waist once I warmed up.

It was a beautiful afternoon and Old Plank Trail has really come alive over the last couple of weeks with budding trees/flowers everywhere.  I love you, Spring!

I even saw a new runner on the trail.  I wasn’t really sure how to treat him as I couldn’t identify a consistent pace……should I pass him, or will he pass me, or is he going to attack me?  I was cautious, to say the least, with my new “friend”.

Soon after I left Mr. P in the dust, I caught up with Susan D. who unknowingly was signing on for a rather quick 10 mile run with Ms. TooTall.  Thanks Susan for helping me complete the Jelly Bean Half!

We caught up on life and crushed some miles before picking up the rest of the Wednesday Night F’N Runners.  I asked them to stare into the sun stand by the lilacs for the photo since I’m in love with Spring.  🙂  From left:  Cathie, April, Nicole, Susan, Kathy & Me.  Wayne is “manning” the camera, apparently he was the only guy who wasn’t afraid of the peacock felt confident enough to run with us F’N chicks.

It was just one of those perfect runs.  Everything was right:  the weather, the company, my legs were fresh since Aby had track meets all week and it was a great run.  We took a few small water breaks but basically just kept pumping out the miles.  The goal was to go sub 9 for every mile and other than the peacock photos 2nd mile and one 9:03, all the splits were well below 9 minutes miles.  We finished the 13.1 in 1:54:35 and for a Wednesday night, running a Jelly Bean-Old Plank Half, that’s pretty darn good.  Thanks Susan for helping me slug out those miles!

Have you done any random, non-supported half marathons that were not part of a training plan?  How did it go?  Was it hard to push without the adrenaline of race day?  We certainly didn’t run all out but this was faster than a normal Wednesday night jaunt on Old Plank.

If there is anyone left who has not already registered, or won a free entry, to the 13.1  Chicago on June 9th, they are offering the TTF readers a $5 off discount on registration through April 22nd.  Use the code:  131BLG5

Last point of business, the PunkeeLove Headband Giveaway goes til Monday morning.

Happy Running,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

1st Annual ENHS Alumni Fun Run

This weekend was one which myself and a few of my high school alums have been looking toward to for quite some time.  We planned our very first Alumni Fun Run!  Ironically, those of us in the planning department were all out of towners so we erroneously scheduled it during the local spring break, which “possibly” attributed to poor turnout.  Those of us who did show up came quite a way to make an appearance.  Steven (AL), David (IN), Jenny (OH), Adella (IN), Melissa (Indianapolis, IN), Me (IL).

Thankfully, Jenny was one of the planners which brought her two brother and father or we would have been very low on numbers!  Family Photo:  Steven, Dad, David & Jenny.

Thanks Dad for cheering us on for this fun run just like you used to during our cross country and track days.   Your support was much appreciated then and also today!

The day was perfectly overcast with temps in the low 40s and very high spirits.  Jenny, Adella & I arrived a little early to mark the course.  We chose the Bixler Lake Trail in Kendallville, IN because that is where we went to high school and well, that was our only option.  It was a 3.5 mile loop with a few hills but mostly flat.  Approximately one mile was thru the woods on the south side of Bixler, then the rest thru the park and around the lake for a return to our starting point.

Adella kindly took a picture of my ass me marking the trail.

The big hill was very root heavy.  We tried to mark out most of the roots for safety issues.  I really loved this hill and they were “kinda” laughing at me.

Our day:

We had a great day catching up, talking about the past/present/future and just hanging out doing one of the things that we love most, running.  I am so thankful to all of you who came and I am sorry that so many others missed it.   This was truly a great time.  A few of us did 3 loops for a 10.5 mile day, including Adella who logged her longest run EVER!  Great job, Adella!  And a few did 2 loops for 7 miles.  I challenge the Kville locals to go run the trail within the next couple of weeks and email me a photo.  In return, I will mail you a hat from our fun run and you can count yourself as a virtual participant!  I marked the trail on the grass, except for a few spots up in the campground area where I was blonde not thinking and marked the road instead.  It is easy to follow, the markings will last quite awhile and it really is a nice jaunt around the lake.  Go now and become our virtual partner for the First Annual ENHS Fun Run and then hopefully we will see you in person next year!

For more photos of the Bixler Lake Trail, feel free to review the January post where Adella & I did a scouting trip on a snowy afternoon HERE.

Today is my birthday so the kids and Grandma were busy baking and crafting while I was out playing running.  I returned to much excitement and lemon bars for my birthday treat.  Then later mom & I made a spinach, artichoke, roasted red pepper pizza!  Yum!  Obviously I like to eat as much as I like to run!

Happy Birthday Song over my morning yogurt!

I managed to squeak in a Birthday Recovery Run this morning too and knocked out the Jelly Bean 5K and 10K through Run with Jess for a total of 9.3 miles.  Although the Jelly Bean is billed as a Virtual Race, I am considering it to be more of a Challenge.  This week will be super busy with two Track meets for Aby, a busy work schedule, a midweek midday date with hubby and the Good Friday Waterfall Glen Run.  Yep, I signed up for all four events:  5K, 10K, Half Marathon, & a 13 mile bike.   I realize with the current schedule that I will have to sacrifice my swim this week.  And I need the bike Gods to make sure my bike computer comes in at the Trek Store this week so that I can get it installed, have the maintenance issues taken care of and be ready to ride by Saturday.  I have a very narrow window for the bike, Saturday.  That’s my window.  Period.  Worst case scenario, I can pop out a guesstimated 13 miles on the trainer but I’m tired of guesstimating my miles and have totally lost my motivation to bike on the trainer.  I need the computer now.  Pathetic, I know but it is no fun riding without knowing how far and how fast I’m traveling!

What was on your plate for the weekend?  Any virtual racing for you?  Any real racing?  Anyone going to run the Bixler Trail to participate in our Fun Run virtually?  Let me know!

Happy Running,                                                                                                     Amanda – TooTallFritz

13.1 Miam Beach Race Review

So for the last month I have been anxiously awaiting the Miami Beach trip to spend quality time with my momma, meet my on-line friend Angela for the first time and to run the 13.1 Miami Beach race.  Miami certainly did not disappoint.  Mom and I had an excellent time and the weather was unseasonably warm reaching the low 80s each day.  We were able to have fun in the sun, walk around and enjoy the city and do whatever we desired without worrying about the weather.  Super nice, relaxing and we had an awesome time. 

I also really enjoyed meeting Angela.  I was a little “under the weather” when we left for the trip and the head cold: sore throat, ear aches & headache was back full force by late SAT afternoon, which unfortunately was shortly after she arrived.  I certainly wasn’t myself but did enjoy her company and meeting her in real life.  She is a sweet person, great/loving wife/momma and a kick ass runner.  We had non-stop conversation until my voice totally went out.  A silent TTF is a very sad thing.  😦

We kept it very low-key the night before the race.  We walked the beach and talked, walked thru the city a bit, ate at an awesome restaurant and went to bed early.  At that point, I had already realized that the weather would not be good for me ideal and the fact that I had been eating in restaurants and consuming way too many calories, sodium and other additives which are not part of my normal diet would also probably not be a plus in my quest for the 1:50 but I tried to stay positive and BELIEVE that it was possible.

If you would like to read a race report on a perfect race, please click over to RunWithJess for her race recap of the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon HERE.

This race was not perfect in any aspect.  We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to 72 degrees and 90% humidity, 9 mph winds with warnings of wind gusts up to 30-40 mph.  As soon as I stepped outside the humidity hit me hard, just breathing, not exerting myself at all.  I was feeling crappy with the head cold but had taken some Motrin to calm the ear/headache issues so felt okay by race time.  We met up with a few of Angela’s friend’s and then we were off racing into the dark.

I lined up with the 1:50 pacer trying to believe that it was still a possibility but knew almost immediately that it was just a dream for a day like this.  So I let the pacer run away from me at the first water stop around 1.5 miles.  I knew it was vital for me to hydrate properly if I were going to finish.

At this point, we were on a very ugly bridge, which was scenic as it was the bridge closest to the cruise ship docks and we had a decent wind off the water but  I was nervous.  Really nervous.  Not because the 1:50 pacer was GONE but because it was very early in the race and I was already thinking about bagging it.  The bridge was several miles long with two very large inclines and corresponding declines, then a long flat section in the middle.  The temp wasn’t horrible but the humidity was just thick.  I walked for the first time in the third mile going up the second nasty incline.  I didn’t walk for long, just long enough to regroup.  It was somewhere in this section that I realized I was going to have to treat this race like any other scorcher and run it water stop to water stop.  I walked thru every water stop from there on out, drinking both gatorade and water and also dumping water on myself then just tried to keep moving to the next.  I had made the conscious decision to finish no matter how long it took and no matter how much I had to walk.

Somewhere in the 4th mile the 2 hour pace group powered past me looking very solid and stong.  It was so evident in these early miles who were the locals versus the visitors. We “visitors” already looked like wilted flowers and the locals were powerful and stong in their home territory.  It was almost funny, had I not been the wilted flower.

The course map was very simple, we ran a big square, so it was easy to break it down into quarters.  As soon as we got off the first series of bridges, it was into town for a short shady jaunt, then a long set of second set of bridges with the ups/downs, then the homestretch.  I saw my momma at mile 12 and stopped and drank her water talked to her.

The water stops were about every 1.5 miles.  It seemed like a long way to run without water but I am glad they weren’t more often or my time would have been even slower I would have overdrank.  There were live bands or music every 3 or 4 miles, the volunteers and police were plentiful and friendly.  The post race party was hopping with lots of food, beer, massages and live entertainment.  Everyone looked to be having a great time!

Overall it was a good race and very scenic, just a bit too warm & humid for Ms. TooTall.  The finish temp was 82 degrees.  For me, my race strategy sometimes gets revised to self-preservation, which means running smart and safe to the finish.  My body really just shuts down in the heat/humidity, it’s not even a conscious decision, the body just slows down.   So I safely made it to the finish and that makes me happy regardless of the time.  I was officially a 2:08:22 finisher and I’ll take that!  Always good to make it back for the post race photos!  Chris, Jess, Me & Angela:

After the finish, I walked/jogged back for Angela so it was a total 16.5 mile day for me.  I’m a bit sore but not bad.  My biggest “pain” is from the slanted/grated roads that gave me a huge blood blister on the side of my big toe.   I did as lot of weaving around trying to find a flat spot to run but it was difficult.  Here is the “loot”: 

There wasn’t an expo, the goody bags only had the shirt, one sample of biofreeze, and the backpack.  Although, it was a decent race, I don’t feel as if I’m missing out by not yet having ran the Chicago race.

After the race, we were up for some more fun in the sun but that was not in the cards.  Rainstorms came thru and the temps dropped to 62 before we left Miami that evening.  The high winds were ripping the palms right off the trees! 

We did walk back to our favorite area for lunch but overall with the temperature drop and high winds we were just thankful to have been able to enjoy our days previous and it was easier to pack up and head to the airport.  A few of my favorite sites before leaving, most are from a small street called Espana Way with lots of little shops and restaurants.

How do you do with “destination” races?  Are they hard for you or do you always rock them?  This was my first and probably my last unless I luck into being somewhere when a random race is happening.  I race close to home where I am usually familiar with the conditions, can sleep in my own bed and eat my own food prior to race day.

Happy Running,                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz

Team (You Just Got) Chicked – Ragnar 2012

Today was the first “team” meeting for our 2012 Ragnar (Ultra) Team (You Just Got) Chicked.  We are running the Madison, WI to Chicago edition of the race and let it suffice to say that we are SLIGHTLY excited.  We have already secured Aspaeris Pivot Shorts, GU Energy & BondiBands as sponsors and the biggest  hurdle to date was “the” meeting.  As with any situation where you are meeting new and important people, I mean does it get more important than 5 women you will share a van with while running a combined 200 miles, the first meeting is always a mystery.  Will I like them, will they like me, can we share a van and not kill each other?  So I was excited but also tentative about the meeting.  However, it didn’t take us any time at all to introduce ourselves and begin bonding.  I already love these crazy bitches ladies.  From left:  Me, Kate, Lara (up), Julie, Tara & Jess – Run with Jess.I know you will be shocked but we decided our first meet-up would start with a nice 10 miler.  Jess picked the I&M Canal Trail as a half way point and it was both easy to get to and a beautiful trail to run.  I absolutely LOVE running new trails so that was a perfect day for me in many regards:  new friends, running a new trail, then a yummy lunch!

Since our meeting spot was one stop shy of the very west end of the trail, we ran east for 5, then turned back into the wind for a rough return.  The trail was crushed limestone, frozen and rough on the feet but the wind was ferocious and made the 10 feel like 15.  However, the scenery was beautiful.

And my teammates didn’t seem to mind my constant requests for pics so I totally took advantage of the situation. 

Jess and I with matching shoes. 

It was a really great day and I can honestly say that I had a great time and feel as if I actually had time to get to know a little bit about my teammates.  We were also on a super secret mission from Aspaeris Pivot Shorts and although I feel like we may have failed them, we gave it a honest effort considering the freezing temps and high winds.

Thanks for a great day, ladies!  I can’t wait to get to know all of you even better and run a kick ass relay with all of you.

Would you ever consider a relay event like Ragnar or Hood to Coast?  Or have you already participated in something like this?  If so, give us some pointers!

Til We Meet Again Team Chicked,                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

Virtual Snow Day……

Yesterday as Chicagoland was getting its first real snowfall of the year, many were out enjoying themselves and PLAYING in the snow.  I didn’t get much of a chance to have fun but I really did enjoy my walk to the train! 

Let’s check out some of the AWESOME things which the TooTallFritz readers have been doing with their Snow Day!  By the way, I’m super envious and want to be out there with each of you!

Thursday is a normal “run day” for a few members of the F’N Running Club.  Here is Julie, Jeni H. & Don all suited up for their run.  When they hit the trail at noon on Thursday, they were kicking around 3″ of fluffy powder!  They really kicked it around too for 6.5 miles!  Great job!   Please notice Jeni H.’s Shakeology shirt.  Both her and Don are Beach Body reps for Shakeology, P-90X, Turbo Jam and all that fun stuff you may have heard about at the gym.  If interested in Shakeology, please contact Jeni HERE

Run with Jess was also able to sneak out for a windy 3 miler in the snow.  She looks warm and toasty in that awesome jacket!  I love that you “pop” against the snow, way to pull double duty being cute & safe!  Please get to know Jess, she is one of my Ragnar Relay teammates!  Whoooooop!

Aurelia, a new member of the F’N Running Club, was also out enjoying the weather.  She and her favorite running partner, Maggie, hit the trail at Yankee Woods for a nice, quiet 4 miler!  Lookin’ good, Maggie! 

I had hoped for a REAL snow day today but Mother Nature only brought us a couple of inches down here along with some blowing and drifting snow to make driving a PITA nuisance in the early morning.  However Kelly stayed in today and made homemade protein bars!  Check out Kelly’s blog for the recipe!  I must say that I am impressed.  Great job, Kelly!

I was super excited to see that newbie runner April was out pounding the trail for a couple of miles today.  You know it’s a great run when you finish and you have frost on your gloves/hat and frozen eyelashes/eyebrows.  April is actually sporting new winter wear because apparently last year she was sitting on the couch watching tv rather than playing outside in the snow from a recent shopping trip.  You look great April and will fit in well with all of us crazy runners.  Happy have you on board, and you are going to KILL that half in July.  Gett’m Girl! 

I also managed to skip out of work early get in a run today.  It was windy out here in the country and although the roads are plowed, we still have some drifting issues.  So it was slow going but great to be out slipping and sliding because I have yet to open the box of yak-traks in my cabinet.  I ran 5.07 in 51:24 with lots of stops for photos, text messages (trying to make sure my lil man was getting a ride home), and I stepped off the road at least 15x to let cars pass.  It was getting dark toward the end of the run, snowing lightly, roads were a mess and let’s just say I wasn’t taking any chances.  So off into the snow I stepped for each and every car.  I’m not  a fan of road running at night.  I much prefer braving the coyotes in the early mornings where I can avoid most traffic. 

How do you spend your time when the weather turns?  Are you hunkered down inside by a blazing fire, sipping hot cocoa, skiing down a radical mountain, or making snow angels with the kiddos?  Tell us!

Happy Virtual Snow Day,                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz