Running For Kicks 4 Mile Turkey Trot – 2013

I love the holidays.  I love spending time with my family.  I love getting in an extra run here or there when I can.  I love that running has not only become a regular part of my life but one on which I now center a few holiday traditions.  Thanksgiving is one such holiday.  I run the Running For Kicks 4 mile Turkey Trot every year not only because it has become one of my “traditions” but also as a way to gauge my fitness level on an annual basis.  The race is always post Chicago Marathon season, in a relatively low mileage month, on the same course year after year, and at time when my fitness is decent.  Plus the weather is pretty steady usually ranging from 20-30 degrees.  All of the above factors produce decent conditions for a realistic comparison on an annual basis.  So let’s get to Turkey Trotting!!

flattenturkey2011

This year was a normal year.  I was healthy.  Conditioned.  Ready.  Going in I felt fit, somewhat fast and was ready to see what I could do.  My only concern was that I had registered Aby and in my head, I was tossing around the idea of running with her.  The course is HARD.  Lots of rolling hills.  Aby is good on hills but a Thanksgiving race puts her out of her season and not anywhere near peak conditioning.  It’s the end of running season for her and the start of volleyball.   Last year since I was just coming off an injury, I ran with her and she wasn’t necessarily grateful.  We normally do not race together but rather “run our own race”.  Since that time, we made another attempt to “race together” and while it went much better, the fact of the matter is that we are different runners, have different strengths {and weakness} and to be honest, it doesn’t do either of us any good to make the effort to race together.  We don’t “need” each other and in reality we hold one another back at various points, resulting in neither of us having our best race.  So, I decided to let it fly off the start line and she would either follow, or not.  Pre-race photo while we shivered waited.  Me & Aby on the left.  F’N Runners on the Right:  Pam, Brian, Aby, Me & Nicki.

RFK Turkey Trot_2013 me & aby  RFK Turkey Trot_2013 group

So I let it fly.  This race is different than most.  Since it’s so hilly, I have to focus on really running the straights/flats & downhill’s as fast as possible because I’m a crappy poor uphill runner.  I once described this race as a 4 mile fartlek session.  It’s a constant variation of pace due to my uphill running weakness.  So I run fast when I can, like off the start line.  My only indication of how the race goes is the finish time cuz let’s just say that running it never feels great and pace is sporadic.  Here is my “history” with this race.  I started running it in 2007 after a much more “relaxed” Turkey Trot in 2006.  I wanted more structure.  More challenge.  I found it.  And I keep coming back year after year.

  • 2007 – 34:21 – I was a bit in shock over the hills.  Hardest road race to date.
  • 2008 – 32:33
  • 2009 – Mr. Michael arrived
  • 2010 – 31:53 – Under 8 min/mi average – HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!
  • 2011 – 31:55 – Consistent, Plantar Fasciitis was at it’s height & I was preparing for time off running so happy with the result.
  • 2012 – 34:29 – Recovering from torn tendon in June 2012 (damn PF!!), only been back to running for a couple months, decided to run with Aby “for fun”.
  • 2013- 31:02  – Proof that fewer miles, the addition of CrossFit & regular Chiro sessions with Dr. Alexis has been a winning combination for me!

Great day that brought us an amazing run with a local food bank as the choice charity.  Great swag, several store coupons, plus lots of free stuff, mainly socks, which was pitched into the crowd while we awaited awards.  Plus, they raffled off 7-10 pair of shoes at the end of the event.  Aby happened to win a pair of the FREE shoes but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are sending them to a young lady who happens to need a pair.

RFK Turkey Trot_2013 swag

Aby improved a lot this year too.  Last year she ran a 34:25.  This year a 33:14.  Her time was good enough for third in her age group!   Yay, Aby!!  Love to see the progress!!  I have high hopes that this will become one of her cherished Thanksgiving Day traditions too.  See you next year, in Palos Hills on Thanksgiving Day! 

** Who Runs to Eat? ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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F’N 20 Miler ….

Every marathoner gets to the point in “the plan” where they are facing down a 20 mile run.  For some it’s just another day, another run.  For others it’s a daunting undertaking which stirs up a lot of nerves.  I personally have used training plans in the past which schedule anywhere from one to five 20 mile runs throughout the entire program.  I can honestly say I have yet to feel a benefit by cramming several 20 milers into a training plan.  Marathons are hard for me.   At some point during the race, it’s gonna hurt.  Some people are going to process “the hurt” better than others and have a better experience.  The reason most training plans go all the way up to the magic “20 miler” is to help us get a bit of an idea of how to process those longer miles.  How to manage “the hurt”, if you will.  The 20 miler is on the plan to boost YOUR confidence level and help you to realize that you will be crossing that finish line in the very near future.  It’s really as much of mental exercise as a physical one because let’s be honest, if you can run 16 or 18 miles {and your healthy} then there is nothing that will stop you on race day from completing the full 26.2.  You have had the ability to run and finish the marathon long before the 20 mile training run but it’s that “magic 20” that brings the confidence, the knowledge that you CAN and WILL run a marathon.

I can I will

Now that running is “cool” we have lots of options for a 20 miler.  I’ve done 20 mile training runs a lot of different ways (alone, with someone riding a bike, on the treadmill, with friends, at a large organized event) but for me, it’s easiest to do it on my normal trail with my normal run friends and just knock it out.  I don’t want to go too far for a training run.  I certainly don’t want to pay $$ for a training run.  I don’t need a t-shirt or medal commemorating something I’ve already done at least 25x a couple times.  I just want to knock it out and then go home and take nap with Mr. Michael

I’m lucky because I now have a local run club that likes to keep things simple.  Thank you Frankfort-New Lenox Running Club (FNRC or F’N Running Club)!  No fee to join.  No hoopla.  Just show up and run or don’t.  Our 20 miler was much of the same but we invited others who wanted a no frills training run too.  We had about 70 runners who came out in the dark to join us for a 6am start.  Great turnout because many of our club members were marathoning in other parts of the state.

group

We were fortunate enough to have a two generous sponsors to support us during the run.  Huge shout out of thanks to Berkots Super Foods and Running For Kicks for supplying apples, bananas, oranges, water, Gatorade, and GU gel!!  We also had a crew of AHHHHMAZING volunteers to cycle the route with us and staff 3 aid stations along our 10.25 mile out and back route.  

Aid Station #1 – Mile 2.89 & 17.61

Bluestone_aid station2

Aid Station #2 – Mile 6.25 & 14.25

Grainery_aid station

Aid Station #3 – Mile 9.25 & 11.25

Harlem_aid station

Finish Line Aid Station

Finish_aid station

I personally had a great time at our 20 miler although I “might” be biased.  Smile  I loved seeing all people who came to run with us!  I tried to talk to as many groups as I could and really just enjoy the day.  We had perfect 45 degree weather that held on during most of the run.  I loved the out and back route on Old Plank Trail that allowed me to cheer on our fasties and those behind me too.  It was just a great day that came together perfectly thanks to the generosity of so many who donated goods and/or time.  We even had a local CERT team out patrolling the trail and helping with road crossings.  A lot of people got out of bed early to make sure that we had a safe & supported 20 mile training run.  I’m so proud to be a part of this run club and community.  I have met so many amazing people thru running and for that I am super thankful!

I was also thankful to finish up my weekend double (Women Rock Chicago Half on SAT & the F’N 20 Miler on SUN).  Good times.   Me, Aby (who worked aid station #3) & John B at the finish.  Thanks Aby & John for waiting for me and running me in!  

Finish_me Aby John

I’d also like to send a huge shout out of thanks to my girl Lara (see her behind me in the grass in a blue top?) and her hubby Nels who I’m sure will never see this always get out of bed before dawn to help me with my really long miles.  Sunday was no different.  Nels showed up at the start and ran the first half (and then some) and Lara showed up mid run to help me thru the last 11.25 miles.   Like I said, I’ve met some amazing people thru the running community and I am not only grateful but feel very blessed.  Love you all!!

** 20 Miles Is No Big Deal When Surrounded By Friends **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Running a Race For Fun ….

I always run for fun.  I like to run.  I like to race.  However, I normally take races a bit more seriously than a normal, everyday jaunt on the trail.  The idea of a race, is like a test, we showcase what we know, what we’ve learned and how far we’ve come.  Or at least that’s the plan. 

This weekend is the First Midwest Half Marathon, in Palos Heights, IL. 

image

This is one of my favorite local races, one that I can drive to within 30 minutes, park for free, walk to the start line, talk with my friends and then leisurely walk back to my car when I’m ready to leave.  It’s frequently a goal race because it’s a straight out and back course with only one turn. It’s mostly flat.   Runner traffic is very manageable.  There are enough aid stations but not too many to ruin my tummy.  Oh, and our local run store, Running For Kicks, puts on the race so its top notch.  A race designed by runners for runners. 

image

However this year, I’m not on my game at all.  I’ve gone to this race less prepared only a few times.  On my good days, when I’m trained up, this “easy” course, that I love, chews me up and spits me out.  I’m not sure why but no matter my fitness level, I’ve never raced well here, possibly because I just don’t race well.  So this year as I take an honest look at both my fitness level and my energy level, as I recover from whatever bug tried to kill me over the last week, I’ve decided to just let go.  Let go of the “I’m racing” concept and just go run for fun.  Not look at my watch.  Not worry about my actual pace verses my desired pace.  Not be disappointed. 

Because the bottom line is that as long as I’m able, I’ll run and support this race for fun.  For the love of the run.  For the love of the event.  For the love of the running store putting on the race.  For the love of my friends, acquaintances and F’N Runners who will be there both running and cheering. 

So, let’s do this, for the love of it!

** Running AND Racing for Fun ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Better Late Than Never…..

There are a lot of things that I would LOVE to do with the local running community but the events that I attend are few and far between due to our family/work schedule.  Last night, however, was the Running For Kicks St Patrick’s Day Fun Run and hubby managed Mr. Michael, plus the chauffeuring so that I could go enjoy the festivities.  And of course, I was late, so missed the group photo and the beginning of the run.  All photos stolen from courtesy of Gail.

RFK St Paddys Run 2013 _group

On a normal, or even slightly chaotic day I would have had plenty of time to get to the event.  However, I neglected to anticipate that a gentleman in the parking garage would jam up the pay machine, or that the new valet would not be able to “find” my car.  So I spent an extra 20 minutes in the parking garage but still had plenty of time.  Then I hit the expressway for the short trip from Chicago to Palos and traffic was at a standstill.  Rain.  Accidents.  It took an hour to travel from 22nd street to 95th street.  Not normal.  Not enough time.  Now, I’m late.  I really dislike being late but really, this wasn’t the end of the world.  I was just thankful that I wasn’t rushing to get Aby or Michael and that they were covered. 

I had plenty of time while sitting in traffic to think about if I should actually go to the event late or just keep on crawling toward home.  I decided to go.  I know a lot of runners that run at RFK on Monday nights and I hadn’t seen them in a while.  I had old shoes in the car to donate to the store for their charity.  Hubby had rearranged his schedule so that I could go.  And most importantly, I had dusted off my green Team Sparkle skirt & Pro Compression St Patrick’s Day socks, just for the occasion.  So I went with the “better late than never” attitude.  My solo pic before heading out to find the group:

RFK St Paddys Run 2013

I was glad that I went.  Even though I was late and the group had already started, I headed over to the route they normally run and just started running.  I found a few people, socialized a bit, made a few random loops and managed to get in 4.5 miles of hills.  Win!

It’s not every day you can run around in a sparkle skirt, so given the chance, TAKE IT!    And just maybe, you’ll spot a few other crazies sparkly friends too!

RFK St Paddys Run 2013_Skirts   RFK St Paddys Run 2013_socks

I love these fun events and am thankful to RFK for doing things like this so we can dress up and be crazy without actually putting out $$ on a race.  Good times!

(40% off all Pro Compression Shamrock socks & calf sleeves with discount code:  SOM3)

** Happy SPARKLY Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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 ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Race Photos……F’N Running Club

In the aftermath of the Southwest Half Marathon, our running web pages have been flooded with photos of us half marathoners running. Normally, those photos are rather painful to look thru and I’m not saying they were all good this time around but we were an exuberant group on Sunday. You know why? We knew the photogs! The people photographing us actually knew us by name, were screaming out our name as we approached and we were happy to see them! Thanks to Gail from Running For Kicks & the F’N Cheer Squad: Maggie – MagMileRunner, Diane, Julie & Lisa for making all of us look good!

Take a look at my F’N Running Club. Since I know after you see these photos, you will want to be one of us, here are rules to joining our “club”. 1) Show up, 2) Be happy orFake it, 3) Show up. See, everyone is welcome! I’ll see you tomorrow at the Grainery at 5pm for the Wednesday run!

Our F’N Runners

Kelly – Running Kellometers: Palos Half_Kelly

Lori & Susan: Palos Half_Lori & Susan Aurelia: Palos Half_Aurelia

Susan & Wayne: Palos Half_Wayne-Susan

Brian & Kevin: Palos Half_Kevin Melissa: Palos Half_Melissa

Steve & Jenny: Palos Half_Jenny

Me: Palos Half_2012_happy

Thanks Gail & our own personal F’N Cheer Squad for making all of us look as if we are having the times of our life. You guys ROCK!

Do you have any good or interesting race photos? Send them to me and I will post them on Friday!

**Update! Great minds think alike! Maggie is doing a photo challenge of good race pics. Please go visit her at magmilerunner.com and send your awesome photos to her! She will be posting them on Monday. I’m going to defer the good race photos post to her! Enjoy!**

Happy Running *** Amanda – TooTallFritz *** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Scheduling Conflicts…..

I start planning my race schedule a year or so in advance.  I know this “may” seem OCD to some but there are a handful of races which I run each year, mostly because I like the course, or the race director (example:  Palos Half Marathon that Mel from Running For Kicks organizes in May), or it’s a charity event, or it’s close to my mom’s house and gives me an “extra” reason to go for a visit.  Whatever the reason, I certainly have my favorites and I will choose a small event over a big expensive event each and every time. Therefore, I have never delved into real Ironman territory.  I participated in an awesome 70.3 event, the Great Illini Challenge, in 2008 while I was trying for Mr. Michael but it was a generic version of the half “Ironman” distance and a fraction of the cost.  I normally stay away from big name events where you pay for an after party, band, and/or the brand name, etc. with your entry fee.  It’s just not my thing because I participate for the running/TRIing, not the party.  However, as this year’s schedule plays out, I have paid for both an entry into a Rock N Roll event and now I am registered for the Ironman 70.3 Muncie.

In my defense, I got a super deal on the RnR Chicago event when I registered for it last November with a coupon code and as an early bird.  As for the Ironman event, hey, that’s where my friends are going and I want to be there with them, and the timing/location is right.  Plus, my one friend is a kickass great biker, which is my weakest link, so I will just focusing on “trying” to catch her or if by chance I get out of the water first I will be pedaling my ass off fast trying to stay away from her!  I know that she will still crush me on the bike but a little added incentive is worth the price tag.  🙂

Unfortunately, I had to nix a really GREAT race on my schedule to take part in the IM 70.3 Muncie.  I gave up the Evergreen International TRI in Hudson, IL due to scheduling conflicts with family, run & other TRI events.  This event is on July 14, 2012.

If you are available on July 14th, I highly recommend this race!  It is in a great location, great course, plus they offer both a sprint and an international distance so good for everyone in your party.  This is definitely one of my favorites and the course is fast, I will miss it on my 2012 calendar but please partake, take photos and send them to me and I will  post them while congratulating you on your achievements!  Go, register for Evergreen HERE.  As an added bonus, the race director a super cool lady who puts on a series of events under the TRI Mom/TRI Shark name.  In the last event I raced for TRI Mom, I was handed a sack lunch as I was leaving for my drive home.  Thanks, Mom!  I was starved and much appreciated that sack lunch.  Some times it’s the little things, you know?

So how is your racing season shaping up?  Is it coming together smoothly or are you coming across a few speed bumps like me?  I honestly can’t fit in one international/olympic distance TRI this year and will just be focusing on the two 70.3 distance events.  Not ideal and I’m sure my transitions will be slow due to lack of practice but attitude and an over abundance of confidence will make up for transition issues because I plan to totally crush both 70.3s this year.  I only have one time in which to compare and that is the pre-Michael race but the time still stands and counts in my books.  The 2008 Great Illini Challenge brought me a 6:33 finish and I am hoping by drafting off Renee the Muncie race will get me under the 6:30 mark so I can go on to really get after it at the 2012 Great Illini Challenge 70.3 on Labor Day weekend.  BELIEVE!

If you would like to join me at the 2012 Great Illini Challenge 70.3, they offer both an Olympic and 70.3 Distance, so feel free to come and have fun at whatever distance you are ready to tackle!  This course is really user/spectator friendly too as it has 2 loops to each part.  You will be close to your car transition several times during the race in the event that you “need” anything.  I hope to see you out there!

**Disclaimer** – Drafting in a triathalon will get you disqualified.  Don’t do it.  And if you do, don’t tell them that TTF said it was ok cuz it’s not! 

Sidenote:  Let me just say how excited I am for all of you over the PunkeeLove Headband Giveaway!!  I wish I had a headband to send each and every one of you and I will be on  pins and needles doing the drawing on Monday.  Good luck everyone!  Don’t forget to use the one time only code for 20% off:  tootall20   to order the bands that you want on discount.  I’m certainly taking advantage of the code and placing an order today since I don’t need to wait for the drawing!

Happy Running & TRIing,                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

I Won & Here’s a Giveaway – Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

Last night I went to the Running For Kicks Shamrock Fun Run in Palos.  I am coming off some higher miles, at least for me, so it probably wasn’t the smartest move but I wanted to go so that I could wear my green Team Sparkle skirt again!   However, knowing that my legs were extra fatigued, I was smart and grabbed my Aspaeris Pivot Shorts (APS). 

These are the only compression shorts I own and I really like them.  They have two layers, which I initially thought would be awkward but they go on easier than most compression wear, plus they stay in place and don’t move even during hard speed workouts on the treadmill.   I really love the way the compression feels on my hips and legs when I run.  Even though my legs were very fatigued last night, the compression adds just enough pressure to keep the blood flowing and help ease the soreness.  I actually feel pretty decent today.  Now if the shorts could just push me up those Ishnala hills! 

Here is the official description from Aspaeris:

Aspaeris Pivot Short™

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts™ are actually two pairs of shorts bonded together. The Outer Short is a high performance compression short designed to support your muscles. The Inner Short features our breakthrough, Dual Sensory Compression Bands™.

These cross-knit bands guide your muscles into the proper position, thereby improving your pivot performance, which helps prevent ACL and hip injuries.

The Aspaeris Pivot Short™ is not an ordinary compression short. Athletes who try the APS™ report feeling more confident in their ‘pivot moves’ and almost all feel more in control without being restricted.

 I ordered a pair of the APS at the beginning of the year and liked them so much that when we were gathering sponsors for our Chicago Ragnar Relay Team (You Just Got) Chicked, I contacted them to see if they would be interested in sponsoring our team.  I got lucky and they said yes!  So this added a few more pair of these babies to my collection.  My first purchase was practical and black in color, then I was a bit more adventurous with the sponsorship and added a pair of red and white.    The white worked out well for the Shamrock Fun Run because I won 2nd in the Most Festive Dressed contest!  Yay!  So nice to look good and feel good!  Thanks Aspaeris!

Through the Aspaeris Sponsorship for the Ragnar Relays, I agreed to tell YOU about these shorts and provide my honest opinion regarding my thoughts on the design and performance, which was easy for me because I already owned a pair and knew what I thought” about them.  In return for my sharing this information (and YOU reading it), they agreed to give one follower a free pair of shorts in their preferred size and color.  So if you would like a chance to win a free pair of shorts, a $60 value, here are the hoops through which you will need to jump:

  • Become a follower of this blog  (click on the +Follower button at the bottom) – 1 entry
  • Become a Facebook fan of TooTallFritz – 1 entry
  • Become a Facebook fan of Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – 1 entry
  • Link this post up to your Facebook page and announce the giveaway to your friends – 3 entries
  • Link up this post up to your blog and announce the giveaway to your followers – 5 entries

After you have done some/all of the above, please leave a comment in the comments section below and tell me what you have done and how many entries to assign you (max of 11).   If you are already a follower and a TooTallFritz Facebook fan, that is 2 free entries for you, just let me know that you would like to be entered in the drawing!  I will randomly generate a winner via a Random Number Generator on Monday, March 19th at 9 am.

If you don’t win, or can’t wait to try a pair of these out, then please feel free to use the 25% off coupon code:  PC2012 to get a discount on the Aspaeirs Pivot Shorts now. 

Good Luck,                                                                                                                   Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                               Amanda@tootallfritz.com

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

 

Short & Sweet……

I have been checking on a daily weekly basis for Aby’s Track & Field schedule to be released.  My spring racing schedule hinges on hers and I’m a planner so need to know what’s happening for life, running and racing for the next year six months.  And because of my tendency to plan, it quite frankly really bothers me when a new event is scheduled without much notice, like the Get Lucky 7 and the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon.  Today was the day that the track schedule was published.  Of course, we have no idea of when practice starts but with the first meet on April 2nd, I can’t imagine that it will be long before the season begins.

So today the preparations began.  We first stopped at Running For Kicks for a new pair of running shoes, then we hit the road to break them in a bit.  My little shortie is looking good and getting stronger by the season.  It is absolutely amazing.The little girl who couldn’t go a half mile before stopping to walk just this past summer ran 2 miles without stopping tonight.   She hasn’t run since the end of Cross Country season except to come out in support of the Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold.  I had suspected during the Sherry run that she was stronger.  I thought the strength was probably more mental than physical but it really doesn’t matter.

Tonight confirmed my suspicions and she IS stronger!  It was a short but very sweet run tonight.  Proud of my little girl!

2 miles in 20:13 with a short stop at the turnaround while we awaited a passing car.  Watch out, my little Aby will be flying around all of us before we even know it.

Proud Mamma,                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz