Half-Assed….

This week has been a bit crazy.  I’ve been all over the board as to where I’m going, what I’m doing, and which problem has my main focus.  Quite frankly, I feel like I’ve done a half-assed  poor job with everything.  And yes, half-assed is a real word, at least according to the Urban Dictionary

1. half-assed  
 
Doing an activity only partly, or without one’s whole self involved; doing something without caring, or without putting anything into it.

On Monday, I went to Running For Kicks and did “half” of their fun run.  Yes, I stole Gail’s photo again off the Running For Kicks facebook page. 

I did 3.05 miles in the “hills”.  Since none of my girls were around, it was a bit difficult to find a partner at my pace.  Fortunately, Chuck took mercy on me and ran some 8:45s with me before I spun out and raced home.

On Tuesday, I did a speed workout with half of my attention capacity, the other half was back at my desk with my deadline work. I also had half the amount of energy I needed to MAKE IT HAPPEN.  And of course, I had half the time I would have liked, so it was super important that the dreadmill work WITH me and not against me.  And while I wasn’t as happy and cheerful as this chick below, I did okay. 

It was  a very systematic workout that allowed me to zone out and not have to focus on too much of anything other than NOT getting thrown off the back of the treadmill.  And while I DO NOT recommend you do as I do, I will put my workout below just incase you need a starting point for increasing your speed a bit.  I’m supposed to be running much faster with longer intervals, I just can’t seem to muster it at the this point in time.  Therefore, I do what I can do on the given day and refuse to beat myself up over not being better.  All of the following was done at a 1.0 incline.

  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 3 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min SPRINT at 8.5 mph which was within seconds quickly downgraded to 8.0 mph
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.1 mph
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.2 mph
  • 1 min walk @4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.3 mph
  • 1 min walk  @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2 min sprint @ 8.4 mph
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 1 min jog @ 5.5 mph
  • 2  min sprint @ 8.5 mph (much better this time but still HARD for me!)
  • 1 min walk @ 4.0 mph
  • 3 min jog @ 5.5
  • TOTAL = 30 MINUTES!

 Then yesterday was my normal Wednesday night run with the F’N Running Club.  I was very excited going in, even showed early to log some miles. 

The sun was shining and I even had to scramble for a pair of sunglasses….thanks, Michael for letting me borrow your toddler “Mater” glasses!  However, I soon realized that I was only half focused.  I had  scheduled our local Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold  shortly before I  started running and the entire situation was just weighing on me.  Not just the horror of what happened to Sherry but of the fact that bad things happen to good people ALL THE TIME.  And it sucks.  Then the memories of past runners who didn’t make it home flooded my memory:  Chelsea King (age 17) from CA in 2010.  Patrick Mizwicki (age 14) from Lincoln Way East in 2011, a nameless woman, who has probably been forgotten by many, who was killed on our local suburban trails circa 2007/2008.  All traces of that news article has been swept away  because I REALLY looked for her name.  A lot weighing on me lately so I wasn’t my normal cheerful self by the time the FNRC showed up.  But we had a great turnout so that was awesome!  Left Back:  Kathy (who always looks glamorous and “made-up” to me), Lori (newbie!), Diane, Dawn, Aurelia, Rick, Maggie – MagMileRunner, Me & Brian.  Front:   Jeni – Sparkalish Roar & Meg.

It was good run but it’s hard to get those girls to slow down under that 8:45 mark.  I was dragging but made it thru.  My total for the day was 10.26 miles.  But I’m feeling it.  I have some soreness and not in a “good sore” type of way.  I need to rest today, and possibly tomorrow, so I can be ready for the weekend.

If you can make it out to our Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold (and every other missing/murdered/dead runner) then please come and join us.  We will be running in Frankfort, IL at 7:30am on Saturday.  Everyone is welcome; I’m even bringing my daughter.  I will do a brief Runner Safety talk before the run.  I’ll be brief, I promise!  Feel free to run as little or as far as you like….just come.  If you are not local, then print the bib HERE and do it on your own or get a group together in your area.  If you send me photos, I will post them all!

Happy Running,                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

Like A Kid at Christmas…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Running!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                             amanda@tootallfritz.com

All Dressed Up…..

On Monday nights, the local running store, Running For Kicks sponsors a fun run out of the store front in Palos at 6pm.  For over three years, I have wanted to participate in one of these runs; however, my schedule sucks timing is wrong for me as the store is about half way between work and home.  If I stop at the store it is usually an hour before the run or a half hour after.  Today, I saw that they were doing a Christmas Fun Run and I attempted wanted to fit it in so that I could dust off my red Team Sparkle Skirt.  I honestly thought I could make it…until I hit Christmas rush-hour traffic.  Here is a photo of the RFK Christmas Group Run…..stolen photo alert….RFK facebook page. 

Great looking group.  Do you see anyone missing?  Right, I didn’t make the start.  I was probably 8 to 10 minutes late but as all of you know, that’s a good mile shy of the pack.  So I was all dressed up with nowhere to go…..red-team-sparkle-sketch.jpg

However, I came to run and I was going to run.  I run solo all the time but don’t drive 45 minutes each way to do it.  Mel D. pointed me in the right direction and off I ran into the darkness with my KnuckleLights.  I must say Mel’s directions had a little to be desired were vague seeing as I had neither been to a previous RFK group run nor ran in Palos ever before other than on race courses that RFK has sponsored….and my race motto is merely to follow the people in front of me.  I never stress about looking at a map, etc.  However, today I was running blind and trying to make the best of it.  Thank goodness for the CountryGirl sense of direction.   I did manage to catch a group of walkers and they gave me some very valuable instructions.  Then I somehow stumbled onto a group of runners.  But other than the few people I saw, I just tried to enjoy the neighborhood lights and the mild temps.  It was a really beautiful night….and HELLO…..I was wearing a RED SPARKLE SKIRT.  Here are a few homes that really caught my eye so glad they didn’t call the cops on me for photographing their homes.

I am happy that I was able to get out and grab some road time. I just ran a couple of loops multiple times, then when the homeowners started peeking out their windows, I would move onto another loop til I got in enough miles, then I headed back to the store.  In all, it was 6.56 miles in 1 hr 4 min.  Not lightning pace, but I did take some photos, plus had some directional issues, and I always am extra cautious in the dark.  So it was a good run for me.

An added bonus, I saw Judy & Kate when I got back to the store.  Then I begged got a few photos.  Gail & I: 

Gail was rockin’ some AWESOME socks.  Not sure which were hers but I was jealous!  Note:  photo stolen from the RFK facebook page!

Mel D. & myself – Lots of respect for this man, he helps a lot of people and genuinely cares about me you and my your running and foot pain.  Thanks, Mel!

I strongly encourage you to head over to RFK for one of their fun runs; but leave the house early so you don’t miss the start they are loads of fun with people you know and love, plus they will probably even feed you.  Sorry, I didn’t get to see more of you tonight.  I honestly tried, just don’t have enough minutes in the day.

Try to find the silver lining in any situation.  Some people have real problems so I need to remind myself don’t sweat the small stuff.  There will be other days, other runs and more life to live.  Try to do the best with what you have for today!  What is your best advice for handling the day-to-day disappointments mishaps?

Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                 amanda@tootallfritz.com

10 Degrees….

Ten degrees……the coldest it’s been so far in Illinois for the start of winter 2011-2012.  Wow, it was hard to get my ass out of bed  “up and out” this morn.  The thing that propelled me forward was actually the fact that I had the time, the kids and hubby were out of the house, and I really WANTED to go for a run…… regardless of the temps.  I would have gone had it been below zero.  Yes, I am  a freak weirdo like that.  It was also an added bonus to have a little accountability.  Although my running partners were quickly dropping like flies with the falling temps, there was still several who made an appearance.  Me, Suzanne, Kate, & Maggie – Run For Pi(e)

Today we were joining up with the Yankee Runners as they came south, out of  the Palos Hills, to run Old Plank for a change.  When I hit my usual parking area, which is quite desolate at this time of year, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was filled people…..not just people but RUNNERS!  I bet there were 25+ people out there for a run today!  AWESOME.  But I still was slightly tentative about leaving the warmth of my car.Wow, 10 degrees.  I can do it.  I have this new face mask….it will keep me warm!

There wasn’t any a lot of chatter or introductions, basically we just jumped out of our cars and took off running before we got frost-bitten.  However, I did see Judy F., Frogger, Mark C., Scott B., Cindy T. and a few other people I recognized from Running For Kicks functions or the Park Forest Running & Pancake Club.  Once we were moving, the photos blurred as the lens on my camera phone fogged.  But I still tried!

It was really beautiful out.  We had a dusting of snow, the sun was just coming up and did I mention it was 10 degrees?  The wind was low, we had a headwind going out but coming back in a full sweat I realized I was overdressed like always but it was just a beautiful day.  And as always, I was super glad I went out and got in a few miles with my friends.  On a random side note, I want to thank all of you who continue to come out and meet me to run.  It is sooooo much more fun trying to hang on to Suzanne & Kate’s coat-tails running in a group verses going solo.  Thank YOU!

“Run”way Fashion:  Reebok Compression base layer, long bra top, Athleta long sleeve lined with fleecy flannel which has thumb holes and fold overs for hands (they don’t make it anymore!), then I had a light running jacket on which is a generic off brand I’ve had for years.  On the bottom I had CW-X compression tights plus Athleta Run About Pants in TALL.  I was very bundled without too much bulk, everything fit close so that air didn’t get in to allow the sweat to freeze.  I also wore an ear band, hat, gloves and the new Seirus Innovation face mask (picked it up at Dick’s Sporting Goods last night but couldn’t seem to find it online to link it up here).  So I was really quite toasty after we got running!  You CAN run outside in the winter if you want dress appropriately.

10.03 miles – 1:34, a few stops for photos, a stop for fluids at the 4 mile mark, and a few road crossings but mostly kept it moving.  On days when its this cold, please keep moving so your sweat doesn’t freeze.  That would be bad for your skin.

Happy WINTER Running!                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz

Breaking the Rules….or So I Thought

I have a few unwritten rules that I use for running and specifically racing.  As I get older more mature, my body is less forgiving of the required daily demands; therefore, rest days are a welcome relief must.  My biggest, unwritten rule is that I don’t run the day before race day.  Or at least, I haven’t EVER planned to run pre-race day until today.  You might ask what prompted me to consider breaking tradition?

It was Mel D. from Running for Kicks in Palos.             

Although there are a couple local running stores, I only use two.  Running for Kicks in Palos or if I’m heading to Indiana, Fleet Feet Schererville.  The majority of time I go to Running for Kicks for the same reason as 95% of their other customs……..Mel, Gail and a whole crew of RUNNERS who are waiting to help you and make your next run better than the last.  You walk into the store and I promise, it’s a family affair.   I can say this because I rarely go unless I am dragging 3/4 of my little family, which includes a little shit man who is trying to climb the walls.  The Running For Kicks staff never bats an eye regardless of how they really feel his antics.

Today Running for Kicks partnered with Saucony to host a trail run where you could try out the new Saucony trail shoes and then for 1 hour after the run, you could    1) win one of three pair of Saucony Trail  Shoes being raffled off and   2) get a 20% discount on any Saucony shoes/merchandise.  This is huge for me because I run in Saucony exclusively, except for 5K racing, and each pair of my shoes start at $100.  So by attending this event, I would have automatically been guaranteed a $20 shoe savings…..which for my cheap ass me was reason enough to secure a sitter, and “break the rules”. 

This fun run and shoes savings never happened for me today because my little man got the flu last night and we all know what that does to the house and the family.   For most of us, running is a hobby and that means it will always take a backseat to the family.  There was no way I was going to leave him with somebody else while he was sick regardless of my own plans/desires.  He seems fine now so back to running talk with lots of laundry, carpet shampooing, and bed changing  fun in between.

Did you attend the Running For Kicks/Saucony Trail Run?  Did you win the FREE shoes?  Have you ever participated in a similar event?  If you attended, or were lucky enough to win the shoes, let me know!  I’ll see you at the next event or maybe 13.1 Valpo if I’m not puking tomorrow. 

Update:  Gail R. let me steal a few of her photos!!  Here are the three winners, Joe W., Kelly W.  and George B.  congrats to all three of you!

Happy Running!                                                                                                                     Amanda – TooTallFritz

Halloween Hangover

I must say that I enjoy Halloween but am happy to say good-bye to it for another year.  Each year it is a fight with the kiddos as to how much candy they can stuff into their faces before I notice convince me to let them eat.  And I must say that it is also a struggle for me in an attempt to not stuff my own face limit my consumption.  I think we did pretty well last night with the kiddos not getting too out of control and I had 3 fun size Almond Joys.  Now, we still have a GROCERY BAG of candy left in the house so we will see how it goes from here on out.

Prior to the Trick or Treat extravaganza, I made a last-ditch effort to pad my mileage close out the month properly.  I decided on a Midlothian Reservoir/Yankee Woods run that would be about 6 miles.  The Reservoir, with a connect to Yankee for 1 loop, plus return is slightly under 6  so I parked my car a bit further from the trailhead becasue I’m OCD so that I got in a few extra steps to make it a full 6.  The intent was for a quicker pace, speedy turnover type running without wearing myself out. 

Since these trails are somewhat secluded in parts, I grabbed my Wrist Saver pepper spray and I was off.  If you need a pepper spray, this one is AWESOME.  It velcros onto the wrist and doesn’t move!  I love it and also attach it to the jogging stroller and/or Aby’s bike when we are running/hiking as a family.  The watch is the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS, another great product for a very reasonable price.  I am of the opinion that all technology is somewhat disposable due to the constant updates and changes.  I refuse to pay a lot for something that will be obsolete before the end of the month.  One of my favorite things about the Nike+ watch is that they frequently update it thru the net.  You plug-in for a charge, or to upload a run, and get a message that a new upgrade is available.  I purchased the watch on the pre-order before it even hit the stores so got an “original”.   They have made SEVERAL updates via the net to add features that were requested by consumers.  I really appreciate this rather than them just putting out a newer and better model that turns my original into a dinosaur.

Midlothian Reservoir:

The Midlothian Reservoir section is pretty short, about a mile, then you need to run a path by Central Ave for about a 1/2 mile to get into Yankee.  Once you hit the Yankee sign, one loop is 3 miles and  you can fly right back to the Reservoir to your car!  Yankee  Woods:

6 miles – 52:15 –  several photo stops and a road crossing x2

“Run”way Fashion – Freebie Alert:  RunGirl shirt from Women’s Running Magazine.  Great Magazine!!  And they give a free shirt with a 2 year subscription.  I don’t wear a lot of freebies but this one fits perfectly!

CWX Compression 3/4 tights.  Yep still wearing them and love them EVEN more today but I need more pink shirts!   Frogger –  I looked and they do have 3/4 for men.  You might want to talk to Mel; I picked these up at Running for Kicks.

Cheers & TRY not to eat too much Halloween candy!                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz