8 Days til Ragnar Chicago – 8 Ragnar Questions Answered

There are so many questions floating around about relay races, some people live under a rock haven’t even heard about them and others just don’t know much about them.  So here are the top 8 questions which I get regarding Ragnar.

Ragnar Chicago Header

  1. How do you get a team together?  Answer:  I joined a team that was partially formed by RunWithJess.  You may think you know a ton of people who run and would jump at the opportunity to participate in such a momentous event but getting 6 (for an ultra team) or 12 people (for a regular team) to commit, pay and show up is a bit of a reality check.  **I actually know a local team who needs 2 runners for the race NEXT WEEK.  If you are interested, please let me know and I can get you in contact with them.  They have a regular team and you could pick your position, distances for the 3 legs you would need to run could be as low as 13 miles (total) or as high as 20 miles, you get to pick.  Girls or guys welcome.  2 people  needed.**
  2. Where will you sleep?  Answer:  Due to the way our 6 chick team is set up with us rotating, I will be running every 6th leg, we will also need to drive, navigate, and encourage/aid the teammate running at the time…..I really don’t see much sleep in our equation, like I probably won’t waste the space by taking a pillow/blanket.
  3. Where will  you go to the bathroom?  Answer:  This is a big issue!  We have been warned that we can only go to the bathroom in the designated areas, drop-off points and/or official port-o-pot locations.  Fun, I hope we don’t have any GI issues.  This one could get a little messy…..quite literally.  Oh, and we will get disqualified if we go to the bathroom anywhere other than an “official” location.  Awesome.  I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for one of these….

    porta potty

    Wonder if we could get a little trailer, rent a port-o-pot and haul it behind the van?  Maybe charge $1 for every non-team member who would like to use it?  I bet it would pay for itself.  🙂

  4. What will you eat?  Answer:  A lot of relay teams actually take the time to stop, eat, get coffee, etc.  However, I don’t think that will be in the cards for us since we are rotating runners so quickly and will be spending all non-drive time in line for the port-o-pot.  Our team is planning to take our food.  We have a few runners ME, ME, ME who may, or may not, have a sensitive tummy and we want to control the food intake as much as possible.  I’m seriously considering getting giant tortilla wraps, spreading them heavily with peanut butter and rolling it up with a giant whole pickle in the middle.  This will give me carbs, fat, protein & salt.  Sounds crazy but I won’t have to worry about soggy bread!  Whatcha think? 
  5. Do you really have to run all night?  Answer:  You betcha!  (Can you say that in the Sarah Palin voice?)  Each person in the van needs a reflective vest and is required to wear it during the run portion and at any point when they are outside the van from 7:30pm til 6am.  Huge thanks to MagMileRunner and RunningKellometers for letting us borrow their vests!  Basically if it’s your leg to run and it’s dark, congrats, your running in the dark.  I’d suggest a nice pair of KnuckleLights so you can see where you are going, so much better than headlamps!  Each runner also needs a red blinker for their bum back.   This means if one person gets lost, everyone following their little blinker will most likely follow them into no man’s land.  Awesome.
  6. What happens if somebody gets injured or sick during the race and cannot complete the relay?  Answer:  This is a very REAL issue.  You cannot sub in runners after the race commences.  Whoever you have in your van must complete the legs assigned.  Therefore, if Suzie gets injured, then one of her van-mates will need to run the remainder of her legs or possibly carry her, if they are really nice.  🙂injured runner being carried
  7. Is there a time frame in which you must complete the race?   Answer:   According to Ragnar rules, each runner needs to maintain an 11 minute mile pace.  However, each team member had to identify a 10K pace (I padded mine with a “few” extra minutes considering I will be running 33 miles in total….hoping not to fizzle out!!) in order for the race director to select start times and order the teams in a way that the event runs smoothly.  They don’t want too many people/runners moving thru an area at any given time.  Basically, you need to stick to your pace because there is a lot going on to which you are not privy.  So pick an honest pace and try to stick to it so that it doesn’t domino a series of events which you cannot control.  If your team runs too fast, Ragnar officials can hold your team for up to a couple hours to get your team back on track pace wise.  No mention if you run too slow which I hope isn’t a personal problem for me!
  8. Are you crazy?  Or maybe the exact question was “Have you lost your mind?”  Answer:  TBD.  I don’t think I’m crazy but that is according to my personality.  For some, this type of thing would be considered crazy.  I personally try to do ONE thing each year that is “outside MY box”.  The “ONE THING” isn’t always fitness related but normally that’s the kind of challenge I gravitate toward.  Just one thing.  Once a year. Something to impact me as a person and push my limits.  2012 = Ragnar Chicago.  If that’s crazy then, move over cuz this crazy runner is barreling thru….. all the way from Madison, WI to  Chicago.  WhoooooooHoooooooo!

Crazy_Runner

Do you also try to  do something every year that you consider to be “outside the box”?   Do you have any Ragnar questions which you would like me to “attempt” to answer?       

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

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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

Southwest Half Marathon Race Report

I am pretty sure that almost everyone I know posted a new PR this weekend from the 5K, Half Marathon to Marathon distance.  I am so proud of all of you and wanted to say:

great job

I had a super busy weekend with setting up a Twitter account the kiddos,  mom in town, a few social events and the Southwest Half Marathon.  We had some serious fun!

In regards to the race, anyone who has ran a race by Mel at Running For Kicks knows that they are getting a lot with their race fee.  When I picked up my packet it was stuffed with great items that were both useful and exciting.  Thanks, Mel!

Palos Half__2012_goodies

We received a two pack of Saucony socks, a Southwest  Half Marathon 13.1 sticker (super cool!), a tube of Nathan Catalyst electrolyte drink tabs, GU Chomps, a mini Luna Bar that I ate before the photo was taken, an in-store $15 off shoe purchase coupon, an in-store coupon for those awesome Saucony socks, which I can’t find online, plus a gender specific shirt that fits and is cool!  I will actually wear this shirt!  As a bonus, since I signed up early, I received 2 shirts instead of one.  Of course, Aby laid claim to the other shirt as soon as we got home.  🙂

On race morning, everything was super organized and efficient.  The line to the port-o-potties was long but that is normal.  Gear check was excellent and they even had plastic bags to protect our gear since the grass was wet from the rain.  Nice touch!  Most of the F’N Runners met up for a quick photo.  From Left:  Kelly – Running Kellometers, Kevin, Susan M, Wayne, Lori, Aurelia, Brian, Me & Susan D.

Palos Half_FNRC

The race kicked off before most people probably even had their gps watch linked up as soon as the National Anthem concluded.  We were off and running and the race went perfectly.  The rain held off, it was starting to get warm but nothing too crazy, the route was easy to follow and with the out and back it was fun to see the fast runners come back for the finish, plus see friends along route.  There were lots of friendly volunteers, water/PowerAde every couple miles, potties throughout the course, a couple aid stations and lots of F’N support!

Maggie – MagMileRunner was at 104th Ave with signs, cheers and took a ton of photos!

Palos Half_Maggie

Diane, Julie, & Lisa were just past Maggie and screaming like crazy for us!

Palos Half_Cheering Squad

I also saw Amanda W & Dennis, plus met so many people on course who I have previously only known online.  Many thanks to all of you who took the time to say hello!  I’m so happy to have met so many new people during/after the race! 

This is a tough course for me, it always is but I’m not really sure why.  It’s an out and back and just seems to go on forever and ever and ever.    There are small rolling hills throughout even though everyone says it’s flat.  Not my best race, I struggled.  I was fueled & hydrated and it wasn’t too hot, I just didn’t run well.  I was very happy though that  1)  the new AdvoCare Rehydrate Energy Gel arrived on Saturday in time for the race  2) tasted good in a fresh lemon flavor, and  3) DID NOT upset my tummy.  New AdvoCare win for me!

AdvoCare Rehydrate Gel

I ran a 1:58 something which was WAY off my 1:50 goal.  Yes, I was disappointed.  The highlight of the race was definitely seeing the F’N Cheering Squad, seeing all the local familiar faces on course and meeting some new people along the way as well.  Great race, I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone.  Give it a try!  It’s a great local race with lots of goodies for the $$, particularly if you sign up early.  Plus, our F’N Cheering Squad will probably be out there again next year and they definitely add major spice to the course. 

Here is a photo that Dennis took of me “pushing” to the finish with bricks in both of my shoes and one hanging from each butt cheek.  OUCH! 

Palos Half_2012

It’s now time for me to move on to Ragnar Chicago training.  I have lots of miles to cover and very little time.  I also need to seriously ramp up my bike miles to prep for the Ironman 70.3 Muncie.  Time is ticking!

Great job to all of you who ran, raced and particularly those of you who crushed some PRs this weekend.  Keep kicking butt!

Happy Running,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

Sharmock Shuffle 2012

Now onto the good stuff!!  RACE DAY!! 

Race day was insane but went very smoothly!  Those of us who drove in or took the Metra Electric arrived in the city early with plenty of time to spare.  Some of the F’N Runners braved the Rock Island Metra and arrived a little later and we didn’t see them before the start.  Here is our early bird “skeleton” crew.  See the green sparkle!   

It was fun seeing a few of our friends pre-race but it was short-lived before we ran off to our corrals so that we wouldn’t be locked out like last year!  The photogs had a hay day between all of us dressed up and the fact that we were also early before the big crowds arrived.  I bet we got stopped for photos 10x before we made it to gear check.  Me, Rachel & Lisa.

Each year, the organizers change a few things.  Starting last year, they separated gear check into two locations and it was a challenge.  However, this year we knew what to expect and dropping gear was easy and smooth.

In Corral B awaiting the start, we had plenty of time to chat, do some light stretching & take some photos with Maggie’s (MagMileRunner) camera since the rest of us checked our phones/cameras with our gear.  Source:  MagMileRunner:  Maggie, Kelly (Running Kellometers), & Me.

The boys:  Brian & Kevin:

The race started on time, as usual, and being that we were toward the front we were across the start line in a matter of minutes.  The first mile is always a little clogged and I didn’t run as fast as I should have but it was good and exciting to see all the people waiting and cheering for us.  I was trying to keep the boys in sight because I knew they would run just outside of my comfort zone.  The temperature was perfect in the mid 50s and the sun had not yet broken thru the clouds so I was hoping for a good race.

All was good until the mile 2 clock when I realized I made a judgment error by wearing arm sleeves for the first time ever.  They were cute, comfortable, fit perfectly PLUS they matched my ToughChik irun tank so it didn’t even occur to me pre-race that they weren’t a good idea.  However, at mile 2 I was burning up and they had to come off!  The theory behind arm warmers is that when you get warm you just pull them down to about your wrist and leave them “on”, or take them off and tuck them into a pocket, etc b/c they are small.  I tried pulling them down but was so warm I was “kinda” freaking out.  Plus they were covering my watch and didn’t look good inside out.  I ended up pulling them all the way off but didn’t have anywhere to stash them so I was holding them in my hands.  Then I realized the guys were gone.  Ugh!  I carried them until mile 3 and knew I had to ditch them.  But I didn’t want to ditch them since this was the first wear!   They were so cute!  However, I couldn’t carry them and am not sure how people run carrying their cameras, fuel and other valuables because I just can’t do it so I scanned the crowd for a worthy recipient.  Any Tough Chiks out there spectating?  It took a while but I finally saw a lady in what I thought/hoped was a Chicago Marathon half zip and she was in the front row.  In a very dramatic fashion, I pointed at her and said, “ToughChik for YOU!!!” and I threw the arm warmers between her feet.  I can only hope she not only keeps them but also orders a green irun tank to match.  May my sacrifice bring another Tough Chik into the ranks?!?

With the arm warmers gone, I tried to refocus on the race but apparently just zoned out in the 4th mile with an 8:08 split.  Not sure why, I was running, slightly distracted by a father/son interaction that was not positive from my perspective but I was pushing or so I thought.  I skipped the water stop so no excuses there, my turnover was just not as quick as it should have been but I felt good.

The goal was to make it in the 38s this year.  As soon as I ditched the arm warmers I switched one of the watch stats to “time” so I could focus.  I knew the 38 was barely within reach AND I still had to climb the Roosevelt Bridge.  I was apparently slowing down cuz  Kelly (Running Kellometers) zoomed past me like I was walking.  Was I walking?  Maybe.  I clawed my way powered up the bridge and jogged sprinted  to the finish line to see that I had barely made it.  A 38:56 finish.  Woooooooop!  Success at the BEST.RACE.EVER.

Lots of photos, here are a few, more to come later (like the pic with the green men!!!!)  My favorite race day photo by far is of Rachel & Lisa from WI.  The E. family always does a serious pose followed by “muscles”.  Cracks me up, every time.  Lookin’ good, ladies!

Tim & Aurelia – A couple that Shuffles together stays together!

Me & Susan:

Fun times at the Shamrock Shuffle 2012!  The race was great, plenty of water stops, plenty of bathrooms, gear check in was great, gear check OUT was horrid, post race party looked awesome although I never attend but that may change next year and most importantly, it looked like EVERYONE was having fun.

Lessons learned:

  • No Arm warmers while racing if above 50 degrees.
  • No Knee High socks even cute ones with Shamrocks if above 50 degrees.
  • Need more focus in the middle miles.
  • Early arrival is good!

Special shout out to LaurenRuns for stopping to visit after the race.  Thanks, Lauren!  Great to meet you!

The End of Shamrock Shuffle 2012, at least until more photos are published!!

Happy Running,                                                                                                       Amanda – TooTallFritz

Six Degrees of Seperation…..Virtual Run For Sherry Arnold

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.

Today was the day for the Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold.  Running communities throughout the world sponsored virtual run/walks to honor Sherry, a “fallen” runner, and all of the other runners who have left their homes to go for a run and never returned.  I think each time we hear a story of a runner who has gone missing it cuts to each of our soul’s.  I usually remember the names of these individuals for years, if not forever, after the fact.  I find the six degrees of separation  reference to be true in most instances and this time most of us need even fewer “degrees” as many of us are connected to Sherry thru her cousin Beth at Shut Up + Run.   We may not know Beth personally but we know her “on-line”.  We may not have known Sherry personally but we knew her thru the stories which Beth took the time to share.

So today, we did the only thing that we could possibly do…..we ran.  Here is the group that showed up in single degree temps today to run.  I only wish I could say that our static temp was indeed 6 degrees, but the truth of the matter is that it was 8 degrees at the start with a “feels like” temp of -2.  The wind was howling and viscous so we grabbed a quick pic and took off running!  From back:  Kim, Susan, Kerry, Jenny, Kathy, Brian, Lori (middlish in purple), Stacy (Lori’s hubby!!), & CrazyBoyDon.  Front:  Joe, Meg (Jeni’s 11 year-old – middlish in black), Aby (my 10 year-old), Jeni – Sparkalish Roar, & Melissa.

As we were moving toward the trial, I also gave some brief safety tips.  I will highlight them here in case nobody could hear me with the howling wind.

    • Run with a friend or a group when possible.
    • Carry a pepper spray or something to defend yourself if necessary.  I like the PersonalSavers.com Wrist Saver.  At $12.95, it’s definitely a good deal in my opinion.  I ordered the small but its a tight fit on me.  I did that though so that Aby can also use it. 
    • Run without music or just use one ear bud with music at low volume if you must have it.
    • Pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
    • Make eye contact with the people you meet and the drivers of the cars that pass you up.
    • If you are running on the road, run against traffic.  It’s the law and it allows you to see what is coming at you.  React appropriately and don’t be afraid to dive in the ditch if necessary.  I step off the road ALL THE TIME.  I do not trust that cars see me.  Plus, as soon as I see a car, I immediately look behind me to see if one is coming from the other direction, which will inhibit the oncoming driver from moving over to give me more room.
    • Don’t take a ride from strangers.
    • If at all possible carry your cell phone with you in case you have an emergency.  I know today’s cell phones are usually big and bulky so we can surf the web so I had to purchase a spi-belt to carry mine.
  • I also use knucklelights (see above) at night and ALWAYS run in clothing that is VERY reflective and has multiple reflective accents.  Always assume that cars/drivers/people CAN’T see you!
  • Tell a family member (or leave a note!) your running route but also inform them that the route may change if the situation changes.  I always leave the house with a plan but frequently change it up due to circumstances:  something that makes me feel uncomfortable, a wild animal, the wind, the traffic patterns, etc.  So make sure the family knows the “intended” route but also have them be aware that shit things happen and a route is never written in stone at least for me.
  • Trust your instincts.  If it feels wrong, then it is wrong and it’s your responsiblity to change the situation.

So today, we ran for Sherry, no moment of silence or quiet reflection, just a quick safety check and then the joy of running.  May Sherry and all the other “gone missing” runners feel our joy today and take comfort in our remembrance of them doing their favorite thing, regardless of the weather. 

And of course, Michael wanted to participate too but with the weather, there was no way that I was taking him out in the jogger.  So we grabbed a photo with him once we got home.  And some of our friends who joined virtually who were not able to be in Frankfort, IL today.  Angela from sunny Florida.  Lynn who is local but couldn’t make it out with us today.  Several of our F’N Running Club members were racing today and couldn’t join us in person but still ran with Sherry’s bib on their back’s.  From left:  Amanda – Get to Goal, Kelly – Running Kellometers, Gennie & Maggie – MagMileRunner:

Did you get in any miles for you OR Sherry today?  If so, link up some pics for us!

Any safety tips that I missed?  If so, please share.

Happy SAFE Running,                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                             amanda@tootallfritz.com

Inspiration in Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Running,                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz

19 Runners and Counting……

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

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

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

Joe coming back from the turnaround.

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

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

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

Happy Running!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

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

Matteson Dash Into The New Year 5K (New Years Eve 2011)

New Year’s Eve 2011 began this morning by meeting a group of gal pals and participating in a local 5K.  The event was appropriately named “Dash Into The New Year” and was in Matteson, IL.    Meet Kristina, Kate S., Maggie – Run for Pi, Kate LF., Kelly – Running (Kell)ometers, Me, & Kim.Although it was a cool day to most people, it wasn’t bad when you were running, low 30s with a few ice patches on the ground.  The course was flat except for one overpass that consisted of a decent incline/decline that we were fortunate enough to run twice.

We all know that I haven’t run in almost two weeks and I have been bitching concerned since I was noticing daily the snap leave my legs.  Like, I mean climbing the stairs has been a chore.  So basically, I was awake all night and scared shitless at race time.  Kim and I trying to stretch and calm my nerves

I did try to run a little, less than a mile, before race time just to make sure I was loose and kinda ready.  I knew this was going to hurt and I was right.  I took off too fast like normal, but my first mile time was buried around 7:15….yeah, not good when that’s max effort.  It just slid down into a total comma from there.  Hi Maggie, Bye Maggie.  Hi Kelly, Bye Kelly.  Hi Kate S., Bye Kate S….OMG are we almost done?  At the point when I normally tire, I just keep telling myself to PUSH-PUSH-PUSH.  There was no pushing today, it was all about hanging on and keeping my legs moving, no push, no snap……just hang on, pretty please?  I will tell you that I thought the course was pretty good.  I didn’t mind the overpass (x2), I like a course with character, but it was just cruel that they pulled us almost all the way back to the start/finish then made us take an extra little loop to finish off before we crossed the finish line.  Great race but I was “cranky” by then and not amused by the short detour.  But it was super short and quick as far as detours are concerned.

Great music before and after the race, indoor area to stretch and wait for race time, adequate snacks, water & Gatorade but I didn’t see any on course support/water stations.  This isn’t a problem for me but I know some people like water, even during a short race.  There were lots of Matteson police to help with road closures and directions.  Good race.  I’d run it again.

I know that Maggie – Run for Pi, PR’d today.  YAY, Maggie!  Not sure how the other F’N Runners did compared to their norm but they all looked good.  However, those youngin’s stacked the Women’s 20-29 age group so deep that only Kelly – Running (Kell)ometers was able to take home an award.  Here is Kelly accepting a 2nd Place award, she was 1 second in front of Maggie – Run for Pi.  Yikes!

The age groups were deep, 10 years, and two awards were given.  Tough!  My age group was soft today so I got lucky.  I also took a 2nd but in Women’s 30-39 with a 24:30 (unofficial…no chip timing).  Me & Kelly – Running (Kell)ometers with our 2nd place medals.  Whew, I’m looking “soft” and dissheveled….that’s how I felt today too.

And lastly, myself and my girlz, Kristina & Kim.  We were just missing Nicki T. today or we would have all been present.  Kristina and Kim both had a great race, so proud of them for coming out in the cold to run and meet some of the F’N Runners!

All in all, I’m happy.  I knew I wasn’t going to be fast today but it could have been worse.  It felt worse.  The good news is that my feet don’t hurt. I have some tightness in my hips and glutes but my feet DO NOT HURT.  So I’m taking this as a positive.  I did a total of 5.3 miles today with warm up and cool down and MY FEET DON’T HURT.  So we will see what tomorrow bring.  I’m hoping to go out for a bit tomorrow and run very slowly.  It’s a nice way to start the new year if you can manage it.

Next up, the Midwinters Cruise 5K in Park Forest, IL on January 15th.  This event is hosted by the Park Forest Running and Pancake Club.  Super friendly group!  Come.  Run.  Eat Pancakes.  Yum!!  Where is your next race?

Happy New Year,                                                                                                    Amanda – TooTallFritz