My Current Inspiration…..

I know we all have periods of time where we struggle getting out the door to log miles or hit that next workout.  It’s normal.  If you fall off the exercise wagon, don’t stress about it, just get back at it and move forward.  Take a second and look around you and see how others are getting it done regardless of their schedule.  Yes, get back at it!

As of late, running and working out has been easy, motivation wise, for me because I am constantly surrounded with amazing people and even kids who are pushing their limits each and every day.  I have been to 4 Junior High Cross Country meets over the last 6 days and each time I walk away in awe of how hard our kids are pushing.  These kids are running faster than most adults I know.  They are pushing hard each day and they are reaping the rewards.  Last Saturday, they brought home their first trophy, placing third as a team (Aby is at the bottom of the photo).

Aby & Peotone Girls w Trophy_St George Invite_9-15-12

Most of the girls also brought home Top 20 Medals, Aby was 16th running a 14:01 in the 2 mile.  I’m pretty sure I can’t run that fast right now.

Aby_St George Medal_9-15-12

Most of the girls are very tired but keep pushing their limits at meet after meet.  This is Aby running her 4th meet in 6 days last night:

Aby Running_9-20-12

These girls make me want to run faster.  They make me realize that even as an adult if we keep pushing and running hard, even when we are tired, then good things happen.  Now the girls get to rest for a few days before starting another cycle.  Push, Push, Rest.  Push, Push, Rest.  It’s a necessary cycle.  The resting, and taking care of oneself, being just as important as the pushing. 

Push hard my friends and you too will reap the rewards.  Let these little ones inspire you too!

** Push, Push, Rest ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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Constantly Searching….

I am in a constant state of searching for motivational quotes, pictures or experiences.   This is not because I feel unmotivated but because I am banking them for when there is a need.  Or possibly so that I have them to draw on towards the end of a scorching hot race where it looks like I’ve just come off a swim rather than a run.

Many people who are just getting on the fitness/running train think that it’s easy for those of us who have been doing this for a long time.  They possibly think that marathon #5 is a cake walk in comparison to marathon #1.  Or the 20th half marathon will be easy because 19 have come before.  However, this isn’t necessarily the case.  Yes, we’ve done it before but life, and training, is different each and every day.   Part of being successful with fitness and running is being flexible and putting in the time/miles no matter what.  And a race is never easy unless you just aren’t trying.  Sometimes I get a little snippy when I hear somebody at a race say, “that was easy”.  After I heard this at a race last year, I spontaneously turned and looked at the lady and said, “well, you should have run harder”.  Not my best moment, I agree.  I realize that I REALLY need to think before I speak.  However, she looked at me and said, “you’re right, I should have, I will next time”. 

So if it’s easy, then it probably wasn’t worth your time, $$ or effort.  If you are taking the easy route then you may never get where you are going and you will certainly never maximize your potential. 

Not maximizing our potential is possibly one of the greatest fears of those of us with a few more miles under our belts.   We work hard to see results but have to be realistic that we will eventually age out and have to readjust our focus and goals.  So while you may be just jumping on the fitness train, we are running against time trying to be the best we can be before we start sliding in the opposite direction.  So no, this marathon is NOT easier because I have more experience.  In fact, it will be harder.  Expectations are higher. Goals are higher.  The fear of not maximizing potential will be higher.

I urge you not to settle, not to accept the limitations put upon you but to keep searching and keep reaching and keep moving forward to maximize your potential.  Every day counts.

Stay Motivated,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

The Journey of One….

As a follow-up to yesterday’s Don’t Count Yourself Out post, I asked my friend Angela to write up a little something about her journey.  Angela is a good friend of mine who I have known for years.  When we first met, I believe it is safe to say that she was NOT a runner.  But alas, she finished the 13.1 Miami Beach race on Sunday right there along side 3200 other RUNNERS!

Angela’s Journey (unedited)

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Author Unknown

Until 3.5 years ago, I had no idea how to re-write my ending.  I was constantly unhappy with the face and body that looked at me from the mirror.  I was in a constant state of wanting to change, but lacking the power, dedication and knowledge to do so.  But when my daughter was born, a switch in me flipped.  It occurred to me that if I didn’t want her to grow up with the same body image issues I have had for my entire life, I had to make a conscious effort to change the path of my life.  Otherwise, she would most likely end up as I did—a teenager ashamed of her morbidly obese mom and incredibly lacking self-confidence.  

So a few weeks after Summer’s birth in September 2008, I began the new chapter of my life.  I was 220 lbs.  I enrolled in a boot camp at our local YMCA.  By showing up and giving my all, I was able to win a six month membership that helped keep me on the right track.  

My neighbor was a runner. My husband was  a runner.  For so long I had sat around and said “I could NEVER do that.  I’m not built for it.”  But I finally made the decision to give it a shot. I was tired of staying behind and of saying I couldn’t.    So one day I started running.  I made it less than half a mile and thought I was going to die. But I didn’t.  Every day I went a little farther.  And farther.  Until one day I made it all the way around the 3 mile loop in our neighborhood.

In February 2009, I ran my first ever race, a local 5K.  It was so great to have something active to do with hubby. 

But I still had a very love/hate relationship with running.  I hated it while I was doing it, and I hated the thought of doing it, but I was always proud of myself afterward.  It wasn’t until Christmas 2009, when we took a trip to Missouri and got basically snowed in, that my attitude shifted.  As I ran on a treadmill at the Y there, after being holed up with my two crazy kids for several days, I realized I would never again look at running the same way again.  When we got back home to South Florida, it was no longer something I just did. It became something that defined me. 

Lucky for me TooTallFritz and I had become friends in my former life.  I picked her brain a lot. She wrote in her last post that sometimes you are lucky enough to have a friend who will support you and give you motivation, and she was that friend for me.   I always knew if I was hung up or stuck, I could drop her a line.

I don’t race much.  My race history can be summed up as a couple of 5Ks and a sprint distance triathlon.  I don’t run to train for things.  I run to stay sane, to be strong, and to set a good example for my kids.  I would race more if we were not on such a tight budget.  Every single year, I plan to do a few races, but I usually end up doing only one.  I’d been thinking about doing a half marathon for a while, but was having a hard time justifying the expense.  I finally took the leap last year and signed up for the Miami Beach 13.1 in March 2012.   You have to understand.  Up to 3.5 years ago, this fell under the category of IMPOSSIBLE.  UNIMAGINABLE.  UNATTAINABLE.

Now, nothing is impossible.   The whole thing was made absolutely perfect by the fact that Amanda decided to make a destination race of it and came to see me for this thing.   I always tell people that if I can run, they can run. Nothing is impossible.  The only limits that apply are the limits that you impose on yourself.  Sometimes I have a hard time coming to terms that I will never be the fastest—in fact, everyone I know is significantly faster than me.  But no one has my story, and I have to remind myself of that often.  I finished my first half in 2:49:52.  It was made extra awesome by all of the friends waiting for me at the finish.  By Amanda coming back to run those last few miles with me.  

Nothing is impossible.  Dream big and go for it. 

Angela – March 9, 2012

I think we can all agree that this is an amazing journey. It’s amazing because she wanted to make the change and she did it.  Nowhere will you see her say that it was easy.  We all know it w

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Don’t Count Yourself Out…..

Most of us start running for fitness.  We start as run/walkers and we build.  Very few people I know are like my friend Abby S. who was a spectator at the London Marathon and decided on the spot that she too was going to run a marathon.  Of course, Abby had never ran a single mile prior to that decision but she signed up for the 2007 Chicago SCORCHER Marathon and ran it.  Because she wanted to do it.  Because she could do it.  Because who knows what tomorrow will bring and where it will take a person.   Abby  & I in the 2008 Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon in Ft Wayne, IN.

For those of us “builders”, it’s a process. We don’t start out with the intention to run long and the thought of a marathon NEVER enters our mind.  If we are lucky, we have one friend who is on the fitness bandwagon and will help and encourage us through daily emails and mentoring.  If we aren’t that lucky, we slug along ourselves, watching our food intake and fitting in as much exercise as we can muster, probably giving up much-needed sleep in the process.  We are sore from not knowing the proper protein to carb ratio for recovery (4:1).  We are discouraged because we are hungry from not eating enough but we are DETERMINED to do whatever it takes to lose the baby weight or the freshman 15 or the “just married” blissfully ignorant to our heath 25. 

Regardless of your level of education on health, wellness & nutrition in the beginning, you will start  do research, ask questions, and learn what works for you.  Your body will get stronger and while it will never be easy, you will be able to do “more” with the same level of effort.  If you run/walk, you will be able to run longer, or possibly you are running the same distance but you are getting faster.  You will meet new friends who are EXCITED about your new lease on life and your new healthy activities.  Your new friends will create a support system for you that you may not have had at home.  You will gain the courage to join a group run.  You will say that you can’t really run because you have bad knees.   And then before you know it you will be standing on the start line…..because that is where your new friends are standing.  You are ready to run your first race.  It is probably a 5K but this is just the beginning.  You know you will NEVER be ready for a half or full marathon, well, maybe you can try a half.  You know, just run/walk it.  With training, it might be a possibility.  And the “group” is signing up for a full, which is 9 months away.  Where will you be in 9 months?  Could you?  Hmmmm, let’s see how the half goes…….

Don’t count yourself out.  Each day is a new day.  Your abilities today have no reflection on where you will be in 6 months or a year.  Surround yourself with positive people who have a CAN DO attitude and you too will realize that YOU CAN DO the unimaginable. 

Where will you be 12 months from now?  Don’t be afraid to wonder, what if?

Dream, Imagine, Believe!                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

Not Just Fitness Anymore

When I got back on the fitness wagon after having Aby, it was all about my weight.  Each day I would weigh and to be honest, I still do most days even though my weight volleys rather consistently within a 3 lb range.  I know that it is supposedly not healthy to weigh daily but for me it’s a system of checks and balances.  I wouldn’t drive my car without checking the speed and I’m not going to workout and attempt to eat right without watching my weight.

However, I don’t run/workout because of my weight anymore.  I used to say that I ran for fun & fitness and it was true at the time.  However, as I stepped off the treadmill today and noticed a few fitness minded ladies staring at me, I realized that this isn’t about fitness anymore.  This is a game.  It’s my game and I say, “Game ON!” 

I want to be better.  Better than last year.  Better than before I had Michael.  Better than I’ve ever been before.  That is why I go early and stay late for a workout.  That’s why I don’t mind getting yucky & sweaty with a run, or gym workout, during my “lunch”.  That is why I keep pushing when many think that I am obsessed crazy. 

It’s a game.  My game.  My rules.  And I will win by pushing my limits further than I have in the past.  I may have big goals/dreams/plans but it would be hard to keep focused on getting better if there weren’t a few big goals to mix in with the small ones.

So I’ll take it one day at a time and build on my strength, stamina & speed and do the best I can at any given moment.  Don’t be afraid to dream big because this really is your game too.  Your game of LIFE.  How many do you know who are just sitting back and letting their life pass them by?  Don’t let that happen to you.  Work hard so that you can play harder. 

Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                         amanda@tootallfritz.com

No Cheerleaders on the Homefront?

I am constantly reading blogs and/or facebook posts about how people are so lucky, and so in love with live, and how everyone at home is sooooo supportive of them and their endeavors.  Well, let’s get real for a minute.  I generally think the people posting over and over again that “Life is sooooo GOOD!” are lying wistful thinkers.  I immediately think they are trying to convince us, the reader, that their life is in fact as good as they would like it to be or possibly even more so, they are trying to convince themselves.  Please forgive me if your life really is “Soooooo Good!”.  Congratulations.  Really.  I am happy for you.    Cheers to all of your Sunshine & Rainbows!Life for the rest of us isn’t “always” sunny.  In fact, we sometimes (gasp) struggle.  We struggle with motivation, we struggle with our needs vs desires, we struggle with time management, we struggle with $$, we struggle maintaining sanity and not taking out our frustrations on others, we struggle with MAKING IT HAPPEN, we struggle with the fact that our hubby’s aren’t standing on the sidelines of every long run with the pom-poms.  Our lives are REAL and sometimes that means real complicated.  And messy. 

I’m okay with that.  I don’t expect you to be perfect and please, don’t expect it of me or others in your life.  Know that it’s okay if your life doesn’t look as good on paper as your neighbors.  Know that it’s okay if you have to struggle to MAKE IT HAPPEN.   The important thing is that you are out there making the effort and trying.  Yesterday may not have been the best but focus on making today better.  And know that each day you get  a fresh start to do things differently than you did yesterday. 

I encourage you to thank the Lord for the gifts you have been given.  I encourage you to acknowledge and accept that we are all different, have different lives and different circumstances.  I encourage you to Make It Happen FOR YOU, regardless of who is in your cheering section. 

Cheers,                                                                                                                               Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                              amanda@tootallfritz.com

Interested or Committed?

As the new year fast approaches, I have been hearing lots of chatter amongst runners about what 2012 will bring.  There is a lot of peer pressure encouragement of some to make this the year to attempt the marathon distance.  So, in case this is YOU and you are feeling the pressure, let’s just break it down a bit so you can decide if you want to commit.  There is a big difference between loving to run and committing to a marathon.  I certainly don’t want anyone to lose the love for running because of peer pressure committing to a marathon.  

  • Most Training plans are 18 weeks
  • If you are “thinking” of running the 2012 Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2012, training will start the week of June 4th.
  • 18 weeks is a LONG time to train, if you keep a 10 mile base, you can jump into the beginner plan at week 5 and make it a 13 week training plan, thus commencing the week of July 2nd.
  • You CANNOT skip the long runs.
  • You will be tired and hungry.
  • Your social life will suffer from lack of alcohol early bedtimes.
  • You will be proud each week as your mileage increases.
  • You will be in disbelief that although you crawled to your car barely made it back last week that you managed another mile or 2 “this” week.
  • You will learn to love ice baths.
  • You will get acquainted with Toe Protectors.
  • You will learn about nutrition and what your body needs to recover.
  • You WILL be able to run 26.2 on October 7th even though you will never have covered that distance previous to that day.
  • You may cry, hyperventilate, vomit, crap your pants have to make a pit stop, get chub rub, lose a toe nail or three …..but you will never be prouder than crossing the finish line.
  • You will swear that you will NEVER run another marathon.
  • You will be on the start line with all your friends on October 6, 2013. 
 
Here is the Hal Higdon Beginner Marathon training plan.  I don’t know many people who would need to start at this point, but it’s an option.    Check out Hal Higdon’s site  HERE to browse his other options, or just show up and run what I run and you’ll get there. 
 
Week
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Sun

1

Rest

3 m run

3 m run

3 m run

Rest

6

cross

2

Rest

3 m run

3 m run

3 m run

Rest

7

cross

3

Rest

3 m run

4 m run

3 m run

Rest

5

cross

4

Rest

3 m run

4 m run

3 m run

Rest

9

cross

5

Rest

3 m run

5 m run

3 m run

Rest

10

cross

6

Rest

3 m run

5 m run

3 m run

Rest

7

cross

7

Rest

3 m run

6 m run

3 m run

Rest

12

cross

8

Rest

3 m run

6 m run

3 m run

Rest

Rest

Half Marathon

9

Rest

3 m run

7 m run

4 m run

Rest

10

cross

10

Rest

3 m run

7 m run

4 m run

Rest

15

cross

11

Rest

4 m run

8 m run

4 m run

Rest

16

cross

12

Rest

4 m run

8 m run

5 m run

Rest

12

cross

13

Rest

4 m run

9 m run

5 m run

Rest

18

cross

14

Rest

5 m run

9 m run

5 m run

Rest

14

cross

15

Rest

5 m run

10 m run

5 m run

Rest

20

cross

16

Rest

5 m run

8 m run

4 m run

Rest

12

cross

17

Rest

4 m run

6 m run

3 m run

Rest

8

cross

18

Rest

3 m run

4 m run

2 m run

Rest

Rest

Marathon

I personally adapt a version of his advanced plan and then fit in what I can.  I would be running more than this on the weekends but never rarely fit in all the miles during the week.  I also am a big proponent of rest days.  After I run a 20 miler, I will rest, not run a 3 mile recovery run on Sunday or Monday.   This may be why I will never BQ but my body needs that.  I do it for fitness and to push my limits.  This means that some days I walk cuz I feel like it need it.  I will probably walk some during the marathon, especially if it’s hot.  My personal goal is to cross the finish line. I know others have more concrete goals and that is okay but this is an excruciating difficult distance for me so an accomplishment in itself.  I know it’s much easier for some than others and I hope it’s easy for you.

Look thru the training plan here, browse the net a bit, and then make your own decision as to whether you want to commit.  As with anything, if you want it, you and only you have to MAKE IT HAPPEN.    I’ve made my decision, how about you?

Happy Running,                                                                                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz

Baby Steps……

The response to yesterday’s post on my achieving the 1000 mile goal was that some thought I was crazy were overwhelmed by the idea of running 1000 miles.  As in all goals that a person attempts to achieve, break down the hopeless MAJOR undertaking into small parts or baby steps.  If one were to train for a half or a full marathon they should might look at a Hal Higdon training program that breaks down the training week by week so that the thought of running 13.1 or 26.2 doesn’t scare the shit out of them seem so daunting.  I never think about the “end game”, only what I have to run to get thru this week.  And let me just say that anything over 16 miles makes me wanna cry like a baby, I CAN’T think about 26.2 or I’ll never get out the door to hit the start line.

When I considered the 1000 miles as a goal, I broke it down into small pieces.  1)  Run 19.2 miles a week or 2) Squeeze in 83.3 miles per month.  This makes it much more manageable and very doable on those terms.  1000 miles does sound CRAZY and the 2000 that Frogger is running is certifiably insane but if you take it down a notch, look at what needs to happen for just today, or just this week, then you will be able to manage anything.

Remember, baby steps will carry you through any process from inception to completion.  You CAN do it!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

1000 miles – Check!

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions to be broken but rather focus on a goal that I can work toward during the year which forces me to make a conscious, continued effort to maintain fitness.  This year, my goal was to run 1000 miles, prompted by another blogger, Tall Mom on the Run.  Tall Mom created a challenge to others to “move” 1000 miles throughout the year.  For me, this meant running.  She published a shared spreadsheet and all those involved in the challenge added in their mileage at their leisure. 

I am happy to say that I bumped past my 1000 miles on Saturday’s run.   I was so close all week but with the flu and Mr. Michael’s poor sleeping habits it was hard to get in those last few miles.  To be honest, it has been a struggle all year to rack up miles, and focus on fitness, due to injuries and Mr. Michael.  I never could have reached my goal without some major support at home from hubby and him doing baby duty on the only morning he would have a chance to “sleep in”.  So I am very thankful for his help and the fact that he didn’t bitch too much frequently helps with Michael so I can squeeze fitness into our very busy life.  Thanks, Mick!

Attaining the 2011 goal makes me reflect a lot on where I want to go for 2012.   When one is part of a family, they must also consider others and the sacrifice that they too will make to “help” YOU achieve a goal.  So I do not take goals lightly, it is a serious thing for me and I hope that it is for you too.  I frequently put what I want to achieve on the back burner in order to pick something that is realistic and doable for all of us.  For example, I really want to do an IronwoMan but I know that at this point in our lives, it would be impossible to TRAIN for that type of committment and also LIVE life and PARTICIPATE in the family and WORK a full-time job.  So alas, this isn’t the year, and quite possibly there won’t be time for IwoM training until the lil man is considerably older and can make his own breakfast more independent.  However, my bike has sat on the trainer for several years now and it will be coming off this spring.  I will be going back to triathlon and may possibly just stick to the International distance to keep the peace the training requirements in the manageable range.  So you can look for me and my beautiful bike on the TRI circuit again next year.

And I’ll be probably be wearing my Team TOUGH CHIK jersey.   

Check out the intro to Team Tough Chik and join me and lots of other ladies who will be racing under that name this year……running, biking, TRI-ing. 

Make it Happen!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                            amanda@tootallfritz.com

Make It Happen……

I stole this from Facebook and felt the need to post it.  This is so true and so important for people to understand.  Just make it happen and don’t worry about your speed, or lack there of, or anyone else’s for that matter.  I love the Nike slogan, “Just Do It“, because it says the same thing.  Make it happen; Just Do It; Push YOUR limits!

Happy Running!                                                                                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz