Cruel Jokes….

So maybe the joke’s on me but there are a few things that just aren’t quite right.  I was just starting to nail this training plan and as soon as I started to gain a little confidence, life started throwing some curve balls ….  Initially kiddos were sick & needed doc visits, dogs need(ed) vet visits for random reasons, other people got sick, cars (all 3) breakdown, evening obligations.  So a few scheduled days off turn into a week of no running.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.  Things still aren’t straightened out and “normal” appears to be far off. 

One of the few saving graces has been the treadmill.  It has given me the freedom to squeeze in miles when they would otherwise be lost.  Like at 4am on SAT before a roadtrip.  I didn’t make all of the planned 18 miles before our departure but I managed 14.  Better than nothing. 


Today, I even hit the gym at lunch to try to squeeze in a few miles.  I took my iPad in order to link up to Netflix since that seems to be the only way I can tolerate the dreadmill.  Newsflash, the iPad wouldn’t link up in the middle of our high-rise office building.  Not funny. 

Fortunately, the dreadmills in our gym have TVs attached so I was able to hang on for a whole 3 miles.  And when I say, “hang on” I seriously mean “hang on”.  They rearranged the gym since my last visit.  The floor of that office suite for some stupid reason isn’t level.  There is a carpeted ramp up to the main section where the cardio machines reside.  The floor of the main section is also slanted to some degree which was barely noticeable …… until today.  The new location of the treadmills must be on a slope.  I began running at 1% incline, which should have been imperceptible; however, I felt like I was going to fall off the back.  I was running slow and it wasn’t the feeling of “oh crap, this thing is going to throw me off” but it was a feeling like I was going UP a hill and going to fall backward.  So I backed it down to 0.5% and then 0.0% and just “hung on” for 30 minutes (3.25 miles).  Not funny.

Unfortunately, the recent travels, additional stress load and my lack of motivation to control my food intake has resulted in a few extra #s.  That’s a few extra on top of those I had already gained from being injured this summer.  It seems that if I’m not running, or even if I am running and just eat whatever I want, I gain weight.  Shocker, huh?  Yep.  But it’s still not funny.  So if you were thinking of a moonshine and chocolate “diet” and don’t expect to gain weight, I hate to break it to you but you won’t be laughing either.  So not funny.

 Old Smoky Moonshine  

Oh yeah,  and I haven’t been drinking much of this lately. 

smartwater Not smart.  Not funny.

So I’ve pretty much moved my plan for the Lansing Marathon to “finish it” mode.  I need to worry not so much about the training and focus on losing those 8 lbs which I am currently carrying.  For me to lose weight, I need to hit double workouts and keep the crap bad stuff out of my mouth.  Easier said that done.  My legs will be trashed.  My attitude will be bitchy poor.  But I will show up to the startline at 162 or 163 lbs.  Not funny but it’s a fact.  I refuse to carry an extra 7 or 8 lbs thru 26.2 miles.  Don’t worry, I’m not giving up my training, just revising it to add in a few extra things. 

On a positive note, in terms of “Run”way Fashion, I scored a few deals from Saucony this week.  They are having a super secret sale HERE.  I purchased the Ignite Shimmel tank ($22) and am IN LOVE.  I went back and got a different color in my size today.  It has a shelf bra, thin material, hugs the body but isn’t tight and also has a small zip pocket in the back.

Saucony Ignite Shimmel      image

They also have arm warmers for $10 (hyper lime) or $22 (black compression).  This is one of brand of arm warmers that never chafes my underarm flab.  I usually buy them off the Last Chance section and pay around $15 for them.  Thin.  Like second skin.  No chafing.

image   image

And in other marathon news, I’m in a total panic about my shoes.  Saucony changed things up in the toe box with the Guide 6’s and the new version isn’t working for me when I go long.  They are light weight and super cute but that doesn’t matter when you don’t have toenails if they don’t feel perfect.   I like them for shorter runs but not anything over a 10K.  So I’ve tried a couple Brooks Running shoes.  The Ravenna 3’s and Adrenaline 13s felt good initially and on short runs but are making my pinky toe sore/blistered with longer miles. Apparently I have a weird foot cuz I’ve heard nothing but great things on all of these shoes.  😦

           Guide 6                        Ravenna 3                       Adrenaline 13

Saucony  Guide 6_pink   brooks ravenna3_snow   Brooks Adrenaline 13_green

So back to basics.  I had six pair of the Guide 5s and never blinked an eye.  So I found a pair of 5s on clearance at Road Runner Sports.  These babies will be here soon.  I expect this to be my spring marathon shoe.  Crossing fingers!!


None of this is funny but it’s certainly not the end of the world.  I will keep pushing.  I will finish the Lansing Marathon.  However, I’ll definitely be missing a few toenails on my right foot before I even hit the start.  🙂

** When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **


One thing I love about the million blogs I follow are the random contests!  Last week Run With Jess posted a fun contest for the ING NYC Marathon and a charity known as the Orange Laces Nation – ING Run For Something Better.  This charity tackles the fight against childhood obesity.  According to the Run For Something Better website: 

Changing Children’s Lives Through Fitness

Imagine if childhood obesity didn’t threaten the health of so many children across America. Imagine if we could give our nation’s children a way to get moving and a reason to get excited about physical activity …

We can and we are! ING Run For Something Better is helping kids learn that exercise is fun and rewarding. Through our free school-based running fitness programs, ING Run For Something Better challenges children to get active, set goals and start a lifetime habit of physical activity. Each program is capped off with a fun running event involving the school or even the larger community.

Since I am a firm believer that kids need to be active to be healthy, I wanted to support Jess and the Orange Laces Nation in Orange Up Week!

It was an easy task to complete, Jess just asked that we go running in something orange.  Since I had a new pair of Pro Compression socks in ORANGE that I had yet to try out, I was excited!  Plus this week was Halloween.  Plus it’s hunting season.  It’s never a bad idea in my opinion to run the trails in bright orange in October & November!

The hardest part was getting a photo of my ensemble while running alone, in the woods, on Halloween.  This is the best I could do:

Orange Up_TooTallFritz

“Run”Way Fashion:  Orange 2010 Chicago Marathon Nike 1/2 Zip,  Orange Pro Compression socks, Red/White/Gold Saucony Guide 5s which were just released but now on sale in the Last Chance Sale Section at  for $82 because they dropped the Guide 6s.   You can also get an additional 20% off the last chance prices with the coupon code:  20LCNOV 


It was a beautiful day to be out on the trails so I was happy to have the extra incentive to #MakeItHappen.  I even tried a new (to me) trail spur in Yankee Woods and was pretty happy to be so BRIGHT with all the coyotes wildlife I saw and managed to scare off.

         Bremen Woods_10-31-12    Bremen Woods 2_10-31-12

Do you like, and participate, in the random challenges and contests that bloggers create?  I do because I love having a bit of extra motivation to #MakeItHappen!

** #Orange_UP ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

The Heel to Toe Drop Debate……

I’m not very adventurous in my running shoes purchases for the sole reason that not a lot of shoes fit my foot.  I have a very narrow heel so my heel slips out of the heel cup of most shoes.  For years, I have trained in Saucony and raced short distances in Nike for this very reason.   Over the last couple of years, the minimalist shoes have made an appearance and while not all runners have jumped on the band wagon, the minimalist movement has affected most of us.  I’m not interested in entering the debate as to which is better, traditional or minimalist running shoes, however you can go HERE or HERE if you would like more information.

I’m all about funky colors and cool looking shoes but I first and foremost, choose shoes based on fit and feel.  I like a shoe with some guts and a little cushion. Yes, I basically want to walk on clouds.  If I feel a stone thru the bottom of my shoe while running, I won’t wear them again which is why I shop at Running for Kicks because they will take my shoes back after I run/race in them if for WHATEVER reason I do not like them. 

This spring, the minimalist movement affected my running shoe, the Saucony Guide 5.  Saucony moved their entire collection from the traditional 12 mm heel to toe drop to an 8 mm drop.    Saucony Guide 5 pictured below.

Sauc Guide 5       Sauc Guide 5a

To say the least I was nervous. Although I was excited about them being 1.5 oz lighter, I was nervous about the change in the heel to toe drop.  In actuality, I never really noticed a difference in the drop but loved the new fit, lightness and style cushion.   Click on the green link, if you are interested in a full review and comparison of the Saucony Guide 4 vs 5.

 Me_Schubert Woods_bridge_5-13-12      Saucony Guide 5_pink_ocean                 

For people like me who forefoot strike, the lower drop is ideal.  We have less shoe that we weren’t using anyhow to haul around.  This never was an issue when I didn’t have other options know any better but last night, I went to purchase a new pair of lightweight shoes for 5K races and we went thru the entire fit process again and I tried on a large variety of shoes.  Although, I like to have a pair of shoes specifically for shorter races, I can’t go to “race flats” because I’m not fast enough my current state of injury/recovery is not conducive to shoes without cushion and support.  

You may wonder why I need a pair of “racing” shoes since I’m not really that fast and that would be a great question.  For me, “race” shoes are like a frame of mind.  You slip them on when you want to run fast and only when you want to run fast.    It’s more mental in my opinion than physical.  It’s a break from the normal training regime, a special day and it requires a fast pair of shoes.  Yes, shoes CAN make you run faster but only if you BELIEVE.   🙂   Retired racing shoes, Nike Lunar Flys.

So last night as I was going thru the lightweight shoes that would work for me, one of the shoes I tried was a lightweight trainer which still had the 12 mm drop.  While the shoe looked really cool is a very popular brand, I felt like I was going to fall on my face.  The heel was noticeably higher than the forefoot and all the cushion was in the heel without any much under the ball of the foot.  It didn’t feel good to stand in those shoes and running was worse.  I was a bit surprised the larger drop was so noticeable.  I wonder if it was just a difference between my normal brand and that one, or if a minute 4 mm difference is really that noticeable to my feet?  Or did my injury play a role?  I could actually feel the tear site pull from heel to toe imbalance when I was running in those shoes.  Not good for my tender foot.

The next two pair I tried had a 4 mm drop and I was instantly nervous about those thinking this was TOO close to minimalist for my body type.  I was concerned less drop equaled less protection/cushion.  I was wrong.  Both shoes were adequately cushioned in the forefoot where I strike, they both fit like a glove and were light on my feet.   They made me FEEL light and fast, like I was ready to run with the wind!  So my new 5K race shoes are….

Brooks Pure Cadence 

Brooks Pure Cadence, a lightweight shoe with cushioning and light stability.  And… heel doesn’t slip!  I’ve never ran in Brooks before but I’m loving the fit and feel of this shoe.  They will make their run debut at the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K at the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, September 9th.  More on the race day feel/fit later! 

I encourage you to go to a local running store that will take the time to talk with you about your needs, concerns, injury history and then fit you accordingly.  Find a store that encourages you to run in all the shoes they have in your size/foot type either on a treadmill or the sidewalk outside the store.  Don’t be shy to run in the shoes during the fit session because you need something that feels good on the run, not in the store.  A good running shoe store will also allow you to return shoes that you do not like, even after you have ran in them.  If you buy your shoes at a store where you and your kids do not feel comfortable, talk to the local run clubs and find out where their runners buy shoes, you will probably even find a club discount floating around.  Running shoes are an integral part of your health and training and a good store wants to help you.   

Are you a minimalist runner?  Can you tell the difference in the heel toe drop just by trying on a shoe?  Do you have specific shoes for racing?

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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


Positive Changes…..

Change is good, especially when done with good intentions.  There has been much debate amongst my friends at the Frankfort Running Club regarding a name change.  Some wanted a more exciting name that would separate them from the crowd, others wanted something a little more family friendly traditional.  I feel as if the “officers” have made a good compromise in arriving at their final decision.  Please meet the FNRC……from left:  Kathy H., Susan D., Brian P., Diane F., Maggie W., Suzanne K., Brian F, Jeni H., & Jessica.

This group will now be known as the Frankfort -New Lenox- Running Club.   So for those of you who wanted a hard core more exciting name, you can still say that you are going to meet the F’N Running Club.  This will allow you to still have fun and give the “officers” freedom to promote the group in the Frankfort & New Lenox areas thru the Park Districts and other family friendly organizations.  Good compromise?    What do you think?  And thanks to all of YOU who have been coming out to join the fun and help this group grow to the point where they felt the need to be more inclusive and welcoming to others!  Way to make it happen!

So the inaugural run of the FNRC brought out an awesome group for a  cold, dark Wednesday night!  I was very pleased.  There were nine people available for the photo, then myself, and two more who showed up (12 total) in time to sprint off into the darkness.  Thank you to for lighting our way in the dark!  Many of us have them now with more people ordering them today so we illuminate the path like a train really light up the darkness.  Hope we didn’t scare anyone! 

We have been merging with an area Team in Training group for many of our runs as of late because THE MORE THE MERRIER!  That is really what I love most about this group.  They are friendly, nice people, easy to converse with and have a great attitude about running and life.  The paces and distances last night varied greatly as some people are trying to rebound from injuries.  The group ran anywhere from 2 to 6 miles as a whole and there were a few of us who added in some extra miles before hand to make it an 8 mile day.  Not bad for a Wednesday.  So proud of everyone for coming out in the cold. 

And it was F’N COLD!  It was 33 with a breeze when I started my run about 4:35pm and 29 when I finished at 6:15.  I literally had to hug a tree to stay steady enough for a photo….the shivers were taking over!

I only ran a little before everyone came and didn’t stop for many photos because you have already seen a billion photos from this trail it was dark.  I did grab one photo of the Christmas lights. 

It was a beautiful, crisp clear night.  Ms. TooTall wasn’t exactly dressed as planned but I improvised with my RunLove Compression Socks from to cover up the extra skin.  They currently have two pair (aqua and purple) of compression socks on the  SkirtSwaggle page for $19.20!  Great deal, along with many other products that are marked way down for the Active Swaggle deal, plus they are offering free shipping with the PROMO Code:  SKIRTSCHWAG …. Not sure how long they will last so if you want some, buy soon.

“Run”way Fashion:  RunLove Compression Socks, Athleta Headwinds Jacket (wind /rain/snow DOES NOT get thru….select sizes on sale now for $49.99), the Saucony Guide 5’s with the 8 mm drop.

I had heard lots of positive things about the RunLove compression socks, specifically them being a great product for the price.    I have a pair of the CEP compression calf sleeves and consider those to be awesome so thought it would be a big step down to move to these but I really liked them.  They are normally $32 each, which is still a great deal but the Swaggle deal is awesome at the $19.20.  I wore these socks all day at work, then ran in them, then home to the kids for dinner, laundry, etc.  I had them on for about 16 hours and didn’t even notice them.  They didn’t move, just continued to hug my calf muscles and make them feel warm and cozy.  A very light pressure, no pinching, no discomfort.  LOVE!

I also have been wearing the new Saucony Guide 5’s with the 8 mm drop.  Lots of hoopla about this shoe.  I normally wear the Saucony Guide as I need a light stability shoe due to a very high arch and overpronating.  My heel is very narrow, like possibly a AAA?  I don’t have many options that lock my foot in place without heel slippage.  As a result, I have been wearing Saucony for many years now so was NOT excited about a big change.  Then the huge ad campaign for the 8 mm drop just made me more nervous.  I am NOT a barefoot runner and I NEVER want to be one, so going closer to barefoot scares the shit out of me.  However, I must say it has been a pleasant surprise.  The shoe is noticeably lighter, the official weight difference is 1.5 ounces, which should seem like nothing but it’s noticeable.  In order to break these in a bit before just hitting the trail, I have been wearing them at night, around the house, after wearing normal trainers all day.  I could tell a difference immediately on the weight and added forefoot cushioning once I changed into these shoes.  Most of the weight came out of the back-end, around the heel and since I am a forefoot runner I don’t need/want a heavy heel cup.  This works well for me.  So thumbs on the 8 mm drop. 

8.14 miles in 1:19.   A few stops to pick up/drop off additional runners, wait at turnaround points, etc. but overall, kept moving.  

Happy Running,                                                                                                                  Amanda – TooTallFritz