Shamrock Shuffle Weekend …. 2014 Edition

It’s not really fair to call this a race review because honestly, I’ve openly admitted a billion times that I think the Shamrock Shuffle is the BEST.RACE.EVER. 

Green Men_Shamrock

I mean where else can you chase down “little green men” and be considered sane?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  BEST.RACE.EVER.  And what’s better than 2 green guys?  Three, like we saw in 2013.  And what’s better than 3 green guys?  Well, the addition of a green gal, of course.  As a result, 2014 may be the BEST Shamrock Shuffle EVER cuz we now have 3 green guys and a green gal.  Thank you, mystery lady, it was super nice to see your addition to the group!  You can follow “The Green Guys” on Facebook HERE.

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_green guys & gal

In addition to chasing green people, there were a few more things to the 2014 Shamrock Shuffle weekend.  We started with the expo, which is super family friendly and busy over at Navy Pier.  My friend Nicki and I always take the kiddos on Saturday.  We spend the day “frolicking” at the expo, then hiking Michigan Avenue and the Lakefront path with our little monsters angels.   In addition to more candy than even MY children could eat, the expo also offered lots of fun in the form of a magic act, multiple dress-up photo ops, free food samples, free logo items, lots of “wheels” to be spun and people to meet.  The kids look forward to the expo each and every year and there is always a lot to capture their attention and lighten momma’s wallet.  We even took a friend of Aby’s this year to help with Mr. Michael enjoy the festivities.

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_kids expo  Shamrock Shuffle 2014_Aby Kara  Shamrock Shuffle 20104_kids-water

Sunday morning brought us SUNSHINE and coolish temps that quickly warmed up into the upper 30s, low 40s, by race time.  I met with some friends pre-race.  My Frankfort New Lenox Run Club (FNRC) members, Rebecca W – one of my fellow Emergen-C Ambassadors, my girl Nicki who goes to all the shorter distance races with me, and Kerry C who I’ve know for so many years and so thankful for our friendship!

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_fnrcShamrock Shuffle 2014_me & rebeccaShamrock Shuffle 2014_me & nicki Shamrock Shuffle 2014_me & Kerry

Then we were at the start corral’s and off and running before we knew it.  2014 brought us a three wave corral start, which I heard had a few hiccups, PLUS a new run course! 

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The new course was great and kept us closer to the Loop and Grant Park areas.  I liked the course a lot.  Fewer bridge crossings which are super hard on bad feet!   Wider streets.  More centralized location for spectators who want to see their runner more than once.  Great update for 2014!

As for my race, not the best but not the worst!  I finished in under 40 minutes and given my current schedule, lack of March miles, and the “few” extra LBS I’ve gained, yeah, I’ll take that as a win.  And as always, the Shamrock is a great kickoff to the  Chicago running season and let’s us all know what’s up in regards to our fitness. Good, bad or ugly.  Winking smile

There is always a huge post race party.  So if you didn’t like your race OR if you need to celebrate, maybe head over to the beer garden to drink a few beers listen to the band.    Here is a pic below of Maggie, Nicole, Judy & and I “listening to the band”. 

Shamrock Shuffle 2014_maggie nicole judy & me

Short of any “problems”, I’ll be ShamROCKing next year.  Maybe I’ll see you there?

Don’t forget to enter my raffle for RMHC – Ronald McDonald House Charities HERE.

**ShamROCK Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

2013 Shamrock Shuffle 8K

It wouldn’t be fair to title this a “race review” since I’m clearly in love with the race.  I do understand that it’s not for everyone; however, it is definitely a tradition for me!  I love everything from the family friendly expo to the fast paced race thru the streets of Chicago.  Add in the green sparkle skirts, green men, and the amazing atmosphere and it would be hard to keep me away. The Shamrock is really a weekend event for me, not just a race.  I have friends who come from out of town and locals who go with to the expo for a full day of downtown shopping.  The expo was good this year with lots of stuff for the kids:  a magician, balloons, noise makers, sunglasses, candy and snacks galore!  There were a few things for the parents too from great deals on gear/shoes to naked men models from the Women Rock Chicago calendars.  (L to R:  Me, Pam, Mr. April, Amy, Mr. July & Nicki)

Womens Rock Models

Aby even made a shoe painting with Nike Free’s!

Aby Shoe Painting   Aby Shoe Painting_finished

And we came home with lots of loot.

Expo Loot

Sunday was race day.  The expo & downtown walking/shopping, plus my marathon training took its toll and my legs were definitely tired.  I knew this.  What I didn’t know was how that, plus my lack of speed training, plus my extra 6 lbs would effect my race time.  I can honestly say that this is the first event in a long time where I toed the line having no idea what to expect.  So I ran by feel.  Can’t trust the GPS watches downtown anyhow because one minute they say your running a 3:50 pace (right, I wish!!!) and the next it reads a 16:50 pace.  Total confusion.  If you “need” your watch, then go with a foot pod. The course was particularly crowded this year, possibly because I was running slower.  I did lots of weaving around.  The course had a detour, due to a jumper on one of the bridges over the Chicago River, but the course change was imperceptible and seamless.  As always, the Shamrock organizers did a fantastic job of running us thru the city streets as fast as possible.  I loved every minute of it and although I never ran particularly fast, I felt good, had zero foot pain and just enjoyed the moment. Last year I run just under 39 minutes even with a bit of a wardrobe issue.  I should have been faster.  So yesterday, as I was entering the 3rd mile, I flipped over to my time view in an effort to get under 39 minutes again this year.  I didn’t make it.  I finished in 39:23, officially a 7:56 pace although my weaving gave me a lot more real estate than the normal 8K distance so my Garmin pace recorded a 7:35.  Does it matter?  NO!  However, I was unofficially shooting for a 7:30ish average and to be honest, the race felt a lot more controlled that last year so I’ll take it as a win.  Smile My official goal for the 2013 Shamrock was to have fun and get a photo with the green me.  Guess who I saw as soon as I crossed the finish?

Green Men & Me

Hell, yeah!  Mission accomplished!  Let’s go grab some of that free beer now!  Thanks ladies for hanging downtown with me and sharing those beer tickets!  I had a blast.  My fellow lushes Shufflers from L to R (back):  Meg, Dawn, Michelle, Nicki, & Kerry.  Front:  April & Me.

AfterParty

Apparently we looked like we were having an amazing time because fellow Shufflers were giving us their unused beer tickets as they were leaving the Green Men found us again and took another photo with us.

Green Men_group

And they gave us their card.  Find the Green “Guys” on Facebook and “like” them cuz I know you already LOVE  them.  Fun times!!!

Green Guys_card

Until next year, keep on Shuffling! ** ShamROCK Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Other Shamrock Shuffle posts & photos hosted by the MagMileRunner blog hop:

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Shamrock, ShamROCK, SHAMROCK Shuffle Time!!!

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The time has finally arrived and even though its April and we should be looking for spring flowers, we are instead still hung up on Saint Patrick’s Day as we await the annual Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago.  Thanks, Bank of America for trying to get us a day with great weather even if we are already looking forward to Cinco de Mayo!

If you haven’t ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, your missing out.  Everyone says so.  Just ask Kelly at Running Kellometers!  The Shamrock Shuffle is “officially” THE.BEST.RACE.EVER at least in our opinion!  Even the chick on the promo page thinks so, look how happy she is to be wearing green and ShamROCKing Chicago!    

image

And if you know the chick above, I’d LOVE to meet her.  In fact, Kelly would too cuz we know a Shamrock lover when we see one!  Tell her to look for the green sparkle skirts, the ones chasing down the green men for another photo.  The photo below, maybe just be the best photo that I’ve ever gotten at a race and I didn’t even “get” it.  This was courtesy of Nicole F, first from left.  Ms. Fastie can run AND carry her camera simultaneously!  Win!!  So myself, Maggie & Kelly were able to score big on her talent!  No fear, I’ll have my FlipBelt this year so I WILL have a camera on me at all time.  Watch out!

Nicole-Me- Green Men_Maggie_Kelly

If the amazing chick from the Shamrock Shuffle promo still can’t pick us out of the crowd since there will be so many fab women in green Team Sparkle skirts, then she should come to the beer tent after party and look for the crazy lady holding the green dye.  I mean really, what kind of St Patrick’s Day party can we have without green beer?

Green Corona

And yes, Brian J, I did steal your photo of this green beer.  Don’t sue me, okay?  I did put the die in that beer for you so it makes it half mine, right?  If not, I’ve already been punished enough by having to steal it from your mobile uploads.  Dude, you have some scary shit in that folder!

Yes, I’m looking forward to the Shamrock.  This will be the first of a billion posts about it.  The best part of the event, besides the fact that it’s the BEST.RACE.EVER., is that the whole weekend is about my run friends/family, even the Emendorfer’s come to town each year to whooooop it up with me!

Emendorfers_Shamrock_09

So look for my green sparkly crew!   We will be here, there and EVERYWHERE!

Hilton Crew_pre-race

** Happy ShamROCKing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Progress in the Making!

Although running is not getting any easier, I am seeing small signs of progress indicating that my running fitness in on the return.  I won’t be knocking out any fast runs in the near future but they are on the horizon.  It has been a long time coming while taking lots of little baby steps but progress is in the making!  I know it’s sometimes hard but I encourage all of you to keep moving forward, each and every day, even when you can’t actually see the improvements. Part of the process of growth, development and improvement is the plateau where we yes, it happens to all of us sit at the same spot for an undetermined amount of time without much visible progression.  This is the most important time frame to be patient, keep on doing what is necessary and have faith.  Focus on small steps/goals, which are attainable and allow progress to be identified, no matter how minute.  Try to think of a BIG goal as a completed puzzle.  How much time, patience and how many tiny, tiny pieces go into a beautiful completed puzzle?  Lots.  Stay focused and move forward slowly.  It will be worth it!

goals

Source

I’m currently running low mileage.  I’m averaging 15 miles a week, which includes 3 runs.  Not the norm, or what was the norm, but its safe and keeps me in the game moving forward towards my goal of running a super sonic 2013 Shamrock Shuffle 8K.  Why is the Shamrock Shuffle my next goal race?  Simple.  BEST.RACE.EVER.  It may be the only time you can legitimately chase green men and be considered sane while doing it.  Need I say more?

Nicole-Me- Green Men_Maggie_Kelly

In order to be fast by the Shamrock, I’ll need to keep pushing and testing myself along the way.  I’ll need to get used to running more short distance races rather than pounding out the longer, slower fun miles in my comfort zone with my F’N Runners

In order to test the current level of progression, I went out in the dark this morning and tried to push the pace a bit to see where I am fitness wise.  I certainly wasn’t at race pace with it being dark and my being undertrained but I averaged an 8:39 pace over 3 miles.  This is my starting spot.  I’m at 8:39 and just need to focus on getting stronger and faster while continuing to mend my injuries and maintain health on all other fronts.  I’ll be foam rolling, stretching, icing, cross training and watching my food intake to try to stay as healthy as possible.

I’m also thinking happy, positive thoughts.  I’m still very focused on recovery and rehab, but am just now able to take it up a notch to start working a new set of small steps/goals to get to my BIG goal.  It won’t be easy but if it were easy then it wouldn’t be worth it, right? 

Do you also try to break down the BIG goal into smaller pieces to make it more manageable?  Want to share your current BIG goal?

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

Inspiration at Every Turn

Looking for a little inspiration?  Look around you.  Some people see inspiration at every turn, be it a beautiful sunrise (photo stolen from courtesy of Chick #1 – Julie – Ragnar Relays),

Sunrise_Ragnar_Julie 

Children at play,     Michael & Aby_fireman 

Or men and women who are constantly pushing their limits.  I’d like to introduce you to one of those people,  April W.

April W

When I met April at a party in November 2011, I quickly learned that she was registered to run her very first half marathon in July 2012, the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon.  It looks like an amazing race, who wouldn’t want to run it?  Well, probably NOT April since she wasn’t a “runner”.  She wasn’t a runner but she signed up for a half marathon?  My immediate thought was, “Hmmmm…… I wonder if she knows that’s 13.1 miles?   I’m certainly not going to be the one to break it to her!”.  I figured one of her friends below: Cynthia & Jen with April….

    April_11-11

might eventually shed light on the situation and the distance since they were running too.  Maybe?

Over the course of the evening and a couple hundred vomit inducing glasses of wine, I learned that April was going to start training for her half in January.  Like after the new year?  Like everyone else who decides to start something new but can’t quite commit to starting “right now”?  Ok, sure.  I still invited her to come run with the F’N Running Club because we have all levels of runners.  We welcome everyone, fasties and run/walkers alike.  If you want to run, just show up, we are happy to have you and that’s not an exaggeration in the least!  Did I think April would ever show, not really but I’m always hopeful and I tried to be very encouraging and let her know that she would fit right in with the group.

The first week of January, I got a text message from April saying she was ready start running but didn’t know what to wear.  Apparently, I’ll give my cell # to any random wannabe runner after a few glasses of wine.  Possible character flaw?  See the F’N Runners run outside, year round to get a break from our screaming children take advantage of the fresh air.  I gave April some tips on what to wear for cold weather running and told her we just so happened to be running the very next day and she should come out.  And she SHOWED UP along with a lot of other crazy people.  This was January 8, 2012.  April is in the light blue jacket, middle back, wearing a black hat.  This is her first run of the year.

april_hickory-creek_group_1-8-11

I was so proud of her and several other newbies who had showed  up on that cold January day that they were the inspiration for my post on Courage.  I can’t even tell you how proud I was that she had the courage to show up.  I hope that I did her and the other newbies justice in the “Courage” post and I hope it gives others the courage to get out the door and try something new. 

April didn’t give up.  She didn’t lose motivation when the new year faded.  She just kept showing up and pushing her limits.  Left middle back, black hat.

april_1-11-12

She was even running solo without the group.  She was strong and had the will to Make It Happen.

april_1-13-12

And she started racing (right side, black vest, pink top, black hat), first up was the Midwinter’s Cruise 5K:

midwinter-cruise-2012_group 

Then the Shamrock Shuffle 8K (middle, black hat):

April_shamrock 2012

And the Soldier Field 10 mile!

April W_SF finish 2012

                               April W_kissing SF medal

Next up is the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 15, 2012.  There is not a doubt in my mind, I know she will cover the distance with a smile on her face.

Inspiration lives around us each and every day.  Inspiration is at every turn if you just look and listen.  Take a look around and find somebody YOU know who inspires you to get out the door and keep working hard.  Nobody can do it for you.  Nobody did it for April.  But you can look at others and use them as inspiration to keep pushing. 

Let’s hope April comes back after her half and gives us an insider look into what has motivated her to keep pushing, moving, running and being an inspiration to her family, community and all of us F’N Runners.  Thanks, April!  And the big question, will April keep running after Napa to Sonoma?  I’m betting, YES!

Who inspires you to keep moving?  Remember Angela C? She is another real person who inspires me daily.  If you haven’t already, read Angela’s story HERE.

** Hoping YOU Find Inspiration ** 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

Sharmock Shuffle Expo 2012

It probably isn’t really fair for me to “review” the Shamrock Shuffle 8K since we already know this is the BEST.RACE.EVER. so I will just break the weekend into manageable parts.  I had a fun-filled weekend which was non-stop shamROCK.  I had so much fun with my visitors and the other ladies who hung out with us at the expo and on race day and I want to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to stop and say hi or meet up for a photo.  I know it was really chaotic but I appreciate seeing each and every one of you!

We started the weekend off with a bang with sush & hibachi on Friday night the Expo on Saturday morning.  We squeezed possibly one too many into the Suburban for the trip downtown on a cool, drizzly morning but made it safe and sound for the real fun.  As soon as we stepped in the door our group began to multiply.  I may have mentioned before I travel with a crew.   Even if I am “alone”, I always have my little ones and if I have other women, then they too are encouraged to bring their brood.  Back from left:  Lisa, Nicki, Kristina, April, Melissa, Jenny, & Jeanne.  Front:  Aby & I.

We walked around the expo and it was disappointing smaller this year.  Several of the booths that I was looking forward to shopping were not present.  The highlight by far was meeting the ladies at the Fort2Base booth.  They were super nice, we hung out there for a bit and Aby handed out flyers for their September 23rd race where they are offering a 3 Nautical Mile race (3.45 miles) and a 10 Nautical Mile race (11.5 miles).  In return they gave us a few of the leftovers from last year’s race which is super exciting to me because I have been coveting Maggie’s (MagMileRunner) half zip for quite some time!  According to Maggie and a few others who ran this last year, this is an awesome race and there are hot Sailors out on the race course cheering you on to the finish.  Something you single ladies might want to check out!  Plus the half zips are way cool and it’s an automatic PR if this will be  your first nautical race.  🙂 

Expo Loot:  Shamrock Shuffle shirt top (yes, it’s red…..enough said), Fort2Base half zips, green Shamrock Shuffle bandana, Strides for Families RMHC shirt, chapstick (x10), Sports Authority coupon, Vegetable Oil (strange but not as strange as the Oak Forest Fleadh vomit bag swag), and first aid kit.

I also met a group of the Chicago Running Bloggers but since I spent 2 seconds with them, it was difficult to retain all of the new names!  I look forward to meeting up with them again in the future when I can give them my full attention.  I also stopped in to talk to the ladies at the Ronald McDonald House Charities and scored one of their shirts.  Of course, they are still accepting charity runners for the Chicago Marathon if you need a registration and/or would like to help a worthy cause and raise some much-needed charity dollars.  If you are interested, I’ll be right there with you in a Team RMHC shirt on the start line of the 2012 Chicago Marathon!

Best expo find = PunkeeLove Headbands.  I was leery because I have purchased expensive, big name headbands at other expos that flipped out of my hair before I could finish a 5K but the PunkeeLove double strands, the green sparkles and the sales lady dressed from  head to toe in RunningSkirts.com adjustable piece under the band gave me the confidence to give it a try.  Half of me & Kristina showing off some PunkeeLOVE.

One more photo at the Expo and we were out the door for some shopping in the CHI.  Back left:  Me, Kristina, Brandi, Cathie, Lisa, Jenny, Jeanne, Nicki.  Front:  Michael, Aby, Rachel, Murphy, & Jack. 

Then we ventured onto Michigan Avenue for some shopping, lunch, Ghirardelli Chocolate, and sight-seeing.  The city was veiled in fog on Saturday and it almost seemed like we were on vacation somewhere exotic.

My favorite photo of the day:  Me, Michael (he’s smiling!!!) and Aby.

I also love this one of Nicki & Jack…..he looks like he just got away with something!

Brandi & Kristina:

Lisa & Rachel:

After a relaxing stroll along the lake, home we went to carb load relax & rest before race day.

Woooop!

Happy Running,                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

Look for ME!!

If you see me at the Shamrock Shuffle Expo or on race day, please give a shout out so I can meet you!

A few ways you may recognize me:

  • I may be a head or two taller than most of the crowd.  Yep, that’s me in the back with Cathie and Dawn in front of me.  No problem picking me out of the crowd.
  • I travel in a pack so if you see me at the expo with 3 or 4 women, 3 teens and 2, strollers, that’s probably my crew.  My munchkins are below, I think we get to leave the dog at home this time, I think: 
  • Race Day = Green Team Sparkle Skirt: 
  • Depending on the weather, I may or may not have my URL on my shirt.
  • I have a huge large tattoo of a cross on the back of my left leg.  Before you ask, this is the script of John 3:16.  You won’t see another one quite like this unless you go to the street photog’s website who caught me in motion in South Beach.  Source – Christian Robotti Photography
  • I’ll be in Corral  B with hopefully several other green sparkle skirts and a kilt or 2.
  • I’ll try to stand as close to the green men as possible in hopes of getting on tv.
  • I’ll be the green sparkle skirt dying in the 3rd mile coming back along Van Buren Street.
  • I’ll be at the front of the Blue Gear Check Tent awaiting the F’N Running crew to come in from their races after I finish and pick up my gear.

Look for me and say, hey!  And good luck to all my F’N Runners, newbies and old pros alike, as well as everyone else who is running.  Let’s shamROCK this town!  And don’t forget to sign up for the the automatic facebook/twitter updates via shamROCKon for race day!.

Happy Running!                                                                                                               Amanda – TooTallFritz.com

Shamrock *LOVE* Shuffle – 2012

I have been counting down the day for the 2012 Shamrock Shuffle since we finished the race last year.   

This is by far my favorite race of the year and this year will be bigger and better than the previous races because instead of going with 3 or 4 of my closest friends, we have a huge group of over 30 ladies who will be wearing green Team Sparkle Skirts. Here is a preview of a few of us from the Oak Forest Fleadh 5K a couple weeks ago.

Plus we have a few men making the trip this year too.  They received a green sparkle skirt exemption and opted for kilts instead.  Fun!  Can’t wait for the photos!

I have been running this race for several years and recently went back thru and “found” some of the previous year’s photos.  The first year that I could produce was 2009 when I was preggo with Michael but alas the photo was not of me since I couldn’t run.  Here is my friend Cindy (Jackie – The Swim Coach’s mom) & Mark B. (aka – Nitro):

Thanks for running for me Cindy; I know the conditions weren’t “ideal” but I appreciate your helping me out!

2010 was rough for me as I was physically bouncing  back from Mr. Michael.   Even though he was born in September 2009, he had a lot going on and I never really got back to running until January 2010.  So the Shuffle came fast.  And it was hard.  And it was cold.  But it was still awesome because I was with my friend Lisa and a few of her friends that year.   

2011 brought my return to fitness.  I ran the 2010 Chicago Marathon and about died in the heat really came into my fitness AFTER the marathon.  If you run a marathon, this may happen to you too.  Your struggle thru the training, you struggle thru the race and then AFTER the race you are on fire.  Strong. Fit. Fast.  Makes for great fall racing if you are a fall marathoner.  FUN!  However, I was so on fire and upping my mileage like crazy that I managed to hurt myself at the beginning of March 2011.  I went into the Shuffle with a smile but hadn’t run a step in weeks.  C’est la vie!  FAVORITE.RACE.OF.THE.YEAR.

And in case you can’t tell from the photo, it was hot as hell.  But I had more “friends” this year.  My friend Lisa, brought the entire clan:  Hubby – Mike, Son – Logan, Lisa & Daughter – Rachel.

And my girl Kristina was “in” for 2011 and pretty much every race since.  🙂

To me, this race is about more than running, it’s about spending one weekend a year fully devoted to friendship and a healthy lifestyle.  A huge thank you to my friend Lisa, who comes each year from Wisconsin to celebrate this weekend with me.  Really awesome!

So CHEERS to the Shamrock Shuffle 2012!  I will ENJOY the atmosphere and the celebration no matter the weather or the results!

Do you have any annual races or celebrations that have become tradition to you?

Happy Running,                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

I’m a Tough Chi(c)k

I’m a tough chick.  I’ve known that for a long time.  As with all bitches ladies, some days are better than others but overall, I’m up there on the tough scale.  Over the last couple years, I became aware of a clothing company appropriately named, Tough Chik.  How fun is that?  I had browsed their website multiple times but their products just weren’t exactly what I wanted at the time.  They had lots of cute running tees but I don’t wear tees while running, or otherwise, and the performance line was small so I have been patiently waiting for them to expand the line.    I don’t mind spending money on performance clothing even though I have a ton but I don’t spend it on stuff that I don’t love. 

Towards the end of last year, my beloved Tough Chiks, who I been stalking but had yet to make a single purchase, announced they would be organizing a team for 2012.  Anyone who joined the team, by purchasing from the Team apparel line, would not only be part of the inaugural Team Tough Chik but also have a year’s worth of discounts for all Tough Chik apparel, get discounts for numberous yet to be named sponsors, and possibly get a ton of random freebies in our team package.  So basically we were purchasing a mystery package and well, I’m all about surprises and taking a chance, especially when the Team Tough Chik package looked to be just my style in regards to performance, function and fashion.

The team packages will be mailed sometime in March so I have been anticipating the delivery for several months.  Then I saw that the TC performance line started to expand and I was intrigued.  I’ve had my eye on this:

But I didn’t buy it.  I thought it was cute but I didn’t know how the sizing would work, I have this team package coming and the contents might not fit and since it’s custom I was sure that returns/exchanges wouldn’t be an option, so I was waiting to see how the sizing of the team gear would work for my body.  I have an odd body shape.  I’m long and lean but have a very poochy belly cuz I like to eat and drink instead of doing core work.  As a result, I have to be careful with my clothing not being too tight thru the belly or I look ridiculous.  I know you will be shocked but I also have an issue with my height and some of the TRI and running tops are too short and I certainly won’t wear anything that doesn’t have proper coverage so I was still waiting.  I figured that after the team package arrived and I had a better idea on sizing that I would try a few other things, like the pink tank above.

However, Tough Chik pulled a fast one and put something out that I COULD.NOT.RESIST.  Many of you know that my favorite race is the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago.  Each year, I try to harass encourage as many of my friends as possible to run.  This year I even strong-armed pursuaded a large group of ladies to run with me in green Team Sparkle skirts.  And since the occasion will be so festive, I have also purchased shamrock socks, white leggings for under the skirt and a green pullover.  But this green “i run” tank will hopefully match the Shamrock outfit perfectly: 

Yep, I couldn’t resist but took the plunge and purchased my first TC product.  It was relatively cheap at $30, plus there was an option of matching arm sleeves which I will probably need at the Shamrock Shuffle.  And most importantly, it fit PERFECTLY.   The tank is designed to be form-fitting thru the chest and then has a drop to a looser fit thru the mommy tummy.  YAY!  WIN!  I was so excited last night when I tried it on that I couldn’t even contain my excitement but took some pics, posted them on Facebook, tried to get 3 of these in the PINK (above) for me and my girls running 13.1 Miami on Sunday….. but shocker……. they are sold out of the pink in some sizes…..more to come soon!

Arm Sleeves ($25) with little Tough Chiks:

Back:

I can not wait to run in this top.  The fit is so nice, it was hard to take it off.  The seams are flat and the arm holes go up high enough that I don’t anticipate any chafing in the underarm flab department, this really seems like the perfect top and let’s say that I have been thru a “few” brands to know a lot by just the initial try-on.  Most tops I order never make it to a trial run but just get sent back immediately.  I have never found any running tops that I really love but am very hopeful with this one.  And quite honestly, the price point is so low compared to other technical brands, that I’m hoping this top performs half as good as I expect.  You may only see me on the trail in Tough Chik i run tanks this summer.  I’ll take this tank to Miami for a test drive this weekend and let you know how it performs.  More later.

Do you have any running tops/tanks that you absolutely love?  What is the price range?  Let’s find some good stuff at a good price for a change!  Tell us what you like!

Happy Running,                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz