Time Changes ALMOST Everything……

It was a busy weekend.  I went home to my parents with the kiddos for a trip to the Shrine Circus.  We have been going every year since Aby was 1 and now with Michael only being 2, we will be sitting in those same seats for many years to come.  I know we shouldn’t go because of all the sticky animal rights issues and we recognize that we are just perpetuating the problem but the kids love it, so we keep going back.  Then Sara and I whisper back and forth the entire time about how unnatural it is for the animals to have to do tricks, etc, all the while the kids are ooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing.  Auntie Sara & Michael, of course, he was being a stinker and wouldn’t look at the camera.

Grandma F & her girls – Lexi (Sara’s Daughter), Grandma & Aby:

Lots of fun but Michael kept demanding that the elephants “come, now!”  He was screaming at the top of his lungs, “Elephants, COME!”  At one point, he even insisted that he would go get them himself.  Yep, that’s my boy.  Sometimes if you REALLY want something then you just can’t wait but have to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

On days like this when I’m at the parents, I usually get up in the dark really early and go for a run before all the fun begins.  However, on Saturday when my alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning, I opened my eyes to shut down the alarm and realized that my head was pounding.  Killer headache before I even woke up.  Yikes!  So, I {gasp} opted to skip the run.  Once I finally was able to haul myself out of bed to go to the circus I soon discovered that “sleeping in” was a good option as we had a nice 1″ cover of snow and the roads were a mess.  I wouldn’t have made it far before I would have had to turn around for safety issues.

However, the change of run plans ended up being a great thing because I decided to run a new trail, mid day, in the town where I went to high school.  I had previously seen a  trail map of the Bixler Lake Walking Trail which was a perfect 3.1 mile loop around Bixler Lake.  Wow, things have changed since I went to HS.  This trail didn’t exist then.  I must admit my expectations were not high but I managed to recruit my pal Adella and she was brave enough to leave her warm house and snuggly kiddos break trail with me around Bixler. 

I was slightly nervous about getting lost, which if you know Kendallville, IN, this sounds RIDICULOUS but it was a trial thru the woods and well, I was anxious.  So I was beyond happy that Adella came out with me!  We soon realized that this “new” trail was AMAZING!  I took a billion lot of photos but will try to pare them down for you.  Here is the view from the parking area at the Sherman Street entrance which is only about a 1/4 mile from the HS. 

We ran about a 100 meters before I asked Adella if she would sit her ass on this snowy bench for the sake of a photo.  I know you are all green with envy, wishing it were your ass in the snow you were here with us.  

Sites from the Bixler Lake Trail

The wooded section was short, I was too busy taking photos talking with Adella to notice exactly how far but I would guestimate it being possibly 1/3 of the 3.1 mile loop, so roughly a mile.  However, the snow and terrain did not make it a quick trip thru the woods.  The area was also very wet, I would anticipate it being extremely wet in the spring and summer.  There were many places were we crunched thru snow/ice and into a little bit of  water.  Not deep but it was in the upper 20’s so definitely below freezing, and there was a wicked wind too so everything was frozen pretty good.  Just don’t wear your new shoes out here if you are gonna bitch worry about getting them dirty.  Once we busted out of the woods we were in familiar territory near the camp sites and pavilions where we used to run Cross Country. 

Hey random walking dude, can you take our picture?  A few sites from up by the camp sites. 

The remainder of the loop was much less eventful as we had to run the road back around the lake.  There were some improvements over the last 20 year as the K-Ville Parks & Rec Dpt has added a walking path and street lights beside a portion of the lakeside road.

Other things seem timeless……just the way we left them.

Kudos, Kendallville for the “new” improvements.  I’m impressed and I will definitely be back!  Thank you!  Please add a Starbucks next.

Saturday was a 9.22 mile day.  I ran the loop once with Adella, then we did some easier street miles, then I re-ran the loop solo.  The first loop was with Yak Trax that worked really awesome on the snowy trail but then I had to take them off once we hit the road.  The second loop, I ran without the Yak Trax and had some serious slippin’ and slidin’ going on in the wooded area.  So I give the Yak Trax a thumbs up in appropriate conditions.

Today (Sunday), I squeaked in a quick 5.5 miles as the kiddos were having breakfast with Grammie & Grampie.   I LOVE being at the lake with the parents because they honestly don’t mind my disappearing for a few miles.  Here is the sun coming up over Witmer Lake. 

                                             Swamp lands around the lakes:Lastly, the spot where LilWhiteDog ran out of the cornfield and into my heart forever.  I hope he is doing well in his new home.Great weekend running and otherwise.  I hope all of you had some fun and are ready to start a new week!  Did you do anything exciting or were you able to try anything new?

Happy Running!                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

A Picture’s Worth….

They always say that a picture is worth a thousand words and since we did about a thousand things today, this is the cliff note version in pictorial form.  The morning started with a quick run with the F’N Running Club.  After 7 to 9 inches of snow falling across the south suburbs, we were pretty light on bodies this morning.  Joe, Susan, Brian & Nicole showed up to run.  A a subdivision route was chosen in order to stay off the snowy, slippery trail.

I even busted my YakTrax out of the box.  They have been sitting new and unused for several years.  I really liked them in the snowy/slushy areas but they really hurt my feet when the streets were clear.  I could feel those springs up in my arch and it didn’t feel good on the Plantar Fasciitis.  I will try them out again tomorrow for a second chance but they may be banished back the to box sooner rather than later.

F’N Runners showing they are multi-talented and can run with their eyes closed.  Joe & Susan:Nicole:

Then straight home to the kiddos to play in the snow!  Aby on the snowmobile:

Daddy & Michael:

Michael and Aby on the swing….exactly what ALL kids do when there is 7″ of snow on the ground, right?

Dakota loves the snow!Libby hates the snow!

Then off to a car show.  The kiddos loved the Joker car.Then a few more errands and over to Grandpa C’s for Happy Birthday Cake.  Michael likes birthdays almost as much as he likes Santa. 

Then a “nutritious” take-out dinner:

Wow, busy day!  What did you do today?

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Virtual Snow Day……

Yesterday as Chicagoland was getting its first real snowfall of the year, many were out enjoying themselves and PLAYING in the snow.  I didn’t get much of a chance to have fun but I really did enjoy my walk to the train! 

Let’s check out some of the AWESOME things which the TooTallFritz readers have been doing with their Snow Day!  By the way, I’m super envious and want to be out there with each of you!

Thursday is a normal “run day” for a few members of the F’N Running Club.  Here is Julie, Jeni H. & Don all suited up for their run.  When they hit the trail at noon on Thursday, they were kicking around 3″ of fluffy powder!  They really kicked it around too for 6.5 miles!  Great job!   Please notice Jeni H.’s Shakeology shirt.  Both her and Don are Beach Body reps for Shakeology, P-90X, Turbo Jam and all that fun stuff you may have heard about at the gym.  If interested in Shakeology, please contact Jeni HERE

Run with Jess was also able to sneak out for a windy 3 miler in the snow.  She looks warm and toasty in that awesome jacket!  I love that you “pop” against the snow, way to pull double duty being cute & safe!  Please get to know Jess, she is one of my Ragnar Relay teammates!  Whoooooop!

Aurelia, a new member of the F’N Running Club, was also out enjoying the weather.  She and her favorite running partner, Maggie, hit the trail at Yankee Woods for a nice, quiet 4 miler!  Lookin’ good, Maggie! 

I had hoped for a REAL snow day today but Mother Nature only brought us a couple of inches down here along with some blowing and drifting snow to make driving a PITA nuisance in the early morning.  However Kelly stayed in today and made homemade protein bars!  Check out Kelly’s blog for the recipe!  I must say that I am impressed.  Great job, Kelly!

I was super excited to see that newbie runner April was out pounding the trail for a couple of miles today.  You know it’s a great run when you finish and you have frost on your gloves/hat and frozen eyelashes/eyebrows.  April is actually sporting new winter wear because apparently last year she was sitting on the couch watching tv rather than playing outside in the snow from a recent shopping trip.  You look great April and will fit in well with all of us crazy runners.  Happy have you on board, and you are going to KILL that half in July.  Gett’m Girl! 

I also managed to skip out of work early get in a run today.  It was windy out here in the country and although the roads are plowed, we still have some drifting issues.  So it was slow going but great to be out slipping and sliding because I have yet to open the box of yak-traks in my cabinet.  I ran 5.07 in 51:24 with lots of stops for photos, text messages (trying to make sure my lil man was getting a ride home), and I stepped off the road at least 15x to let cars pass.  It was getting dark toward the end of the run, snowing lightly, roads were a mess and let’s just say I wasn’t taking any chances.  So off into the snow I stepped for each and every car.  I’m not  a fan of road running at night.  I much prefer braving the coyotes in the early mornings where I can avoid most traffic. 

How do you spend your time when the weather turns?  Are you hunkered down inside by a blazing fire, sipping hot cocoa, skiing down a radical mountain, or making snow angels with the kiddos?  Tell us!

Happy Virtual Snow Day,                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz

It’s Snowing!!!

I am so excited about the snow!  I know so many who are frowning but I’m like a kid at Christmas super happy right now.  Two of my favorite runners are out playing on pounding Old Plank Trail to get in their scheduled Thursday Noon Run!  Great job Don & Julie.  I had to steal CrazyBoy’s pic to show you the beauty of running in the snow.  Hopefully Don will do a write-up and give us all the fun details!

Do you like the snow?  What are your plans if you get a snow day tomorrow?  Send me your snowy run/fun pics and I will post them.  Let’s have a virtual SNOW DAY!   Email pics with a brief description to me:  amanda@tootallfritz.com.

Be Safe & Enjoy the Beauty,                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                             amanda@tootallfritz.com

Is Winter REALLY Coming?

I feel as if the entire winter we, here in the midwest, have just been banking our miles, saying our thanks for good weather and waiting.  We know the snow is coming.  We know this means slippery or impassable trails that will slow and/or hamper our runs.  We know that road running is in our VERY near future.  The weather people say that winter is coming tomorrow, in the form of snow.  Supposedly, we will be getting real snow in the form of 1 to 10 inches.  Way to narrow it down, thanks, I’ll just schedule my snow day now NOT.

In preparation for the possible 10 inches of snow, hubby gassed up the snowmobiles and made sure that they would start easily for Ms. TooTall.  My personal preparations were to make sure I got groceries in a good run.  I certainly don’t want to be snowed in wondering when I’ll get to run next, so while all of you were duking it out at Jewel, I hit the trail.  I wanted my first 4 miles to be 8:30-8:45 so needed to get to the trail early to ensure that could happen.  And once again, it was daylight.  This makes me super happy!  I actually grabbed my music today too, which is very unusual for me but I wanted to push and thought it would be a good distraction.  Sorry about the ear buds coming out of my bra.

Then I hit the trail for some fastish miles with photos squeezed in between, and 2 phone calls, and some txt messages.  So my mile splits were all over the place due to the above:  Mile 1:  8:35, Mile 2:  9:19, Mile 3:  9:07, and Mile 4:  8:51.  I know this looks like a pacing fail but the following pics were taken, in addition to the phone calls, etc. 

As you can see the light is diminishing, which means it is almost time to meet my F’N Running Club!  Whooooop!  So I busted it back to Frankfort with my ipod blaring camera tucked away.

We had another AWESOME group show up for a Wednesday night run because they too were afraid of the impending snow storm.  The F’N Running Club Ladies, Top:  Maggie, Dawn, April, Michelle, Kathy, Aurelia, Susan, & Cathie.  Middle:  Kate LF, Megan, Jeni.  Bottom:  Me & Diane.We had one guy tonight, and here is the proof.  Brian F. posed with us in the front and I bet he can’t wait til Brian P. is fixed up and ready to run again

In light of recent events, on a different trail far away, we took a few seconds to remind everyone to be safe, be aware of their surroundings, run with a partner, or pepper spray, etc.  My favorite pepper spray comes from personalsavers.com, I like the wrist saverI know I have posted about this before but I like it cuz it fits right next to my watch and is very accessible, not tucked away in a pocket somewhere.  Please be AWARE and SAFE!

And then we were off to run.  As you saw, we had a great sized group tonight!  The group ranged from run/walkers at 3 miles to 9:00 min milers at the 4-6 mile mark.  Lots of in between too!  It was so nice seeing so many of our group on the trail, supporting each other.  Lots of fun and we are really becoming more of a team, trying to help and push each other, rather than just a group who shows up to run.  Nice, I’m proud of all of you!

In total, I had 10 miles in 1:32 today.  Good Wednesday Pre-Snow run!

What do you do before a “possible” snow storm? Do you run, get groceries, gas up the snowmobiles, or put the plow on the truck?  For the record, I did stop on the way home to gas up my car, just in case the snow really does come.

Cheers!                                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz

Back to Reality…..

Although today I am confronted by going back to work reality, yesterday was a busy and productive day on the home front as we tried to squeeze in as much as possible on our last day off.  I was fortunate that Hubby took one for the team watched the kiddos so I was able to meet up early, but not too early, with the F’N Running Club for a Monday morning run.  This was a total luxury for me because I am usually sitting on my ass at my desk early each Monday.  The Monday morning New Year Crew:  Julie, Joe, Jeni, Susan & Jennifer E.I want to give a huge shout out to all of these runners, as well as sending them a great big THANK YOU for getting up and out of their cozy beds to come for a run.  I laid in bed all night listening to the 50 mph winds and rain/sleet pelting the windows.  When I got up it was snowing, we had freezing temps and MORE wind, so I was surprised that anyone besides Susan show up.  Thanks, you crazy F’N Runners!  I would have never been able to do it without you yesterday and had already copped out of my Jan 1 run due to wind/cold so I really needed this!

The temps were around 20 degrees in the early morn but felt much colder due to the wind.  However, being on the trail, the trees provided us with a lot of wind cover and it really wasn’t bad after that first mile.  It was snowing pretty good at times too but there wasn’t any accumulation, the trail was in good condition with good footing.  Not too slippery.  

  Julie & Susan looking strong as they are approaching the turnaround: 

Joe, Julie & Me at the turnaround.

The group ran between 3 and 7 miles at a leisurely pace.  A few stops for road crossings and turnaround/meet-ups.  I never stop my watch cuz I will forget to restart it so I had 7.01 miles in 1:10:48.  Great run!

After my car defrosted from the snow and ice which had accumulated during our run, I returned home and hubby and I set up my dining workout room again.  The workout equipment had been evicted to the basement while trying to fruitlessly sell the house, then to make room for Tacky Christmas.  I am back in business now! 

I even managed to squeeze in some bike miles and a short weight workout during Michael’s nap! 

So the NEW year is going strong for me so far.   I am trying to refocus on fresh foods and veggies to lose those extra 5 lbs, core/weight work, and more cross training.  I am sore today so something must be working. 

Are you off to a good start this year?  Are you doing anything different or just refocusing on some good habits which may have fallen to the way side over the holidays?

Think and BE Healthy this year!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Run Envy……

I am absolutely GREEN with envy knowing that I am not out enjoying the first run in the snow with the F’N Running Club.  Ugh!  Happens to all of us Mom’s, right?  We sacrifice what we want in order to make the family work…..or be available so Daddy can pull some OT on a Saturday.  This is why I don’t see many of you on Saturday mornings, cuz 99% of the time Daddy is working so we can make the house payment.  Obviously, him working is slightly more important than my running but it doesn’t make it any easier on Ms. TooTall!  So in an attempt to not feel sorry for myself too bad about sitting inside, I dug up a photo of one of my favorite snow runs. 

This photo is several years old…….a grassy trail that is part of the Hickory Creek Extension off of Old Plank.  I would have never ran a grassy trail had it not been frozen and snow-covered.  It was taken on Jan 13, 2009 and one of my last Saturday runs before the doc cut me off from running since I was actually preggo with Mr. Michael.  Hubby wasn’t working this day because business was slow and they were down to 4 days a week which allowed us plenty of extra time for baby making.  I showed up for a group run and I was the ONLY one who didn’t wimp out had gotten “up and out”.  Since I was there, I ran anyhow.  So glad that I did, this was a perfect day and it is a great memory.  I really do enjoy the snow.

Today is not even close to being the same.  We only have a slight dusting thus far but the snow continues to fall magically.  It would be nice to get a little accumulation so we the kids can go out and play.  Here are a few photos from the yard.  Lots of zoom action on this photo, the girls were all the way in the back of the yard, by the field….the tree line is a creek.

Across the road looking toward a different field.

If you were fortunate enough to get out this morning and happened to grab a pic of the snow dusted trails, send it to me or post it on the TooTallFritz facebook page!  What are your favorite running conditions?    Do you find the beauty in all the seasons or are you just a fair weather runner?  Tell me!

Cheers,                                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                               amanda@tootallfritz.com