Venus de Miles (2013)

Yesterday brought the second annual Venus de Miles ride to Lake Forest, IL.   I was one of the six ambassadors for this event.  Ambassadors pictured below from left:  Jess, Erin, Alyssa, Kelly, Lauren & me.

Venus 2013_ambassadors

I also was lucky enough to participate with several F’N runners & some Team Tough Chiks members too!!!  F’N Runners – Lynn, Melanie, Susan, Suzanne & Me

Venus 2013_Lynn & Melanie  Venus 2013_susan-suzanne-me

Team Tough Chik riders – Susan, me, Jess & Jenny G

Venus 2013_Team Tough Chik

This ride is a one of a kind experience.  Ladies only please unless you want to dress in drag and be our bike support.  The focus of the ride, is not how far or how fast you can ride but rather sisterhood, togetherness, and community support for our Greenhouse Scholars charity which “provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students”.   The event offers at 25 and a 61 mile event.  Both last year and this year, I opted for the 61 miler.  The course starts through the streets of Lake Forest then visits neighborhoods, forest preserves, bike paths and lots of sites along the way via the towns of  Deerfield, Riverwoods, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Forest Lake, Mundelein, Libertyville & Mettawa. 

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The ride can be as leisurely as you like or a total hammer fest.  Up to you.  Venus provides a very well marked course, with plenty of space for all riders and 4 rest stops along the way.  Each rest area offered clean bathrooms (port-o-potties) with all the needed “sanitary” items, lots of food & fuel from brownies (my current personal choice for fueling a 60+ mile ride!!), cookies, nuts, PB, fruit, Luna bars, energy gels, shot blocks, water & electrolyte drink.

If you have a problem with your bike you can call for on course bike support or maybe one of the men in drag will stop to assist.   Plus there are lots of ladies on course who will gladly lend a hand if you need it!  However, let’s just hope your day is as amazing as the event and you won’t need any help! 

I was lucky enough to find a solid group of ladies who were moving my pace.  This Fab 5 stuck together the entire way.  We fought some cool conditions, rain, wind, hills (and a few more hills) and came away with a smile on our faces when we crossed the finish line.  Here we are leaving the last rest stop and getting ready to put the hammer down to the finish:  Jess, Helena, Jess, myself & Suzanne.  Thank you ladies for sticking with me, even when the wind and hills were kicking my ass and helping me finish strong!

Venus 2013_5

The ride was great but the food, drinks (2 free drinks each!!), vendors and JENI’s ice cream at the finish were AHmazing!  It was also nice to be able to sit down at little tables to eat and chat with friends.  Many participants also partook in free massages, mani/pedis, facials, etc.  So much fun.   And I was equally impressed with the Greenhouse Scholars who were floating around, speaking to as many participants as possible.  The Scholars were very appreciative and thanked us for being there and fundraising for them.  It was very heartfelt and personal as they told us what the charity has done for them. Nice touch.  If you didn’t have a chance to ride this year and would still like to help the Greenhouse Scholars, you can donate HERE until the end of August. 

Great event.  We had 326 riders this year, which was about a 100 less than the inaugural ride in 2012 but there was also a big century ride in town which I personally believe took some of our riders.  The course was well marked, diverse and had amazing support.  I also liked the little added touches to make the ride feminine and fun.  Keep watch for the 2014 date so that you can put it on your calendar early and join me touring Lake County, IL for the next installment of Venus de Miles (2014).  Costumes welcome!!

** See you next year  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz  **

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Race Around the World Duathlon 2013 Report & Strike Out ALS 5K winner

Sunday brought us the annual Race Around the World Duathlon in Tinley Park, IL.  This is absolutely one of my favorite events of the year and consists of a 2 mile run, 11 mile bike, followed by another 2 mile run.  Duathlon is always “run, bike, run”.   It’s the multisport event that “some” scoff at for not having a swim but one that is much loved by those of us who don’t want to mess up our hair with a swim cap.  Duathlon is my personal favorite multisport activity and I am considering making it my main focus next year because it really is THAT.MUCH.FUN. 

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The 2013 event was my 4th appearance, the first of which was in 2006 when I randomly signed up the day of the event with my trusty Walmart Special mountain bike.  It was a rough ride but brought me a 1 hour 17 minute finish.  Then in 2007, I arrived with a bit more of a plan in place AND a road bike.  This delivered me a 1 hour 10 minute finish.    Then I took some time to TRI, have a baby, and focus on the run only to make a return in 2012 with my F’N Running Club.  As history denotes, I showed up in 2012 with a torn tendon in my foot and a little girl who wanted to “run for her mom” so that I could still participate.    We took 5th in the women’s relay division, report HERE, and decided to come back for 2013 to move up in the standings.   The sole purpose of yesterday’s race was to go as hard as we could and try to take 3rd in our division.  Our team motto was to “run/race for the bling”.  True story.  We have no shame.

I’ve previously reported this to be a great event, good for both beginners & competitive athletes alike.  The event is short enough to not be intimidating but long enough to push the limits on fitness.   The course is nice, user friendly, has loads of volunteer and safety support, plus there aren’t too many turns.  The TP Fire Department brings fire trucks with “showers” for cooling off post race.  The finish is welcoming with cold drinks, the showers and plenty of  post race snacks.  Well organized event.  I love it and suggest that you DU Tinley in 2014.  Oh, and the  shirt is cool too!  Black A4 tech shirt with unique design.

Tinley Park_DU_13_shirt

Now let’s compare our 2012 race to the 2013 event.    2012 was good, we took 5th in our division & we loved the team dynamic.  What changed between 2012 and 2013?  Both Aby and I are stronger and more determined.  We always focus on fun but we wanted to push and  try to move Team 2 Tough Chiks up in the standings but knew that the competition was super tough last year and we had no idea who would “show up” this year.

2012 vs 2013

The F’N Running Club brought more people this year, some repeats, some new. 

Tinley Park_DU_12    Tinley Park_DU_13_group

Aby has grown.

tinleydu_12_aby2    Tinley Park_DU_13_Aby

We were faster pace wise, despite the 2012 bike course being 1 mile short due to road construction and 2013 having a hellacious headwind thru half the course.

Run #1 – 2 miles 18:54 (9:27 pace) 17:13 (8:37 pace)
T1 47.8 49.5
Bike 30:49 (19.1 mph) 34:00 (19.4 mph)
T2 43.6 42.6
Run #2 – 2 miles 19:04 (9:32 pace) 17:42 (8:51 pace)
Finish 1:10:19  ** Short 1:10:28

We brought home some bling, placing 2nd in the Women’s Relay division out of a field of 20.  We were super excited!!

Tinley Park_DU_13_Me&Aby medals

We are proud to push together, as a team, in an event that is fun and family friendly.  Also, please note that our 2012 bibs were 601, and the 2013 bibs were 602.  Is it too early to “request” that our 2014 bib assignment be 603? 

tinleydu_12_meaby   Tinley Park_DU_13_Me&Aby bike

So we’ll be back next year looking to steal that first place finish from fellow F’N Runner Deb & her IronSis (Team Twisted Sisters).  The IronSis beat me down on the bike and I’m gonna work on that for next year!!  Love that I now have a new goal for next year!!

See you in Tinley on June 22, 2014!!

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The winner of the Strike  Out ALS 5K is #18 – @jmonst – please contact me at amanda@tootallfritz.com to collect your free registration!!

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** DU Tinley Park in 2014 ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Courthouse Classic 5K – 2013

Every year we head to the lake for Father’s Day and also participate in the Courthouse Classic in LaGrange, IN.  The race is always the day before Father’s Day, on a Saturday and benefits the Lakeland Cross Country teams.  Good race.  Good cause.  Good family fun.

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One of the sponsors for this race, if you don’t remember from last year’s report, is a local grocery store so our goodie bag always contains groceries and usable items.  Then they specifically pack Aby’s for a “kid” and give her school supplies, candy and activity books.

My SWAG bag, Aby’s SWAG bag & the cool tee for the 2013 race.

Courthouse Classic 2013_me-swag Courthouse Classic 2013_aby-swag Courthouse Classic 2013_aby-shirt

This race is cheap too, which is especially nice if you are taking the entire family.  The 5K run/walk pre-registration cost was $14 and the 1 mile fun run (kids only) was $9.  Win!! 

This was Aby’s third year running this event.  I like running the same event annually because it’s about the only way to compare your fitness or lack there of over time.  And while I am getting slower, Aby is getting faster without even training, which is super exciting.

Aby’s Courthouse Classic 5K history in time & photos:  2011 (age 9) – 33:19,  2012 – 30:37 &  2013 – 25:09

Aby & Me_Courthouse Classic_2011  Courthouse Classic Aby2_2012   Courthouse Classic 2013_me-aby

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t all hip on returning to run this year and registered only after Aby begged.  I didn’t run last year (the 2012 race) because of a torn tendon (which happened on June 2, 2012).  I’m okay now but still not running fast and I’ve been having a hamstring “issue” that seems to dislike any sort of uphill/incline or long/open stride.  In short, I honestly can’t run fast, even when I try.   In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve ran fast that I wish I could just erase those “fast” times out of my brain to eliminate my constant disappointment.  I’m trying to focus on the fact that 1) I can run and 2) running makes me happy.  Does running faster make me happier?  Yes.  But only a little.   I just want to run and I want to be able to do it with Aby while she still wants to actually do it with me.  So I registered for this race even though I knew it would be a disaster I wouldn’t be fast and I wouldn’t be able to perform up to my own expectations. 

To complicate the situation, I’m TRI training and Friday is my long bike day.  And while I felt good on the 55 mile bike ride Friday ….

Team Tough Chik_2013 kit_6-14-13

My legs were “slightly” fatigued when I hit the start line on SAT morning.  Oh well, it’s not always about me and we were here to get Aby off her ass running and ready to start training for Cross Country season.  And thankfully my friend Adella came along so that I had a shoulder to cry on friend in misery. 

We all three stand on the start line together, somewhat near the front.  The gun goes off.  Aby takes off.  We follow.  My little girl has one mission in life, to beat her momma at any and all foot races.  Good news, I just need to stay close and she runs.  If I get close enough to pass then she surges to get further ahead of me.  It’s a game of cat & mouse.  We play it for about a mile.  We hit the mile mark, which has a volunteer reading splits:  7:45.  I think at this point I may have laughed.  I was pushing it, not dogging it, pushing it and starting to fade.  I, of course, think back to split times from “years gone by” when they started with a 6 instead of a 7 but that’s been a while now so I push it out of my head.  I keep pushing and keep fading.  My legs feel like bricks.  My quads burn.  My hamstrings ….. well you don’t really want to know what they were saying.  Good bye, Aby.  Good bye, Adella.  Good bye, Noble County Runner, Jim! 

Although, I didn’t remember this course being so hilly (a few small inclines in reality!) from years previous, I did remember the finish to be downhill.  By the time I reach this downhill, Aby and Adella were waiting for me and probably wondering if I DNF’d.  I finished my slowest Courthouse Classic 5K to date:  25:51.  Hmmmm, I should probably be disappointed but I’m going to revel in the fact that Aby didn’t steal the car and leave me did well, that Adella hung tight with her to try to push her when I couldn’t and that I ran and finished another race that last year I couldn’t even have walked.  So it’s a win in my book and I’ll keep chasing down my little girl.  I doubt I’ll catch her but I’ll keep trying if for no other reason than to make her surge ahead and run faster, even if for just a minute.   Goooooo, Aby!! 

When results came in, Aby won her age group.  Adella took 3rd in “our” age group and I finished in the 4th spot.  In unprecedented fashion, the race officials gave out a 4th place award for age groups this year.  I’ve ran a lot of races and never seen age groups go 4 deep.  Thank you!!  It was nice to be able to take a pic with the girls and us all have some “bling” to show for our run.  Me, Aby & Adella below.

Courthouse Classic 2013_me-aby-adella-trophies

“Run”way Fashion:  Team Tough Chik run singlets (this is what tough looks like) and RunningSkirts snow leopard skirts.

Yep, I’ll be back for the 2014 Courthouse Classic.  Come try to beat me.  I might be faster.  I might be slower.  Who knows what another year will bring, but I’ll be there.  It’s a tradition for us. 

** Run the Courthouse Classic ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Charity Raffle for RMHC

This week starts the kickoff of the Chicago Marathon training season!  Everyone is excited.  Everyone is ready.  Everyone is planning ahead to make the 2013 race the best one yet.  Those of us who have chosen to run for charity are also strategizing as to how to make our fundraising campaign as successful as possible for our charities.  My charity is the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Yes, we still have entries available on our team if you didn’t get one of those coveted lottery spots!!    Go here to become a 2013 team member for RMHC.

RMHC logo

I have chosen to run for RMHC for many reasons but most importantly because I want to help the kids and families not only of Chicago and the US but around the world.  The RMHC mission speaks to me by helping out the kids and families of injured, disabled & terminally ill children stay together.  They focus on normalcy and helping the family to feel connected, offering creature comforts, fun and a home base that is less like a hospital and more like a home.  They provide a place to stay, meals and support these families regardless of their financial status.  They focus on keeping families together during times of crisis.   That I like.  That I support.  That is something I would want for my family.

So without further ado, I’ll start introducing the raffle prizes.  I am still collecting raffle items so email me if you would like to donate something!   Currently we have just under 30 items with prizes ranging from $6 up to $189.  I’ve been hoarding saving and stashing things away for this all year, so I hope that we can really put some $$ away for RMHC.  My goal is to raise $5000 this week.  You will receive 1 entry into the raffle for every $10 donated to RMHC via my fundraising page HERE.  If you see a prize that you REALLY want, then please make a comment below and if your name is drawn then I will do my best to accommodate your request.

PRIZES

1)  Pro Compression Marathon Socks – $50 Value.  Your choice of color & size.  These are my go to socks for compression.  They are long enough for my long legs and come in a variety of colors and sizes.pro compression_gree socks_me

2)  Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – $65 value.  Your choice of color & size in the Gen2 style.  These are the only compression shorts I wear.  I love them.  I like both generations for various reasons but the hot pink Gen2 shorts really makes a statement as they are working at keep me together. 

Aspaers_gen2

3)  Tough Chik $25 Gift Card – You get to chose what you want from the Tough Chik store!  Lots of amazing things from cycling, running, TRI gear to casual tees.  My new favorite, which just dropped yesterday, is the “Tougher Than I Look Tank” which is priced at $28.  However, YOU can pick anything you like with this gift card!

TOUGHER_TANK

4)  Venus de Miles Illinois FREE ride entry + Tee (medium) + Water bottle – $189 value.  Join myself, the other Venus de Miles Ambassadors and ladies from all over the tri-state area as we cruise Lake Forest in style on July 28th.  This ride offers a 25 & 61 mile option.  It’s totally free for YOU and the mandatory fundraising requirement will be waived.  The ride includes fully stocked rest stops every 12-15 miles, on course support, breakfast  & activities pre-ride, and a big ladies style bash after the event.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this event.  Check out the website or read more about the 2013 event HERE or my 2012 experience HERE

image   venus de miles tee

5)  Bastille Day 5K/8K FREE entry – $37-$42 value.  Run one of the best races in town on Thursday, July 11th for free!  This race claims to be “Bringin’ Happy Hour Back” so I have massive expectations for fun, Fun, FUN!  The race is in Lincoln Park offering a 5K or 8K option followed by a block party.  Join me to celebrates the French Independence Day and we will show Lincoln Park what HAPPY HOUR is all about!  Whoooooooop!!

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6)  Women Rock Chicago Calendar & Headband (x2) –  Value is “priceless”.   I scored two MEN of Women Rock Chicago calendars which have been signed by Mr. April & Mr. July!  You are welcome!!!  These calendars are filled with fun and hot men.  Each calendar comes with a Women Rock Chicago headband.  Two winners here, try not to fight but I know you want these!!

women rock chicago calendars              women rock chicago calendars2

7)  AdvoCare prize pack – $32 Value.  One AdvoCare blender bottle, 3 packets of Spark (mango strawberry), 3 packets of Post Workout Recovery Drink (chocolate), 3 pouches of Rehydrate Gel (lemon), & 3 packets of Rehydrate drink (mango pineapple).  AdvoCare is my go to for nutrition and sports performance products.  I don’t shop around.  This is what I trust.  This is what I use.  These products are safe, tested, legal, plus focus on giving us what we need for our bodies without all the “extra” additives and sugar.

advocare prize pack

8)  Punkeelove Headbands (3 bands – 1 winner) – $44 Value.  I love sparkly headbands that DO NOT slip.  These are the only ones that I buy.  I’ve tumbled and rolled down the lakefront path (no joke!) and these stay in my hair.  They don’t flip off the back of my head while I run either cuz who wants to pay big $$ for a cute sparkly headband then lose it in a race on the first wear.  Not me.  This prize pack includes a purple, black &  pink band.  What more could a girl possibly need?  Oh and they are adjustable so you can share them with the little divas at home too!

punkeelove_3

9)  Mission Athletecare prize pack – $17 value.  I am including two of my favorite Mission Athletecare products.  They are my go to for sunscreen, anti-chafe, lip balm, muscle care & foot cream.  I really like this stuff.  CVS carries some products and then I get the rest online.  This prize pack includes an Anti-Chafe stick & a 50 SPF Kids Continuous Play Sunscreen.  I use the kid sunscreen all the time so this is what I had in the cabinet and this is what’s in my purse right now.

mission athletecare_2

10)  Road Runners Sports 2 Bottle Belt (size medium) – $29.99 value.  This is my favorite water belt.  It doesn’t move.  It holds 14 oz of water at one time, plus has  small pouch for keys, phone, or gels.  Fuel Belt branded bottles. Road Runner Sports designed belt. 

road runner sports_water belt

11)  Team Tough Chik visor – $18 value but you can’t get it unless your ON THE TEAM and I probably won’t let you win it unless you are on the team or promise to sign up next year!!  This is a Headsweats brand visor with a velcro adjustment strap.

team tough chik_visor

12)  Flip Belt – Black (size large) – $24.99 value.  It’s been soooo hard for me to save this and not use it.  I have a yellow and pink one that I wear constantly.  I run in them, race in them and sometimes wear one if I’m out with the kids and don’t have pockets.  Great belt that fits a ton of stuff but doesn’t bounce or move around. 

flipbelt_black

13)  CytoSport prize pack – Muscle Milk Light (Cytosport product) is a headlining sponsor of the Zooma Women’s Series.  I have a prize pack from our sponsor which includes several of their Muscle Milk & CytoMax products.  Prize pack includes:  2 Muscle Milk snack bars, 1 Muscle Milk Light (chocolate) ready to drink, 1 Muscle Milk Light (peach) ready to drink, 1 CytoMax ready to drink, 5 CytoMax mix packages, 2 packages of CytoMax Energy Drops & 1 CytoMax water bottle. 

muscle milk prize pack

14)  Tough Chik Boston Tough Boston Strong performance wicking tee by Alo (x2 – both size medium) – $22 value each.  Get one of these tees while they are HOT!  They sold out immediately on the first printing.  They run small so these mediums fit like a small.  Two winners here.  Each winner will get a tee & a Tough Chik sticker!

Tough Chik_Boston Strong

15)  Lock Laces – $7.99 value.  Yellow lock laces.  Great for running, triathlon or little ones who can’t keep their shoes tied!

lock laces_yello

16)  BioFreeze prize pack – $31.50 value.  Number one topical pain reliever for athletes!!  This prize pack includes a full size pain relieving gel and a full size can of 360 spray

biofreeze

17)  Handana – $18 value.  The Handana is all the rage!  Used by runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts everywhere, this is your answer to gracefully wiping away snot & sweat during a workout.  It may seem a little “out there” but it’s a practical solution to a problem that we all share.  Second photo from the Amazon website.

handana  handana2

18)  Team Tough Chik sponsor prize pack (x3 – three winners).  One of the benefits of being on Team Tough Chik is the backing of our amazing group of sponsors.  We aren’t just paying for cool clothes & access to an amazing network of women but also cool prizes and discounts from our sponsors.  A few of our sponsors are in this prize pack below:  Nuun – 1 full size tube of fruit punch nuun & 1 nuun water bottle, Cliff Bars – 1 Cliff Bar & 1 Cliff Builder bar, BodyGlide – 1 “For Her” product, Reflect Sports H2O swim shampoo sample & a John Wayne Cancer Foundation 30 spf sunscreen sample.

team tough chik_sponsor pack  team tough chik_sponsor pack2

19)  ibungee Speed Laces – $6 value (x2 – two winners).  Neon Green & Yellow.  The ibungee speed lace system claims to be the #1 seller for speed laces.  They are great for running, triathlon & the little ones in your family.  Installation is easy, just make sure you get them long enough!  There are 38” laces so long enough to cut to your specific needs.  Two winners here.

ibungee 

20)  Adidas Sport Headbands – 5 headbands (black, pink & white) – $9.99 value.   I haven’t tried these yet, a friend gave them on to me because she knew that I liked headbands but since I was collecting for this, I just tossed them in the pot.  They look cute!!

adidas headbands

21)  GU prize pack –  14 GU gels, $24 value.  GU is undeniably the most popular “on the go” fueling option.  We have 11 regular gels:  2 TRI Berry, 3 Strawberry Banana, 1 Mandarin Orange, 2 Espresso Love, & 3 Peanut Butter.   Then the prize pack is topped off with 3 of the coveted Roctane Gels in the Chocolate Raspberry flavor.  You’re workout will definitely get a boost with these!

Gu prize pack

Wow!  That’s it!  If we don’t get any other prizes, then I will draw 26 winners next week on Thursday, June 13th at 9am via a random number generator.  This is one instance where you can win more than one prize.  Please share this with your friends, blog readers, run club members & anyone who might be interested.  The idea behind this is to do the best we can for Ronald McDonald House Charities and in the process help as many families as possible.  My personal goal is to raise $5,000 thru this raffle and then not talk about it again.  Please help spread the word!  Each $10 donation (increment) to my fundraising page = 1 entry into the raffle.  No donation is too small, now go help me spread the word and GOOD LUCK

** Raising $$  For the Kids ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Run River City Marathon Relay

This year Peoria brought us their first annual Run River City marathon weekend.  The fun filled weekend offered a marathon, 4 person marathon relay, 25K, 5K and kids marathon.  While I normally don’t like to travel for races because it’s a PITA for my family, Peoria is the hometown of my friend & fellow Team Tough Chik teammate Run With Jess, so it was quickly decided that a trip to Peoria was in order.

imageimage

Almost instantaneously, we decided that our event of choice was the marathon relay.  We had one goal:  To Have Fun.  Since we were looking for fun, plus both Jess and I were already members of a 200+ all ladies team, we started looking to fill the remaining two relay spots with Team Tough Chik members.  I mean, the uniform is already in place why not utilize our team members, right?  In under 24 hours, Carmen of She Runs Everywhere and Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik (and creator of the Tough Chik clothing line and Team Tough Chik) were on board for the first ever Team Tough Chik marathon relay.  Pre-race photo:  Me, Carmen, Jess & Shannon.

PreRacePhoto

We rolled into the River City in waves, grabbed our packets at an outdoor “expo”, which very small, and then quickly checked out the swag.  The swag bag included a gender specific new balance shirt, bib and a few advertisements.  No worries on my end, we paid $35 each for the relay.  I come to run, not go home with a bunch of stuff that I’ll never use.

SWAG

Then a bit of sightseeing!  I love a small town where you can walk around and check things out!  Riverfront Park & one of the many bridges connecting Peoria to the “real world”.

Riverfront Park  Bridge

But really, we came to run and were super excited to get started on Sunday morning.  The event kicked off with a super elite field of wheel chair racers at 6:55 am, quickly followed by the marathon, relayers and 25K runners.

WC Start

Temps were warm and humid at the start with a little cloud cover but the sun quickly burnt off the clouds and took the times all the way up to 89 degrees by the finish.

Leg one kicked off at the start by Katie, who was a last minute sub for Carmen due to injury.  The girl smoked those first 6 miles and hauled axx into the first exchange to handoff to me.

Team of 5  Katie to Me handoff

I was off for 7 miles of fun.  Initially thru the flats of the riverfront area of Peoria, then quickly up and out of town via a monstrous hill on Main Street.  Although I’m a notoriously poor uphill runner, I did keep moving.  Other runners gave into walking/clawing their way up and then the stronger hill runners passed me up as if I were standing still.    Here I am still looking fresh as I get ready to tackle “the hill” and you may also notice that my pink FlipBelt came in super handy once again as I stuffed the blue relay baton thru it to free up my hands!

Me_curve_baton in flipbelt

The 7 miles didn’t exactly fly by as I had expected because the heat soaked to my being quickly around mile 3.  I could feel my fingers swelling and my face start tingling.  I was finding it super hard to acclimate to the first hot race of the year so I just tried to focus on moving forward and being thankful that I was relaying rather than running the 25K or marathon.  I heard lots of complaints while I ran about the lack of mile maker, clocks, bathrooms, and runners wanting the water stops to be more frequent due to the heat.  Each water station was placed anywhere from 0.5 to 2 miles apart.  They seemed random and it was difficult to anticipate their locations.  The website listed them here:

NUTRITION

  • Water stops will be at miles 2, 4, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 8, 10, 11, 12.5, 14.5, 1.5, 16, 18, 18.5, 20, 21, 22.5, 24.5, 25, 25.75

  • Honey Stinger gels will be at miles 11 and 21

  • Gatorade will be at miles 4, 6, 8, 12.5, 16, 18.5, 22.5

I must say that I was super happy to see Shannon awaiting my arrival at the second exchange!  I was totally melted by this point and she looked fresh, happy and ready to run her 5.5 miles of hills.

Handoff to Shannon

Shannon’s California conditioning was exactly what we needed for the toughest leg of the event.  She was used to the weather and the hills and BOOM, smashed her leg.  Thanks, Shannon!!!  Before we knew it, she was coming in to hand off to Jess who totally rocked the last 7.7 miles all the way back DOWN to the riverfront. Yes, I’m totally jealous of that big downhill she got to run! 

Shannon handoff to Jess

Team Tough Chik running to the finish!!

Team Running In

So much fun.  Sub 4 hour finish (3 hours 56 minutes).  We placed 4th out of the 50 “all women” relay teams and 22nd of out of all 123 relay teams.  And in case you were wondering, “This is What Tough Looks Like”:

Team photo_baton

Great time.  I’d definitely do another marathon relay. Thanks to Jess for busting her butt trying to figure out the mangled course directions for driving to the relay exchanges.  Thanks to Dave, Jess’ hubby, for helping us on course, doing some of the driving, and taking all of these amazing photos.  Thanks to Carmen for being such a good sport, despite her injury, hanging with us during the race and finding us a last minute replacement!  Lastly, thanks to Shannon, the “Original” Tough Chik for making us cool running clothes coming all the way from California to run with us.  Much love to all of you!

Overall I loved Run River City and recommend it to anyone looking for a cheap, scenic, tough, hilly marathon.   Good bang for the buck.  And if you’re in it for the bling, well you won’t be disappointed!

Medal

**Run River City ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com **

A Family Affair ….

As a wife and mother who is employed full time with a lengthy commute, exercise is sometimes a luxury rather than a necessity.  I frequently cram it, exercise that is, into the day when it really doesn’t fit.  Like,  I should do that massive pile of laundry BUT I’m going to take Michael and go run with the jog stroller instead.  That  pretty much defines this week.  We crammed a lot into a little time.  Aby’s done with track so it was “make-up” week where we tried to get our life back and still take care of business.

Dentist & Group run.  I’ll spare you the bloody photo of them pulling Aby’s tooth.  However, we followed up the dental visit with a Tuesday run with the F’N Running  Club.  Gotta balance the bad with the good, right?

FNRC_TUE_5-14

“Big People” Appointment & Zoo.  Quality time with the kiddos has been mostly in the car as of late.  One parent present at a time.  Probably won’t win us parent’s of the year but I think they dropped our application years ago, so no worries!  Anyhow, we needed a day off for “big people” stuff and then decided to take the kiddos and hit the zoo for some good ole family fun.  The Dinosaur’s Alive exhibit at Brookfield Zoo was a big hit with us!

Zoo_May 2013    Zoo_May 2013_giraffes     Zoo_May 2013_dino_kids  Zoo_May 2013_dino_color  Zoo_May 2013_dino

Then we hit another FNRC run last night as a family (you can barely see Michael peaking out of the jogger beside Aby in the middle) after I promised Aby ice cream if she could manage to slug a few miles out with Michael and I.

FNRC_THUR_5-16-13

So we’ve had a busy week but still managed to have some fun.  All my run miles have been slow, back of the pack runs with Michael in the jogger and my shoulders burning because the jogger and I aren’t friends..  I’ve biked on the trainer a few times and tried my best to get the house back in order.  NOW, I’m looking forward to the weekend. 

No family affair this weekend.  I’m heading to Peoria, IL to spend some time with a few of my favorite Team Tough Chik members (Jess, Shannon – The Original Tough Chik, Carmen & Nicki T) as we show Run River City how to put together one TOUGH relay team.  Go Toughies!!!!

If you are headed to Peoria to Run River City, look for our Team Tough Chik relay.  Or the amazing sign that Jess made which I’m sure will pop up around the marathon course. 

Team Tough Chik sign_Jess

** Get Out and Run, With Or Without the Family ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Be a Badass NOT a Victim …..

You know me, or maybe people like me who walk around in shirts proclaiming “toughness”.  We may not verbally tell you that we are tough or that we are a badass but our shirts, tights, or maybe even our socks will give you a clue. 

badass tights_Kari     Team Tough Chik _TRI back  image

Photos above:  Kari – Running Ricig in the Relax Reflect Badass Tights, me in the 2012 Team Tough Chik TRI kit, & the Sock It to Me Badass socks.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  We don’t really consider ourselves to be “that” tough.  We are projecting.  We want you to believe that we are tough, even if we don’t necessarily feel it inside.  Fake it til you make it, right? 

Perception is everything.  How others see us has a lot to do with how we carry ourselves.  What we say.  When we say it.  And what we DON’T say will speak volumes.  In today’s society, there is no place for weak women.  The weak become prey.  There are assholes predators lurking in the bushes, on our local trails, in our supermarket parking lots, everywhere really.  Don’t be scared but think for a minute about what you want to NON-VERBALLY convey to them?  What do you want them to think when they see you? 

Be confident.  Be a badass. 

Bad things happen to good people.  It’s not fair.  It sucks.  Some things are really beyond our control but how we react to a situation can possibly change the outcome. 

Be smart.  Be tough. Be confident.  Be a badass …. even when you don’t feel like one.  

I hope that when you see me in my “This is What Tough Looks Like” shirt, you think to  yourself, “Hmmm, she’s not so tough; I just saw her crying on the trail during her 20 miler last week!  I’m tougher than her!”  I hope that makes YOU feel stronger.  I hope that makes YOU feel like a badass.  I hope that gives YOU a confidence boost.  You are definitely tougher than me.   You are definitely a badass.  Live it.  Own it.  Project it.

Be confident.  Be a badass. 

So as your walking around today, I want you to focus on being confident.  I want you to look people in the eyes when you pass them.  I want you to say hello to perfect strangers.  I want you to look tough and feel like a badass walking thru your everyday life.  This is important, you need to project a confident air, even when you don’t feel it.  So pay attention to yourself because you never know when someone else is watching you and trying to decide 1) if you are paying attention to your surroundings and 2) if you are badass or a victim.  If can’t do it for yourself, do it for your daughters because those little eyes are watching EVERYTHING you do, learning your mannerisms, your strengths, your weaknesses, they are learning how to BE from watching you. 

Be confident.  Be a badass.

Me_BAMR shirt 

Badass Mother Runner shirt

In light of the recent attack of one of my run club members on Old Plank Trail in New Lenox, I want to revisit some previously written safety posts.  Please take a moment to open the links below and go over the runner safety tips.  If you have written a safety post in the past, please link it up in the comments below.  Thank you and please be safe.

Six Degrees of Separation …… Virtual Run For Sherry Arnold – February 12, 2012

Safety 1st, 2nd & 3rd – April 19, 2012 

** Be a Badass NOT a Victim ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Ragnar FL Keys …… In Photos

2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Part III – END

This will be my last Ragnar FL Keys post.  I stalled a bit, waiting for everyone to upload their photos, plus work & life, then the stomach flu.  Good times.  But the last things I wanted to leave with you about Ragnar were some of the images.  The good times, tough times, and the beauty all wrapped up on one final post

The Course Map – Miami, FL to the southernmost tip of the US, Keywest, FLRagnar FL Keys_course map

The Start:

Ragnar Keys_Me Reflective   Ragnar Keys_ start   Ragnar Keys_me reflective2

So much of the race was cloaked in darkeness and pics were difficult.  Or if we did get pics, the photo just shows reflective gear. 

Ragnar Keys _reflective gear

The times we weren’t cloaked in darkness, we were riding or waiting in the van.  Oh wait, it’s still dark in this one too!  Teammate and fellow Team Tough Chik member, Toni & myself.

Ragnar Keys_minivan

But there were stolen moments of peace and tranquility just steps away.

Ragnar Keys_tranquility pond

New “In Real Life” friendships forged with fellow Team Tough Chik members that are spread throughout the US and world.   Photo on the right has 4 Tough Chiks:  Myself in my team gear, Kristi (in green), Kim (bottom in yellow) and Toni (in grey).

Ragnar Keys_ me ragnar sign - water          Ragnar Keys_ TTC

Lots of bridges, water & palms swaying in the gentle breeze.

 Ragnar Keys_ in route to finish   Ragnar Keys_palms

One shot of me running in the daylight.  Please notice my red Aspaeris Pivot Shorts peaking out from my skirt. 

Ragnar Keys_ me hand off

And finally, the finish.  By the beach.  200 miles ran.  Whatever pace we could manage.  Done.

Ragnar Keys_finish shoot

Ragnar Keys_ group

My girl Angela & I at the finish.  She’s the reason I went all the way to FL for this adventure.  Love you,  Ang!

Ragnar Keys_me & ang

Thanks to our amazing sponsors!  

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – I heard a million times that the team didn’t think they could have done it without you.  Almost everyone acknowledge that you held us together when we didn’t have a lot left in the tank.  We ran hard, ran extra miles, gave everything we had and you held us together.  Thank you!

Ragnar Keys_me finish- aspaeris shorts

ShowerPill – What to say?  I have never been so gross and nasty for such a long period in my entire life.  After each run, I used a ShowerPill wipe immediately upon finishing to try to wipe away some of the nastiness.  Each time, I was happy and soooooo very thankful that you came on board with us.  I’ll spare you the nasty photos of the wipes in use cuz they are really nasty but leave you with the knowledge that everyone on the team was thankful for your product!   Dear readers, I leave you with a not so subliminal notion that you probably want to go get some of these, right now.  Shop HERE:  

image         shower-pill6

Family  Fan Club – I’m a major fan!  They totally hooked us up with shirts and window decals.  They made our job so much easier because we only needed to add a few things to our windows and we were ready to run.  Lots of vans had fancy art work, etc. that was all washed off during a down pour.  Not us.  Our decals never moved.  They were super easy to apply and then they peeled off easy & clean!  Plus my favorite part is that they didn’t obstruct our vision from inside the van.  Win, Win!!!

     

Ragnar Keys_van_sponsor decals-magnets    image

This is the end of my Ragnar FL Keys “saga”.  It was an amazing journey with an amazing team! 

I look forward to hearing YOUR Ragnar stories in the future.

** Happy Relay Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Ragnar FL Keys – Runner #1

image

As you know, the Ragnar Florida Keys event begins in Miami and finishes in Key West, Florida at the “southermost” tip of the continental United States.  The event covers 196.9 miles over a 24 to 36 hour period.

Ragnar FL Keys_course map

I must say, this route looks as if it can’t possibly be anything but scenic but I am a realist and know that despite the beauty, it will be difficult and windy once we hit the causeways heading toward the Keys.  But still beautiful.

I filled the slot for Runner #1 for our team, 2 Bros & 10 Does.  I’m excited to be leading off the race, starting in “hopefully” nice cool temps at 7:30 am, and getting my first leg out of the way before I lose too much energy to nerves.  Leg #1 is 5.7 miles and designed as HARD, probably because mile 1-3 are on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  There is a steep incline to get onto the causeway (think a very long entrance ramp to a freeway) which I believe I was told would be approximately a mile in length.  Yes, 1 mile of pure burning climb.  Hmmmm….wonder how this will effect my pace?  Once the mile long climb is complete, then it will be smooth/flat running unless the wind pushes me over the edge til I descend & leave the causeway. What goes up MUST come down and that’s what I try to remember as the inclines are zapping all power out of my legs.

Ragnar FL Keys_leg 1

My second leg will then commence after my 12 teammates take a turn killing “a few” miles.  I will be back on the run with Leg #13 in Homestead, FL which also happens to be the hometown of my friend, fellow Tough Chik, & teammate, Angela C over at Life Beyond the Chaos.  Leg #13 promises 8.8 VERY HARD boring miles.  Awesome.  This leg, besides being longish, guarantees an amazing gravel road with large rocks & massive potholes which will be VERY difficult to run.  Sounds great, right?  It could only better if I get to run it in the dark!  According to our calculations, if everyone is on pace which will be impossible, then I will finish this leg at 6:43pm.  So I have a chance of some daylight during this section.  A “chance”.  If everyone is on pace.  Yep, I plan to run it in the dark. 

Ragnar FL Keys_leg 2

My third and final leg of the event looks awesome!  It will be run leg #25.  A “mere” 3 EASY miles.  Elevation change = 0.  Those miles look like a piece of paradise in Marathon, FL.  However, I do wonder how much fatigue my legs will be exhibiting at that point in the event.   Focus on the end beauty, right?  If all  goes well, and we are once again “on pace”, I will be running this section at 8:38 am.  Yep, I’ll plan to run mid morning.Ragnar FL Keys_leg 3

Then I wait til the team cycles thru our 12 runners again and look forward to the finish line ceremony.  At the finish, both vans and all teammates assemble and run thru the finish together for beer and pizza the finisher medals and photos.

Although, it all looks easy enough, I know to expect the unexpected.  Everything matters in relay running:  each runner, weather, elevation changes, fueling, terrain, etc.  If you think of all the random things that can happen to 1 runner in a race, now multiply that by 12.  Lots of variables.  I’ll just be hoping for the best and focusing on hydration and fuel.

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

2013 Team Tough Chik…..

The registration period for the 2013 Team Tough Chik is NOW open! 

You may have seen me announce this on my facebook page last week but I wanted to do an official post.  The registration period is only open through October 29th so don’t put it off too long or you will have to wait for another year to be part of this amazing community of active women! 

As I await the influx of new “Toughies”, I look back on this year and recall how Team Tough Chik has supported me unconditionally thru the ups and downs of what came to be for 2012.  I did spend a lot of time in Team gear but it was mostly on the bike since my run was put on hold  for several months due to injury.

Aby and I first raced in the Team Tough Chik singlets at the Devils Dash in Peotone in May.  Here were are with my friend Nicki (who will be on Team Tough Chik for 2013!!) and Michael, then a couple of “on the run” photos.

Devil Dash_group   devil dash 2012_aby4  devil dash 2012_me2

Then I got hurt and spent a considerable amount of time cycling:

Me_5-18-12   image image

And some time teaming up with Aby for a bit of duathlon action:

tinleydu_12_meaby   tinleydu_12_aby2

And some time doing 2/3 of triathlon races for which I was already registered:

image  image

And you know, when I look at it this way, 2012 doesn’t look so bad! 

When I originally heard about Team Tough Chik, I had never even purchased one Tough Chik item but I was intrigued with the all women team concept and being part of something a bit bigger than my local community.  I truly wanted to be part of an international team of amazing women.  Then when I heard that Tough Chik was lining up sponsors and all of the team members would be getting a “mystery” package, along with their Team gear, which would include samples, full size products, and a year’s worth of discounts for not only Tough Chik but also ALL OF OUR SPONSORS, I was hooked.  They had me at “mystery” package.  I took the gamble and immediately signed up for the team and it has been an amazing experience. 

What did the sign-up entail?  I had to purchase a Team gear package.  The least expensive package was for the running singlet only and it was very reasonably priced.  It will be the same this year.  If you want to be “part” of the team, you may purchase any of the packages HERE, and they start at $25 and go up to and include the “Whole Enchilada”.  The least expensive (running singlet only) package also includes 5% off of all regular Tough Chik gear for a full year, plus the random goodies & discounts from our new sponsors.   Cool, huh?  And most importantly, we once again have a kick ass awesome design.  Here is a peak at the 2013 TRI kit:

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Check out today’s Tough Chik blog HERE for a few words from myself, Susan, Karen and Tonia  as to what Team Tough Chik has meant to us for 2012.  Hope to see you on the 2013 Team!

** Cheers ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com