BAMR….

When I returned to running in 2004, it was because I wanted to hike the Grand Canyon with Lisa E needed to get back into shape after the honey/baby-moon period.  I needed to improve my mental & physical health and become a better role model for my children.   Things have progressed a lot since that time and I’m no longer alone in my quest to improve my health and be a good example.  I have a lot of friends, and all of you, to help keep me focused and motivated. 

Somewhere along the road, while hiking the Grand Canyon running, I realized that I was a bad ass Tough Chik.  There are many things that make up a Tough Chik, and it is, of course, different for everyone.  For me, it is about being able to focus, set goals and push my limits.  To keep going when I really want to give up, go home, sit on the couch and nurse a six pack beer.  On the Team Tough Chik Intro HERE, they asked:

“What makes you a Tough Chik”:

I don’t think of myself as “tough” but I am determined and sometimes that means that others view me as “tough”.  I really believe that accomplishing a goal is more about making the decision to do it and then following thru to make it happen.  I have a “tough” schedule and could have lots of excuses but I try to be flexible to get in what needs to happen at the appropriate time.  That may mean a 3:30 am wake up call but I am willing to lose a little sleep to make sure that I have done as much as possible to reach a specific goal.  I encourage all women to be flexible and realistic, recognize limitations due to family and finances but NOT to let fear limit what they can accomplish.

Today, I was bestowed the very coveted bad ass mother runner BAMR status by Dimity McDowell & Sarah Bowen Shea, authors of Run Like A Mother and Train Like A Mother, on their Another Mother Runner blog.  Look for me hitting the trail in the official BAMR tank soon!  I’m honored and proud to be the newest BAMR! 

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They featured me HERE on the “Follow This Mother” segment.  Pretty, Pretty, Please take the time to go over and visit Dimity & Sarah on their blog and read my interview, you might even catch a photo, or two, of YOU!  They do a lot of great stuff, offer tons of awesome advice, and if you like giveaways, they have some of the best.  Check them out at Another Mother Runner!

Now that its official and I’ve been granted both BAMR and Tough Chik status, my life is almost complete.  Now to just chase down that ironWOman status!

What makes you a BAMR or Tough Chik?  Don’t think that you aren’t worthy of the titles because you absolutely are, now tell us why!

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

Venus de Miles 2012 – No Redemption

VenusdeMilesIf you hear ladies talk about Venus de Miles, you will most likely hear tales of laughing, bonding, sipping cocktails, facials & mani/pedi’s way before you realize that those ladies rode 25 or 61 miles before hauling themselves into the after party where the fun was waiting.

My story is a little different because I’m lucky like that I had mechanical issues but I’ll get to that soon enough.  The day started off a little rocky with a 3:45 am wake up call.  The ride was in Lake Forest, IL which was approximately 1.5 hours from my house in absolutely perfect traffic.  Traffic was not perfect.  I allotted more than enough time but shit happens there was a really bad accident in Chicago and I was in gridlocked traffic which moved approximately 1 mile in 45 minutes.  I made it to the ride “in time” but was very rushed. 

As soon as I got to the ride site, I saw a few Chicago Running Bloggers assembling for a photo so strolled over at the last minute to meet them on the fly.  Lauren, Erin, Kelly, MacKenna & Me:

Venus 2012_Lauren Erin Kelly MacKenna MeI stole the photo from Kelly who was much more organized & “ready” than myself.  Please flip over to her blog to read her Venus recap HERE.  Kelly also made those adorable tutus for herself, MacKenna & Jenny G (not pictured).  They were a huge hit and the ladies also sported white feathered angel wings on their back!  So, awesome!

Once we hit the start line for the 61 mile ride, things slowed down a bit.  We were all a bit anxious but had to sit thru a few speeches and introductions.  Cool idea but we were ready to ride.  Kelly’s start line photo with me in the “this is what tough looks like”  Team Tough Chik jersey.

Venus 2012_Start LIne

The ride started about 7:05 am but things didn’t speed up much as we had a police escort to pull us out of town.  The escort was nice but slow, averaging between 11 and 14 mph.   The pack was thick and the ladies were getting antsy.  One lady even rode up and asked the officer to speed up.  That didn’t go over well and I certainly would not recommend anyone trying it.  Ever.  Don’t bother the police escort.  They are their to help you and keep you safe.   

Once the escort delivered us to a local bike path, we were on our own and off with the wind.  The course was well marked and the front group was averaging around 20mph.  The speed was hit and miss though because the course was unpredictable in spots.  We had lots of turns, were on/off road, sidewalks, paved bike paths, crushed gravel trails, neighborhood streets, rural roads and busy thoroughfares.  The surfaces were inordinately good for the most part but everyone had to pay attention as the course would turn in a moments notice.  A few times, we would have to double back to make a turn.  Some ladies got lost.   I did notice 2 spots where signs were either forgotten or possibly removed before we arrived but that was not the norm.

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The rest areas were very frequent, initially I thought too frequent but apparently it worked out in my favor.   Rest areas were located at approximately mile 15, 31, 42, & 51.  Each location was fully stocked with water, ice, electrolyte drink that actually tasted good, Luna bars, peanut butter, cookies, brownies, pretzels, fresh fruit, and much, much more.  If fueling or hydration was an issue for anyone, then it was there own issue because I was out on that course so long I could have ridden a century for almost 7 hours and I was never once hungry or thirsty.

Overall it was a great ride which was put together very well.  I’d recommend it to anyone.  I wish it were closer to my house but the northern suburbs are much more cyclist friendly so I absolutely understand the venue choice.

Ride Report End ** My Journey Begins

As for my personal ride, it wasn’t ideal.  I seem to have a black cloud which is following me as of late.  When I get on my bike, the black cloud seems to get very active and the thunder and the lightening come fast.  At this point, I had thought almost everything on the bike had been replaced within the last 2 months but I was wrong.  The ride was awesome for the first 30 miles.  I was pounding the miles, hanging on the back of the lead group, really enjoying myself.  We were just starting to get into a few rollers and the fatigue in the legs was starting to surface.  I don’t climb well, so the group would pull away on the uphill and I would catch back up on the down.  It was good and I was having fun!  Then I hit something on an uphill around mile 30 and heard a “whoooosh” of air leave my back tire.  Flat.  I stopped, had the tools & supplies to fix the tire but was positive I couldn’t personally make it happen.  A cyclist, Cathy, stopped to help within a few minutes.  Thanks, Cathy!  Then Adam, an on course bike support rider stopped and let Cathy go on.   At that point, Cathy had almost everything done but my CO2 cartridge was giving us fits and we couldn’t get air into the tire.  So Adam worked on it, couldn’t get it, then used his own CO2, and he slowly filled the tube.  It looked good, I started putting everything back on the bike, I rolled it forward to get on and it immediately popped again.  He changed it for the second time with his own supplies because I only carry one spare, and he noticed a puncture in the tire.  Thankfully the rest area was only 1 mile away and he rode with me to deliver me to the rest area bike support tent where they had more supplies.  Greg, Trek Downers Grove, replaced my punctured tire & tube 2 more times before finally sending me on my way.  Between the roadside assistance & the tent support, I was out of the ride for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Venus 2012_Greg When I got back on course, it was not a smooth ride.  Greg told me that it was going to be bumpy but I should be able to limp it to the next bike support tent.  If I understand it correctly, my new tire needed to stretch out and it wasn’t properly seated.  Every time the tire went around it was like I hit a bump.  So I was just bumping my way along and the course sweepers, or the caboose as they called themselves, came up on me.  I was the last person on the course at mile 31.  Awesome.  So I joined the caboose and we powered thru to the next rest area and rolled directly over to Torsten, the rest stop #3 Trek specialist.

Venus 2012_Torsten & MikeTorsten, with Mike “The Sweeper”, pulled a MacGyver and used electrical tape to cover my damaged rim wheel tape to allow the tube to sit in its proper spot and then the tire somehow slipped into position.  I can’t even pretend to understand but I was told a billion times to make sure I took my bike into the shop to get this fixed properly.  He also told me that “X” bearings were shot and needed to be replaced but by then my brain was mush and I have no idea what else is wrong.  Good news, this short 15-20 minute repair got me thru the remainder of the ride.

Me at the last rest area with Mike & Elizabeth, the course sweepers.  I rode with them for a solid 20 miles and then said my thanks and departed without them as they needed to wait on a few ladies we had passed.

Venus 2012_me mike elizabethMile 51 – I’m no longer bringing up the “very” end but I was really ready to be done with the ride.  I powered thru the last 10 miles with one gear.  A hard gear.  There were rolling hills.  I passed where it was safe and continued to move up but the party was all but over by the time I got in and well, I was just grateful to be within walking distance of my car finished.  I could have partaken in the festivities but it was time to go home to the family, so I drank my two freebie beers, ate a little lunch, which was awesome & hit the road.

I have so many thanks to give:  1)  My F’N Runners, Jenny G, Lisa M, & Lynn S who waited on me to finish, even though they rode the 25 mile ride and were probably finished way before I even had problems.  I knew I could count on them to pick me up if I necessary and really appreciated them hanging around when I know they just wanted to go home.  Lynn, Lisa & Jenny (photo source – Jenny G) below: 

Venus 2012_Lynn Lisa Jenny

2)  The Chicago Running Bloggers, Lauren, Erin, Kelly, & MacKenna who were so kind and encouraging both during and after the ride.  3) The numerous people who participated in my bike support and ultimately helped me finish the ride:  Cathy, Adam, Greg, Torsten, Mike & Elizabeth.  Thank you all for everything you did!  It’s beyond obvious that I couldn’t have finished without you!

I’m just glad this was a ride, not a race.  It was well supported and well, if a girl were to have major problems, this was the ride for them to happen.  Have you ever had major issues on a ride that required assistance?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Blogger Award……

I read a lot of blogs, I mean a lot.  One of the blogs I read is CultFit.  Early this week, CultFit awarded me with the Beautiful Blogger Award.  I’ve been seeing these go around but have not yet been chosen.  I’m honored; thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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The idea behind the Beautiful Blogger Award is to recognize some of the blogger we read for their hard work and inspiration. 

**Obligatory Rules**

  1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.

Since I just posted my answers for the Spotlight Runner, I can’t really imagine you care want to know more about me so I’m going to pick some very random things, then pick 7 very random bloggers I follow who you might want to know.  My goal is to try to pick people you DO NOT know so I tried to stay away from the Team Tough Chik & Chicago Running Bloggers line-up (with 2 exceptions).

1)  I’m currently loving the Michelob Ultra Cactus Lime beer.  2)  My favorite person is currently my chiro, Alexis, who is going to make me better and as a result help me run faster.  3)  If Michael had been a daughter instead of a son, I wanted to name “her” Lydia but was out voted and we were going with Katherine Jean ( I think, can barely remember that long ago), call name:  Kati.  4)  If I have anymore pets after my brood passes, it will be one small dog named Sam I Am but only if it promises to not pee or poo or vomit on anything I own.  5)  Michael leaves for college in 5915 days, unless I can get him into school a year early since he is a genius and then we have 5549 days.  6)  I SWEAR I am NOT counting the days until Michael goes to college!  7) The first thing that I’m going to do when Michael goes to college is hike the Pacific Crest TrailPCT map

All of it.  From Canada to Mexico.  No, I’m not taking my cell phone so don’t even ask.

Seven bloggers I love, to whom I would like to award the Beautiful Blogger Award and simultaneously introduce to you. 

Tough Chik – Great way to learn about new tough chik teammates & blogger babes all over the world. 

Run GINGERFOXXX Run – This chick  makes me laugh even she is trying to be serious.   Not much makes me laugh.

Manage Better Now – Things you may or may not need to know about being in the office/business world.

Bridgett’s  Beauty Blog – I know nothing about beauty and she knows everything.

It’s Just One Foot In Front of the Other – Possibly the first blog I ever read and I’m still reading.  Amazing athlete on a looooooong running streak.

Angie Blogs – Another great runner and mother & she possibly owns the one and only Saucony Recovery Suit.

Swim.Bike.Run.3durance – Currently training for an Ironman.  Way more focused and better at following a training schedule than I. 

Congrats to the new award winners of the Beautiful Blogger Award!  Please go check  them out and hopefully you will find them as motivating, inspiring, funny or as helpful as I do on a daily basis!

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

Devil Dash 5K – Peotone – Race Review

This was another jam packed weekend.  Friday included an intense session with Alexis L, the Chiro/Muscle Manipulator/Miracle Worker.  I left feeling excited but sore.  Let’s hope a couple sessions with her leave me repaired and ready to kick some butt!

I also managed a 30 mile bike ride despite several mishaps, including a badly broken bike that led to dirty hands an emergency trip to a trailside bike shop.  Huge thanks to Plank Road Cyclery in Frankfort for reattaching the derailleur.

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Saturday brought the Devil Dash 5K in Peotone which was a fundraiser for Aby’s school district.  Last year this race was a week earlier so we were able to participate in this and some of the other local races; however, this year, the local races all fell on the same day.  Poor planning on everyone’s part, in my opinion,  but certainly easier on the checkbook and my body.

Devil Dash 2012

The Peotone race is one that I will participate in, as long as I am able, and as long as my kids are in the school district but it’s not one that’s going to draw a big crowd even if they don’t do it on the same day as everyone else.   We had 68 finishers this year and I was 13th, the 3rd woman overall.   Aby was 27th.  She was the youngest runner but did not receive an award because they did not have an age division for her.  The age groups started at age 13 and they were a bit skewed compared to other races.  My normal age group would be 35-39 or 30-39 if it’s a small race.  However, my age group was 33-45 on Saturday. 

The race was very family friendly and we took the entire family & a few extras!  Aby, Michael & Jackie are below in the first photo.  Me, Aby & Nicki & Michael are in the second photo.  Aby & I were rocking our Team Tough Chik singlets although neither of us were feeling too tough after this race!

Devil Dash_2012_kids & jackie Devil Dash_group

Out of the 68 finishers, there were lots of run/walkers, mom’s with jogging strollers, etc.  We all came out to help raise money for our kids school district.  I doubt we had many participants out of the district but this was about our kids and that’s why we at the start line.

My time wasn’t in the normal range, not even for a less than ideal day but I ran, and I finished in 26:41.  Always consider a run and a finish a success because there are so many people who would love to be able to do what YOU do, each and every day.  Try not to beat yourself up when you don’t perform as you want/expect.  We are very fortunate for our health, even with a few aches & pains, and our desire to get out and be active, feel the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces! 

The course was a bit shy of the 5K distance last year and I ran a 22:17….huge difference, I know, but we had two different days and two different courses.  The 2011 race was cool, overcast and seemed to be the perfect race.  I was feeling good and strong the entire time and I remember thinking the course was great.  I think I was #6 overall last year, 2nd female and I won my age group.

This year it was hot, the course was slightly long (3.3 miles) and it seemed like we made a million turns.   I felt lost in a town that I am in several times a day.  I know it’s all perception but this was quite possibly the longest 5K ever both literally and figuratively.  I also was having trouble and couldn’t get a full stretch on my stride.  This started when I tripped over the crack in the sidewalk, see that recap HERE, and has progressed into something of its own.  I feel as if I have bricks hanging off each side of my bum!  When I stride out to run fast, it’s like my leg catches and its just too tight to hit full stride.  How the heck do I explain that to the chiro?  She’s gonna think I’m crazy!!  So the fact that I was struggling physically quite possibly attributed to my less than ideal race.  You can see in the photos that it doesn’t look as if I was picking my feet up at all.  Going to talk to Ms. Alexis about this on Friday.

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Aby was apparently having no trouble getting her feet off the ground.  🙂

devil dash 2012_aby  devil dash 2012_aby3 devil dash 2012_aby4

There was 1 water stop at the half way point, volunteers or police at every turn, except the turn into/thru the Jr. High parking lot and park district area.  We ran thru this area last year and we ran thru it again this year although I have no idea if this was part of the new route.  If we had cut this area and ran straight into the water stop, I’m pretty sure that we would have been right on the 3.1 mark but we all did the same thing and ran the same route regardless of if it was right or wrong so that’s all that matters. 

No chip timing and the start commenced by the sounding of a horn, which left us all looking around wondering if we should start…..which we eventually did take off.  Kinda funny really.  We received a nice technical tee that was a men’s size.  There were lots of post race snacks/drinks and the awards were given out as soon as people realized they had won something.  The race was overall much smoother than last year but I’m holding out for the 3rd time is the charm and hoping that the 2013 route will be more runner friendly, have fewer turns and is on the money distance wise.  Not a bad race for the price it’s 2nd year but I know they will do better in the future. 

After the race, hubby took us out on the boat so we could lick our wounds for some  R&R!  Yay, thanks honey!  Aby and Michael love the boat and being on the water. 

Kids on Boat_5-19-12

I am making an effort this year to cover up more and protect my sunspots face from the sun.  I have always been a sunscreen nazi but am also going to try to wear a hat and glasses this year for added protection.  I opted for the Ryder Shots sunglasses because of the photchromic property which lightens and darkens the shade of the lens to the conditions.  I have been wearing these non-stop on the run and bike for over about a month so knew they were light weight and wouldn’t bother me and I was right, I didn’t have to take them off once the entire day.  Big win for me!  I think I’m going to add a pair of the polarized Ryders to my “collection” for our boat outings. 

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Did you race this weekend?  How did you perform in the heat wave?  Tell us how you did!  Do you like to boat and spend time on the water or is it all pool time for you?

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Ryder Shot Eyewear Review

I was a lucky girl and put in some nice miles this weekend while still managing to have lots of fun!  The weekend kicked off mid afternoon Friday with a 29 mile bike ride.  This was an important ride because I just had my bike readjusted and needed the miles was testing a new pair of sunglasses, the Ryder Shot Photochromic, which had already passed the run test x10.  I’ve been running in these glasses for almost a month and we all know from the I Wear My Sunglasses Almost Never post, sunglasses and I normally do not get along.  I want to wear them, need them to protect my eyes but usually pitch them due to poor fit, lighting, or the irritation factor.

I have quite the collection of those which remain but never get worn:

sunglasses

Therefore, I didn’t want to be hasty on writing up a review on the Ryder Shot’s prior to really wearing them, thinking about the fit, coverage, functionality, and using them on both the run and the bike.  As a triathlete, the sunglasses are one of the most important pieces of gear on the transition mat.  They can make or break the bike/run legs if you don’t own a good pair that fit, perform well and protect your eyes.

First, how do they look?  The most important aspect, right?  Okay, not really but….

Ryder glasses-Team Tough Chik bike jersey3 

The above photo is not the best, it’s a direct result of Aby’s photo session at the bike shop on Thursday night, but it gave me giggles after a quick WTF moment of seeing the color “splashes”.  The before/after photos below are a bit better.  I’m a “little” disheveled “after” but still smiling!  Yes, that is the Team Tough Chik bike jersey if you were wondering.

Ryder glasses-Team Tough Chik bike jersey  Ryder glasses-Team Tough Chik bike jersey2

The Ryder Shot’s that I received are the photochromic type which retail for $69.  I’m wearing the silver frame with light grey lenses.  I probably wouldn’t have picked a silver frame myself, not that I don’t like it, I’m just very boring and tend to stick in the black/brown family.  However, these look good and more importantly fit really well.  They are not tight on my face but they hug and do NOT move. 

The Ryder Shot Photochromic incorporates the photochromic technology that automatically lightens and darkens the tint of the lenses according to the weather and lighting conditions.  For somebody like me, who is blind doesn’t see well, this is a huge selling factor because I can’t change my lenses while I’m on the road.  I need the glasses to accommodate whatever the weather throws at me.

Ryder Shots

The Shot’s come in various colors and styles.  The non-photochromic & non-polarized models start at $39, that’s a steal!

Ryder Shots_colors

I also love the nose piece which is soft and rubbery but doesn’t get stuck in my hair.  If I’m talking with someone or taking a photo, I tend to put the glasses in my hair.  The nose piece can be a big issue if the rubber piece get stuck in my hair.  That’s an immediate fail in my opinion but not an issue with the Ryder Shot’s.   You can see in these photos from yesterday’s run at Schubert Woods with Cindy & the Pancakers that I have my glasses in my hair and it’s a win.  It’s a win that they fit nicely on my face when I run, and a win that they don’t stick to my hair when they are resting for a photo op.  🙂

Me&Cindy_SchubertWoods_5-13-12 Me_Schubert Woods_bridge_5-13-12

Initially, upon receipt of these glasses, I was planning to do a list of pros & cons.  However, I have put this review off for this long because I can’t find any cons.  I wanted to make sure that I was really behind these glasses for the long term before I actually recommend something.  I didn’t buy these, that’s a first, so didn’t want to just get all crazy excited over some freebies before I really knew what I thought.  I actually like them, really like them, and you will see me wearing them exclusively on the bike and run this season and for many more to come.  Thanks, Ryder!

According to the Ryder website, these are one of our smallest, most lightweight models. A favorite amongst runners for its minimalist designI absolutely agree that they are light and certainly not only “a” favorite of mine but the only pair I have used for the last month.  They offer UV protection and are shatter proof.  As a triathlete and cyclist, the shatter proof quality is a necessity because things happen and we crash.  Although I have never crashed badly enough to crack my glasses, I have seen others who weren’t as lucky.  Protective eyewear is not a luxury but a necessity.

Please find something to protect your eyes from the UV rays, rain/sleet, bugs and debris.  I was wearing these on the bike on Friday and was amazed at the clarity.  It was absolutely crystal clear that a yellow jacket would have flown into my right eye had it not bounced off my right lens instead.  Scary.  Protect your eyes!

If you are interested in Ryder products, check out the website HERE. The prices are very reasonable in comparison to other sport brands so enjoy the savings!

Happy Running, Riding and TRIing!  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz  ** 

Bike Fit….

As you know from THIS post, I’m back on the bike and staring down two 70.3s which are fast approaching.  The first one is July 7th, a small event hosted by Ironman, and I anticipate it to be a total bike train wreck.  The little biking that I have done so far (70 miles last month) has not gone well.  Everything hurt.  My knees hurt. My hips hurt.  My neck hurt. My shoulders hurt.  I kept thinking, what did I get myself into?!?! that my return to triathlon was going to be a difficult one.  I did the only thing I could think of doing, I took more Joint ProMotion

Joint Promotion

Okay, let’s be honest, I actually started taking Joint ProMotion.  You would think that as a runner and AdvoCare Distributor I would be using a glucosamine supplement but you would be wrong.   I am now.

Then I started thinking.  More thinking.  I’ve never been a strong biker but there is a difference between sucking not being good at something and having pain.  I never had pain before, this is new.  I am riding the same bike I had Pre-Michael but I felt like it had shrunk in it’s 1309 days of hibernation.  Muscle atrophy?  Probably not.  I “may” have mentioned these problems to hubby and he may, or may not, have threatened me regarding bringing home a new TRI bike.  Sigh….

So I called Trek Schererville and scheduled an appointment to be refitted on my “old” bike.  Aby was kind enough to take a few photos of the process.

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Getting Closer…. Hello Team Tough Chik!  I’m actually in this photo…..kinda.   And you can “kinda” see Paul behind me, adjusting the bike.  Apparently the seat was almost 2” too low.

Picture 046

When your seat is too low, you don’t get proper pedal extensions, have less power, and develop aches and pains in your hips and knees.  It also basically folds the bike up on you and the aerobars will feel too short, shifting will be difficult and you “may” develop pain in the neck and shoulders.  Really?  I never would have guessed.

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I’m a happy camper now and looking forward to my ride this afternoon.  Cross your fingers for me! 

And as a general rule of thumb, if it feels wrong, it is wrong.  Trust yourself.  Don’t get hurt because you are stubborn or because you think you are a weak biker/runner/person.  It also helps if you buy your bike from a store you can trust, a store who’s employees know your name and number when it pops up on the caller ID, a store that will refit your bike and help you with your mental problems, a store that will service your bike free for life.  Trek.

Side note:  My computer finally arrived!  I’ve been waiting for the Node 1.1 to arrive so that I could have an affordable computer which works on the road and on my trainer, while still being wireless.  This is HUGE.  Now I have zero excuses as to not riding.  NO EXCUSES!

So what’s your excuse for not putting in your miles?  Please share, I need some new ones!

Happy TRI-ing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com **

25 mph WNW Winds….Increasingly Windy

As I was headed home from work today, I could feel my car being blown all over the expressway.  When I got home I grabbed a handful of Easter candy checked the weather as I was putting on my bike clothes to go for a ride.  I was planning to ride a loop on my country roads, technically the plan was to loop it 3x for 25 miles but the biggest issue was getting my ass out the door.  I didn’t want to go; I’d rather be running, right?  Absolutely!  But even a run in this crazy wind would have been a challenge out here.  Since I’m in the middle of nowhere, the 25 WNW winds are even more daunting because we don’t have anything to block or break it.  I should REALLY just stay in the house and eat more candy do laundry.  But alas, if it were race day, I’d be out there no matter what so I motivated myself to try just one loop.

I know, I’m too sexy, right?  All decked out in my $5 add-on arm warmers from Running Warehouse with my cool Team Tough Chik TRI Tank!   Sorry, those are the only arm warmers I have at the moment but rumor is that Team Tough Chik is going to do matching arm warmers when they reopen registration in May.  Make sure you get on their mailing list  HERE to be notified when registration opens.

Anyhow, out the door I went and it was rough!  Thank goodness I ate a shitload some Easter candy or I’m quite certain the wind would have actually lifted my bike and tossed me a few times.  Thank goodness there were not many cars cruising our country roads or I probably would have been hit.  I don’t ride straight when I’m sober on a normal basis and well when the wind is pushing me at 25+ mph from the side, it’s impossible to ride straight, or shift.  Aero is absolutely out of the question and I’m pretty sure that’s when I’m supposed to be riding aero ………… on these windy days.  Yes?  No?   Who really knows, all I know is that I was holding on for dear life, begging to be safely delivered back to my drive before the wind picked me up and blew me on my way.  And I say 25 mph, my ass.  No flippin’ way those winds are only 25 mph….maybe 50, maybe more.  Enough to scare me into only doing one loop.  So I rode my bike an entire 8.6 miles tonight and it was a tough 8.6 miles.  Something is better than nothing, right?  I’m just happy to be back in the house!

Stay Safe,                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz

Team Tough Chik – The Kit Arrived!!!

This week has been hellish busy but good because my Team Tough Chik kit arrived!  If you have familiar with our “Toughies” you have probably seen pics blasted all over the net over the last couple weeks of Tough Chiks in their new team wear.  Opening the kit was a nice surprise as it not only included our team apparel but also a Tough Chik sticker!! goodies from our sponsors, which ranged from a vacation resort, swim shampoo, bike lube,  Anti Chafing Cream, snack bars, hydration, and a lot of other fun things, some of which I never knew existed! 

Although free stuff is beyond awesome, what we were all awaiting was the team apparel!    I purchased running singlets for both Aby and I.  On occasion, when I beg, she will actually run or race with me in a matching outfit.  This is super fun for me, somewhat embarrassing for her, but always GOOD because as I am running back to find her in a race, people identify me as “THE” mom and tell me how cute she is or that she is running really well, or that she is right behind them.  It works great on many levels.

Here we are below, preparing for a photo after a long, hot run for me.  I wasn’t feeling great, the heat is bad for me and I was drained!  I certainly wasn’t feeling a photo but we were dressed for it, if I could just get her to hold still long enough to get those blonde locks in place!  And what is she doing?  Is that an adapted “SuperStar” pose?  She is always a clown just like her father.

I know I look like hell and that’s how I felt too but let’s focus on the Team Tough Chik apparel. 

This is a large running singlet for me (xs for Aby) and fits perfectly.  Bonus that it feels and looks great too!  this singlet is very similar to the green & pink “i run” tanks from Tough Chik and as you may already know, I REALLY love the style and fit of these tanks.

Here is the green i run tank on South Beach when I was there to run 13.1 Miami Beach!  If you would like to run 13.1 Chicago for FREE, don’t forget to enter my giveaway HERE.

Pink i run tank:

Don’t be shocked but I also ordered a TRI tank.  I can easily say that I have never owned a more attractive TRI top. 

You can possibly see that there is a large pocket (the graphic with the chik) on the back for your gels, phone, etc.  This is huge if you have a TRI bike because once you transition from road to TRI bike, say goodbye to that nifty little under the seat bag that keeps all of your belongings.  Not that you would stop to access it during a TRI anyhow so this large pocket is both handy and very necessary! 

This is a large top and I should have gone XL.  Half of my TRI tops are L and the other half are XL.  TRI tops tend to run small, I should have known better.   When they reopen registration in May, I will order an XL.  That’s right you heard me, they are reopening registration for Team Tough Chik!  If you would like to be notified when they reopen, please click HERE and fill out the form. 

While we are talking about TRIs.  I have gotten a lot of questions as of late on TRI apparel.  Specifically TRI Suit vs TRI kit.  As always, this is really about personal opinion.  I am so tall that I wouldn’t even think to do a TRI Suit.  I also like to mix up my “outfits” so the thought of wearing one suit for every race doesn’t make me think happy thoughts.  However, they are convenient and do well for many people. 

In the past, I have had the best success with SkirtSports for TRI tops.  I wear a large in this brand, the tops are not skin-tight and I am comfortable racing in this top without worry that my mommy tummy is hanging out.  It’s long enough but not too long.  However, since it isn’t skin-tight, if you swim in the pool or have an open water swim which is not wetsuit legal then know that your top will be “floating” when you stop or are turning. 

I’ve also had success with TYR and Speedo (in large).  However, it seems that Craft has made its way onto the TRI scene in a big way while I was on Mr. Michael baby hiatus.  I have heard very good things about Craft but have not yet owned any of their apparel. And I’m currently coveting this Sugoi top but have never owned any of their products either.

I personally have not had good luck with 2XU tops.  I have an XL that is so tight that I can’t even wear it.  If you are tiny, then you will be fine but it you are a bigger lady then I wouldn’t recommend it. 

For the bottom, I always use the Skirt Sports Race Belt Skirt to slide up over my briefs after the swim.  I normally don’t use TRI shorts.  If I do opt for shorts, then I use Peal Izumi TRI shorts.  Since length is always an issue for me, most TRI shorts are too short so I favor the skirt. 

Do you have a favorite TRI brand?  Tri Suit or TRI Kit?  Or more importantly, are you doing to sign up to be notified when Team Tough Chik reopens registration? 

Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather, it’s amazing!

Cheers,                                                                                                                        Amanda – TooTallFritz

Dry Rot Leads to…..

Yesterday was an AWESOME day.  It was another beautiful day in the CHI and I somehow managed thanks to hubby doing toddler duty to fit in a run and a swim!!  I met up with a few F’N Runners to run 3 miles in the Hickory Hills extension.  Here is the 4:30 group:  Wayne, Kathy & Me with Susan behind the camera. 

It was hot as hell but a few raindrops started to fall as we were getting ready so I threw on a hat to shield my eyes.  Then it never did rain, which would have been nice to cool off the temps a bit.  We just did an easy 3 miles, which wasn’t so easy between the hills and the heat but we put it in the done column.  We also saw a ton of F’N Runners on the trail as there was also an early bird meet up for those who could start at 3:30.  I really do love seeing so many friendly faces on the trail.  I also met a triathlete named Kim who I am hoping will eventually join us for some fun runs!  Email me, Kim!!!

After the run, the real fun began as it was THE day that I was scheduled to get my ass back in the pool.  To be honest, I haven’t been in the pool since the completion of the Great Illini Challenge 70.3 in September of 2008.  To be honest, I would never get in the pool again if it weren’t for triathlon. To be honest, YES, I love triathlon that much that I got a tattoo forced myself to get back in the pool.  So after a long pregnancy/baby break for Mr. Michael,  I feel as if the family he is now mature enough for me to get back to what I really love.  And it all starts in the pool (stock photo, not me):

So that I can make it to the start line:

So that I don’t let those bitches swimmers swallow me up:

So that I can meet the first goal of making it OUT OF THE WATER:

So that I can hit the bike:

So that I can thank my Lord & Savior each time I am able to get off the bike, back on my own two feet, RUN (my favorite part by far) and most of all, FINISH:

I knew it would take a little acclimation to get back into the swim.  I’m not a fast swimmer but somewhat consistent and my major goal for this season is bilateral breathing.  This will be very beneficial in hopefully helping me swim straighter, more efficiently and allow me to be more flexible when the water is rough as I will be able to breathe on whichever side has less wake.

In order to facilitate some of these new goals, I got a small group together for a beginner swim clinic with a young lady I know who first and foremost is an awesome person, but who also swam competitively in High School and is a former lifeguard.  Thanks, Jackie!  This forced my accountability and made me dig out my swim gear when I would have been content to put off swimming for a “couple”  more months.  It was a joke at the pool that my swim gear was so old that everyone was surprised my google straps weren’t dry rotted.  When I took my goggles out of the box, they were in fact in intact.  Well, they lasted most of the session before the straps broke.  The new blast of chlorine did not agree with their age.  So apparently I need new goggles.  Ok.

Well, then the real “giggle” was when I got out of the pool and realized that my TRI top which was fine when I got into the water had basically disintegrated in the chlorine.  Thankfully, there was a solid panel in the front, and the “issue” was with the mesh on the sides and back.  The mesh DID NOT hold up to the new blast of chlorine either and when I got out fo the pool the top was VERY threadbare.  Thank goodness for my new Team Tough Chik TRI top which just arrived, and does NOT have mesh panels! 

I basically filled the garbage can at the pool with about half of the gear with which I started.  Good times and thank goodness for solid front panels in TRI tops. 

Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction? 

Last call for the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts winner Bridget Walters.  If you know Bridget, tell her to contact me soon or I will have to draw another winner.

Happy TRIing,                                                                                                                 Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                 amanda@tootallfritz.com

 

 

 

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