Winner of the Tough Chik Fleece Hoodie + Tough Chik Discount Code!!

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Lots of interest in the Tough Chik fleece hoodie!  Unfortunately, there is only one winner for this item.   The random number generator selected #114.

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The corresponding comment is from fellow Shamrock Shuffler – Lisa “Murf1013”

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Congrats, Lisa!!  Please email me your address and size preference to amanda@tootallfritz.com!    Merry Christmas from TTF & Tough Chik!!

As for the rest of us, I think many will be adding this fleece hoodie to our Christmas Wish List!  Amazing item, you will NOT be disappointed.  Tough Chik wants to help Santa save a little by offering everyone a discount code.  Feel free to go shopping with the discount code:  “tootallholiday” for 20% off the entire Tough Chik website until Monday, December 16th at midnight!     Go shop now!!!  Or maybe have Santa go shopping, whatever works!

**Happy Holidays ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Tough Chik Fleece Sweatshirt Review & Giveaway

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One of my favorite retailers, Tough Chik, has brought out a few new things for the holiday season.  If you live in a climate with seasonal changes, you may be struggling to adjust to the colder temps like myself.  I’ve been cold a lot.  I’ve been shivering a lot.  And I struggle finding warmer clothing items which are cute, warm and snuggly!  I’m very picky about sweaters and sweatshirts.  If I’m cold enough to put one on then I want it to look AND feel good.  The softer the better.  Enter the Tough Chik fleece, hooded sweatshirt.  Retail $40.

ToughChik_fleece

This fleece arrived in the mail this weekend and I had to pry it out of Aby’s hands haven’t taken it off since.  It’s a nice aqua color which is girly but not too over the top.  I like that.  The back has the phrase that Tough Chik coined, “THIS IS WHAT TOUGH LOOKS LIKE”, which is one of my favorite things about Tough Chik!!  The outside is normal sweatshirt material and the inside is a butter soft fleece.  I LOVE that!  I mean, I REALLY love that.  Nothing makes me feel better than slipping on something that is warm and snuggly.  Mr. Michael and I are big “snugglers” and we like to be warm.  Obviously we can’t sit and snuggle in the rocker 24/7, much to our dismay, so it’s nice to have a sweatshirt which makes me feel happy and warm!  Yes, it really is  possible to have clothing which makes you FEEL happy.  Smile

This fleece is unisex sizing, so runs big.  Normally for unisex sizing, I go down one size and end up with an item that is too big, so if you like a form fitted piece then I really recommend going down 2 sizes.  If you like a baggier fit so that you can layer underneath, then go down 1 size from what you would normally order in a ladies item.  For example, I’m a large in Nike clothing but would order a small in this for a “fitted” look or  a medium for a baggier look where I could layer up underneath.  Hope that helps.  I know fitting is hard for us ladies and I want you to look and feel good about your clothes!!!

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I really love this piece and if I didn’t already I own it, I’d beg mom to buy it for me add it to my Christmas list.  In fact, I loved it so much that I’ve already ordered 2 more for Christmas gifts {please don’t tell Aby!}.

Tough Chik has generously agreed to give one of you this amazing fleece for FREE!  If you would like to win a special Christmas present directly from the Original Tough Chik herself, please comment below and tell us if you own an item of clothing that makes you FEEL happy {and I really hope that you do!}   You will be eligible for a second entry into the giveaway if you go “like” the Tough Chik Facebook page HERE.  And you can get a third entry if you share this giveaway via any social media outlet of your choosing.  Just let me know what you did in the comments section below so that I can get you registered with the appropriate number of entries!  Three total entries possible per person.  Giveaway starts NOW and runs til Monday, December 9th at 9am.  Winner will be selected via a random number generator and announced on Monday.  GOOD LUCK!!

If you can’t wait to win, feel free to go shopping NOW.  Tough Chik is offering free shipping until tonight (Wednesday, December 4th) at midnight with the code:  TOUGHCHIKTUESDAY.

For all things Tough Chik, please follow on Twitter HERE and on Instagram HERE.

I wish you a warm and cozy holiday season! ** 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. 

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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!

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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. 

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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 **

Snow, Snow & More Snow….

We knew going into the weekend that there was a possibility of snow and I think we were all ramping up mentally to get our miles in regardless of the weather.  For me, I ended up with another split run with 9 miles inside on the treadmill and 9 miles outside in the snow.  Due to the family’s current schedule, this will probably be how the majority of my long runs will occur as I train for the Lansing Marathon.  It’s different but not necessarily bad.  My main complaint not that I have any REAL reason to complain is that it takes so much more time.  Normally while marathon training, I would be on the trail by 4:30 or 5 am and even a 20 miler would be over before Mick and Aby most people even have breakfast.  Now it seems like it sucks up the majority of the day b/c I’m not just knocking the miles out but also doing other things during and between the indoor/outdoor sessions.  Its okay, just different.

Treadmill “Run”Way Fashion – Tough Chik Toughie Half Zip which is super light and my new favorite shirt for bumming around the house.  It didn’t even make it on the treadmill cuz I didn’t want to get it “dirty”.  I actually ran in the Blood, Sweat, Sparkle shirt I picked up on sale from Team Sparkle.  I didn’t love this tank.  It was a “little” short on me and it didn’t fully cover my bra, plus was just too narrow up top for me.  I think it’s going to Aby’s closet.  Then the BIG thing, I tried the Redemption Shorts from Skirt Sports.  I have been wanting at least one pair of shorts, particularly now that I’m running on the treadmill more.  I don’t always feel like wearing compression shorts and I don’t necessarily want to overdress wear a skirt in my dining room “gym” so when I saw that Skirt Sports dropped a line of shorts, I jumped on board to try them out.

Redemption Shorts & Toughie Half Zip  Toughie Half Zip  Redemption Shorts & Blood Sweat Sparkle

First, that’s obviously not my bum (below).  I wasn’t that cute and shapely before children and well, things haven’t “improved” since.  But I did like how the shorts fit on me (size medium – I wear an 8-10 in pants) and I was even satisfied with how they looked.  When I initially got them, I ran around the dining room & kitchen  (yes, we make laps thru the house on a frequent basis) and I was like “NO way”.  I didn’t think they would work out.  They rode up between my thighs.  They were shorts, they “felt” like shorts and well, I don’t like shorts.  However, I gave them a run on the treadmill.  A decent run, 9 miles.  And I didn’t hate them. 

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Once I warmed up, they stayed in place pretty well.  I did still have to use the Mission Athletecare Anti-Chafe but overall, they were okay.  I really liked how the spankies didn’t move.  I didn’t have to adjust them.  I just felt good with the way they “sat”.   I did have to adjust the legs of the shorts a few times due the chub rub issue but overall, it was minimal and I didn’t have any real chafing.  A little redness on the chub but not the normal “burn” that I remember from shorts.  So I now own 2 pair of shorts, the multicolored ones I wore above, and the blue pair that the Skirts Sports model is so fabulously showing off.  Not sure you’ll see me wearing them on the trail but maybe once I get used to them a bit.  If you are a skirt wearer and hesitant to give them a try, my advice would be to try them.  One pair.  They aren’t cheap at $50 but I do think they are a good quality and the material is light and airy and won’t result in your having a wad of material squished up above the chub.  I’m not sure you will love them but I also don’t think you will hate them.  I personally won’t convert FROM the skirt but I like my options and these are super cute, which adds bonus points in my world. 

The 9 miles on the treadmill in my Redemption Shorts were accompanied by the documentary, “My Run”.  I ran for an hour and twenty five minutes at 6.4 mph (9:22) pace.  It was a long time on the treadmill but the movie was a difference maker.  If you have to run on the dreadmill and have the option of plugging into a Netflix ready device, it will change the game for you.  I promise.  The dreadmill and I are not friends.  We are however, slowly learning to tolerate one another.

I was very anxious to take the last 9 miles outside, even though by the time I got out there it was blowing and snowing pretty good.  The actual temp was 18 and the “feels like” temp was 5.  It was cold.  I struggled thru the snow.  I struggled with the cold.  My feet hurt. I was slower than slow.  I contemplated going back home to the dreadmill.  But I really loved the views.

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Snow OPT2_2-2-13 

Then Sunday was for fun.  I got to go run with friends, as a light snow was falling. It totally made my day.  4.5 miles of running bliss.

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Me, Susan & Nicole on the trail!Me Susan Nicole_2-3-13

How were your weekend miles?  Did you get out to play in the snow or stay in on the treadmill? 

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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:

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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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Me_5-18-12

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.

devil dash 2012_me devil dash 2012_me2 devil dash 2012_me3

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. 

Me_boat_5-19-12

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  **