Run/Walk thru the CHI…..

Yesterday I hauled my ass self away from the office with the intent of knocking out an 8 miler.  Well, that didn’t happen.  But it was a beautiful day in the CHI and the sun was trying to peak out!

I wasn’t very far at all when I realized that my legs were very fatigued.  So I readjusted my goal from 8 miles to 6.  Then I got to Oak Street beach and realized that I wanted to walk.

So I walked.  And realized I was only 2.5 miles in and if I wanted to walk at this point, then I better just turn around and head back for the office cuz it wasn’t going to get better so I turned around and the now 6 miler turned into a 5.

In addition to the heavy fatigue, my right calf was also screaming talking to me.  The good news is that the ankle which was bothering me last week was silent, unless I just couldn’t hear it’s whimpers over the screams of the calf muscle.  I’m thinking that a 2013 edition of the Warm Your Heart rat maze will NOT be in the cards for Ms. TooTall.  Yep, the aftermath on my body was too much for a 5K distance.   Not worth it in my opinion.  Too many hairpin turns.  I’m coming off the Plantar Fasciitis injury and am still not 100% so it probably affected me more so than a healthy person.  The calf muscle that was screaming after the Warm Your Heart race and also during this run, is the same one which was swollen and so damaged that it finally sent me to the doc for the Plantar Fasciitis in September.  I know this is all related.  That’s okay, it will bounce back and I’ll know better for next year. 

In the interim, I enjoyed a nice run/walk thru the city. 

Chicago is getting ready for St Paddy’s Day!

So it was a good day to get out and enjoy the city but a very unproductive “run” per say.  It’s okay, just a perfect excuse to take it easy the next couple of days in preparation for Sunday’s race in Miami.  And fortunately, I have been doing this long enough to know that this will in NO WAY affect my performance.  It’s just a bump in the road, the work has been done, the miles put in and I will be READY TO RUN a kick ass race on Sunday. 

Cheers!                                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz

 

 

Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K – Race Review

As soon as the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K was announced, there was a group of us who immediately signed up.  I mean, really, an indoor, guaranteed 70 degree race in February, YES, I’ll give it a try.  This was, of course, way before somebody stole got ahold of the course map.  Initially all we knew was that it was a “single” loop, inside, certified course 5K race.  And then the course map was released and holy shit wow, it looked a little hairy!

This isn’t the exact course we ran because the start/finish line were not the same and since I knew were I started, the finish line actually surprised me.  It was way before we would have re-entered the other building for a sprint back to the start/finish area.  I didn’t have a clue that things were slightly off until I hit the 3 mile clock and then I knew I had messed up because I should have been running much faster that close to the end.

All in all, I will say the race was good.  It was non-traditional but good.  They had 3 inconvenient packet pick up locations and then also race day registration with a final packet pick up.  Had I known there was race day pick up, I would have certainly done that but according to the website, packets could only be picked up previous to the race.  So I went to the closest location to my work, in downtown Chicago, in the rain to get the packets for us Southsiders.  Not convenient for us but I’m sure it couldn’t have been worse.  The packets were sparse, included a long sleeve unisex tech shirt, a magnet, a small backpack and some literature. 

I think just about everyone I knew commented positively about the shirt, so it appears to have been a hit with the majority.  For me, it won’t get any much wear since it was a  unisex size.  I did try it on and it was just awkward and ill-fitting.  But I did like the design/color and would have worn it had it been a ladies size.

Getting to and from the race was very easy.  The race was at McCormick Place in Chicago, easy access and lots of parking.  However, once we got up to the race area it was a bit chaotic.  They had a mini expo going, runners were all over the place and there were lanes roped off in every direction.  However, in the midst of this chaos was also a lot of organization, the start area was clearly marked, they had indoor bathrooms and portable units.  I saw a gear check and the Starbucks was open.  🙂

We never did unite with our entire group which shouldn’t have been an issue with this small of a race.  Thankfully, I took a couple of girls with me!  Nicki, Kristina & April. We also brought our own cheering section since it was inside and the kiddos wouldn’t freeze.  Nicole (April’s daughter), Aby & Michael and they did a great job too because I heard Aby screaming, “Go Mommy!!!”  on several of my turns. 

And of course, since we made such a spectacle, we got to hook up with Aurelia’s family too so that was even better, plus she took the group photo.  Thanks, Aurelia!  From left:  Tim (Aurelia’s Hubby), Uncle Bill, Nicki, Kristina, April & Me.

The start was very organized and they had the paces clearly marked.  Then each group had a 2-3 minute head start on the group behind them.  This totally prevented the bottle neck at the turns which I had anticipated upon seeing the course map.  The first mile was by far the worse as the lanes in the “start” building were narrower and shorter but there was plenty of room and the lanes were marked off with tape.  Although there was a mass of runners everywhere you looked, there was never a question as to where you were going, just lots of turns.

I was also concerned about the flooring.  They had removed the floor coverings and it was bare concrete  in an unfinished state.   So it wasn’t slippery at all.  The biggest problem area was running from the start building into the finish building across a nicely finished, slippery hallway.  It was very short though and not a problem for me.  Then once we hit the finish building, the lanes were wider and the turns weren’t as tight so it was much easier to navigate.  I would also say the temp dropped a good 7-10 degrees upon entering the second “finish” building, so the conditions were nice and cool for running.  They had one water stop at approximately the 1.5 mile mark (I’m guesstimating).  I was very concerned approaching it that the floor would be slippery, particularly since the lady in front of me honestly tried to grab 5 cups before actually connecting with one.  I just stayed toward the middle to avoid the water, and her spillage, and I was fine but I was also in the first group that took off, so not sure how people further back in the pack felt about the situation.

It was good, I took it slow on the turns, and there were a lot of turns.  My right calve and both hips are feeling those turns now but I am overall very happy with this “indoor” race.  I would have enjoyed being able to have longer stretches to run without turns, I definitely feel as if the turns slowed me down because I was in a “better safe than sorry” mode but there was definitely room to run your own pace and no bottlenecks.  Also the number of volunteers was outstanding.  They really worked hard to make this first time race an event which will become a staple of the running community for the years to come.

Upon hitting the finish, there was immediately bananas, water, and Propel for refueling.  Once we got past that, there was a timing station set up with multiple units in which you could enter your bib number to get immediate results as far as your time, your current standing against those who had finished before you, and  your division totals.   I run a lot of races and I believe this is the first time I have ever seen this and I like it.  A lot.

Good race.  Good organization.  Good charity sponsor.  Good overall event.  I’d probably go back to run it again.  I finished in 23:59.  That’s my best time of the year so far for the 5K distance but I still have some considerable work to do on my fitness level for this distance.

Did you race this weekend?  If so, tell us when and where.  If you ran the Warm Your Heart, what did you think?  Would you go back?

Happy Running,                                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz

No Honey Buckets in the Midwest…….

Due to the weekend chaos, I decided to try to get a 10 miler in last night instead of this morning.  This wasn’t exactly ideal since by Friday night, I’m usually very tired and just want to chill but I wanted to get it out of the way since the entire week has been less than ideal.  The Wednesday 10 miler turned into a 4, then I have an indoor 5K race on Sunday, and 13.1 Miami Beach next weekend.  Plus I needed to break in those fluorescent pink Saucony Guide’s! 

The weather was good at 28 degrees and there was no snow or wind when I began.  However, that quickly changed.  I parked at Ridgeland, ran east to Matteson and back for my first 4 miles.  It’s very scenic in the first mile east of Ridgeland with a large pond on both sides of the trail.  Very tranquil.

Then I picked up Kate for another 6 miles and by that time it was getting fun.  The snow had started and the wind was ridiculous coming out of the west blowing the snow right into my eyes.  Plus the wind was at the point where I.COULD.HARDLY.STAND.UP.  But, of course, Kate was up for some miles. 

We started off running into the wind to get that out of the way and that first 3 out were tough!  It was hard to talk and we were slightly over a 9 minute mile, which felt like we were moving in slow motion!  Once we hit the turnaround though we were flying until I realized I need a bathroom STAT!  That slowed us considerably while we hunted for one and I had to just totally stop a few times to “refocus”.  Sorry Kate!

This whole process really had me thinking about running in the midwest in the winter.  Personally, as a Midwesterner, almost everything seems better on the west coast.  Port-O-Pots included.  And what was on my mind during last night’s run?  Well, Port-O-Pots cuz I had to “go”.  Several west coast run-bloggers have mentioned their beloved Honey Bucket’s many times over the last several years.  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

As a winter runner in the midwest, you will find that all of those readily available bathrooms, port-o-pots and water sources that you hit during the spring/summer/fall have all been locked up, or taken away, during the winter.  Well, that doesn’t mean that you still don’t need those resources but alas they are unavailable.  Kate and I were on a quest to find one yesterday when “the urge” hit me late in our run.  So nice to be out running with a friend and have such an issue fun.  Embarrassing but since she will not only be a Ragnar Relay partner but also a Chicago Marathon training partner, I guess she would have eventually realized that I have some “issues”.  Still not ideal though on my part.  😦  And note to self:  Cheese & Crackers pre-run is NOT a good snack.

Of course, all the nice, indoor facilities were locked.  The port-o-pots at the parks had been removed.  And one lonely Waste Management potty was left at Ridgeland Avenue.  Thank goodness for whoever pays for that one to stay and be maintained.  Not only was it open and available but it was also stocked with the necessities. 

And the best part, although those 50-60 mph winds tried their darndest to tip this potty while I was inside, in the pitch black darkness, I got lucky and made it out unscathed.  Some days are definitely better than others!

Anyone want to make a list of port-o-pots that are still available in the winter?  I may need to readjust my running routes to include these places.  So tell us if you know of any potties that are out along Old Plank Trail!

Happy Running,                                                                                                         Amanda – TooTallFritz

Believe….

As cliché as it sounds, I believe…….

I know that the numbers on the treadmill do not define me.  I know that I have not been hitting the speeds/durations that I need in order to run as fast as I want.  But I believe that my hard work will pay off with positive results.  I am working harder than I have ever worked before, logging more miles than in years gone by and I know that when race day arrives, I  will bring everything I have to the table.  What does that mean?  I will bring my attitude and BELIEVE that I can run faster than is possible.

I began simple speed interval work about 5 or 6 weeks ago with the intention of getting back into 22:xx shape for the 5K distance.  However, I do not anticipate the upcoming Warm Your Heart 5K at McCormick Place to be a test of the progress of my random speed work since the course map looks as intricate as a good maze. 

After a brief review of this course map, I have decided that this looks like a fun race where I will get to go and hang out with friends but not one that will count as a real test of 5K speed since I can only imagine huge bottlenecks at each of those turns.

However, as I look forward to the next several weeks of training I see the 13.1 Miami Beach race in my immediate future.  I anticipate this to be a good test as to my current level of fitness.  I haven’t raced a half uninjured since last June and that day ended up being sweltering hot and although I finished in a run/walk fashion, they did end up calling the race and closing it down due to the dangerous conditions.  So I don’t feel as if that race was a good indication of half marathon speed since I was in survival mode.  I raced a couple other halfs afterwards but they were in a very injured state with the Plantar Fasciitis.  Therefore, I have HUGE expectations for 13.1 Miami Beach.  I have been trying to get to the 1:50:xx mark in the half marathon for 2 years and I now believe that I will be able to attain this goal with my current level of fitness. 

So I have one more week to train without blowing it and then it will be R&R with my momma in Miami before Ms. TooTall bags a goal that is 2 years in the making.  I’m not really sure there will be room for many other people in the race once my attitude hits the start line.  Watch out Miami Beach…….I’ll be flying in for you, very soon!

Believe in yourself and know that the impossible really is possible if you BELIEVE

Do you have any lofty goals which you fully expect to achieve this year?

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Reset on Speed…….

This week should be my 3rd week of speed sessions.  The goal is to get back to running 22 minute, or faster, 5Ks.  After the long miserable stint with Plantar Fasciitis, I lost a lot of speed.  The initial plan was to do 2 speed sessions per week in an attempt to boost performance for the Warm Your Heart Indoor 5K at McCormick Place at the end of the month.  However, it hasn’t worked out that way.

  • Week 1, 10x200m – CHECK
  • Week 2 – Session 1 – Sick baby – Didn’t happen
  • Week 2 – Session 2 – Should have been 6x800m but I couldn’t hang so I limped thru greatly modified the session to a sub par workout.
  • Week 3 – Session 1 – Didn’t happen – Late/Hard run night before and I wasn’t recovered.

So today was Week 3 – Session 2 and as I looked back over the folly I called “speed” work, I decided that I need to push the reset button and start over. 

At the beginning.  Fresh.  At a point where I had the confidence I could nail the workout and move forward. 

So back to the 10×200 I went.  I’m a sprinter at heart and that works well for me and fits well into the middle of my workday.  I can hang, no matter what.  And I did.  Great workout.  Not easy but I made it.  Success!  Now let’s see what next week will bring.

I also managed to grab a half hour on the bike today.  Not exactly what most people would call a “brick” but it’s about a close as my schedule will allow.  I also need time in the saddle to get used to riding again since I don’t ride with a chamois before spring comes and I roll her out for some real miles.  I know it’s as exciting to see me on my bike, on the trainer, in the same spot in my dining room gym as it is for me to ride there but alas, here I am:  I was very excited that my new Athleta Relay Capris came today!

I had ordered these in the fall and they were back ordered til December 15th so I canceled the order but I recently caved ordered them again, in the only color that was available for immediate shipment…..blue.  They are awesome!  They fit perfectly, are long enough (I did order the long), have a small zip pocket in the back, don’t move and feel like butter.  Nice!  I find myself with very few capri tights and will definitely order these in the other colors and wait for the backorder to ship.  Aby wants a pair too.  I can’t even tell which are my running clothes/shoes/socks/sunglasses, etc. now because she is creeping up on me in size and then she wants the same things I have so we have doubles of everything.  And it all looks the same.  And it’s not cheap buying my 10 year old clothes from Athleta & RunningSkirts.com, they should have a half price racks for kids.

“Run”Way Fashion:  The Athleta Relay Capris (above), and both workouts were in Tek Gear performance tops.  I purchased the Tek Gear at Kohl’s on a super sale, last season.  The shirts are cute, have nice material, have a small pocket in the back and I think worth the money, especially on sale.  I bought the white (above) and this green one: 

Do you buy any technical gear at bargain prices?  Any good bargain brands you can share with us?

Happy Running!                                                                                                                   Amanda – TooTallFritz