PR, PB, PW, PDR ….

Hung up on the numbers, are we?  It seems like we can’t even talk about running much anymore without people asking about the numbers.  What was the time?  Was it a Personal Record (or Personal Best)?  Heaven forbid it might have been a Personal Worst!  Or was that a Personal Distance Record?   No, No, and No.  Once we reach a certain point in our running, or if we run a lot, or if we’ve done this for years, then honestly, there won’t be a “record” at every race.  In fact, I go YEARS without achieving new records of pace, time or distance.  And normally when I toe the start line, it has nothing to do with the clock and everything to do with the experience and the people around me.

keep perspective_personal best

I measure my success in other ways that may be a bit less “traditional”.  My LIFE GOAL is to stay active.  I want to move.  I want to keep moving NO.MATTER.WHAT.  Regardless of pace.  I want to move.  When I’m fast.  Or slow.  Or tired.  Or overweight.  Or overwhelmed. Or depressed.   I need to keep moving because it makes me feel better in all aspects of my life, especially when things aren’t going great “in the real world”.  So, yes, sometimes I do record a personal best but that might be a PB in the amount of drive and personal determination that it took to conquer an event and make it all the way to the finish line.  Sometimes a magnanimous amount of effort goes into something and that effort won’t always be appropriately reflected in the number that stares back at us on the clock.  I encourage you to let go of the number on occasion and just revel in the accomplishment.  And realize that your personal best TODAY may not be the same as yesterday and it certainly won’t be the same as tomorrow.  Give what you have to give today.  Then dig a little deeper.  And be proud.  NO.MATTER.WHAT.

Be your personal best

Source: 

As runners, we are at the point of the year where many of our friends are “running off” to Boston.  Our fast friends are heading east to run one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in history.  It’s one race which many of us may never run because we may never qualify.  It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others at a time like this.  It’s hard not to wonder how they can do it when maybe we can not.  But comparing ourselves to others, particularly our fast friends, will only bring us down.

comparison

Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how big or how small.  Be happy for others who have met their goals but also know that all of your goals are also within reach.  Acknowledge that we all live different lives.  We all have different ability levels.  We all have different body types.  We all have different genes ….. some of which are speedy genes and some of which are more relaxed and laid back.  Smile  Focus on experience.  Focus on a goal that will make you happy.  Focus on something that is achievable with hard work.  Know that a distance goal for one is absolutely unrealistic for another.  Know that a time goal for one is out of reach {or even way to easy} for a friend.  Praise others for their accomplishments and don’t forget to be proud of where you are in your journey, no matter where you are headed or how far you have left to travel.  PRs, PBs, PWs, PDRs ….. are all that …. PERSONAL.  We strive for different goals for different reasons because we are all different people.  Our reasoning is personal to each and everyone of us.  Don’t let the accomplishments of another mar your PERSONAL goals and achievements.  Keep pushing toward your dream(s)!

** Put your PERSONAL BEST Forward, Each & Every Day …. Regardless of What the Results Yield ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Related Articles:

How to Manage the “Big” Goal or Race

I know a lot of people who are staring down really big goals and really big races.  Runs that are longer than anything they have ever done.  Multisport events which just seem to keep getting longer and longer.  Some are nonchalant about the approach of their big day while others are scared shitless

if your dreams__

A way to manage the “big” day or even the “big” training plan is to break it down into manageable sections (see my Baby Steps post). Just like we don’t stress about what we actually owe on our homes {with interest}, we don’t look at 13.1, 26.2, 31, 50, 62, 70.3, 100 or 140.6 as a whole.  That would just be scary.  And overwhelming.  Let’s just take it one day at a time.  One mile at a time.  One section at a time.  For example, I’m running a 50K this weekend.  It super scary for me if I think about the fact that I’m going to be running 31 miles especially with so few March miles under my belt.  So I don’t think about it.  I just focus on the fact that I’ll be covering 3 loops with my friends.  I’ve even started using the hashtag  #JustThreeLoops, not only for myself but for my friends who may be a little overwhelmed with what we are about to accomplish. 

When I’m using a big training plan, I don’t look at the entirety of the plan but rather just one week at a time.  Sometimes just one workout at a time if the long run scares me.  I don’t want to spend all week worrying about the 16 miles I have to run on SAT.  So I don’t.  I know that I need to run long on SAT, I’ll just peak at it toward the end of the week so that I can carve out enough time and set up a plan and a possible run partner. Why be all stressed about what is to come?  I think we have enough to stress about in our lives.  Remember, running is fun.  It’s supposed to help us focus and eliminate stress.  If you’re a mom, this is probably the only social time that you will have all week so think about how lucky you are to be able to get out of the house even if you did have to sneak out when the little “angels” were sleeping to spend time with your friends.

run

When the day finally does arrive for that long run or ride, break it down into manageable chucks.  A 16 mile run is an 8 mile out and back.  Run the first 8 miles enjoying the trail and the surroundings.  When the turnaround arrives, stop, stretch, send praise to God for your health, strength and not only the ability but the DESIRE to run.  Then plug into some music and cruise that last 8 miles back to your car.   Same with race day, start the race without music and just absorb everything and be thankful. Break the race down into small chunks.  It’s 5 miles until I see my BFF who is working aid station X.  It’s 3 more miles until we run down my favorite street of the entire marathon course.  It’s 4 miles until I see the the  Yankee Runners; I hope they are handing out ice this year!  It’s 2 miles until Pilsen and that’s always fun, plus has some shaded areas!   I may have broken a marathon like Chicago down into 10+ chunks.  I just run from one thing to the next. I do what I have to do to keep moving!   If it’s a race I’m not familiar with, then sometimes I break the race down by water stations.  I just need to run to the next water station, then I can get water and walk thru if I’m not feeling good.  Or I’m going to run until I see the next lady in a sparkle skirt and then I’ll take a short walk break.  Use your imagination.  Keep your brain actively engaged and focused so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Running is Symbolic

Most importantly, be confident.  Know that you trained for the big day or maybe you are in the process of training.  If you put in the work, you will be physically ready for the task at hand.  Training plans are popular for a reason and that’s because they work.  Believe it.  Know it.  You are ready.  Know that you are strong enough, tough enough, and trained enough to handle whatever the day brings you. 

strong enough

Need a bit more work on the confidence part?  Yeah, me too!  Here are some related posts below to help bolster you for your next big run or race or even in the game of life. 

  • Strong Enough – Are you or a friend struggling with confidence?  This is more life related than running but focuses on the helping others, not judging and remembering that nobody is perfect but we need to own that fact that each and every one of us is ENOUGH.
  • Be a Badass, Not a Victim – Has a safety theme but more importantly drives home the point that confidence is key in every aspect of life.  It can change your life and you may never even know it.
  • Invest in Yourself – This is all about the things you can do to be  more confident.  It’s focused on loving yourself, just the way you are now!  It’s focused on fostering positive relationships and habits which make YOU feel good about YOU.

Now go chase down your dreams, no matter how big or small.  Be strong.  Be confident.  Break your “big” thing down into manageable chunks so that you can methodically check it off in segments.  You can do it.  I know you can.  You know you can.  And just remember that when it gets ugly, cuz that will undoubtedly happen, sometimes the best thing you can do it put your head down, pull your hat a little lower over your eyes, and just keep moving.  Eat up the pavement with your eyes and just stop worrying about everything other than the very next step. 

** Manage  Your Goals, One Step At A Time ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

My “Thank You” to 2013

The year 2013 brought me health.  Strength.  Determination.  And an injury free year.  Thank you 2013 for all you gave to me, even if every minute was not easy and/or fun.

Determination

I started 2013 by running a 200 mile relay race, Ragnar Key West.   I ran bits and pieces from Miami to Key West, FL with a group of amazing people.  I finished 2013 by running my first ever ultra trail race, the Huff 50K.   I filled in the year with numerous events from the 5K to marathon distance, the numbers are below:

  • 5Ks –  4
  • 4 Mile Runs – 1
  • 8Ks – 2
  • Half Marathons – 8
  • Full Marathons – 2
  • Marathon Relay – 1
  • Cycling Events – 2
  • Duathlons – 1
  • Half Iron Triathlons – 2

I did 47 CrossFit workouts.  I ran 1225 miles.  I cycled 814 miles.  I DNF’d one 5K due to foot pain.  I teamed up with Aby for one Duathlon.  I ran 2 relay races (Ragnar Keys and the River City Marathon Relay). 

I didn’t run as many miles as I had planned.  I didn’t cycle as much as I wanted.  I barely swam.  I screamed at the kids WAY too much.  I lost my cool more times than I can count.  I didn’t win Mom of the Year {again}.  I didn’t spend as much “fun” time as I would have liked with the family.  Work got in the way.  My energy levels dipped.  The commute wore on me and my schedule.  I had headaches. I was cranky.  I didn’t clean the house nearly enough.  I was constantly behind on the laundry.  The beds were almost always unmade.  The floors were vacuumed only “as needed”.  I ran on the treadmill when I should have been attending to some of the above.

My favorite race was the Tinley Park Duathlon with Aby as my teammate.

Tinley Park_DU_13_Me&Aby medals

My hardest race was the Great Illini Challenge 70.3 were I suffered heat induced problems as the temps sored well over 100 degrees.

My favorite race shirt was from the Uno 5K Carrera de los Muertos.

raceofthedead_swag

My proudest moment was finishing the Chicago Marathon with a smile on my face after many attempts at that race where weather and injury did NOT leave me happy at the finish line.

Sedgwick_me

I stepped outside of my “ box” twice.  First by going to that first CrossFit workout and second by registering for the Huff 50K.

I had good times.  And bad times.  A few sad moments.  Made new friends and forgot some old ones.  Ran races for fun and for speed.  Used a new training method/plan that helped maintain my injury free status.  Focused on chiro/rehab treatments as preventative care.  Gave everything I had to the kids/family, even when it wasn’t enough.  Took time for me, even when there really wasn’t any time left.

I can only hope 2014 will be just as good, with maybe a little less screaming at my lovely children and a lot more boating in the summer months.  Smile 

Thanks to Mom/Dad and Hubby for giving me a few hours here and there to run outside and/or with friends.  Thanks to the treadmill for putting up with all my pounding.  Thanks to Netflix for streaming for me during all those nasty and/or long treadmill sessions.  Thanks to Dr. Alexis for never telling me that I was crazy when she asked “so, what’s next?”.

How did 2013 go for you?  What was your favorite moment, if you can nail it down to just one.

**  Goodbye 2013, Thanks for the Memories  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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 **

Inspire, Be Inspired, Meet Tonia

Everyone comes to the TTF website/blog for a reason.  Many of you are friends, family or running associates.  Some of you are Team Tough Chik members or fellow Fit Approach Sweat Pink Ambassadors. A lot of you are trying to figure out how to get extra entries to win the AWESOME Tough Chik fleece hoodie that we are giving away on Monday HERE.  Some are looking for a bit of inspiration. 

inspire

Regardless of the reason as to why you have visited today, I think it’s important for all of us to remember how things used to be for EACH.AND.EVERY.ONE.OF.US.  If all your friends are marathon runners, it may seem “normal” but know that only 0.5% of the US population has EVER ran a marathon, that’s less than 1%.  So your friends, no matter how cool, are not the norm in the US.  Not even close.

Do you remember how hard it was when we started working out and focusing on a fit lifestyle?  Or how hard it was to come back from that crazy injury?  Or how hard it was to come back after the last baby?   If you are JUST STARTING to focus {or refocus} on your own fitness then I want you to know that you aren’t alone.  There are lots of people doing the same exact thing, right this very moment.  If you haven’t yet taken the plunge to begin your own fit journey, then do it now.  It’s not to late to start today, no matter how poor your fitness or how many kids you have or how busy you may be, it’s not too late.  However, tomorrow is a different story.  We will never know what tomorrow may bring.  There are no guarantees.  No promises of tomorrow.  Start today.  Or restart, if you must, but do something, anything, NOW.

Please meet my friend Tonia and BE INSPIRED.  Last year in October, we had our {cough} 20 year high school reunion.  See photo below.  Tonia is on the end in the blue shirt.  Hi, Tonia!!!

20th Reunion

We talked.  She was nice, pleasant but very quiet. Some people just aren’t big talkers, right?  Well, it was more than that. Read Tonia’s story below in her own words,written December 1st, 2013.

I didn’t like to have my picture taken at all when I was that “big”. I seriously considered not going to our 20 year class reunion because of my weight.  Then when I saw pics posted on Facebook of our whole class, I felt so embarrassed of how big I had gotten.  I had been depressed in 2009 while I was laid off from work for 9.5 months.  I finally got to be way beyond what was even acceptable to me.  I had to do something about my weight.  I was concerned about becoming diabetic or afraid something else bad would happen like stroke or a heart attack.  I was worried.  So on June 22, 2013, I started my first AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge.  I lost 13 lbs and 18 inches in that first 24 days.  I was excited to see what it was doing for me.  I felt more energetic and my clothes were fitting better.  As the weeks went on, I stuck to the clean eating and even started running.  I started with the Couch to 5K app on my phone. Shin splints stopped me after about 3 weeks.  I was still walking some and bought compression socks to help with the shin pain.  A week before my first 5k I got my very first pair of Brooks running shoes at Three Rivers Running Company in Fort Wayne, IN.  It made a huge difference in how my legs felt while running.  I’ve lost a total of 50 lbs in 5 months. I’m still on the journey of losing weight.  To be honest, I’d like to lose 50 more!  I want to show my kids that when you want something bad enough, anything is possible.  My son is now showing some interest in running. He’s only 9, but he goes with me when I’m only running a mile or so.  I love it because he assumes the title as my trainer and says little things like “keep up the pace” or “keep running, you can do it”.  My daughter likes the lifestyle change too.  She loves the healthy foods in the fridge.  She’s always eating all of my fruits and veggies.  Lol!  She also loves tilapia and turkey burgers.  I don’t have to worry about anyone eating all of my plain no fat Greek yogurt though!   Please see my before & after pic below.  The “before” was in March 2013 and the “after” was the morning of my very first 5k, November 23, 2013.

Tonia

Thank you, Tonia, for sharing your story!  We are all so proud that you were strong enough to step outside of your comfort zone to do something for yourself and your family.  AMAZING progress; keep it up!!  Please keep us posted as to how things go in the future; we are all rooting for you!! 

As for the rest of you, Inspire & Be Inspired!!

aim to high & miss or low and achieve

** Inspire & Be Inspired ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Mind Over Matter …..

At this point, I definitely consider myself an endurance athlete.  I’m a runner.  I’m a triathlete.  I’m an endurance athlete.  I run for fun.  I run to de-stress.  I run to be alone.  It’s no longer about fitness for me but rather something I need to do in order to be a healthy, happy person both physically and mentally. 

mom went running

Goals, tough races and new distances no longer scare me.  I’ve run enough miles in this body to know that I can do anything.  At anytime.  If I really want to do it.  And I’m not going to say that I always want to finish what I start but I can persevere over horrible conditions, and fatigue, and pain, and heat, and metal games.  As a result, life no longer scares me either.  I know that I can conquer anything.  I can persevere over horrible conditions, and fatigue, and pain, and the heat of life, and mental games.  I know that no matter how hard I am “punched”, I will still get back up to “fight the fight”, whatever the situation.  It really is mind over matter. 

Ever wonder if sometimes we maybe “think too much”?  I’ve noticed that when I stew over things too much then I really can make a mountain out of a mole hill.  I’ve also noticed that so many of the things that were so upsetting BEFORE I laced up my run shoes, are just no big deal once I’m a mile or two into a run.  Or maybe those “things” are just more manageable afterwards?  Who really knows or cares why running, or hard workouts, help us me cope better with life, but they do.  Maybe it’s the rush of endorphins.  Maybe it’s the quiet solitude.  Maybe it’s the fact that most of the blood in our body is rushing to our my muscles and it gives our my brain a bit of a reprieve.  Whatever the reason, we all I know that it just quiets the soul and takes the “bite” out of life. 

running is my prozac   

I’ve learned a lot from running.  I’ve learned even more from pushing past my comfort zone and tackling new distances that are not only hard but seem “almost” impossible.  Oh wait, nothing is impossible when I acknowledge that it’s mind over matter.  If I’m healthy, and strong, and ready, then I can do anything.  I will persevere over horrible conditions, and fatigue, and pain, and the heat of the battle, and the mental games.  It’s just mind over matter.

** Mind Over Matter ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

TRI Smart 101: Ride to Support Breast Cancer Research

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On Sunday, I awoke early to head to the TRI Smart 101 ride in New Lenox.  The ride was a supported event which featured routes for 38, 61, 77 and 101 miles.  The event was reasonably priced at $40 ($50 for last minute registrations) which included a nice hooded sweatshirt, SAG support and aid stations loaded with volunteers who had great personalities, PB&J, soft chewy cookies, bananas, water & Gatorade.  

Hoodie – Navy in color (the version below in black from the TRI Smart Facebook page)

TRI Smart hoodie

I initially signed up to tackle the 101 mile ride but revamped that and my 2014 plan goal after my 70.3 in Mattoon didn’t go as I had hoped.  So I showed up on Sunday planning to ride whatever distance Suzanne did the 61 or 77 mile option.  As soon as I pulled in the parking lot, I realized that my partner was sick and we would be going the 38 mile route.  I can’t say that I was happy that she was sick but I had no qualms about cutting the distance even further.  My September calendar is FULL between running races, marathon training and Aby’s Cross Country schedule so I really just wanted to be at home with the family.

Packet pick up was smooth.  They gave us our bib, hoodie and a map of our desired distance.  There were also muffins, coffee, etc. for snacking.  Then everyone left when they were ready without any production, “official” start or hoopla.  It was nice but I must admit I was a bit concerned about getting lost; however, the route was marked VERY well.  There was never a question as to if we were going the right way cuz about the time I was wondering, I would see an arrow on the road for direction.  Then as we approached a turn, the road was marked twice, once as we approached the intersection, at the intersection and as a third source of direction, there was a sign with an arrow.  I can’t imagine anyone having gotten lost unless they were just not paying attention at all.

The ride was on my home turf so I was very familiar with the roads, the wind, and the hills.  Traffic was light but for the most part we still stayed single file and just rode, taking turns at the front to break the wind for the other person.  It was good.  Fun.  And since we were riding short, we didn’t have to worry about going too fast so we pretty much pounded the entire way, short of the 20 minutes we camped at the rest stop.  Then the way back was super fast because the wind was at our back and the rain in our face.  That sped things up a lot!

38 miles done!  Next year, I would definitely like to try one of the longer distances and I even have hopes of riding a bit of the other routes this year before the weather turns too bad since the route will stay marked for quite some time.

A few of my F’N Runner friends who also did the 38 mile route, from left:  me, Julie B, Susan D, Lynn & Suzanne (my ride buddy).  Thanks for coming even though you weren’t feeling good, Suzanne!  It would have been lonely without you!!

TRISmart Ride

I highly recommend the TRI Smart 101 ride!  Low cost, amazing cause, great support, multiple distance options, low traffic roads which are very well marked and aid stations stocked with lots of yummies!  See you next year on September 14 for the 2014 installment!

** Riding For A Cause **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Who won??? Whooha Gear Giveaway Winner!

I really love giveaways.  Of course, I want each and everyone of you to win and you certainly are all “winners” in my book but alas, I have ONE Whooha Gear prize which is up for grabs.  I used randomnumbergenerator.com to do the deed so I don’t cheat.  The result:

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#30  – Theo and Jenn Koebler 

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Theo/Jenn – Please email me at amanda@tootallfritz.com and let me know which item (and size) off the Whooha Gear website you would like.  We’ll get that out to you ASAP!  Congrats!!!

For the rest of us, let’s go shopping HERE!!   The 10% discount code:  INSPIRE  is active and available for us to use!!   Yay for discount codes, thanks Whooha!!

Side note – The neon orange “Regret Nothing” tee is up on the website now.  It’s one of my favs and if you like it too, you can get that one HERE.  I’m a large (and wear a large in Nike) if you need some sizing guidelines. 

Whooha_regret nothing

Have a great weekend, run strong and happy!  If your heading to the Chicago Half on Sunday, look for me and say hey!

** Regret Nothing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Great Illini Half Iron Distance TRI – 2013

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Half Iron Distance TRI = 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

Last weekend I returned to Mattoon, IL for another multisport event.  I have fond memories of Mattoon as my first ever multisport venue and also the first place I ever attempted the daunting 70.3 distance (2008).  The 2008 Great Illini Challenge offered both a full and half iron distance race.  I did the half.  Great experience.  I had hoped for a repeat last year but the event was canceled due to weather.  All of the 2012 registrants then received a rollover registration for this year and although it didn’t really fit into my schedule I crammed it in anyhow still went so that I didn’t “lose” my registration fee.  It also gave me something to look forward to after the 70.3 in Racine didn’t necessarily leave me feeling happy fulfilled on the half distance front.

One of my favorite things about Great Illini is that it’s small and not branded by a particular company.  This brings a smaller field, a lower price tag and a  majority of participants who tend to be a bit more relaxed and in it for fun and fitness rather than prize $$.   Your transition”mate” may be a new triathlete, an experienced racer who doesn’t buy into the “iron hype” or possibly someone looking for redemption from a less than ideal performance earlier in the year.  I highly recommend talking to people and finding out what brings them to a particular event.  You just may find a bit of inspiration or last minute motivation that could propel you to a new PR!

Packet pick-up for Great Illini was offered on both FRI afternoon/evening AND race morning.  Takes a bit of stress out of the equation when you can pick up the packet on race morning.  The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the venue was the nice, calm water in which we would swim.  Lake Mattoon.

Great Illini_lake mattoon

Then I asked about the water temp and was told it was 82 degrees, which is not wetsuit legal.  Bummer.

In less than 3 minutes, I had signed my waiver, picked up the packet, walked to the beach to take the above photo look at the water and was back in my car and on the way to the hotel.  It really doesn’t get any easier than that.  Swag – black cotton unisex tee, swim cap, pen, Hammer Gel & Recoverite and a small Hammer canister which I assume is to carry an electrolyte powder.  Please note that this is swag for a $135 half distance entry free vs a branded race which “may” cost up to $250.  Big difference but how badly do you really need that nylon backpack?

Great Illini_swag

Race morning was just as smooth.  Transition opened at 5:30am, race started at 6:45am.  I picked up my chip and was thru body marking in less than a minute.  No bibs for less hassle faster transitions.    I parked less than a 100 meters from transition and was set up in no time with plenty of space and friendly people all around.  I was able to use the bathroom without waiting.   I attended the pre-race meeting, heard that wetsuits would be legal so just walked over to the car and grabbed the wetsuit.  No fuss.  No stress.  No worries about missing the start because I needed to hike a mile to my car.  Very relaxed atmosphere and I was very thankful to be back at a small venue.

I was even able to catch up with  a couple of friends who were also participating, including Jen who was tackling her first Olympic distance event!  Yay, Jen!!!

Great Illin_Jen & I

Then it was time to roll.  The event was a double loop course on all fronts: swim, bike & run.

The swim course was marked by 5 orange buoys which were set-up in a “somewhat” rectangular pattern.  Two waves, men first and then women 3 minutes later.  Worked perfectly.  The sun was in our eyes initially (and when we re-looped) but everyone was calm, nice and although I did bump into a few people, I was able to just move a bit and then had plenty of room to swim.  Very calm and relaxing swim in clean lake water.  Nice!  I was a bit surprised when I got out of the water at how long it took me to move thru the 1.2 miles but whispers around me told of a long swim course that was just at 1.4 miles.   Okay, that makes more sense.

The bike course was also a double loop.  Aid stations were pretty frequent, probably 3 per loop and also at the turnaround.  Each time I went thru they handed me a generic bottle filled with water which I squeezed into my aero drink canister then tossed.  I also saw bananas at the half way point but didn’t have enough time to grab both water and a banana.  Aid stations were small & tight.  The race had advertised Hammer Gel and an electrolyte drink to be on course too but I never saw (or was offered) either until I stopped at the last aid station and asked.  By this point the heat was high and the volunteers were pretty melted, some sitting, some standing in a wilted position.  They were stationed out on country roads, beside corn fields with zero shade in an effort to support us on the bike.   I was moving, and had a bit of a breeze from the bike, but was really struggling with the heat so I felt really bad for the on course volunteers who were standing out there waiting for us!

Personal Note:  My bike segment was slow, like really slow.  Decent speed in the first hour but the heat started getting to me pretty badly in the second hour.  I used two of my own gels in the first 30 miles, then stopped for a third gel at mile 44 (aid station).  I knew electrolytes would be absolutely necessary if I had any chance of finishing.  To be honest, I wasn’t feeling good on several fronts and by mile 30, I was ready to go back to transition, pack up and head home.  The sun and high temps were melting the tar on the country roads and I could hear a “sticking” sound coming from my tires as they pulled up from the tar on each rotation.  I was hot.  Very hot.  The breeze from the bike was stifling and the hot air in my face was miserable.  To add to the heat misery, I had a very bad headache.  My vision was a bit blurred from the headache (or maybe the heat?) and I had so much pressure in/on my head that I actually loosened up my helmet in an attempt to give my head some relief.  Didn’t work.

The run course.  Two loops.  Out and back.  Flat country roads.  Full sun.  Some gravel.  Lots of melted tar.  3 aid stations which we hit x2 on each loop.  They offered cold water, ice, coke, pretzels, Hammer Gel, & Heed electrolyte drink.  The volunteers had tents but I still felt horrible for them being out there that long.  However, they were all VERY KIND, let me stand under their tent for a bit of shade and were super helpful.

Personal Note:  I couldn’t run.  I was beyond hot.  My legs wouldn’t move.  I wanted to quit.  A lot of people did quit.  I finished but it took so long since I couldn’t run that I might as well have signed up for a full iron distance race.   I’d say this was a “personal worst” but that would absolutely minimalize how horrible it went.  Not looking for a pitty party here, I’ve already covered that, just stating the facts.

I did finish and only 54 other people managed to do that for the 70.3 distance.

Great Illini_medal

As I look back, I did a couple things right.  Since it’s always nice to end on a positive, I’ll share.   1)  I left my spray sunscreen in transition and resprayed myself when I got off the bike.  I do have some wicked tan lines but I’m not burnt.  2)  I hydrated, hydrated, then hydrated some more.  I wouldn’t have had a chance had I not consumed so many fluids before the race and also during.  The ice helped a ton too.  I chewed a lot of ice.  I  also stuffed chunks of ice into my clothing.   3)  I used extra gels.  When the heat is high your body will process fuel faster.  You’ll need extra fuel.  I always tell people to take more fuel then they really need.  I should have listened to myself but fortunately was able to score extra fuel at an aid station.

This is a good race.  Although the thermometer in my car read 101 when I finished the race, this should not reflect on the race itself.  Good race.  Good venue.  I do think organizers should have called off the race for the safety of the participants.  Some people will refuse to quit and you have to call it for them and for your insurance coverage  but I am pretty sure the race director was “afraid” to call it early since the race had been canceled in 2012.   Reputation is everything and if people don’t get to finish sometimes they get mad.  Then they talk. I understand.

I highly recommend giving a smaller venue a TRI.  See what YOU think.  It may not be big and fancy but it will most likely offer a quality race for a much smaller price tag.   It may even be a refreshing change from the monster TRI  you’ve already done 10x.

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Whooha Gear GIVEAWAY!

I had a crappy weekend.  First off, there was the bad race at Great Illini where the temps soared over 100 degrees and my bike tires and shoes stuck in the tar.  Apparently nobody received the memo that heat/humidity is my kryptonite.  Second, I was struck with a full blown allergy attack that left my face swollen and haggard looking.  SO, let’s get things back on the happy track and do a giveaway!!!  WhooooHoooooo!!!  Or should I say, WhoooooooHaaaaaaa!

Whooha Gear has been one of my favorite retailers over the last couple of years.  I have multiple pieces from them ranging from butter soft tees to a loose fitting hoodie that I wear everywhere. Good stuff (you can see my last post on Whooha Gear HERE).   Whooha is a small women owned company offering products for other women athletes with the intent to help inspire other women.  That’s a winning philosophy in my book!

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WHOOHA = Women Having Optimistic Objectives & Healthy Attitudes

I have two items from the new 2013 line and I have several more things on my “wish list”.  I picked up the “Regret Nothing” tee (Play Hard, Take Chances, Keep Smilin) at the Zooma Chicago expo.  I haven’t seen this orange one online yet but they have it and if you want to call them, I bet they will get you one!!

Whooha_regret nothing  

Then last week, I received this baby in the mail right before heading out to the disastrous Great Illini 70.3.  The Swim, Bike, Run Heartbeat tee:

Whooha_swim bike run

I’ve never been much of a t-shirt person but these don’t feel like traditional tees.  They are soft, form fitting but not super tight and they move with me.  I’m not only comfortable in them but love the message and designs.  I have basically been wearing them around the clock which is why I don’t have a photo of me in the orange tee cuz it’s always headed to the wash when I’m not working or exercising.

Do you want to win a Whooha shirt or hoodie?  Whooha has generously agreed to give one winner their pick from the website.  Yes, anything.  You pick what you like and what fits your style!   Go look around HERE and leave me a comment below telling me what you will pick if you win.  If you would like a second entry into the giveaway, go like the Whooha Facebook page and leave a comment below telling me you did so and please provide your FB name for verification purposes.

One winner will be drawn on Friday, September 6th at 9am.  GOOD LUCK!

And if you can’t wait to win, then please shop HERE  using the discount code:  INSPIRE for 10% off your order. 

Don’t forget to “Play Hard, Take Chances & Keep Smilin”!

Amanda – TooTallFritz