The Influence of Social Media on Fitness

The influence of social media on fitness is currently huge.  I can’t log onto Facebook or Instagram without seeing sweaty gym selfies on my newsfeed.  There is a constant barrage of posts about fitness, workouts and training.  Sometimes the meaning of these fitness posts get lost on its audience and I want to take a minute to think about that.  Oh, and here is my sweaty selfie from my morning ride on the trainer.  Smile

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I see many who get annoyed and block or unfollow the posters of these sweaty selfies.  The poster may be a friend, blogger, or an acquaintance.  But some people like my husband have just had enough.

Unless You Fell off the Treadmill

Other people are inspired and want to see more.  It helps them get motivated in the mornings when they’d rather sleep in or just sit and drink coffee in their pajamas.  How about you; how do you feel?

For me, it’s about motivation, inspiration and accountability.  I don’t have a coach.  I don’t really have anyone who cares whether I work out or not.  I do it for me.  Each workout.  Each drop of sweat.  Each time I get up and get moving when I just want to sleep, it’s for me.  Those sweaty selfie posters, aren’t taking pics of themselves cuz they think they are awesome.  They are doing it to hold themselves accountable.  To document workouts over time.  To watch their own progress.  To motivate themselves to stick with it and keep pushing when nobody in their real world cares.  If it motivates others, bonus.  If not …..

Posting Workouts on FB

So please keep posting those sweaty selfies.  Keep giving me the details of your workouts.  Keep working hard cuz that’s what this is all about.  It’s not pretty.  It’s certainly not sexy.  It’s hard work and I’m proud to know so many people who are chasing their dreams and being a positive influence on social media.  It’s not bragging, it’s the way that we hold ourselves accountable.  It’s the way we connect with others who care about fitness.  It’s who we are, day in and day out.  If by chance, we possibly motivate even one person along the way, then it was worth it.  So let’s see those sweaty selfies!  Post yours to social media and tag @tootallfritz on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

** Cheers ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Small Gains = Big Motivation

Training thru the winter is very different for me than training in the spring, summer & fall.   In the winter, I try to hone in on what isn’t right and fix my imbalances or bring back some training that got lost in the shuffle of the warmer months.  I don’t spend so much time “free running” where I run the dog on the trails, just to spend time outside.  Winter is different.  It’s more focused.  I try to get the most of our my workouts and keep them as efficient as possible.  This year I have big goals and well, there isn’t much time for lollygagging, even if it is the middle of winter.

being-better-than-yourself

That’s what I want, to be better than I was yesterday.  Better than last year.  Better than I’ve been since I moved.  I’ve finally checked my excuses at the door.  Put my emotions on ice about the IL house and all the drama that surrounded that ordeal and the money lost.  I’m ready to roll.  I’m ready to work on me.  I’m ready to get the most out of my workouts and see where it takes me.  As a result, I’m already seeing small gains and that’s motivating me to stick with it and keep pushing. 

success_day in and day out

One of the best things I’ve done so far this year is become more consistent.  Over the last couple years, I’ve ran so many marathons that I was never actually training, just ramping up for one, then trying to recover on the fly for the next one.  While this is fun and keeps things interesting, it also required that I kept things pretty low key. I never really pushed the pace on any of my runs.  I was always in maintenance mode.  I was trying to keep my body in check so I didn’t implode. 

Last year, in the midst of my “marathon madness”, I tossed in a 70.3 triathlon to try to get my pre-move mojo back. I was instantly reminded why I love the triathlon so much.  Its fun and requires more focus than just running.  Last summer was disastrous for many reasons but I somehow stumbled made it to the start line, even with subpar TRI fitness.   I started.  I finished.  And I loved every minute of it.  So this year, I’m tossing in more triathlons and that requires consistency and commitment.

January was all about 1) hammering out a plan and sticking to it; and, 2) Getting my butt out of bed & into the pool when it opened. The first couple weeks were kinda messed up with the double marathon weekend Jan 9 &10th but I still managed to run 142 miles.  That consists of one speed run, one tempo run, the WED night “fun run” at the Y & the Saturday long run at the Y.  While, I’m still not hitting my speed & tempo numbers, I’m getting closer.  My confidence is growing and I think I’m very close to being able to do the workouts, which I already softened up a bit for fear that my fitness wasn’t exactly where I had initially predicted.  Smile  It took a little bit to clear the fatigue from my legs and start hitting the numbers.  I finally had a good session this morning after a hard look at recovery last week.  Yay!!

I also added the bike back in this month.  I bit the bullet and bought a new trainer since I lost mine in the flood last summer.  Now I have a “smart trainer” and well, it’s way smarter than me and apparently also thinks my fitness is better than my reality.  I managed 78 miles on the bike this month, which is low but getting the trainer dialed in was a bit of an issue.  Plus so far, I’ve only been riding 2 days a week.  I’m planning to add in a 3rd day of riding this week.

And the swim.  Last but not least.  I hate getting in the water.  I don’t even swim for fun anymore.  Plus we currently only have one pool at the Y and its used for training, lap swimming & therapy.  Therapy takes precedence over everything else so the water is way too warm, usually between 82 & 84 degrees.  Not ideal for a triathlete who has to swim in open water but that’s what I currently have available. I’m checking my excuses at the door.  I’ve been showing up.  I put in 5 swim sessions in January and I’m already noticing a slight improvement in my time per 100yds.  Goal in this off season is 2 swims per week.  I’ll get them all in this month!

All of these slow but small gains in January have motivated me to keep up the work, stay committed & do even better in February.  I’m being consistent.  Not moving around workouts.  Not making excuses.

  • Monday – Off
  • Tuesday – Swim  & Speed Run
  • Wednesday – Bike & Fun Run
  • Thursday – Swim & Tempo Run
  • Friday – Bike (skipped in January in lieu of a rest day)
  • Saturday – Long Run
  • Sunday – Long Bike

commitment

So far, so good.  I’m committed to smashing my marathon PR at the Garmin Marathon & chasing my TRI goals this year.  January down.  Let’s see what February brings.

** Keep Chasing YOUR Goals ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Marathon Training IN THE WINTER …..

How hard is it for you to stay motivated thru the winter?  If you have a spring marathon on the calendar like the Garmin Marathon or the Flying Pig Marathon, then you don’t have many options other than to keep yourself moving.  But that doesn’t mean you have to pound out the same hard miles, in the same hard way that you would do in the spring and summer months.  Maybe change it up a bit and try something new?  Something that might get you out of the cold and onto the treadmill or indoor track when the wind chill slips below zero or the snow is flying so hard that those oncoming cars can’t even make out your reflective vest?

  Kara Roy (black jacket) and Jennifer Lee (blue jacket) run down Mountain Avenue in a snowstorm.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my snowy runs but I can’t run a quality workout when I have to worry about my footing.  So I save my easy, fun, social runs for outdoors when the snow is flying.  Then I take my hard, fast runs inside where it’s safer.  I also shorten my training cycle and lower the number of days I run each week.  I focus on power and speed and strength.   This does a few things.  1)  Helps me to avoid burnout.  2)  Makes me FOCUS on the runs that I have on the schedule each week.  3)  Allows me some free time for cross training and/or weight work.   Winter workouts are important.  This is the time to work on the areas of your fitness that need extra attention.  Strength?  I need more of this and it’s definitely something I’ll be focusing on this winter.  My goal is 2 strength workouts each week.

kettlebells-rope

Nutrition?  How is this going for you?  I was doing GREAT before the holidays.  I had lost 12#s, then I got sick, did the holidays, ran a 50K & a couple marathons, now I’ve gained 5 of those lbs back and am facing down 16#s which I need to lose before I crush the Garmin Marathon in April.  So part of my winter marathon training is focusing on my nutrition AND making sure I am getting adequate water intake each and every day.  Lean proteins.  Fruits & veggies.  Healthy fats.  Whole grains.  Water.

salad & protein  water

Rest?  You betcha!  I’ll be honest; I’m tired.  So freaking tired.  I know I’ve ran a lot of miles lately but I’m also just a poor sleeper.  And I’ve been sick.  I’m definitely run down in more than one way.  I’m good about getting my vitamin c and other vitamins that help strengthen my immune system but nothing makes up for sleep.  Maybe the winter nights are longer for a reason?  Take advantage of the darkness and get some extra shuteye.  Sleep repairs your muscles, helps build your immune system and makes you feel better!  Don’t skip the sleep or you’ll pay for it later.  This week I’m dragging.  Do I need to swim in the mornings?  Yes.  Do I need to rest more than I need to swim this week?  Yes.  So I’m sleeping in and I’ll worry about how fast (or slow) I swim next week.  Priorities. 

sleep

Marathon training is about so much more than the miles you log.  As you age, you may also notice that your body just can’t take the pounding that was once the norm.  That’s when you start to develop aches and pains that lead to injuries OR you can shuffle the deck and change the way you train.  Change can be for the better.  I’m mixing things up this winter.  I’m going to step back on my miles a bit and focus more on quality.  One long run, one tempo, one speed.  I’ve mentioned it before but I use the FIRST Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone to plan my workouts.  It was a $2.99 download but I’ve used the program so many times that it’s paid for itself.  This certainly won’t replace a coach if you can afford one but a coach isn’t in my budget, a $2.99 app I can justify.  Smile  I’m looking forward to picking up the pace this winter.  It’s always hard for me when I start this plan.  I can never hit the numbers initially but as I build strength, speed and confidence, I’m always amazed at where it can take me. 

** Happy Running, All! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

2016 Goals …. On Paper

I haven’t written about my goals for years.  Not because I don’t have a clear set of goals going into each new year but because I’ve been doing this for a long time and redundancy is B.O.R.I.N.G.   Plus my training is non-traditional, and my volume is sometimes ridiculous.  I don’t want anyone to think they should follow my lead.  I finally found a great chiropractor in Ft Wayne who has made a lot of money off of me this year because of my volume & race schedule.  He keeps me running even when he thinks I should go sit on the couch.  Together we have learned how to juggle races/ mileage & springboard from one set of goals to the next by sacrificing speed.  That’s right.  If my goal is volume, I sacrifice speed. I can’t have my cake and eat it too.  I  gotta pick.  So let’s see how I will choose to lay out 2016.

goals

The year 2016 will be broken up into 3 seasons.  1)  Spring Marathon Season, 2) Triathlon Season and 3)  Fall Marathon Season.

My goal race for the spring marathon season is the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, KS on April 16th. Please someone tell me that Olathe is flat and fast.  Please.  I’ve plugged the numbers into the FIRST Run Less Run Faster iOS app and if I can hang onto my treadmill this winter, I’m going to run 4:15 or faster on the streets of Olathe, in a sparkle skirt of my choosing, possibly dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Outfit to be determined.  Goal time, established.  4:15 or bust. 

My goal race for triathlon season will be the 70.3 at Rev3 Cedar Point on September 11th.  Although, I applied for the Rev3 team/ambassadorship, I was NOT selected.  No, I’m not mad.  I apply for a lot of things and get rejected but that doesn’t stop me from going after my goals.  I still plan to go to Cedar Point and annihilate the swim, bike & run and go under 6 hours for the first time ever.  Now this is the main goal of the entire year, my “A” goal, if you will.  I want to break 6 hours at the half iron distance and this is as much of a dream as it is a goal.  I have a lot of work to do if I even have a chance.

Big Goals

My goal race for the fall marathon season is the inaugural Fort4Fitness Marathon on October 1st.  This will be about fun and running with my friends and run club members.  My goal here is not about speed but to get as many people as possible to the start line for the 2016 Fort4Fitness races.  Marathon or not.  It’s a party for the running community in the Ft Wayne, IN area and I’m excited to be part of it.  I plan to run, walk, stroll and talk to everyone I see!  I was there for the inaugural running the the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in 2008 and I plan to be there for the inaugural running of the their first full marathon in 2016.  Super exciting!

So what do I need to do to meet these goals?  I need to stay focused on my healthy eating & get off the last 10-13 lbs that I packed on during the move to Indiana.  I’m focused on this.  Working on it daily.  It will be gone before I hit the Kansas border in April. 

In order to meet my “big hairy” goal for the triathlon, I need to become a better, more aggressive, faster, stronger swimmer.  The term “just keep swimming” will eventually be replaced with something more aggressive and focused toward pushing the pace.  I’ve never worked on my swimming, just basically showed up and swam.  This will change.  But first I have to get reacquainted with the water.  I tore my rotator cuff in August after IM 70.3 Steelhead (race report HERE) and just went back to the pool today, for the first time.  It wasn’t bad for a starter swim.  I made it a mile in 45 minutes.  But I need to slash this time by a lot to help achieve my goal.

swimming_me_superphoto 

I also think that strength work is integral to my performance related goals.  I’m dedicating Tuesday & Thursday (before dawn) to my swimming & strength work.  I thought I had my strength all figured out but the CrossFit Endurance class has been dropped.  So I’m back on my own.  But I can do this!!

We’ll start with these goals and build, adjust accordingly.

if the plan doesn't wrok

** Time to Get to Work ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Highlight Reel …. 2015

I think the end of the year highlight reel is important, particularly for those years that go down in history as being difficult.    And if I thought 2014, and the move to our new home in Indiana was difficult, I was wrong.  2015 brought us trials and tribulations that would have broken most.  Yet we are still standing strong, just a bit weak in the knees.

Stood in the Storm

I encourage all of you to focus on the positive.  Leave behind the negative whether it be people, habits, attitudes or memories.  Grab onto the positive from each year and make your own highlight reel.  When we are old & grey, nobody wants to hear sad, woeful stories but rather the ones that inspire and bring laughter & smiles.  We get to choose the legacy that we leave behind, let it be a positive one.

Legacy

Stats – 1100 miles on foot.  900 miles on bike.

Races:

  • 5K – 1
  • 8K – 1
  • Half Marathon – 2
  • Marathon – 8
  • 1/2 Ironman – 1
  • 50K – 1

Best Run – Charleston, NC – Cooper River Bridge

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Favorite pics.  1)  Kids first day of school, 2)  Lilo – 2.5 months, 3) Aby’s First Half Marathon, 4)  Celebrating Mom’s birthday at Dierks Bently.

Aby & Michael - First Day of School - 2015 Lilo_2.5 months Aby_finish

Me Aby Mom_Dierks Bently

Favorite Race – Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon, which is a “practice” run for the Minnesota Voyager 50 mile ultra up by Lake Superior in MN.  Took Julie & I forever to run it.  So freaking hard.  But we smiled the entire time.

IMG_7568  IMG_7590

Best Bridges – Pittsburg Marathon.  Really loved this race, town & all the bridges.

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Fastest Marathon – Indianapolis Monumental Marathon – 4:26

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Best Selfie – Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  Me, Erin Rose, Tamyra, Missy & Julie in the back “flying”.  Love this pic.

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Favorite Race pic – Ironman 70.3 Steelhead

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In 2015, I checked 6 new states off my list:  Missouri, Pennsylvania, Iowa, California, Minnesota & Oklahoma.  My goal to run a marathon in every state is ongoing as a long term goal.  I love the adventure and the road trips with my run friends.  But I also like to support local races, help my friends and run group members achieve their goals and run iconic races that just so happen to be in states I’ve already checked off the list.  I’ve ran 15 states thus far and the journey will continue well into the future.  One state at a time as the family & budget allows and as my run friends can fit travel & new states into their schedules. 

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As we close in on 2016, I first and foremost pray for a healthy, happy family, then a healthy body that can continue to pursue goals at whatever pace seems manageable.  I hope to color in a few new states on my marathon map and participate in a few more 70.3 triathlons.  I’m looking forward to a fresh start, new goals and the beauty of the unknown.  Cheers to 2016!  I hope it’s the best year so far for my family & yours!

** Cheers ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Progression of the Running Watch 2007-2015

We are all hyper aware of the fact that technology changes so fast that its difficult to keep up or even stay in the game. This has always been an issue for me, particularly with our beloved running watches.  While I WANT the latest & greatest run watch, I don’t want to pay for it.  And I usually don’t need all the bells and whistles that come standard on the high end models.  What to do?

technology

I tend to buy based on price and my budget.  I also try to keep it real.  I’m not going to spend hours looking over the data from my latest run, so it’s not necessary for me to have a watch that records everything from my heart rate to my breathing.  What do I need?  Pace and distance.   Splits.  I like to look at my splits, briefly, like in the car after I finish a run, for maybe 2 seconds.  Never on the computer.  Never.  So I usually keep things simple with my run watches.  Let’s look at the progression of my technology since 2007.  And let’s hope my hubby isn’t reading today cuz I’m also going to tell you what I’ve spent over the years on my quest for the perfect run watch.  Yikes.  Let’s get started before I lose my nerve!

It was in 2007 that I first became interested in actually tracking my runs and knowing my distance/pace while out on the road or trail.  I was training for my first marathon and it wasn’t always convenient to plan my route with the car before I ran.  We weren’t too far out from the release of the very first Garmin Global Positioning System (GPS) running watch that dropped in 2003.  Those initial watches were big and bulky, overhung the wrist of most women, but all the cool kids had one, maybe you did too?  It was a Garmin Forerunner 205.  I never bought one but I think it’s important to drop a pic to remember this oldie but goodie.  I believe the original price of this bad boy was $149 in 2003.  Stock photo.

first garmin watch_03

My very first run watch was the Polar RS200SD with Heart Rate Monitor & an S1 Foot Pod.  No GPS technology on this watch, everything was measured via the foot pod.  And EVERYONE asked me “what that thing was that was on my shoe”.  Everyone.  The watch was small enough that it actually fit my wrist.  While I have a large body, I have a dainty wrist, so this was a good option for me.  It was comfortable.  Normal watch battery so it stayed charged forever.  Foot pod had a AAA battery and would hold a charge for about 20 hours of continuous activity.  I could swim with the watch but it would only record my time.  I never used the heart rate strap and eventually lost it.  The majority of the info the watch recorded was about heart rate.  That’s what Polar does best, heart rate.  I could see my pace, distance and pull up my mile splits via the watch.  However, I if I wanted to transfer the info to the computer & connect with other Polar users, I had to do so via a special microphone that worked sporadically.  It was a pain, so I didn’t upload my data often.  Overall, this was definitely a good device at the time.  It was always ready to run while the runners with the “original” GPS watches were waiting for a signal, which they would promptly lose if we ran in the city or thru the woods.  Original Price:  $220 – with 10% discount at Running For Kicks, my cost was $198 + tax.  Mel D. even set the watch up for me and handed it to me ready to run.  Thanks, Mel.  Stock photo on the left, my package on the right as I was putting it on eBay last year sans HR Chest Strap.

polar  polar w foot pod

From the Polar, I moved to the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch (powered by TomTom) with shoe sensor.  Since I don’t run in Nike shoes, I always had to cut a spot out of the sole of my run shoes (under the insole) for my sensor.  There was a little pouch I could have bought to tie the sensor/pouch to my laces but after years of having a huge Foot Pod on my shoe, I didn’t want to tie the Nike+ Sensor to my laces.  Sensor was optional anyhow, not needed when GPS was available.  The watch was fun.  It popped messages if I didn’t run within a couple days. Always acknowledged new PRs.  Sent me motivational messages.  And the display numbers were HUGE.  I could always see it while I was running, even when I was running really fast.  Cuz I could run fast when I owned this watch.  But it was big, with a long face that overhung my wrist.  The face of the watch was hard and stretched across my entire wrist bone.  It slid around when I was sweaty and I never knew if I wanted to wear it atop or on the inside of my wrist.  It was either too tight or too loose and never just right.  The end of the watch band actually revealed a USB plug and would plug right into the computer.  Super easy charge, manage and upload info.  I liked this watch a lot.  It was $199 from Nike.com.  I had a $50 gift card, so my cost was $149 + tax.  Free shipping.

nike  gps     nike  gps2 

From the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch, I moved to the Garmin Forerunner 10.  I really wanted a watch for triathlons but was too cheap to spend the $$.  The Forerunner 10 fit my wrist.  Holy Heck, a watch that I could run with that would sit on my wrist and not overhang.  What a concept.  It was comfortable.  Cute, came in multiple fun colors.  Focused on pace, distance & time.  I could pull my history, past workouts and/or mile splits directly from my watch.  I was IN LOVE.  Perfect watch for me.  Not too fancy.  Not too complicated.  But it didn’t link up to GP S satellites very quickly when I was in a new location (or even at a regular hang out) and the battery didn’t last long.  I was starting to run a lot of marathons and my max battery life on the Forerunner 10 was 5 to 5.5 hours.   Sometimes I run marathons slow.  Sometimes I run marathons in the woods.  Sometimes I run longer than a marathon.  My perfect watch slowly became somewhat imperfect for me.  It was easy to use, easy to charge with a USB on the computer/laptop or via the USB charger for the car or wall outlet.  Easy to link up to Garmin Connect.  Great beginner watch.  So great that I bought one for Aby.  All in all, we’ve had 3 of these Forerunner 10s (green, pink & a purple which replaced the pink after repairs from Garmin).  I bought both mine & Aby’s from REI.  I used EBates to get 5% cash back, plus I got 10% back on REI dividends at year end.  EBates referral code HERE if you want to save $$ shopping online but don’t yet have an account. Original price:  $129, my cost $109.65 + tax.  Free Shipping.

Polar-Nike-Garmin   IMG_0510 

I loved the Forerunner 10 so much that I moved over to the Forerunner 15 when it was released.  Longer battery life, plus a few more bells and whistles.  It counted steps and mileage indoors, even when the GPS wasn’t activated.  This came in super handy as I ran lap after lap on the indoor track at the YMCA when the temps and wind-chill plummeted in the winter months.  But it didn’t help me in the TRI world.  The GPS would work on the bike but not for outdoor swimming.  The watch still took a bit to sync up with a satellite & I was still  having issues with running out of battery life while running & biking.  It was advertised to have 8 hours of GPS battery life but I rarely got that.  But the watch looked good.  I love all things aqua so we’ll probably never part with this baby.  Aby is using it now.  Original retail was $169, I got this “New with Tags”, in the box, on eBay for $129, free shipping, no tax. 

IMG_6784 

I still needed a TRI watch, are you beginning to see a theme?  I also was interested in monitoring my heart rate and possibly starting some heart rate based training.  But I didn’t want to wear the chest strap.  Very few watches monitor heart rates off of a sensor in the watch (vs a strap).  Plus if I was going to buy ANOTHER watch, then I wanted to make sure that it would measure my swim distance, if nothing else.  Enter the TomTom  Multi-Sport Cardio.  Wireless heart rate.  Counts swim laps.  Records biking.  But doesn’t do swim/bike/run all at once in a Triathlon mode like most multisport watches.  Battery life is only good for 8-10 hours.  However, this baby must be downloaded frequently because if you are out on a run and it reaches the max amount of data that it can record, it doesn’t overwrite old data/workouts, it just shuts down.  Really.  I mean, REALLY?  It also struggles to link up to a satellite.  It is hard/stiff and big due to HR sensors being in the watch. Overhung my wrist.  Moved around on my wrist and it wasn’t very comfortable.    Lots of bells and whistles with this watch.  It’s cute.  It charges easily, workouts can easily be downloaded but you must stay on top of the downloading to have space to run, bike & swim. Oh, and it does NOT record outdoor swimming, only pool laps.  Good bye, TomTom.  Original price was $249, but TomTom was offering a $40 race rebate after purchase.  My cost:  $209, free shipping, free tax.

tomtom  tomtom2

Last but definitely not least.  The Garmin Forerunner 920XT.  It’s a real TRI watch.  First, the satellite signal is so strong that it will link up as I sit at my desk, here in the house.  It records indoor & outdoor running, indoor & outdoor swimming, indoor & outdoor biking.  It links up to my phone via Bluetooth and I can review my workout via the watch, my phone or Garmin Connect on the computer.  It uploads automatically, wirelessly when I’m within range of my network.  It vibrates and notifies me of text messages, Facebook messages/notifications, Instagram notifications, events, etc. all on my wrist. I’m a little drop jawed over all this.  I never knew that a watch that wasn’t an “i-thing” could so much.  Plus it will seamlessly record all aspects of a triathlon. From swim, T1, bike, T2 & run.  One time.  Lots of splits.  Battery life with GPS is 40 hours.  Yes, 40 hours.  May I never do any activity where I need to record data for 40 hours. Please. And Thank you.  This watch is big but I strap it on my wrist and it doesn’t move.  That’s right, it does not slide around.  I wore it for almost 7 hours of running at the Huff 50K last week and it didn’t bother me in the least.  Its comfortable.  I’ve even been totally geeking out and wearing it during the day while I work.  The face is bigger than I’m used to but it is lighter and thinner than the Forerunner 15.  And smart.  So freaking smart.  I’ll probably never know everything this watch knows but I’m slowly figuring things out.  Thanks to YouTube videos.  So if you need a watch to do it all, including count your steps and your 02 intake (why do we need to know this?!?!) and your movement/non-movement and your sleep pattern, then this is your watch.  I think I’ll just use it the way that I use most fitness watches & let it record my data, which I like to review from my watch screen.  I’m so happy that I can once again see my splits from my watch.  Big win! 

While most will consider it a waste of technology if I choose not to use all those glorious bells & whistles, I do fitness for fun and stress relief.  If I take myself and my numbers too seriously, that’s not fun.  And then it produces stress trying to figure out what my watch wants to tell me.   So there you have it.  I now have a big fancy watch that does big fancy things but I’ll just be reading my text messages on it and recording normal swim, bike, run data.  Smile  This baby has a monster price tag at $449 sans HR Monitor, $499 with HR.  However, I purchased it Thanksgiving week when it was temporarily discounted to $329 (no HR).  Then I used a deal at Running Warehouse where if I purchased a $200 gift card, I got a $50 card for free.  Then I purchased a $50 gift card and got a $10 gift card for free. Complicated, right?  That was $250 spent for $310 worth of merchandise $$, then I tossed in the extra $20 to bring that $310 up to $330.  Free Shipping.  Free Tax.  Plus I had sold the TomTom above so had $100 credit toward my new device.  Bottom line, I only have $170 into this beast.  A couple pics below of my 920 XT compared to the Garmin 15 (which is Aby’s watch now).  

  IMG_9103     IMG_9104 

IMG_9148

If you made it this far, you’ve probably come to the realization that I would have saved $$ from the start had I just bought what I wanted verses hopping around and trying to settle for subpar devices.  Story of my life.  One that hopefully you can learn from cuz it’s too late for me.  I must say that I’m VERY happy I made the upgrade to the Garmin Forerunner 920XT.  I’ll try not to geek out and learn all the things and be THAT crazy TRI person in 2016.  Maybe.  Smile

** Run & TRI Happy, My Friends ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

CrossFit Endurance – Week 2

The past week has been a blur.  Michael brought home the flu last week and I’ve been sick on and off since last THUR night.  When my alarm rang on Tuesday morning at 4am, I was not feeling good but decided to go to CF Endurance since it only meets 2x per week.  I REALLY did not want to miss it.  I want, no, I NEED to regain my strength.  It’s important to me for a lot of reasons.  In my world a strong body is way more important than a thin one.  Ever heard the quote, “Strong Is The New Skinny”?  Strength, both emotional and physical, that’s what motivates me.  What motivates you?

Dont Wish It Were Easier

Regardless of what I wanted, heading to CF Endurance on Tuesday was not the smartest move.  I choked on just about every aspect of the workout, including the warm up.  I was absolutely exhausted, had zero energy and just about as much focus.  I look back at the pic of Tuesday’s white board and can hardly even remember anything other than how fatigued I felt.  Thank goodness I was back on track today!  Here is a recap of what CrossFit Endurance at CrossFit Tactical Strength in Ft Wayne, Indiana looked like for Week 2.

Week 2 – TUE 5:30am

Warm Up – Squats – 30/20/30  – Initially with bands around our knees, no weights, then we added in a weight bar.  I think.  I was already exhausted by this time and we hadn’t even gotten started.  I remember that we counted.  Out loud.  Together.  And I didn’t want to even do that.

Strength – Box Squats – 10 minutes.  We started with the bar only, 33#s for my group, then did a back squat onto a box (or bench for those of us who are extra tall).  Progressed by adding weights, 10#s each side, 53# total.  The first graphic shows the movement, the second shows the form better on the back half of the movement.  Goal being a good squat and to load the glutes & hamstrings, not the quads.

CF_Box Squats   CF_Box Squats2

Sumo Deadlifts – New skill for our newbie class.  Bar only.  Progression on the squat movement.  It was a bit of a struggle for me because I’ve only done traditional deadlifts.  So I wasn’t keeping my feet far enough apart or getting my knees out enough.  Here is a great explanation from PeakPerformance365 on the difference between the two deadlifts.  Graphic below is from the same source.

• Conventional deadlift. Conventional deadlifts place more emphasis on the back and spinal erectors (posterior chain). If you have a very strong lower back there is a good chance that you will be able to deadlift more using a conventional stance. (Body structure will also come into play)
• Sumo deadlift. Sumo deadlifts shift some of the emphasis to glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips and upper traps. If you are experiencing lower back issues, or have a history of lower back problems, sumo deadlifts may be a better option.

Traditional deadlift pictured on the left.  Sumo deadlift on the right. 

CF_Sumo Deadlift

Accessory Work – Jump Ropes – Skips – Foot work

Metabolic Conditioning – AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) – 3 min.  10 Sumo Deadlifts, 10 Push Ups.  Rest 1:30, repeat.  Yeah, I was exhausted way before this.  I “lucked out” and got the bigger bar for deadlifts, so that was already 45#s, then I had to add 10#s per side.  Not my idea, ok.  And I didn’t use my words and say this was too much for my ailing body.  My bad.  So I was 65#s with the Sumo Deadlifts and I didn’t do well.

Week 2 – THUR 5:30am

Feeling better today and we are finally starting to move into some real workouts.  I was super happy about our WOD today, or the “Met Con” section as they call it at this box.  This was our 4th class and it’s good to see that we are getting somewhere, slowly but surely. 

Warm Up – 4 Rounds – 10 seconds ea:  Jumping Jacks, Air Squats, Mountain Climbers, Lunges.  All traditional things, only twist was with the Mountain Climbers.  We had to take our forward leg OUTSIDE our arms.  Made it way tougher and very awkward.  Great image from CrossFit Oakgrove below to show the exaggerated movement.

CF_Mountain Climbers_CF Oakgrove

Mobility – Hip Distractions with a slight variation to work on additional flexibility to ankle.

Strength – Push Press.  12 min.  33# bar, progress to 10# weights on each side.  53# total.  Yay, something I recognize!  Graphic below from CrossFit Gardendale.

CF_Push Press_CF Gardendale

Metabolic Conditioning – 3 Rounds – AMRAP in 1:30:  Sled Sprint + Max Ring Rows.  Rest 1:30, repeat x3.   Working on anaerobic threshold.  Short burst of intensity to exhaustion and it worked.  I couldn’t breath after pushing the sled.  And I could barely pull myself up for the ring rows.  Plus they wanted us super low on the ring rows so it was even harder.   Sled image first, we used one 25# plate and that was plenty.  I liked this graphic because the lady is pulling her knees up high (like a sprint), which was what we were supposed to be doing.  Ring Rows second, old pic of me at CrossFit New Lenox when I was thinner and stronger.  We were lower today, or supposed to be closer to the ground with out feet out further.  Tough.

CF_Sled Sprints   CF_ring rows_me

And that’s a wrap for Week 2.  So far, I’m super happy.  This is definitely different than what I did at CF New Lenox but it’s good.  The current Endurance course is like a cross between personal training, physical therapy and CrossFit.  We are spending a lot of time now trying to get critical movements to become second nature as our muscles build memory.  After that we can build with more skills, or add onto the basic skills for more complex movements.  I look forward to where we are headed!  How about you?  Crossfit?  Love it or Leave it?

** Trying to Get Strong (AGAIN) ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

A Return to CrossFit ….

Call this a week of new beginnings.  It’s been approximately 612 days since my last CrossFit session. My CrossFit days came to a screeching halt in the Spring of 2014 as we learned that we were moving from IL to IN.   Hubby had received a very sudden job offer for a position that I believe he had been interviewing on for over 7 months.  We had about 2 days to decide if he should take it.  Then we had another 2 weeks of mania before he left to start the new job, 200 miles away from where we lived in IL.  It was a crazy time and to be honest, I still am not sure I’m settled in Indiana.  Although I love the new area and being close to my family and old HS friends, it’s been nothing but a long period of adjustment, struggle and pure chaos, which is far from over.  It hasn’t been fun but I’ve made a real effort to get back to basics and focus on my food, weight and regain my lost strength (both physically & emotionally).  That’s what I focus on each day.  I make the choice to eat well and be strong.

daily changes

I’ve been looking for a CrossFit Endurance type program since I moved in August 2014.  But it wasn’t that easy.  The area I’ve moved to is much smaller.  I’m now in a suburb of Ft Wayne, Indiana NOT Chicago.  Slightly different market.  There are very few CF boxes here and only one CF Endurance program within a 40 mile radius.  That Endurance program was a cruise from where I live AND it’s an evening class.  As a wife and mother with a full time J.O.B, evening classes don’t really happen for me.   Ever.

So I visited a couple CF “boxes” (AKA “gyms”) looking for a CF class somewhat close to my new home.  It didn’t go well.  One box owner told me I was out of shape, overweight, and due to my history of injuries, I would need to be personally trained before I could possibly even go to one of their CF classes.  Great.  I knew all that but couldn’t afford a personal trainer or a bigger wound to my already damaged self esteem.  So I tried to do home based CF workouts.  I talked to some of the trainers at my local YMCA to see if we could get some CF equipment at the Y.  I was making an effort but ultimately failing because I wasn’t even sure if I was doing the CF moves correctly.  I knew I needed to regain my strength.  I wanted to do Strict Presses, Push Presses and Dead Lifts, etc but I didn’t have anyone watching to make sure I wasn’t screwing things up.  So I basically gave up til recently when I once again started searching for options.  And bingo, one of the CF gyms had just moved to the north side of Ft Wayne. 

CF_logo

513 Incentive Drive, Ft Wayne, IN * (260) 310-5360 * anthonyshefferly@gmail.com

I went for a visit.  Can’t say I had a ton of hope.  We still haven’t managed to sell our IL house and things are not good for us financially.  I pretty much assumed that I couldn’t afford anything they were offering.  But looking and talking are free, right? 

Long story short, we set up a CrossFit Endurance Class on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 5:30am.  Offering a one month trial period for December 2015.  Very low cost (almost free). Trial period for any runner, triathlete, endurance athlete who may be interested in seeing if this is something they want to pursue.  Trial period for CF Tactical Strength to see if an Endurance class will work for them and if there is a real interest/need for this type of class.

December 1st was our first class.  Stay tuned for more info on my first week back to CrossFit tomorrow! 

P.S. ….. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a FREE Entry to a Spartan Race of your choosing.  Go HERE to enter! 

** Happy Running & Enduring WHATEVER Your Heart Desires ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Sleep, The Missing Link In Your Recovery

Possibly one of the most important things you can do for your body other than eating right, is to get the proper amount of sleep.  I know, you are busy!  I know you are up and down all night with the kiddos (and pets).  But you have to sleep if you want your body to fight off all the nasty germs/illnesses and recover from your training plan.  It’s a must.

train-eat-sleep

This is all I could think about last night as I was up and down a billion times with my dogs.  We had a rough one last night and every time I went up and down the stairs, my legs were screaming at me.  My left foot hurts and my legs are fatigued.  On a good note, next week I get to cut back on workouts to freshen up for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  On a bad note, I’m pretty crabby.

There is a great article by Jeff Kuhland on rest and recovery HERE, which outlines 7 “elements” for rest and recovery.  The #1 “essential element” is sleep.  See the excerpt from the article below:

Sleep is the most important time to recover. Adequate levels of sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. You need to get enough sleep, which is between seven to ten hours for most athletes. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup. 

  • Hours slept before twelve at night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.
  • Sleep in the most natural setting possible, with minimal to no artificial lights.
  • Wakeup with the sun if possible.
  • Fresh air and cooler temperatures help to improve the quality of sleep.

Seven to 10 hours of sleep per night.  Who is getting that?  And who is able to wait til the sun comes before they have to wake up?  Not me, or anyone else I know.  So what can we do about it?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go to bed earlier.  I’ve been going “upstairs” early.  Like between 7:45 & 8:30pm.  Some days it feels like a punishment.  Other days it’s a relief to get Mr. Michael settled early and have a bit of quiet in the house before sleepy time. 
  • Drink hot tea or take a hot shower before bed to relax. 
  • Use that crockpot & try to get dinner on the table earlier so that you aren’t cleaning up the dinner plates and rushing the little ones to bed at 8pm.  So hard for me.  I had everything cleaned up by 7 or 7:15p last night and it felt like a huge win. 
  • Read, write or do something for “you” directly before you turn out the lights.  Step away from the kiddos for a minute and just breathe.  Yoga, anyone?
  • Get that workout in before dinner so that your endorphins have time to dissipate before bedtime.  I’ve never been a fan of the evening workout but when I hit a workout after work, I keep it short & sweet with lower intensity. 
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.  Article HERE from the Cleveland Clinic on what happens when you drink alcohol before bed.  Think scary nightmares, sleep walking and frequent waking. 

nightcap-excerpt

  • No hydrating after dinner.  I have a huge issue with this and usually drink a glass of water after dinner.  That combined with my high water intake during the day leads to frequent potty breaks at night.  I need to be better about this.  My old weim wakes me up 2-3x a night to potty.  It’s super frustrating when I have to get up before her and then I have 3 dogs ready to go outside.  Yes, I have 3 dogs, which leads to the last thing.
  • We aren’t supposed to sleep with our pets.  If you have a dog, or two, or more in your bed at night, I don’t have to tell you why.  This graphic says it all.  My lovlies cause me a lot of unrest at night.  But I still love them and wouldn’t change a thing.

sleep with your dog

Do yourself and your body a favor and try to get some extra rest.  I know I can’t make up for sleep deprivation but sometimes on the weekend I like to lay down and rest for a bit mid day.  Makes me happier and allows me to stay up longer with the kiddos for fun things like movie night.  If you need me, I’ll be thinking about sleeping cuz I’m a little short on it for the week. 

Any other suggestions on sleeping, getting to sleep or staying asleep?  Let us know!

** Sleep to Recover ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Work In Progress …..

I wanted to touch base with all of you today and talk about a few things.  So many of my blogger friends, run friends & Facebook friends are just killing it right now.  I mean KILLING IT.  Running killer times.  Lifting heavy weights.  Qualifying for Boston.  Conquering new and horrific challenging distances. And I’m proud of them.  They worked hard and they deserve everything that comes to them and more.  But there is a whole group of us, myself included, who are also working hard but it doesn’t look quite as great on paper.  That’s because we are a Work In Progress.  And let’s be honest, some of us will forever and always be just that …… a Work In Progress.

Work In Progress

Social Media can be as great as it is horrible.  There is so much to motivate us and even more to tear us down.  Let’s build our network accordingly.  Keep the motivators, get rid of those who spew negativity toward us and others.  Focus on what we can control.  Identify our weaknesses.  Be positive.  Know that things don’t change over night.  Fitness, life, parenting and work can be hard and getting where we want to go can be a painfully slow process.

Slow Process

In real life, there are road blocks. U-Turns.  Detours.  And people who want to tear us down, possibly because they are miserable and too afraid to chase their own dreams.  They see us “going for it” and call us selfish, bad mothers, single-minded and/or obsessed.  Well, they are right, I am obsessed.  I’m obsessed with my own personal wellbeing.  Obsessed with wanting to be the best person I can be today, tomorrow and well into the future.  But I still have to take the detour like everyone else.  Life is hard.  It’s how we chose to react and handle what is thrown our way that defines us as people.

road block

Don’t let the fear stop you from chasing down what you want.    Don’t let the excuses build a wall around you.  Don’t let stress be an enabler.  Think for a minute.  What’s the plan?

  1. What can I control?  ANS (for me):  Only my actions and reactions.
  2. What is my weakness?  ANS:  I’m a stress eater and let my emotions enable binge eating.
  3. Be positive –   I always get in my workouts, even when everything else is falling apart.
  4. Know that things don’t change over night –  I’ll keep chipping away at fitness even when it seems like my goals are hopeless.  I’ve created mini goals to keep things focused and manageable.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve been in a period of constant change, chaos and struggle.  I look back at the “easy days” longingly and wish that just a fraction of the easiness would return to our lives.  I know that it will.  I have faith that better times are ahead but for now, I’m focusing on what I can control.  I’m doing pretty well with my food, except for the bags of mini health bars that hubby keeps bringing home for me.  Unfortunately, today I told him not to bring them home anymore because they are the TTF kryptonite.   Sad smile  More salads, fresh veggies, spaghetti squash dinners.  Less Heath Bar candy. 

salad

More StairMaster and Strength Training, less mindless running.  I can barely move my 35# kettlebell at this point and that makes me sad. 

78781614

And most of all, no matter what, I refuse to give up.  Even if I never get back to where I “once was”, I’ll keep working toward new goals.  Pursing new things with dogged determination because I know that for me, fitness is about more than the size of my jeans and more about the state of my mind.

Workout for Me

I’m a Work In Progress and I’ll never give up ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **