Swimming to TRI … Tips on Surviving the Swim in YOUR First (or Next) Triathlon

Let’s be honest, if you’re swimming laps at your local YMCA, then it’s probably not because you are a diehard lover of the swim.  You have a triathlon on the calendar, right?  Yeah, me too!  And that’s why I’m in the lane right next to you.

lap swimming

Every time I meet a new triathlete, I hear the same story.  They fear the swim.  In today’s world, every parent I know, besides myself, has their kid signed up to be Olympic swimmers on a local swim team.  But in my day, swimming wasn’t all the rage.  Sure we went to the pool in the summer.  We swam in the lake with our friends and family.  But nobody was going to be the next Missy Franklin.  It was a different world when I grew up but it’s those “non swimmers” from my generation who are now creating the newest group of triathletes.  Why?   Cuz we are now middle aged women.  Looking for something that we can call our own.  Something outside the hubby, kids and the J.O.B.  Something just for us.

sky is not the limit

And so we sign up for our first triathlon.  We know we can run, been doing that for a few years now, right?  And we learned to ride a bike as a child.  Once you learn, you never forget, right?  The bike may be old, need a tune up or possibly new tires (since the old ones were dry rotted) but it will cover the distance for a sprint triathlon.  So you’re in and registered.  But what about the swim?  Here is everything I know about swimming a TRI.  I’ve never taken lessons but have done a few swim clinics and I always ask advice from lifeguards, swim teachers, swim coaches or high school/college swimmers when I get the chance.  If you’re a swimmer, I’ll probably ask you questions, even if you are my 10 year old niece.  Smile

Triathlon SWIM Tips:

  • Relax.  You’re not going to drown.  And if you think you might drown, please stop reading this and go find a coach!
  • Practice may not make you perfect but it will ease your nerves.  You have to swim before your TRI.  Minimum 1x a week.  More if you have the time.  The more time you spend in the water pre-race, the better.  You will get more comfortable with each swim session. 
  • Get a good swim cap and a tinted pair of goggles.  Start using them in the pool  while practicing so they won’t seem foreign on race day.  Goggles are not required during triathlon but you do want to protect your eyes from other peoples fingers, the water & even the sun (thus the reason for tinted goggles).  Swim caps will be required and provided by the race to distinguish your swim start & age group.
  • There are no rules regarding the type of swim stroke in a triathlon.  You can freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke or even dog paddle, as long as you get in and out of the water on your own power.  So if you start to feel panicky while swimming, pull your head out of the water and do a different stroke. 
  • Keep moving in the water.  Triathlon swims normally start in waves, usually by age group.  Each wave is separated by a specified amount of time, anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.    Meaning that groups will start before you and then there will be a group immediately behind you. Keep moving because the faster swimmers from the wave behind you will be upon you (and passing you) before you know it. 
  • Mentally prepare yourself to be around people while swimming.  This won’t be like your lonely practice swims at the Y.  There will be 20-100+ people around you at any given moment. 
  • There will be lifeguards and spotters in the water with or near you.  On boats, paddle boards, wave runners, canoes, etc.  If you cramp or panic, you can hold into a boat/paddle board/buoy for support as long as the lifeguard doesn’t have to actually assist you in any way. 
  • Fastest stroke for most people is freestyle, or front crawl.  Where your face is in the water. 
  • If you tend to swim crooked, try bilateral breathing, where you breathe equally on both sides of your body.  Easier said than done for someone like me.  Bilateral breathing has been a goal of mine for 4 or 5 years and I’m just finally getting it now.  Bilateral breathing tip (from a swim coach at the YMCA of Dekalb) – Use a kick board initially.  Hold the kickboard out in front of your body with straight arms.  Just kick to propel yourself & the board forward, then put your face in the water and practice breathing.  First breath on your strong side, next one on your weak side.  Couple times down and back & you’ll be ready to rock this on your own while practicing your freestyle.  You may get a few partial mouthfuls  of water (at least I do) but it will help even out your stroke and straighten up your swim.
  • Freestyle stroke requires that you lift your head out of the water on occasion to “spot” or check your position in an open water swim.  The most efficient way to spot is to do so right before you breathe.  So lift your eyes slightly out of the water in the front, then turn your head to breathe.  You just need a quick glance to make sure you are still on path.  Example HERE with a video in section #4.
  • If you are in a slip stream of another swimmer, you can just follow along and that will require less spotting (and less energy) on your part, just don’t follow them blindly in the event that they get off course.
  • Some TRIs, have a line or rope that runs between buoys.  If you can find the line and stay on it, you will not need to site because you can just follow that rope.  Sweet!
  • Swim freestyle with a wider arm stance.  Don’t cross your arms in front of your body when you swim.  Most of us ladies, bring our arms over our head and our hand enters the water in front of our head/face.  Wrong.  That’s wasting motion, kinda like running with your arms pumping and crossing in front of your body.  It’s the same thing.  Think wider, almost awkward, swim stroke where your hand enters the water parallel to the body.  Confused?  Hold your arms straight out in front of your body, parallel to the ground.  Like a movie zombie or sleepwalker!  That’s the position of arm entry.  At the side of your ears.  Not in front of your head.

parallel stroke

Source

  • One your hand enters the water, reach in front of you to get the full motion of the stroke, then pull back in the water with loose fingers (not a tightly cupped hand which wastes energy) toward your hip bone.  At the same time your body is rotating for efficiency and to get ready to take a breath.  When you hand gets to where your hip was, the hip should be gone because the body has tilted/rotated.  When I’m in the water, I imagine my hand almost pushing my hip up and out of the way.  Not a perfect example below.  I’d like to see his hip rotate out a bit more on the top pic but still a decent example.

body rotation

Source

Complete diagram of full stroke.

stroke

Source

That’s pretty much everything I know about swimming.  If you have additional tips, please share because I am far from an expert and would love to learn more!!  Know that I’m not fast but I can cover whatever distance.  I’m trying to get to the pool at least 2x a week now.  Still not a lot but better.  I just think about my bilateral breathing, wide arm stance/entry, reaching thru the stroke so as not to cheat myself, and then body rotation where my hand pushes my hip out of the way.  I still need  to work on my flutter kick.  Sometimes I forget to kick.

If you plan to wear a wetsuit in your TRI, watch the first video in this link HERE.  Judy, please watch it cuz I’ll need you to help me get my too small wetsuit on at Steelhead!!!

Other helpful TRI posts: 

** Swimming to TRI ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Hidden Treasurers …. The Spencerville Covered Bridge

I took all of 2014 off cycling due to the sudden move from IL to IN.  The stress of finding a new house while packing up the IL home.  All while working full time.  Being a full time mom with a hubby who had pretty much already moved ahead of us for work.   And let’s not even talk about how crazy long it took to complete the move itself.    I basically didn’t do much last year other than run to maintain sanity, then try not to lose my mind while I wasn’t running ….. and I didn’t even do that very well.  Regardless, since last August, I’ve been running on my country roads here in rural Indiana.   Should be boring, right?

IMG_7294  IMG_6933  IMG_7293 

Wrong.  I’ve had a couple close calls where I was almost struck by unaware motorists.  One time a lady was so close to me that I could have reached into her car and touched her child who was riding passenger.   Did she see me?  Probably not.  Was the sun in her eyes?  Maybe.  Or was she trying to teach me a lesson to “get off the road”.  Possibly.

As a result, I was a bit worried about getting my bike out.  In fact, I was scared.   While running, I’m legally obligated to run facing oncoming vehicular traffic.  While cycling, I’m legally obligated to ride with vehicular traffic.  Blind to what is coming behind me.  Blind to the fact that someone may be unaware that I’m on the road.  On a bike.  Vulnerable.  At His mercy.  If it weren’t for my love of triathlon; I’d probably have left my bike on the trainer again for 2015.  But I’m signed up for Ironman 70.3 Steelhead.  And I must ride.  Outside.  On the road.  In the wind.  Up and down whatever hills I can find.  Alone.

IMG_7292

All of a sudden, I remember how much I love cycling.  How much I love my bike.  How great it is to fly down the hills.  How horrid it is to struggle UP the hills.  How freeing it is to be able to ride for hours on end to parts unknown.  On one of my recent rides, I went looking for something that I had read about, in a small town near my home.  A covered bridge.  Indiana is known for it’s old covered bridges (98 in all) but I had no idea that one was so close to my new home.  The Spencerville Covered Bridge was built in 1873 and it’s a mere 11 miles from my house!

IMG_7034  IMG_7041

A hidden historic treasure.  Basically in my backyard.  One that not many locals think about since traffic has long been rerouted away from the bridge to protect it from overuse, modern vehicles and big massive semi trucks that have previously damaged this old girl.   Now she just sits awaiting our arrival.  While I was there multiple people pulled up and snapped pics.   One couple even lingered, looking at this piece of modern day history, walking the interior planks.  There is a small parking area on the east side of the bridge for those who want to do more than just drive by.  If you are in the area, go check it out!

I’m thankful to be back on the bike.  I’ve been trying to ride more and run less.  Easier said than done for this runner.  But I’m enjoying the journey.  Enjoying my bike and the wind in my hair.  I love finding hidden treasures like the Spencerville Covered Bridge.  I enjoy riding new roads and finding new routes, particularly if there are a couple hills on which I can practice climbing and shifting. 

** Get Out and Find YOUR Local Hidden Treasurers!  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Shower Pill Giveaway & Discount Code

We are at that time of year where everyone is looking gifts.  Do you need a gift for a special runner friend? Being Santa is fun but only when you get to give something that someone actually wants without spending a fortune.  Enter one of my favorite items for running, triathlon and being active.  ShowerPill.

showerpill_pic

ShowerPill has fast become the number one body wipe on the market for active people.  Toss out the baby wipes unless you have a baby to clean up and grab a Shower Pill! 

showerpil_girl

Seriously, I don’t leave home with out my ShowerPill wipes.  I have some in my purse.  I have some in my car.  I have some in my gym bag.  If you travel with me to events, you know that we run and then immediately go home to the family.  More often than not, that means no shower.  After 2-8 hours of fun, strenuous running or TRIing, nobody wants to get in the car without a shower.  I’ve used ShowerPill wipes on so many occasions but here are a few standard uses:

  • In my car after a TRI while changing;
  • In a parking garage, standing behind my car, while changing;
  • In a port-o-potty while changing after a hard race;
  • In the bathroom at my office after a lunch run;
  • In the gym cuz I didn’t have time to shower before running off to an appointment;
  • After workouts before getting in my car to drive the short distance home because I couldn’t stand the smell of myself;
  • In an airport after long hours of air travel and airport time.

ShowerPill wipes are not only for freshening up but also a way to kill bacteria on your body.  You will be clean.  Smell good.  And kill germs.

image
ShowerPill is an antibacterial wipe for your body.  It is like wiping down with soap and water which leaves skin feeling clean, fresh and moisturized.
One ShowerPill sport wipe cleans your entire body.  It will save you time, decrease the chance of skin infections and keep you fresh & clean when a “traditional shower” is not possible.
-Extra thick like a washcloth
-Kills 99.99% of germs including Staph
-Aloe Vera & Vitamin E
-Quick dry solution, no sticky residue
-Light fresh scent
-Hypoallergenic & Gentle on Sensitive Skin
-Paraben & Alcohol FREE

 

ShowerPill has generously agreed to give a box of ShowerPill wipes ($9.99 value) to TWO winners!  If you would like to win a box of ShowerPill wipes, please make a comment below and tell us what you do now to freshen up when a shower isn’t an option?   Giveaway starts now and goes until Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 11am at which time two winners will be selected via a random number generator.

If you want ShowerPill wipes NOW for one of your favorite runners, please order HERE, use the 10% off Discount Code:  runner10.

Previous Review of ShowerPill wipes HERE

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Why I Won’t Stop Running ….

Since I moved to Indiana, I’ve had a lot of foot pain.  I took most of the spring/summer off running.  Actually I was running, but very little.  Sporadically, if you will.  Sometimes not at all.  Hubby had moved to Indiana before the kids and I.  Therefore, I was alone with the kids & pets.  I was trying to find a house in the new area.  I was traveling back and forth every weekend (400 miles round trip) on the frustrating great house hunt.  I was trying to keep the kids from killing each other fighting.  I was chauffeuring them to every doctor/dentist appointment that they needed before they transferred to a new school.  I was also trying to pack up a house.  Train a new puppy.  Plus I was working full time with a nasty commute each day.  Life got in the way of workouts.  It happens.  But one thing was constant, my foot pain.  Thank you Plantar Fasciitis. 

Foot-pain1

Once I returned to the run, the foot pain went from discomfort to full blown pain.  Every step hurt.  A lot.  So I decided to try to find someone to help me.  When I was in IL, Dr. Alexis kept me up and running.  She was a Chiropractor but more than a “bone cracker”.  Her family practice focuses on the health of the family.  She has a lot of skills and treatment methods that a normal Chiropractor doesn’t.  Big shoes to fill.  Plus she was a runner.  And never complained about my running, at least to me.  Yeah, REALLY big shoes to fill.

After asking every fitness person I knew, wasn’t a big list in my new town, I was directed to my first Physical Therapist.  He didn’t like runners.  Not sure he even liked me.  He hurt me badly.  He made my PF worse.  Then I saw another PT.  He was a Cross County Coach.  So he liked runners, right?   Maybe.  He was all business.  Not sure what he liked.  Very firm as to what I could and couldn’t do.  I actually took 2 weeks off cuz he scared me.  Then I moved on again because well, I wasn’t getting better.

What did the 2 PTs have in common?  They focused specifically on my calves and soleus. Both did Graston.  The first guy would make me cry because he scraped my calves so hard.  The second guy was more gentle but still, it was the same.  Scraping, scraping, scarping my calves and soleus.  And a shit-ton of stretching exercises.  Nobody touched my feet.  They both thought my PF problems were centered on the tight calves and soleus.  Both of which were marbled/bumped up like a “gravel road”.  I didn’t get better.  I spent a lot of $$.  I stopped going to PT and I’m not sure I’ll ever go to another PT, short of being forced.

Now I’ve found a Chiropractor, 7 minutes from my house.  A family practice guy.  Big on rehab.  Diet.  Exercise.  With a bag of tricks.  So guess what, someone finally cares about my feet again.  He says they are the “worst” he has ever seen in his practice.  Must not see many distance runners, huh?  Lots of Graston. Lots of Rapid Release Technology (description below). 

RRT relies upon the science of resonance.  Like the piano note vibrating the corresponding guitar string across the room, the target absorbs vibrational energy and oscillates.  Same principle as the opera singer who can vibrate a crystal glass across the room until it breaks.  RRT operates at a frequency over 3 times faster than the fastest competition.  Notice the symmetry of high speed compression waves through healthy tissue.  Now notice the lack of waves when RRT is put over chronic fibrous tissue.  The energy is absorbed by the denser tissue and it begins to vibrate. 

RR-Product-pic

Lots of talk about what I should do besides running.  He used to run but has done extensive research and has basically bagged running for other things.  Good for him.  Not good for me.  So this week, after suggesting for the 2nd time that I take 6 months off, he basically said, “why do you have to run”?  Good question.  My quick answer was very basic:  Cuz I might kill someone otherwise.  It keeps me in check mentally and regulates my mood.  Some people take Prozac, I run. 

Long answer is a bit more complicated.  I run because I can.  Because I like it.  Because it gives me a big bang for my buck, exercise wise.  Because there aren’t any CrossFit gyms close to me.  Because it gets me out of the house, or allows me to zone out on the treadmill for hours at a time watching crap on Netflix that I can’t let my kids watch.  Because it makes me feel good.  Because it helps me realize that life really isn’t so bad after a long ass run.  Because it drives me to challenge myself and consider goals which I never thought possible.  Because it enables me to see things that I would never see from my couch.  Because it forces me to be social at times when I don’t feel like talking because I’m emotionally overwhelmed.  Because it allows me to be social while doing something healthy.  Because it helps me not take myself too seriously and sometimes allows me to wear silly outfits.  Because I can control it. 

I run when I want.  Where I want.  And the only thing that stops, or slows me down, is the family schedule.  It gets me out of bed in the morning and energizes me throughout the day.  If I take a weekend day off the run, what happens?  I sleep in but am always still tired.  I get up grumpy cuz I never feel refreshed.  Then I get a cup of coffee and sit in the recliner or on the couch and veg out on Facebook or TV.  I’m not motivated to do anything.  I don’t want to do anything.  Different story after I spend a couple hours running.  I’m motivated to LIVE life.  That’s why I won’t stop running.  Maybe tomorrow or the next day will be different and I will no longer have the desire to run.  But as for today, I want to run.  Nothing is broken.  Nothing is torn.  Let’s just fix this and then maybe we can be friends.  I mean, I’ll waive to you as I’m running laps at the Y and you’re below with your buddies beating the crap out of each other playing basketball.  Winking smile

distance runner

Related post.  It’s an oldie but goodie:  I Am A Runner.

Run happy, if that’s your thing.  If you like football or basketball, find a league.  If you like to lift weights or CrossFit, awesome, go kill it.  Cycling?  I’ll see you on the road come spring!  There are so many different activities, go find one that you love!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

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.

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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 **