What Do You Do With Medals/Awards?

Maggie – MagMileRunner, has been doing a series of photo challenges. This week the challenge surrounds race medals, awards and memorabilia. I can’t say that I am sentimental about much, some might even say that I’m a cold hearted bitch and race awards/medals are no different. When I walk in the door after a race if I’m lucky enough to have been able to travel to it solo without the kids in tow, the first thing that happens is the kids attack me for my goodies. Aby is usually wearing my race shirt before I unpack my bag, Michael is wearing my medal or has put it around the neck of one of the dogs, and the memorabilia becomes lost to me sooner rather than later. No big deal. I run for me, not the awards, not the medals. I think the “goodies” are a nice touch but not something I need.

So today, I went on a quest to find a few of my medals. After I trip over them a couple times, I eventually pick them up and there are a few default locations in which I started to look.

The stair banister is a favorite spot to hang them once I find them:

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Or the box in the basement, which I packed up a couple of years ago when we were trying to sell the house:

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We tripped over this one in the playroom as we were looking around for more:

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Aby saw these trophies while I was photographing the lonely medal on the floor.

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Then we went up to her room and immediately saw my 2010 Chicago Marathon medal hanging on her dresser and a few in a basket where she throws her shoes & belts:

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And just as I was grabbing my purse to run out the door, I saw this lonely guy sitting on top of the breadbox.

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So I know this is more than “one” photo but I am constantly asked what I do with all my stuff and I never have a good answer. It’s not that I don’t respect the races, the awards or memorbilia, just that I’m at a point in my life where nothing is mine. I don’t go to the bathroom alone, rarely shower or bathe solo, I always have a toddler sleeping on chest or his little stinky feet in my face. Aby takes borrows what she wants and I’m constantly “losing” MY stuff. So no need to get all worked up about where to put memorabilia as it would just disappear sooner or later anyhow. And I’m totally okay with that just as long as the kiddos keep their paws off leave my gps watch alone.

What do you do with your race medals/awards and memorabilia. I’m pretty sure you must have a better system than me. 🙂

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com **

Rough Waters……In the Pool?

Now that summer is officially in full swing, the local indoor pools have moved toward summer hours.  This means the  pools are packed all the time when they are open with swim lessons,

Swim Lessons_kids

Master Swimmers & Triathletes,

swimmer_masters men

And then me, trying to find a spot somewhere in between.

swimming cartoon girl

I don’t consider myself to be a “swimmer”, which I’m sure many of you can understand.  How long was it that you were running before you considered yourself a “runner”?  I always say that anyone who runs is  runner regardless of distance or pace.  Therefore, I should probably consider myself a swimmer.  It just seems like such a stretch. 

I’m a triathlete, that I own.  I swim because of triathlon.  When I’m not in season, I don’t go to the pool.  When I’m pregnant, I don’t go to the pool.  When I’m injured which is a rarity, I don’t go to the pool.  I only go to the pool when I’m in season and trust me, I’ll push it off as looooooong as possibly before I haul myself in for a workout.  I don’t dislike swimming, it’s just inconvenient.  I can’t do it at home and I have to physically go somewhere, during hours which they are open, in order to participate.  Not easy.  I am heading to work when most people are meeting for an “early”  5:30 or 6am run or swim.  The pool doesn’t even open before I have to start showering and getting ready for work, so I have to steal time out of my day to make it happen. 

Yesterday, I stole time from the family, hit the pool when it reopened at 5pm and squeezed into a lane between a couple Michael Phelps looking fellows,

michael-phelps      michael-phelps_swimming

a normal looking dude swimming with a pull buoy, 4 ladies doing their exercises and about 50 kiddos who were conquering swim lessons.   Wow, was it rough in that pool.  I have swam in calmer waters during triathlon races in rain & thunderstorms.  The Phelps Brothers were tearing up the water, spitting water, kicking water and creating a current that felt slightly like an undertow.  Mr. Pull Buoy was swimming faster when he was actually swimming with is pull buoy than I can swim in a race.  He was even doing flip turns with that thing and making a good amount of commotion in his lane as well.  The noise from the coaches, the whistles, the kids was deafening.  I had water hitting my back coming from countless directions but I just kept swimming (say that again in Dory’s voice from Finding Nemo cuz that’s how I hear it in my head).  I just kept focusing on counting my laps.  And I just kept swimming and counting.  Pretty much all of the normal things I focus on like reaching, being smooth, breathing, etc. all of that was eliminated last night as it took 100% focus to just keep count and swim.  I did that for 88 laps, non-stop.  I assumed I was slower than the nice calm swim I had with Susan the other day but was surprised to see upon completion that I was actually faster.  48 minutes for 1.2 miles.  No flip turns for this non-fish, non-masters swimmer…….I just keep swimming.  And apparently, “just” swimming has its own benefits when one settles into a routine.

I’m feeling good.  I’ll never be able to keep up with the fasties in the pool but I know I can “just keep swimming” for as long as it takes to get out of the water.  At the end of the day, I’m okay with that.  If we just keep TRI-ing then we improve, its bound to happen.  Don’t get discouraged that you can’t run with the big dogs, just keep moving forward and TRI-ing.

** Keep TRI-ing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Inspiration at Every Turn

Looking for a little inspiration?  Look around you.  Some people see inspiration at every turn, be it a beautiful sunrise (photo stolen from courtesy of Chick #1 – Julie – Ragnar Relays),

Sunrise_Ragnar_Julie 

Children at play,     Michael & Aby_fireman 

Or men and women who are constantly pushing their limits.  I’d like to introduce you to one of those people,  April W.

April W

When I met April at a party in November 2011, I quickly learned that she was registered to run her very first half marathon in July 2012, the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon.  It looks like an amazing race, who wouldn’t want to run it?  Well, probably NOT April since she wasn’t a “runner”.  She wasn’t a runner but she signed up for a half marathon?  My immediate thought was, “Hmmmm…… I wonder if she knows that’s 13.1 miles?   I’m certainly not going to be the one to break it to her!”.  I figured one of her friends below: Cynthia & Jen with April….

    April_11-11

might eventually shed light on the situation and the distance since they were running too.  Maybe?

Over the course of the evening and a couple hundred vomit inducing glasses of wine, I learned that April was going to start training for her half in January.  Like after the new year?  Like everyone else who decides to start something new but can’t quite commit to starting “right now”?  Ok, sure.  I still invited her to come run with the F’N Running Club because we have all levels of runners.  We welcome everyone, fasties and run/walkers alike.  If you want to run, just show up, we are happy to have you and that’s not an exaggeration in the least!  Did I think April would ever show, not really but I’m always hopeful and I tried to be very encouraging and let her know that she would fit right in with the group.

The first week of January, I got a text message from April saying she was ready start running but didn’t know what to wear.  Apparently, I’ll give my cell # to any random wannabe runner after a few glasses of wine.  Possible character flaw?  See the F’N Runners run outside, year round to get a break from our screaming children take advantage of the fresh air.  I gave April some tips on what to wear for cold weather running and told her we just so happened to be running the very next day and she should come out.  And she SHOWED UP along with a lot of other crazy people.  This was January 8, 2012.  April is in the light blue jacket, middle back, wearing a black hat.  This is her first run of the year.

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I was so proud of her and several other newbies who had showed  up on that cold January day that they were the inspiration for my post on Courage.  I can’t even tell you how proud I was that she had the courage to show up.  I hope that I did her and the other newbies justice in the “Courage” post and I hope it gives others the courage to get out the door and try something new. 

April didn’t give up.  She didn’t lose motivation when the new year faded.  She just kept showing up and pushing her limits.  Left middle back, black hat.

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She was even running solo without the group.  She was strong and had the will to Make It Happen.

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And she started racing (right side, black vest, pink top, black hat), first up was the Midwinter’s Cruise 5K:

midwinter-cruise-2012_group 

Then the Shamrock Shuffle 8K (middle, black hat):

April_shamrock 2012

And the Soldier Field 10 mile!

April W_SF finish 2012

                               April W_kissing SF medal

Next up is the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 15, 2012.  There is not a doubt in my mind, I know she will cover the distance with a smile on her face.

Inspiration lives around us each and every day.  Inspiration is at every turn if you just look and listen.  Take a look around and find somebody YOU know who inspires you to get out the door and keep working hard.  Nobody can do it for you.  Nobody did it for April.  But you can look at others and use them as inspiration to keep pushing. 

Let’s hope April comes back after her half and gives us an insider look into what has motivated her to keep pushing, moving, running and being an inspiration to her family, community and all of us F’N Runners.  Thanks, April!  And the big question, will April keep running after Napa to Sonoma?  I’m betting, YES!

Who inspires you to keep moving?  Remember Angela C? She is another real person who inspires me daily.  If you haven’t already, read Angela’s story HERE.

** Hoping YOU Find Inspiration ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Where the Path Leads….

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.  ~Frank A. Clark~

Things haven’t gone exactly as I  had planned over the last couple weeks but who am I to assume that the plan I create(d) will lead me down the correct path?  The best I can do is have faith that the path I am on now will lead  in the direction which I am “supposed” to be headed……and hopefully make me stronger and wiser because of it!Plan A-Plan B

So I sit and enjoy the summer as much as possible.  It seems almost wrong to be sitting with my feet wrapped in ice up and “chilling” but that’s all that I can do for now.   My work and family schedule doesn’t allow much time for swimming but I do have the bike on the trainer in front of the big screen now.  I managed 10 miles in 34 minutes last night.  Not a big ride as I didn’t have the time but that’s pushing the pace for me on the trainer since I have no hills to throw in a little extra speed.  I have never been strong on the bike, even weaker on the trainer.  Possibly this entire process, which requires no running since I’m still not walking very well, will improve my bike?  Possibly help me develop more focused, efficient power?  Help me look like I’m serious instead of out for a joy ride? 

girl riding bike_fun

                 Pleasant Prairie_bike

We’ll see.  I always say that if “it’s easy, then it’s not worth it”.  This isn’t easy so I am going to assume that I am going to learn something or become better in some way as a result of this process.  We’ll see.

What are you up to this summer?  Any big races or are you focusing on slowing down? 

** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

I Refuse To Let The Grass Grow….

Ever heard anyone say, “Don’t let the grass grow under your feet”?  That’s exactly what a lot of people do when they become injured; however, it’s not my nature.  I’m “kinda” wired and I need to keep moving for the most part.  I’m very fortunate in that my injury still allows me to bike and swim.    So I bike and swim.  And bike and swim.

I have a little injury bike station set up.  I am not strong enough to ride outside at this point.  If I fall, particularly being clipped into my pedals, then my partial tear could become complete and who knows how much time off that would require.  So I’ll ride on the trainer until I feel comfortable and strong enough to take it outdoors. 

bike injury station

It’s actually kinda comfy.  I set it up facing the big screen tv, have a table for my water bottle, remotes, phone, etc.   I rode 10 miles yesterday morning at a slow pace since I wasn’t quite comfortable and my foot was a little achy.  Then today I went 30 miles, was feeling decent and was definitely faster.  Riding on the trainer is not the same as being outdoors but it’s good for now.  And safe.  And boring, like the dreadmill, thank goodness for the tv.

Me_bike_6-6-12

I also swam 1.2 miles this morning in the pool with Susan D.  She didn’t kick me.  She didn’t spit water in my face.  And she didn’t churn up so much water that I was scared.  Thanks Susan for being such a kind lane partner.  🙂  You’re definitely one of my favorites especially after you basically carried me back to my car last week when my ligament popped.  Thanks for that too!

My swim was much faster this morning (49 minutes vs 56).  No, I didn’t miscount.  No I didn’t cheat.  No Susan didn’t swim half of my 88 laps.  The difference? I didn’t feel like I was going to drown?   Firstly, my awesome friend, IronWOman Mel, told me last week that since my goggles keep fogging being that my antifog is 8 years old I should try using Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.  Really?  Anyone tried this?  Since I literally stop a good 20-25 times while I swim to wipe the fog from my goggles, I decided to try it.  Damn, it worked too.  I rubbed a little undiluted J&J baby shampoo on my goggle lenses last night, rinsed, let air dry and today, I had exactly one fogging incident and that was my fault cuz I didn’t dip my goggles in the water before I started swimming.  Wow.  Best tip I’ve  had in a long time.  Thanks, Mel!

Secondly, I tried to focus on my kick the last 25ish laps.  I normally don’t kick at all much in the pool.  However, when I TRI, I start kicking as I come around the last buoy and can see the beach.  So I spend about a 1/3 of the swim with a solid kick (depending on how the buoys are set) and that kick makes a difference.  I don’t like to kick at the start, I just focus on being relaxed and enjoying the calm before the storm but when I come around the last buoy its game on and I’m ready to ride.  So today, I tried to focus on kicking in the last portion of my swim.  It’s GAME ON, bitches.   I’m so ready to TRI, it hurts.  I may be out of a few races but I refuse to end this season without a TRI or two in the books.  And watch out cuz, I’m gonna be lean and mean from my time off.  It’s not gonna be for fun……it’s gonna count and if i feel like this on day 6 of rehab, it’s gonna be scary when I come back after 12 weeks.  11 weeks and 1 day left.  #MakeItCount

** Happy Running & TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

I Bid Adieu To….Chick 3

We all know that I’m not happy about it but there is absolutely nothing that can be done, so I packed up my “Chick 3” ensemble tonight to pass on to the newbie runner for Ragnar Chicago Team #85 – You Just Got Chicked.

Chick 3

So much emotion went into the preparation and planning for this team that it seems unreal that it’s no longer on my plate.  I feel as if I section has been torn out of my book and the ending left unknown, questioned and lost.  Super sad.  Loads of tears.

I’d like to send out a few Thank You’s..…..

  • Thanks to the ladies who have already asked me to be part of their 2013 Ragnar teams.  Much appreciated but my wounds are still fresh and well, I can’t walk very well right now so won’t be planning any long distance relays at this time
  • Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and words of encouragement.
  • Thanks to all of you who were scrambling in an attempt to fill my ultra spot on the relay.
  • Thanks to those of you who offered up ideas on SKINNY drinks. 
  • Thanks to Ragnar for sending me such a nice email, informing me that my captain had dropped me from the team.  I got that.  My foot popped, I knew I’d be dropped.  Good times.  Thanks for the info.
  • Thanks to  Aby for limping around downtown with me this week, going to work with me, helping me onto the train, filing, copying and running back & forth to the freezer for my ice bag.
  • Thanks to hubby for pretending he gave a shit cared about the billion tears I cried over a relay that happens EVERY year.  This isn’t exactly the last one, there will be a “few” more!
  • Thanks to BondiBand, Aspaeris Pivot Shorts, Family Fan Club, ShowerPill and Gu Energy for setting up Team You Just Got Chicked to kick some ass have fun in this race.

I hope you all have an awesome Ragnar, if you are running, or kick some butt on whatever you attempt this weekend!  #MakeItCount

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Races for Injured People?

I “walked” to work today from the train.  It’s only about 3/4 of a mile but yesterday I struggled to make it off the platform and down to street level before falling into a cab while holding back tears.  So progress is being made very slowly.  I won’t say my foot feels good but swelling is minimal and I have more flexion.  I wanted to try to walk since I spent about $25 in cab fare yesterday to see if I could make it.  I made it the entire way but it was very slow and I am very gimpy.

I saw several runners while I was “walking” and I wanted to karate chop them  it got me thinking, where are all the races for the injured people?  I’m feeling pretty full of myself today, I think I’d have a good chance at an age group win.

Injured Lady runner

Injured Wheel Chair Racer  Injurer Duck

Watch out, there just might be a movement of motivated injured people to start a new race series.  Hmmm…..

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

4 Days til Ragnar – 4 Things For Which I’m Thankful (Injury Related)

This will be my last Ragnar countdown day since I, of course, will not be running.  We finally have a new “chick” to take my place so that removes a huge weight from my shoulders.  I’m incredibly sad over the entire situation but at least my team is now covered.

Since I’m feeling a bit “blue”, I thought it would be good to think of 4 things for which I am thankful in relation to the injury.

Ruptured PF

This rupture, tear, strain, whatever you want to call it, is not optimal as I look at a full calendar of races, the relay, and my most coveted 70.3 events which I will have to miss; however, here are my 4 things positive:

  1. I can finally stop running in pain.  Each day I went out the door, I ran thru pain.  I have been running in pain for over a year.  The $600 orthotics  helped, but to keep it at a bearable level, we have resorted to anti-inflammatories and cortisone shots.  The cortisone was not intended to be a quick fix (until the one we did on FRI in an attempt to get me thru Ragnar, which totally backfired, didn’t it?) but rather a process of decreasing the inflammation and hoping it would heal in the process.  That didn’t work and the pain always crept back.   So now, I have a REAL reason to stop running without feeling like I am copping out or being a wuss.  
  2. Hello, summer!  I plan to spend lots of hours floating in the pool.   This is my favorite type of float cuz it keeps me cool by sinking me in the water while still holding me up!pool float

    In relation to this, I am also thankful that Mr.. Michael is more chill and fun this year.  He loves his sister so much that it takes some pressure off me and will hopefully allow me some float time unlike the last two summersNow let’s just get that cloudiness out of the pool so the fun can begin!

  3. Since there are not any early morning runs in my future, I can also enjoy a few cocktails.  Any low call adult beverage suggestions?                        cocktails
  4. My family is being nice to me.   They are helping and working together to get done all the crap things that mommy usually does herself.               family working together 

  So back to those low cal beverages?  Any ideas?

** Happy Running or Lounging, whatever is in the cards for you this summer! **  Amanda – TooTallFritz

5 Days til Ragnar – 5 Generous Sponsors

Although, my Ragnar dreams are over, we still have 5 generous sponsors who have given a lot to get us to and through our relay journey.

(YOU JUST GOT) CHICKED! – TEAM SPONSORS:

Family Fan Clubis hooking us up with everything from personalized race shirts with our team name (You Just Got) Chicked to decals and magnets for our van, personalized safety vests, headbands, etc. You name it, they can personalize it.   We have even contracted them to do the shirts for our running club.  Lots of options here, check them out!

ShowerPillapparently doesn’t want us to chase away the competition with our running funk. Do us a favor and get your own so you too will smell fresh and clean throughout the 36 hour event! Or come and borrow some of ours! 🙂

If you need compression shorts to help with performance, recovery & injury prevention, then check out Aspaeris Pivot Shorts! They will be protecting us during our Ragnar Adventures!  I love these shorts and wear them under my skirts or by themselves.  They are very versatile.

Check out the awesome fueling possibilities at GUEnergy.com. Don’t run out of energy, we won’t!  Gu covers all areas from energy to hydration while offering a variety of products.  Good stuff and lots of options.

BondiBand.com has some unique & creative but FUNCTIONAL pieces ranging from headbands, to hats, to swim caps. Lots of COOLstuff from BondiBond! Check them out!

A huge shout out and thank you to all of our sponsors!  Thank you so much for helping us prepare for this awesome journey.  Your support has been much appreciated!

** Happy Relaying ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

6 Days til Ragnar – 6 Chicks

So today brings us 6 days out from the start of the 2012 Chicago Ragnar Relays.  And we have 6 chicks that form our ultra team, You Just Got Chicked.

6 Chicks _ red x me

However, one chick…..ME, isn’t going to get to run.  I “may” have mentioned that my Plantar Fasciitis flared up BEYOND comprehension over the last couple weeks.  And we “may” have been trying to get me thru the Ragnar Relays by using the acupuncture, foot manipulation, cortisone shot, ice & motrin but it all blew up this morning.  Quite  literally BLEW UP.  I was running,  a little over a mile from my car, turned around because the pain was so bad that I audibly said, “I can’t do this today”, then about 2 minutes later something popped.  It felt like I got shot in the side of the heel in the arch.  Wow.  I hobbled back to my car and drove bawling straight to the chiro.  I honestly thought I would need surgery but knew she would be honest and tell me what to do and basically not panic like I was at the time.  I honestly thought blood had to be squirting out of my shoe cuz it seemed impossible that something could hurt so badly and not be squirting blood. 

So the “good news” is that nothing is broken.  Although it would heal faster if something had broke.  I don’t need surgery but was told that rehab will be the same as if I had to have surgery.  12 weeks off or I can try to start taping after 2 weeks, keep running which would be stupid and risk further injury.  I was basically told after 2 weeks, if I started up again, I might get another 2 weeks before I was back here or worse.  I think the best case scenario since I don’t get paid to run and TRI, would be to suck it up and take the 12 weeks off.   No Ragnar.  No 70.3 Ironman Muncie.  No Great Illini Challenge 70.3.  No Chicago Marathon. 

At this point it hurts to walk and the main focus is getting the swelling out.  I iced more today than ever before in my life.  I used a bucket of ice, I soaked my foot in our green pool, and I used an ice wrap.

foot in pool with kids foot on ice

So I’m going to focus on walking first and then the rest will come with time.  Or not.  Whatever happens, happens.  If I understand it correctly, all of this is related to the plantar fasciitis and the heel spurs but I have a secondary issue which deals with the muscle or ligament which runs beside my tibia (big bone that most call the shin bone).   This ligament attaches to the heel bone thru the arch.  Well, this has been a very painful tender area and we knew it was a problem but today it reared is ugly head and stated its presence for real.  This ligament is strained/torn/pulled/sprained…..whatever you want to call it.  Doesn’t even matter at this point.  It hurts like a bitch badly.

So, the search is on for a lady runner for our Ragnar team.  33 miles is the distance which needs to be covered over the 30+ hour period.  And yes, the race is 6 days away.  Yes, the race starts in Madison, WI.  If you have an interest in running, message me ASAP.  I need to fill my spot.  I can’t walk so running is absolutely not an option.  Please think and help me fill this spot!

** Happy PAIN FREE Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com