Your Pace or Mine?

It’s hard not to get all caught up in the numbers.  How fast?  How far?  How many? How much?  We let the numbers rule our life.  We do live in a society where numbers and time play a crucial role. 

 clock

However, what a particular number means for one will most definitely mean something entirely different to another.  I see this all the time, one person unhappy with a time, or pace, that someone else would love to call their own.  Another who is running a race that’s “only a 5K” while someone standing beside them has trained for months on the C25K program and is terrified of the distance. 

Numbers are relative to the individual.

I encourage you, every once in awhile, to let go of the numbers.  Maybe even leave your watch at home.  Run “naked” (without technology) for the pure joy of it.  Maybe pace a friend to a new PR, or spend time chatting everyone up at a group run rather than just racing ahead to nail a tempo or training run.  I think you’ll find that spending a little time unplugged, running for the fun of it, or possibly helping out a friend will be just as rewarding as nailing your own run/race.

There is a time and pace for everyone.    We may differ in our abilities but the smile we have when we accomplish a new goal or cross the finish line is the same.  We are runners.  Run united, if only for a little bit cuz sometimes, pace really doesn’t matter.

** Don’t Let the Numbers Ruin YOUR Day  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Feeling Sluggish….

Anyone feeling sluggish as of late?  I feel sluggish, slow, and unmotivated.  I’m going thru the motions of training but am lacking the fire that usually pushes me to do my best.  I don’t want to do my best.  I don’t want to do anything.  Oh yeah, I want to do ONE thing ……. EAT!  While I normally eat a lot of this:

Right now, I only want to eat this:

Please add frosting to those brownies too!  Hmmm…. I wonder why I feel sluggish and slow?  No clue.  Oh yeah, and its cold out so when I have my lunchtime salad, I sometimes add this (Cream of Chicken Florentine is my current fav):

With all this extra food, I can’t afford to miss a damn workout.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I should be hitting it 2x a day!  So yesterday when I went home and felt like crap I wanted to skip my bike session, I dug deep, told myself that even Wonder Woman has an off month day. So while I’ll probably never have a cool blue tint to my hair like Wonder Woman, I did manage to suck it up and kick myself in the ass to pull out a cross training workout.  The stupid marathon plan called for a bike workout.  And really, who doesn’t want to put in a few miles while watching Bob The Builder?

me_bike_1-29-13     me_bike2_1-29-13

Then the Dr. Alexis plan called for wall sits, and toe/heel walks.  Michael wanted to redeem himself over last week’s photo so I let him give it a shot.  He actually did pretty well and got most of me in the photo.  Once I did a little “sharpening” to clear some of the blur, it came out pretty good! 

Ball-Wall Sits

Bottom line, if you are feeling a little sluggish and unmotivated, look at what your putting in your mouth.  If you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap and that perpetuates a cycle of laziness due to lack of energy.  So I’m once again, sucking it up on the food front and plan to drop a “few of those extra calories”.  Then hopefully I’ll start feeling a little more dedicated to my marathon plan.  Hopefully.  I know what to eat and I do well most of the time but once I fall off that wagon, its a long drop back to reality.

Is the cold putting you in a funk too?  While I like running when its cooler, I have a harder time saying no to the comfort foods which totally stick to my ass me.  I will do better.

** Saying NO to the Comfort Foods ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

15 Miles …. in the Snow

Week 13 of Lansing Marathon training closed out with a 15 miler.  Actually, if we are going to be honest, it should have been 17 miles but I knew I was by no means ready for that so I improvised!  As with all things in life, sometimes its more important to cover your ass improvise than it is to actually follow directions.  The last three weeks have been slow due to Ragnar recovery, the flu and my bum foot.  15 miles was plenty.

As it is, my weekends tend to bear the brunt of any training and life schedule so by the time the weekend hits, I’m trying to make up for whatever I couldn’t fit into the normal work week.  This week was no different, Friday night I hit the treadmill for a short speedier run, then did some core/strengthening work that the doc ordered.  I was also trying to break in a new pair of Brooks Ravenna 3s that showed up on my door step last week.

      me_core-ball work               Brooks Ravenna 3_ball work    

Then Saturday was long run day; however, hubby had to work in the morning so the run was broken up into 3 segments.  5 miles on the treadmill while screaming at the kiddos at the designated training pace (9:15ish).  Then hubby arrived home, I dried off and changed clothes to immediately head outside.  I had 5 miles on deck with a buddy, we were close to my training pace of 9:15 but I was starting to die out cuz I apparently wasn’t fueled properly so lagged the last mile.  I returned to my car to refuel only to realize I didn’t have any of my normal fuel, the AdvoCare Rehydrate Gel.  I dug into my bag of tricks to find an alternate fueling option, then took off on my own for the last 5.  By this time, I pretty much felt like crap.  The 5 on the treadmill felt okay but I could tell I was dragging a little cuz it certainly wasn’t as easy as last week, the middle 5 felt tough on the snow covered path.  Not a lot of snow but enough to screw up my already damaged foot strike. 

OPT_snowy_1-26-13

me_snowy run_1-26-13

And well, let’s just not talk about the last 5 or the fact that the alternate fueling option caused digestive distress which resulted in my having to abandon the trail in search for a bathroom.  By the time I returned to my car, everything hurt including my pride.  However, nothing could take away the fact that I still covered 15 miles, in the dead of winter, when I would have rather been huddled on the couch drinking beer cuddling my babies.

So it may not have been a marathon training win but it was still in the done column.

“Run”Way Fashion for a snowy day with temps in the low 20s:  Athleta Reflective Relay Tights (in Tall), Under Armour Mock compression base layer, Brooks Infiniti Hybrid Windshirt (on sale for $62), regular socks with Brooks Ravenna 3s, lightweight Manzella Sprint Gloves & Athleta Base Miles headband.

image     image      image        

Brooks Ravenna 3_snow image  image

As the temps decrease and the wind picks up, then I add more layers (pants over tights and tech shirts over base layer, possibly tall compression socks, hat in addition to headband)  but this type of gear will get your thru most cold winter runs.  Winter isn’t the time to skimp on good gear. You don’t need a lot, just a few key pieces, then wash them by hand & hang to dry for tomorrow!

Happy running, regardless of the mileage, don’t be afraid to get out and hit the trail even when the conditions aren’t perfect.  Just take it easy so you don’t slip and if its icy instead of snowy, hit the streets or stay inside.  Don’t mess with the ice or you’ll regret it for months.

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Stressed or Exercise Induced ……

Last night, I returned to the trail to see if my foot was healing up or if my marathon training would need to take a backseat to further/new rehab.  I have just over 12 weeks until the Lansing Marathon and while I’m confident I can nail a “finish it” type plan in 12 weeks, I really don’t have a lot of time to lollygag if I want to have a loftier goal.  So back out I went after a little more than 24 pain free hours.  I was certainly hoping that the shooting pains at the side of my heel left as quickly as they arrived.  Sayonara pain cuz Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

Fortunately, it was Wednesday night so I had the F’N Running Club to distract me as I plowed down the snow covered trail. 

FNRC_1-23-13

My foot felt pretty decent.  No shooting pains.  A little discomfort but really I felt decent but I’m going to tell you what didn’t feel decent……..

But before I do, I’m going to drop a disclaimer in here:

If you are a dude, you may want to stop reading right now.  If you are a woman who has not yet been blessed with children, then you need to 1)  bookmark this post and come back about 2 weeks after you have your first child, when you have a “few” questions about the changes that have occurred to your body during the birthing process, and when your considering going out for your first postpartum run.  I also ask the young ladies to please, 2) stop reading now cuz some things can’t be changed so no need to get your “panties in a bunch” at this point in your young blissful lives and maybe, just maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones and this won’t be an issue for you.

Now that I only have you #MotherRunners on board and everyone else who is dying of curiosity, let’s talk about what happens to a lot, and I do mean a lot of us mothers when we run.  Stress Incontinence. Yes, I “sometimes” pee my pants when I run.  This has been an inconvenience since Aby was born.  Initially it was only a problem when I would jump on the trampoline, or cough, or sneeze, or dance.  If I ran slow, I would sometimes get lucky and stay “dry” but if I ran fast, then well, it wasn’t good.  Now this was back in the day before technical clothing became all the rage.  Many of us were still running around in our OLD cotton tees that we had possessed since the beginning of time.   This was before running skirts.  This was a LOOOONNNNGGGG time ago.  Okay, not so long ago but I was running primarily in the old style “bike shorts” and well, when you pee yourself in those things, people notice.  Or at least I thought they did because I was self conscious!  This would be the main reason why I owned one of the very first running skirts.  “Water” running down your leg is much less noticeable than flooded bike shorts.  Awesome, huh?  Now you know the real reason as to why I own all those running skirts.

If you have been running with me for a while, then this isn’t much of a secret to you.  If it’s nice out and I’m “leaking” a lot, I’ll run off trail to pee to try to limit further leakage.  However, last night was a new event even for me, cuz it was cold.  What happens when you are layered up, have tights on, then pants over and you are leaking “more than normal”.  You have wet pants.  Actually, wet pants that freeze.  I must say, I don’t ever remember having frozen crotch syndrome.  Awesome.  I was so soaked that I had to throw my spibelt in the wash.  Soaked from my hips to my shoes and no amount of wicking material can handle that.  This really got me thinking about how to get home without my car smelling like piss other mother runners.  I know they too have this same problem so I want to compile a list of “options” for all of us with Stress Incontinence

First, if this is your problem too, go read this article on Exercise Induced Incontinence, aka Stress Incontinence. Good info.

Here are a few ideas as to how to handle the situation:

  1. Kegel Exercises.  First place to start.  The doc will probably get you started on them during pregnancy and will recommend you keep them up forever to restrengthen your muscles postpartum.  There is a TON of info on the KegelExercisesForWomen.com website, I encourage you to check out the link and the info.  Why?  This is why, the source being that amazing website which I just listed: 
  2. Why Do Kegel Exercises?
    Often the pelvic floor muscles are weak which contributes to problems with losing urine. Doing the exercises correctly and regularly with resistance can strengthen the muscles. Stronger muscles lead to little or no urine loss for many women.

  3. Wear a pad.
  4. Keep the bladder empty.  If I have any urine at all in my bladder, I normally leak.  Yesterday, I drank a lot of water, drank coffee in the afternoon, and drove from downtown directly to the trail.  The bathroom on the trail closed at 5pm.  I didn’t make it in time and neglected to seek out another option.  My fault.  I’ll be more vigilant about this in the future. 
  5. Acupuncture may help in certain instances.
  6. Hypnotherapy may help in certain instances.
  7. Herbal remedies may help in certain instances but recommendations vary.
  8. Medication is available for certain cases – talk to your doctor.
  9. Surgery is available for certain cases – talk to your doctor.
  10. Urethral Inserts are available for certain cases – talk to your doctor.
  11. And when all else fails, buy some running skirts!

Do you have issues with on the run “leakage”?  What do you do about the situation?  Any inside info or do you just deal with it by not dealing with it like I have for so many years?

** Happy DRY Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Midwinters Cruise 5K – 2013 & My Achilles Heel….

Each year in January, I look forward to a small 5K hosted by the Park Forest Running & Pancake Club,  called the Midwinters Cruise.  It’s the only race I normally do in the winter months and I run specifically to show support for my local runners.  Its no secret that I like small, local races.  It’s no secret that LOVE my local running clubs.  Its no secret that I want to meet as many runners as possible.  Its hard to show support and meet new people while sitting home cuddling my lil ones …… even if it is only 11 degrees with a negative wind-chill upon waking!

Kim, Nicki & I (in the middle) hauled it up and out to run in the cold!

Midwinters Cruise_2013_kim me nicki

Since I run this race each year, I’ve already “reviewed” it.  If you want additional info, look to last year’s review HERE.  The race has a cruise theme and a tropical vibe.  Some runners and members of the hosting run club wear grass skirts, flower leis, and funky hats during the event.  The rest of us were buttoned up to our chin trying to stay warm.  The temps did rise to about 15 degrees prior to the 10:30 am start but the wind-chill was still a factor.  No big deal, the course is a double loop so the direction changes quickly. If your cold one minute, just hang on and you will soon round a corner to find the wind at your back. 

This event offers a few unique factors beside the tropical theme.  They always offer a non-traditional SWAG item.  This year it was gloves with their logo and you got to choose between black, red, blue and grey.  I was feeling the red.

Midwinters Cruise_2013_gloves

They have pancakes, breakfast sausage, coffee & Gatorade upon finishing.  Then they present raffle prizes from local businesses and loads of age group awards so that as many people as possible walk away with something.  This year the age group awards featured a sailboat.  See Maggie from Mag Mile Runner with the award for her age group win here:

Midwinters Cruise_2013_maggie

Good race.  I’d recommend it to anyone.  And if you are shy about running in the winter, this is a good place to start because you can wait inside until the very last minute.  In fact the race officials will make a call and usher you out to the start.  No need to worry about getting outside early in fear of missing the start.  Once everyone hits the start line, the race begins promptly without much fuss. Run, then as soon as you are finished, you can head right back inside.  Chip timing, easy parking, good food, great awards.  Win, win!

This race didn’t exactly fit into my training schedule this year but I went to show my support.  I had been having some shooting pains on the inside of my right heel so was a bit nervous about running.  The pain just made its appearance on SAT and I only ran 4 of my 12 scheduled miles.  I made sure to do a little warm up to see if it would hurt while running.  It didn’t hurt so I headed to the start line.  I took it out slow.  No pain, hit the first corner and started speeding up a bit thinking I was fine but I wasn’t.  I had an episode of the shooting/stabbing pain less than a half mile into the race.  I hopped a couple steps and hit the grass to walk it off.  The funny thing is the pain leaves as quickly as it comes.  It doesn’t last, then I think I’m fine …… so I started running again ….. slowly.  No pain.  Then it hit again at the mile mark.  I must say, I’ve never been so happy to have a looped course for a race route!  I just jogged back to the start area and stepped off the course without doing my second loop.  Yep, I took a DNF in a 5K.  Not so awesome but apparently it wasn’t my day.  It has not been fun rehabbing the posterior tibialis tendon, which I tore on June 2nd (2012), and the fact that this shooting/stabbing pain is in the exact spot as where I felt the “pop” of that tendon previously made my decision easy.  I decided to err on the side of caution. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Alexis was busy tearing up the race course and ended up winning the overall female award.  Great job, Doc!  Did you enjoy the pancakes?   Can I see the trophy?  Wonderful!  Now can you look at my foot?  I mean, it’s not like it’s YOUR day off or anything, right?   And thanks, Maggie for catching the Doc in action!

Midwinters Cruise_2013_alexis & my foot

I ended up in her office first thing this morn.  It’s kinda a mystery as to what I did cuz I didn’t “do” anything.  It doesn’t hurt when I run or walk; I just get these random shooting pains that are unbelievably painful but also very brief.  My sensitivity is where the Achilles tendon attaches to the inside of my heel bone.  She did a few therapies & taped me up:

foot_black heal tape

I went to work and have been enjoying the random shooting pains all day.  Then my foot started to go numb, then my calf started to go numb & now the back and sides of my knee are in the pins & needle stages of numbness ….. what’s next?  I keep getting up, stretching, and holding the numbness at bay but I’ll be honest, I’m a “bit” nervous.  Hmmm…. how’s this one going to turn out and can we finish it soon so I can get back to my training plan?!?!?!  Pretty please?  I have a marathon to run!!!

** Happy Running & Racing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

How To Choose The Right Marathon……

You’ve decided to run a marathon but you’re just not sure how to pick the right one?  Well, if you have plenty of time, plenty of money and kids don’t affect your decision, the options are endless.  You can literally go ANYWHERE and run a marathon.   However most of us just go where our friends go.  If you are part of a local run club or you have a training partner, ask them  ……  oh wait, you probably won’t have to ask, they will tell you!  If you sign up for the race they are running then you can train together.  Slugging out long miles with a friend will keep you on the plan and accountable!  Win, win!

If it’s just not that easy, then here are a few tips:

  1. Look at the family calendar and the schedules of your kiddos.  Most schools schedule the same major events for the same weekend every year.  This makes trying to plan your life a little bit easier.  If you want to run a spring marathon and your 11 year old daughter (okay mine!) runs track & field, then avoid picking a Saturday marathon because you won’t be running but instead sitting in the bleachers on the track watching the conference track meet while all your friends are running the Illinois Marathon.  So figure out the time frame of when you want to run, and if you have a SAT/SUN preference.
  2. Is $$$ an issue?  If money is an issue, then try to avoid the big races:  World Marathon Majors (Chicago, New York, Boston, Berlin, London and the newly added Tokyo), big city marathons that have to shut down the entire city using half of their emergency & police personnel to support the race and also races with a popular name with a series of races in just about every city.  Remember a big name race that offers bands at every corner has to pay for that and they will pass the cost to you.  If you want to go cheap, go small.
  3. Boston Qualifier – I know that Boston is all the rage and a major accomplishment but if you want the elusive BQ, then think about the race you pick seriously.  Sometimes smaller is better for these things.  The fewer people in a race, the fewer people to maneuver around, the fewer people at aid stations and just possibly fewer distractions.  You can still BQ at a big race too but check to see if there is a corral system to get you into a good position at the start to avoid a lot of traffic.
  4. Spectator Support – What kind of marathon experience do you want?  Do you want a million people throughout the course cheering for you?  Or would you just like to run your 26.2 in peace, look at the scenery and concentrate on the task at hand?  There is a different answer for everyone and you probably are already drawn to one or the other.                                       
  5. Who’s going to watch the kids?  If you have to take the kiddos to Grandma’s before you run, then pick a race by Grandma’s house.  I do this ALL the time.  I actually check with my mother before I register for a big race.  I make sure she is available, interested and willing to either watch my Monster Man or drag him & Aby to the race to be my cheer section.  I don’t really need anything other than for her to manage my little “angels” but usually give her a couple of options of how it can happen.  I want her to have the best experience possible since she is doing me a huge favor so I get her involved in the planning process.  Thanks, Mom!  I love you and REALLY appreciate your being my #1 supporter!  
  6. Travel Plans – We all browse the list of the best and most beautiful races via various websites and magazines but do you want to travel for a race or not?  A destination race, particularly for a marathon, requires a bit of planning.  If it’s something you are seriously considering, look at the local weather for the time frame in question, think about the foods in the area and how they will fuel you for the race and think about how you want to spend your time.  If you get there early to acclimate to the area for the race, then be careful with the pre-race foods since you will most likely be eating out more than normal.     If you want to stay after the race, then consider how you “might” feel after a marathon and keep the post race planning to a minimum.  Also, pick an area that has decent medical care in case, heaven forbid, you need medial assistance before, during or after the race.  Be smart.
  7. Once you’ve thought about some of the above, have a time frame in mind then start doing some research.  One of my favorite websites is MarathonGuide.  This website has a very thorough calendar for both US and International races, has runner reviews of each race, registration & event details, results, advice, and news on major races around the world. Great resource!     MarathonGuide.com Logo - Marathon Directory, Marathons, Marathon Results, News and More

Now that you have figured out where YOU want to race, go ahead and try to recruit all your friends cuz we all  know that the more people you know in a race, the better the experience.  The more the merrier, right? 

Good luck!  Let me know which race you pick and if you still can’t decided, then feel free to come to the Lansing Marathon and run with me on April 21st!   Yes, the $10 off code:  CHICAGO10 is still valid. Register HERE.

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

How To Train For a Marathon…..

A marathon is something that some hold sacred while others toss the word around like it’s nothing, no big deal.  The truth, it is a big deal.  It is a big undertaking.  It is a commitment.  I know I’ve talked about the marathon, and what you can expect, in my Interested or Committed post.  However, I wanted to revisit it again to put a fresh spin on it since the spring marathon season is staring us down.

mar·a·thon

1.  long-distance race: a long-distance footrace run over a distance of 42.195 km (26 mi 385 yds)

2.  difficult undertaking: a lengthy and difficult task, event, or activity

3.  endurance test: a test of endurance, especially in a competition

If you want to run a spring marathon, or any marathon, you first need to commit.  This means registering.  If this is your first time, or you “possibly” have had a bad experience in the past, then I understand your fear hesitation but really put your money where your mouth is and all of a sudden it will become real. 

$$ Spent = Commitment

chicagomarathon pic

After you blew the money on the registration, now get on your favorite social media account and tell the world.   Yes, tell everyone you know that you registered for a marathon!  Be proud and soak up that moment when everyone says your crazy amazing.  This will make you accountable.

Public Announcement = Fear of Public Humiliation Accountability

Now that you are committed & accountable, it’s time to think about training.  There are a bunch of plans available.  You can spend as much or as little as you want.  Some people go directly to a coach but most start browsing the net.  Three tried and true options for training plans:

  1. Hal Higdon – By far the most popular source for training plans.  Free.  Easy to use.  Variety of training options.  18 weeks of hell fun.  I’ve used a variety of his plans on numerous occasions.  I always have the promised outcome, a finish.  Win, Win. 
  2. Train Like a Mother:  How To Get Across Any Finish Line – and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity – Very popular with the #MotherRunners.  $9.99 for the book which includes 9 training plans for all distances for beginners and advanced runners alike.  Entertaining.  Not all about running.  Catchy title.
  3. Run Less Run Faster – A Runners World publication.  $11-16 for the book.  Popular with injury prone runners.  Three key runs per week.  Detailed training plans for each of the Boston Qualifying times.  Challenging.  Encourages 2 cross training days and provides specified workouts for various cross training activities.  Detailed strength & stretching plans.

Training Plan = Success

You’ve spent your $$, you’ve told your friends, you picked a plan. It’s easy from here on out.  Just follow the plan and trust in your training.  Don’t freak out if you miss a workout here or there because you do still need to maintain your REAL LIFE.  However, for the most part, be a task master and just do what it says.  Follow along week by week and don’t peak to far ahead so that you aren’t overwhelmed.  Clean up your food intake cuz it’s possible the training will make you feel as if your starving extra hungry.  If you don’t have the metabolism or mileage of Marathon Mike, don’t eat ice cream for lunch like he does ….. won’t work for you, or me!  Keep your food intake clean by drinking your water,  eating your fruits & veggies, and focusing on lean proteins and whole grains. Oh yeah, and alcohol will dehydrate you. 

Balanced Diet = Healthy Weight

The last, and possibly most important, ingredient in successfully training for a marathon is rest.  Don’t be crazy; get some sleep.  Your body will be doing amazing things.  It repairs while you sleep.  So if you want to be as successful as possible, you might need a few extra ZZZZZZs.  Don’t feel bad about it.  Sleep.

Rest = Repair

I could go on forever but I won’t. 

Any other tips you want to share about marathon training?

** Happy Training ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Ragnar FL Keys …… In Photos

2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Part III – END

This will be my last Ragnar FL Keys post.  I stalled a bit, waiting for everyone to upload their photos, plus work & life, then the stomach flu.  Good times.  But the last things I wanted to leave with you about Ragnar were some of the images.  The good times, tough times, and the beauty all wrapped up on one final post

The Course Map – Miami, FL to the southernmost tip of the US, Keywest, FLRagnar FL Keys_course map

The Start:

Ragnar Keys_Me Reflective   Ragnar Keys_ start   Ragnar Keys_me reflective2

So much of the race was cloaked in darkeness and pics were difficult.  Or if we did get pics, the photo just shows reflective gear. 

Ragnar Keys _reflective gear

The times we weren’t cloaked in darkness, we were riding or waiting in the van.  Oh wait, it’s still dark in this one too!  Teammate and fellow Team Tough Chik member, Toni & myself.

Ragnar Keys_minivan

But there were stolen moments of peace and tranquility just steps away.

Ragnar Keys_tranquility pond

New “In Real Life” friendships forged with fellow Team Tough Chik members that are spread throughout the US and world.   Photo on the right has 4 Tough Chiks:  Myself in my team gear, Kristi (in green), Kim (bottom in yellow) and Toni (in grey).

Ragnar Keys_ me ragnar sign - water          Ragnar Keys_ TTC

Lots of bridges, water & palms swaying in the gentle breeze.

 Ragnar Keys_ in route to finish   Ragnar Keys_palms

One shot of me running in the daylight.  Please notice my red Aspaeris Pivot Shorts peaking out from my skirt. 

Ragnar Keys_ me hand off

And finally, the finish.  By the beach.  200 miles ran.  Whatever pace we could manage.  Done.

Ragnar Keys_finish shoot

Ragnar Keys_ group

My girl Angela & I at the finish.  She’s the reason I went all the way to FL for this adventure.  Love you,  Ang!

Ragnar Keys_me & ang

Thanks to our amazing sponsors!  

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – I heard a million times that the team didn’t think they could have done it without you.  Almost everyone acknowledge that you held us together when we didn’t have a lot left in the tank.  We ran hard, ran extra miles, gave everything we had and you held us together.  Thank you!

Ragnar Keys_me finish- aspaeris shorts

ShowerPill – What to say?  I have never been so gross and nasty for such a long period in my entire life.  After each run, I used a ShowerPill wipe immediately upon finishing to try to wipe away some of the nastiness.  Each time, I was happy and soooooo very thankful that you came on board with us.  I’ll spare you the nasty photos of the wipes in use cuz they are really nasty but leave you with the knowledge that everyone on the team was thankful for your product!   Dear readers, I leave you with a not so subliminal notion that you probably want to go get some of these, right now.  Shop HERE:  

image         shower-pill6

Family  Fan Club – I’m a major fan!  They totally hooked us up with shirts and window decals.  They made our job so much easier because we only needed to add a few things to our windows and we were ready to run.  Lots of vans had fancy art work, etc. that was all washed off during a down pour.  Not us.  Our decals never moved.  They were super easy to apply and then they peeled off easy & clean!  Plus my favorite part is that they didn’t obstruct our vision from inside the van.  Win, Win!!!

     

Ragnar Keys_van_sponsor decals-magnets    image

This is the end of my Ragnar FL Keys “saga”.  It was an amazing journey with an amazing team! 

I look forward to hearing YOUR Ragnar stories in the future.

** Happy Relay Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

A Class Act …… Run Disney

I am blessed to know runners of all shapes, sizes and levels of ability.  I can look one direction and say hello to a low 3 hour marathoner, then another and greet a 6.5 to 7 hour runner.  This is specifically why I love running so much, it’s for anyone who WANTS to do it.  Not many sports can say the same but running, yes, we take anyone, regardless of pace.  A little desire & motivation to haul your bum out the door and you too can be a runner.  That makes me proud to be part of such a diverse group.

its-still-a-mile

Run events are a lot like people.  We have good ones and bad ones.  Some make me ashamed to have been swept up into the hoopla and actually have participated, others make me smile.  Very few leave me thinking that they provided a classy event, cared  A LOT about their runners and delivered exactly what they promised in a race experience.

If you run or even know any runners, then you may have heard about a “little” event taking place this weekend at “The Happiest Place on Earth”…… Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.  The mega travel/media/PR/experience agency RunDisney sells a very magical weekend for runners.  They even offer special gifts for booking your race & travel experience thru them.  So if you plan to “run” Disney, then don’t forget to just go to the people who know it best and book thru them so you get all the available goodies!

I must say that I have never even considered “running” Disney.  For the last several  years I have seen so many ladies running off to Disney for their dream “run”cation.  They go alone, or with girlfriends, some take the family but most just go to experience their favorite thing in the “most magical place on earth”.    It always made me chuckle cuz to be honest, I wouldn’t go within a 100 mile radius of Orlando ever again if it weren’t for the kids.  Disney to me does not mean magic, or fun, or romance, or girls getaway but instead …… standing in lines, in horrid heat and melting the day away …. all while be pawed by a toddler who is intimidated by the insane crowds but who doesn’t want to miss a thing.  My fun at Disney comes from watching the kiddos light up with excitement when something on screen becomes reality.

aby disney1_2008           aby disney2_2008 

Seeing the characters/actors take the time to talk to the little ones and give them the magical experience that we so dearly wanted for them.  (Aby – Disneyland, Sept 2004)

aby disney3_2008               aby disney4_2008

I don’t think of Disney as an adult destination and therefore would never think to go “run” Disney for fun.  However, a few things I’ve heard as of late, have made me think otherwise.  When I was at Ragnar one of my teammates, a man, kept saying that the Disney Marathon was the BEST.RACE.EVER.  He kept referring to the marathon as the best of the best.  I thought that to be odd.  Then I kept seeing everyone heading down to Orlando for their dream “run”cation and it was the same, loads of excitement and very happy people.  Now these are also people who paid a very high price tag for their race weekend between flights, hotels, and entry fees.  I was hoping that RunDisney would be able to provide half the race for the hype; I just wasn’t sure they would be able to pull it off but I was watching.  I’ve been watching all weekend via instagram, twitter, facebook & various message boards.  Looking for the one person who was going to tell it like it was …..  or maybe tell it like I expected it to be, that this was just one more race where the hype did not live up to reality.  However, I haven’t seen it.  The very opposite in fact. 

The thing that actually sold me that maybe RunDisney was actually worthy of the rep, the hype and “possibly” even the price tag was when a friend of mine had to call it quits during the marathon today, at Mile 15 due to foot pain.  She is scheduled for surgery in the upcoming weeks but went to “run” Disney as her last hurrah before having to take an undeterminable amount of time off running.   Yes, she probably should have stayed home but I think she did exactly what all the rest of us would have done.  She went with the intent to just enjoy the experience regardless of however long it took her to complete the journey. Pain unfortunately took her out of this game.  She wanted to finish, her body wouldn’t allow it.  She stopped at Mile 15 and according to her, 

“They radioed for a car and it was there in seconds.  I was taken to the car park at the finish.  Four medics met me, along with a lady with my medal.  They put a space blanket around me, wrapped me in ice and gave me my medal.  They also gave me snacks, drinks and took me to a shaded tent.  They could not have been nicer”.  See Jenny G below with her medal and also icing her feet in her Disney gear check bag.

Jenny_Disney medal

     Jenny on Ice_Disney Marathon

She also described amazing volunteers who offered sunscreen, Tylenol & Vaseline in the corrals as they awaited the start.  Then BioFreeze, Tylenol & Vaseline throughout as on course support. 

I’ve heard lots of stories about races this year.  Some races didn’t have enough medals to cover all the participants and those at the back of the pack left empty handed.  Other races were super stingy with their medals and not wanting to give them to participants who didn’t make the time cut-off.   Stories like those make me cringe.  I’m an equal opportunity runner and think that everyone who covers the distance deserves the “bling”.  It means more to some than it does others.  In fact, some people identify their success with the bling they bring home.  It lessens the accomplishment for them if they don’t have that to show for their effort.  So I was beyond impressed that the RunDisney officials not only gave her a medal, when she didn’t necessarily even expect one, but also for just being there.  For being fast and making her feel important at a point when she was not only tired and hurting but also super sad about not being able to make it the finish under her own power.  From my friend, myself and all the countless people who have had an amazing experience “running” Disney today or at any point in the past.   Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

I officially give RunDisney a big THUMBS UP for being an upstanding organization.  Congrats RunDisney, you are officially on my radar. 

** Happy Running & Racing  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

2013 …. What Lies Ahead

Since it’s been all Ragnar for quite some time, I thought I would take a break just for now and instead pin down a few 2013 goals.  Better late than never, right?

set and reach goal concept

I have a few general goals  that I will focus on for the entire year.  And remember, I roll with the K.I.S.S. principle.  Nothing too complicated, just simple but challenging goals.

  1. Run 1000 miles –  Although this seems like a no brainer, things happen, life happens and I don’t want to neglect my life in order to rack up run miles.  1000 miles is challenging, coming in at just under 20 miles a week, but also reasonable if I remain uninjured on the fitness wagon.
  2. Bike 2000 miles – Now this one may seem a little “Coo-Coo” but I biked almost 1000 miles this year and let’s just say that I didn’t give it a full effort.  I want to log miles every week of the year from here on out regardless of if TRI season is in session.
  3. Swim – Okay, I’m not ready to step in the pool yet…..still in denial here.
  4. Strength Train & Stretch – 2x per week.  This will be the first to be dropped.  I’m already worried about my schedule.  But this is the “goal”.  It won’t happen if it doesn’t even make the list, right?
  5. Drink 2 liters of water daily.
  6. Consume 5-7 servings of fruits & veggies daily.
  7. Be happy and have a positive attitude!

After the “general” goals, I then broke my training and race schedule into three parts:  Spring, Summer, Fall.  Each session having one goal race.  One focus.  Everything else will be for fun or quite possibly just not exist.  I’ve come to realize that with Aby in 3 sports per year, plus a toddler at home, our time is no longer our own.  I want Aby to be successful.  I want to support her in every way, which includes being at every race/game.  I’m not willing to sacrifice being her biggest supporter in order to once again, “log miles”.  For me, that means less racing, fewer “fun” miles, more focus oriented training.  

focus

Between each session, I will rest and recover.  For example, this week, I’m doing nothing resting and focusing on non-impact activities to freshen up from Ragnar.  The bottom line is that “most” of us can’t just keep going without some downtime or we will get hurt or burnt out.  I know that there is an exception to every rule, Susan M, but most of us mere mortals need to rest.  I also find that as I get “older”, I have to be smarter about recovery.  Maybe because I’ve been doing this for most of my life?  Yes, that’s a “reality bites” admission.  Maybe because I’m not a sprinter youngin’ anymore?  I now focus on training smarter, not harder and utilize tools like Post Workout Recovery, ice baths and massage sticks to just be able to walk recover for the next workout.

Spring Session – Goal Race – Lansing Marathon – April 21, 2013

If you haven’t heard that I’m running the Lansing Marathon, then this is the first time you’ve stumbled on this blog cuz I’ve talked about it, given away a prize pack and basically tried to recruit everyone, and anyone, who runs to join me.   Don’t feel bad if I haven’t hit you up YET cuz I’ll get you eventually.  🙂  If you would like to join me in Lansing for the full, half, marathon relay or 5K, please feel free to use the $10 off discount code CHICAGO10 and click HERE to register.  You know a girl doesn’t like to run alone and I certainly hope to see YOU there!

Summer Session – Goal Race – Ironman 70.3 Racine – July 21, 2013

image

My TRI season last year didn’t go well. Ironman 70.3 Muncie was shorted due to the ridiculous heat (my report HERE) plus a tendon in my foot was torn so I couldn’t run, or finish.  I went with the intention to DNF.  I succeeded in acquiring my first DNF but it was not my favorite venue.  My second, and final, 70.3 of the year was going to be the Great Illini Challenge (my report HERE) but that race was called off due to the possibility probability of severe weather.  Completed triathlons in 2012 = Zero.  This year will be better.

Fall Session – Goal Race – TBD

I know many have their entire year planned but I’m keeping the fall schedule open.  This tends to be my fastest time of year.   I love the weather, I love the speed that my base mileage brings, I love to race.  However, the prior two sessions will dictate what Fall of 2013 will bring.  I’ve tossed around adding in another marathon but I need to see how my health is and how I am sitting mentally.  I may just sit on the couch and snuggle my baby run a half and some shorter races to take advantage of the speed.  Plus, if I’ve nailed some of my previous goal races, I’ll be cycling down rather than up.  Only time will tell.  I love a good mystery!!

Have you solidified a couple goals for 2013?  Do you have the entire year planned or are you okay with a couple question marks?

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **