CrossFit Day 9 & 10 ….

I’m still CrossFitting, no worries I haven’t given it up after the Ironman 70.3 Racine event.  The goal behind Crossfit is to get strong.  Be strong.  Stay strong.  That doesn’t happen overnight.

Build_Strong_Lean_Muscle_clublifemagazine.ca

I still have one more 70.3 triathlon on my calendar at the end of August but it’s a rollover race (after Great Illini canceled last year, they gave us a free entry to the 2013 race) and I can’t quite decide if I want to do the entire 70.3 or the Olympic.  Time will tell.  I’m not going to worry about it too much right now because quite frankly, I need to start training for the Chicago Marathon in October.  I know, everyone else is like 8 weeks into their training but not me.  I’ll be doing my “first” long training run this weekend, starting gently with a 15 miler.  I have multiples races, mostly half marathons, on my calendar between now and the marathon so I had to make an abbreviated marathon plan with the “finish it” not “win it” mindset.    In fact, can I just run it today and move it off the calendar?

Anyhow, I took one day off of CrossFit after the Ironman 70.3 Racine.  The swim in Racine beat me up so badly that I suffered a few repercussions which I normally wouldn’t experience.  It took a few days to recover  and I had no qualms about the need for a little downtime.  I waited it out and then hit CrossFit last THUR for my 9th WOD.

CrossFit Day 9 – This baby was fun.  Didn’t seem too taxing at the time but my abs were sore for 4 days after.  Good reminder that results are never immediate and they do in fact take time to surface.

Kettlebell Deadlifts:  5-10-15-20-25

Sit-ups:  50-40-30-20-10

100 meter sprint between after each round

Looks like an easy one, right?  Only two moves & a 100 meter sprint to equal one round, five rounds total.  First round:  5 Kettlebell deadlifts, I think we used a heavier one this time, maybe a 15# bell (EDIT – it was actually a 26# kettlebell, YAY!!!).  50 sit-ups using the abmat.  100 meter sprint.  I think my abs started burning around 35 sit-ups (in the first round).  Yep, I’m just that weak.  Then I loved the 100 meter sprint because I was able to make up a little bit of time.    Second round:  10 kettlebell deadlifts, 40 sit-ups, 100 meter sprint.  The total of the 5 rounds were for time.  I finished in 12:26.  I have no idea if this is good or bad compared to the norm because my class is a beginner class so we are all in our own little world of learning CrossFit together.  Kinda nice.

Then we were surprised by a plank contest.  First time for us to plank in class, see a demo pic below.  We were supposed to hold it as long as possible and the winner would get a prize.  I think I was first out but did hold my plank for 45 seconds, which for me is good.  I can already see that I’m getting stronger, even though this was only class #9 for me.  The winners held their planks for over 4 minutes.  OMGosh, that is so not my reality but it was inspiring to watch.  Great job, guys!!!  plank_womenshealthmag

CrossFit Day 10 – This was yesterday.  We started off with an intro to the Push Press which was super intimidating.  Check out this lady doing it at Grove CrossFit.

Push Press_grovecrossfit

Fortunately we didn’t have to add any weight today.  It was hard enough sans weights.  We just practiced the technique and did a few reps with the bar.  I think we did 5 rounds of 5 reps each.  Sounds easy but I realized shortly after we finished that my arms were already “fatigued” which didn’t do me any favors in the Tabatas.

After the “intro” to the Push Press, we moved right into a Tabatas.   According to the TabataTraining blog:

Tabata Training lasts 4 minutes and has 8 intervals in total lasting 20 seconds. Within those 20 seconds however, you are going all out. Make sure you use a weight where you can successfully go all out for all 8 intervals. Also make sure the exercises aren’t too hard and aren’t too easy. The exercises should hard enough so it makes you sweat and breath during a interval, however easy enough so you can last the whole Tabata session.

We’ve done Tabatas before but the exercises within the circuit change depending on the WOD.  For WOD #10, we had ball slams, push-ups, lunges, butterfly sit-ups & kettlebell deadlifts.  We stayed at one station for the entire 4 minutes, which equaled 8 sets of the same exercise (back to back without rotating to the next).  20 seconds on (as many reps as possible in 20 seconds), then a 10 second rest, repeat until all 8 sets are complete, then rotate to the next station.

I’m still feeling this today.  Amazing how such seemingly easy moves can leave me remembering the workout for days to come. That’s alright.  I’m getting stronger.  One day at a time.  Big things to come.  I need to be stronger.

** Don’t Be Afraid to Work on YOUR Weakness ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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SLS3 Compression Socks Review & Giveaway

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If you know me, or have been reading for awhile, you already know that I love, Love, LOVE compression.  I wear compression multiple times a week for workouts, recovery and {gasp} fashion.   I’ve said it before, I think compression is a game changer.  It helps “normal” people perform better in endurance activities because we are able to recover faster.  Game changer.  For people like me who don’t have a full time masseuse & chiropractor & trainer on hand to take care of my everyday aches and pains this is important.  It’s a game changer for me personally. So when SLS TRI contacted me about possibly doing a review on their compression socks, it made me think.  Did I want to or not?  I’m pretty brand loyal and 99% of my compression socks are from one company.  I like that company,  plus they have helped and supported me in the past.  What to do?  I clicked on the SLS TRI website to browse around before I responded.  I was shocked to see that they had a full line of not only compression socks but also compression TRI wear.   I’ve been wanting to try a pair of compression TRI shorts for a long time so I figured I would start with the socks and venture out from there.

SLS TRI sent me these awesome compression socks:

SLS3_compression socks_pink   SLS3_compression socks_pink_back

If we go on looks alone, apparently we have a BIG winner!  These are the cutest compression socks ever!  They even have decorative butterflies!

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But we can’t go on looks alone because that doesn’t help us us physically feel better. I first wore them to CrossFit.  I wear compression socks (and compression shorts) to CrossFit almost every time I go, which is 2x a week.  Why?  Because CrossFit has a way of just kicking my ass stressing my muscles.  The only time I didn’t wear compression, I showed up to a 1/2 Murph WOD and was sore for a week.  OUCH.  Lesson learned. The compression socks worked great for Crossfit.  On first wear, I was particularly happy that they were long enough to cover my entire calf, up to my knee.  This is an issue with some brands.  I ordered from the sizing chart specifications below and was very happy with the fit which put me in a size M/L.

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They were very breathable and I didn’t get overheated, even though I sweat like a pig the “box” can get a little steamy at times.  The socks compressed well without being overly tight and they didn’t slip, slide or fall down.  Win!  Oh, and they looked cute and I got multiple compliments. Since they passed the CrossFit test, next up was the run test.  I must admit that I opted out of wearing them on the day that it was 98 degrees.  Although, I am definitely getting used to wearing compression knee socks on warm days, I’m not crazy that brave.  I actually waited for the run test until last week when the temps dropped back into the 70s and it was a real joy to wear them.  When I try something different, I don’t want to know that I’m wearing anything new.  If I can “feel” something different then that “something” usually doesn’t reappear in my lineup.  I was very happy at the end of my 4 miler, in reasonably warm conditions, when I realized that I hadn’t noticed them at all during the run.  Love that!  I plan to wear them again this weekend on my 15 miler. I have since worn these socks to work for recovery after the Ironman 70.3 Racine race last week.  I’ve also purchased the other two colors (purple and azure blue) and started wearing those too (the blue ones to CrossFit this morn!).   Yep, I like them a lot!

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Want to try them?  I have a pair for you too!  I have one pair of the pink butterfly compression socks, size S/M for you to win!!!  This is a $54.90 value!  In order to be entered into the drawing, please go to Facebook and like the SLS TRI Facebook page.  I’ll give you a second entry to the drawing if you also take a minute to write a note on their wall telling them that you want to win a FREE pair of compression socks from the TooTallFritz  giveaway!  Don’t forget to comment below, telling me that you “liked” them on FB and if you wrote on their wall. Winner will be chosen via a random number generator on Tuesday, August 6th at 9am.  Good luck! If you are too excited to wait for the giveaway, I certainly understand.  You can shop HERE using the 15% off discount code:  TRI15 for anything in the SLS TRI store.   I personally am going to try the Compression TRI Race Shorts next!!

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** Compression Works ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Venus de Miles (2013)

Yesterday brought the second annual Venus de Miles ride to Lake Forest, IL.   I was one of the six ambassadors for this event.  Ambassadors pictured below from left:  Jess, Erin, Alyssa, Kelly, Lauren & me.

Venus 2013_ambassadors

I also was lucky enough to participate with several F’N runners & some Team Tough Chiks members too!!!  F’N Runners – Lynn, Melanie, Susan, Suzanne & Me

Venus 2013_Lynn & Melanie  Venus 2013_susan-suzanne-me

Team Tough Chik riders – Susan, me, Jess & Jenny G

Venus 2013_Team Tough Chik

This ride is a one of a kind experience.  Ladies only please unless you want to dress in drag and be our bike support.  The focus of the ride, is not how far or how fast you can ride but rather sisterhood, togetherness, and community support for our Greenhouse Scholars charity which “provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students”.   The event offers at 25 and a 61 mile event.  Both last year and this year, I opted for the 61 miler.  The course starts through the streets of Lake Forest then visits neighborhoods, forest preserves, bike paths and lots of sites along the way via the towns of  Deerfield, Riverwoods, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Forest Lake, Mundelein, Libertyville & Mettawa. 

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The ride can be as leisurely as you like or a total hammer fest.  Up to you.  Venus provides a very well marked course, with plenty of space for all riders and 4 rest stops along the way.  Each rest area offered clean bathrooms (port-o-potties) with all the needed “sanitary” items, lots of food & fuel from brownies (my current personal choice for fueling a 60+ mile ride!!), cookies, nuts, PB, fruit, Luna bars, energy gels, shot blocks, water & electrolyte drink.

If you have a problem with your bike you can call for on course bike support or maybe one of the men in drag will stop to assist.   Plus there are lots of ladies on course who will gladly lend a hand if you need it!  However, let’s just hope your day is as amazing as the event and you won’t need any help! 

I was lucky enough to find a solid group of ladies who were moving my pace.  This Fab 5 stuck together the entire way.  We fought some cool conditions, rain, wind, hills (and a few more hills) and came away with a smile on our faces when we crossed the finish line.  Here we are leaving the last rest stop and getting ready to put the hammer down to the finish:  Jess, Helena, Jess, myself & Suzanne.  Thank you ladies for sticking with me, even when the wind and hills were kicking my ass and helping me finish strong!

Venus 2013_5

The ride was great but the food, drinks (2 free drinks each!!), vendors and JENI’s ice cream at the finish were AHmazing!  It was also nice to be able to sit down at little tables to eat and chat with friends.  Many participants also partook in free massages, mani/pedis, facials, etc.  So much fun.   And I was equally impressed with the Greenhouse Scholars who were floating around, speaking to as many participants as possible.  The Scholars were very appreciative and thanked us for being there and fundraising for them.  It was very heartfelt and personal as they told us what the charity has done for them. Nice touch.  If you didn’t have a chance to ride this year and would still like to help the Greenhouse Scholars, you can donate HERE until the end of August. 

Great event.  We had 326 riders this year, which was about a 100 less than the inaugural ride in 2012 but there was also a big century ride in town which I personally believe took some of our riders.  The course was well marked, diverse and had amazing support.  I also liked the little added touches to make the ride feminine and fun.  Keep watch for the 2014 date so that you can put it on your calendar early and join me touring Lake County, IL for the next installment of Venus de Miles (2014).  Costumes welcome!!

** See you next year  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz  **

Venus de Miles … I’m Ready to Roll!

This Sunday will bring the second annual Venus de Miles event in Lake Forest, IL.  The ride is a supported ladies only event and geared toward serious and leisurely cyclists alike offering both a 25 and 61 mile option.  SO.MUCH.FUN. 

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I rode last year and am excited to go back for the 2013 event with several friends.  We will be riding a leisurely pace and just enjoying the roads, trails and local scenery. We plan to stop at each aid station, which is about every 15 miles, and load up with all the goodies while mingling with the other riders.  We plan to have fun riding, supporting the Greenhouse Scholars charity, and just being together while bonding over a “few” miles thru Lake Forest and the surrounding areas.  Some of my friends will be undertaking their longest ride ever in order to participate and I’m excited to be there with them for the momentous occasion!

If you want to ride with us, there are still spots available.  Onsite registration will start Sunday morning at 6am at Glen Rowan House, 500 N Sheridan Rd, Lake Forest, IL.  The cost is $129 + a $75 fundraising requirement for the Greenhouse Scholars.

If you want to be part of the fun but aren’t up for the ride, Venus is still looking for volunteers, so please feel free to email me (amanda@tootallfritz.com) and I’ll get you in contact with the volunteer coordinator!

Other than the ride, the amazing aid stations and the on-course support, Venus is know best for the after ride party.  And I would like you to say that again …… PAR-TAY!

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The fun doesn’t stop when you cross the finish line. Invite your family and friends who couldn’t join in the ride and put your post-ride endorphin high to good use at our celebration at Lake Forest College.
→ blissful hOMe will be providing complimentary yoga sessions at the start of the ride. Session 1 will run from 6:10 – 6:30 am. Session 2-from 6:35 to 6:55 am. Session 3 from 7:05 to 7:25am. Session 4 from 7:30 to 7:50 am.
→ Enjoy complimentary spa services provided by Tricoci Beauty University, including mini-facials, manicures and pedicures
→ Enjoy complimentary massage services provided by NuVie Skin and Wellness
→ Test Trek Women bikes
→ Explore a vendor’s expo with unique gear and treats
→ Beer provided by Goose Island
→ Wine provided by Terlato Wines, featuring Greystone Cellars, and Glass Mountain Vineyards
→ Cocktails provided by North Shore Distillery
→ Meet several of the Greenhouse Scholars you are supporting
→ Enjoy gourmet ice cream, provided by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

It was an amazing event last year and I’m looking forward to going again and hanging out on Sunday.  Feel free to join me and don’t forget to say hello!!

** Ride Venus de Miles ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Respect The Distance ….

With the popularity of the internet, social media and blog-o-mania, it is easier than ever to “see” what people are doing, what challenges they are currently tackling and discover events which we previously didn’t even know existed.  This can be both exciting and inspirational to many but I fear that for some, it leaves them feeling sad, empty, guilty and possibly like they aren’t doing enough. 

I think it’s important in my life, to constantly take a step back and look at my activities.  Am I pushing my limits?  Am I pushing within reason?  Am I physically cable of achieving my goals as they sit now, with the current amount of time that I have for workouts, with the current family schedule, with my current workload and commute?  If I’m honest, I always know the answer and this is why I have limits.  Personal limits.  I respect each and every distance that I tackle from the 5K up.  I also respect the choices that others make as to what distance can work for them.  Any goal one chooses to tackle WILL be hard, if they push.  I’m am constantly in awe of the difficulty of the 5K distance.  It is really hard  for me to “try” to run fast.  It is hard to stay in it and keep pushing when the body is ready to back down.  I made a shirt a few years back (logo below) to remind myself that if I’m pushing, EACH and EVERY distance I tackle is hard and deserves respect.  I don’t consider any distance to be insignificant.

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I frequently get angry irritated when I hear someone say “just a 5K” or just a “half marathon”.  Statements like those are arrogant and have no place in a fitness environment.  Fitness is empowering, makes people feel good, helps people improve their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.  Most of us run races to test ourselves at our distance of choice.  Sometimes, we participate for fun and fitness without any intent to push our limits.  Whatever our reason, the choice is personal and we need to respect one another and their choice of distance.  One is not a better athlete because they tackle a longer distance, they are just a different type of athlete.  Endurance means a different thing for each and every person.  In fact, I know plenty 5K specialists who have daily workout routines which I could never endure.  I respect that.  So please, if you want to tackle a 5K or color run or mud run or charity walk or sprint triathlon, don’t feel as if it’s insignificant compared to the goals of another because that is not the case.  Respect the distance.  Put in the training.  Go out and reap the reward of the race/event regardless of how long it will take to complete. 

Don’t let what any other person has done distract you or lessen your will to achieve your goals.  Don’t feel as if the achievement of another makes your achievement insignificant.  We develop our own goals for our own personal reasons.  Chase YOUR dream at whatever distance you can manage.   And please, always remember to respect the distance, yours and everyone else’s.

No limit to Distance To chase your dreams

** Respect The Distance ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Ironman 70.3 Racine (2013) Race Report

As the evidence of a hard fought race fades away, race reports stand the test of time and are here for years to come.  For that very reason, I wanted the race to settle a bit before I began to talk about it.  This was my second Ironman brand event.  The first was last year in Muncie where I showed up with a torn tendon in my foot and full knowledge that I couldn’t run and would need to take a DNF.  In actuality, the weather did not cooperate and produced dangerously high temps resulting in the race being downgraded to Olympic distance but I still took the DNF since I couldn’t run.  Details of Ironman 70.3 Muncie 2012 are HERE if you are interested.

I didn’t care much for the venue in Muncie (although I loved the town) so I decided to try out Ironman 70.3 Racine this year.  The weather leading up to Racine was hot, Hot, HOT and I couldn’t help have a feeling of déjà vu.  However, as the weekend approached the winds picked up and things started to cool off!  I rolled into Racine on Saturday afternoon for packet pickup, athlete briefing and to get my bike into transition before the 5pm cutoff.  Not all triathlons, or even Ironman brand races, require you to rack your bike the day before but some do and if you’re not in by the time it closes, then just kiss your registration goodbye cuz you won’t be racing.

Packet Pick-up was organized and smooth, the “expo” had a few vendors and a large Ironman store to purchase goodies.  The race goodie bag included a blended cotton type performance shirt, a bag, the swim cap & race numbers.

IM Racine 70.3_SWAG

Athlete briefing was not required but I always think it’s important to attend.  It was lengthy and boring but the view was nice.  Then I was off to rack my bike in transition which was a couple miles away.

IM Racine 70.3_bike rackedTransition is always a little hectic but I also love it because it’s where all the athletes are in one spot, all on an equal playing field and I kinda love the chaos.

  IM Racine 70.3_transition IM Racine 70.3_transition2 IM Racine 70.3_run out

Fast forward past the shitty hotel & the shitty pre-race dinner to race morning and we awoke to a beautiful day.  Nice wind and cooler temps.

IM Racine 70.3_pre race  IM Racine 70.3_morning

However, that wind brought with it some waves.  My girl over at Finding My Happy Pace posted an amazing pic of what the wind brought us in terms of “choppy” waters and little wave action.  I touched on it briefly yesterday.  This was our swim.

IM Racine 70.3_waves_finding my happy pace

It was tough getting out even far enough to start swimming because the waves kept pushing us backward.  It was tough to gather enough courage to put our heads down and attempt to swim.  It was tough to keep trying to move forward with the never-ending swells.  We needed to travel 1.2 miles in these conditions.  How far did we actually swam fighting the waves?  We’ll never know.  I commend every single athlete who was brave enough to get into the water.  You had to really want it to even step off the beach.  Seriously, pat yourself on the back right now.  You’re officially a badass.

My swim didn’t go well.  Shocker, I know.  I wasn’t scared.  I even took time to encourage the athletes around me who were visibly panicking struggling.  I thought I was doing okay but I was just having trouble keeping my head down and taking more than a few strokes at a time.  If I took 5 strokes before I put my head up and rechecked my position, that was a lot.  Then my calf cramped, which was a big issue.  Thankfully I was within site of the finish when that happened so I was able to finish after taking a bit of a break while chatting up a lifeguard with a handy surfboard.  When I finally made it out of the water, I saw that it took me nearly 55 minutes to swim 1.2 miles.   Yikes, that’s bad!

Once I stumbled up to the beach, I started taking off my wetsuit and a kind man just told me to sit down and he pulled it off me.  Thank you, sir.  I know you weren’t an official “wetsuit stripper” but you have no idea how appreciative I am of your kindness.  Then I walked into transition with my wetsuit.  Attempting to recover from the swim.  Attempting to wrap my head around the fact that the race had barely started and I was in fact EXHAUSTED.  I was so tired, that I in fact walked on the wrong side of my transition rack and had to circle back around.  But I was too tried to care.

The bike portion started up a big hill.  Many people crashed before they even got half way up.  I was mounting my bike (off to the side) and a lady came rolling back down the hill with her bike.  Yikes.  So I was being extra careful, clipped in and pedaled up in an very uneventful manner.  I knew immediately that I was in for a long ride.  1)  My new aero bottle canister was not sticking to my handlebars.  It took me several miles to get it locked back into position (then it came back off in the last 1/4 and we fought again!).  It just wouldn’t stick, and it kept knocking into my computer and changing the settings.  I thought about tossing it to the side many times but I knew that I needed it.  Finally got it to stick after a couple miles.  2)  My calf was still sore from the in-water cramping.  3)  As soon as I got down into aero my neck and shoulders were already tight and sore from fighting the waves during the swim.  Not ideal.

The bike course was one loop of mostly country roads that seemed to always be going up or down.  I didn’t see any hills bigger than the one in and out of transition but there were small rollers almost all the time.  And the country roads were bumpy, very bumpy.  Aid stations were stocked with performance drink, water & gels every 15 to 20 miles.  It always amazes me how brave the volunteers are standing roadside holding a drink out for us to grab.  None of this would work if it weren’t for the volunteers so I am very thankful for their hard work and dedication.

The first half of the bike was decent although I was much slower than normal.  However, the second half was just rough bringing more hills (or maybe they were the same ones, just looking bigger due to my fatigue) the wind, and more bumpy roads.  My neck and shoulders were BURNING with pain & fatigue.  All of this really took a real toll on me and I fell way off pace.  But I made it back to transition.  56 miles on the bike DONE.  3 hrs & 29 minutes.  Super slow but DONE.  Screen shots below from FinsherPix, the Ironman photog:

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Transition 2 was all good.  Such a relief to rack the stupid bike and be back on my own two feet.  At this point, the race is over for me.  I know that I can run, walk or crawl 13.1 miles if necessary.  BRING IT!  The run was an out and back course with two loops.  The temps were well into the 80s by this time.  However, I did enjoy looking for my friends amongst all the other runners.  It helped with the monotony being able to look to see if I could spot people I knew.  The aid stations were well stocked with water, ice, bananas, pretzels, oranges, energy gels and performance drinks.  The residents of Racine ROCKED in the spectator department, bringing out their water hoses, sprinklers, kids with squirt guns and just doing what they could to help keep us cool.  I will also acknowledge that the course was well shaded in many places and the wind that caused so many problems in the water and was a nuisance on the bike, was now a welcome relief.  And the views of the water in several spots were breathtaking.  Screen shots below from FinsherPix, the Ironman photog:

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Not what was in the plan but I finished in 6 hours & 50 minutes and I was super happy to hit that finish line.  Swim – 53:46, T1 – 5:02, Bike – 3:29:19 (16.05 mph), T2 – 2:54, Run – 2:19:52 (10:40 pace)

Ironman picked a great venue in Racine.  Beautiful area & race site.  Aid stations, volunteers and medical assistance were plentiful.  However the race is very expensive ($225 to $250) and they ran out of food at the finish, which I think is unacceptable for the cost of the race and the duration for which the athletes compete.  In fact I left as soon as I finished my race because I needed to go find food to refuel.

Finisher medal & Hat:

IM Racine 70.3_finisher swag

All in all, I think it was a well ran event, minus the food snafu at the end.  The athletes were all very nice, even the fast ones.  The race officials were serious but helpful.  The volunteers were amazing.   However, I probably won’t go back to Racine for an Ironman event.  It’s a long way from home, traffic to Wisconsin stinks and I’m still not convinced that the cost of the brand endorsement is worth the extra money to race.  I’m a small town girl and like small town races with small town price tags but as with everything, it’s all in personal preference.

** Get Out and Give It A TRI **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Ironman 70.3 Racine, The Aftermath …. What Hurts?

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Yesterday, I tackled the Ironman 70.3 in Racine Wisconsin.  Going in I was neither particularly nervous or particularly excited.  I knew it was going to be a hard day.  I knew that I was undertrained compared to my fellow athletes.  I knew that it would test my limits.  I knew that I would want to quit.  I knew that I would have to “dig deep” in order to finish.  I knew that I REALLY wanted to finish.

What I didn’t know was that the wind, which brought in that cool front, would be blowing hard and that Lake Michigan would be a total beast.  It was the kind of day on the lake where hubby and I wouldn’t have even bothered to take out the boat.  Large rolling waves which resulted in white caps up near the shore.  I knew that was bad.  I knew the swim would be super hard for me since it was already my weakest event.  I kept wondering if it were even safe to swim out there?  But they were sending out swimmers, wave after wave after wave and eventually it was my turn.  I entered the water toward the back of my wave because I am a slower swimmer.  We walked out, no running today because the big waves were coming in so fast that they were knocking us backward.  We walked out to the point where it was inevitably “time to swim” and a few people got started.  The ladies in front of me however were a bit “nervous” and just looking at one another.  I yelled, “Let’s DO THIS” and that seemed to get us down and  into swim position.  The swim course wasn’t very technical with only two turns and long parallel to shore swim.  This should have been somewhat easy.

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Yet, it wasn’t easy.  I can’t really say that I swam much.  I would take a few strokes and then have to look up to see where the waves had pushed me.  I  would readjust, take a few more strokes, get swamped by more waves, then put my head up to look again.  I was either floating up, or down, or to the side.  My stroke was more of a flail than an actual swim stroke.  Had I been a person prone to seasickness, I would have vomited.  We were definitely rolling up and down with the waves.

Then when I could finally see the end, I started to kick.  Hadn’t done much kicking before that point, and I almost immediately got a nasty cramp in my left calf.  I had to roll over onto my back and massage it out, only to start swimming again and have it come back within minutes.  I was not happy and was trying not to panic because I was SO close to the end.  I just wanted to get out of the damn water.  The lifeguard came to me with a surf board and let me hang on until the cramp passed.  Not cool.  Not normal.  Not fun.  Sad smile

I did finally got out of the water and walked slowly to transition.  I was thankful that I got out of the water on my own power.  I was trying to catch my breath.  Trying to recoup a bit.  But my calf was very sore from the cramp and today it feels even worse.  So the first, and most painful What Hurts? award definitely goes to my sore calf muscle.

The second What Hurts? award goes to my neck and shoulders.  Apparently, all that flailing around in the water, keeping my head up to see where the heck I was going, and just the general roughness of the swim put the hurt on my neck and shoulders, which already suffer from limited mobility on a “normal” day.  This was very noticeable as soon as I got on my bike and got down to ride in aero.  OUCH.  Now magnify this over 56 miles and 3.5 hours and wowzers, I can’t move my neck much at all today.

The third What Hurts? award goes to my left knee.  Apparently my left calf muscle checked out after the swim portion of the race.  It didn’t get the memo that I would be needing it for the entirety of the 70.3 miles.  So since it withdrew from the race early, my left knee took over in the bike portion.  Well, left knee started screaming at me about mile 30 and it hasn’t stopped screaming as of yet.  Left Knee and Left Calf are having a major battle right now, playing the blame game and just being generally very pissy with one another.

The last What Hurts? award goes to the chafing department.  What chafed?  Hell if I know but I felt like I got burned while I was in the water.  Both underarms are red, raw & have swollen patches.  It could have been my sleeveless wetsuit, which has never previously caused a problem.  It could have been my tri kit, which has never previously caused a problem.  It could have been the waves beating the living shit out of me.  Who knows but it hurts to wear clothes and put my arms down.  No worries, I’m going to work “nakie” today and plan to hold both of my arms up in the air and pretend like I just don’t care!!!  The super sexy photos are below if you care.

IM Racine 70.3_chafing      IM Racine 70.3_chafing2

I’m going to take minute here to thank Mission Athletecare for protecting my skin so that I don’t have a 5th What Hurts? award.  I do have a little bit of a burn on the back of my neck but I did swim 1.2++++ miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles over the course of 6 hours & 50 minutes in addition to running thru 10+ sprinklers/hoses, getting shot by several water guns and dumping at least 24+ cups of water over my head.  All that with one application of sunscreen.  So I’m super pleased that I’m sunburnt too!  Thanks, Mission  Athletecare!

This was a long day.  I must say that I can normally walk away with minimal soreness and nothing really lingers.  Today however is a bit different than the norm.  No worries, I’ll be back at it soon enough but not today.  I am resting, relaxing, hydrating and eating whatever the heck I want.

** Everything Hurts ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CrossFit ….. Day 8

Thursday brought my 8th day at CrossFit.  Did you think I’d last this long?  I certainly didn’t know when I went to that first class but I am LOVING it.  I am loving it so much that I should have technically stayed home and rested for Ironman 70.3 Racine but I went to CrossFit anyhow.  Yep, I love it.  I love that it’s something different.  I love that I never know what to expect.  I love that it’s fun.  I love that it’s challenging.  I love that my friends get up before the sun to go with me at 5am.  I love that it kick starts my day and gives me loads of energy!

I may or may not have emailed the instructor whining concerned about Thursday’s unknown WOD and fearing that it might be too much for me since I’m so close to the Racine race.  He may or may not have taken that into account when he planned the WOD for our 5am class.  We’ll never know but I was happy to see the looks of it on the board and the fact that it looked manageable. 

3 Rounds – 1 minute per station – No rest, just rotate to the next station.

Kettlebell deadlifts, Push-ups, Ring Rows (I’m really liking these, is that sick?), Box Jumps & Sit-ups with knees out.  Rest. 

100 meter sprints (x5)

I did much better on the kettlebell deadlifts this go around.  I stayed focused on staring straight ahead and not looking down at the kettlebell.  My form was better.  I felt better.  Am I getting stronger?   Who knows but I’m going to say yes because that’s what I want to believe!

kettlebell deadlift

The push-ups, ring rows, box jumps were all standard.  I did wuss out use the small box for the box jumps so as to not tax myself too badly before the race.  I also have jacked up hamstrings so no need to irritate them more than necessary.  The sit-ups had an added twist this time, not to make them harder just different.  We sat on the floor in butterfly position, then did our sit-up with open legs and came up and touched our feet each time. Not difficult, just different.  And we always use the abmat so that really saves my back. 

situps_knees out   abmat

After three rounds of those 5 stations, we then took a brief rest and went out to the parking lot to do 100 meter sprints (x5).  The first one was rough, as usual, but then my hamstrings loosened up and the last 4 were fun!  Sprinting is way better than marathoning!!!  What have I been thinking??   Photo source:  CrossFit West out of Santa Cruz.

100 m sprints

Loved this workout.  Loved ending with the sprints.  Smile

** Getting Stronger ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CrossFit Day 7 ….. Tabatas

I know I have TRI fever right now but I have still been hitting CrossFit this week.  On Tuesday we did the Tabatas WOD.  The workout consisted of lunges, sit-ups, wall balls & ring rows followed by a 3 minute rest and then a 1 mile timed run.

Each exercise was performed x8 before rotating to the next.  We had 20 seconds on, then a 10 second break, then we did it again x8.  After the 8th set, we rotated to the next exercise.  Fun! 

The lunges, sit-ups and ring rows have all been explained (with diagrams) previously but the wall balls were new to us.  Holding a 10# ball (soft), we did a squat, then exploded up into a jump while simultaneously throwing the ball up in the air at the wall above our head.  So much fun but required a bit of coordination and timing. 

crossfit-wall-ball    CrossFit-wall-balls   CrossFit Wall Balls

After all 8 sets of each move we took 3 minutes to rest then went immediately into a 1 mile  timed run.  Half of us hit the street using the GPS off of someone’s phone, the other half did 400 meter out and backs that were pre-marked by the club (x4).  Ironically ALL of the people who did the out and backs beat those of us who took to the streets.  Were they faster?  Or was one of the distances off?  Hard to tell.  I ran a 7:57 timed mile.  Hmmmm, was I really that slow ?  I don’t know but I was displeased to say the least. 

** Til Next Time ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

What To Take To A Triathlon ….

Whether your heading to a sprint or a long course triathlon, the list of “what to take” can be daunting.  So daunting that I have in fact shied away from shorter races with the reasoning that the packing, traveling, hauling of gear is more of a PITA chore than the reward of the race itself.    Next year, that will change.  I will be delving back into the world of sprint and Olympic distance TRIs and it will be fun, Fun, FUN for me!  However, the list will be virtually the same for any race distance.  The single best piece of advice I can give for hauling the gear would be to invest in a transition pack.  I did it for years without one, which means I used a regular back pack, then carried whatever wouldn’t fit and also attempted to push my bike along to transition all while not dropping anything or crashing my bike.  This plan is a total FAIL though if you are at a location like Pleasant Prairie where you need to get on you bike after the race and ride it, along with your gear, back to the car. 

Transition packs are expensive in my opinion.  I waited until I had a coupon, found a discount, saw a special for free shipping, etc. then read a billion review and still didn’t know what to buy.  I basically decided that as long as my gear fit in the pack and it held up over the course of time, then I’d probably be happy.  I picked the DeSoto Transition Pack (retails for $119) because it has a specific spot to hold my wetsuit, bike pump & helmet.  Then it has a giant compartment & several zippered pouches  for whatever else I need but those 3 things were my biggest issue because they never fit into my regular backpack.  I think with all my discounts, I paid about $80 for this thing and I really do like it.  I have an older model but these are stock photos of the current DeSoto Transition Pack VI.  Love it!

 DeSoto Transition Pack    DeSoto Transition Pack 2

THE LIST

PRE-RACE

  • Directions to expo, hotel, race venue
  • $$ (cash) – you may need to pay to park at the expo or on race morning.
  • USAT card & ID
  • Confirmation to hotel & event
  • Snacks & Water – Stay hydrated and fueled leading up to the race.

TRANSITION

  • Bright colored UNIQUE towel to help you identify your spot.
  • Transition pack (or backpack) to carry your gear.
  • Good attitude because it might be “a little” hectic in there.

SWIM

  • Goggles
  • Swim Cap (not for the race but in case you want to test the water at check in)
  • TRI Kit (I like a 2 piece in case I need to hit the potty)
  • Wetsuit (optional but highly suggested)
  • Body Glide, TRI Slide or Mission Athletecare Anti-Chafe to put anywhere and everywhere the wetsuit or TRI kit might chafe.
  • Sunscreen (sport specific spray that is quick dry, like the Mission Athletecare Sun Defeated continuous spray)
  • Throw away flip flops – Hopefully you won’t need these but sometimes you get to a venue where you just can’t walk around without your shoes.  Or maybe you will have to walk a mile to the swim start and are you going to do that barefoot?  Are you going to go back after 6-7+ hours of racing and get your flip flops? 

BIKE

  • Bike – Sound elementary but if we are making “the” list, don’t forget the bike.  Smile
  • Bike shoes
  • Socks (if you use them)
  • Tire pump
  • Fuel for on the bike
  • Water bottles (freeze your fluids if possible)
  • Sunglasses (with a fresh coat of anti-fog or Johnson Baby Shampoo to prevent fogging)
  • Helmet
  • Tire repair kit:  tools, tube, CO2 canister for tire inflation

CO2 canister

RUN

  • Running Shoes
  • Socks (if you use them)
  • Toe protectors (if you need them)
  • Fuel for on the run
  • Hat/Visor

THE RIDE HOME

  • Change of clothes
  • ShowerPill wipes to clean up
  • Flip Flops or Keen Bali Sandals (my favorites, the cushion & support is so nice on my feet!)
  • $$ – You are going to be hungry.  You will be stopping for food. 

That’s my list!  I take the above to every triathlon I run.  Do you have anything that you take that might not be on this list?  Tell us!!  We need all the help we can get and we value your input!

** Making A List & Checking It Twice ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **