The Week Of Ironman 70.3 Racine

So the time has arrived and I’m staring down Ironman 70.3 Racine this weekend.  That’s 1.2 miles swimming, 56 miles biking, and 13.1 miles running.  Pure awesome.  Add all those miles up and you’ll get 70.3 miles.  This is merely half of an Ironman race like you might have seen on ESPN but there is nothing “half” about it in my world.


Am I nervous?  Not really nervous yet but I certainly would have liked to have more training time in the books.  Most who tackle an event of this magnitude use a training plan (check out Triathlon Geek or Beginner Triathlete).  Possibly you’ve heard the phrase “fail to plan, plan to fail” but that’s not my reality.  A training plan for the 70.3 distance just gives me a ton of workouts that I’m unable to fit into my real life as mom, wife, employee & suburban commuter.  So I do what I can do, use the TTF “finish it” plan and that results in 1 swim, 1 bike and 3-4 runs each week (more running because I can do that at home on the treadmill while watching the kiddos!).  Yep, that’s it.  How will that play out this weekend?  We could probably call what we are about to witness a “sufferfest”.  It’s gonna hurt.

The good news is that I’m well aware that the race will be difficult.  I’ve done the distance previously with the same training schedule.  However, I was younger then, weighed less and had an extra month of “training” under my belt.  So how will that play out this weekend?  Sufferfest.

My plan is to focus on each discipline and not get ahead of myself.  Relax on the swim.  Not be upset that I’m a slower swimmer and acknowledge that most of my age group will most likely be out of the water and onto the bike well before me.  I’m a proficient swimmer; I’m just not fast.  Whatever.  The goal is to get out of the water and onto dry land.  Last time I did a 70.3, I swam the 1.2 mile distance in 44:23.  Anything under 45 minutes would make me a happy, happy camper.  Actually, just dragging my ass out of the water will make me a happy, happy camper.

The bike is long, 56 miles in this event.  That’s a long ass way on a bike.  My butt hurts just thinking about it.  My issue with the bike is that I like to ride fast.  As fast as I can go.  Well, that’s only fun for the first 20-30 miles, then I want to cry.  So I am going to try to keep things in control so that the last 20-30 miles don’t feel like dog crap make me cry.  Think I can make it thru this entire event without a tear?  No?  I gambling on a yes because it’s going to be so flippin’ hot that I’ll be dehydrated.   Smile  I’ll let you know on that one.  Anyhow, last time, I biked the 56 miles in 3 hours 22 minutes for a 16.58 mph average.  I’m hoping for a 17 mph average this time so that puts me around 3:15 and if I’m honest I’m dreaming of being closer to 3 hours but I know that’s just a dream and not my current fitness level.

The run is a half marathon.  How many half marathons have I ran?  Close to 20 since I started pushing the distance card circa 2007.  So I think I can run one more, even if it is hot.  Even after I’ve swam 1.2 miles and biked 56 miles.  I can do it.  The good thing about the “run” is that you’re on solid ground it is what you make of it.  You can acknowledge that it will be a sufferfest and just keep moving or you can obsess about how bad it sucks and take yourself out of the game.  Choices.  Remember, you always have a choice, even if you don’t like the options.  I choose to run.  I choose to move my butt closer to the finish line at whatever pace I can manage.  I have no illusions of speediness but I do know that I can usually run faster than I can walk.  So I’m going to try to focus on running and if I need to walk I’m going to do so for a short time and then get going again.  My run may look like a shuffle but I plan to keep on shuffling right to the finish line.  Last time, I ran the half in 2:20.  That’s a 10:43 pace.  I’m hoping to be under 2:10 this time, which is just under a 10 minute mile.

So for comparison, here is how I hope predict the race to stack up against my previous attempt in 2008.  I know it’s been 5 years but I’m older and wiser right?  Plus I’d like to think that Mr. Michael has made me tougher in more ways than you can even imagine.

Great Illini 70.3 – 2008

Goal for IM 70.3 Racine 2013

Swim – 44:23 Swim – 45:00
T1 – 2:37 (small transition) T1 – 5:00
Bike – 3:22:40 Bike – 3:15:00
T2 – 3:56 T2 – 5:00
Run – 2:20:23 Run – 2:10:00
Final – 6:33:51 Final – 6:20:00

There it is in black and white.  I’m looking to go under 6 hours and 30 minutes this time.  Will it happen?  Only time will tell.  Will I be disappointed if it doesn’t happen?  Hell, no.  I’m in to finish it and it will be a HUGE accomplishment for me to put this in the done column.  I’m looking forward to the race.  I’m looking forward to pushing my limits.  I’m looking forward to the sufferfest.  Let’s do this!!  Whoooooooop!

you can get thru this    stronger than you think

** Stronger Than I Think ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Triathlon Tips ….

Lots of new people are entering the world of Triathlon.  I know it can be scary.  I know you are nervous.  I know that you have questions.  Here are a few tips to get you going and provide a bit of confidence that you really can give it a TRI.

TRI graphic


  • Start small, pick a non-branded race in the middle of nowhere and give it a TRI.
  • Each race is sanctioned by USAT (USA Triathlon) and will require you to purchase a one day membership, in addition to your registration fee, if you are not already a member.   You may use that one day membership fee as a credit toward an annual membership ($33). 
  • Go to the Athlete’s meeting.  Each race is different and they will give you specific instruction at the meeting as to where they want your race numbers/stickers, where to park, what to expect, and any special instructions regarding course changes.
  • Many triathletes participate for fun and fitness.  They come in all different shapes and sizes and have all different types of gear. 
  • Triathletes are helpful and friendly and are more than willing to give you a few tips if you ask.  Don’t be scared.  Ask.
  • Wear a TRI kit if you have one.  I train and race in my TRI kit so its money well spent in my opinion.  If you don’t own a TRI kit and are reluctant to buy one for your first event, then wear a tight performance wicking top, sport bra without padding (the padding holds water), and a pair of tight fitting “biker” style shorts.  No padded bike shorts or you’ll be collecting water in that gigantic pad and it will feel like a diaper.
  • Get to the race site early to get everything set up to lessen the race day jitters.
  • Allow race officials to mark your body with race number/age.  It’s in the rules.  You can’t do it yourself.
  • Apply sunscreen after body marking.
  • Take it out slow, it’s an endurance event.  Endure it.
  • Enjoy it.


  • Wetsuits are not required on the swim.  However, if the water is cold or you are nervous, it will help you stay afloat calm.  Wetsuit rentals are available online and at many local multisport stores.  Some stores will even allow you to apply the rental fee toward the cost of a new wetsuit if you decide to go that route after the race.
  • Wetsuits are illegal and will disqualify a participant from age group awards if worn when the water is 76.1 degrees or warmer.  Officials always designate the race as wetsuit “legal” or not.  No guessing, they will tell  you.
  • Goggles are a necessity.  They protect your eyes and help you see in the water if the water is clean and calm.  Consider tinted goggles in case you are swimming into the sun on race morning.
  • Swim caps will be provided by the race officials and it’s required to wear the cap they provide, it will help to identify your age group for the swim wave.  It will also help them determine  how long  you have been in the water and they will keep a careful eye on you if you fall off your wave and are swimming “solo”.
  • Just like with any race, if you know that you might be one of the slower swimmers, start toward the back of your assigned wave.  I like to start mid-pack and toward the side so I have fewer people in the water around me. 
  • Go wide around  the turn buoys to avoid some of the chaos.
  • If you feel someone coming up on you in the swim, possibly even grabbing at your feet, don’t be afraid to give a few kicks to let them know that you are there.  Don’t freak out.  Don’t stop.
  • If you feel crowded and aren’t worried about time as much as a finish, feel free to move to the side,  put you head up and let the crowd move away. 
  • Relax and breathe.  The key is to get out of the water and onto the bike.  I always tell myself that the swim is the easiest part of the day and I try to relax and enjoy the peace and serenity of the water.
  • Just keep swimming.  Don’t worry about how far you have left.  Don’t worry about how fast (or slow) you may be going, just focus on the task at hand and keep swimming until you dig sand with your fingers.  Then stand up and start unzipping your wetsuit (if you are wearing one) and head into transition.

I did a post about transitions last week, so I’m going to skip that for now.  If you want transition tips, please go HERE.


  • Make sure your bike is racked in an “easy” gear.  You may be going out of transition and heading uphill.  Or maybe your legs will be a bit fatigued from the swim and run into transition.  Start easy, then shift up once you catch your breath.
  • Make sure you fill your tires on race morning.  Who knows what could have happened to the tires while transporting the bike.  Check the tires for good measure.
  • Put the race number/stickers on your bike, either the head/top tube, or the seat post.  You’ll need a number to be visible on both sides of the bike.  This eliminates the need to wear the paper bib while riding.  They may also give you a sticker for your helmet. 
  • Wear a helmet.  It’s a requirement.  Make sure the helmet fits well and doesn’t move around.  This is your only piece of safety equipment on the bike and its very important.
  • Gloves – Optional.  Road bikers wear them but most triathletes won’t because it adds time in transition to put them on.  Totally up to you.  They will help to protect your hands if you fall and reduce the road vibrations while riding.  My recommendation is to skip the gloves and not fall.  Smile
  • Just keep pedaling, even on the downhill.  No coasting.  Shift, pedal and harness as much power as possible on the downhill to boost your speed. 
  • What goes up must go down.  Don’t get discouraged on the uphill because chances are it will be followed by a nice downhill. 
  • Learn to shift.  The gears can make or break a hilly course.  If the course has a lot of hills, a road bike over a TRI bike will benefit you.  TRI bikes don’t climb well.  TRI bikes have less gears than road bikes.
  • Drink up!  The bike portion will be your longest discipline.  Use the opportunity to fuel and hydrate. 
  • Watch for loose gravel, especially on turns.  If you didn’t learn this as a kid, the gravel can take you and all your friends out of the game fast.  Take the turns wide, pay attention to who is around you and yield to those going faster.  Don’t be afraid to lose some speed on the turns in order to stay upright.
  • Keep your “sit” bones pushed back on your seat.  Don’t move around and allow your soft tissue to take a beating.  The seat is wider at the back for a reason.  Your “sit” bones need to be at the back and take the brunt of the bumps of the road.  If I notice my bum getting sore, I push back in my seat and always seem to find that I wasn’t sitting properly in the first place.
  • Don’t be scared by the crazy kids on the fast bikes with disc wheels.  They sound like a train coming up behind you but don’t worry, they will be gone as fast as they appeared.
  • Be prepared to be your own bike support.  If you have a flat, fix it.  Find Step by Step tips to fix a flat HERE.
  • No drafting.  It’s illegal in triathlon.  No exception. 
  • Pass on the left.  Say, “on your left” as you approach to avoid them veering into you for any number of reasons.
  • Mount and dismount the bike at the “mount” line.  There will be volunteers helping to point out the line but know where it is located.  Don’t stop to mount/dismount where there are a lot of other people doing the same because if one person falls in the process, they will “domino” everyone else. 


  • Certainly the most dreaded discipline by some.  I find a lot of triathletes are cyclists who can swim but don’t necessarily like to run.  This is evident by the participants who start by walking the run, then never do run one single step.  So if you need to take a walk break, don’t worry, you’ll be in good company.
  • Yes, your legs will actually feel like “bricks”.  When you get off the bike, plan to be a bit wobbly.  Very normal.  It will work itself out within that first mile.
  • Just keep moving.  Seems simple, right?  It really is simple.  If you feel like you can’t run, take a short walk break and start back up again.  But keep moving.  The longer the distance of the event, the later in the day you will face the run.  The heat will be brutal.  You will feel like crap.  The faster you move thru that run, the faster you can be soaking in the lake.  RUN!
  • Hydrate.  Drink at every water station, dump water on your head if you are feeling warm.  Triathlon brings most of us a very long day.  If you don’t stay hydrated and fueled, you won’t finish.
  • Wear a hat/visor.  Once again, anticipate the run to be hot as hell, hot, hot!  Provide yourself with a little necessary shade.  It will also help keep your head damp and cool if you dump water on your head.
  • Race belt.  You will need your paper number on the run.  It’s easiest if you have a race belt with the number attached and ready to clip on.  If you don’t own a race belt and you are hesitant to purchase one for your first event, some people use their Spi belt and pin the number to that.  Your choice.
  • Be happy.  You’ve  made it to the end of your race.  Run thru the finish shoot and sent out a whooooop of joy, or thanks, or relief.  Regardless, rejoice in the finish and be proud of your accomplishment!

Lots of tips!  What did I miss?  If you can think of something, let us know!

** Don’t Be Scared To TRI ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Bastille Day 8K Race Review

Bastille Day logo

On Thursday evening, my friend Pam and I headed up to Lincoln Park to run the Bastille Day 8K.  The race was part of an entire celebration for the French Independence Day.  We normally don’t run weeknight events.  We never run weeknight events in the city, due to the fact that we live in the far south suburbs.  However, we were up for something different and intrigued by the block party.  🙂

The race was in a good location at the Nature Museum beside the Lincoln Park Zoo.  Plenty of space and the road in front of the museum was closed for the start of the race.  We made it easily in time for the  pre-race blogger meet up. 

Me, Chris, Eric, Jennifer & Maggie:

Bastille Day_blogger meetup

Then  we headed to the potties start area.  A quick photo of Pam & I.

Bastille Day_Pam & I

Then we started just a few seconds after the 7:15 pm start time.

Bastille Day_8K Start

The race started by weaving thru the streets of Lincoln Park and it was kinda cool to me since I’m never up that way but we weren’t on the streets long and then hit the crushed limestone path beside inner Lake Shore Drive.  It was never super busy with runners but we did have added traffic from the area locals who were trying get in an evening workout.  Most were very nice about the added traffic on their path, some weren’t as happy that we came to visit.  Then we wove thru the area a bit more and ran by the marina where some drunk lovely  ladies on an expensive boat heckled us for a while.  I’m surprised none of us fell in the water gawking at the “lovely” ladies. 

The race was chip timed, had 3 (or maybe 4) aid stations over the course of the 4.96 mile course.  There was a timing mat at the half way point.  Lots of weaving around Lincoln Park.  It was cool to see the sites but since I’m not familiar with the area, I couldn’t retrace the route if I tried! 

The block party, which is what I was really interested in, offered us a free beer and a band.  Pretty normal for an after race party.  Not the “block party” that I had imagined with everyone dancing and drinking in the streets. There were several vendors on hand but we drank our free beer and then hit the road since we had an hour drive home.

It was a good race but busy with the added neighborhood traffic.  I heard the 5K course was a bit chaotic but the 8K was okay.  For me though, it was a long way to go for an 8K on a weeknight.  I wouldn’t have even tried if I hadn’t already been downtown for work.  Due to the distance from my house and the weeknight status, this was a one time event for me.  If you are a Lincoln Park local, or live close, this is a fun event that you can easily hit on a weeknight and still be home to get the kids in bed.  Go and have fun!

** Happy Bastille Day ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CrossFit …. Day 6 …. Filthy Fifty

Each day it’s a surprise when we walk in the door at CrossFit.  The Workout of the Day (WOD) is on the board and that’s it.  No discussion.  No negotiation.  It’s GO time.  Today we saw something new (again, remember we are all newbies) called the Filthy Fifty.  Sounds bad, right?  Well, it kinda was bad, in a good sort of way.  We had to complete the workout, as detailed below, as quickly as possible.  I was hoping that we would get to break it up a bit but that wasn’t the case.  In order.  The number of reps listed.  As fast as possible. 

  • 50 Box Step Ups – 20” Box
  • 50 Jumping Pull-ups
  • 50 Kettelbell Deadlifts
  • 50 Walking Lunges
  • 50 Sit-ups
  • 5 x 100 meter run
  • 50 Supermans
  • 50 Ball slams
  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Squats

Yikes, where to start?  At the top and just keep moving til the workout is complete!  The step-ups weren’t bad.  The jumping pull-ups were new and kinda fun but way more tiring than I’d like to admit!  We got to stand on a box, then jump up to the pull-up bar.  So it was the pull-up movement but easier because we got to both jump and pull at the same time.  Photo source – Google Images


The kettlebell deadlifts were an extension of what we learned on Tuesday.  It was the deadlift technique but with a kettlebell to lift.  Good way to revisit the deadlift without duplicating the entire process.  Photo source – Google Images

kettlebell deadlift

Walking lunges, sit-ups & 100 meter runs all self explanatory.  However, I’d like to point out that 50 sit-ups in a row is  hard.  I had to take a breather half way thru and then again before I finished.  Thanks to my weak core muscles for pointing out the fact that even the most elementary movements are still difficult.  Much appreciated.

Supermans – Not particularly tough unless you have zero core strength then it takes a bit energy and focus to do 50!  Photo source:  Feminine & Fit


Ball slams, burpees & squats we have done before but dang, I can’t do those burpees!  I had to modify that one and sub in push-ups after 10.  Sad smile  I’ll keep trying though, just have a bit of strain in the abs that is rebelling against all this fun stuff!

This WOD took me 22:28 and I was the last one done in my group.  That’s okay, somebody has to be last, right? 

finished last

I’m going to get stronger, one day at a time!!

** Getting Stronger ** Amanda – TooTallFritz  **

CrossFit ….. Day 5

I know that many of you are interested in CrossFit but are scared to try it because there are so many photos floating around of super strong people doing really crazy things.  It’s intimidating.  I know because I too was intimidated. So I’ll keep posting on it cuz trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.  I’m weak.  I have a bad back.  I have multiple muscle imbalances causing little “aches & pains”.  I have zero core strength.  However, these are the very reasons why I keep going back.  I want to get strong.  No, I NEED to get strong to support my body better and possibly carry any fallen comrades during the Dopey Challenge at WDW Marathon Weekend.

Day #5 at CrossFit brought us the Deadlift.  Say what?  It’s the long bar with weights on the end that we would NEVER touch in a million years.  Yep, it’s apparently time to build some muscles skills.  There was a bit of instruction involved.   Then practicing with the empty bar which was heavy all by it’s lonesome.   Then the addition of tiny weights which were still heavy.  Sequenced Photo Source:  CrossFit Centurion


weight bar   10 lb plates  

Look, I can do it!!!!


I did it.  Not well but I did it.  Once we went thru the instruction/trial period we probably did 4 sets of 10 with a 10# plate on each end. 

Since the deadlifts took some instruction, we were split into two groups.  The non-deadlift group did AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 19 minutes of the following sweatfest.

  1. 10 Step Ups onto an 18” Box – Body weight only
  2. 5 Burpees.  These were almost impossible the other day and totally impossible today.  I must have tweaked something in my flabby abs cuz each time I went down for the burpee, I just ended up laying on the floor.  Zero power. Zero pop.  Nothing.  I could just feel that pull in my abs.  LOL!  Yep, I NEED to get stronger!!!
  3. 10 Ball Slams – 10# ball.  These are one of the easier moves for me.  So I tried to make up lost time after the “burpees”.
  4. 5 Ab Baskets – New move for us!  And I can’t find a pic of it.  Sad smile  It was  a sit-up with the 10# ball.  Initially lay down with knees up, arms out over your head holding the medicine ball (while it rests on the floor), then sit-up and put your 10# ball on your extended legs (like a basket).  Your legs are up like they would be in a crunch position but instead of crossed, they straight and together in order to hold the ball.  Leave ball on the extended legs until you sit-up again, then take it back.  So half the sit-up is with the ball, half without.  When you aren’t holding it, your legs serve as a “basket” to hold/rest the ball.  Clear as mud, right? 
  5. 100 meter run with 10# plate.  Easy, just pick up the 10# plate and run the 100 meters.  Easiest part of this set for me! 

This was a killer workout, add in the heat/humidity and the fact that the facility was SO FLIPPIN’ HOT and it was kinda funny.  I was dirty and gross.  I had sweat dripping from places that I didn’t know could sweat.  Like from the end of my nose.  Wow.  Sweat dropping constantly from the end of my nose.  Now that’s disgusting fun.  #GettingStronger

Getting Stronger

** Getting Stronger Thru CrossFit cuz that’s the only thing open at 5am **  TooTallFritz  **

TriSmart Transition Clinic

Our run club received an amazing offer from MJ, the coach and founder of TriSmart Coaching, to host a FREE Transition Clinic for those of us partaking or interested in triathlon.  Although the focus of the clinic was to help newbie triathletes, those of us who have been TRIing for a while still showed up to hang on her every word in hopes of learning something, anything, to speed us up. 


Realistically, I have done a lot of triathlons over the years but that doesn’t mean I know anything.  I like triathlon because it keeps me moving in ways that I don’t move when I’m not TRIing.  I’m not cutthroat serious about it but do have hopes of improving my skills.  Since my time to train in the three disciples is very limited, I try to make the most of every aspect of the race, even transition.  And let’s just say that transition can get a little hectic at small and big races alike.  Photo below of the 2012 transition area for IM Muncie 70.3.  Race report from the 2012 race HERE.


MJ’s secrets:

  • If you get to pick your own spot in transition, rather than it being assigned, get there early and get as close to the “bike out” spot as possible.  You can move thru transition the fastest on foot, solo, when you aren’t trying to push your bike.  Plus, there will be people everywhere in transition, sitting on the ground putting on shoes, washing their feet, throwing around their wetsuit, eating/drinking, panicking, changing clothes.  Consider transition a warzone (my words, not MJ’s) and move thru as fast as possible.
  • Set up your transition towel (pick a bright, obnoxious, UNIQUE towel to help you spot your area) in front of your bike, under the back tire of bike racked next to you.  Bikes get racked front to back (opposite) all the way down the rack.  This way when you drop your bike to roll out, you will be in front of the rack (with your bike) and won’t have to duck under the rack to try to catch up with your bike while simultaneously attempting to keep it from bouncing off all the other bikes on the rack.
  • Be a minimalist in transition.  Take & put out as little as possible.  Then haul that monster of a transition pack back to the car and get it out of the way.
  • Don’t waste time with a bin of water to wash those feet, just GO, GO, GO!
  • Set up your transition towel being mindful of what you need first.  At the front of your towel is your bike stuff.  Helmet on top, upside down, facing the direction you need to put it directly onto your head, straps out and ready to fasten, sunglasses in the helmet and OPEN to be put immediately on your face.  Shoes on bottom, with the velcro open and ready to go.  Socks if you use them bunched up in your shoes so you can just grab them, lean down to your foot (keep that foot on the ground so you don’t topple over), stuff your toe in, then lift the heel and finish it.  Stuff the foot in the shoe and go!
  • Run stuff at the back.  Shoes on top with speed laces (Lock Laces are my favorite & easiest to use), hat/visor & race belt (with number attached) underneath so they don’t blow away.  Put your shoes on and grab both your visor/race belt and GO.  Put your visor and race belt on while you run out of transition.  Race Belt – Cost $8-$13 – Speed acquired in transition = Invaluable.

image    image

  • When getting your bike in and out of transition, roll it by the seat.  You know you’ve seen people do it and they look so smooth!  Well, I always thought that my bike was too loose to roll like that.  Well, it’s not.  I just didn’t know what I was doing.  Hold onto the bike by the seat and push!  Run at the same time, you can steer the bike by tilting it (by the seat) in the direction you want to travel.  The faster you go the easier it will be to steer so move it, Move It, MOVE IT!!
  • Fueling.  Where do you put your gels?  I have a Nathan SpeedFeed Box on my bike for long rides but MJ gave us an awesome tip.  If you tape your gel/gels to your bike stem really well by the little tab, then you can just grab and rip when you need it and it will be open, ready to go, your tab will be contained under the tape so you won’t need to worry about the garbage and then you can just push your empty gel wrap into the leg of your TRI shorts or into the back of your TRI tank.  Done.  Easy.

If you are hardcore, you can body glide up and put your race belt with your bib folded up like an accordion, into the waistband of your tri shorts.  This will enable you to swim & bike with it and it will be “on” and ready for the run without needing to add it in T2.  Expect chafing.

That’s about as much as my brain soaked up.  If I think of anything else, I’ll add it in later or put it in the comments below.  Can you think of anything I missed?  Tell me!

Thanks to MJ for this amazing opportunity to learn a few of her secrets.  If you need a bit of assistance, you can contact her HERE.  She also helped me earlier in the year with a swim analysis but I fear my lack of pool time will not properly showcase the skills that I was taught.  I’ll keep trying though!  Bottom line, I know triathlon can be intimidating but there are people willing to help.  Don’t be scared to contact MJ or someone in your area to give you a few tips!  It will be fun and super beneficial!  TRI it!!

** Speed UP Your Transition  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CrossFit ….. Day 4

I’m currently in a bit of a rut and totally disenchanted with the swim, bike & run.  It’s almost impossible to make time to get to the pool; I’m averaging about 30 minutes one time a week, which is inadequate.  I get one bike day each week, which is inadequate.  Plus, my body is a bit damaged and the run isn’t going well.  In fact, I haven’t ran long in 3 weeks, and that’s definitely inadequate.  OUCH.  Let’s just keep pretending that I am not facing down the Racine 70.3 in 2 weeks and the Chicago Marathon in 14 weeks.  Yep, let’s just keep pretending.

It's not denial

So basically at a point, when all the things that I “normally” really enjoy aren’t coming together, it’s nice to have something different to focus upon while I try to decide if I should bail on some of my scheduled events.

The 4th of July brought my 4th CrossFit workout.  Fun but I was still sore from Tuesday’s 1/2 Murph.  Smile   We started off with “Death by 10 meters”.  This workout starts easy enough, run one 10 meter sprint over the course of 1 minute.  Then run two 10 meter sprints in 1 minute.  Each minute then rolls right into the next adding another 10 meter interval.  Lots of waiting time at the beginning, no rest at all toward the end as you are attempting to pump off 13, 14 & 15 ten meters sprints in the minute before it rolls to the next.  I just missed the 15th interval only making 14.  So I “died” at 14+14.  Not an easy workout for me because my “run fast” left me a while back and it’s difficult for me to get any lift out of my hamstring to “move it” quickly. 

After “Death by 10 meters” killed all of us, we were ready to crawl home but apparently that was just the warm-up.    We then went to two 6 minute rotations.  As many rounds as possible within the 6 minute time frame.

First 6 minute set:  10 Ball Slams, 10 Ring Rows, & 10 Push-Ups (reapeat as many times as possible) – This one about killed me.  Even the Ring Rows which seemed easy last time were very tough.  Sore arms, sore pecks, sore TTF.  I was very slow and complained and wanted to go home

Second 6 minute set:  10 Box Jumps, 10 Sit-Ups, 1 Plate Carry (carry a 25 lb plate 100 meters) – This set was so much easier for me and I actually enjoyed it.  The plate carry was my favorite.  It was hysterical to see the various ways that people carried their plates.  These are a few pics from google images but it was the same for us.  Some held the plate high over their heads, some under their arm and I carried mine out in front like a load of boxes.

Plate-Carry       Plate-Carry 2    Plate-Carry 3

More fun times at CrossFit.  Stay tuned for this week’s fun & games!

** Attempting to Get Strong ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Find Something You LOVE …..

We don’t live in a “one size fits all” society. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.  My favorite run club, shoe, athletic wear won’t necessarily be YOUR favorite.  We have lots of choices because collectively we NEED different things to make us happy, fit our bodies and tackle our everyday needs.

One Size Does NOT Fit All

Seems logical, right?  Well, maybe not because it isn’t easy to find things that we like, that we LOVE!  So I encourage you to keep trying!  If all your friends are running and well, you just don’t enjoy it then please, try something else.  There are so many options to keep us moving that it’s really hard to “find” an excuse for inactivity.  Try Yoga, Zuma, CrossFit, Cycling, Swimming, Body Pump, TRX, P-90X, Ballet or just go for a hike on your local trail.  MOVE THAT BODY and reap the benefits of health!

Same with your local run club, if it’s not a good fit then try a different one.  I recently did a post on local run clubs on the South Side of Chicago.  There are so many options!  Find one that works for you whether that means a relaxed atmosphere, lots of runs, track sessions or a more structured group with pacers.  We have choices.  Explore the options!

What to wear?  Good question!  I’m blessed with a closet full of workout wear that I’ve amassed over the years that not only fits me but that I like.  No, that I love!   Thru trial and error, I have found a few retailers that do athletic wear that works for my body type (tall and  lanky but thick thru the midsection).  It took a long time to find things that both fit me and were in my style “comfort zone”.  If you don’t like how your running/workout clothes fit, then try a new brand/style.  There are retailers out there that make cool clothes for EVERY body type.  Don’t settle, keep trying because when we look good, we feel good!  You deserve to feel good, even when you are sweating buckets!  If you see someone wearing something that might work for you, don’t be afraid to ask them about it and if they bought it within the last century so you know if there is a chance of it still being available.

Running shoes.  Wow, how many choices do we have here?  Shoes are changing ALL THE TIME.  What has worked for me for the last 5 years, no longer fits my foot properly!  I have had more running shoes this year than any year previous and it’s not because I’m wearing them out.  I’m not putting my typical 300-400 miles on each pair but rather buying a pair, putting in 75 miles or so and then dumping them on eBay.  I don’t want to run in shoes that mangle or blister my feet!  Why should I?  Shop around to find the right shoe for your foot and don’t worry what everyone else is wearing or the color of the shoe. 

It’s important to manage our expectations and realize that what works for one (or many) doesn’t necessarily work for all.  I’m current loving CrossFit after only 3 workouts but I know a lot of people who can’t stand it.  Some people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the marathon but it’s just not my bag forte.  I am in love with my running club but it may be a bit too lackadaisical for some.  I am an Athleta (TALL clothing options!!) and Tough Chik freak but you may prefer Lululemon or Champion Brand from Target.  We have options.  We have choices.  Rather than being upset that one particular thing isn’t working, let’s just focus on the positive and be thankful for the plethora of choices in most aspects of our life and find something that WE LOVE!  And don’t forget, it’s okay to change.  So if you were loving something yesterday but are dreading it today, it’s okay to move on and try something new.   

If you always do what youve always done

** Find Something You LOVE ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CrossFit …. Day 3 ….. 1/2 Murph

I didn’t know Murph but he was apparently a badass tough guy.  So tough that they named a CrossFit WOD after him.



For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

Today we were fortunate enough to “only” have to do a 1/2 Murph.  Thank goodness we are all newbies!  As I looked at the board and saw the workout, I immediately knew that it would be bad and was immediately thankful that we didn’t have a “full” Murph on the agenda. 

The HALF Murph started and finished with an 800 meter run.  Sandwiched between those runs were 10 rounds (without break) of 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups & 15 Squats.  Sounds easy enough but by the 4th round, I think most of us were doubting our ability to complete all 10. 

None of us could do a pull-up which is my personal nightmare and something I’ve worked on at various intervals of my life without success.  So we needed to modify those and use bands in order to even get thru the very first set of 5.  Here is a pic of the pull-up with the bands, except most of us needed two or three bands to give us enough support to get up to the bar.  Photo Source

pull up with bands

Most know what a push-up and squat looks like so we will leave it at that but let’s just say that by the time I was half way done, a squat never seemed so difficult.  Now add in my lingering hamstring “issue” and my new hip “issue” and well, damn, I don’t like squats very much!  And they weren’t pretty like this:


Ironically, this was good TRI training though cuz when we went out for that second 800 meter run, it felt like a brick workout.  Legs were heavy.  Legs were dead.  Legs were shaking ……. just like how they feel when we get off the bike to hit the run.  BAM, cross training with purpose!

I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get up from my desk without assistance by lunch time.  I’m pretty sure that my swim is going to hurt tonight cuz my arms will be like rocks.  I’m pretty sure that I’m stronger today, than last Tuesday.  Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration on “being stronger” but hey,  I have to think positively!!  I am getting stronger.  I am making progress.  I am  loving the “burn”. 

Whats My Secret

** Feel The Burn ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Winner of the Chicago Half Marathon FREE Entry

I always love the days where I get to give someone something for free!    But it makes me nervous too.  Why?  I have no idea but I want everyone to win and I know that some people who have entered will only be running IF they win so I feel some pressure, get nervous, have butterflies!  Silly, I know but that’s always how I feel when I go to the random number generator to put in the info.  Soooo glad that I don’t have to make the decision myself!

Today, I randomly drew a  number for a free entry to the 2013 Chicago Half Marathon on September 8th.


I’m a numbers person so always wonder what number will come up.  Today, the “late bird” got the worm and someone who just entered the giveaway at the very last minute will be running with me for free!  It’s someone I know.  It’s someone you “might”  know.  Who is #42? 



Run With Jess:



Congrats, Jess!  Email me at for info on how to get registered!

For those of you who didn’t win and want to register, go HERE and sign up today.   Cost of the half is currently $90.  Great race.  Great course.  Great location.  I’ll be there and so will Jess!  Join us!!

** Run Chicago ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **