Winter Workouts + CrossFit Day 50 & 51

Just like you, these cold wintery days are taking their toll on my good humor.  I’m not sure why because I do most of my workouts inside since hubby changed jobs in August of 2013.  Yes, it’s been a long ass 6 months, in case you were wondering.  My outside runs are few and far between and yes, I may have just signed up for another marathon so that I’m guaranteed at least 1 outdoor run within the next six weeks.   So if you are heading to the Little Rock Marathon on March 2nd, LOOK FOR ME!!!!

Last week brought back “real” workouts for me.  A couple short runs on the treadmill and the return to CrossFit.  This week, I’ve been at both the TUE & THUR CrossFit sessions PLUS I ran 7 miles on the treadmill Monday night AND I hit the StairMaster on Tuesday night.  Yes, I’m feeling like a total stud for making the most out of my indoor workouts.  Plus I love the StairMaster and it’s nice to have an excuse to use it rather than just pounding out miles on the treadmill.  Say HELLO to me in my dining room home gym as I stair away.

StairMaster

On to the week’s CrossFit workouts. 

CrossFit Day #50  – Back Squats – 6 x4 – 73#

WOD  for time – 200 Single jump ropes, 75 Kettlebell Swings (26# – and DANG was this hard), 50 – 10# medicine ball “side to side” sit-ups, 25 handstand push-ups.

The side to side sit-ups might be new.  I don’t remember doing them before but I envision them to be very beneficial to my spongy core.  Assume the sit-up position.  Come up to crunch position but only lift the feet slightly off the floor.  Then move the medicine ball from side to side, touching it on the floor each time before pivoting to the opposite side of your body. 

side to sides

CrossFit Day #51 – WOD “Jackie”

  • 1000 meter row – Apparently I was rowing incorrectly and even though it was explained to me, as well as demonstrated, in SLOW MOTION, apparently it was too much for my brain to absorb at 5am.  Sorry, J.  Anyhow, I limped thru it in about 5ish minutes.  Not sure it counts if I was doing something wrong but I was moving.  Smile
  • 50 Thrusters – 33#
  • 30 Pull-Ups – assisted with 2 bands and I still struggled.
  • Extra Credit cuz we had extra time – 10 Pull-ups w/ bands, 50 abmat sit-ups, 50 superman’s, 50 side to side sit-ups, 50 ring rows.

Bam!  Another awesome week of workouts and I still have a couple days to go!  What are you up to this week?

Unrelated side note – When I woke up this morning, I found this by my purse.  Aby made it for an Art Club project and I am IN LOVE!  Great job, “baby” girl!

Keep Calm and Run Faster

You’ll find this sign on one of my kitchen cabinet doors for the next year or so.  #KeepingItClassy

**  Keep Calm and RUN FASTER ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Back At It & CrossFit Day #49

I’ve been on a little hiatus since the Dopey Challenge.  I needed a break.  The plan all along was to get thru the Huff 50K & Dopey and then take some time off and really not do “much” for the remainder of the month of January.  And I was looking forward to it.  What I didn’t realize was how much my body would NEED that break.   I started getting a bit of a clue when I had a pretty severe Plantar Fasciitis flare up on the first day of the Dopey Challenge.  Yep, during the 5K.  Initially it took me off guard because it basically came out of nowhere but it didn’t take me long to realize that it was text book PF.  I was fine while running but when I stopped OMGosh things got ugly fast.  And when I sat down, the getting up and getting moving was super painful.   It felt like I was walking on spikes.  Not ideal but at least something I could self diagnose.  Also something I was familiar enough with that I could be pretty certain that completing the Dopey Challenge most likely wouldn’t do much additional long term damage. 

Source:  Mayo Clinic

plantar fasciitis

Then I got a head cold/sore throat combo that was a bit of a nuisance.  Brought that new friend home with me from Disney.  It took a week and a half to clear up (thanks to some electro acupuncture by Dr. Alexis).  I felt good for two days.  Then the stomach flu hit.  Yep, the stomach flu.  SO.MUCH.FUN.  Okay, it sucked but my body was tired and why not get it ALL out of the way while I was in rest mode anyhow, right?  Right! 

Now I’m feeling AMAZING except for the heel pain that Dr. A is slowly but surely kicking to the curb.  I ran 4 miles on the treadmill last night at 8:22 pace.  Then I hit CrossFit this morning!  I’m so happy to be back to being active.  I still don’t plan on doing anything big this month but I’m moving and that makes me happy.  Smile

CrossFit Day 49 (and if you are really counting, CrossFit Day 48 was on January 2, 2014 but the WOD has been lost in the windy tunnel of the TTF brain.  Ooops!).

WOD – Jack.  Hello Jack.  So nice to meet you.  Thank you for kicking my butt on the first day back to CrossFit in 21 days.  Thanks for reminding me WHY I CrossFit in the first place.  Thanks for reminding me that I am weak and I want to be strong.  Thank you for starting me off on my quest to be a strong runner in 2014.

20 minutes – AMRAP:

  • 10 Push Press – Empty bar, the girlie version,  #33 lbs
  • 10 Kettlebell Swings
  • 10 Box Jumps – 18” box – I did alternate in a couple step-ups a few times when I needed to catch my breath but 99% were box jumps.

I did 11 rounds.  I was very focused on trying to get at least 10 rounds completed because at the half way mark I was into my 6th round so I didn’t want to lose ground.  I was super happy to be able to complete the 11th round, even managed a few extra push presses even though time was basically up.  I really tried to stay focused and wanted to keep pushing because it is a new year and I think it’s important to focus on new goals and try to improve.  Plus, what’s the point of getting up early for a 5am class if I’m not going to push it?  I don’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s.  I want to get better.  I want to get stronger.  I want to run far and FAST when the opportunity arises and I really think the key to staying healthy is strength and cross training.  For these reasons, I dedicate 2014 as my year of strength.  I want be be strong physically and mentally.  I want to be a better person.  I want to  handle LIFE better.  I want to be strong inside and out. 

** On a Quest to Be Strong ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Dopey Challenge – Final Thoughts & Cost Analysis

For all of you who are all Dopey’d out, this will be the last post.  I wanted to do a final one and make it more of a highlight reel and then go over the cost and what is associated with the fee verses expectation and hype and well, the BLING FACTOR.  To make it clear, I went to Disney to run the Dopey Challenge as a social event.  For fun.  Not for time.  Not to be competitive.  But to spend time with my running friends, hang out and become one of the Inaugural Dopey Challenge Runners.  That’s why I went.  We were also focused on enduring the event and making sure that we ran slow enough to take it all in and enjoy the experience instead of just zooming past everything and putting the hurt on in an attempt to run fast times.  It was all about the experience for us.  We wanted to walk away with great memories.  Have amazing stories to tell for years to come.  Enjoy a beer at the end as a triumph, not lay on the ground withering in pain like so many others we saw.  Part of the fun for us was creating silly photos that we can laugh at far into the future.  Thanks, Julian for introducing us to the “monkey” pose.  I’m still not really sure what we were doing but maybe you Brits can fill me in sometime.  All I know was that it was funny as all get out in our sleep deprived state.

monkey pose

We utilized the Disney photogs A LOT, much to the dismay of some of the other serious runners who were pissy irritated when we would all stop to do something stupid funny for the camera.

funny 10K pic

We clowned around.  Whooooped.  Hollered.  Played loud music DURING the race.  Sang.  Danced.  Annoyed other runners.  Made memories. 

holding jason

My favorite race by far was the 10K because it was far enough that we weren’t too crowded but short enough that we could have fun without worrying about conserving energy.  We ran a decent pace but still stopped for silly photos.  And we got to meet Minnie Mouse at the end.

Minnie & Me

The temps are, of course, unpredictable and while it wasn’t “too”  hot this year, we did have several days in the 70s with 100% humidity.  Normally I melt in the heat and humidity but this year I did GREAT!  What was the difference, you ask?   My treadmill miles.  All those stupid training runs which I did inside on the treadmill when I didn’t have any other choice.  Huge benefit to me.  Those sweaty miles allowed my body to function better under the warm, “moist” conditions.  Finally, an answer to improving  my performance in the harsher conditions?  Let’s only hope.

What I did right for the Dopey Challenge?  I was very chill about it and focused on fun.  I ran conservatively every day, even marathon day.  I was prepared.  Shockingly, I met many people who hadn’t trained for the Challenge at all.  Some of them finished, some did not.  Out of the 7000 Dopey’s who started on THUR in the 5K, only 6200 finished.  How did I train?  Not via any “dopey” internet training plan cuz they all looked like the mileage was WAY too high, in my opinion, but I did train.  I focused on CrossFit 2x a week.  In the last 6 weeks prior to Dopey, I had little to no running at the beginning of the week, then piled on the miles at the end of the week.  Almost always running 4 consecutive days, with low miles on THUR & FRIs and then bigger miles on the weekend.  Total rest on Mondays.    I was also running a lot of hills and trails in order to prep for the Huff 50K at the end of December.  I was counting on those trail miles (and hills) to build my stabilizer muscles and toughen up my feet for whatever Disney tossed my way.  It worked well.  I basically trained for a hilly, slow marathon.

What I did wrong?  My tummy was my one and only issue this weekend.  I had some aches and pains, most of which were due to my slip/fall at the finish line of the 10K {totally my own fault} and a Plantar Fasciitis flare up but everything was manageable.  The IBD  gave me a lot of hassles in the half and full.  If I could have a “do over”, I would try an Imodium pill before those races.  I have shied away from Imodium in the past because it has side effects, like dehydration, but multiple incidents of “bathroom stops” are also dehydrating so I think I would have taken the chance and it’s something I’m going to try in the future. 

Where I stayed?  We stayed off site at a residential villa complex.   This probably brought us slightly earlier wake-ups in order to ensure we were on property with plenty of time to spare but it also lowered our overall expenses.  It also gave us the opportunity to cook our own food, which had to help with both my tummy and my budget.

The cost?  I paid $500 for registration, then another $25ish for an active.com fee.  I also did an add-on for a necklace which commemorated the Inaugural Dopey Challenge.  That was about $20-$25.  See necklace below.  Total cost for my registration (plus necklace) ended up at $550.

Dopey Necklace

Included in the registration?  1 cotton tee for the Family 5K and 5 gender specific technical tees for each of the other 5 races (10K, half marathon, full marathon, goofy challenge & dopey challenge).

shirts

6 amazing medals.  Honestly the bling is the best that I’ve ever received and I don’t run for the bling or even really pay much attention to it.  I hang all my medals on a stair post, the kids play with them, and when too many accumulate, I take them downstairs to the basement and toss them in a box.  But I have yet to put these Disney medal on the post.  They are still on the kitchen counter.  I really don’t know what to do with them.  It seems like a shame to just hang them on the post.  I don’t have a medal hanger/rack.  I don’t want a medal rack/hanger cuz I don’t have anywhere to hang that either.  Just not sure what to do with these babies but they are amazing.  The first photo is the medals for the four races:  Top Left – Marathon (it’s huge and heavy), Bottom Left – Half Marathon, Top Right – 10K, Bottom Right – 5K.  Then the Goofy and Dopey medals.  All beautiful.  

4 Races - 4 medals  Goofy & Dopey medals

The registration fee included the 4 races, with tons of workers/volunteers, characters who were “on-duty” and working for our enjoyment at various intervals.  I’d say there was a character siting every 1.5 miles or so.  Lots of work put into each scene too where the characters were located.  Each spot really told the story of the movie in which the character starred.  Clocks & Mile Markers at every mile.  Massive firework displays sending off each corral.  The fireworks also got better and better with each day which I thought was very impressive.  Medical tents, aid/water stations {with loads of port o potties} every 1-1.5 miles.  Cliff Bar shots & chew stations on course.  Banana stations.  Food stations with pretzels and/or candy.  Even a fruit snack and chocolate stop in Hollywood Studios during the marathon. 

To be honest, I can’t even imagine how much planning would even go into something like this.  The Disney Marathon was marathon #8 for me and many of the previous marathons were Chicago Marathons so I know a big marathon when I see it.  I know what it takes to do it right and understand that the planning cycle is year round.  The Disney event was even a bit “bigger” than your big city marathon.  I really enjoyed it.  All of it.  And I appreciated the effort, the planning and the flawless execution of everything from the race down to the countless number of people they needed for parking the cars {for free, no parking expenses}, running the security for bag check, down to the pre-race party with a DJ who was energetic and dancing each and EVERY morning of our 4 day event.  Was it worth the money?  YES! 

Would I do it again?  Probably not.  This was a big price tag for me and my family and it was a huge time commitment for me being gone that long.  It took a lot of extra effort for Hubby.  It tough being gone from work that long.  Honestly, between travel (snow delays/flight cancelations) and the race, I was gone from Tuesday afternoon until Sunday night.  I didn’t get home until Sunday night at 8:30 pm.  I had very little time with the family on SUN night, just snuggled the little guy, talked a bit, showed everyone the bling and the various gifts that I purchased for them, then we went to bed so I could go to work on Monday morning.  I had fun.  I enjoyed my experience.  I think it was worth the money.  But it’s a one and done for me.  I’d rather go elsewhere and make more memories, run different races and have a new experience.   But that’s just me.  I met many people who were Perfectly Goofy and running their 9th consecutive Goofy Challenge. I met a lady who was returning to run her 21st Disney Marathon.  She has ran EVERY ONE that they have ever held.  Super cool, but I want to run ALL THE RACES so can’t afford too many repeats unless they are in my backyard.  Smile

Great experience and I’d recommend it to anyone.  Take it slow and easy.  Train.  Be ready mentally and physically and you too can be  DOPEY!  Take LOTS of pictures. 

Dopey Challenge times:

  • 0:29:33 – 5K time
  • 1:00:06 – 10K time
  • 2:23:01 – Half Marathon time
  • 4:59:37 – Full Marathon time
  • 7:22:38 – Goofy Challenge time
  • 8:15:17 – Dopey Challenge time
  • $10.80 per mile {$525 registration fee/48.6 miles}
  • 98.6 cents per minute {$525 registration fee/532 minutes}

Worth the money?  You tell me.  I feel as if I had a $1 worth of fun for each and every minute I was on course and that doesn’t even factor in the medals & tees.  Of course, you can’t replicate my Dopey Rockstar pals but I’m sure you have your own pals who would make your experience just as amazing.

Group_10K

** Had An Amazing Time with the Dopey Challenge ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Dopey Challenge – Day 4 – THE Marathon

Sunday, brought Day 4 of the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World.  Marathon Day.  26,000 runners.  We were down to about 6,400 Dopey runners out of the 7,000 who had started with us on Thursday, in the 5K.  The half marathon on Saturday, and specifically the 100% humidity had taken out some of my Dopey friends.  Sad smile  But alas, the majority of us were still standing strong, even if we were a little delusional from lack of sleep.  My Dopy Rockstar pals once again climbed out of bed at 2am FL time (1am, Chicago time) and hauled it up and out, leaving for our drive to Epcot by 2:30am.  Easy parking day.  We were very close to the entrance as opposed to the other days.  Seems Disney Officials finally got it right and put the early birds up front by the gates.  Just in time for us for the BIG day!  We stayed tucked up in the car til the very last minute it was time to go in for gear check.  We made a lame attempt at photos.  My brilliant photo thought of the day was to do “game faces” but as you can see, Judy and I just smiled cuz well, that’s all the thought we could put into this last game day.  Jason, Dawn, Judy & I below:

game face

Then we did a quick meet up with a few of Jason’s British friends.  I think we were going for muscles here, not really sure.  Me, Jason, Julian, Dawn, Judy, Jonny & Martin.

pre marathon

Then off to the start to finish this thing run the marathon.  Another amazing set of fireworks, even better than that which they did for the half, if that is even possible.  This is the photo that runDisney posted and it’s ahmazing!!

marathon start_runDisney

Each corral (A thru M) started with their own set of amazing fireworks with Mickey Mouse as the official conductor who sent us off into the darkness for one last run thru the streets of Disney.  Here is the course map to get an idea of exactly how much of Disney we would be tackling.

Full map

The first portion, maybe 8 miles was a repeat of the half marathon, which I was perfectly fine with me because I had really enjoyed it the day previous.  However, soon enough they turned us off to see new things.  I did get an early photo of Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate ship, from Pirates of the Caribbean, because it was so cool when I saw it on the half that I wanted to make the stop to take a pic this time around.  Disney really did a great job setting up the scene where each character was located in order to create the look and feel of the movie set for which they represented.  It was very nicely done and a pleasure to see as we sped past.

Pirate ship

On to the Magic Kingdom and I don’t think running thru there could EVER get old!  This was definitely my favorite part of both the full and the half marathon.  Running down Main Street was absolutely amazing and there was MASSIVE crowd support.  It was even better this go round seeing a run club buddy, who has moved to FL, in the crowd cheering!!  Love main street and I love Diane!!

diane

Then the highlight of Magic Kingdom for me was seeing Cinderella’s Castle all lit up and draped in icicle lights.  Absolutely breathtaking.

castle

After the Magic Kingdom, we started weaving thru the rest of the parks, starting with the Richard Petty race track where a local car club got up super early to surround the track with all for their old and new muscle cars.  We ran the entire track and it was SUPER cool!  Then off on the back roads to Animal Kingdom where I was super stoked to ride the Everest Adventure roller coaster.  Til I got there and it was still closed.  Boooo!  I was SO disappointed.  Like really disappointed.  I had been anticipating riding the Everest during the marathon ALL year.  I was crushed.  Last time the family and I went to Disney, I was pregnant with Michael so didn’t get to ride.  This year when we go back, Michael will still be too little to ride.  This was my only chance for YEARS to come.  Sad smile

It was right before we got to Animal Kingdom, around Mile 12 that my tummy started giving me trouble too {read more disappointment}.  I had spent all day/night Saturday trying to refuel from everything I had lost during the half and it was going well until I popped that first energy gel of the day, then it was ALL down hill.  I may have even shed a tear or two on one of the SIX potty stops I had to make (under total duress) during the last half of the marathon.  It was a rough because it left me empty and devoid of energy.  I just kept following my Dopey Rockstar ladies who were so utterly kind to wait for me each and EVERY time I had to stop.  Now those are good friends.  Thank you, Dawn & Judy!  So the second half of the marathon course is a bit of a blur.  I just followed their shirts.  Didn’t talk much.  Noticed the characters were out but always wondered if we would see the ones I liked.  We didn’t.  Here is Maleficent in a photo that Dawn snapped.

I really expected more characters to be around from all the hype I’ve heard about previous Disney Marathons.  Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot but I expected all the big name Disney characters to be out so we could see them and that wasn’t the case.  I thought it was a great course though that covered a lot of the property.  I didn’t mind the back roads at all and I just kept on trucking.  We stopped for a few photos but since I had my own issues happening, I just tried to keep moving.  We walked thru water stops, and there were a lot of those, probably every mile or mile and a half, but kept moving otherwise.  We finally did find Dopey right at Mile 25 though and fortunately Dawn had run ahead (during my last potty stop) and she had a place in line for us.  Yay!!

Dopey pic

Over all, I give the Disney Marathon several thumbs up.  I really enjoyed running thru the parks, even the back roads.  There were tons of water stops.  Medical support at every aid station.  More volunteers than you can possibly imagine.  Anything you might want:  sunscreen (thank you!), Motrin, Biofreeze, Vaseline on sticks, and so many port o potties (super thankful for that!).

The bling is off the hook and that’s coming from someone who rarely even looks at a race finishers medal.

Dopey medals

They offer events for everyone from your little one, all the way up to Grandma and Grandpa.  It’s a real class act and a very family friendly event.  Plus they have beer and champagne at the finish and let’s just say after 48.6 miles of fun, I was ready to have a celebratory beer.  Myself and Judy toasting to a job well done.  We were happy campers!

Dopey Finishe_me & Judy

So that’s that.  The Dopey Challenge, race by race.  Tomorrow I’ll sum everything up and let you know if I think that the big price tag is worth the experience.  Until then, Happy Running my friends!

** Just Keep Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Dopey Challenge – Day 3 – Half Marathon

The third day of the Dopey Challenge brought us the half marathon, much larger crowds and AMAZING fireworks to send off each and every corral.

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The atmosphere today was serious. Fewer costumes by a lot , many runners who were tackling the half distance for the very first time in their lives, Goofy Challenge runners who were nervous and anxious to start their journey, then us Dopey Challenge participants who were visibly tired, not necessarily even from the running but the travel, ridiculously early wake-ups for multiple days in a row and sleeping in hotels/condos, etc where we aren’t really resting like would at home. As for my Dopey Rockstar pals, we had a 2am wake-up {1am Chicago time} and were on the road by 2:30 to make sure we were in the park with plenty of time to spare. We waited, then waited some more, then hit the potty 15x, then tried to flub our way thru a “muscle” photo and just kinda fell flat all together. Here is our lame attempt at muscles. Sorry, it was the best we had at the time.

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Along with the change in atmosphere, the numbers increased four fold. We were at about 10,000 runners for each of the last two races and today we moved up to the about 38,000 participants. There were people as far as you could see in any {and every} direction. Then Donald Duck and a slew of fireworks sent us on our way. Hey, Donald!!

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Then we ran. Along the highway, which had plenty of room. Along the backroads thru the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. UNDER the entrance sign for the Magic Kingdom.

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Under a pond in Magic Kingdom where the runDisney sign was displayed.

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Down Main Street with amazing spectators who had to get out of bed WAY too early to come cheer for us and breathtaking views of Cinderella’s castle.

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I really, really enjoyed the run today. I had some tummy troubles that required 3 potty stops but we were just running leisurely anyhow and having fun so it didn’t make me panic cuz of the time I was loosing or anything which was nice. Judy and I even stopped to take a photo with Lilo & Stich. Thanks, Judy! Thanks, Lilo & Stitch! I’m a big fan. 🙂

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We finished in 2:23 with smiles on our faces. Then we collected our medals featuring Donald Duck.

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Grabbed a new wristband.

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Then we headed home to eat and nap. We were all well aware that today was the most important day of the Dopey Challenge. The one where we need to slow our roll. Stay hydrated. Fuel. Avoid pooing our pants. And basically stay ON TOP of the game so that we can come back tomorrow and complete the challenge with the full marathon. Today was huge and we finished happy and relatively pain free. We are ready do ROCK the marathon tomorrow. And for those of you who are contemplating the Dopey Challenge for 2015, I want to let you know that you can do it. Just take each day easy. Don’t take yourself or your running too seriously cuz that’s just laughable here and SUPER boring. Don’t get overwhelmed by the entire challenge but focus on each task at hand individually. Run the race you’re in, don’t think about tomorrow. Enjoy the journey.

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** Always Believe ** Amanda – TooTall Fritz **

Dopey Challenge – Day 2

Today brought us the race at Disney which I was awaiting, the Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10K. I’m pretty sure I signed up for the Dopey Challenge JUST to run this race cuz really, who would come all this way to run a 10K? Maybe me but I added in a few other races to make it seem legit for hubby. Without further adoo, my photo with my girl, Minnie. We are totally BFF’s now. She hugged me and complimented me on my outfit. Total BESTIES!

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Of course, before I got to the point where Minnie and I got to have a real girlfriend “moment” we had a few things on the agenda. First, it was a 2:45 am wakeup call. That’s 1:45 am Chicago time and yes, I’ll keep mentioning that in EVERY post. Then a short drive to Epcot where we lucked out in getting the best parking spot ever {totally hoping we luck out like that on marathon day!}. Next, into the “holding area” for some amazing photos. I’d like to thank my Dopey Rockstar pals for being particularly cheery, amazing sports, and VERY photogenic for my most anticipated race of the series!

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We even got to meet a couple TTF readers Becky & Amy, see photo below {and let me apologize to Kristina S from yesterday who I met but neglected to take a photo of her in her amazing costume. Kristina, find me tomorrow, ok?}

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A few potties stops later and we were packed into B corral and ready to roll. The corral starts were much slower today with maybe 10 minutes between corrals. This was due to the congestion in and out of the park for yesterday’s 5K event and I, for one, appreciate that they noticed. Once again each corral was sent off with fireworks and I managed to snag a shot today!

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Off we went with a group of 10,000 total 10K runners. Remember that approximately 7,000 are Dopey Challenge participants. Today certainly SEEMED bigger, even though the numbers were about the same as yesterday. Today also brought more costumes, some which were even more amazing than yesterday. The 10K bought us a better race route too. Space. Fun. And loads of amazing people and sights. The people watching at the Disney races IS one of the main attractions and I was constantly blown away by the creativity that some showed on their artistic costumes. Kudos to you creative types. I super impressed and somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t try harder!!!! Needless to say the 10K flew by. I played music and sang in the boring parts of the race course. I waived and yelled to the crowd and volunteers. I really hammed it up during the race and LOVED every minute of it. I loved it so much that I had a brilliant idea to attempt a jumping photo with my Dopey Rockstars at the finish line. Not my most brilliant moment of the day. In my defense, I was excited. I was also assuming with the 5 billion photogs at the finish line, that SOMEONE would manage to get our jump shot. Yeah, well, the amazing action shot that they managed to capture wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned as I slipped on the wet pavement and fell down on my ass, while simultaneously hitting my head, scraping my elbows and spraining my thumb a mere step away from the finish line. Yes, I’m okay. No I’m not really embarrassed, more irritated that I ruined our photo. No, I won’t be trying again for the jumping photo tomorrow. I mean, like I’m not totally stupid. And yes, I’ll post the action shot later of me slipping and falling IF it doesn’t look like it will scare my mom too badly. No, I didn’t remember to stop my Garmin as I walked across the finish line in a very dazed and confused state. Fortuneately, my Dopey Rockstar friends did usher me in the proper direction for Dopey Challenge Finishers. Disney officials then made a mark on our 5K bracelets before giving us a 10K wristband to add to the collection.

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And they made sure that I got my medal. Priorities!

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Finally, we made our way to the line to wait to see Minnie Mouse. I thought sure since we were Besties now that my friends and I would get to skip the line. However, the Disney officials are very professional and didn’t want anyone to think that we were getting preferential treatment, due to my friendship with Minnie, so alas we waited in line with everyone else to see her but it was TOTALLY worth the wait.

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Great race. I really did love every minute of it minus the few seconds that I was flat on my ass at the finish line letting everyone get a glance of my “under the skirt” attire. Thanks, Minnie. Thanks, Disney. Thanks, Dopey Rockstar pals!

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Dopey Challenge – Day 1

Despite a few minor snags with travel arrangements {due to weather}, I managed to get to FL with plenty of time to hit the expo, pick up the Dopey Challenge packets have a few beers, and be ready to run the 5K by this morning. Myself, Jason & Judy at the expo.

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As expected, the expo was packed but we did our best to look around, make a few unique purchases, grab all of our shirts, and get the boys skirted by Sparkle Athletic. All 6 shirts are pictured below. A green cotton tee for the 5K {which I got in Michael’s size}, a red gender specific long sleeve for the 10K, a navy gender specific LS for the half, a powder blue gender specific LS for the full, a black gender specific LS for the Goofy Challenge, and a white gender specific LS for the Dopey Challenge. I know a lot of people don’t like white but I was super happy with that being the color of the Dopey shirt. The color alone upped the chances that I’ll actually wear it. See the shirts below, along with the two bibs. We will be wearing the green bib for the 5K & 10K and the grey one for the half & full marathons.

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This morning started bright and early. We got up at 3:30 am (2:30 am Chicago time!) and hit the road by 4am. The race started promptly at 6:15am but that was the only thing prompt about the day. There was a lot of time spent getting into position in order to run the race, which gave us plenty of time to scout the crowd, pick out our favorite outfit, and find our friends. I’d like to send an unofficial shout out to the family who was dressed as the 101 dalmations, even the young tot was decked out in dots and had a dog collar. Then another favorite of mine was seeing young Belle {from Beauty and the Beast} who was dressed in her blue frock with white apron and she was even carrying a basket and a book WHILE she ran the 5K. Wow. That’s dedication to the charactor. As for myself and my friends, we were decked out in the Sparkle Athletic skirts and even the guys were good sports and joined the fun.

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We were in Corral B. There were only 5 corrals for the 5K with approximately 10,000 people running the event. I must say that I saw A LOT of Dopey bibs!! The race started in the dark with fireworks sending off every corral {yes, I missed the photo of the firewords}.

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We ran the majority of the race in the dark while attempting to be carful of footing and watching for slippery spots due to a light rain which fell prior to the race start. The majority of the 5K took place in and around Epcot. All the lights were on and everything was lit very well. It was a beautiful run, even if a bit crowded. Jason, Dawn, Judy and I at a prime photo spot.

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There were a couple spots for Disney Character photo ops too but the lines were pretty long, especially for Dopey. I bet the little guy never knew he was going to be so popular. 🙂 In all we busted thru Epcot for the 5K in about 29 minutes (with several photo stops). The pace was very random. There was a lot of weaving around people. It was exactly what I expected: super cool, crowded, fun, loads of amazing costumes, families everywhere run/walking, happy volunteers and beautiful sites. So far, so good.

As soon as we finished the 5K, the Dopey people were herded into a separate area to receive our bracelets.

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There is a bit of confusion as to what will happen next. Some say that we will accumulate a bracelet every day, for a total of 4 by the end in order to collect our Dopey Challenge medal. Others say that volunteers will cut off our 5K bracelets tomorrow and replace them with one which shows that we also completed the 10K. I’m not really sure and too lazy to look it up in our info booklet. Time will tell. I’m in no rush this weekend so just plan to take in as much as possible and not worry so much about details. 🙂

So that’s what’s happening so far in the Dopey Challenge arena. I’m off to take a nap now and attempt to recharge “my battery” a bit. I’m definitely tired from traveling and the new schedule, plus I’m having a few aches & pains due to a few snow related incidents that occurred at home before I left. I’m definitely not a 100% (or even close) and I felt it for sure today in the 5K. With only 3.1 miles down and another 45.5 miles left to run, I will be focusing on recovery quite a bit over the next couple of days.

** You May Be Goofy But I’ve GONE Dopey! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

SOL REPUBLIC DECK Speaker Winner!

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Great responses to the giveaway for the SOL REPUBLIC DECK Speaker!  Don’t worry, I took out Hubby’s comments and won’t let him win so if I’m divorced next week, it will certainly be because of this and NOT because I left him with the kids for 5 day to go off and run the Dopey Challenge

The random number generator selected #58. 

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# 58 is Michelle Krause – Michelle, please send your mailing address to amanda@tootallfritz.com and I’ll get your info to the rep so that you can get your new DECK Wireless Speaker ASAP.

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As for hubby the rest of you, Best Buy is the #1 retailer for the DECK Wireless Speaker.   Shop online HERE or head to a local retailer and pick one up.   These things are so much fun and they sound great too!  Very portable, which I appreciate when I’m folding laundry in my bedroom or soaking in the tub! 

** Music Makes Me Happy ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

My “Thank You” to 2013

The year 2013 brought me health.  Strength.  Determination.  And an injury free year.  Thank you 2013 for all you gave to me, even if every minute was not easy and/or fun.

Determination

I started 2013 by running a 200 mile relay race, Ragnar Key West.   I ran bits and pieces from Miami to Key West, FL with a group of amazing people.  I finished 2013 by running my first ever ultra trail race, the Huff 50K.   I filled in the year with numerous events from the 5K to marathon distance, the numbers are below:

  • 5Ks –  4
  • 4 Mile Runs – 1
  • 8Ks – 2
  • Half Marathons – 8
  • Full Marathons – 2
  • Marathon Relay – 1
  • Cycling Events – 2
  • Duathlons – 1
  • Half Iron Triathlons – 2

I did 47 CrossFit workouts.  I ran 1225 miles.  I cycled 814 miles.  I DNF’d one 5K due to foot pain.  I teamed up with Aby for one Duathlon.  I ran 2 relay races (Ragnar Keys and the River City Marathon Relay). 

I didn’t run as many miles as I had planned.  I didn’t cycle as much as I wanted.  I barely swam.  I screamed at the kids WAY too much.  I lost my cool more times than I can count.  I didn’t win Mom of the Year {again}.  I didn’t spend as much “fun” time as I would have liked with the family.  Work got in the way.  My energy levels dipped.  The commute wore on me and my schedule.  I had headaches. I was cranky.  I didn’t clean the house nearly enough.  I was constantly behind on the laundry.  The beds were almost always unmade.  The floors were vacuumed only “as needed”.  I ran on the treadmill when I should have been attending to some of the above.

My favorite race was the Tinley Park Duathlon with Aby as my teammate.

Tinley Park_DU_13_Me&Aby medals

My hardest race was the Great Illini Challenge 70.3 were I suffered heat induced problems as the temps sored well over 100 degrees.

My favorite race shirt was from the Uno 5K Carrera de los Muertos.

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My proudest moment was finishing the Chicago Marathon with a smile on my face after many attempts at that race where weather and injury did NOT leave me happy at the finish line.

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I stepped outside of my “ box” twice.  First by going to that first CrossFit workout and second by registering for the Huff 50K.

I had good times.  And bad times.  A few sad moments.  Made new friends and forgot some old ones.  Ran races for fun and for speed.  Used a new training method/plan that helped maintain my injury free status.  Focused on chiro/rehab treatments as preventative care.  Gave everything I had to the kids/family, even when it wasn’t enough.  Took time for me, even when there really wasn’t any time left.

I can only hope 2014 will be just as good, with maybe a little less screaming at my lovely children and a lot more boating in the summer months.  Smile 

Thanks to Mom/Dad and Hubby for giving me a few hours here and there to run outside and/or with friends.  Thanks to the treadmill for putting up with all my pounding.  Thanks to Netflix for streaming for me during all those nasty and/or long treadmill sessions.  Thanks to Dr. Alexis for never telling me that I was crazy when she asked “so, what’s next?”.

How did 2013 go for you?  What was your favorite moment, if you can nail it down to just one.

**  Goodbye 2013, Thanks for the Memories  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Huff 50K Race Review & Experience – 2013

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On Saturday, December 28, 2013, I ran my first official trail race, the Huff 50K.   The “Huff” also offers two other events, a 50K relay and a one loop (10.8 mile) race.  I’ve wanted to do this race for a couple years now because it’s very close to where I grew up and where my family currently lives, plus it lines up well with the fall trail running which I normally do after the Chicago Marathon.  However, I was nervous to take on something so big right before I leave for Disney for the Dopey Challenge.  I was thinking about it, and thinking some more, leaning toward the one loop option, not wanting to do the relay and having to wait around all day for a relay team but also considering the 50K.  I finally decided on the 50K cuz I was healthy and also hoping it would force me to be a bit more serious about my post Chicago Marathon miles and my Dopey training.   Yeah, Dopey didn’t worry me but Huff scared me big time.  So in order to be properly trained for Dopey, I decided to take the plunge on Huff.  I realized this sounds insane but I always downcyle after the CHI Marathon and that’s where my brain wants to go in November and December.   Dopey starts on January 9th so I didn’t have much time to downcyle.  The Huff 50K was essential to put me back in the mental and physical training game and I used it as one massive, slow training run.  I was very cautious and kept it very slow and just celebrated one last last hurrah of a training run before Dopey.  Insane.  I know.  I got it.

Prerace with friends, photo on left:  Austin B, Mike S (Run Nerds Rock), Adella B, Brandi M & me.   Photo on right, a few of the FNRC members who were running:  me, Susan M & Nicole F.

Group Me Sue Nicole

One of the biggest things about Huff is the unknown.  The trail conditions, the weather, the hills, the weather, the miles, the weather, the ability to fuel for the duration, the weather, proper hydration and yeah, the weather.  We totally lucked out because although the Midwest has been hit hard by day after day of sub zero temps this season, Mother Nature brought us a nice warm spell for Huff cuz God NEVER gives you more than you can handle.  We had a balmy 30 degrees at the start and the sun worked it’s magic all day to bring temps up to 45 by the finish.  Weather crisis averted.

My plan, if you want to call it a “plan” was to focus on the fact that I need to run two loops, use the mantra “just two loops!” and move thru the course without thinking too much about mileage.  You know, definitely don’t think about the fact that it was going to be a 31 mile day cuz well that just sounds CRAZY.   I don’t consider myself crazy so I certainly wouldn’t consider running 31 miles for fun.  However, I’d do just about anything for a training run.  🙂  I also had an ace up my sleeve cuz my friend and fellow Team Tough Chik member, Kasey, was also running the 50K and I was thinking we might be a good match to run together IF she wasn’t looking to race the course.  I figured if she wanted to race, then she would just have go without me cuz I couldn’t afford to put too much effort in this event.  I didn’t want to trash my legs and I needed a fast recovery for Dopey.  Slow and steady was the plan.  Walk the hills, run the downs & flats for as long as possible and then just survive.  Meet my partner in pain crime, Kasey.  First pic is on the first loop about mile 4, right before the first amazing aid station.  Second pic is as we started our second loop where were excitedly announced to the world that we ONLY had one loop to run.  Third pic is us running toward the bag drop finishing our first loop.

Me & Kasey   hill  me & Kasey -  just 1 loop me & kasey - running

I can’t really say enough about Kasey.  She had a great attitude.  Promised to be the anchor on my ass me in the beginning when I really just wanted to run fast but knew I couldn’t.  Promised to help me thru at the end when I would surely be in tears struggling.  She sang, danced, laughed, bitched complained, ran, walked, crawled, and ate sour patch kids ….. all in perfect step with me.  When things got rough for one of us, the other person sucked it up, ignored any tears/complaints/profanity and took the lead to keep us moving toward our one and only goal, the finish line.

The first 15.5 mile loop was icy and snowy but the sun was shining.  It was rough on the feet because the frozen trail had zero give and our feet, ankles and the stabilizing muscles/tendons were working overtime.  But it was beautiful.

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The trail was also covered in fallen leaves and hid the roots, rocks and wooden beams that held the trail together on the ups and downs.  We were very careful but still stumbled, tripped and slid on multiple occasions.  Very typical of trail running, which is why hard soled trail shoes are necessary to protect your feet and toes!

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And there were hills.  Lots of hills.  Some little, some big.  Some up, some down.

hill3 bridge & hill hill

There were aid stations about every 4 miles but I highly recommend carrying your own water.  I didn’t, even though I had a water belt with me in my drop bag, and I really struggled with dehydration in that second loop.  The aid stations that were on course were very well stocked with anything and everything a person could want:  water, coke, pickle juice, Gatorade, bananas, cookies (store variety and homemade), pb&j sandwiches, pretzels, chips, fishy crackers, licorice, m&ms – plain & peanut, homemade truffles, hamburgers, chicken noodle soup and other things that I can’t even remember.

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We both utilized the bag drop at the half way point and after a 20 minute layover to fix our feet, change shoes, readjust/shed clothing, potty, eat, text and Facebook (you know the important things) we headed out for the second 15.5 mile loop.  It was pure mud.  The 1000 people between the three races, plus the sun and warming temps had done their job to thaw our frozen trail.  We slid around this loop and sometimes even had to use bushes on the side of the trail to help pull us up the hills.  I was in a total panic, sliding down the hills afraid that I would fall and manage to get hurt and ruin myself for Dopey.  Kasey even offered to throw herself in front of me if I started falling/sliding down the hill to coerce me into going faster break my fall. But I was focused on being overly cautious to avoid a fall/slip.  The theme of the second loop was mud and survival.  I had a very hard time getting thru miles 24-29.  I was all done.  I was tired of the mud.  Angry that we were sloshing and splashing each other.  Angry that 31 miles seemed like a good idea.  But we just kept moving forward, sometimes at a snails pace but relentlessly moving forward.  Mud on the left, me walking down the trail on the right.

mud  Me walking

You might wonder how I got thru that second loop.  I do too.  But really it was from tree to tree.  We ran to the big tree on the left.  Then walked to the multi-trunk birch on the right.  Then we ran to the bridge.  Then we walked to the tree with the funky arm out over the trail.  Then we ran up the hill so we could walk when it was flat and easier.   We did a lot of “this is the last damn time we ever have to run up this hill”.  We probably said that 20 different times on 20 different hills.  We just did it.  One foot after the other.  One tree at a time.  One hill at a time.  One mile at a time. One loop at a time.  No goals other than to finish.  No pressure.  No problem.

And finish we did, in just under 7 hours.  And we were happy.  Really happy.  Mike even waited for us even though he had to wait 2.5 hours after he himself had finished (he ran it in 4:33 and placed 4th in his age group.  Wow.  Great job, Mike & congrats!).

Kasey Me Mike  me & Kasey - medals me & mike

As for the race itself, super organized.  Aid stations with potties about every 4 miles.  One unmanned/no potty aid station on course.  One “pit potty”.  One potty stop without an aid station.  Amazing volunteers.  Amazing trail.  Amazing views.  Variety of terrain from roads to grass to trail to hills to bridges and from lake to lake to lake.  One bag drop at the half way point.  Changing tent.  Chip timing.  Homemade goodies like soups, cookies and candy.  This race really has it all, including multiple race options for whatever distance you are willing to tackle.  I’d absolutely recommend this race to anyone would is looking for an awesome trail run.  It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

Swag = unisex tech tee, cooler bag and a key chain that is a mini replica of our finisher medals.  I love  the key chain!

SWAG

Great race!  Maybe I’ll see YOU in 2014!

** I’m an Ultra Marathoner Now!! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **