Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle – Inaugural 100K Ride

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The 2016 Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle was on May 21, 2016.  This was the 3rd year for the Spring Cycle event but the first time adding the 100K distance (62 miles). It was also the first time I participated.  To be honest, I’ve been intrigued by the event in the past, but this year the 100K pulled me in for registration! 

It was a cool, crisp morning on Saturday with temps expected to reach the 70s.  The 100K had 258 participants, who started at 9am.  The remaining 1,050ish participants started at 10am to ride the 10, 16, 34 or 44 mile routes.  Large crowd.  Easy venue for packet pickup & the start, all of which was at the Arts United Center on Main Street in Ft Wayne.  I was happy to have started early because there were several events in Ft Wayne and parking looked difficult as it got closer to the start time.  So many bikes!  The 100K was off at 9am on the dot!  There I am!

Fort4Fitness Cycle_me

The route traveled thru Ft Wayne, out of town and toward Antwerp, OH.  Mostly low traveled country roads and some busier roads with a wide shoulder.  Police at most major intersections.  Course markers both painted on the road, then larger visual signs to help cyclists follow the route.

Fort4Fitness Cycle_map

Four aid stations for the 100K,  one that we hit 2x, one at the turnaround and the last one near the end.  I only stopped at the turnaround point where I was pleased to see that there was NOT a line to the ladies room but the line for the men’s room was quite long!  Such a roll reversal, where were all my lady cyclists for the 100K?  The aid station had bananas, water & Gatorade, snacks and energy bars.  It was a quick in and out and I was back on the road.  The wind was decently strong and it was overcast.  I was wondering if it would rain even though it was starting to warm up.  I definitely wanted to keep moving and get back to the finish area.

The return trip to Ft Wayne took us down some nice roads with the wind at our back.  Smooth sailing for a bit, then we hit Amish Country and the roads weren’t as smooth (read pretty darn rough on my bum) &  there was horse “debris” that we had to dodge.  Not something I’m totally unfamiliar with but it forces me to be extra vigilant.  About this time, we also started meeting the cyclists from the other events.  That was nice.  I tend to fall in a category of my own when I ride.  I’m not fast enough for the fast people and I’m not slow enough for the slower riders.  That means I spend a lot of time pushing alone.  Not a bad thing because I ride for triathlon and we can’t draft.  Plus, the road cyclists make me nervous when they travel in large packs and are so close to each other.  I always worry they will crash and take me with them!  So once I joined the other riders, it was game on, just like a triathlon when we are pushing back to T2 …… “ON YOUR LEFT”.   

I want to shout out all the police and volunteers who helped with this event.  It takes a lot of people to put on a 100K ride.  So many intersections, especially when we traveled thru several towns and the ride started and ended in the middle of downtown Ft Wayne.  Getting back downtown in the afternoon was not an easy task for us or the many police officers who were assigned to help with traffic.  They did a great job and seemed to be patient.  Thanks for that. 

I was all smiles when I hit the finish.  I was ready to rack the bike!

Fort4Fitness Cycle_finish

The finish line festival offered a bike valet so we could rack our bikes, enjoy the expo and go to the finish line party.  I was very happy with that.  I was parked very close to the finish line but would not have stayed if the bike valet wasn’t offered.  The first 1200 participants received a medal & tee shirt.  We also received a picnic lunch (hot dog, chips & a drink) and there was beer to purchase for those who were interested.  However, the cycling was definitely the main event.  It looked as if most rode, ate & left.  Good time.  Good day.  Great support.  Thanks, Ft Wayne!  I’ll be back next year!

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** Happy Cycling ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Favorite Things …. New Edition

I haven’t done a favorite things post in a while!  That’s because I’ve been busying using what I Iove and not deviating from the box.  I’ve dropped a few brands because some of my preferences have changed but if you must know I’m still wearing Athleta & Saucony EVERYTHING, I’ve tossed in a couple pair of 7” Nike Pros, some Gypsy Runner & I don’t run without my Injinji Socks.  Enough said on the “normal”.  Let’s talk about what’s NEW!  And for the record, I’m not an ambassador or affiliate for any of these brands, I don’t have a discount code but if you find one send it to me, and I don’t have free product to give you.  Lame, huh?  Sorry, I’ll try to do better next time.

Tailwind

Tailwind Nutrition – How many of you have this sitting in your fuel drawer but haven’t yet tried it?  I had a few packets sitting for months, like 6+ months.  I didn’t try it til I had enough with my tummy issues.  Tailwind politely calls our tummy issues “gut bombs”.  So appropriate. 

Tailwind is a liquid nutrition that is wheat, gluten, diary & soy free.  It’s 100% natural.  It was designed for people running ultra distance like 50 & 100 mile races but I’m proof that it works great for marathons too!  This product hydrates, fuels & gives the electrolytes needed to race for as long as I like.  Easy to mix, clear since it doesn’t have artificial additives for color & flavor, comes in 7 flavors (one of which is unflavored) and with or without caffeine.  It has the consistency of water and has a light refreshing taste.  Plus it has glucose/sucrose which helps fast delivery of energy to the muscles.  I’ve been low on sugar before while racing and it’s not pretty.  Sometimes the miles & time on our feet get away from us.  Sometimes the heat & humidity take more out of the body than we can possibly understand until it’s too late.  With the constant stream of tailwind going into my system, I feel good, all the time.  Even when those around me are getting sick, crashing & heading for the med tent.  For more info, checkout the tailwind website.  They have more info that I can possibly share, I just know it has worked wonders for me and I’m confident that I’ll finally get that PR that I’ve been chasing. 

FlipBelt Hydration Bottles – Have you seen these yet?  You now know that I’m in love with Tailwind.  The reason it took me so long to try it was because I didn’t want to CARRY IT.  I despise hydration belts with all my being.  I don’t even care if they are good ones that don’t move or bounce.  I avoid them like the plague.  I also dislike handhelds.   And I haven’t had the desire to try a hydration vest.  So when FlipBelt came out with their new hydration bottles, I ordered one before the ink was dry on the website. 

flipbelt bottles

I use my FlipBelt ALL the time.  I load it up for runs & races and go, go, go.  I was hoping it was be just as awesome with the hydration bottles.  It worked great & did NOT bounce.  I was so happy!  I use the 11oz bottle & mix in my Tailwind.  Tip:  If I’m using the scoop out of the Tailwind bag, I also use a baby formula dispenser to get my Tailwind in the FlipBelt bottles.  The opening on the bottle is small, which is good cuz its easy for drinking and carrying, not so good for adding fuel to the bottle!  The bottles are curved to fit snuggly to our body.  I can only carry one 11 oz bottle at a time or I’m not comfortable.  But the Tailwind mixes so nicely, that I put 4 scoops into ONE 11oz bottle for marathons.  That’s 400 calories and I make sure I drink that by the 20 mile mark.  Then I use water on course for extra hydration.  These FlipBelt bottles are a great option for hydration on the go!  Tip:  FlipBelt usually is running some sort of special discount code on their Facebook Page.  Go find them on FB if you are looking for a discount!

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Eagle Creek Pack It Sport Bags.  I had never heard of Eagle Creek until a couple weeks ago when they sent the RockNBloggers some free stuff.  It was right before I left for my double marathon weekend & I tweeted out a pic real quick, packed up the bags to go & I left.  I had zero idea how helpful they would be for that race weekend. 

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They sent me a large Foot Locker that fit shoes up to size 11.  I always have more than one pair of run shoes for these big weekends but the plan is to race in one shoe unless there is a problem.  I was able to put my main pair of shoes in the locker, plus I added my watch, fuel, socks, calf sleeves and FlipBelt to the foot locker.  Super easy. I pulled it out on race morning and had everything I needed for the run other than my clothes.  VERY nice having everything in one place!  Quick pics below before I stuffed the rest of the goodies into the shoe locker.  Lots of room.  Sealed up the shoes and the smell (if that’s an issue). 

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The real gem of this collection was something I didn’t use initially when I packed up.  It was the large Fitness Locker.  I took this with me for my dirty run clothes.  It’s water proof & antimicrobial.  I was thinking it would be prefect for my wet, nasty marathon clothes.  Little did I know how much I would need it.  There was non-stop rain at the Kentucky Derby Marathon.  Upon finishing the race, I had a wet singlet, bra, shorts, compression sleeves, socks, flip belt & visor.  Normally, I would have been thieving the bag in our hotel room that’s reserved for dry cleaning, but not this time.  I threw ALL those clothes & the visor into the Fitness Locker and zipped it up.  Done.  No wetness.  No smell.  Then I threw the Fitness Locker in my gym bag with all my other CLEAN clothes & zipped everything up. 

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Then we headed over to Cincinnati, where I did it all again.  Got done with the Flying Pig Marathon the next day.  No rain but this time we had heat, humidity, sprinklers & water hoses.  Same scenario when I got back to the hotel.  I was drenched, my clothes were drenched.  So I grabbed the Fitness Locker, which didn’t smell at all from the Derby race, and unzipped it to add the clothes from Flying Pig:  wet singlet, bra, shorts, compression sleeves, socks, flip belt & visor.  The bag was now full with 2 full sets of wet clothes but it easily zipped & I tossed it into my regular bag with the remaining clean clothes.  Easiest travel I’ve ever had with wet, gross, dirty clothes. I’m very happy to add these Eagle Creek Pack It Sport bags to my travel collection.  Check out their website if you need help organizing your fitness clothes & gear or need to transport wet/gross clothes to and from the gym or while traveling.  Prices are very reasonable and that is the best part!

Okay, that’s the latest edition of my “Favorite Things” list.  I think these are all relatively new products that are noteworthy.  I hope they help you as much as they have helped me.

Do you have any new products that you’re loving?  If so, let us know in the comments below!

** Happy Running & TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

CrossFit Endurance – Week 2

The past week has been a blur.  Michael brought home the flu last week and I’ve been sick on and off since last THUR night.  When my alarm rang on Tuesday morning at 4am, I was not feeling good but decided to go to CF Endurance since it only meets 2x per week.  I REALLY did not want to miss it.  I want, no, I NEED to regain my strength.  It’s important to me for a lot of reasons.  In my world a strong body is way more important than a thin one.  Ever heard the quote, “Strong Is The New Skinny”?  Strength, both emotional and physical, that’s what motivates me.  What motivates you?

Dont Wish It Were Easier

Regardless of what I wanted, heading to CF Endurance on Tuesday was not the smartest move.  I choked on just about every aspect of the workout, including the warm up.  I was absolutely exhausted, had zero energy and just about as much focus.  I look back at the pic of Tuesday’s white board and can hardly even remember anything other than how fatigued I felt.  Thank goodness I was back on track today!  Here is a recap of what CrossFit Endurance at CrossFit Tactical Strength in Ft Wayne, Indiana looked like for Week 2.

Week 2 – TUE 5:30am

Warm Up – Squats – 30/20/30  – Initially with bands around our knees, no weights, then we added in a weight bar.  I think.  I was already exhausted by this time and we hadn’t even gotten started.  I remember that we counted.  Out loud.  Together.  And I didn’t want to even do that.

Strength – Box Squats – 10 minutes.  We started with the bar only, 33#s for my group, then did a back squat onto a box (or bench for those of us who are extra tall).  Progressed by adding weights, 10#s each side, 53# total.  The first graphic shows the movement, the second shows the form better on the back half of the movement.  Goal being a good squat and to load the glutes & hamstrings, not the quads.

CF_Box Squats   CF_Box Squats2

Sumo Deadlifts – New skill for our newbie class.  Bar only.  Progression on the squat movement.  It was a bit of a struggle for me because I’ve only done traditional deadlifts.  So I wasn’t keeping my feet far enough apart or getting my knees out enough.  Here is a great explanation from PeakPerformance365 on the difference between the two deadlifts.  Graphic below is from the same source.

• Conventional deadlift. Conventional deadlifts place more emphasis on the back and spinal erectors (posterior chain). If you have a very strong lower back there is a good chance that you will be able to deadlift more using a conventional stance. (Body structure will also come into play)
• Sumo deadlift. Sumo deadlifts shift some of the emphasis to glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips and upper traps. If you are experiencing lower back issues, or have a history of lower back problems, sumo deadlifts may be a better option.

Traditional deadlift pictured on the left.  Sumo deadlift on the right. 

CF_Sumo Deadlift

Accessory Work – Jump Ropes – Skips – Foot work

Metabolic Conditioning – AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) – 3 min.  10 Sumo Deadlifts, 10 Push Ups.  Rest 1:30, repeat.  Yeah, I was exhausted way before this.  I “lucked out” and got the bigger bar for deadlifts, so that was already 45#s, then I had to add 10#s per side.  Not my idea, ok.  And I didn’t use my words and say this was too much for my ailing body.  My bad.  So I was 65#s with the Sumo Deadlifts and I didn’t do well.

Week 2 – THUR 5:30am

Feeling better today and we are finally starting to move into some real workouts.  I was super happy about our WOD today, or the “Met Con” section as they call it at this box.  This was our 4th class and it’s good to see that we are getting somewhere, slowly but surely. 

Warm Up – 4 Rounds – 10 seconds ea:  Jumping Jacks, Air Squats, Mountain Climbers, Lunges.  All traditional things, only twist was with the Mountain Climbers.  We had to take our forward leg OUTSIDE our arms.  Made it way tougher and very awkward.  Great image from CrossFit Oakgrove below to show the exaggerated movement.

CF_Mountain Climbers_CF Oakgrove

Mobility – Hip Distractions with a slight variation to work on additional flexibility to ankle.

Strength – Push Press.  12 min.  33# bar, progress to 10# weights on each side.  53# total.  Yay, something I recognize!  Graphic below from CrossFit Gardendale.

CF_Push Press_CF Gardendale

Metabolic Conditioning – 3 Rounds – AMRAP in 1:30:  Sled Sprint + Max Ring Rows.  Rest 1:30, repeat x3.   Working on anaerobic threshold.  Short burst of intensity to exhaustion and it worked.  I couldn’t breath after pushing the sled.  And I could barely pull myself up for the ring rows.  Plus they wanted us super low on the ring rows so it was even harder.   Sled image first, we used one 25# plate and that was plenty.  I liked this graphic because the lady is pulling her knees up high (like a sprint), which was what we were supposed to be doing.  Ring Rows second, old pic of me at CrossFit New Lenox when I was thinner and stronger.  We were lower today, or supposed to be closer to the ground with out feet out further.  Tough.

CF_Sled Sprints   CF_ring rows_me

And that’s a wrap for Week 2.  So far, I’m super happy.  This is definitely different than what I did at CF New Lenox but it’s good.  The current Endurance course is like a cross between personal training, physical therapy and CrossFit.  We are spending a lot of time now trying to get critical movements to become second nature as our muscles build memory.  After that we can build with more skills, or add onto the basic skills for more complex movements.  I look forward to where we are headed!  How about you?  Crossfit?  Love it or Leave it?

** Trying to Get Strong (AGAIN) ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Work In Progress …..

I wanted to touch base with all of you today and talk about a few things.  So many of my blogger friends, run friends & Facebook friends are just killing it right now.  I mean KILLING IT.  Running killer times.  Lifting heavy weights.  Qualifying for Boston.  Conquering new and horrific challenging distances. And I’m proud of them.  They worked hard and they deserve everything that comes to them and more.  But there is a whole group of us, myself included, who are also working hard but it doesn’t look quite as great on paper.  That’s because we are a Work In Progress.  And let’s be honest, some of us will forever and always be just that …… a Work In Progress.

Work In Progress

Social Media can be as great as it is horrible.  There is so much to motivate us and even more to tear us down.  Let’s build our network accordingly.  Keep the motivators, get rid of those who spew negativity toward us and others.  Focus on what we can control.  Identify our weaknesses.  Be positive.  Know that things don’t change over night.  Fitness, life, parenting and work can be hard and getting where we want to go can be a painfully slow process.

Slow Process

In real life, there are road blocks. U-Turns.  Detours.  And people who want to tear us down, possibly because they are miserable and too afraid to chase their own dreams.  They see us “going for it” and call us selfish, bad mothers, single-minded and/or obsessed.  Well, they are right, I am obsessed.  I’m obsessed with my own personal wellbeing.  Obsessed with wanting to be the best person I can be today, tomorrow and well into the future.  But I still have to take the detour like everyone else.  Life is hard.  It’s how we chose to react and handle what is thrown our way that defines us as people.

road block

Don’t let the fear stop you from chasing down what you want.    Don’t let the excuses build a wall around you.  Don’t let stress be an enabler.  Think for a minute.  What’s the plan?

  1. What can I control?  ANS (for me):  Only my actions and reactions.
  2. What is my weakness?  ANS:  I’m a stress eater and let my emotions enable binge eating.
  3. Be positive –   I always get in my workouts, even when everything else is falling apart.
  4. Know that things don’t change over night –  I’ll keep chipping away at fitness even when it seems like my goals are hopeless.  I’ve created mini goals to keep things focused and manageable.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve been in a period of constant change, chaos and struggle.  I look back at the “easy days” longingly and wish that just a fraction of the easiness would return to our lives.  I know that it will.  I have faith that better times are ahead but for now, I’m focusing on what I can control.  I’m doing pretty well with my food, except for the bags of mini health bars that hubby keeps bringing home for me.  Unfortunately, today I told him not to bring them home anymore because they are the TTF kryptonite.   Sad smile  More salads, fresh veggies, spaghetti squash dinners.  Less Heath Bar candy. 

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More StairMaster and Strength Training, less mindless running.  I can barely move my 35# kettlebell at this point and that makes me sad. 

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And most of all, no matter what, I refuse to give up.  Even if I never get back to where I “once was”, I’ll keep working toward new goals.  Pursing new things with dogged determination because I know that for me, fitness is about more than the size of my jeans and more about the state of my mind.

Workout for Me

I’m a Work In Progress and I’ll never give up ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Hidden Treasurers …. The Spencerville Covered Bridge

I took all of 2014 off cycling due to the sudden move from IL to IN.  The stress of finding a new house while packing up the IL home.  All while working full time.  Being a full time mom with a hubby who had pretty much already moved ahead of us for work.   And let’s not even talk about how crazy long it took to complete the move itself.    I basically didn’t do much last year other than run to maintain sanity, then try not to lose my mind while I wasn’t running ….. and I didn’t even do that very well.  Regardless, since last August, I’ve been running on my country roads here in rural Indiana.   Should be boring, right?

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Wrong.  I’ve had a couple close calls where I was almost struck by unaware motorists.  One time a lady was so close to me that I could have reached into her car and touched her child who was riding passenger.   Did she see me?  Probably not.  Was the sun in her eyes?  Maybe.  Or was she trying to teach me a lesson to “get off the road”.  Possibly.

As a result, I was a bit worried about getting my bike out.  In fact, I was scared.   While running, I’m legally obligated to run facing oncoming vehicular traffic.  While cycling, I’m legally obligated to ride with vehicular traffic.  Blind to what is coming behind me.  Blind to the fact that someone may be unaware that I’m on the road.  On a bike.  Vulnerable.  At His mercy.  If it weren’t for my love of triathlon; I’d probably have left my bike on the trainer again for 2015.  But I’m signed up for Ironman 70.3 Steelhead.  And I must ride.  Outside.  On the road.  In the wind.  Up and down whatever hills I can find.  Alone.

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All of a sudden, I remember how much I love cycling.  How much I love my bike.  How great it is to fly down the hills.  How horrid it is to struggle UP the hills.  How freeing it is to be able to ride for hours on end to parts unknown.  On one of my recent rides, I went looking for something that I had read about, in a small town near my home.  A covered bridge.  Indiana is known for it’s old covered bridges (98 in all) but I had no idea that one was so close to my new home.  The Spencerville Covered Bridge was built in 1873 and it’s a mere 11 miles from my house!

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A hidden historic treasure.  Basically in my backyard.  One that not many locals think about since traffic has long been rerouted away from the bridge to protect it from overuse, modern vehicles and big massive semi trucks that have previously damaged this old girl.   Now she just sits awaiting our arrival.  While I was there multiple people pulled up and snapped pics.   One couple even lingered, looking at this piece of modern day history, walking the interior planks.  There is a small parking area on the east side of the bridge for those who want to do more than just drive by.  If you are in the area, go check it out!

I’m thankful to be back on the bike.  I’ve been trying to ride more and run less.  Easier said than done for this runner.  But I’m enjoying the journey.  Enjoying my bike and the wind in my hair.  I love finding hidden treasures like the Spencerville Covered Bridge.  I enjoy riding new roads and finding new routes, particularly if there are a couple hills on which I can practice climbing and shifting. 

** Get Out and Find YOUR Local Hidden Treasurers!  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Winner–ShowerPill Wipes!

I’ve been a busy bee so am just now pulling winners to the ShowerPill giveaway!

I drew 2 winners via a random # generator.  Winners are #8 & #14.

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#8 is Whitney from Racing The States!

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#14 is Lisa (verdon1124)

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Congrats, ladies!!  Please email (amanda@tootallfritz.com) your mailing address so we can get the ShowerPill wipes sent out to you!

For everyone else, we can order ShowerPills for ourselves OR maybe our favorite runner using the 10% off Discount Code:  runner10.  Order HERE.

Happy Holidays – Amanda – TooTallFritz

Shower Pill Giveaway & Discount Code

We are at that time of year where everyone is looking gifts.  Do you need a gift for a special runner friend? Being Santa is fun but only when you get to give something that someone actually wants without spending a fortune.  Enter one of my favorite items for running, triathlon and being active.  ShowerPill.

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ShowerPill has fast become the number one body wipe on the market for active people.  Toss out the baby wipes unless you have a baby to clean up and grab a Shower Pill! 

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Seriously, I don’t leave home with out my ShowerPill wipes.  I have some in my purse.  I have some in my car.  I have some in my gym bag.  If you travel with me to events, you know that we run and then immediately go home to the family.  More often than not, that means no shower.  After 2-8 hours of fun, strenuous running or TRIing, nobody wants to get in the car without a shower.  I’ve used ShowerPill wipes on so many occasions but here are a few standard uses:

  • In my car after a TRI while changing;
  • In a parking garage, standing behind my car, while changing;
  • In a port-o-potty while changing after a hard race;
  • In the bathroom at my office after a lunch run;
  • In the gym cuz I didn’t have time to shower before running off to an appointment;
  • After workouts before getting in my car to drive the short distance home because I couldn’t stand the smell of myself;
  • In an airport after long hours of air travel and airport time.

ShowerPill wipes are not only for freshening up but also a way to kill bacteria on your body.  You will be clean.  Smell good.  And kill germs.

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ShowerPill is an antibacterial wipe for your body.  It is like wiping down with soap and water which leaves skin feeling clean, fresh and moisturized.
One ShowerPill sport wipe cleans your entire body.  It will save you time, decrease the chance of skin infections and keep you fresh & clean when a “traditional shower” is not possible.
-Extra thick like a washcloth
-Kills 99.99% of germs including Staph
-Aloe Vera & Vitamin E
-Quick dry solution, no sticky residue
-Light fresh scent
-Hypoallergenic & Gentle on Sensitive Skin
-Paraben & Alcohol FREE

 

ShowerPill has generously agreed to give a box of ShowerPill wipes ($9.99 value) to TWO winners!  If you would like to win a box of ShowerPill wipes, please make a comment below and tell us what you do now to freshen up when a shower isn’t an option?   Giveaway starts now and goes until Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 11am at which time two winners will be selected via a random number generator.

If you want ShowerPill wipes NOW for one of your favorite runners, please order HERE, use the 10% off Discount Code:  runner10.

Previous Review of ShowerPill wipes HERE

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Ryders Eyewear – Via Photochromic Review

As most of you know, my eyes are super sensitive.  I wear sunglasses, or use a visor, or BOTH, almost all the time.  It’s not that I’m trying to be cool but to protect my eyes.  Ryders Eyewear recently released a new model and sent me some to check out.  Here are the new Ryders Via Photochromic sport sunglasses.

Ryder_Via2

This is the white/yellow combo.  The lenses are tinted but not too dark so if you are running the woods, like I am usually doing, then you can still see!  Plus the photochromic lenses lighten and darken with the change of natural light so you aren’t looking thru dark black lenses in low light.

I’ve tested these babies several times.  I like that they are white and match everything.  However, if white isn’t for you, they have several other options too! 

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Yes, color & style matter to almost everyone.  They are stylish!  I also like that they aren’t too tight on my face so that when I’m all sweaty, they aren’t sticking to me.  I also love how the photochromic works automatically and I never even notice that the lenses are changing tint.  You can see in the photo below how much darker the lenses are than above …. pretty cool! 

Ryder_Via  

They are just perfect for running/riding thru the woods on my local trails!  I don’t miss a thing and that’s super important because I want to see all the amazing view that the trails have to offer! 

Hickory Creek_June 2014_stream

One thing that I was concerned about initially was the nose pads stick out a bit and aren’t the ones that are flush with the glasses.  I take my glasses on and off quite a bit for pictures and when I’m talking with people.  I just like to look people in the eyes so feel awkward talking up close with someone THRU a pair of sunglasses.  Just me, I know.  So I was concerned that the nose pads would get stuck in my hair, but they don’t. 

Ryder_Via_in hair

As always, Ryders Eyewear has delivered another pair of top notch glasses.  I use Ryders exclusively for running and biking.   They are comfortable.  Fit my face.  Don’t bounce or fog.  Scratch resistant.  Shatter proof cuz yeah, I’ve been known to crash a time or two.  Plus they offer my eyes UV Protection!  Great glasses and I’m happy to add the Via Photochromic to my collection.  Thanks, Ryders!   Feel free to purchase yours HERE!  $89 for the photochromic & $49 if you don’t need the tint to change. 

** Run & Bike with Ryders Eyewear** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

PR, PB, PW, PDR ….

Hung up on the numbers, are we?  It seems like we can’t even talk about running much anymore without people asking about the numbers.  What was the time?  Was it a Personal Record (or Personal Best)?  Heaven forbid it might have been a Personal Worst!  Or was that a Personal Distance Record?   No, No, and No.  Once we reach a certain point in our running, or if we run a lot, or if we’ve done this for years, then honestly, there won’t be a “record” at every race.  In fact, I go YEARS without achieving new records of pace, time or distance.  And normally when I toe the start line, it has nothing to do with the clock and everything to do with the experience and the people around me.

keep perspective_personal best

I measure my success in other ways that may be a bit less “traditional”.  My LIFE GOAL is to stay active.  I want to move.  I want to keep moving NO.MATTER.WHAT.  Regardless of pace.  I want to move.  When I’m fast.  Or slow.  Or tired.  Or overweight.  Or overwhelmed. Or depressed.   I need to keep moving because it makes me feel better in all aspects of my life, especially when things aren’t going great “in the real world”.  So, yes, sometimes I do record a personal best but that might be a PB in the amount of drive and personal determination that it took to conquer an event and make it all the way to the finish line.  Sometimes a magnanimous amount of effort goes into something and that effort won’t always be appropriately reflected in the number that stares back at us on the clock.  I encourage you to let go of the number on occasion and just revel in the accomplishment.  And realize that your personal best TODAY may not be the same as yesterday and it certainly won’t be the same as tomorrow.  Give what you have to give today.  Then dig a little deeper.  And be proud.  NO.MATTER.WHAT.

Be your personal best

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As runners, we are at the point of the year where many of our friends are “running off” to Boston.  Our fast friends are heading east to run one of the oldest and most prestigious marathons in history.  It’s one race which many of us may never run because we may never qualify.  It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others at a time like this.  It’s hard not to wonder how they can do it when maybe we can not.  But comparing ourselves to others, particularly our fast friends, will only bring us down.

comparison

Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how big or how small.  Be happy for others who have met their goals but also know that all of your goals are also within reach.  Acknowledge that we all live different lives.  We all have different ability levels.  We all have different body types.  We all have different genes ….. some of which are speedy genes and some of which are more relaxed and laid back.  Smile  Focus on experience.  Focus on a goal that will make you happy.  Focus on something that is achievable with hard work.  Know that a distance goal for one is absolutely unrealistic for another.  Know that a time goal for one is out of reach {or even way to easy} for a friend.  Praise others for their accomplishments and don’t forget to be proud of where you are in your journey, no matter where you are headed or how far you have left to travel.  PRs, PBs, PWs, PDRs ….. are all that …. PERSONAL.  We strive for different goals for different reasons because we are all different people.  Our reasoning is personal to each and everyone of us.  Don’t let the accomplishments of another mar your PERSONAL goals and achievements.  Keep pushing toward your dream(s)!

** Put your PERSONAL BEST Forward, Each & Every Day …. Regardless of What the Results Yield ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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How to Manage the “Big” Goal or Race

I know a lot of people who are staring down really big goals and really big races.  Runs that are longer than anything they have ever done.  Multisport events which just seem to keep getting longer and longer.  Some are nonchalant about the approach of their big day while others are scared shitless

if your dreams__

A way to manage the “big” day or even the “big” training plan is to break it down into manageable sections (see my Baby Steps post). Just like we don’t stress about what we actually owe on our homes {with interest}, we don’t look at 13.1, 26.2, 31, 50, 62, 70.3, 100 or 140.6 as a whole.  That would just be scary.  And overwhelming.  Let’s just take it one day at a time.  One mile at a time.  One section at a time.  For example, I’m running a 50K this weekend.  It super scary for me if I think about the fact that I’m going to be running 31 miles especially with so few March miles under my belt.  So I don’t think about it.  I just focus on the fact that I’ll be covering 3 loops with my friends.  I’ve even started using the hashtag  #JustThreeLoops, not only for myself but for my friends who may be a little overwhelmed with what we are about to accomplish. 

When I’m using a big training plan, I don’t look at the entirety of the plan but rather just one week at a time.  Sometimes just one workout at a time if the long run scares me.  I don’t want to spend all week worrying about the 16 miles I have to run on SAT.  So I don’t.  I know that I need to run long on SAT, I’ll just peak at it toward the end of the week so that I can carve out enough time and set up a plan and a possible run partner. Why be all stressed about what is to come?  I think we have enough to stress about in our lives.  Remember, running is fun.  It’s supposed to help us focus and eliminate stress.  If you’re a mom, this is probably the only social time that you will have all week so think about how lucky you are to be able to get out of the house even if you did have to sneak out when the little “angels” were sleeping to spend time with your friends.

run

When the day finally does arrive for that long run or ride, break it down into manageable chucks.  A 16 mile run is an 8 mile out and back.  Run the first 8 miles enjoying the trail and the surroundings.  When the turnaround arrives, stop, stretch, send praise to God for your health, strength and not only the ability but the DESIRE to run.  Then plug into some music and cruise that last 8 miles back to your car.   Same with race day, start the race without music and just absorb everything and be thankful. Break the race down into small chunks.  It’s 5 miles until I see my BFF who is working aid station X.  It’s 3 more miles until we run down my favorite street of the entire marathon course.  It’s 4 miles until I see the the  Yankee Runners; I hope they are handing out ice this year!  It’s 2 miles until Pilsen and that’s always fun, plus has some shaded areas!   I may have broken a marathon like Chicago down into 10+ chunks.  I just run from one thing to the next. I do what I have to do to keep moving!   If it’s a race I’m not familiar with, then sometimes I break the race down by water stations.  I just need to run to the next water station, then I can get water and walk thru if I’m not feeling good.  Or I’m going to run until I see the next lady in a sparkle skirt and then I’ll take a short walk break.  Use your imagination.  Keep your brain actively engaged and focused so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

Running is Symbolic

Most importantly, be confident.  Know that you trained for the big day or maybe you are in the process of training.  If you put in the work, you will be physically ready for the task at hand.  Training plans are popular for a reason and that’s because they work.  Believe it.  Know it.  You are ready.  Know that you are strong enough, tough enough, and trained enough to handle whatever the day brings you. 

strong enough

Need a bit more work on the confidence part?  Yeah, me too!  Here are some related posts below to help bolster you for your next big run or race or even in the game of life. 

  • Strong Enough – Are you or a friend struggling with confidence?  This is more life related than running but focuses on the helping others, not judging and remembering that nobody is perfect but we need to own that fact that each and every one of us is ENOUGH.
  • Be a Badass, Not a Victim – Has a safety theme but more importantly drives home the point that confidence is key in every aspect of life.  It can change your life and you may never even know it.
  • Invest in Yourself – This is all about the things you can do to be  more confident.  It’s focused on loving yourself, just the way you are now!  It’s focused on fostering positive relationships and habits which make YOU feel good about YOU.

Now go chase down your dreams, no matter how big or small.  Be strong.  Be confident.  Break your “big” thing down into manageable chunks so that you can methodically check it off in segments.  You can do it.  I know you can.  You know you can.  And just remember that when it gets ugly, cuz that will undoubtedly happen, sometimes the best thing you can do it put your head down, pull your hat a little lower over your eyes, and just keep moving.  Eat up the pavement with your eyes and just stop worrying about everything other than the very next step. 

** Manage  Your Goals, One Step At A Time ** Amanda – TooTallFritz