Ragnar FL Keys – Runner #1

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As you know, the Ragnar Florida Keys event begins in Miami and finishes in Key West, Florida at the “southermost” tip of the continental United States.  The event covers 196.9 miles over a 24 to 36 hour period.

Ragnar FL Keys_course map

I must say, this route looks as if it can’t possibly be anything but scenic but I am a realist and know that despite the beauty, it will be difficult and windy once we hit the causeways heading toward the Keys.  But still beautiful.

I filled the slot for Runner #1 for our team, 2 Bros & 10 Does.  I’m excited to be leading off the race, starting in “hopefully” nice cool temps at 7:30 am, and getting my first leg out of the way before I lose too much energy to nerves.  Leg #1 is 5.7 miles and designed as HARD, probably because mile 1-3 are on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  There is a steep incline to get onto the causeway (think a very long entrance ramp to a freeway) which I believe I was told would be approximately a mile in length.  Yes, 1 mile of pure burning climb.  Hmmmm….wonder how this will effect my pace?  Once the mile long climb is complete, then it will be smooth/flat running unless the wind pushes me over the edge til I descend & leave the causeway. What goes up MUST come down and that’s what I try to remember as the inclines are zapping all power out of my legs.

Ragnar FL Keys_leg 1

My second leg will then commence after my 12 teammates take a turn killing “a few” miles.  I will be back on the run with Leg #13 in Homestead, FL which also happens to be the hometown of my friend, fellow Tough Chik, & teammate, Angela C over at Life Beyond the Chaos.  Leg #13 promises 8.8 VERY HARD boring miles.  Awesome.  This leg, besides being longish, guarantees an amazing gravel road with large rocks & massive potholes which will be VERY difficult to run.  Sounds great, right?  It could only better if I get to run it in the dark!  According to our calculations, if everyone is on pace which will be impossible, then I will finish this leg at 6:43pm.  So I have a chance of some daylight during this section.  A “chance”.  If everyone is on pace.  Yep, I plan to run it in the dark. 

Ragnar FL Keys_leg 2

My third and final leg of the event looks awesome!  It will be run leg #25.  A “mere” 3 EASY miles.  Elevation change = 0.  Those miles look like a piece of paradise in Marathon, FL.  However, I do wonder how much fatigue my legs will be exhibiting at that point in the event.   Focus on the end beauty, right?  If all  goes well, and we are once again “on pace”, I will be running this section at 8:38 am.  Yep, I’ll plan to run mid morning.Ragnar FL Keys_leg 3

Then I wait til the team cycles thru our 12 runners again and look forward to the finish line ceremony.  At the finish, both vans and all teammates assemble and run thru the finish together for beer and pizza the finisher medals and photos.

Although, it all looks easy enough, I know to expect the unexpected.  Everything matters in relay running:  each runner, weather, elevation changes, fueling, terrain, etc.  If you think of all the random things that can happen to 1 runner in a race, now multiply that by 12.  Lots of variables.  I’ll just be hoping for the best and focusing on hydration and fuel.

**Happy Relay Running** Amanda – TooTallFritz * amanda@tootallfritz.com

In Training, Ragnar Style….

Ragnar FL Keys_ in training

Twenty nine days until I kickoff the Ragnar FL Keys relay for my team, 2 Bros & 10 Does.  I  knew it would come fast with the holidays preceding the race but the time for training is almost gone.  I wish I were faster stronger at this stage of the game but I’m not.  I’ve come leaps and bounds from my “season of injury” and look forward to 2013 and making new memories. 

Ragnar FL starts on Jan 4th and will be an amazing kick off to the new year!  In preparation, I have been building my miles.  Its been a very cautious process with the main focus on healthy running rather than just racking up miles much to my dismay.  I’m on a 12 person team so the mileage requirements are not excessive and I just need to focus on running 3 legs as well as I am able.  The total mileage for those three legs will be approximately 17.5 miles (mileage totals vary per runner). 

If you don’t know much about the Ragnar Relays, here are a few details.

  • Race starts in one location and finishes approximately 200 miles away
  • 12 person teams are the norm
  • 2 vans will carry 6 team members each
  • A 12 person team will require each runner to run 3 different legs
  • No substitute/alternate runners after the race start 
  • If a runner gets injured/sick, the vanmates need to absorb the extra miles
  • Runners need to maintain an 11 minute mile pace
  • Race is nonstop day, night and into the next day
  • Reflective vest are cool, required and save lives
  • Teams support themselves with food/water/supplies
  • Port-O-Pots run out of toilet paper
  • Poor navigation resulting in lost runners/vans is the norm
  • Vans smell bad with nasty runner funk – STAY AWAY
  • Runners will turn on each other from lack of sleep & exhaustion
  • Sleep is off/on or non-existant
  • Showers are improbable
  • Fast teams finish in the 24 hour range
  • Normal/Slower teams finish upwards of 30 to 36 hours

Sounds exciting, right?  Absolutely!  Let’s do it!

In order to train for this event, I am in a different boat than most as I’m still “base building”.  I can’t use an official training plan but wouldn’t anyhow so I’m focused building my base, making sure I can run up to 10 miles at a time since my longest run will be just under 9 miles.  I’m not very concerned about speed as my team is very low key and friendly about pace and I don’t need to worry about blowing the big win for anyone.  I’m just running.

I’m also very focused on running on tired legs.  I’ve been trying to run a little bit, as much as possible, even when I’m tired.  Last week was the first week I added doubles to my routine where I’m running 2x in less than 24 hours.  I only have one weekly double at this point, a WED evening (5pm) run followed by a THUR morn (4am) run but will add in a second double next week.  My rest days will also decrease over the next 3 weeks.  I will have very tired/heavy legs on New Year’s Eve and then the real “party” will begin and I will do basically nothing on Jan 1, 2 & 3.  Then watch me fly off the start line on Jan 4th. 

In order to prepare for a race where you need to give more than the norm, you have to be ready.  You have to be confident you can run hard even when you are tired.  You also have to know your body.  You have to know your recovery interval.  I know that it takes me longer that the young 20 something to recover.  I know that most people would never take almost 3 days off before a race.  I know that this actually works for me and there is nothing that I love better than to be able to start a race, push the limits and not have fatigued legs pushing back.  It’s almost like flying but of course, I had to learn the hard way.  🙂 

Do you ever run “doubles” when training for a taxing event?  What is your ideal amount of time for recovery?

Please note that I’m not a certified running coach, I just try to listen to my body and learn from previous mistakes made by myself and others.  If you need to talk to a certified running coach then please search the Road Runners Club of America “Find A Coach” section HERE.  If you are local, then I know a few in Chicagoland.

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

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts Giveaway

I’m just barely back with the living after being out for days with some sort of nasty cold/respiratory flu.  No idea what it was but my ears are still ringing, my head is still pounding and my throat is still raw.  It is now pretty clear as to why my Sunday afternoon run was so craptastic.   A six miler is just about the perfect distance, not too long and not too short.  However on Sunday, I spent more time walking my country roads hoping my friend Nicki would drive by and pick my up then I did running.  I thought I was exhausted from too much traveling but within an hour of hauling my ass getting home from the “run”, I was very sick and in bed. 

I’m better now and it’s back to business.  What’s up on the agenda?  Another giveaway!  It’s no secret that Aspaeris Pivot Shorts are one of my favorite things.  I wear them a lot for running, working out, and even to bed around the house on those days where I feel like my quads are trashed.  My quads “feel the burn” more than the rest of my body when my miles climb,  I have to really pay attention to recovery.  I’ve found that the best way for me to recover is to use Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

aspaeris button_3a  image

This is why when I joined the ultra team for Ragnar Chicago earlier this year, Aspaeris was the FIRST company I contacted for sponsorship because I knew that I would need help recovering between legs in order to perform to the best of my ability.  Although my Ragnar dreams fell short for Chicago, I’m going to give it another go in Miami next month for the Ragnar Miami to Key West event.  My team, 2 Bros and 10 Does, will be running and recovering in Aspaeris.  Look for us in this kick ass Jeni Healy design below (printed by Family Fan Club)  along with the red Aspaeris Pivot Shorts.   I think we should be easy to spot!  🙂

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For those of you who are new to Aspaeris, these shorts are billed as compression shorts.  While they work like normal compression shorts by compressing the legs/hips/glute muscles to keep the blood flowing for better performance and recovery, these shorts also have an added layer to guide muscles to help prevent injuries.  The official description is below:

Aspaeris Pivot Short™

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts™ are actually two pairs of shorts bonded together. The Outer Short is a high performance compression short designed to support your muscles. The Inner Short features our breakthrough, Dual Sensory Compression Bands™.

These cross-knit bands guide your muscles into the proper position, thereby improving your pivot performance, which helps prevent ACL and hip injuries.

The Aspaeris Pivot Short™ is not an ordinary compression short. Athletes who try the APS™ report feeling more confident in their ‘pivot moves’ and almost all feel more in control without being restricted.

They currently sell for $60 and are available in red, navy & black.  However, the word on the street is that 2013 will bring about some amazing changes for us Aspaeris lovers in the release of Gen2 short.  The Gen2 promises to deliver a better short with “enhanced fabric, fit and compression features”….. see the  excerpt from the press release below: 

The new APS Gen2™ boasts an improved fabric weave with reinforced seams that will extend the compression life of the short, as well as a stylish, colorblock logo. Additional features include a newly designed crotch, comfort waistband, and adjustability of the dual layers at the leg opening. Like the original Pivot Short, the Gen2 has an inner short with Dual Sensory Compression Bands™ that help guide the athlete into proper position while she pivots and runs, which powers performance, speeds recovery, and prevents injuries. The APS Gen2™ will be available in the New Year and will come in black and a newly-released Aspaeris pink. Aspaeris will also offer a special gift certificate for the Gen2 to current Pivot Short users.

So while all of you are whooooooping it up on New Year’s Eve, I’ll be sitting at my computer hoping they launch these shorts so I can get the new generation ASAP.  And yes, I already emailed them and begged them to send me some a “little” early but it was a no go.  Seems like those smarties only have the prototype on hand and its in nude to avoid people like me trying to get a pair early.  Aspaeris Design Team – 1, TTF – 0.  Well played Aspaeris!

If there is any doubt that I absolutely love these shorts then you haven’t been reading long.  I’ve  been EVERYWHERE in these shorts this year.  One of my favorite ways to wear them is under a Team Sparkle skirt!

      2012 Shamrock Shuffle                                 Running For Kicks Fun Run

Maggie Kelly Me                              RFK Winnings

         FNRC Group Run

                         aspaeris pivot shorts_red_3-14-12              

         Quad Cities Marathon Weekend           QuadCities_2012 girls 

I’m super excited about the Aspaeris Gen2 release because I really love the first generation and know that they have really listened to what the customers are looking for:  better wear/tear & more ventilation.  They are taking these shorts to the next level.  I will certainly be ordering the Gen2s as soon as they are available!

For now, we are offering a pair of the current Aspaeris Pivot Shorts in the color and size of your choice for this giveaway.  What do you need to do?  Comment below and you’ll be entered in the giveaway but if I were you, I would also go “like” them on  Facebook HERE so that you can be up to date on the latest news and specials.

If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, then feel free to use the discount code RAGNAR20 for $20 off a pair of these shorts.  Don’t forget to tell Santa, he likes to save a few $$ too!

I will pick a winner via a random number generator on Monday, December 10th at 9am.  Good luck!

** Happy Compression Wearing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

The Cat’s Out….

Yep, I think the Cat’s Out of the Bag ….. I’m running the Ragnar Key West Relay in January 2013.  I just added the tab (above) to spotlight my team.

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I will be kicking off the Florida Keys Ragnar as Runner #1 on Team #521 – 2 Bros & 10 Does.   That’s right, a full  12 person team.  2 men (one per van) and 10 ladies.  Let the good times roll!

We currently have three amazing sponsor to help us thru this journey!   Please get familiar with them because there “might” be a  prize pack or two coming your way from each of them.  🙂

 

      If you need compression shorts to help with performance, recovery & injury prevention, then check out Aspaeris Pivot Shorts!  They will be protecting us during our Ragnar Florida Keys Adventure!

 

 

            Family Fan Club is hooking us   up with everything from personalized race shirts with our team name to decals for our van. You name it, they can personalize it!  I have multiple items which they have done for me (and other teams/running clubs) in the past and I love their product!

 

ShowerPill apparently doesn’t want us to chase away the competition with our running funk.  Do us a favor and get your own so you too will smell fresh and clean throughout the 36 hour event!  Or come and borrow some of ours! 

 

I’m super excited to start this new chapter.  Watch for me to safely start building my miles so that I will be ready to kick some butt in January for my new Ragnar team.  As always, for me its really about the journey and I’m ALL IN.

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

New Adventures…..

A new adventure is underway. 

A redemption run of sorts. 

A new chapter to be written in an old and tattered book.

A new set of friends to be made.

A new goal to be achieved.

A new relay to be ran.

Hmmmm……which one to choose?

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You really didn’t think I’d let this go, did you?  I may have had to sit out of the 2012 Madison to Chicago Ragnar due to a last minute injury (details HERE) but baby, I’m back!  Whooooooop!!

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

I Bid Adieu To….Chick 3

We all know that I’m not happy about it but there is absolutely nothing that can be done, so I packed up my “Chick 3” ensemble tonight to pass on to the newbie runner for Ragnar Chicago Team #85 – You Just Got Chicked.

Chick 3

So much emotion went into the preparation and planning for this team that it seems unreal that it’s no longer on my plate.  I feel as if I section has been torn out of my book and the ending left unknown, questioned and lost.  Super sad.  Loads of tears.

I’d like to send out a few Thank You’s..…..

  • Thanks to the ladies who have already asked me to be part of their 2013 Ragnar teams.  Much appreciated but my wounds are still fresh and well, I can’t walk very well right now so won’t be planning any long distance relays at this time
  • Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and words of encouragement.
  • Thanks to all of you who were scrambling in an attempt to fill my ultra spot on the relay.
  • Thanks to those of you who offered up ideas on SKINNY drinks. 
  • Thanks to Ragnar for sending me such a nice email, informing me that my captain had dropped me from the team.  I got that.  My foot popped, I knew I’d be dropped.  Good times.  Thanks for the info.
  • Thanks to  Aby for limping around downtown with me this week, going to work with me, helping me onto the train, filing, copying and running back & forth to the freezer for my ice bag.
  • Thanks to hubby for pretending he gave a shit cared about the billion tears I cried over a relay that happens EVERY year.  This isn’t exactly the last one, there will be a “few” more!
  • Thanks to BondiBand, Aspaeris Pivot Shorts, Family Fan Club, ShowerPill and Gu Energy for setting up Team You Just Got Chicked to kick some ass have fun in this race.

I hope you all have an awesome Ragnar, if you are running, or kick some butt on whatever you attempt this weekend!  #MakeItCount

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

4 Days til Ragnar – 4 Things For Which I’m Thankful (Injury Related)

This will be my last Ragnar countdown day since I, of course, will not be running.  We finally have a new “chick” to take my place so that removes a huge weight from my shoulders.  I’m incredibly sad over the entire situation but at least my team is now covered.

Since I’m feeling a bit “blue”, I thought it would be good to think of 4 things for which I am thankful in relation to the injury.

Ruptured PF

This rupture, tear, strain, whatever you want to call it, is not optimal as I look at a full calendar of races, the relay, and my most coveted 70.3 events which I will have to miss; however, here are my 4 things positive:

  1. I can finally stop running in pain.  Each day I went out the door, I ran thru pain.  I have been running in pain for over a year.  The $600 orthotics  helped, but to keep it at a bearable level, we have resorted to anti-inflammatories and cortisone shots.  The cortisone was not intended to be a quick fix (until the one we did on FRI in an attempt to get me thru Ragnar, which totally backfired, didn’t it?) but rather a process of decreasing the inflammation and hoping it would heal in the process.  That didn’t work and the pain always crept back.   So now, I have a REAL reason to stop running without feeling like I am copping out or being a wuss.  
  2. Hello, summer!  I plan to spend lots of hours floating in the pool.   This is my favorite type of float cuz it keeps me cool by sinking me in the water while still holding me up!pool float

    In relation to this, I am also thankful that Mr.. Michael is more chill and fun this year.  He loves his sister so much that it takes some pressure off me and will hopefully allow me some float time unlike the last two summersNow let’s just get that cloudiness out of the pool so the fun can begin!

  3. Since there are not any early morning runs in my future, I can also enjoy a few cocktails.  Any low call adult beverage suggestions?                        cocktails
  4. My family is being nice to me.   They are helping and working together to get done all the crap things that mommy usually does herself.               family working together 

  So back to those low cal beverages?  Any ideas?

** Happy Running or Lounging, whatever is in the cards for you this summer! **  Amanda – TooTallFritz

5 Days til Ragnar – 5 Generous Sponsors

Although, my Ragnar dreams are over, we still have 5 generous sponsors who have given a lot to get us to and through our relay journey.

(YOU JUST GOT) CHICKED! – TEAM SPONSORS:

Family Fan Clubis hooking us up with everything from personalized race shirts with our team name (You Just Got) Chicked to decals and magnets for our van, personalized safety vests, headbands, etc. You name it, they can personalize it.   We have even contracted them to do the shirts for our running club.  Lots of options here, check them out!

ShowerPillapparently doesn’t want us to chase away the competition with our running funk. Do us a favor and get your own so you too will smell fresh and clean throughout the 36 hour event! Or come and borrow some of ours! 🙂

If you need compression shorts to help with performance, recovery & injury prevention, then check out Aspaeris Pivot Shorts! They will be protecting us during our Ragnar Adventures!  I love these shorts and wear them under my skirts or by themselves.  They are very versatile.

Check out the awesome fueling possibilities at GUEnergy.com. Don’t run out of energy, we won’t!  Gu covers all areas from energy to hydration while offering a variety of products.  Good stuff and lots of options.

BondiBand.com has some unique & creative but FUNCTIONAL pieces ranging from headbands, to hats, to swim caps. Lots of COOLstuff from BondiBond! Check them out!

A huge shout out and thank you to all of our sponsors!  Thank you so much for helping us prepare for this awesome journey.  Your support has been much appreciated!

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

6 Days til Ragnar – 6 Chicks

So today brings us 6 days out from the start of the 2012 Chicago Ragnar Relays.  And we have 6 chicks that form our ultra team, You Just Got Chicked.

6 Chicks _ red x me

However, one chick…..ME, isn’t going to get to run.  I “may” have mentioned that my Plantar Fasciitis flared up BEYOND comprehension over the last couple weeks.  And we “may” have been trying to get me thru the Ragnar Relays by using the acupuncture, foot manipulation, cortisone shot, ice & motrin but it all blew up this morning.  Quite  literally BLEW UP.  I was running,  a little over a mile from my car, turned around because the pain was so bad that I audibly said, “I can’t do this today”, then about 2 minutes later something popped.  It felt like I got shot in the side of the heel in the arch.  Wow.  I hobbled back to my car and drove bawling straight to the chiro.  I honestly thought I would need surgery but knew she would be honest and tell me what to do and basically not panic like I was at the time.  I honestly thought blood had to be squirting out of my shoe cuz it seemed impossible that something could hurt so badly and not be squirting blood. 

So the “good news” is that nothing is broken.  Although it would heal faster if something had broke.  I don’t need surgery but was told that rehab will be the same as if I had to have surgery.  12 weeks off or I can try to start taping after 2 weeks, keep running which would be stupid and risk further injury.  I was basically told after 2 weeks, if I started up again, I might get another 2 weeks before I was back here or worse.  I think the best case scenario since I don’t get paid to run and TRI, would be to suck it up and take the 12 weeks off.   No Ragnar.  No 70.3 Ironman Muncie.  No Great Illini Challenge 70.3.  No Chicago Marathon. 

At this point it hurts to walk and the main focus is getting the swelling out.  I iced more today than ever before in my life.  I used a bucket of ice, I soaked my foot in our green pool, and I used an ice wrap.

foot in pool with kids foot on ice

So I’m going to focus on walking first and then the rest will come with time.  Or not.  Whatever happens, happens.  If I understand it correctly, all of this is related to the plantar fasciitis and the heel spurs but I have a secondary issue which deals with the muscle or ligament which runs beside my tibia (big bone that most call the shin bone).   This ligament attaches to the heel bone thru the arch.  Well, this has been a very painful tender area and we knew it was a problem but today it reared is ugly head and stated its presence for real.  This ligament is strained/torn/pulled/sprained…..whatever you want to call it.  Doesn’t even matter at this point.  It hurts like a bitch badly.

So, the search is on for a lady runner for our Ragnar team.  33 miles is the distance which needs to be covered over the 30+ hour period.  And yes, the race is 6 days away.  Yes, the race starts in Madison, WI.  If you have an interest in running, message me ASAP.  I need to fill my spot.  I can’t walk so running is absolutely not an option.  Please think and help me fill this spot!

** Happy PAIN FREE Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

7 Days til Ragnar – 7 Things I’ll Be Packing

We are 7 days out from Ragnar Chicago and it was a rough day in TTF land, luckily I had the day off from actual “work”. The day started well when I went to the pool and swallowed a ton of TRI Smart Water.  Wow, they swim fast compared to me.  Wow, they kick up a lot of water in the pool.  Wow, they pull a good current when you are surrounded by 4 of them.  Wow, I suck at swimming.  Wow, I’ve never seen the pool so busy.

After the swim, I only had time to squeeze in a 27 mile ride on the trainer before hitting the chiro.  Today she tried acupuncture since my body doesn’t respond like a “normal” person.  Being special isn’t so great in a situation like this.  I’m gonna post this “needles in the foot” pic again for my mom those of you who don’t have facebook or follow me on twitter.

After the needle fun at the chiro, I went directly to the foot surgeon for a more needle action in the form of a cortisone shot.  He infused the cortisone with an anesthetic in order to numb the foot out for a week or so.  Let’s cross our fingers!  Ragnar here I come…..Dear Foot:  Please comply!

In developing a list of 7 things I “need” that are possibly not going to be in every runner’s bag, I started with the important stuff:

  1. Ice bag.  I have a gel ice bag that I’m planning to beg my teammates to stuff in the cooler.  I need it.
  2. Motrin.  I need it.
  3. Merrill Encore Ice slip-on shoe.  Although this is probably the ugliest shoe I have ever purchased, I’m glad to have it.  I bought it off the clearance rack at REI and it holds my plantar fascia up and keeps my feet feeling “ok”.  I need them.  But they are ugly.  I’m considering getting a sandal just like this too.  🙂
  4. Toothbrush.  I know we won’t be having a lot of time to shower  but I’m hoping to be able to at least brush my teeth.
  5. Tortilla-Peanut Butter- Dill Pickle wraps.  I know this sounds disgusting but I actually like peanut butter and pickles together and I think this will work well for me food wise and I’ll be able to avoid the soggy bread issue.
  6. Rehydrate Energy Gel – This is a new product which totally rocks.  It is easy on my tummy and has an excellent lemon taste.  I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is and am looking forward to our long term relationship. 
  7. A freakin’ AWESOME attitude.  I think this is probably the most important “item” on the list.  We are going to be tired, cranky and the worst thing we can do is take it out on each other or somebody else.  In order to have a good time, each person is responsible for bringing a good attitude.  Ever heard the saying, “if you aren’t having fun, it’s your own fault”?  So let’s bring it, rock this thing and have some fun!!

What would you take on your relay run adventure?

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