Life on the Run … As of Late

Long time, no post.  2018 has been a year of highs & lows.  I have been criticized for not sharing some of the lows but realistically, a lot of it has consisted of family drama and I just refuse to put it out there and give it more life and energy than its already consuming.  This blog is my own. I pay for it.  The lack of sponsors, advertisements and the few ambassadorships that I’m willing to take at this point in time, give me the freedom to post what and when I want.  You’ll never see a paid post here or any content that I do not fully support.  So, what’s going well?  This guy.  Meet Loki.  If you follow me on social media, my Instagram is overflowing with his adorable face.  He makes me smile.  Gives endless cuddles.  Loves to nap.  And just wants to be with me.  Thanks, Loki, you are always a bright spot in my day!!

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What else is happening?  A lot!  After Ironman Lake Placid (read recap HERE), I took some down time, then was expecting to CRUSH the 70.3 distance at the Michigan Titanium race in Grand Rapids, MI on August 19th.  That didn’t go quite as expected.  I had visited a new chiropractor, who specialized in nerve damage (since I’m still having issues with my back and the lack of power in my legs), before the race.  Long story short, new chiro did a number on me that caused some serious damage that took a couple months to reverse.  So, I went to MiTi , not quite realizing how bad I was hurt.  I took a DNF after finishing the bike, which was absolutely agonizing.  I did not do a race report because I didn’t love the race, in fact, I thought some of the logistics were a total nightmare, especially for those traveling solo without a “crew” to help before/after the race.  I didn’t run any of the course, so had zero knowledge of the run segment.  And I don’t like to put negative things out on the net.  I’ve heard nothing but LOVE for the MiTi race, I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to not liking it.  And I didn’t want my lack of love for the race to look like I was just salty over a DNF.  The DNF had nothing to do with the race.  My body was not happy & it was NOT the day to tough it out.

Next.  I was signed up for the Dam2Dam Century Ride in Wabash, IN on September 9th.  I spent most of August recovering from the “incident” with the rogue chiropractor but still went to ride Dam2Dam with a friend, just as a fun ride.  It was fun alright.  After a full night of rain, the roads were very wet.  We left the Y in Wabash a bit ahead of the main group and were dressed in long sleeves & cool weather gear due to drizzly rain and cool temps.  We didn’t even make it out of town.  Around mile 1.27 (of a 104 mile ride), I came down a hill, hit a set of wet railroad tracks.  I went down.  Bounced my head off the pavement and the tracks.  To say that I was “dazed & confused“ from the fall is an absolute understatement.  Concussion. Nothing but sleep followed for weeks.  Thanks Loki, for being such a great cuddle & nap partner.  My family had zero idea what was happening with me.  I didn’t really understand either.  I slept for 20 hrs a day for weeks and everyone, except Loki, just thought I was crazy. PSA …. WEAR YOUR HELMET.  You never know when you are going to take a hit.  That’s why they are called accidents, we can’t predict when they will happen.  My helmet looks like someone tried to knock me off my bike with a baseball bat.  I had scabs on the back of my head for THREE weeks.  We won’t talk about the rest of the road rash.  My helmet probably saved my life.

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So I’m still messed up from the concussion, and I’m now 2 months “post concussion”.  I have issues with memory, counting money, temperature control, sensory issues with loud noise (if you have children, this is non-stop), visually I am bothered by bright and flashing lights, colors, and movement.  Its very easy to get overstimulated (and cranky). I’m tired all the time.  I spend most of my day just waiting to go to bed where its quiet, dark and warm.

I’m improving.  But the progress is slow.  I was planning to attempt to qualify for Boston at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon this last weekend.  It was quite obvious, as the race approached, that I would not be able to sustain the necessary pace.  I can get in a solid 2 hours of running, at or below the required 8:45/mi pace.  But after the 2 hr mark, I just want to close my eyes and lay down.  Whether its lack of fitness for the training I missed.  Or the constant overstimulation of the bouncing people (myself included), bright colors, and constant movement, I  know not.  I only know that I currently do not want to run more than 2 hrs.  That’s what I feel good with and that will be my limit for a while going forward.  I did run Indy this last weekend.  I did finish.  I started slower than the 8:45/mi goal pace & tried to run happy.  But I was not happy.  It was just too much.  I finished.  I ran my 2 hrs.  Then when I wanted to stop, I ran/walked the last half of the race with a HUGE positive split.  I don’t have many rules when it comes to endurance sports but I do have one.  Don’t die.  So I’ll never push myself to the point that I feel like things are dangerous.  Finisher SWAG below.  Loki is wondering why I went to Indy without him and didn’t bring him anything better than this.  He is not amused. But Indy is still a great race.  I’m glad I got to finish something and end the year on a positive note in that regard.

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So, what’s next?  I don’t really know.  I’m registered for a few things.  But I’m going to take some time off and see if I can heal my brain.  Its no fun feeling like this.  I want to get better & I’ve just recently been enlightened regarding the current concussion protocol, so I’ll move forward with caution so that I can be the best PERSON I can be in the future.  I hope you all are having a stellar year!  I’ll catch you on the road soon enough.

** Cheers ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Dam to Dam Century Ride – Wabash, IN

Sunday, I rode my first Dam to Dam Century Ride in Wabash, IN.  It wasn’t only my first D2D but also my first EVER century ride.  I had zero expectations.  My plan was to show up, ride & finish.  Mission accomplished.

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Easy drive to Wabash, IN which is about 80 minutes from my house.  The start/finish & packet pickup were at the local YMCA, plenty of parking and space for the riders.  Packet pick up and breakfast was in the gym.  Well organized.  Fast.  We all received a wristband with a number to call in case we had issues with the ride, our bikes or needed help.  It was a nice touch and one that I certainly appreciated.  I’ve done several organized rides but never one where I felt confident that if I had a problem, someone would actually be able to help. 

I started with the 7:30am crew.  We hit the course early, while the main group started at 8am.  I was happy to get moving. It was cold, low 40s.  Plus, I knew that riding 100 miles would take me just short of forever.  Might as well get started!  We left the Y and started weaving thru Wabash.  I immediately noticed 3 things. 1)  Holy Hills.  We were climbing before our saddles even got warm. 2)  The course was well marked with directional arrows BEFORE the intersection where we would need to turn.  3)  I would be riding 104 miles NOT 100 miles.  Small detail but something I noticed immediately.

It was a beautiful morning.  Cool.  Foggy.  Breathtaking views.  I was happy to be out.  Happy to be riding.  Happy to be tackling something that had been on my bucket list for several years.  Even stopped for a few pictures. 

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And a selfie!  Thanks to Ron at FNA Outdoors for helping me out again this year.  Great guy.  Great bike shop.  Cool gear.  Awesome bike. 

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I rode the 104 mile route.  Aid stations were located about every 20 miles.  Closer in some spots but never further.  The aid stations reminded me of ultra running.  Food, food & more food.  Pic below of the first aid station.  Trail mix, PB&J, cookies, water, Gatorade, tomato juice, pickles, bacon, chips, etc.  Every aid station had different food items, but the food was always plentiful.  If you like ultra/trail runs because of the food, you’ll love century rides! 

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Best part of the day, in my opinion, a field of sunflowers.  So many.  Sunflowers as far as the eyes could see.  I took this while riding and am thankful it wasn’t blurry!

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We rode thru the countryside, across several bridges & dams.  Thru the Salamonie Reservoir & State Park. Red Bridge State Recreation area.  Mississinewa Reservoir.  Past the Stockdale Mill. 

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Once I hit Stockdale, mile 64, I was pretty flat.  I had 3 weeks of building for marathon training & also 3 weeks of building on the bike to be ready for the century.  I was starting to feel it.  I wasn’t exhausted but definitely tired & I had been riding solo for about 10 miles without seeing many other riders. 

After Stockdale, things went downhill fast, mentally.  I was alone.  Fighting some heavy winds.   Mentally breaking down.  I knew it was a mental thing but that didn’t help me get thru it any faster.  From Stockdale to North Manchester, it was a real slog.  As soon as I hit the city limits of North Manchester, a big pack of cyclists passed me.  Then we all hit the aid station at mile 82 together. Riders kept pouring into that aid station while I was there.  Obviously, I hadn’t been out there alone.  I sat for a few minutes, ate 2 brownies, hit the potty, texted a friend that I was on the brink of the “ugly cry”.  Then rolled out, about the same time as 10 other riders.  8 disappeared immediately.  2 were in my sights.  I was not alone.  So I tried to keep those 2 gentlemen in sight.  Helped me focus.  Rolled down the miles a lot faster just knowing someone was close.  Passed thru Largo, then back to Wabash.  We were directed onto a bike path for a short stint.  I was alone again but it was very pretty. 

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Then I made my only directional mistake of the day once I got off the path.  I misinterpreted an arrow.  I crossed the road and started a huge climb up a very ugly hill.  Then I was in a busy part of town.  Then I noticed there weren’t any more arrows.  I messed up.  Thanks to Google Maps, I found my way back to the YMCA.  107 miles total.  Just shy of 7 hours on the bike.  Wow.  Longest. Ride. Ever.

Overall, I was very impressed with D2D.  I’d definitely go back and ride it again.  I’d like to be able to do it as an annual event.  It wasn’t super close to home but manageable.  And it was just a good event from start to finish.  Great directional info, signs, and volunteers.  The aid stations were on point with lots of goodies.  I loved that they were pretty close together, especially when I started to struggle, it helped to know I only had to make it to the next aid station.  The majority of the roads were decent too, which I appreciate.  Great experience, I hope to return next year. 

** Happy Running, Riding OR Whatever YOU Enjoy ** Amanda – TooTallFritz