Ragnar Chicago–Part II–Recap

I gave you a taste of the Chicago Ragnar Relays last week HERE.   It was a great experience and one where I can say that both myself and my teammates walked away with a new understandings of ourselves, our level of determination, and a certain respect for what each person was willing to sacrifice in order to finish this event.  I absolutely admire and adore each of these women because they chose NOT to give up but rather to stay and run each and every mile of the event from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL.  We started as 6 Ultra Badass Babes.

Start

We finished as 5.

Ragnar CHI_finish_official

Runner/Babe #5 started her 12+ mile leg in the middle of FRI afternoon.  Ran well.  Ran happy.  We supported her.  We offered & she accepted cold water.  We offered encouragement and forced her to drink and dose herself with water to protect her from the 83 degree heat and full sun.  But it wasn’t enough.  Babe #5 finished her run with a smile but soon thereafter succumbed to the horrible symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration.  Babe #5 was admitted to the hospital where she could recover in a safe environment.   We were sad to see her go.  We were sad to “leave” her behind but we had a runner out on the trail in “somewhere” Wisconsin and it was impossible to be everywhere at once with one van and only 5 babes left to run the remaining 137 miles.  Goodbye Babe #5.

Christy

I’ll admit, it was a little bit of a party in the beginning.  A celebration of sorts that we were actually running Ragnar after all the talking, planning, and training.  However, things turned serious after Babe #5 left.   No more marking “killz” on the van window.  No more checking off runs.  No more counting down to the finish.  Much like a marathon, we took it one mile at a time.  We were also hyper aware that if we lost one more person that it was over.  Like really over.  I’m not sure any of us really believed that we would be able to finish with the remaining 5 but we were all experienced runners.  We were all moms.  We knew that if we breathed a word of doubt that it would take life and wreak havoc.  The mind is a powerful thing and keeping it in check is sometimes the hardest part.

So we ran.  Mile to mile.  Exchange to Exchange.  Ragnar sign to Ragnar sign. 

one mile to go   right

And we kept passing off that damn bracelet.  (Stock photo, I neglected to get a pic of our bracelet AGAIN).

ragnar-bracelet

Our original plan was for each babe to run 2 Ragnar legs at one time, so that each person only ran 3 times.   Yes, only 3 runs but double the mileage.  This was our first mistake.   While it looked good on paper, it was just too many miles during the heat of the day.   So the babes who were running late morning and into the late afternoon really bared the brunt of the heat wave and it was not a good thing.  Each of those babes came off their runs in poor shape.  Hot.  Miserable.  Bitchy.  Dehydrated despite all attempts to keep them fueled and hydrated.  Each one suffered mild signs of dehydration & heat stroke & we had a bunch of really MUSHY tummies.   Because of their experience, most of them were able to force themselves to eat, drink and get themselves back on track quickly.  Not a fun game but we played it.  Over.  And over again.  And we just kept running.

Needless to say, our brains eventually activated once they cooled off and we threw our predestinated scripts run mileage charts aside.   Each babe got out of the van when it was her turn and ran what she could.  We didn’t care if she ran 3 miles or 10 miles.  We just focused on moving toward that finish line.  We didn’t want any one babe to run more than she could handle because as was previously stated, if we lost one more babe, we would have been done.  So we just kept moving  Kept supporting each other.  Kept checking on one another.  Kept running, walking, crawling toward the finish. 

The nighttime hours were hard.  They are hard in any relay race.  However, we had a van full of middle aged moms and well, we don’t stay up at night.  We go to bed with the kids.  So once 9pm rolled around it got hard.  11pm was bad.  1am sucked ass.  I got out of the van to run at 2 or 2:30am to run 7 miles and it was basically a WTF moment.  WTF was I thinking.  WTF made me think we could do this with 5 babes.  WTF was going to make my body RUN in the pitch black night thru the middle of Wisconsin.  WTF was going to make my blistered plantar fasciitis feet move it for 7 miles.   I was tired.  Discouraged.  Hurting.

But as with everything, it all worked itself out and eventually the sun came up.  The sun always comes up if we can wait long enough, right?  Well, it came up.  And while it was dark we figured out the answer to riddle.  Just run.  No expectations on anyone.  Just run.  No judgment.  Just run.  No mileage requirements.  Just run.  Just run.  Just run.  And look badass while walking running.  Smile

Ragnar CHI_2014

Once the sun came up, it’s a bit of a blur.  We were all exhausted.  We had picked up a bit of a routine.  Once a babe finished running, she would hydrate, fuel, stretch, relax, and eat real food.  Then she would try to rest.  After resting, she would drive or navigate.  One babe was always running.  One babe was always “on deck” with running shoes on and fuel belt filled, ready to jump in at any moment when Runner Babe called it quits.  It worked.  And we kept moving toward the finish.  One mile at a time.  Then I saw it. 

seeing chicago

I saw Chicago, across the beach and beyond the tress.  And I knew we’d make it.  I admit, I started crying.  That was the first realization that we were going to finish.  I knew we’d make it.  Pure relief.  And soon enough we were Ragnar FINISHERS.  A mere 5 of us babes.  I understand that other teams may have done it with fewer but this was a real accomplishment for us.  Finishers.

Ragnar Finisher

We had some help a long the way.  We had three generous BADASS sponsors. 

Bondi Band – Compression Socks 

bondi band socks_badass2Start  bondi band socks_badass 

Family Fan Club – Custom Design Shirts & Van Decals

Ragnar Start Selfie   shirts-decals 

Relax Reflect – BADASS reflective tights & gear.  Buy your badass tights HERE!  Super cool!  Men & Women’s styles.

badass tights  badass tights2 

Huge thanks to everyone who made this Ragnar Chicago experience possible.  From our sponsors, to our volunteers (Colleen, Nancy & Tammy), to our husbands and/or family/friends who helped with the kids, helped to shuttle us around and helped by sending well wishes and prayers, we thank you ALL. 

Ragnar Chicago is in the books.  It’s was an amazing accomplishment by 5 amazing women.  Not one of us could have done it alone.  And I’d like to thank Babe #5 for taking this journey with us and offering her continued support even after she left the relay. 

** Experience Ragnar ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Ragnar FL Keys …… In Photos

2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Part III – END

This will be my last Ragnar FL Keys post.  I stalled a bit, waiting for everyone to upload their photos, plus work & life, then the stomach flu.  Good times.  But the last things I wanted to leave with you about Ragnar were some of the images.  The good times, tough times, and the beauty all wrapped up on one final post

The Course Map – Miami, FL to the southernmost tip of the US, Keywest, FLRagnar FL Keys_course map

The Start:

Ragnar Keys_Me Reflective   Ragnar Keys_ start   Ragnar Keys_me reflective2

So much of the race was cloaked in darkeness and pics were difficult.  Or if we did get pics, the photo just shows reflective gear. 

Ragnar Keys _reflective gear

The times we weren’t cloaked in darkness, we were riding or waiting in the van.  Oh wait, it’s still dark in this one too!  Teammate and fellow Team Tough Chik member, Toni & myself.

Ragnar Keys_minivan

But there were stolen moments of peace and tranquility just steps away.

Ragnar Keys_tranquility pond

New “In Real Life” friendships forged with fellow Team Tough Chik members that are spread throughout the US and world.   Photo on the right has 4 Tough Chiks:  Myself in my team gear, Kristi (in green), Kim (bottom in yellow) and Toni (in grey).

Ragnar Keys_ me ragnar sign - water          Ragnar Keys_ TTC

Lots of bridges, water & palms swaying in the gentle breeze.

 Ragnar Keys_ in route to finish   Ragnar Keys_palms

One shot of me running in the daylight.  Please notice my red Aspaeris Pivot Shorts peaking out from my skirt. 

Ragnar Keys_ me hand off

And finally, the finish.  By the beach.  200 miles ran.  Whatever pace we could manage.  Done.

Ragnar Keys_finish shoot

Ragnar Keys_ group

My girl Angela & I at the finish.  She’s the reason I went all the way to FL for this adventure.  Love you,  Ang!

Ragnar Keys_me & ang

Thanks to our amazing sponsors!  

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – I heard a million times that the team didn’t think they could have done it without you.  Almost everyone acknowledge that you held us together when we didn’t have a lot left in the tank.  We ran hard, ran extra miles, gave everything we had and you held us together.  Thank you!

Ragnar Keys_me finish- aspaeris shorts

ShowerPill – What to say?  I have never been so gross and nasty for such a long period in my entire life.  After each run, I used a ShowerPill wipe immediately upon finishing to try to wipe away some of the nastiness.  Each time, I was happy and soooooo very thankful that you came on board with us.  I’ll spare you the nasty photos of the wipes in use cuz they are really nasty but leave you with the knowledge that everyone on the team was thankful for your product!   Dear readers, I leave you with a not so subliminal notion that you probably want to go get some of these, right now.  Shop HERE:  

image         shower-pill6

Family  Fan Club – I’m a major fan!  They totally hooked us up with shirts and window decals.  They made our job so much easier because we only needed to add a few things to our windows and we were ready to run.  Lots of vans had fancy art work, etc. that was all washed off during a down pour.  Not us.  Our decals never moved.  They were super easy to apply and then they peeled off easy & clean!  Plus my favorite part is that they didn’t obstruct our vision from inside the van.  Win, Win!!!

     

Ragnar Keys_van_sponsor decals-magnets    image

This is the end of my Ragnar FL Keys “saga”.  It was an amazing journey with an amazing team! 

I look forward to hearing YOUR Ragnar stories in the future.

** Happy Relay Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Ragnar Florida Keys….. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly….

2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Part I

image

This first Ragnar post is going to be a highlight of the good, the bad & the ugly aspects of our Ragnar adventure.  As I always say, “respect the distance”.  If you consider a particular race or event “easy”, then run harder.  It’s totally up to you to make each and every outing your own and get out of it as much as possible.  I also encourage you to respect your fellow runners and understand that something that may be easy for one, may be an epic adventure for another.  Respect the distance.  Respect your comrades in adventure.  Respect the adventure itself and that is when you will walk away with the fullest experience.

2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Team 2 Bros & 10 Does – THE GOOD

  • Amazing team – I got so lucky.  I  only knew a few members of the team going in and I totally lucked out.  All the members of the team were great.  The team worked together to support one another.  We took the “divide & conquer” approach and worked our way to the finish line, TOGETHER.
  • No pain.  I am happy to say that although I’m a bit “sore”, I had zero foot pain during, or after, the event.  The terrain was rough or slanted in many parts and I just carefully picked my way thru the bad spots, to avoid additional stress on my foot.  It worked. 
  • The maps, signs, directions were very accurate.  We didn’t have any problems getting where we were going.  This was a very point to point route.  Super easy. 
  • No Gator or Snake attacks.  Although we saw a few gators staring at our crazy adventure as we picked our way along a canal in the Everglades, I’m pretty sure they were scared of us cuz we were so bad ass tough.
  • Glow Sticks.  A team member brought us all Glow bracelets which we laced into our shoes.  Awesome.  Made my day.
  • Amazing sponsors!  Our shirts and decals from Family Fan Club were awesome!  Everyone loved the window decals.  They were attractive, easy to use, stayed on and peeled back off with ease.  Super cool!  The shirts were light and airy in the nasty heat & humidity.  The Aspaeris Pivot Shorts literally HELD US TOGETHER thru our legs.  Everyone loved the compression for both running and recovery.  I had a pair on non-stop for the last 30 hours of our adventure.  And God Bless, ShowerPill.  I can’t even possibly begin to say how much the ShowerPill athletic wipes saved us.  I have never been so hot, sweaty, disgusting after a run and not had access to a shower.  I used  a  ShowePill wipe after each leg (4x), and each time felt refreshed and clean.  I would never have made it thru without these and the other team members LOVED them too.               Ragnar Keys_van_sponsor decals-magnets
  • We finished.  All of our miles.  No leapfrogging.  We made to the finish, all by ourselves by helping each other.                            Ragnar Keys_finish shoot

 2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Team 2 Bros & 10 Does – THE BAD

  • Little to NO sleep.  The majority of  the time we were either running, supporting a runner, or driving to the next exchange.  When our van had some down time, while the other van was running, we had to leapfrog them to get to the major exchange where we would pick back up.  The major exchanges would have a few vendors, food, indoor bathrooms and public showers.  Some slept outside in the heat just to get a little rest.            Ragnar Keys_sleeping peopleThose of us unwilling to sleep on the ground in the heat, walked around, or hung out in the vans.  The van space was very limited so not much chance to stretch out.  We slept for short intervals but nothing restful or mentionable.  Pretty much as soon as anyone fell asleep someone would get into or out of the van or something would happen to awaken them. 
  • Little to NO real food.  With this being a long distance running event, we had to be very careful about food intake.  I tried to just focus on foods that would keep me fueled and hydrated without overeating.  So I mostly ate:  bananas, Nutrigrain bars, pickles, peanut butter, almonds & pretzels.  I did have a few protein bars, one chicken breast, a Skor candy bar & a glazed donut.  Had to keep the sugar, carb and salt intake up to avoid a crash.  I also used a Post Workout Recovery drink after each run leg, plus a Rehydrate Gel (or two) on each leg.  I Sparked for energy and drank Rehydrate.  It worked.
  • The darkness.  Wow, does it get dark.  It seemed like over half the event took place in the dark.  I’m used to running in the dark but I also run the same roads or trails, in the same area, every time.  I know the holes and rough areas of the road before I get to them.  I have the roads memorized. Not the case for Ragnar.  Headlamps and Knuckle Lights lit the way but the glow only went so far.  We ran by feel as much as by sight, constantly pushing forward at whatever pace we could manage.

2013 Ragnar – Florida Keys – Team 2 Bros & 10 Does – THE UGLY

  • Runner 2 – Leg 1 – Accosted by a man and a women in a poor area of Miami.  Scared the crap out of her.  The women was tugging at our runner.  Another runner came up from behind and helped get her away.  Was it dangerous?  Who knows but it was scary and it was the very beginning of our adventure.
  • Van 2 had a dead batter at the first major exchange, where they began running.  We helped jump their car battery & then fire rescue came to help.  Ragnar Keys_van issues
  • Runner 12 – Leg 1 – Spiral Fracture to the Tibia (shin bone).  She went to the ER with 2 of our other runners to help her.  One runner came back to finish the relay.  Runner 12 was set up for surgery before the FL hospital realized they weren’t capable of handling it.  The hospital then casted her entire leg from foot to upper thigh and sent her home for consult with an orthopedic surgeon.  Let’s all send our well wishes and cheers for speedy recovery to Runner 12!!  This situation left us with 10 runners.
  • Runner 1 – ME – Leg 2 – I was running a deserted trail between farm fields and someone shot a firework at me.  There was no question that “someone” was aiming for me cuz it only missed me by about a foot and was in the area of my mid back.  It did NOT come from the air.  Being from Chicago, when there is trouble, you don’t look around and ask WTF, you put your head down and run faster.   That’s exactly what I did.  No time for questions, I just kept moving.  I was all the way back to the exchange and someone noticed that I actually had black soot on my arm.  Good times. 
  • The heat & humidity.  No one is responsible for the weather.  You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.  It wasn’t pleasant.  It made the adventures so much harder but we once again, put our head down and ran and tried not to complain too much.  We focused on hydration, made sure our teammates were hydrating & fueling and just moving toward the finish.  Most of the time the runners on the side of the road running, looked very bad.  There were lots of emergencies from heat related matters.  Our van had a physician’s assistant and a nurse so we helped several people along the way.  Two that they helped had to be taken by ambulance, one they got going again until he could make it back to his van.  Crazy weather, leads to crazy, erratic running.

Over all, an amazing experience.  I personally covered 21 miles at an average pace of 9:14 min/mile.  That pace is NOT at all indicative of effort.  Myself, in addition to every runner on the team, ran our hearts out.  It was an all out battle of the heart to the finish.  Each and every runner did what they had to do to move us close to the finish.  We didn’t go fast, we just kept moving.  Some had to pick up an extra leg to cover the runners we lost.  No complaints.  We just focused on the finish.  An absolute adventure that I’m proud to have shared with my team.

** Happy Running ** 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.

image

 

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

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