Great Illini Challenge – CANCELLED

Yesterday, I should have been TRIing my heart out in Mattoon, IL at the Great Illini Challenge.  Earlier in the week I had decided to drop down to the Olympic distance race so that I could finish something this season and try to end on a positive note amidst a summer of injury and rehab…….. but as the weekend approached, I was doubting my decision.  I was questioning whether I would be disappointed that I didn’t do as much as I could do, that I didn’t do as much as I had trained for all summer long.  I contemplated racing the 70.3 distance up to the last lap of the run where I would have needed to step off the course and take another DNF. 

In my heart,  I knew I would be disappointed either way so I really couldn’t decide which dose of disappointment would be best.  I was undecided right into Friday morning when I got the email that the race was cancelled due the possibility of inclement weather in the area from Hurricane Isaac.  Cancelled.  I know I was supposed to be disappointed but I laughed.  It was the absolute perfect end to my season.  I just giggled thinking about the Ironman 70.3 Muncie in July being reduced to an Olympic type distance race and my not even being able to do the full bike/swim there and having to take a DNF without even running one step.  Then I hung all my hopes on this race only to realize one week prior that my foot was not healed up enough and I wouldn’t be able to complete the run and would need to take another DNF.  I was all done with disappointment and relieved not to be worrying about it anymore.  So I’m done TRIing for this year and look forward to hanging up the 3 sport genre for a while and just relax and focus on healing and increasing my speed on the short distance run. 

So instead of spending 3-5 hours on the swim/bike/run on Saturday morning, I instead hit the road with Aby for a few miles.

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She, of course, bitched the entire time enjoyed spending some quality time with her momma.  She even tolerated my photo requests.

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Aby and I running together is very difficult but I hope that we will eventually look back at these years and laugh.  Of course, that may be many years from now but I know that at some point in her life she will actually appreciate the fact that I could actually get out there and hit the road with her and push her pace past the comfort zone.  Maybe, like when she has her first child, we will laugh about these years, right?

So although, the weekend wasn’t what I had planned, it was still good.  No, it was great!  And tomorrow, I’ll hit the trail at the Turtle 10 and run 6 miles of their 10 mile event.  Yes, another DNF although, not such a big deal at this laid back event.  Why are all the good runs/races so long?  The bottom line for me, I race to keep myself motivated and my mind focused on fitness.  It doesn’t really matter if the race happens or not but if I keep moving over the prescribed period of time “because” I want to be my best on race day, then the purpose of the goal has been accomplished regardless of the finish time or the cancellation of the event.  This is about health & fitness for me, not race results.  I hope I can always keep my eye on the ultimate prize…….fitness……and not lose sight of my priorities amongst fancy finisher gifts, age group awards and results.

** Fitness First ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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Hard Work Hangs In The Balance….

I was looking for something motivational today but I guess that really wasn’t what I was seeking.  I was actually looking for something to express my fears concerns over the upcoming race which I wish were this Sunday instead of next.  As I’ve mentioned before I have been chasing a 1:50 half marathon for quite some time.  I have a knack for selecting races, or allowing races to select me, that bring horrid weather conditions on race day.  I refuse to die in order to chase the 1:50 or a decent marathon time for that fact, so I will do whatever it takes to merely cross the finish line because I’m in it for fun & fitness first and foremost and I fully understand that my finish time is not always going to be a good indication of my fitness even if it is a good indication of the amount of “fun” I had out on the course

This year my race schedule took a few unexpected turns and my half marathon schedule has been cut in half.  Since I only have a few of those races, I really feel as if the pressure is “on”.  It’s now or I wait until September, if not in September, then not until 2013 and another year of age/pounding miles on the body.  So I’m looking to run strong, really strong in Palos but, of course, I’m scared shitless that I’ll come up short again.  My feelings are below.  I’m sure the style of the writing doesn’t fit the rules of a “poem” so I hesitate to call it such but this is certainly a TTF version of a “poem”.  🙂 

Hard work hangs in the balance,                                                                               Depending on factors unknown.                                                                                        Rain, Sleet, Snow or Horrid Heat,                                                                                            Can my pace compete?

Looking toward the same goal,                                                                                           Can really take its toll.                                                                                                              Is this the race;                                                                                                                  Where I can finally hold the pace?

Hard work hangs in the balance,                                                                                Depending on factors unknown.                                                                                            Rain, Sleet, Snow or Horrid Heat,                                                                                   Please let this goal become complete.

I know I can accomplish this goal under decent conditions.  I definitely believe in it. 

I also have the ability and I am confident in the foundation that I have laid.  Now I just have to get though one more week of moderate workouts, then next week will be very low-key so that I am fresh and fast on race day.  I normally don’t taper for a half but I will hit the start line as fresh as possible.  I may even take my iPod for the final 5K push……just wish I had some wireless earbuds!  The wire issue is the biggest reason why I avoid music.  The wires are not worth any added benefit the music might bring since I have lots of tangles and time lost trying to get the earbuds in place midrace.

Note to self:  Race 10 miles, then “hang on” for the final 5K.  Break the race into 2 distinct segments in order to manage it mentally. I know I can nail 10 miles fast. Now just figure out how to race the final 5K. 

Any motivational tips on how to keep pushing toward a race goal?  Do you race with music?  I normally don’t as it distracts me and I can’t focus on the “push” but I expect I may be out of “push” by mile 10 because that’s where I normally top out on speed.  Thoughts? 

Happy Racing,                                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

Courage……

You may feel like dwelling on your limits or your fears. Don’t do it. A perfect prescription for a squandered, unfulfilled life is to accommodate self-defeating feelings while undercutting your finest, most productive ones. — Marsha Sinetar

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic. — Unknown

I have been thinking a lot lately about courage.  As the F’N Running Club grows on a daily basis, I see new people out each time I show up.  This is so amazing to me because these are not people from other area clubs but instead the friends, family and acquaintances of those of us who REALLY love to run.   And you know what, a majority of these new people don’t consider themselves to be “runners”.  They don’t think they are fast enough to keep up and they don’t want to hold up any of the “real runners”.  I say, BULLSHIT come out and join us because everyone is welcome, regardless of pace.  We all had to start somewhere and I some of us started pretty far down on my their own run/walk program.

Do you remember your first group run?  Were you scared?  How long was it that you thought about joining a group before you actually showed up?  Or are you still thinking about it?  I am personally trying to think back to my first group running days to re-experience those feelings and it is hard for me to go back there because I have a crappy memory.  Honestly, I know I had to be terrified.  I know this because I get butterflies driving new places even though I now have EVE,- my in car gps to guide me.  I know these new people are terrified and give them so many props for sucking it up having the courage to come out.  So congrats to our new runners who continue to show up.   And if you have not yet been able to get up the courage join us, I encourage you to give it a try.  I can’t guarantee it will be easy, but it will be worth it.

Today was a tough one, we ran the Hickory Creek Extension off of Old Plank Trail.  Can you say hills?  Lots of rollers.  Here is our F’N Running Club group for today:  Susan, Nicole, Suzanne, Angela, April, Jeni, Jennifer E., Jenny G., Kim, & Paul.  

It was an absolutely glorious day to run.  The temp was about 24 when we started, it was daylight and we had an awesome group of runners and run/walkers.  We broke into three groups.  A 9:30 group  and a 10-10:30 group that went 5 miles, then a run/walk group that went 3 miles.  I want to give my friend Kim a HUGE shout out because by her committing to come and lead the run/walkers, we actually had three show up.  On the drive over, Kim downloaded the Nike+ Run App to her phone so she could flip the group at 1.5 miles.  Thanks, Kim.  I know this was your first group run EVER today and I’m sure you too were scared but I really appreciate your showing up and helping us out!  You did AWESOME, totally rocked the run/walk and we want to welcome you to the F’N Running Club!  Whoooooop!  Today’s Run/Walkers:  Jennifer E., Kim & April

Since today was such a glorious day,  plus it was recovery day at a slower pace, I stopped for a billion lots of photos.  Here is a pictorial account of the Hickory Creek Extension.   9:30 Group:

 10:00 Group: 

 Bridges, Hills, Water, Tom-Foolery Running:  Ladies….PLEASE stop and sit on this bench to stare into the sun with me?  Angela, Nicole, Me & SuzanneTurn Around, Angela & Suzanne  10:00 Group approaching the turnaround:  Paul & Jeni

Another great run today!  Congrats to you if this was your first group run.  I know it was hard to have the balls courage to show up, but you did.  Come back.  It will only get easier from here on out.

As for those of you who want to join us but are scared.  Please know that EVERYONE is welcome.  If you let us know before hand your pace/goals, we WILL find somebody at your level to keep you company.  You will have fun.

Happy Running,                                                                                                                 Amanda – TooTallFritz