Ironman 70.3 Muncie – 2017 Edition

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Saturday brought the 2017 edition of the Ironman 70.3 Muncie event in Muncie, IN.   My third time participating.  I must say I’m not even sure why I signed up because my first and second experiences at Muncie were less than stellar (torn tendon in my foot in 2012 & ruptured discs in my back + a broken bike in 2016).  But several of my friends were going.  Peer pressure?  No.  Its just more fun to race with friends.  So I signed up with mixed emotions.  Spoiler Alert:  Muncie delivered a good race for all of us!

Muncie is a Saturday event.  So we went down Friday afternoon to get our packets.  It rained the entire drive.  Some thunder.  Some lightening.  Lots of rain.  We got to the venue.  It was REALLY muddy but not raining.  We parked pretty far away and hiked in so that I had a chance of not getting stuck.  Quick check of the water to see that the buoys were out and the water was calm.  Pretty normal for Muncie.  The swim is in the Prairie Creek Reservoir, so warm water without much chop is the norm.

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Packet pickup was smooth & easy, as are all Ironman events that I’ve ever done.  Packet, check.  Event bag, check. Race shirt, check. Activate chip, check.  Then we hit the mandatory pre-race meeting and had a hard time paying attention because the skies were turning black and a new storm was rolling into the venue.  We ended up cutting the meeting short & hiking back to the car, just in time to pull out as the thundering rains came down.  Rain.  Thunder.  Lightening.  Hail.  Downed trees.  Tornado sirens.  This went on for hours & Ironman ended up shutting down packet pick with a  plan to resume early before the race start on Saturday morning. 

Opening packet pick up early, really affected all of us, not just those who didn’t have their packets.  Although transition didn’t open until 5a, they were opening the venue at 4a for packet pick-up.  Since the venue was really muddy before the big storm on Friday night, there was an extra level of anxiety for some of us, okay ME, that we would struggle with parking and/or get stuck getting parked or getting out to go home!  Although many people did get stuck on Saturday morning, the boy scouts were helping push people out.  And we parked further back, where there was less traffic and we got in pretty easily on race morning.

Transition closed at 6:45 since the first swim wave started at 7a.  We left our shoes, grabbed our swim gear and wetsuits.  The bonus of a stormy Friday was wetsuit legal temps on race day!  First workout of the day, wiggling into our wetsuits!  Then my wave took off at 7:45a.  Get ready to swim, bike & run!!!

Swim started with five minutes between each wave.  But it was a madhouse as usual.  128 ladies in my division/swim wave.   I was pretty much right in the thick of it when I would have preferred to be swimming alone.  I breathe bilaterally, which works in my favor cuz I can see who is trying to beat the crap out of me on both sides.  I’m not a fast swimmer but I can swim a long time.  I don’t need to start at the front but if I start too far back, I get trapped.  Placing myself in the swim is never fun and I never seem to put myself in the right spot.  I held my own with the fist swimming ladies in my age group.  Let the fasties go, and we started swimming up on the wave in front of us pretty quickly.  That’s when things get dicey.  We got to them about the same time the fasties in the age group behind us got to us.  Lots of extra traffic.  But I was just swimming from buoy to buoy & looking at all the kayaker lifeguards to see if any of them were my friend Sheryl.  Didn’t see her.  Sad smile 

Swim course was set up like an inverted triangle with 2 long sides and a short “leg” in between. 

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As we swam around the second turn buoy, heading back to shore in the final leg of the swim, the sun was in our eyes.  So blinding.  I’ve done this race 2 other times but the sun seemed so much brighter this time.  I couldn’t see the buoys at all.  Had to stop several time to see if I was on track.  This last leg should have been where I picked it up but I didn’t since I couldn’t see.  In fact, I was so blinded that about half way thru that final leg, I swam up on a gentlemen from one of the waves in front of me.  Scared the poo out of me.  I froze, popped my head up & apologized.  Well, I must have really tightened up when I hit him because my left calf cramped  & I was dead in the water.  Quite literally.  Clutching my cramped calf in one hand, trying to swim with one hand out of the way of all the bazillion swimmers who were fighting to get around me once I stopped.  Not fun.  I couldn’t get the cramp to pass & was trying to massage it in the water.  Hundreds of people passed me as I was sidelined & then I was eventually able to start swimming again & get out of the water.  Yes!  Victory.  Back on land.  Better yet, there were wetsuit strippers!!  Life savers because with my back in its current state of disrepair, I really struggle getting out of my wetsuit.   Super thankful for the lady that helped me & helped pull me back up off the ground since I was struggling there too! 

Muddy run/walk up to transition.  Found my bike.  My friend Sara got out of water at the same time as me and was particularly speedy.  I felt dull in transition, like I didn’t know what to do.  How many times have I done this?!?!?.  Put down my swim stuff. Thanked the Big Man (once again) for my end spot in transition. Put on my bike glasses.  Sprayed myself with sunscreen, put on bike shoes.  Grabbed my helmet.  Started to open a bottle of water but realized I would have plenty of time to drink on the bike.  Go, Go, Go!!  And Sara zipped by me at this point as I was getting my bike off the rack.  Side note:  I always struggle getting my bike off the rack because my bike is so much bigger than most.  I have to tilt it sideways to get it in and out and be careful to not mess up anyone else’s transition area.  I also have to be careful  to not lose my nutrition in the process.  Not graceful.  Not fast. But at last I’m rolling. 

Jogging out of T1 with my bike, hop over the giant river of mud to the road, roll to the Mount Line.  Hoping there isn’t a lot of mud stuck in my bike cleats to prevent them from clipping.  Finally I’m clipped in and rolling.  Slowly.  Everyone is flying past me.  My legs feel heavy.  I wonder what the day will bring and if my legs will shake out.  I’ve felt nothing but heavy & fatigued on the bike for about a year now.    Ever since I ruptured 2 discs in my back last summer.  But recently, I had been feeling better.  Then I had 2 really bad rides the week of the race after vacation.  Maybe I’m not getting better?  Maybe it was wishful thinking?  Hmmmm, only time will tell.

Rolling.  I knew I had about 6 miles of rougher type roads before we hit the main drag where we would loop 2x.  I just settled in, took in some Tailwind for calories & tried to relax.  The work would start on the main drag & I felt like it wasn’t worth wasting too much energy hitting it too hard before the road smoothed out. 

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Once I hit US 35, the main drag, there was new pavement, spectators & other riders hitting it hard.  Relatively flat course with a few rollers.  Total of 1021 ft of elevation gain for entire bike course.  First section on 35 before the turnaround was from mile 6-17.  I wasn’t really sure how far it was to the turn around (rookie mistake!!) and I thought the wind was at my back but I wasn’t sure about that either.  I should have been pushing way harder in this section but I was still riding pretty easy.  Once I hit the turnaround, somewhere after mile 17, I started looking for my friends, fighting the wind & figuring out my strategy.  Yeah, a little late, right?  Miles 17-28ish.  Into the wind.  Hit the turnaround for the final loop around mile 28 & then I put the hammer down.  My legs had come back.  Like many endurance athletes, the beginning of a run or ride may be yucky but the body knows what’s up and will eventually get on board, once it warms up.  Just takes me awhile!  So I pushed a lot harder on the second loop and passed some people.  I grabbed water at every aid station.  As always, the volunteers at the bike aid stations impress the heck out of me.  They are smart, pay attention to the riders & deliver into my hand whatever I call for as I’m approaching.  Great job, volunteers!!!  Thank you!!!

I was hoping to get my bike split back under 3 hours but I started too slow to make it happen.  Decent bike though & the best bike split I’ve had in over a year so I was happy  and know what to do for next time.  No back pain during the bike!  HUGE win!!!

Transition 2, back to my lovely end spot.  So lucky!!  Tilted my bike to get it under the rack.  No need to worry about losing my nutrition and my rackmate wasn’t back yet so I didn’t need to worry about disrupting her bike/gear.  Shoes. Sunscreen.  Visor.  Race belt.  Go, go, go!   I left T2 in a jog.  A jog is about all I’ve got these days regardless if I want to go fast or slow.  So away I went in my one and only gear.  Slow.

I was looking forward to the first aid station on this run.  Last year they had a water hose & were spraying people down.  I saved my “thank a volunteer” bracelet for whoever was on the other end of that water hose.  It was heating up.  Probably close to 80 by the time I got to the run.  The temps were cooler than normal for Muncie but still hot for me.  I knew the run course had some rolling hills.  Nothing too bad, only 161 ft of elevation gain, but one of the issues with my back is that nerve damage prevents me from raising my feet off the ground too far when I’m running, so hills are a challenge. Even little ones.  My plan was to just keep moving, regardless of the pace.  Just keep moving.

Course was an out & back.  Aid stations & potties about every mile.  Closed course.  Lots of spectators.  Decent roads.  Some shade.  Slight breeze at times.

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I love a good out & back course because I get to see my friends.  Racing is about challenging myself, staying motivated to push my limits, & the friends I meet along the way.  An out & back lets me see those friends who are racing with me!  Yay! 

The finish eventually presented itself. Finish Line = Pure Joy!   It was a good day of racing for me & the people I knew who went to Muncie.  Bonus, the wind that slowed us a bit on the bike, and cooled us a bit on the run, also dried up a lot of the mud so we could get out of our parking spots.  Yes!

Shout out to my bestie, Julie M.  She completed her first half ironman only 5 weeks after her first EVER triathlon.  Racing with this chick makes things fun.  So happy she drank the Triathlon Koolaid!

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Shout out to FNA Bicycles.  They hooked me up with a badass Felt bike this year.  I had to save my pennies for a long time for this bike but it was worth it.  The geometry on this bike is so much better for my body.  And the electronic shifting ….. worth the $$.  It still amazes me that when I shift, even under a load, everything just moves.  So nice to have equipment that works! 

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Lastly, thumbs up for Muncie.  They continue to deliver a great race, year after year.  Amazing volunteers.  Great venue.  Best post race food in the Midwest on the IM 70.3 circuit.  If you are looking for a race that is good for beginners & experienced racers alike, Muncie might be for you.  It is in the middle of nowhere but its worth the trip.  Expect a non-wetsuit legal swim, flat bike with a few rollers, and a hot/humid run with some hills.  And the SWAG is below.  Cute bag, cute gender specific shirt & I’m loving the medal this year! 

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Next up, Ironman 70.3 Ohio – 7/30/17.

** Give It a TRI ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Ironman 70.3 Muncie – 2016

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Last weekend was Ironman 70.3 Muncie.  Close to home, within 2 hours of where I currently live in NE Indiana.  2016 is my second appearance at this event, the first time in 2012 just after I tore a tendon in my foot.  That year, I showed up to swim & bike, then I took a DNF since I couldn’t run.  This year, my only goal was a finish.  Little did I know, that’s all the cards had in store for me.

Packet pick-up was at the race site this year verses the convention center like it was in 2012.  Loved it!  The race is kinda “out of the way” at Prairie Creek Reservoir.  Definitely not a venue that you’ll stumble across unless you have Google maps loaded!   It was nice to see the venue in the day light.  I immediately noticed that the water looked calm & clean, despite the wind.  I also noticed the site was much better groomed than it was in 2012.   No pesky rocks this year.  Lots of nice grassy areas.  Clean beach.  Yay!!!

I arrived at the venue after 5pm because I was waiting for as long as possible to leave home so the kids didn’t kill each other weren’t home alone too long before hubby got home from work.  I’m so bad about looking at the event schedule.  And the last pre-race meeting was at 5pm.  I realized this as I was picking up my packet.  Good news, packet pick-up was fast since everyone else had already been thru and I was on to the meeting very quickly.  Cool SWAG this year.  Ironman 70.3 Muncie backpack & gender specific tee, plus we got a Cliff Bar.  This year they put the race specific logo on the bag & I really liked that.  The last several years, IM has given out generic bags that just say “Ironman 70.3”.  They in turn give that for each 70.3 event.  So if you do multiple 70.3 events, you get the exact same bag for each race.  Boring.  Happy to see the change for this year.

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Race day started early.  Transition opened at 5am.  Transition closed at 6:45am for a 7am start.  I was concerned about parking so got to the reservoir pretty close to 5am and was happy I had cuz parking filled up very quickly.  Set up transition quickly but it was still visibly dark.  And visibly chaotic. 

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Hit the potties & was surprised that it looked like there were only about 20 potties for approximately 2200 athletes (and their families/friends).  The lines were long.  Like really long.  Fortunately, I was there early enough to wait thru that line 2x.  Hydrate much?

Race started at 7am.  My wave started at 7:59am.  I believe there were 5 minutes between waves this year, which was a little better than the 3 minutes from when I participated in 2012.  This event was not wetsuit legal, the water temp on race day was between 77 & 78 degrees, which is typical for this event.  USAT rules do not allow wetsuits when water temps are greater than 76.1 degrees.   No wetsuit, no problem.  I must say, I was calm.  I’m not a fast swimmer but I can swim for a long time.  Like Dory, I “Just Keep Swimming”.  Once in the water, it seemed cool & refreshing.  Not much turbulence.  I always start toward the back of my wave (cuz that’s where I finish the swim) and always get jammed up in the beginning.  I may be slow but its inevitable that the breast strokers start ahead of me and I have to figure out a way to get around them.  I felt strong on the swim.  I was focused, stayed on course, pulled thru my stroke. I didn’t have the moments of panic that have visited in the past.  It was difficult heading into shore on the last 1/3 of the course cuz the sun was in our eyes and I just couldn’t see the buoys in front of me.  That resulted in me spending too much time checking my position but overall, I was happy with the swim and hoping my time would show as much.  It didn’t.  50:30 swim for 1.2 miles.  I was hoping for 45 minutes but overall happy cuz I was comfortable in the water and in my opinion that’s a win!! 

On to the bike!  As I moved into transition, I forgot about the swim and started focusing on the bike.  I was really hoping for a good bike split.  My last 70.3 at Cutting Edge in June had a slow bike split and I was hoping that was a result of 1)  the high temps and 2) still being fatigued from my double marathon weekend at the beginning of May.  I spent a lot of time resting in June, plus the temps at Muncie were much milder (70s & 80s).  So I and hoping my time would show as much.  It didn’t.  I couldn’t get any power/speed.  I wasn’t fatigued per say.  I was well fueled (thank you Tailwind Nutrition!!!).  I was hydrated.  I just couldn’t get any speed.  Why?!?!?  No idea.  I’m not going to lie, I was frustrated out there.  But I did see Sharon S. out on course & that probably the bright spot in my bike!  She got the first pic below.  Second pic was from an Ironman photog.  Great aid stations on the bike, every 15ish miles.  Food, water, Gatorade, gels, & potties.  It always amazes me how steady & brave the bike aid station volunteers are to hold out the water or Gatorade so we can grab it as we zoom past.  Smile

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Then my bike broke.  Initially, I thought the chain had just popped off, which was odd cuz that had never happened in the 3.5 years I’ve had this bike.  But it wasn’t just that.  My derailleur was also broken and my chain was jammed behind the brakes.  It was stuck.  Nothing I could fix roadside.  At that point, I kinda laughed to be honest.  I was already 38 miles into a poor bike split.  I figured, if the bike is going to break, I was super thankful it broke on  day when I was already having a subpar performance!!  Then immediately, my thoughts went to “OMGosh, am I going to have to DNF this race AGAIN (like in 2012)?”  Thankfully, I did not have to DNF.  Ironman SAG support came rolling up after a short while.  It took the dude a minute to figure out the problem, then he pulled out a giant wrench.  He removed the crank arms that held on the chain ring so he could get to the chain.  Fixed the chain, adjusted the broken derailleur and told me to take it easy and not shift much as I limped back to transition.  That did the trick to get me back to transition!  And my bike has been in the shop since Tuesday awaiting a new derailleur.  Hoping to pick it up tomorrow.  Anyhow, slow for me bike split:  3:40:39.  I was hoping to go under 3 hours but I was WAY off that before I broke.  I’m guessing that SAG found & fixed me within 20 minutes of the break, which is AWESOME.  I could have been there for an hour or more.  Thank you Ironman SAG!!  

On to the run.  Smooth transition.  Sprayed down with sunscreen again.  Took off on the run.  I had heard the run was hilly.  That was accurate.  At this point, I had nothing to gain by trying to rush, so I took my time.  Didn’t stress about the hills.  Or the heat.  Just ran. Walked up the bigger hills Walked thru aid stations, which were every mile apart.  Lots of run support.  Great aid stations.  Lots of potties. I tried to enjoy it.  One loop run which is unusual for IM 70.3 courses.  It was good.  Got to the turnaround and cruised back at whatever pace I could manage without pushing. Run Split:  2:31:32.

Total time:  7:09:20.  Not where I was hoping to be but hey, a finish is a finish.  My goal for the year is to go under 6 hours for the 70.3 distance.  If I don’t figure out how to freshen up these legs & find my power on the bike, that goal is going to be impossible.  I’m also having issues with my saddle this year.  I’ve swapped it out 3x already and just can not get comfortable (I’m flat out miserable).  UGH.  Hoping to get everything dialed in by Steelhead so I can make an honest attempt at the sub 6 hour finish.  Only time will tell if that’s a realistic goal (for this year) but I’m focusing on me this month.  Nutrition.  Rest.  Chiropractor.  And I’m going to get a massage the week before Steelhead to try to flush out any nastiness from my legs pre-race.  I must say, I was frustrated Saturday after my finish.  It was not the race I envisioned but honestly, there are so many people who would give anything to be out there just DOING something, that I must thank my lucky stars for my health, my motivation and the constant drive to keep moving, even when life isn’t perfect.  And who has a perfect life?  I, of course, have a lot to focus on other than my fitness but I continue to make fitness a priority while simultaneously managing the family, work and life.  So that’s a WIN in my book.  And the finisher medal to prove it.

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** Keep TRIing, Even When Things Aren’t Going YOUR Way ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Back in the Pool …

Yesterday was it.  I had ran out of excuses.   I’m 46 days out from a 70.3 triathlon in Racine, WI and I just HAD to get my ass in the pool.  I didn’t want to do it but those ironmen are mean.  Rough.  They swim with their fists and it’s important to stay as far in front of the next wave as possible!  So I went to the pool.  I wasn’t thrilled but I faked mustered a smile.

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This go round, I decided to swim at Governors State University.  They have a nice 24.99 yard  (odd distance to eliminate it from being legal for competition) lap pool and it’s normally not too busy.  It’s open from 6am – 9pm M-F, and has similar Saturday hours but who the hell wants to do a swim workout on Saturday?  Not me!  Plus, they let me do month to month so when TRI season is over, I don’t have a nasty gym membership requiring me to sell my soul to cancel.  Win, Win.  I also noticed some improvements to the pool area since the last time I used it for TRI training.  Kinda cool and relaxing, if you head to an indoor pool for that.

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Then I got in the water and fought with my goggles for 16 minutes before I was able to get them adjusted properly and actually get to some real swimming.  Then I was almost out of time and needed to pack it up and head home to the family.  In all, I had a craptastic 35 minutes of adjusting my goggles and floundering around swimming for a distance total of 1250 yards ( 0.71 miles).  Impressive, I know.  At this rate, it will take me well over an hour to get thru the 1.2 mile swim in Racine.  That means just about every wave behind me will not only swim over the top of my slow ass but also punch & kick me as they pass me up.  I’m seeing stars already.  I can only hope that the water in Racine is cold.  Super cold.  Let’s slow those crazy people down!  Okay, more importantly a water temp under 78 degrees means it’s wetsuit legal.  Yay, me!  Although I “normally” don’t need a wetsuit for that distance, it’s nice to have because it provides a little added buoyancy, fixes some of the imperfections in my swim, and HELLO, it holds me up when those assholes punch me in the side of the head.   Feel free to read my IM Muncie 70.3 report HERE.

The good news, is that the swim in Racine looks SWEET!  It’s a point to point swim where we hop in the water in one spot, and swim a parallel line with the beach to another location and get out.  No stupid M to swim.  Or V.  Or J.  Or whatever crazy shape that they make to slow us poor sighting swimmers down.  Just two right turns around buoys and straight swimming.  Racine, we may become friends after all.  Looks like I’ll just be able to put my head down and swim, hopefully in someone else’s slip stream!

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Swim #1 down.  Many more to go.  I think I better just leave my swim clothes in my car and go as often as I’m able.  My goal is 2x per week til Racine on July 21st.  We’ll see how that works with the family and job and commute and life dynamic but that’s the plan as of today.

Which part of TRI training is most daunting or inconvenient for you?

** Happy TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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

Whirlwind of Travel….

After a 500 mile whirlwind trip to participate in the swim/bike portion of the abbreviated Ironman 70.3 Muncie (Race Report HERE & travel/expo details HERE), it was time for vacation.  Fortunately, the kiddos got to spend a few days at the lake with my parents and Mick and I had a few solo days prior to the chaos!

Mick and I took a trip into the city (Chicago) the day after the Muncie event – 100 miles driving.

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We then spent a day deep cleaning the house and throwing things away in the playroom while the kids were away and nobody could scream or go thru the trash.  Trust me, you don’t need a photo of that!

Then we headed to Saugatuck, MI for a day of fun in the bars sun with old friends – 150 miles.

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Upon sobering up waking, we then took a cross country trip back to the lake to pick up the kiddos.  The phrase, “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go”, never really meant as much until this little cross country jaunt with no direct route.  120 miles later we had our “babies” back!

We stuffed the “little ones” in the car and prayed they would nap for the trip to Wisconsin Dells for a few days of family fun!   350 miles

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We did the Ducks & Upper Dells Boat Tour:

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Ghost Outpost, Lost Temple, Top Secret, & the WI Deer Park:

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Go Carts (or “Gofe” Carts as Michael calls them) & Alligator Alley:

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Tommy Bartlett Water Ski Thrill Show with Aqua the Clown & Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum:

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Water parks small & large:WI Dells_ water parks

 

Michael’s favorite slides were these yellow & blue ones:  WI Dells_Chula Visat 

Then we made the trip home with Michael screaming that he didn’t want to leave the “Consin Dells” and Aby pouting that we didn’t make it to the Mining Company – 225 miles, just in time for a bit of NMCA racing (Mick’s old car in second photo):

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And the FNRC Splash & Dash, the kiddos ran a mile then hit the pool!

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That was a very full 8 days of “vacation” which started with the Muncie race and ended with the Splash N Dash.  I’m exhausted just reviewing it all!

Any family fun on your horizon?

PS – If you missed it, I’m giving away an entry to the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9th!  Click to enter HERE.  Good luck!

** Summer Lovin’ ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Ironman 70.3 Muncie Race Report

This post could easily be titled the “Good, Bad & Ugly” but let’s be positive, right!  So I will instead focus on what I did right, what could have gone better and what just went well…. WRONG!

ironman 70. Muncie Cover

First, remember that this Ironman 70.3 Muncie was shortened due to the excessive heat warning.  It had been 108 static temp in Muncie the day before the race and health officials advised Ironman to shorten or cancel the race.  So the 70.3 distance was reduced to 37.2 (1 mile swim, 30 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) and the start time was moved up by a half hour to 6:30 am.

I hit transition pre-race with none to much time to spare, got my bike racked and somehow managed to forget how my bike pump worked.  The bike pump that I’ve owned for 7 years.  The bike pump that was deflating rather than inflating my tires.  Was I stressed?  I didn’t think so but subconsciously, maybe a little.  Thankfully, the lady in transition next to me was able to “remind me” how to inflate my tires.  This was a sign.  A big one.  I should have heeded the warning.

Transition was big.  There were 1700 registered participants and it looked like this in just about every direction.

ironman 70. Muncie transition 

Each race has a certain way to ensure that only athletes get into transition to keep the bikes and gear secure.  Ironman gave us wristbands at check in and only athletes wearing the band could get inside the transition walls.

ironman 70. Muncie bracelet

The race started promptly, ushering the pros into the water with the boom of a cannon.  Then each wave thereafter left in 3 minute intervals on the sound of a horn.  The waves were sorted according to age groups.  The older age groups at the top with the younger ones following.  This resulted in us oldies just getting plowed over, under and shoved/kicked/punched by our much younger friends.  So not cool.  I’m trying to remember how the waves in previous races were scheduled and I’m at a loss.  However, I do not recall ever experiencing pandemonium in the water in any other TRI event in which I have ever participated.  It was not fun. 

WHAT I DID RIGHT

  • I showed up
  • I had a good attitude

WHAT COULD HAVE GONE BETTER

  • The Swim – I panicked.  I started out good, I was toward the back of my wave like always.  I let the fasties get out of the way but I was immediately trapped behind some ladies doing breast stroke and who were just not swimming.  I stopped, let them get a bit ahead, I swam up on them again, stopped again because I didn’t have a clear shot around anywhere and then the real chaos began.  The wave behind us came thundering thru.  Holy crap.  They didn’t really care that we were in the way, they didn’t care that there wasn’t a way thru, they just swam over us.  Wow.  That was fun, and then the wave just kept coming.  I never had a chance to get in a grove, and just focus on swimming because from there on out I was panicked. At some point, somebody kicked me really hard in the ear and my head was ringing a bit.  In fact, a lifeguard asked if I was okay.  What to say?  “Hell, no!  These people are monsters!”  But I laughed & said, “I think so, I’m almost there right?”.  This was the longest and slowest mile I’ve ever swam.  I could have dog paddled the mile faster if I had a straight shot or if I had just focused on dog paddling! This mile swim took longer than my 1.2 mile swim in my last half iron event and I think I’m a stronger swimmer now!  I would free style a couple strokes, then stop to make sure I wasn’t about to be attacked, then free style a few more then recheck my surroundings.  Swim – 1 mile – 45:09
  • Getting in and out of transition.  The transition mat was long, possibly a 1/4 mile or more.  It was rough on my hurt foot transversing the mat with all the gravel everywhere and my being concerned about re-tearing the tendon.  I was very ginger and slow getting up the beach/mat into transition.

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WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Goggle Malfunction – I  was running a bit late the morning of the race but decided I had better put more Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo on my goggle lenses to avoid fogging during the race.   In my hurried state, I apparently didn’t get all the shampoo rinsed off and well, the “no tears” slogan is a lie.  That stuff BURNS the eyes!  So during the awesome swim that I had, my right eye was BURNING, watering and distracting me.  I stopped 2x to lift the goggles to let any water escape but since the water was so flipping hot too warm to be wetsuit legal, it was difficult to fiddle with my goggles and not drown since I was also treading water at the same time.  Totally my fault.  My eye was red and irritated for 12 hours after the race. 

The bike went well.  Nothing spectacular but good.  I was pretty comfortable, the course which was advertised as “flat” had some small rolling hills so I was able to get some decent speed, which helped.  It was two loops so very crowded in spots as the fasties from the earlier waves were crushing their second loop as I was just beginning my first. 

The water stops were frequent due to the shortened course and the volunteers were brave and had steady hands holding out ice cold bottles of squeezable water for the bikers to grab on the way thru.  Each time I connected with a bottle perfectly and was so proud of the volunteers.  They had a very tough job and I’m sure the bike water stations had to be very stressful for them.  I saw people dropping bottles, hitting bottles out of their hands and these were large 3/4 liter squeezable bottles.  It was dangerous for the volunteers!  At one station, the biker in front of me dropped his bottle.  It was after I had already connected with mine.  I was holding a water bottle, zooming along, then had to run over his bottle with one hand steering and somehow managed not to fall.   This was definitely the highlight of my day and I was immediately thankful that I avoided the crash!

Although the bike course was packed, everyone was polite even when rolling past a full 10+ mph faster than me!  Those people kick butt on the bike and the swim and the run.  It was absolutely amazing.  This is the point where I realized that I’m just not fast enough or aggressive enough for Ironman racing.  I’m just not at a point in my life with the kids/family, fulltime job and fulltime commute where I can train hard enough to be even remotely competitive with these type of people.  Although, I like to participate and perform at the best of MY ability, I am perfectly happy to do it on a smaller front at our local races.  This is about fun and fitness to me, not about big name events, prize purses, racing with the pros or jostling for a position which really means very little in the end.   Bike – 30 miles – 1:35:06 – 18.9 mph

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Overall, I think Ironman did a great job with the race.  I think they were smart and courteous to decrease the distance rather than canceling the race.  I think they know triathlon racing in and out.  They had plenty of on course support, post race drinks/food, massages.  They also gave a great swag bag with a gender specific shirt, a backpack which I neglected to photograph previously (below) since I was using it and the finishers (I didn’t run and didn’t finish) received a hat and a nice medal to reward their achievement. 

ironman 70. Muncie bag

The venue was Prairie Creek Reservoir in Muncie.  It was large enough to accommodate the people but not one of my favorites.  The water was very turned up, dirty, weedy, and warm at 86 degrees.  The grounds had a lot of rocks and tree debris which was difficult on bare feet.  I would recommend a pair of throwaway flip flops for anyone racing here so that you don’t have to walk around barefoot at anytime.

Overall a great race, I just don’t think Ironman racing is for my more laid back style but it was fun to give it a TRI

**Happy TRIing! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Twas The Night Before……

I’m sitting in a shitty hotel room alone on the eve of Ironman 70.3 Muncie after a long day of travel. The main topic for today unless you live under a rock is still the weather. As I was getting close to Muncie, Indiana the temps kept increasing. It was 106 in Fort Wayne, which I thought was unreal until I got to Muncie where my car read a temp of 108. It has been 108 since I entered this town. I went to the convention center 2x, once for packet pick up and then again for an athlete’s meeting, then I went to dinner. At this point, I’m hoping the thermometer on my car is just stuck/broken because the thought of 108 in INDIANA at 8pm is ridiculous.

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If you haven’t heard people bitching talking about the weather than I know you’ve heard them talking about the fact that Ironman has GASP decided to shorten the race. Yes, shorten the 70.3 mile race (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run) to a mere 37.2 miles (1 mi swim, 30 mi bike, 6.2 mi run). The health officials here in Muncie are warning people to not go outside tomorrow and not to exercise outdoors. Apparently, today isn’t “hot” but tomorrow is gonna be a real scortcher with expected temps between 110 and 114 degrees. Yep, I’m still gonna be in Muncie, INDIANA tomorrow. No, I didn’t type that incorrectly. Yes, people are really f’ing pissed that the race is being shortened. Ummmmm, okay. As I was driving here, I half expected to pick up my packet and be sent home but no, we are racing. It will just be the modified distance due to EXTENUATING circumstances. I personally don’t think this is unreasonable. Yes, it stinks that people trained months for this race and now will not be completing the full distance but I’d like to think that a reasonable adult would consider this decision to be in the best interest of the athletes. Thanks for thinking of me, Ironman!

They still gave us a cool swag bag with gender specific tech shirts, plus a few other goodies.

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They are still holding the race. They just want us out of here and in the safety of cooler temps as soon as possible. So far, I like the way they have handled the situation. They are even offering us a 50% discount to some of the upcoming 70.3 events which are not yet full. They are also still using this race as a qualifier for the 70.3 championships. They are doing what they can do and I like it and I picked up a couple water bottles to commemorate this event since it will surely go down in history.

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I’m smiling and happy to be here.

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I will race my 996 as far as they will let me and I’m so veeerrrrrry thankful that I know myself well enough left my running shoes at home. I only have my bike shoes and flip flops. I did that on purpose so that I wouldn’t even contemplate the run. I know I can’t do it. I know it would do more harm to my torn tendon but with the run now shortened to 6.2 miles, it would have been very difficult for me to not give it a shot. However, its not even an option since I am without running shoes!

When I travel for races, I like to eat. However, I have to be careful with my pre-race meal. I need to keep it pretty safe, not spicy, not too rich, and this normally equates to a pretty boring dinner. Tonight I stopped at a locally owned place, Amazing Joes, not to far from the convention center to throw a little business at the community which will shut down for tomorrow’s race.

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And it was amazing! Really amazing! First I open the menu and pickle chips POPPED out to greet me. Why, yes, I will! I only ate half of them. I was told the place had wonderful steaks but I knew that was a bit much for my crazy tummy so I picked the most bland pasta dish on the menu, an angel hair pomadoro with chicken. Wow, was I surprised. The dish was packed with flavor and absolutely delicious. I know that was a stellar description but that’s all I got. It was awesome.

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Stop at Amazing Joes on Wheeling Avenue if you head to Muncie, Indiana!

So far, a huge thumbs up to Ironman and Muncie for their “warmth” and hospitality.

** Stay Cool ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Looking Back…..

I’m now only a couple days out from the Ironman 70.3 Muncie, therefore I decided to look back at the notes I recorded after my last 70.3.   My previous 70.3 occurred on September 6, 2008.  It was before the TTF blog, before Facebook and during a time when people were emailing back and forth as a manner of communication.  My audience was small but I still sent my family & friends LOOOOONNNNNGGGG emails on every detail that they didn’t care about of the race.  Thanks to Mom, Abby S & Lisa E for reading those and many other emails!

The Great Illini Challenge on September 6, 2008 was my first and most current 70.3.  I have not raced a triathlon since that day.  I do, however, have a crazy beautiful toddler which hubby and I started raising in my time off triathlon.  See hubby, Michael & Aby below.  family_stars & stripes_2012

Some might wonder if I’m nervous since I haven’t raced triathlon for so long.  No, I’m not yet.  Triathlon is where it’s at for me.  I feel at home there and things just click. 

Some might wonder why I picked a 70.3 distance as my return to triathlon.  Timing.  I would have preferred to start with an International/Olympic distance race but timing didn’t work out.  I don’t have a ton of $$ to be racing so I picked just two triathlons (Muncie 7/7 & Great Illini 9/1) for the 2012 season and those were both the 70.3 distance.

Photos & Notes on the Swim/Bike from Great Illini 2008:

Copy of IMG_0287      IMG_0291    IMG_0293  

I tried to be calm and smooth on the swim, I didn’t stress about speed, but just took it easy because I knew that it was going to be the easiest part of the day so I wanted to enjoy it and come out of the water fresh. My goggles did fog up 2x but I just stopped and wiped the fog out and continued on my way, no problem!

** It might be more enjoyable to try to swim the entire 70.3 miles!

Transition was certainly not the frenzied event that it is in shorter TRI races. We were relaxed, joking around with one another, talking with our families, and pretty much stalling to AVOID getting on our bikes! In my relaxed state, I managed to forget my energy gels in transition.  Bad, really bad.

The bike had a great first half, on great roads that were freshly paved. There were lots of very large rolling hills. It was a “what goes down, must go up” theme. The hills also made me realize almost immediately that at some point in transit, something happened to my bike and the chain was loose. Not good, I needed  gears badly with the large hills and they were making a lot of noise and not shifting properly. My chain then popped off at mile 7 at the bottom of a very large hill.

**Mile 10 of bike: Riding is such a great time for self reflection, prayer & quiet thinking.
***Mile 17: It is such a beautiful day, the road is smooth, the sun is shining, and I love these hills!
**Mile 20: Wow, I got up to 33 mph coming down that hill; and it isn’t even bad going up because I get to stand and it allows me to stretch my quads a little! This is really great!
**Mile 40: Why didn’t I make up for sale signs for my bike before I came??
**Mile 41: No biggie about the for sale signs, maybe mom can sell it while I run? No, I’ll just put it on Craig’s List tomorrow!
**Mile 42: A triathlon tattoo was a really bad idea! Wonder if I can have it turned into a cross? I really like crosses!
**Mile 44: There is no shame that a full iron distance person just passed me. I am sure he was a really fast swimmer!!!
**Mile 47: Gel = life/energy and being able to finish the race! If I weren’t so tried I would be really excited.
**Racking the bike = awesome feeling of “last ride”, I don’t even need to sell it, we’ll just throw it in the lake because I’ll get better gas mileage on the way home!

I don’t think we need to relive the run portion of the 70.3 since I won’t be doing the run portion this time.  Although, I’m not looking forward to a DNF, I’ve certainly accepted it.  My strongest part of a TRI is always the run but it’s not meant to be this time around.  So I will be swimming & biking and am thankful I can handle that much!

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

88 Laps….

For me, swimming is a task like no other.  When I run or bike, I have a constant stream of thoughts and am actually able to work things out in my head.  When I swim, I focus on not drowning, breathing, stretching my stroke and counting my laps.  I have random thoughts that come and go but mostly, I just focus on not drowning and counting.  No joke.

88 laps in a 25 yard pool is equivalent to the 1.2 miles I need to swim in the two half iron events in which I will be participating this year.  I swam the full 88 laps yesterday for the first time.    I am only 55 days away from the July 7th Ironman 70.3 Muncie.

A few of my random thoughts….

  • 44 minutes, the amount of time it took me to swim 1.2 miles in my last half iron event.
  • 56 minutes, the amount of time it took to swim the 88 laps yesterday.
  • 4, the minutes I hope to eliminate from my swim with it being in open water and not having to turn around every 25 yards.
  • 5, the minutes I hope to eliminate from my swim by using my wetsuit that will hold my momma hips up in the proper position.
  • 10, the number of mini prayers I sent up asking for water temps on July 7th & September 1st to be cool enough to be USAT wetsuit legal.
  • 78, the max water temp for an event to be wetsuit legal.
  • 3, the lap I was swimming when I started thinking about Kelly’s post on her first swim lesson.
  • 4, the lap I was swimming when I thought about contacting Maggie’s cousin, Coach Judie, or MJ at TriSmart , or anybody somebody to tell me if my swimming is even remotely adequate.
  • 50, the number of times I tried to “hear”  my stroke like Kelly discussed in her post on the first swim lesson.
  • 0, the number of flip turns I performed.
  • 6, the number of times I stopped to readjust my goggles.
  • 4, the number of times I breathe in 25 yards.
  • 7, the number of years that I have owned the TRI tank I was wearing that I will never again wear.  Can you say skintight and see thru?  UGH!

2XU Tri top

  • 35, the lap I was swimming where it finally all came together and I relaxed.
  • 36, the lap I was swimming when I started to wonder if the turnover rate of my arms during the swim is also called cadence like the rate of turnover of foot fall/pedal stroke while running/biking.  Answer:  YES, look HERE.
  • 3, the number of sets I did to equal 88 laps.  Set 1 = 48 laps, Set 2 = 30 laps, Set 3 = 10 laps.  Don’t ask why, it’s random, just like my thoughts.
  • 25, the lap in the 2nd set where I was wondering if CrazyBoyDon actually counts laps or if he somehow adapts 99 bottles of Beer on the Wall to keep track…..  88 laps to swim in the pool, swim one down, flip it around….yeah that doesn’t work. 
  • 1, the lap in the last set where I realized that I don’t know how to kick.  I have spent so much time “not kicking” to save my legs, that the kick just seems foreign to me now.
  • 12 the number of times Michael asked me if I had been swimming with Santa when I got home.

Santa Swim

Michael is obsessed with Santa and wants to go swimming with him so badly.  He is always flailing around the bathtub pretending to swim with Santa.  If you know of any swimming Santa’s, please let me know.  PLEASE

What do you think about when you swim?  Will you be thinking of swimming Santa’s the next time you go to make some laps?  Maybe you should! 

Santa Swimming_scuba

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

Southwest Half Marathon Race Report

I am pretty sure that almost everyone I know posted a new PR this weekend from the 5K, Half Marathon to Marathon distance.  I am so proud of all of you and wanted to say:

great job

I had a super busy weekend with setting up a Twitter account the kiddos,  mom in town, a few social events and the Southwest Half Marathon.  We had some serious fun!

In regards to the race, anyone who has ran a race by Mel at Running For Kicks knows that they are getting a lot with their race fee.  When I picked up my packet it was stuffed with great items that were both useful and exciting.  Thanks, Mel!

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We received a two pack of Saucony socks, a Southwest  Half Marathon 13.1 sticker (super cool!), a tube of Nathan Catalyst electrolyte drink tabs, GU Chomps, a mini Luna Bar that I ate before the photo was taken, an in-store $15 off shoe purchase coupon, an in-store coupon for those awesome Saucony socks, which I can’t find online, plus a gender specific shirt that fits and is cool!  I will actually wear this shirt!  As a bonus, since I signed up early, I received 2 shirts instead of one.  Of course, Aby laid claim to the other shirt as soon as we got home.  🙂

On race morning, everything was super organized and efficient.  The line to the port-o-potties was long but that is normal.  Gear check was excellent and they even had plastic bags to protect our gear since the grass was wet from the rain.  Nice touch!  Most of the F’N Runners met up for a quick photo.  From Left:  Kelly – Running Kellometers, Kevin, Susan M, Wayne, Lori, Aurelia, Brian, Me & Susan D.

Palos Half_FNRC

The race kicked off before most people probably even had their gps watch linked up as soon as the National Anthem concluded.  We were off and running and the race went perfectly.  The rain held off, it was starting to get warm but nothing too crazy, the route was easy to follow and with the out and back it was fun to see the fast runners come back for the finish, plus see friends along route.  There were lots of friendly volunteers, water/PowerAde every couple miles, potties throughout the course, a couple aid stations and lots of F’N support!

Maggie – MagMileRunner was at 104th Ave with signs, cheers and took a ton of photos!

Palos Half_Maggie

Diane, Julie, & Lisa were just past Maggie and screaming like crazy for us!

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I also saw Amanda W & Dennis, plus met so many people on course who I have previously only known online.  Many thanks to all of you who took the time to say hello!  I’m so happy to have met so many new people during/after the race! 

This is a tough course for me, it always is but I’m not really sure why.  It’s an out and back and just seems to go on forever and ever and ever.    There are small rolling hills throughout even though everyone says it’s flat.  Not my best race, I struggled.  I was fueled & hydrated and it wasn’t too hot, I just didn’t run well.  I was very happy though that  1)  the new AdvoCare Rehydrate Energy Gel arrived on Saturday in time for the race  2) tasted good in a fresh lemon flavor, and  3) DID NOT upset my tummy.  New AdvoCare win for me!

AdvoCare Rehydrate Gel

I ran a 1:58 something which was WAY off my 1:50 goal.  Yes, I was disappointed.  The highlight of the race was definitely seeing the F’N Cheering Squad, seeing all the local familiar faces on course and meeting some new people along the way as well.  Great race, I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone.  Give it a try!  It’s a great local race with lots of goodies for the $$, particularly if you sign up early.  Plus, our F’N Cheering Squad will probably be out there again next year and they definitely add major spice to the course. 

Here is a photo that Dennis took of me “pushing” to the finish with bricks in both of my shoes and one hanging from each butt cheek.  OUCH! 

Palos Half_2012

It’s now time for me to move on to Ragnar Chicago training.  I have lots of miles to cover and very little time.  I also need to seriously ramp up my bike miles to prep for the Ironman 70.3 Muncie.  Time is ticking!

Great job to all of you who ran, raced and particularly those of you who crushed some PRs this weekend.  Keep kicking butt!

Happy Running,                                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz