Ironman Arizona – 2019

Its been a long year of training, with very little racing.  The road to an Ironman finish line is long, lonely and not always fun.  It takes a lot of work. 2019 brought me 2 Ironman finishes.  Texas in April and Arizona on November 24th.


If you know me well, you know that my preferred method of transportation is driving.  We even drove to TX and that was 18 hours.  Why do I prefer to drive?  Its easier.  Less “hurry up & wait”; I’m impatient.  Plus, I have a giant, rolling cooler on wheels, that carries all the food that I want.  And nobody worries that my chocolate protein powder might be a harmful substance that needs to be swabbed and tested and opened to all the airport germs.  However, for AZ, we had to fly.  This meant paring down our gear to exactly what we needed.  Sending our bikes ahead via TriBike Transport.  Then renting a van when we got to AZ so that we could then move the bikes. Giant PITA, expensive, but necessary because it would have been a 26 hour drive to Tempe, AZ from the Ft Wayne, IN area.  And that’s a lot, even for me.

Travel Flew into AZ on Thursday night.  Race was on Sunday.  Straight to Whole Foods and the VRBO that we rented.  I found a 2 bed, 1 bath house for $560 (THUR-MON).  Full kitchen.  Full sized washer/dryer.  Pool. 


The van rental was $420ish.  TriBike Transport was $360.  We didn’t spend much $$ eating out, or on other things, but its not a cheap race when you need to fly, rent a car & send your bike.  Just an FYI, if you are considering something like this and have budgetary concerns, like myself.

Expo, Shake Out Ride/Swim/Run – Friday morning, we went straight to the expo and were waiting on TriBike Transport to open.  We were 3rd in line, so very little wait.  They quickly found our bikes, put on our pedals (you need to send your bike without pedals, and then bring the pedals to be reattached upon pickup) and we were off on a shakeout ride.  We did notice that the line for TriBike Transport was long throughout the day, so go early if you don’t like to wait.

Saw Mike Reilly and got a few photos pre ride.  Apparently we we were even on the local news, as they were interviewing Mike when we stepped in for a few photos.  Smile  Nicole C, Mike, Julie M & Me.  Then part of Julie’s Endure It group, with Mike standing in the middle. 

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After the photos with Mike, we did a short shake out ride.  Beautiful area.  My legs felt fresh.  Definitely wanted to go further but we kept it short and sweet.  I was looking forward to seeing more of the Tempe/Phoenix/Scottsdale area on the bike course.


Expo & packet pick up was smooth & quick.  Very efficient. Probably the quickest we have ever picked up a packet for a full Ironman race!!


Saturday – Early morning practice swim with the TriDot Training crew.  Water was a crisp 64 degrees.  Water quality was in question but I was trying not to think about that.  Lots of debris & dead fish!!  Note to self, take a few Pepto tabs upon exiting the water!

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As we were waiting in line to get in the water, Heather D., a TriDot coach walked with us.  Talked about the water temp.  Told us to take a breath every stroke, for several buoys, to get acclimated to the temp and expel as much CO2 as possible.  She also told us about the current and to relax as we would swim against the current for part of the swim.  More info, then I have ever received from anyone, and that was in less than a 30 second time period.  I am a TriDot athlete & Ambassador.  I love TriDot and its program.  I love the variety of levels & price points so everyone can pick the plan that best fits their budget and lifestyle.  But what I love most is that TriDot helps EVERYONE, whether you are one of their athletes or not.  I had several people come up to me on course and thank me for how wonderful the TriDot coaches were to them, on site, throughout the weekend.  Very impressive. Thank YOU, TriDot!!

After the swim, I did a quick shake out run.  Then we waited in a LONG line to check our bikes & gear bags. 

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Then back to the house to sit, eat, drink and wait for race day!

Race Day – My Race

We were a bit behind on race day.  We have a routine, which started well.  Then I forgot our pre-race food/fuel and we had to turn around to go back to the house.   Then the line to the parking area was LONG.  We had enough time but I’m glad this wasn’t our first Ironman because we certainly needed to be focused, not stress, hit the bathroom, get our bikes ready, drop our morning bag and get to the swim start without any extra time to dawdle.  Crappy photo on our way to the swim start.


Swim (2.4 miles) – Not only did we not have extra time but the swim area was very congested.  It was hard to even get where you wanted to go.  I eventually just got in line and ended up between 1:10 & 1:20. I thought I’d swim about 1:15-1:18.  I swam a 1:22.  Race started just as the sun was coming up.


We initially swam away from transition, against the current, under a bridge, across the lake/river, then had a long stretch on the return which was supposed to be with the current.  Water was choppy from high winds.  I never did  feel a current pushing me on the backside.  The swim took a lot more effort than usual.  Especially crossing the lake/river and going under the bridges.  It kinda felt like there was a swirling current under the bridges.  We swam under 4 bridges.  Quite an interesting swim.  Took a little more energy than normal, plus took me longer than I anticipated but I didn’t hand over any mental energy, rather “just kept swimming”.  The Swim OUT finally arrived.  Volunteers were in the water, grabbed my hand, hauled me out.  Up the ramp.  Wetsuit stripped, then there was about a 1/2 mile run to T1.  Air was cool, about 48 degrees, but I wasn’t cold.  Just thankful to be out of the water, safely.


Bike (112 miles) – Three loop bike.  Headwind on the way out, which was approximately 19 miles.  Tailwind on the return.  3x.  I’m not a huge fan of 3 loops of anything but the way the course was situated with the headwind and a climb at the end of the “out”, I wouldn’t have wanted to fight that wind much further, so was thankful each time to be turning and hitting a downhill with a tailwind. 


I took it easy on the first loop.  Trying to focus on calories and not over extending myself, knowing it was going to be a long day.  Then I tried to pick it up a little on the 2nd loop.  By the 3rd loop, I was ready to be DONE.  And I had some issues with abdominal cramping (menstrual, not nutrition) and was struggling to stay tucked into aero with the cramping, which is less than ideal with a crazy head & tailwind.  I’ll spare you the details but it wasn’t pleasant and T2 was a very welcome site.  About 1500 feet of climbing.  Took me 6 hrs and 51 minutes.  Temp was 74 when I got off the bike.  I had anticipated 6:45ish for a bike split so wasn’t far off, considering.

Run (26.2 miles) – Glad to be on my own 2 feet!  Its no secret that the run is my favorite.  I feel so much more in control.  I’m a runner.  This was my 56th marathon!!!  And Arizona was my 33rd state in a quest to run a marathon in all 50 states. 


Coming out of T2, I was still struggling with the cramping and well, the cramping leads to GI distress even though my nutrition was solid.  I took some ibuprofen, which is definitely not ideal in endurance racing.  Horrible for your kidneys but I was not doing well.  Also took an Imodium for the GI issues.  Hit the bathroom.  Dumped some ice down my shorts to ice my abdomen. Said a prayer.  And around mile 4, I realized that I was doing okay.  I started to run and didn’t stop moving until I hit the finish line.  I ran with a smile on my face.  Thankful.  I was happy.  The highs and lows of endurance racing.  If you don’t like how you feel, just wait, it will change.  Just keep moving forward!!

5:01 marathon.  Yes, I thought I would run faster.  But I didn’t.  I did a mental check with myself several times, “Can you go faster?  No.  Okay, then just keep moving at this pace.”  You gotta know yourself and be reasonable when you are looking at an all day event. You have to be compassionate and grateful for what your body can do.  Don’t stress about time or your race will just fall apart.  Just keep moving forward and try to find the joy. 

I will say that this run course was excellent.  I really enjoyed it.  The first loop was in the daylight as the sun was going down.  Second loop was in the dark.  However, the course was mostly along the water with lit trails or sidewalks.  Variety of surfaces from concrete, pavement, crushed gravel & roads.  Lights shining on the water from the lit buildings in the downtown area.  It was beautiful; I wish I had my phone to grab some pictures.  Some spectators.  Bridges across the water for those spectators who wanted to run back and forth to see their people.  Much less congested with the 2 loop course vs TX that had 3 loops and a million spectators spilling out onto the run course, slowing traffic.  I really enjoyed it. 

Finish – 13:27.  I was 13:26 in TX.  I didn’t have a watch, so I didn’t know my time before I finished and looked at the tracker.  Could  I have found another minute somewhere?  I really don’t think so.  I gave what I had to give on this course.  Its said to be flat and fast.  Probably was for a lot of people.  Each race has its own set of issues, which can be the course, weather, your body, or other issues, like mechanicals on the bike.  I felt lucky.  This was a clean race for me, other than my cramping, I felt good the entire time.  My nutrition is locked in and good.  And the weather was perfect.  Great day in Arizona! 

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Third Ironman!!  Lake Placid, TX & now AZ.  Lake Placid has been my favorite thus far. Can’t compete with the beauty of Lake Placid and that clean, crisp, clear water.  We are headed to Ironman Maryland in September 2020.  Then hoping to get into Ironman Coeur d’Alene for 2021.  Hopefully we can run some marathons along the way too.

Happy Running & Racing – Amanda – TooTallFritz

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.

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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.


  • I showed up
  • I had a good attitude


  • 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.



  • 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


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 **

Bike Fit….

As you know from THIS post, I’m back on the bike and staring down two 70.3s which are fast approaching.  The first one is July 7th, a small event hosted by Ironman, and I anticipate it to be a total bike train wreck.  The little biking that I have done so far (70 miles last month) has not gone well.  Everything hurt.  My knees hurt. My hips hurt.  My neck hurt. My shoulders hurt.  I kept thinking, what did I get myself into?!?! that my return to triathlon was going to be a difficult one.  I did the only thing I could think of doing, I took more Joint ProMotion

Joint Promotion

Okay, let’s be honest, I actually started taking Joint ProMotion.  You would think that as a runner and AdvoCare Distributor I would be using a glucosamine supplement but you would be wrong.   I am now.

Then I started thinking.  More thinking.  I’ve never been a strong biker but there is a difference between sucking not being good at something and having pain.  I never had pain before, this is new.  I am riding the same bike I had Pre-Michael but I felt like it had shrunk in it’s 1309 days of hibernation.  Muscle atrophy?  Probably not.  I “may” have mentioned these problems to hubby and he may, or may not, have threatened me regarding bringing home a new TRI bike.  Sigh….

So I called Trek Schererville and scheduled an appointment to be refitted on my “old” bike.  Aby was kind enough to take a few photos of the process.

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Getting Closer…. Hello Team Tough Chik!  I’m actually in this photo…..kinda.   And you can “kinda” see Paul behind me, adjusting the bike.  Apparently the seat was almost 2” too low.

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When your seat is too low, you don’t get proper pedal extensions, have less power, and develop aches and pains in your hips and knees.  It also basically folds the bike up on you and the aerobars will feel too short, shifting will be difficult and you “may” develop pain in the neck and shoulders.  Really?  I never would have guessed.

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I’m a happy camper now and looking forward to my ride this afternoon.  Cross your fingers for me! 

And as a general rule of thumb, if it feels wrong, it is wrong.  Trust yourself.  Don’t get hurt because you are stubborn or because you think you are a weak biker/runner/person.  It also helps if you buy your bike from a store you can trust, a store who’s employees know your name and number when it pops up on the caller ID, a store that will refit your bike and help you with your mental problems, a store that will service your bike free for life.  Trek.

Side note:  My computer finally arrived!  I’ve been waiting for the Node 1.1 to arrive so that I could have an affordable computer which works on the road and on my trainer, while still being wireless.  This is HUGE.  Now I have zero excuses as to not riding.  NO EXCUSES!

So what’s your excuse for not putting in your miles?  Please share, I need some new ones!

Happy TRI-ing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** **