7 Days til Ragnar – 7 Things I’ll Be Packing

We are 7 days out from Ragnar Chicago and it was a rough day in TTF land, luckily I had the day off from actual “work”. The day started well when I went to the pool and swallowed a ton of TRI Smart Water.  Wow, they swim fast compared to me.  Wow, they kick up a lot of water in the pool.  Wow, they pull a good current when you are surrounded by 4 of them.  Wow, I suck at swimming.  Wow, I’ve never seen the pool so busy.

After the swim, I only had time to squeeze in a 27 mile ride on the trainer before hitting the chiro.  Today she tried acupuncture since my body doesn’t respond like a “normal” person.  Being special isn’t so great in a situation like this.  I’m gonna post this “needles in the foot” pic again for my mom those of you who don’t have facebook or follow me on twitter.

After the needle fun at the chiro, I went directly to the foot surgeon for a more needle action in the form of a cortisone shot.  He infused the cortisone with an anesthetic in order to numb the foot out for a week or so.  Let’s cross our fingers!  Ragnar here I come…..Dear Foot:  Please comply!

In developing a list of 7 things I “need” that are possibly not going to be in every runner’s bag, I started with the important stuff:

  1. Ice bag.  I have a gel ice bag that I’m planning to beg my teammates to stuff in the cooler.  I need it.
  2. Motrin.  I need it.
  3. Merrill Encore Ice slip-on shoe.  Although this is probably the ugliest shoe I have ever purchased, I’m glad to have it.  I bought it off the clearance rack at REI and it holds my plantar fascia up and keeps my feet feeling “ok”.  I need them.  But they are ugly.  I’m considering getting a sandal just like this too.  🙂
  4. Toothbrush.  I know we won’t be having a lot of time to shower  but I’m hoping to be able to at least brush my teeth.
  5. Tortilla-Peanut Butter- Dill Pickle wraps.  I know this sounds disgusting but I actually like peanut butter and pickles together and I think this will work well for me food wise and I’ll be able to avoid the soggy bread issue.
  6. Rehydrate Energy Gel – This is a new product which totally rocks.  It is easy on my tummy and has an excellent lemon taste.  I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is and am looking forward to our long term relationship. 
  7. A freakin’ AWESOME attitude.  I think this is probably the most important “item” on the list.  We are going to be tired, cranky and the worst thing we can do is take it out on each other or somebody else.  In order to have a good time, each person is responsible for bringing a good attitude.  Ever heard the saying, “if you aren’t having fun, it’s your own fault”?  So let’s bring it, rock this thing and have some fun!!

What would you take on your relay run adventure?

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

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8 Days til Ragnar Chicago – 8 Ragnar Questions Answered

There are so many questions floating around about relay races, some people live under a rock haven’t even heard about them and others just don’t know much about them.  So here are the top 8 questions which I get regarding Ragnar.

Ragnar Chicago Header

  1. How do you get a team together?  Answer:  I joined a team that was partially formed by RunWithJess.  You may think you know a ton of people who run and would jump at the opportunity to participate in such a momentous event but getting 6 (for an ultra team) or 12 people (for a regular team) to commit, pay and show up is a bit of a reality check.  **I actually know a local team who needs 2 runners for the race NEXT WEEK.  If you are interested, please let me know and I can get you in contact with them.  They have a regular team and you could pick your position, distances for the 3 legs you would need to run could be as low as 13 miles (total) or as high as 20 miles, you get to pick.  Girls or guys welcome.  2 people  needed.**
  2. Where will you sleep?  Answer:  Due to the way our 6 chick team is set up with us rotating, I will be running every 6th leg, we will also need to drive, navigate, and encourage/aid the teammate running at the time…..I really don’t see much sleep in our equation, like I probably won’t waste the space by taking a pillow/blanket.
  3. Where will  you go to the bathroom?  Answer:  This is a big issue!  We have been warned that we can only go to the bathroom in the designated areas, drop-off points and/or official port-o-pot locations.  Fun, I hope we don’t have any GI issues.  This one could get a little messy…..quite literally.  Oh, and we will get disqualified if we go to the bathroom anywhere other than an “official” location.  Awesome.  I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for one of these….

    porta potty

    Wonder if we could get a little trailer, rent a port-o-pot and haul it behind the van?  Maybe charge $1 for every non-team member who would like to use it?  I bet it would pay for itself.  🙂

  4. What will you eat?  Answer:  A lot of relay teams actually take the time to stop, eat, get coffee, etc.  However, I don’t think that will be in the cards for us since we are rotating runners so quickly and will be spending all non-drive time in line for the port-o-pot.  Our team is planning to take our food.  We have a few runners ME, ME, ME who may, or may not, have a sensitive tummy and we want to control the food intake as much as possible.  I’m seriously considering getting giant tortilla wraps, spreading them heavily with peanut butter and rolling it up with a giant whole pickle in the middle.  This will give me carbs, fat, protein & salt.  Sounds crazy but I won’t have to worry about soggy bread!  Whatcha think? 
  5. Do you really have to run all night?  Answer:  You betcha!  (Can you say that in the Sarah Palin voice?)  Each person in the van needs a reflective vest and is required to wear it during the run portion and at any point when they are outside the van from 7:30pm til 6am.  Huge thanks to MagMileRunner and RunningKellometers for letting us borrow their vests!  Basically if it’s your leg to run and it’s dark, congrats, your running in the dark.  I’d suggest a nice pair of KnuckleLights so you can see where you are going, so much better than headlamps!  Each runner also needs a red blinker for their bum back.   This means if one person gets lost, everyone following their little blinker will most likely follow them into no man’s land.  Awesome.
  6. What happens if somebody gets injured or sick during the race and cannot complete the relay?  Answer:  This is a very REAL issue.  You cannot sub in runners after the race commences.  Whoever you have in your van must complete the legs assigned.  Therefore, if Suzie gets injured, then one of her van-mates will need to run the remainder of her legs or possibly carry her, if they are really nice.  🙂injured runner being carried
  7. Is there a time frame in which you must complete the race?   Answer:   According to Ragnar rules, each runner needs to maintain an 11 minute mile pace.  However, each team member had to identify a 10K pace (I padded mine with a “few” extra minutes considering I will be running 33 miles in total….hoping not to fizzle out!!) in order for the race director to select start times and order the teams in a way that the event runs smoothly.  They don’t want too many people/runners moving thru an area at any given time.  Basically, you need to stick to your pace because there is a lot going on to which you are not privy.  So pick an honest pace and try to stick to it so that it doesn’t domino a series of events which you cannot control.  If your team runs too fast, Ragnar officials can hold your team for up to a couple hours to get your team back on track pace wise.  No mention if you run too slow which I hope isn’t a personal problem for me!
  8. Are you crazy?  Or maybe the exact question was “Have you lost your mind?”  Answer:  TBD.  I don’t think I’m crazy but that is according to my personality.  For some, this type of thing would be considered crazy.  I personally try to do ONE thing each year that is “outside MY box”.  The “ONE THING” isn’t always fitness related but normally that’s the kind of challenge I gravitate toward.  Just one thing.  Once a year. Something to impact me as a person and push my limits.  2012 = Ragnar Chicago.  If that’s crazy then, move over cuz this crazy runner is barreling thru….. all the way from Madison, WI to  Chicago.  WhoooooooHoooooooo!

Crazy_Runner

Do you also try to  do something every year that you consider to be “outside the box”?   Do you have any Ragnar questions which you would like me to “attempt” to answer?       

** Happy CRAZY Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

9 Days til Ragnar Chicago – 9 Things Ragnar Chicago

We are officially 9 days out from the start of the Ragnar Relays 2012 Chicago edition!

Ragnar - I Ragnar 

So today’s focus will be on 9 things Ragnar “Chicago Style”!

  1. The Chicago Edition of the Ragnar Relays includes 198.3 miles of run fun which travels  the Midwest from Madison, WI to Montrose Beach in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. ragnar-map2
  2. Each team participating will have either 6 or 12 participants.  The 6 person team is considered crazy an ultra team,  meaning that each member will be running more than the 26.2 distance over the course of the event. Here is my crazy ultra team – You Just Got Chicked.   We are Team #85 and we start our fun run at 7:30 am on Friday, June 8th.ragnar_ladies_tree
  3. The race will blow thru 3 college towns:  Madison, WI  (University Wisconsin – Madison),  Evanston, IL (Northwestern University) and lastly Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood for a view of the Loyola campus and a run down the beautifully shaded Sheridan Road.
  4. The course will include two big name trails:  The Glacial Drumlin Trail and the Oak Leaf Trail.  The Glacial Drumlin Trail is 52 miles in length and considered to be one of Wisconsin’s best bicycle trails.  It is an abandoned rail trail, which always means flat and fast if you are looking for speed.  Expect to pay a fee for a day pass to enjoy this gem. DSCN4514-Glacial_Drumlin_TrailThe Oak Leaf Trail is free and consists of a network of trails surrounding the Milwaukee area.  This trail is also a rail trail of 108 miles in length.  Of those 108 miles, the trail boosts over a quarter of its mileage along the shores of Lake Michigan!                                                                                                                  Oak Leaf Trail                  Oak Leaf Trail 2
  5. Those of us familiar with relays are probably going back to our school days and thinking about passing the baton.  No, we do not need to carry a baton for 200 miles.  Each team will be issued a slap bracelet which we will transfer to each new runner.  Photo source:  Team – My Big Fat Ragnar Wedding, Ragnar Napa Valley.  See recap HERE.                           ragnar-bracelet 
  6. Each team will travel in 1 or 2 vans to get runners to/from exchange points.  We will have 1 van for our 6 lovely chicks.  Hmmmmm, how to decorate the van to suit our team/personalities?
  7. Each team may, or may not, have a driver to navigate the course.  I believe as of last week, our runners serve as the athletes, drivers and spotters/navigators.  I think the navigation scares me more than the running and driving.  🙂
  8. Short of injury or illness, we must keep the same rotation of runners.  I’m “Chick 3” and will be running the legs for runner #3 and runner #9.  The legs include:  #3 (2.7 miles – easy), #9 (8.2 miles – very hard ……gee, I hope it’s dark too), #15 (5.3 miles – moderate), #21 (5.3 miles – moderate), #27 (5.6 miles – hard), #33 (4.8 miles – moderate).  Total  for Chick 3 = 32.1 miles and I’m dedicated to an 8:30 pace.
  9. Our race starts at 7:30 am on Friday, June 8th and if we maintain pace, then we will be finished and sipping beer on Montrose Beach approximately 30.25 hours later, which is 1:45pm on Saturday, June 9th.  Look for us, we’ll be there .                                              Montrose Beach

Have you ran any relay races?  Any tips for us? 

** Happy Running ** 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!

Palos Half__2012_goodies

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!

Palos Half_Cheering Squad

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

Challenges….

I normally don’t take the bait join challenges because well, I’m frequently at a different level than the target audience.  I’m not being pretentious, I just don’t need much motivation to get out the door because I enjoy getting out the door.  I enjoy moving.  I enjoy the time away from my screaming kids chaotic family.  I enjoy quality ME time. 

There are a few challenges to which I fall prey.   Not so long ago, my Ragnar Relay Chicago teammate Run with Jess put on a week long series of virtual races called the Jelly Bean Virtual Race.  She offered a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon & a 21K bike.  I took that as a “challenge” and did all 4 events.  My theory has always been “Go Big or Go Home”. 

go-big-text

I know I’m not a snowboarder but the pic above is just too cool!  By the way, can somebody replace that snowboarder with a runner?  Love you people with mad skills in graphics & Photoshop!

So I haven’t really been “challenged” since the Jelly Bean but Jeni at Sparkalish Roar threw down a small informal challenge this week.  She suggested just focusing on one small goal for the week, like drink more water (which I do) or do 10 pushups every day for a week.  Well, the pushup thing is something with which I really struggle.  YES, I need this!  I’m in the challenge for 10 pushups (minimum) every day this week and hopefully everyday for the rest of my life!  So on Tuesday, I did 12 pushups.  Sounds pathetic, right?  Well, I struggle with upper body strength so this is good for me!  You have to remember  not  to compare yourself to others when setting a goal or accepting a challenge.  The purpose of a goal or challenge is to do something for YOU that will improve YOU.  So don’t go out and run 30 or 40 miles because TTF you know somebody who does that each week.  Focus on choosing a goal that is challenging for you personally.

I have been really focused on dropping the pudge for the Palos Half eating clean this week and drinking my water.  Then I added this little challenge to my schedule.  TUE – 12 pushups, WED – 15 pushups, THUR – 15 pushups & today I did 17!   Whoooooop!

I also upped the ante by eliminating Starbucks from my calorie count occasional routine until after the Palos Half.  Jeni upped the ante on her end by adding chin-ups/pull-ups to her routine.  Damn, that bitch she is tough!  So I went shopping.

pull up bar

In case you are confused, that’s a chin-up/pull-up bar that hubby so kindly put together and installed for me while I was sleeping last night.  

I can’t do any,  not even one pull-up.  How long will it take before I can do 5?  Aby sent me a text message that she did 2 pull-ups before school this morning.  Great, I love it when my 10 year old is stronger than me.    Michael did 4 assisted pull-ups before heading off to a tough day at daycare.  Even better when my 2 year old is stronger than me.  I WILL conquer this.

How about you?  Do anything stupid lately?  Have you accepted any interesting challenges?  Wanna do some pull-ups with me?  Wanna spot me?  Go get yourself  a pull-up bar at Wal-Mart and for $19 you can suffer accept the pull-up challenge too!  How long will it take YOU to be able to do 5 pull-ups?  Let’s race to OUR 5 pull-up goal!  🙂

Challenge yourself, no matter how BIG or small, just step outside of you comfort zone toward a better you!

Happy Friday!                                                                                                                Amanda – TooTallFritz