Small Gains = Big Motivation

Training thru the winter is very different for me than training in the spring, summer & fall.   In the winter, I try to hone in on what isn’t right and fix my imbalances or bring back some training that got lost in the shuffle of the warmer months.  I don’t spend so much time “free running” where I run the dog on the trails, just to spend time outside.  Winter is different.  It’s more focused.  I try to get the most of our my workouts and keep them as efficient as possible.  This year I have big goals and well, there isn’t much time for lollygagging, even if it is the middle of winter.

being-better-than-yourself

That’s what I want, to be better than I was yesterday.  Better than last year.  Better than I’ve been since I moved.  I’ve finally checked my excuses at the door.  Put my emotions on ice about the IL house and all the drama that surrounded that ordeal and the money lost.  I’m ready to roll.  I’m ready to work on me.  I’m ready to get the most out of my workouts and see where it takes me.  As a result, I’m already seeing small gains and that’s motivating me to stick with it and keep pushing. 

success_day in and day out

One of the best things I’ve done so far this year is become more consistent.  Over the last couple years, I’ve ran so many marathons that I was never actually training, just ramping up for one, then trying to recover on the fly for the next one.  While this is fun and keeps things interesting, it also required that I kept things pretty low key. I never really pushed the pace on any of my runs.  I was always in maintenance mode.  I was trying to keep my body in check so I didn’t implode. 

Last year, in the midst of my “marathon madness”, I tossed in a 70.3 triathlon to try to get my pre-move mojo back. I was instantly reminded why I love the triathlon so much.  Its fun and requires more focus than just running.  Last summer was disastrous for many reasons but I somehow stumbled made it to the start line, even with subpar TRI fitness.   I started.  I finished.  And I loved every minute of it.  So this year, I’m tossing in more triathlons and that requires consistency and commitment.

January was all about 1) hammering out a plan and sticking to it; and, 2) Getting my butt out of bed & into the pool when it opened. The first couple weeks were kinda messed up with the double marathon weekend Jan 9 &10th but I still managed to run 142 miles.  That consists of one speed run, one tempo run, the WED night “fun run” at the Y & the Saturday long run at the Y.  While, I’m still not hitting my speed & tempo numbers, I’m getting closer.  My confidence is growing and I think I’m very close to being able to do the workouts, which I already softened up a bit for fear that my fitness wasn’t exactly where I had initially predicted.  Smile  It took a little bit to clear the fatigue from my legs and start hitting the numbers.  I finally had a good session this morning after a hard look at recovery last week.  Yay!!

I also added the bike back in this month.  I bit the bullet and bought a new trainer since I lost mine in the flood last summer.  Now I have a “smart trainer” and well, it’s way smarter than me and apparently also thinks my fitness is better than my reality.  I managed 78 miles on the bike this month, which is low but getting the trainer dialed in was a bit of an issue.  Plus so far, I’ve only been riding 2 days a week.  I’m planning to add in a 3rd day of riding this week.

And the swim.  Last but not least.  I hate getting in the water.  I don’t even swim for fun anymore.  Plus we currently only have one pool at the Y and its used for training, lap swimming & therapy.  Therapy takes precedence over everything else so the water is way too warm, usually between 82 & 84 degrees.  Not ideal for a triathlete who has to swim in open water but that’s what I currently have available. I’m checking my excuses at the door.  I’ve been showing up.  I put in 5 swim sessions in January and I’m already noticing a slight improvement in my time per 100yds.  Goal in this off season is 2 swims per week.  I’ll get them all in this month!

All of these slow but small gains in January have motivated me to keep up the work, stay committed & do even better in February.  I’m being consistent.  Not moving around workouts.  Not making excuses.

  • Monday – Off
  • Tuesday – Swim  & Speed Run
  • Wednesday – Bike & Fun Run
  • Thursday – Swim & Tempo Run
  • Friday – Bike (skipped in January in lieu of a rest day)
  • Saturday – Long Run
  • Sunday – Long Bike

commitment

So far, so good.  I’m committed to smashing my marathon PR at the Garmin Marathon & chasing my TRI goals this year.  January down.  Let’s see what February brings.

** Keep Chasing YOUR Goals ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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5 Days until Ironman Muncie 70.3 & My First DNF

As we all know, I took some chances this year and entered some big name expensive races which I normally avoid.  Ironically, I won’t be running the Chicago Rock N Roll Half due to the tear in the tendon in my foot and although I plan to participate in Ironman Muncie 70.3 on Saturday, I will have to DNF (Did Not Finish) due to my inability to start/complete the run.

ironman muncie

5 days out from a half iron event, I’ve never felt so unprepared.  My swimming is okay.  I’m not fast but can certainly cover the distance with or without a wetsuit.  Of course, I’d like a cold front to come thru and cool off the Prairie Creek Reservoir so that water temps are wetsuit legal and I can feel fast and free as the wetsuit corrects the imperfections in my form.  But regardless, the swimming will be the easy part on Saturday.

As for the bike, OUCH, it’s gonna hurt.  I knew upon registering for this race back in April that it would be a real push to be in good enough shape to ride the 56 miles well this early in the season.  The way my schedule works out, time to ride is a real luxury.  I have ridden way more miles on the trainer this month than ever before in my life. I’ve ridden outside, maybe 100 miles this year.  OUCH, this is gonna hurt.

bike cartoon_Stuart McMillen Source:  Stuart McMillen

I’m obviously looking at a less than ideal situation.  Since I’m already planning to DNF, and I’m not really ready to kill the 56 miles on the bike, you might ask why I’m even going?  Because I can!  I can cover the 56 miles even if I do shed a few tears.  I can learn from this experience and move forward with more knowledge as a TRI athlete and I’ll be one step closer to being a better cyclist.  I will get to experience the Ironman atmosphere to see if it is one which I want to spend my money on try again.  The $250 race fee is non-refundable so I’m going to go and do what I can do and walk away with the satisfaction that I didn’t give in and quit when I had so many excuses as to why it would have been “ok” to sit this one out.  And really, after I finish the swim & bike on Saturday, I can officially consider myself 33.33% of an Ironman.  Think they have a tat for that?  A pretty design for 57.2?  No, I didn’t complete the 70.3 this time, no I didn’t even consider the 140.6.  Just 57.2 for me!

image

The 57.2 would forever represent courage to step outside the safety zone.  Courage to do what you can do in any situation.  Courage to push your limits.  Courage to TRI even when you know you could use a few more months of training today may not be your best day.  So I’m heading to Muncie to do what I can do, and on Saturday that will be swimming and biking at the best of the ability I currently possess……..for 57.2 miles of pure hell bliss.

Would you go to a race even if you knew you would need to DNF?  This is certainly a first for me and it just seems strange.

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

Friday Fundays…..

I haven’t been blogging too much about my Friday Funday’s because this has been a crazy month. For the first time in my life, since I was 16, I have a summer of Friday Fundays that do not include working. Initially when I bargained this into my schedule, the plan was to use the early Friday mornings for my long bike miles, then have over half the day to spend with the kiddos taking them on “field trips” a couple times a month, just hanging by the pool or heading to the lake early on Fridays. As we know, life doesn’t always deliver per our written request. Yes, I’ve had my June Friday’s off work but I have spent an inordinate part of each Friday training, working on rehab, doc appointments or running errands. Planning fail. We went on one field trip during June and that was with Michael’s school. Goal of two field trips per month fail.

Since the indoor pools are on summer vacation schedule, getting in swim time has also been quite a challenge. So my Friday Fundays have been starting with a swim after dropping Michael at school. As I have mentioned, swimming has not been fun since the pools are so overcrowded, I have to share a lane and I drink so much TRI Smart water while swimming. I would rather be swimming in the afternoons after work, before heading home but the pools don’t reopen during the day until 5pm. So I either wait for the pools to open, when I could already have Michael and be home on the weeknights, or I swim on Friday mornings. Therefore, I have been using the Friday Funday for swimming but plan to change that up this week to hopefully avoid the crowds and further free up future Friday Fundays. Here is a pic from Friday’s pool session as I was leaving. The place was packed. I mean, really packed.

20120701-155339.jpg

After a swim, I head to the chiro for whatever amount of pain and torture rehab I can endure for the week. Of course, I should be rehabbing 3x per week but my schedule doesn’t allow for that. So the 1x per week rehab date is not a pleasant one.

After rehab, I head home for a torture session long bike ride. The goal is always 50 to 60 miles but I have only hit the 50 mile long ride 2x this month. I will participate in the Ironman Muncie 70.3 next weekend on July 7th where I will have to DNF after the swim & bike and the lack of long bike rides will show. I know its gonna hurt. I knew when I registered that on a “normal” schedule the 56 mile bike portion was going to hurt this early in my season considering my family, work & commute responsibilities, and well, June 2012 has not panned out the way that I planned. So many Friday’s this month, I’ve spent spinning miles on my trainer like this:

20120701-160149.jpg

This last Friday was no different, as evidenced by the above photo. I headed out the door for my 50-60 mile ride and as soon as I turned North I noticed the black thunder clouds. I managed 20 miles outdoors, came home and rode on the trainer for another 18, then once the rains blew past, I went back out for an additional 13. I logged 51 miles total, which is still not equivalent to the miles I will need to ride in Muncie next week. Not cool.

So after all this, each Friday, I finish my workouts and rehab about 2pm. Shower off, then head to pick up Michael. Still better than a “real” Friday in my life but not really what I consider a Friday Funday. Next month will be better, right?

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball or two? Let it ruin your mood or just roll with the punches? I try to roll with whatever but would occasionally like things to work out smoothly. 🙂

** Wishing you a Friday Funday or Two! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

The Good & Bad…..

I’m going to back step a bit to Friday.  Normally I don’t go back to workouts that I don’t talk about because we are all adults and hey, I assume you are working out even when you don’t tell me, so I’d like to think you give me the same courtesy.  Right?  🙂

Friday started with a pool swim after I wrangled my little man to daycare.  I normally knock out 1.2 miles, the half iron swim distance, in the pool before most people have breakfast on Friday mornings.  Here is a lovely pic of me in the locker room wishing my swim were already over.

me_swim_6-22-12 The pools have been overcrowded due to summertime maintenance and I swear the water temp has gone up 10 degrees since school has been let out.  Not ideal.  Somebody suggested the schools may have raised the water temps because of the younger kids & swim lessons, I’m not really sure but I couldn’t catch my breath on Friday.  I was short on time as it was and never really got my rhythm.  It was humid & hot.  I was miserable.  I only had a half hour to swim and only managed .71 miles.  Bummer.  I was slow.  I couldn’t breathe.  I let the million extra people in the pool bother me.  I wanted to leave way before my time was up.  What do I do after a bad swim?  Shake it off!  No big deal.  It’s like having a bad run or a poor workout.  I just let it go and know that its not a reflection on my swim ability but that it was just a bad day.  Swimming is just like any other workout, some days are great, others not so much.  Please DO NOT let a bad workout zap your confidence.  It happens to all of us, even people who get paid to run/TRI have bad days.  It happens.

The good news, I am a week ahead of the recovery/rehab schedule.  Possible reasons why:  1)  I’m lucky?  2)  I have been icing 8-10x each day?  3) God is concerned about my mental health?  4)  I have been taking it easy and NOT doing anything that is not previously “okayed” by Dr. Alexis?  4)  I have been making Aby do all the hard work at the house?  5)  I have a positive attitude?

I’m not sure why things are going well; I’m just thankful! 

believe-in-yourself

** Always Believe **  Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Where the Path Leads….

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.  ~Frank A. Clark~

Things haven’t gone exactly as I  had planned over the last couple weeks but who am I to assume that the plan I create(d) will lead me down the correct path?  The best I can do is have faith that the path I am on now will lead  in the direction which I am “supposed” to be headed……and hopefully make me stronger and wiser because of it!Plan A-Plan B

So I sit and enjoy the summer as much as possible.  It seems almost wrong to be sitting with my feet wrapped in ice up and “chilling” but that’s all that I can do for now.   My work and family schedule doesn’t allow much time for swimming but I do have the bike on the trainer in front of the big screen now.  I managed 10 miles in 34 minutes last night.  Not a big ride as I didn’t have the time but that’s pushing the pace for me on the trainer since I have no hills to throw in a little extra speed.  I have never been strong on the bike, even weaker on the trainer.  Possibly this entire process, which requires no running since I’m still not walking very well, will improve my bike?  Possibly help me develop more focused, efficient power?  Help me look like I’m serious instead of out for a joy ride? 

girl riding bike_fun

                 Pleasant Prairie_bike

We’ll see.  I always say that if “it’s easy, then it’s not worth it”.  This isn’t easy so I am going to assume that I am going to learn something or become better in some way as a result of this process.  We’ll see.

What are you up to this summer?  Any big races or are you focusing on slowing down? 

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

I Refuse To Let The Grass Grow….

Ever heard anyone say, “Don’t let the grass grow under your feet”?  That’s exactly what a lot of people do when they become injured; however, it’s not my nature.  I’m “kinda” wired and I need to keep moving for the most part.  I’m very fortunate in that my injury still allows me to bike and swim.    So I bike and swim.  And bike and swim.

I have a little injury bike station set up.  I am not strong enough to ride outside at this point.  If I fall, particularly being clipped into my pedals, then my partial tear could become complete and who knows how much time off that would require.  So I’ll ride on the trainer until I feel comfortable and strong enough to take it outdoors. 

bike injury station

It’s actually kinda comfy.  I set it up facing the big screen tv, have a table for my water bottle, remotes, phone, etc.   I rode 10 miles yesterday morning at a slow pace since I wasn’t quite comfortable and my foot was a little achy.  Then today I went 30 miles, was feeling decent and was definitely faster.  Riding on the trainer is not the same as being outdoors but it’s good for now.  And safe.  And boring, like the dreadmill, thank goodness for the tv.

Me_bike_6-6-12

I also swam 1.2 miles this morning in the pool with Susan D.  She didn’t kick me.  She didn’t spit water in my face.  And she didn’t churn up so much water that I was scared.  Thanks Susan for being such a kind lane partner.  🙂  You’re definitely one of my favorites especially after you basically carried me back to my car last week when my ligament popped.  Thanks for that too!

My swim was much faster this morning (49 minutes vs 56).  No, I didn’t miscount.  No I didn’t cheat.  No Susan didn’t swim half of my 88 laps.  The difference? I didn’t feel like I was going to drown?   Firstly, my awesome friend, IronWOman Mel, told me last week that since my goggles keep fogging being that my antifog is 8 years old I should try using Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.  Really?  Anyone tried this?  Since I literally stop a good 20-25 times while I swim to wipe the fog from my goggles, I decided to try it.  Damn, it worked too.  I rubbed a little undiluted J&J baby shampoo on my goggle lenses last night, rinsed, let air dry and today, I had exactly one fogging incident and that was my fault cuz I didn’t dip my goggles in the water before I started swimming.  Wow.  Best tip I’ve  had in a long time.  Thanks, Mel!

Secondly, I tried to focus on my kick the last 25ish laps.  I normally don’t kick at all much in the pool.  However, when I TRI, I start kicking as I come around the last buoy and can see the beach.  So I spend about a 1/3 of the swim with a solid kick (depending on how the buoys are set) and that kick makes a difference.  I don’t like to kick at the start, I just focus on being relaxed and enjoying the calm before the storm but when I come around the last buoy its game on and I’m ready to ride.  So today, I tried to focus on kicking in the last portion of my swim.  It’s GAME ON, bitches.   I’m so ready to TRI, it hurts.  I may be out of a few races but I refuse to end this season without a TRI or two in the books.  And watch out cuz, I’m gonna be lean and mean from my time off.  It’s not gonna be for fun……it’s gonna count and if i feel like this on day 6 of rehab, it’s gonna be scary when I come back after 12 weeks.  11 weeks and 1 day left.  #MakeItCount

** Happy Running & 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

Dear Lifeguard….

As defined by Wikipedia A lifeguard supervises the safety and rescue of swimmers, surfers, and other water sports participants such as in a swimming pool, water park, or beach. Lifeguards are strong swimmers and trained in first aid, certified in water rescue……. 

Dear Lifeguard:

I have always had the utmost respect for your occupation.  You stand on the sidelines of the pool/beach watching the masses while everyone else is having fun.  You are always attentive, cautious, helpful and in emergency situations you save lives.  In fact Beach Patrol: San Diego, may or may not be one of my favorite “reality” tv shows that I haven’t seen in forever.

I have been swimming in the same spot for almost a month now.  I go and you are always there “watching”.  Normally, you sit atop your perch, on the opposite side of the pool watching the boys playing water polo and we do not speak.  I like it like this.  I like to go, swim and leave as quickly as possible.  I don’t really want to talk to anyone.  I don’t want anyone to “watch” me or I would go back to swimming at LA Fitness where the body builders sit in the hot tub “watching” the swimmers while they “rest” their aching, bulging muscles

Yesterday,  when I entered the pool you were sitting atop your perch watching the boys playing water polo and I slid into the water to swim.  I only made 3 or 4 laps before you came over to sit on MY side of the pool to watch me.  This really bothered me.  First off, I swim on that side of the pool on purpose to get further way from you.  Second, although I know I am not the best swimmer, I certainly believe that I could hold my own in a pool which at any given time, I can stand up in…… even in the “deep” end.   Thirdly, you made me believe that I was GOING TO DROWN!  Although, I was attempting to focus on my “just keep swimming” mantra, you interrupted my thoughts and made me paranoid.  I couldn’t think of anything other than the fact that you thought I was going to drown.  I tried to focus on my stroke but kept thinking I must look sooooo horrible that you had to come over and sit close in order to be better prepared to save me from DROWNING.  I tried to focus on my breathing and choked on a mouthful of water because I was concerned about what you thought about my swimming or lack thereof ability.

It took almost 20 laps of me flailing around in the water for you to return to your perch.  Gee, leaving so soon?  Did I finally develop a rhythm which looked safer?  Or was it the 5th water polo ball which bonked me in the head, forcing me to stop swimming, stand up, and pitch the ball into the other pool, which helped you realize I was tall and could “possibly” avoid drowning if I were to stand up?  Or were you frustrated watching my pathetic attempt at swimming?  That’s it, isn’t it?  Regardless, thank you for leaving but also allow me to thank you for watching “just in case”. I  know your job isn’t easy.  I know you have a lot of responsiblity.  I know you take your job seriously and I thank you…..just please watch from across the pool in the future.

I promise I will become better.  I promise I will become faster.  I promise I will try not to flail around so much next time so as not to disturb your watching water polo practice.  See you next Monday.

Your Tall Swimmer,                                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz

Like a Ton of Bricks…..

Yesterday was a great day for running in the CHI with temps in the low 50s around lunchtime.  I wanted to head out to see if I could get a few photos of the flowers and trees which are starting to bloom.  This is an exciting time for me, possibly because I am a springtime baby, I definitely love this time of year the most!

My first stop was at Millennium Park because Hubby called my cell as I was passing by.

Soon the fountains will be turned on and you won’t be able to pass this area without hearing the squeals of laughing children playing in the water, awaiting the spitting fountain of water out of the “faces” and then the waterfall from the top of these towers.  It’s a lot of fun for young and old alike and always makes me smile when the fountains are on and alive with activity.There are always various pieces of abstract art displayed in the park.  The art pieces change periodically and add a different flavor to the environment with each new exhibit. 

Once I hit the lakefront, I ran south toward McCormick.  It’s less crowded that way, has more foliage, has a little gravel path at the side for softer surface running and also passes all the museums. 

Monroe Harbor:

Path beside Burnham Harbor:

This last photo is pretty much where the fun ended.  I turned around shortly after this because I didn’t want to run too far.  My legs are still a bit tight and fatigued from the Shamrock Shuffle so I have been trying to get in a few miles this week but not get crazy yet.  When I made the flip, I was back in this same area, running on the left side of this photo, in the crushed limestone area (off of the black top) and I tripped.  I was looking at the ground like always so was definitely focused on the task at hand.  No iPod.  No distraction.  No excuse.  I stubbed my toe on “something” and went down like a ton of bricks.   Since I was in mid stride and was running a decent pace, I was immediately airborne.  There was no catching myself, I was going down.  I put my hands out, one of which was carrying my phone, realized I was traveling to fast for this to turn into anything but a face plant so opted for a tumble roll to save face….as if that were even possible at this point.  The good news, I rolled, got up, brushed off and was unharmed other than a few grass stains on my hands and Aby’s new Fort2Base half zip which I had stolen plus a few clover leaves stuck in the case of my phone, which I did not drop.

Of course, I immediately wondered what made me trip but by the time I brushed off, removed the impacted dirt and clover leaves from my phone took off the grass stained half zip and tied it around my waist, there were people coming down the path.  At this point, I opted to just RUN so that I possibly didn’t have to talk to them about WHY I fell.  Who knows but when Ms. TooTall goes down, there aren’t any ballerina type graceful moves, its full force LIKE A TON OF BRICKS.  Thank goodness for the tumble roll.  Thank goodness I ran south instead of north so I wasn’t swimming in Lake Michigan instead of brushing off a few dirt and grass stained spots!  Thank goodness I wasn’t in a group run where I would have most likely taken out Aurelia and Susan too!  

I would also like to add that through all of these acrobatics, the damn PunkeeLove Headband did NOT move!  No joke.  I knew they were awesome and have been wearing the ones that I bought at the expo on every run but this really made me a believer.  There is your next giveaway:  PunkeeLove Headbands!  The package is in the mail, I’ll post it as soon as it arrives.  Stay tuned because you NEED a few of these headbands!  Here is a pic of my green one below.  I also have a double strand red/gold one which I wore yesterday.  I was told the double strand bands should be up on the website this week.

I also squeezed in a quick swim last night which was much less dramatic.  I just tried to focus on getting my rhythm back and using the full length of my arms to not “short” my stroke (thanks, Jackie!!).  My main swim goal for the year is bilateral breathing but I did not work on that yesterday, just focused on my stroke.  I swam 40 laps which is 1000 yards or 0.567 miles.  I normally swim 80 laps but swimming is like everything else and I need to get acclimated and build my endurance.  It will take a couple of weeks and I should be back to 80 laps per swim.  The 40 laps took me approximately 23 minutes.   The 80 should be right around 45 minutes once I’m reacclimated. 

If you want real details on swimming and proper technique, go over and check out Kelly the Culinarian’s post on her first swim lesson.  My approach to swimming is a lot like Dori from Finding Nemo:  Just Keep Swimming.

“Run & TRI”way fashion for the day:  Fort2Base half zip; Athleta Relay Capri (best capri’s EVER!), PunkeeLove Headband, SkirtSports.com  TRI Tank, Speedo Vanquisher goggles (from SwimOutlet.com), Swim Cap – Freebie from USAT.  I actually never buy swim caps because I get a free one in every race so I just keep them and use those in the pool.  I don’t have a brand preference, just use the freebies.

What did you do yesterday?  Any trouble staying on your feet lately?  Do you fall down gracefully or like a ton of bricks like me?

Happy Running & TRIing!                                                                                             Amanda – TooTallFritz

Dry Rot Leads to…..

Yesterday was an AWESOME day.  It was another beautiful day in the CHI and I somehow managed thanks to hubby doing toddler duty to fit in a run and a swim!!  I met up with a few F’N Runners to run 3 miles in the Hickory Hills extension.  Here is the 4:30 group:  Wayne, Kathy & Me with Susan behind the camera. 

It was hot as hell but a few raindrops started to fall as we were getting ready so I threw on a hat to shield my eyes.  Then it never did rain, which would have been nice to cool off the temps a bit.  We just did an easy 3 miles, which wasn’t so easy between the hills and the heat but we put it in the done column.  We also saw a ton of F’N Runners on the trail as there was also an early bird meet up for those who could start at 3:30.  I really do love seeing so many friendly faces on the trail.  I also met a triathlete named Kim who I am hoping will eventually join us for some fun runs!  Email me, Kim!!!

After the run, the real fun began as it was THE day that I was scheduled to get my ass back in the pool.  To be honest, I haven’t been in the pool since the completion of the Great Illini Challenge 70.3 in September of 2008.  To be honest, I would never get in the pool again if it weren’t for triathlon. To be honest, YES, I love triathlon that much that I got a tattoo forced myself to get back in the pool.  So after a long pregnancy/baby break for Mr. Michael,  I feel as if the family he is now mature enough for me to get back to what I really love.  And it all starts in the pool (stock photo, not me):

So that I can make it to the start line:

So that I don’t let those bitches swimmers swallow me up:

So that I can meet the first goal of making it OUT OF THE WATER:

So that I can hit the bike:

So that I can thank my Lord & Savior each time I am able to get off the bike, back on my own two feet, RUN (my favorite part by far) and most of all, FINISH:

I knew it would take a little acclimation to get back into the swim.  I’m not a fast swimmer but somewhat consistent and my major goal for this season is bilateral breathing.  This will be very beneficial in hopefully helping me swim straighter, more efficiently and allow me to be more flexible when the water is rough as I will be able to breathe on whichever side has less wake.

In order to facilitate some of these new goals, I got a small group together for a beginner swim clinic with a young lady I know who first and foremost is an awesome person, but who also swam competitively in High School and is a former lifeguard.  Thanks, Jackie!  This forced my accountability and made me dig out my swim gear when I would have been content to put off swimming for a “couple”  more months.  It was a joke at the pool that my swim gear was so old that everyone was surprised my google straps weren’t dry rotted.  When I took my goggles out of the box, they were in fact in intact.  Well, they lasted most of the session before the straps broke.  The new blast of chlorine did not agree with their age.  So apparently I need new goggles.  Ok.

Well, then the real “giggle” was when I got out of the pool and realized that my TRI top which was fine when I got into the water had basically disintegrated in the chlorine.  Thankfully, there was a solid panel in the front, and the “issue” was with the mesh on the sides and back.  The mesh DID NOT hold up to the new blast of chlorine either and when I got out fo the pool the top was VERY threadbare.  Thank goodness for my new Team Tough Chik TRI top which just arrived, and does NOT have mesh panels! 

I basically filled the garbage can at the pool with about half of the gear with which I started.  Good times and thank goodness for solid front panels in TRI tops. 

Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction? 

Last call for the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts winner Bridget Walters.  If you know Bridget, tell her to contact me soon or I will have to draw another winner.

Happy TRIing,                                                                                                                 Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                 amanda@tootallfritz.com