Recently in Workin' It Out! Category

Storming Bastilles

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Last night, Fuzzy and I did the Bastille Day run for the 3rd year in a row. This year, we decided to do the 8K (4.9 miles), as it would have been on par with our current triathlon training. However, with my massive knee pain in my right knee, I've been off my running and biking, and even walking has been painful. I was nervous, but ok with the fact that I was going to have to walk some/most of it.  The race was in the evening, at 7:15, which I love, as I have more energy in the evening than I do in the morning. Fuzzy and I biked the 5 miles down to the start line, and made it just in time to do some packet pickup and bathroom pit stopping. As we took off, I knew it was going to be a long road ahead for me, so I told Fuzzy to run on without me. I put on my headphones, and due to a number of factors, I had my ipod on shuffle to guide my way. I NEVER listen to things on shuffle (especially not an album--my weird semi-photographic song memory freaks out when songs aren't in the proper order), but it turns out that it was a great motivator for this run. I listened to music that I normally wouldn't have listened to for a run, and let the BPM of the songs guide my running stride.  At about a mile in, I did an estimated ending time based on what I thought I could do, and so I could watch my clock during the run. I set a goal of finishing before an hour and 15 minutes. My knee did ok--something switches after about a mile, and the pain eases up a bit, so that is good. I think I ran about 3 miles of it, and walked the other 1.9. I finished in 1:07. Not too shabby! Then another 5 mile bike home makes for a brick day, with 10 miles on the bike and 5 running. I'm icing my knee today and taking it easy.

Fuzzy has started a review podcast about Chicago races, so my feelings about the logistics of the run will be posted online soon.

Speaking of...

RAM Racing quoted Fuzzy and I in their blog post about the Big Foot Tri, and posted a link our podcast about it!  They call me Fuzzy's "friend." I AM his friend! How neat--I am like the FURTHEST thing from any sort of quotable athlete, but yet they quote me and say I have a true competitor's spirit. YEAH!

Here is their video of the Big Foot Tri. This will give you a great idea of what it was like that day. Watching the video gave me chills! I definitely want to do that one again.


Further Thoughts on the Triathlon

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I am still in the afterglow of my athletic achievement on Sunday, and I've been thinking more and more about what it means to me.

I think the fact that this was something that was completely 100% ME makes it all the more special. When you do a show, you work in a team. At a job, unless you work for yourself, a team. Sure, I trained with people (Hi Andrea! Hi Brandi! Hi Fuzzy! ummm, and anyone else I trained with!), and that was a HUGE factor in my success, but the actual swimming, biking and running was something that my body did on its own. I wasn't competing with anyone else--I was proving to myself that I could do it. And I think the tears that came when I saw the finish line was partially relief, but mostly amazement that I achieved this major goal, one that old-me or elven last year-me never thought I could do.  It was beautiful swimming with the pack and biking the first mile with Fuzzy, but when he left, it was just me. Me biking alone in the country, me running alone in the woods. Me crossing the finish line alone. With the support of my friends and family and especially wonderful husband, of course, but it was my legs alone that got me there.

The last 8 years, while being wonderful and amazing, have also been really tough and primarily about caring for others and putting their needs first. Caring for Dad and Mom, mainly. I wasn't able to cope with a lot of things, so I quit most everything that was mine. I lost my identity, I gave up all hope.  And now, thank the Lord, I am in a place where I can put myself first and not be responsible for anyone or anything but ME, and it feels great. I am doing more than ever, creatively, athletically, socially. I am CAPABLE of doing more than ever. I feel on top of my game and unstoppable. I don't hide from people anymore. I am enjoying my success. I am carving out a nice little place for myself in the comedy world, and I love it. Finally, after being here for 12 years, I feel like I am coming into my own.

I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "being the best you that you can be." I want to be the best Me. What is my potential? How far can I go if I really push it? How do I take my life and career to the next level? I am pushing myself to find out.

And I can feel things shifting. Not just for me, for a lot of people. Maybe it's the age we are--there's no need to live in fear anymore. It's time to just LIVE.  I'm on the crux.

The triathlon is an extention of all of this. It wasn't the right time for me to do it last summer. And with the state of my knees, I might not physically be able to next summer. But right now, in this moment and my next few moments, I am there. It is right.

And I am loving every second of it. That's why I couldn't and can't stop smiling. 


Here are some more photos from the event, all but 1 taken by Fuzzy (guess which one!)


Checking out the transition area 

The night before, we checked out the transition area.

Checking out the transition area

Fuzzy and I were right next to each other!

Note our body markings. When you do a tri, they write your numbers on your arm and leg so that you are easily identifiable. I promptly smeared mine all over my other leg when I crossed them at dinner, and we smudged our sheets all up in the hotel. Sorry, housekeeping staff!

Geneva Lake

Calm Geneva Lake, at about 5:30am.

Who's that trucking down the finish?

Here's me! Running out of the woods and down the chute to the finish!
(you'll notice my weird leg gait. Due to how my legs are built, they are always tilted to the side like that. And I wonder why my good knee is still hurting 5 days later...)

It's Erica!

Note to self--don't talk while people are taking your photo. I was telling Fuzzy that I was crying.
Also, this photo makes it look like my left shoulder is jacked up with muscles. I am going to guess that it is actually extra arm skin flapping in the wind.


(the arm sleeve is a UV sleeve to protect my tattoos. Those things are precious to me, yo! Gotta keep them looking good!)


(tr)I, Robot

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I did it! And it was awesome. I have such a sense of pride and accomplishment, and really feel unstoppable. TAKE THAT WORLD! I'm a triathlete now!!

(also, I am exhausted and can barely move.)

Shaun, Fuzzy and I drove up to Lake Geneva Saturday afternoon. We checked into our hotel and then drove down to the site to check things out and buy a parking pass. We were planning on biking to the site, but ultimately decided to drive down, which I am really happy about, for myriad reasons. While down there, we asked what the temperature of the water was--73 degrees--and walked to the lake to check it out. We decided that we would go without our wetsuits, which would make things easier, but also different, since Fuzzy and I had not trained in open water without them. We had some dinner out, bought a ton of fudge, then headed back to the hotel to prep and get some sleep.

Side anecdote--I had purchased a small bottle of iced coffee in Chicago to take with me for race morning. I left it at home. What I ended up purchasing instead in WI was a freaking GROWLER of iced coffee from the Caribou Coffee, which we stored in the fridge in our room. It's awesome. I have had 2 glasses of it already today. 64 OUNCES OF COFFEE!!!

Sunday morning, we woke up at 4:30am after a fitful night's sleep. My start time was 7:09am. We set up transition, then killed time doing this that and the other. When it was time to begin, they sounded the airhorn, and myself and the other 34 women in the female aged 30-34 division took off! This race was the Bigfoot Triathlon, put on by RAM Racing, and it was a small event, with only about 1,000 participants--half for the sprint, and half for the Olympic distances. The ladies in my group were super awesome--as we rounded the bouy at the half way mark, one yelled out "alright ladies, halfway there!" When I accidentally choked on a mouthful of water, another woman asked if I was ok. So supportive! I swam the half mile in about 20 minutes (I had guestimated it would take me a half hour). The swim is my strongest of the 3 sections, and I really loved it. The lake was super gross and seaweedy, though, and when I took off my trisuit hours later, I was all mermaided-out with seaweed all over my boobs. It was pretty awesome.

Transition one took me about 11 minutes. I know that that is over half the time it took me to do the first section, but it is to be expected. I had to use the bathroom; I couldn't run to transition without my knee braces, so I walked it; I needed to eat; and I needed to wriggle on both braces with wet legs. Fuzzy caught up to me (he was in the wave after me) and the two of us set out to tackle the bike. We biked together for about the first mile, then he took off to run his own race.

The bike ride was GORGEOUS--all on country roads near farmland and horses. However, it was SUPER hilly. Hills from the start, hills all along the way. One hill was so hard, it hurt my legs and I talked out loud to myself as encouragement to push through it. (I actually talked outloud to myself on all 3 legs of the race. I guess I am a motivational talk-to-myself-er.) It was gorgeous smelling the country land and seeing the sunrays peek through the clouds. Biking is the hardest for me, and I tried to eat on the bike (hard but needed). I thought the 12 miles would take me an hour and a half, so when, after an hour, I was being flagged into the "bike in," I got so excited! I did it in an hour and 2 minutes. YEAH!

Transition 2 was a lot easier. I changed shoes, ate a little more, got rid of my bike gear, made another pit stop, then took off. It think it took me about 4.5 minutes. I saw Shaun right at the beginning of my run (he was already finished) and that gave me a nice burst of energy. The run was all on unpaved park paths, and it was so gorgeous. Right at the beginning, though, I stepped into a deep hole, and wrenched my left Achilles tendon--youch.  It did ok, and didn't really start to hurt til later in the day. I passed an older gentleman also in the sprint and I said to him "home stretch! We're almost there!" and he said that he kept thinking about how good breakfast was going to taste. I told him beer was my motivator. I ran for a good portion of the start of the race, but again was faced with tons of hills. With all the hills we had faced on the bike, my legs were just running out of energy, so I sadly had to walk some. I tried to give myself goals, like "run the entire last mile" but I was just so sore and worn out, I did the best I could.

During the bike and the beginning of the run, there were spectators nearby, which was awesome for their encouragement. Whenever someone clapped for me, or told me I was doing a great job, it gave me such a boost and I thanked them. The rest of the run, however, was deep in the woods, so you didn't see a lot of people. It was quiet and gorgeous. I was getting lapped by the Olympic distance runners, but I didn't care. I noted at one point, that I was smiling the entire bike and run--I was eating it up and breathing it in. At one point on the bike, I said a prayer out loud thanking God for giving me the ability to do an athletic event like this (especially since last year, I wasn't able to--I could barely walk) and for allowing me to experience the beauty and glory of His land. I was/am just so thankful that I was able to experience something like this.  

When I heard the finish line in the distance and was told by the water stop that there was only a quarter mile to go in the run, I took off running and kept it going. When I broke into the clearing, there was Fuzzy and Shaun, cheering for me, and I instantly started crying. I was so happy that I did it and so proud of myself for accomplishing something so huge and so important to me--I am amazed with the obstacles I have overcome to get to where I am today. I booked it and kicked it into overdrive. Before I crossed the finish, the announcer said "Erica Gerdes is crossing the finish line" and I got so overjoyed--she even said Gerdes right, and no one says it right! As I crossed over, tears rolled down my cheeks (I am even tearing up writing this) and as I was handed my goodie bag of food, etc, the woman said "You looked great!" and congratulated me. I did the run in about 40 minutes, so it only took about 7 minutes longer than my regular 5K time. Not too shabby! I looked at my watch, and it was only 9:29am, which means that I did the race in 2 hours and 20 minutes--40 minutes shorter than the time I expected to do it! it turns out that I was #34 out of the 35 women in my division, and #374 out of only 400 competitors, but who cares? I DID IT!!

Fuzzy, Shaun and I took some photos and then headed over to the beer tent to celebrate. I wept for about another half hour, and drank a delicious beer. We compared notes on the race. Shaun finished in an hour and a half, Fuzzy in 2 hours. I am so proud of and amazed by us. Here we are in the beer tent. Triathletes!!


We went back to the hotel to shower, then had a celebratory meal at Culvers. I had a double bacon cheeseburger, fried cheese curds and onion rings. I EARNED THAT MEAL. We made a quick stop at the Mars Cheese Castle, and another at the outlet mall in Pleasant Prairie, then we headed back home. I slept in the truck, cause I was so tired. I napped when we got home, then went to bed early. Today, I am tired, but happy.

The interesting thing about these hardqore races is that, no matter how hard they are, when they are done, I instantly want to do them again. I want to swim in the lake. I can't wait to run again. I want to bike. I love that, even though I might struggle to get through something, the lingering aftereffect is not "no way, I am done with that" but instead, "when can we do it again?" Add to that the fact that I was so happy for all 3 legs of the race, and therefore I can proudly say I am a Triathlete.

The next Sprint is July 28th...BRING IT. YEAH!

Last year, I set this HUGE goal for myself--to do a Sprint distance triathlon. I worked hard hard hard and I ran when I could and I swam when I could and I biked when I could, and it was so hard... and then I fell off my bike. I had set my goal so big and placed it on such a pedestal, that when I couldn't achieve my goal, I was devastated.

This year, I set a big goal--to do the International distance triathlon--twice what I was training for last year. Another daunting goal! But I've been running and biking and swimming, and I am in better shape and form than I was this time last year (and beyond.) So when Fuzzy added on these 2 Sprint triathlons, we started thinking of them as training runs. I know I can do it. I am not worried. I am actually excited, even.

I am not going for time--I am going for completion. I know I will need to eat before I get on the bike. I don't like biking in my running shoes, so I will change shoes after I am done biking. I have to wear a knee brace on each leg, and I am going to take the time needed to get those secure and tight. I will not be disappointed in myself if I have to walk some during the 5K. I will be very happy when I have completed it.

Helping the matter is that the tri is in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, so it won't be under the regular Chicago/ Lake Michigan/ downtown races-that-are-all-the-same scrutiny. We'll be biking and running on country roads! I won't know anyone there (besides Fuzzy and Shaun, of course) so there is no pressure. I can race at my leisure. I am predicting a tentative time of 3 hours.

I am ready.

I even have a tri-suit. Hardqore.

I probably won't be able to move on Monday. Of course, I have a dance rehearsal that night.

Think of us Sunday morning if you happen to be up in the 6amish time! I'll report back Sunday afternoon. YEAH!


Life! (How Bout It?)



Where the hell have I been? What the hell have I been doing? Those are great questions. The good news is that I've been traveling a lot (pics and stories to come soon), training for these athletic events (more in a minute), and been having lots of fun. Also, here's something awesome--the person I feel the most in tuned with right now (aside from Fuzzy) is my brother, who is in Africa! We've totally found the talking/catch up sweetspot, as his post-work time coincides perfectly with my lunch break. It's so great that I can still be so close with him. It's been the best treat, and it's totally helped keep me going through all the insanity.

So, what's new? Well, for starters, Fuzzy and I have signed up for 2 more triathlons this summer. THE HELL, YOU SAY! I agree. But I am excited about it! Both are sprints, and one is in June and one in July, so they will be practice runs for the big guy in August. I'm doing great on my training so far this year--my knee is holding up great! I am running about 3 times a week (getting up at 5:30am--WHO EVER THOUGHT I COULD DO THAT? Not me, that's for sure) and I've started biking again. My first couple times back on the bike were terrifying for me--I kept having these flashes of falling--total PTSD. It was bad. But I am happily past that now, and yesterday I biked to work! WOO! After a 3 mile run, too! The weather was gorgeous, and I took it really slowly, but that only added 10 minutes to my commute time. Not bad! Of course, as I passed my crash site, I gave it the respect it deserves. And now, I am no longer afraid! FEAR FACED YET AGAIN! I think my training is right on track, too--just gotta get in some cold-ass lake swims.

This Sunday we are doing Bike the Drive! Woo! First time for me, but it will be good to see if I can do a longer distance like that. I need to make sure I can bike 2.5 hours.

What else? Things are trucking along for the DRUNK MONKEYS LIVE SHOW on June 6th! Please come, won't you? It'll be quite fun! I am so excited. As always, our podcast is available for download on iTunes, or you can subscribe to the blog at!

Things are gearing up again for Season 7 (!!!) of Impress These Apes! This season will be bigger and better than ever. I'm tired already.

I'm also doing a little choreography again! KKC is reprising an old dance from a few years ago, so this week, I was back in rehearsals with them! And another dancer and I are bringing another oldie back to the stage, so I have some rehearsals with her in my future. It's been good to be back, though I forgot how exhausting teaching is to your body and voice. Fun times.

Oh, I'm also working part time for I Want to Draw a Cat for You. It's amazing and fun. That Steve. He's a marvel.

Did I mention I am performing 2 wedding ceremonies this summer?

So that's why I haven't been blogging so much lately. It's not cause I don't love you. Cause I do love you.

Speaking of biking to work, does anyone else think this is funny and weird? Look closely...


Brick Day 5.16.12


I know I am waaaaay behind on posting about things, but I wanted to get this quick update in:

Run today--2.95 miles in about 33 minutes. I had to do a little walking in there, since it was my first run back in a week. Gotta stick with it. Still, it's not that shabby--11 minute miles with the walking. This is just shy of half the triathlon distance, at 6.2 miles.

Swim today--25 laps in a little less than a half hour. This is 1143 meters; the triathlon distance is 1500 meters. Not too bad! I was mainly focusing on swimming straight and not using my legs too much. I tried to breathe on my left side, too, but that wasn't too successful. I used to be a lot better at it. Oh well, I'll keep trying. I'm proud of that swim, since I haven't been swimming since January or February.

Now maybe I should try to get a bike ride in there tonight, too....

Fear Faced!

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I biked today! Outside! My first road biking since my crash last June. I was terrified at first--really wobbly and scared, but then, as Fuzzy said, it was "just like riding a bike" and I got comfortable on it very quickly. Fuzzy, Shaun, and I biked down the bike path to Addison and back--about a 7 mile ride round trip. It felt great! Well, it was really cold, but it felt great nonetheless.

In other Working It Out News-
I've gotten off my game lately, because I've been so busy. I've put on some weight, and not committed to multiple workouts a week. Well, now I'm in hardcore training mode, so I can't afford the take many days off. The triathlon is August 26th! Here's the report this week:

Monday 4/30--27 minute run with Andrea
Tuesday 5/1--hour long private Pilates session. It was awesome and made my calves HURT.
Wednesday 5/2--28 minute run with Brandi
Saturday 5/5--40 minute bike ride

And tomorrow, CHEEROBIX! I can't WAIT!

Race to Wrigley

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After a break due to injury, Melissa has started running again, and has been training for a 5K. She signed up for one in her hometown, but then got sick the night before and had to skip it. So when it was determined she was coming into town, I looked to see if any 5Ks were happening that weekend, and of course, there was!

Race to Wrigley 5K 2012
It was a good one, too--the 7th annual Race to Wrigley. I love that it was a very Chicago themed run--the run started and ended at Wrigley Field, and the shirt in itself became a souvenir. I've run a lot of 5Ks now, and on a lot of paths, you just run til you see the mile markers. Since I am VERY familiar with Wrigleyville, when I looked at the route map, it just seemed daunting. I know how far Addison to Ravenswood to Irving Park and down Clark is (and with a couple extra loop-de-loops, it's 3.1 miles.) As it turns out, though, it made the race easier to me, as I would be like "Oh, I can run to Irving Park" and "Oh, Wrigley Field is just a few blocks down there." It helped!
Race to Wrigley 5K 2012
Melissa was hardqore. It was her first official timed 5K, and that girl was FAST! She ended up pushing ME in the run, and a lot of the times, it was hard to keep up. She'd be like "Let's beat that lady with the double stroller!" and I'd be like "My knee can't go any faster!" but ultimately, I liked being pushed! We finished in 34:23, keeping an 11:06 minute mile pace. Not too bad! That's over 4 minutes faster than my race last week! Woo! Other Results: I was 259 out of 388 in my age/sex group and 2704 out of 3527 runners.

Fuzzy and Shaun are training for the Soldier Field 10, so when they finished the race, they just kept on running and ran on home! Amazing! Before the race, we found their brick, which had been moved into a new section. Shaun, Fuzzy, and their Brick Shaun and Fuzzy's Brick So cool!

Run 4.9.12

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I ran a couple miles with Andrea this morning in 26:36. I'm really tired today!

Bunny Rock 5K!

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Bunny Rock 5K
Me and Fuzzy, rocking the look.

Yesterday morning, Fuzzy, Claire, Steve, Shannon and I ran the Bunny Rock 5K. They gave us bunny ears and sun glasses, so you know we rocked that look on the train, the bus, and the streets. We got some honks and waves. Everyone loves a bunny!
Bunny Rock 5K
Claire and I are serving Easter Bunny realness. Plus, we are glowing in the bask of our pre-birthdays. (I'm 3 days older than her.)

My goal was to run it the whole way, and in less than 40 minutes.  Claire and I ran together, and we finished in 38:42. Mission Accomplished! My training runs with Andrea are working! It never really felt hard, and I had a great time. Steve, Fuzzy and Shannon ran on ahead of us, but Shannon would drop back every now and again to run with us before taking off again. It was so fun! I am sad I didn't get a photo of Shannon in her get-up.
Bunny Rock 5K
The cutest bunny there.

 Bunny Rock 5K

Next week: The Race to Wrigley!!

Erica Reid

Meaningful moment with a dinosaur