Monday, October 31, 2016

#MCMKPF16 - Marine Corp Marathon Kyle Pease Foundation 2016

Triathlon and running is an inherently selfish sport. We, triathletes and runners, know this. We take time away from other endeavors, family, and muggle (non runner/triathlete) friends to train and recover.

I have been training for and competing in races purely for my enjoyment and satisfaction for five-six years now. That's really not that long of a time considering some of my friends have been involved in endurance sports for 20-some years. Anyway, I wanted to find a way to get more out of my hobby. How could I make it less selfish and more rewarding?

As 2015 progressed I learned more and more about the Kyle Pease Foundation. It's a great non-profit organization based out of the Atlanta, GA area that was founded by my coach, Brent, and his brother Kyle. Directly from their website:
The purpose of the Kyle Pease Foundation (KPF) is to create awareness and raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities by providing assistance to meet their individual needs through sports.

Programs may include scholarship opportunities, purchasing of medical equipment or adaptive sports equipment for others or contributing to other organizations that provide similar assistance to disabled persons as well as participating in educational campaigns to create awareness about Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities.
I told Brent I wanted to get involved with the KPF and he said, "Come run the Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) with us." Then he forgot. I didn't.

About 7 months ago, Helen posted on Facebook they were looking for a couple more runners for the 2016 MCM. I reached out to her and said I would like to. I also confirmed you didn't have to be fast, you just had to be able to finish. Fast I'm not; finish I do.

I received the official invite to join in on the fun and I began my fundraising. I was blown away by the generosity of my friends in swiftly helping me and Aidan (my running partner for MCM) reach our goals. With my minimum fundraising commitment met, I could focus on my training.

Augusta 70.3 was my goal triathlon for the 2016 season and after finishing that, I could focus running and prepping for MCM which would be about 4 weeks later. However, Augusta didn't go as planned as I ended up racing it with Bronchitis. Oops. I lost 7-10 days post race trying to recover from the event and the lung crud.

I am not the person that can just go do an event without training. I mean maybe my body would cooperate, but my mind doesn't. I was a bit worried about the marathon because I had only run one 16 mile run (which was split 8 before work, 8 after) and one 20 mile run in which I pretty much had a melt down at about mile 17-18.

How was I going to get through a marathon not for me but PUSHING another HUMAN!!! Aidan wasn't in DC to hear my excuses. He was there to run with the Marines!

All the teams that were staying at the hotel met in the lobby at 5am and we piled into cars, vans, trucks, and an Uber to get over to the staging area for the run. Chairs were adjusted and the push athletes were set up. Aidan's mom choose the racing stroller type chair instead of the traditional race chair. We wanted him comfortable and well supported for the day.

The KPF and Ability Experience Athletes photo cred: J. Blackburn
After a great group photo we made our way to the start line. There wasn't a lot of time to be in my head and besides, every time I walked past Helen I was given a pat on the back or an encouraging word. Brent had told me the night before to just go have fun.
We started the race with good company, Team Naomi! photo cred: T. Hagman-Hicks 
And we were off. I had one objective: Get Aidan across the finish line. The first part of the course has some hills and running hills pushing is different than running hills. Fully understanding this and I made the decision to walk up all the hills and then hold on the best I could on the down. The support on the course from runners and spectators was absolutely amazing. Aidan and I were offered cheers and high-5s throughout the course.
I'm not going to lie, I'm not really sure where/when this is. Photo cred: J. Jackson
More than one runner cleared space for us. Running ahead calling, "Wheels back. Wheels on the right. Wheels on the left." and if they didn't get a response (normally a runner with headphones too loud - a rant for another day.) they would tap them on the shoulder.

About half way through we saw Brent and crew. Jennifer (Aidan's mom) checked on him. Brent checked on me. I wasn't in a bad place, but I was calculating that still had 13 miles to go. I used this time to grab another gel, Brent used this time for a selfie.
I don't know if I have ever felt more supported or loved than I did by this crowd.

With Aidan checked on and in a good place, we took off knowing we'd see them at the finish.

We made it to mile 20 and things were okay. I was having some leg pain (knees and calves) and I knew that showering was going to hurt later but that didn't matter (OMG am I chafed!). I saw Aidan look up at me and I just dug a little deeper. I reminded myself why we were out there. When we were on the Blue Mile, I reminded myself and told Aidan, "We are running today because these men and women will never run again."

At some point in the second half, Megan caught up to me with her friend and she pushed for a few minutes giving me a chance to run upright and stretch a little. I then sent them on their way. Other people that I'd never met and may never interact with again offered to help push up a hill or clear room so I could keep running. The camaraderie among the runners was just as overwhelming as the support from the KPeasey families and support crew.

I have a horrible habit of underestimating myself. I thought Aidan and I would be out there for 6-7 hours. I really didn't know how it would go. It went so well that Helen said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but we didn't think we'd see you this soon." I think I laughed and replied, "I didn't think I'd see you this soon either!"
Aidan's official splits.

I think the best support sighting of the day was Brent, Helen, and Renee at about mile 26. Aidan and I were on the right side of the road, where we were most of the day and they were on the left. FAR left. I heard them yell for us and I some how got us across the entire road of runners to stop and say hi.

On to the finish, where yes, at MCM there is a hill at the finish. Thank you to the young Marine who verbally encouraged me to get up that hill.

And then we finished and Aidan WALKED across the finish line! Really! Watch here. We come into view about 5:33:57 on the race clock, 3:30 on the time line of the video. And if any of you who read this have video editing skills....

Aidan was awarded his first marathon medal!

The smiles are real. The discomfort of running and pushing 26.2 is nothing compared to Aidan smiling for his mom and enjoying his medal. Are my legs sore today like I ran a marathon, yup. Does it matter, nope. Aidan is a marathoner and no one can take that away from him.

Here is what I'd like you to take away from this: You don't have to be fast or a super athlete to give back and help out. You just have to want to. I was surrounded this weekend by amazing runners and triathletes who embraced me with open arms because I wanted to be part of this. Not one person asked me what my expected finish time would be and when we finished, no one asked what our time was.

If you'd like to support the Kyle Pease Foundation and learn more about everything they accomplished this year, join us at the 7th Annual Bowling with KPeasey Event, a VERY family friendly affair.

If you kept meaning to donate to Aidan and my fundraising page and/or you are moved by our accomplishments on Sunday, please consider another small donation. CLICK HERE! All funds donated are 100% tax deductible. My fundraising page will be open until next Monday, 11/7/16.

A huge thanks to Brent for being my coach, for getting me ready for this task, and believing in me to get Aidan across the finish line. There isn't enough pumpkin spice to thank Helen for her organization, endless supply of information, and support all weekend. Put me down for next year please!

P.S. If marathoning is on your list of things to do, The Marine Corp Marathon should be at the top. Just like when I ran it in 2013, it was simply amazing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It Takes a Village....

A month or so before Ironman Louisville 2015, I made the decision not to participate in anything longer than a 70.3 in 2016. My "A" race, the race I was going to be training for was going to be Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

Leading up to Augusta, I was oddly calm. I wasn't counting down to race day, nor was I agitated by other's countdowns. I didn't change my Facebook profile picture to my bib number. I had everything I needed for race day sorted out and ready to pack 3 days before I needed to leave. I had had some great runs leading up to taper. My last work out went well, REALLY well. I was ready.

The weekend before I flew in to Philadelphia to voluncheer at Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City. My good friend was going for her first. I had a travel voucher for Delta. I hadn't been home in a while. All good reasons to pop out of town for a couple of days.

It was a great trip and I was feeling great until Tuesday. As Tuesday rolled on, so did my "Taper Cold". I missed 2 days of work and instead of uploading data, I was reporting in my sleep and nap episodes:
I'm doing everything possible to rest, recover and get ready. Coach pulled workouts in favor of rest. I whined a little but followed directions. This resulted in my taper week being a total of 3 workouts: 2 short swims, and then Saturday before race I hopped on my bike for the first time in 8 days for 15 minutes and then trotted 8 minutes. I told Coach I was going to be the most rested athlete to jump in the river on Sunday!

Minimal to no improvement throughout the week. On Saturday I lost my voice. I still couldn't come up with a reason not to jump in the river. Some of you get this and some of you don't. That's okay.

I had little sleep Saturday night leading into race morning. That's not uncommon for many athletes, but it is for me. I can usually get about 5-6 straight hours of sleep. Not Saturday night, a couple hours and then coughing fits. A little bit more sleep, then coughing fits.

I woke up, grabbed my stuff and walked to the shuttle. My folks came to cheer and Dad's plan was to meet me at the flag pole at 7am. I left the room at about 5.

On the shuttle I sat right behind Lane and I had my first tears of the morning. I still can't figure out why. But they were there. A quick chat with Lane and we hear for the first time the swim isn't wetsuit legal. First time in Augusta 70.3 history.

Into transition to set up my area. Coach had a race plan for me that had heart-rate zones and power numbers. I had written it out and tucked it into a Ziploc bag to shove into my jersey for reference. Set up my bottles, my fuel, etc. Heard the official "no wetsuit" announcement. I could have worn my wetsuit but I would start in the last wave. I was not willing to give up my 8:04 start for 9:20. Besides, as I was reminded by coach: I am a swimmer. The wetsuit would have shaved 5-7 minutes off my swim, but I didn't need it. I packed up my backpack and headed to the flag pole.

Dad and I had no issues connecting and I was explaining what was going on and we were taking it all in. Caught up with lots of friends and a couple teammates to wish everyone well or see what they were wearing so to spot them on the run later.
My #1 fan.
Presentation of the flag, national anthem, and the pros were off. Time for me to go huddle in my wave. Hug to dad (best sherpa of the day!) and I was gone. Saw a few Ironwilled ladies and lots of friends. Sabra says hi to me, and the tears flow again. Why? I couldn't figure out why I was so teary. Don't get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows I cry. One day I'll get my tear ducts under control but this weekend wasn't going to be it. Stacey comes up to me and gives me a hug. I get the tears to stop. Regroup and it's time to walk down the ramp.

The Swim:
Plan: Go hard for about 2-300 yards, find your place, and then pull off a little, but keep swimming strong.
What happened: I started a little too close to the front for my liking, but I held my place the best I could. Big arms, a bit of contact. One woman stroked across my leg and didn't just make contact, but grabbed my leg and pulled. The second time she did that I pulled in my leg, put it on her shoulder and pushed her away. Contact happens, but there is no need for me to feel like you are trying to pull me under. I swam strong and steady. Out of the water. Waves to Kris (the only person to give me a nickname and actually stick to it!) and my Dad. Came out of the water steady enough to trot up the ramp and continue a jog to my bike.
Take away: I am not a fast swimmer, but I am strong and confident. I've learned how to and will protect my space on the swim.

T1: I felt good about this. A quick pause for another round of sunscreen. Socks, shoes, helmet, bike and out.

The Bike:
Plan: Coach broke the ride into 3 segments.Each segment had power goals and hear-rate targets. I felt good about the plan. I thought it was something I could accomplish.
What happened: When I got back to my bike, the Ziploc bag was no where to be found and the ink on my arm was smeared. I'd read the plan at least 5 times, so I knew it was: stay under control and find your legs, then push a bit, then push more. That's what I tried to do. I tried to stay on top of my water; at each aide station I would grab one bottle for my bike to drink and then another bottle to dump all over me. I didn't hit my power goals and my heart-rate was high; but as far as perceived effort, I felt like I was in the right place for the whole ride. With the exception of the discomfort (see next paragraph) I felt good about the data I was seeing every 5 miles. I truly tried to dig deep and stay focused for the last 8+ miles as it's a net downhill... free speed if I could keep pedaling!
Take away: This wasn't the bike course I signed up for! There was a DOT detour so 2 additional climbs were added. I handled them fine, John Cobb says "comfort is speed". I am not comfortable on my bike. I'm comfortable riding a bike, but not MP. My knees started to hurt, my hoo-ha still hates me. It was only 56 miles. I should have been able to ride without such discomfort. I'm not going to gain any speed if I can't keep my cadence up because I'm shifting around in the saddle trying to find a spot that doesn't suck. Every time I stop pedaling, there goes pace. It is time to retire MP, he's a good man. It's not him, it's me. Merry Chrisma-kah to me!

T2: I had a picnic. I was in no rush. I walked my bike in. I took my time switching shoes. I grabbed my Dynamo Trucker hat, my fuel belt so I could always have water with me, and my race belt with my number. I walked to get sunscreen. I was trying to get my heart-rate down as I was high to start my run. Augusta has about .25 mile route in and out of transition. I walked all of it.

The Run:
Plan: I was given a plan I believed I could follow. That had me all in as opposed to going in with any doubts. I know it would be tough at the end, but it was supposed to be. It was time to race! Miles 1-3 nice and easy, Z1. Miles 4-10, kick it up a bit. Miles 11-12, more, what was left? Last mile: Dig deep, get it done.
What happened: My wheels started to wobble maybe a mile in, maybe sooner. It is a 13.1 mile run. I stopped at the first aide station and had them fill my bottles. I started to run easy. Nice and easy, but it felt labored. It didn't feel good. It should have, dang it!

I told myself to shift to aide station to aide station. That process has worked well for me in the past. Let's let it work for me now. Aide is about at every mile. This switched to 4-1, run 4, walk 1. A woman caught up to me and asked if I wanted to join her. I said YES! I hung for the first set, and then I let her go. At about mile 2 I came up to the TriCoachGeorgia and TriAugusta Tents. Lots of friends right there. I think I saw Darsh and then Danielle and I walked towards them and proceeded to have an epic melt down. Jeff saw it. Tears. More tears. I was having a physical and emotional melt down. I was not following my plan, I was having tons of doubts. I was thinking of a DNF. They gave me hugs and I moved on. I saw Tiffanie, who kindly did NOT take a picture of me at that moment. Then I saw Kristin. Probably my guardian angle for the entire race.
Not my best moment of the race, but Kris caught them all.
Kristin asked what was up and I told her I had a blister in my foot. I hurt. Everything hurt. Right then Fred ran up to me on his second loop. He stopped. Heard me mention a blister. I took off my shoe and sock, Fred put Aquaphor on it. I put my sock/shoe back on. Both of them asked when I had eaten last. Through tears I told them, "I don't know". Fred opened a gel and I took it in. He then said let's go. And he stayed with me for about 2 miles. We posed for pictures, we stopped and talked to my folks. He had one of my bottles switched to Gatorade and I filled the other with water. He helped me pull myself together. I started to see Kris on the run course.
Lucky and blessed to be part of the Dynamo Team
At about mile 3.5/4 ish Fred took off to finish his race. To be honest with myself, if not for the help of friends, Kristin and Fred specifically, I might have had my first DNF. I know this shocks those that know me really well, but I was really thinking about it. But then...what would I do with the swag that I bought? Just sayin'....

I got my head together. I abandoned the plan and I created a new one. I needed to finish. There was not a real single reason I could come up with not too. I was sick, so what? It was hot, so what? Finish what you started.

I needed a run interval I could succeed with. So as coach had told me going into this when we both realized I'd be racing sick, small chunks, Shawna, small chunks. And that's what I did. I stopped looking at my watch and I started looking around. Run to the red car, walk to the street light. Run to the street sign, walk at the white car. Rinse, repeat, keep moving forward. I stopped and hugged everyone I knew.

And that's how the run went. Slow. Small chunks. It got done.

At the turn to the finish, Doris caught up to me and said let's finish together. So we did. Holding hands and celebrating the finish line.

Take away: The only thing you can control on race day is your attitude (Thank you Stacy S. for the reminder). I let that go for a bit, but with the help of friends and calories I recovered it. And when the plan no longer works you find a way, and you get it done. There was zero, zero reason for me not to finish.

My triathlon season is over for 2016. I had lots of ups and downs. I PR'd some races. I had some very tough training days. I'm thankful for it all. There will be more from this race for me to remember and reflect on. Lessons learned to take to next season. Two thoughts crept in to my head as I made it through the run: I should retire from long course and then I should retire from triathlon. Nah...I think I have decided on my first 70.3 for 2017.

I'm thankful.

  • My parents were able to spend the weekend with me, my sister was cheering and watching the live feed from home. 
  • My coaches, teammates, and friends believe in me, even when I fail/forget to believe in myself.
  • The triathlon community I've built around myself is the most amazing for taking care of each other. 
  • I am physically able to do this stuff. I am healthy enough to continue working on my mental game.

Ironman 70.3 Augusta was not the race I trained for, but it was the race that I got. I will build on the experience for next year.  Now it's time to get back to my running roots as Marine Corp Marathon is in about 4 weeks. Aidan and I have work to do.

If you were considering donating to our fundraising efforts, it's not too late. Click here for more information.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Not Much of a Trend Setter...

It seems to be the current trend is to share everything on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and a few other social media outlets I'm not cool enough to understand. While it seems like everyone is over sharing, I'm sitting here thinking, "Do I really want that shared?" and I'm pulling back. (Before I get called out on my food posts to Instagram, those posts are for me, not you. I'm in a second round of Whole30, and posting to Instagram helps keep me focused. And even there, an outlet for pictures, I don't post every bite that I take.)

Maybe that's why I haven't written much recently.

Or maybe, when I started blogging it was because I was constantly being challenged to push myself further and sharing these new experiences with you was fun and the support provided really helped me keep going. Now when I swim, bike, run, it seems as normal as eating breakfast. It's what I do. Am I facing new challenges, all the time, but it seems like a more personal journey I guess.

Anyway...I have a race report to share. I don't think I shared a report on my first race of the season or if I did, I just had it on Facebook.

PT Solutions Allatoona Triathlon: 500m swim, 16mile bike, 5K run

I'm chronically early on race day. It's my thing. I get to Dallas Landing before the sun rises. I don't know why I didn't think of this a year or so ago, but I did all my bike prep at home before driving over (air in the tires, etc). My first stop is the Cannon Cyclery tent because Bart had been requesting #bakedgoods. I brought the guys s'more stuffed brownies and Wayne wastes no time digging in. Curtis does a quick once over on my bike and I'm off to set up my transition.

Wayne making sure everyone saw the deliciousness he was about to eat! (Happy 60th Wayne!)
I must be getting more comfortable because I have started bringing less and less with me to sprints.
I claimed a spot in the middle of the rack, but on the end, if that makes sense. My number grouping was assigned to a rack on the inside of 2 put together. Anyway, I set up, put things down and then start visiting. After all, what else do you do for 1.5 hours before the race starts, I mean besides braid Jess's hair?
Jess and I rocking our Ironwilled kits by Coeur!

When I returned, some one had shifted my bike over, placed her bike between mine and the rail, and had her bike hanging over my stuff. Come on folks, you don't touch other people's bikes. If you have an issue, you tell an official. They find the person. She said she didn't mean to upset me when I asked her how my bike got moved. I then told her not to worry, I would reset so that I was not in her way as I pointed out to her that I would have to climb under her bike to get to my shoes.

PSA: Please don't touch someone's stuff in transition. If there's a problem, a race official will find the owner of said stuff.

It's always fun doing local races and meeting new people and seeing friends. That has to be the only reason I keep coming back to this race. It's a first rate race, but the only thing flat on this course is the swim! I got to hang out and chat with too many people to list without forgetting someone, so I'll skip that part.

The race report:

The Swim:
The swim is posted as 500 meters. I think the course was long. I'm not complaining, everyone swam the same course. I looked at my official race pace and the meters Garmin says I covered and my pace and theirs aren't close! (Garmin said 2:17/100yd, race pace said 2:50/100 yd) So I looked at other athletes and their posted race pace, no way. They swim much faster than that. Anyway, this year, unlike last year, I was able to get in and start swimming without engaging in a boxing match for 500 meters. My heart rate stayed steady, and I felt good. As a matter of fact, I'm swimming looking for the next buoy (there were 2-3 between turns) and the next thing I know I'm approaching the turn. Not really sure where the other went, but oh well.

Out of the swim and I'm able to run up the beach and into transition. T1 was about 90 secs. Nothing worth noting, but once again, I don't practice transitions, so I'm happy.

Photo cred: Lauren who I met at Endurance House's event a couple of weekends ago.
The Bike.
The plan on any sprint I do is to "put the pedal down and hold on for as long as possible." This one was no different except I was to hold back a little towards the end of the bike to get ready for the run, and see how hard I could push the run. More on that in a moment.

Ride elevation chart, about 675 feet on climbing in 16 miles.
The bike is never my favorite part. It is a necessary component to get me from the swim to the run. I can't remember ever finishing a race and thinking, THAT was a good bike! But yesterday I did. I felt I was riding strong and steady. I didn't curse any of the hills out loud. (I may have had some internal dialogue about some cyclists who were riding down the middle of the lane and I had to get very specific about them moving to the right so I could pass them but my words out loud were very encouraging. I promise!!!) I even kept my joy about me to motivate others up a nice steady long freakin' hill about mile 12. Last year I rode this route at about 15.8 mph. This year was 17.2!

T2: a minute ish

The Run.
They changed the run this year. I'm not sure why, but they did. It added more hills. In all, about 245 feet of climbing in 3.1 miles. The usual plan is to get my feet under me and just hold on. Saturday night, coach added some helpful planning for the race: Let's work the run and at the end, I want you to remember why you hate sprints. Out of transition and at that moment the cloud cover parted and the sun came out. It was hot and sunny. I decided it was best to stop at the first water station (I normally go past it on a sprint) and grab 2 waters: 1 for my head and one to sip for a moment. Then I started off again. Lizzie said I looked strong. I wasn't feeling that way. Heat. Hills. Humidity. Pretty normal for Atlanta, but still tough to push through. I remembered 6 secs and started setting small goals for going up the next hill. Get to the purple flowers. Get to the mailbox. Get to the top of the hill. Other than split second stops at the aide stations, I ran through and still pulled off negative splits with a sprint in on the final straight away. 29:32, about 30 secs off of last year, but it was hotter and it was different course.
Mountain goats would love this course

I was very happy with how my day went. I can honestly say I had a great ride and followed it up with a really good run. Usually when someone finishes a tri and starts talking about how great their ride was, it is usually followed by a complete meltdown on the run.

A VERY VERY special shout out goes to this lady who shaved 26 minutes off her time from last year and has dropped 40lbs!! She's a true juggler of triathlon, family, and career. Once again...I'm so happy for you and your accomplishments!

And coach: I remember why I hate sprints!*

*Come on, people. They are hard! Nothing against you short course people.

Lastly....while I have met my fundraising goal, Aidan and his family are still working on theirs. If you are interested and able to support our endeavor, please consider donating to the Kyle Pease Foundation on our behalf. EVERY dollar is helpful!

Aidan and I after our first 5K together. #KPMCM16 here we come!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rollercoaster Aren't Always Fun....

Ever go to an amusement park and get dragged on a ride you didn't want to go on? And it wasn't fun... I mean sometimes you get dragged on a ride and finish asking to go again, but other times you get off the ride and have lots of colorful words for your friend.

I did that to a few people in my life this winter. I dragged them onto my emotional roller coaster without asking if they wanted to come.

One of the reasons I haven't been writing is I didn't feel like I had anything worth sharing. You know, because everything doesn't have to be shared with cyberspace. Some things really are best kept personal.

I finished IMLou and stayed high off that for a bit, but then I hurt my ankle. And the high came crashing down. The winter plans of working on my running speed for triathlon and lacrosse got shelved. Why? Because it hurt to run. If it hurts, don't do it. About 8 weeks of minimal running and a lot of swimming and cycling on the trainer. I was thankful I was not a one trick pony or I would have been a mess. This endurance junkie (like most) doesn't do well sitting still.

However, my run stayed stagnant and I felt like I had no legs on the field.

Oh, and my jeans stopped fitting.

Then there was work, there was a huge, I mean HUGE change at work Nov. 1, 2015. My entire work situation got turned inside out and upside down. MAJOR, MASSIVE adjustments had to be made. And I didn't make them well. I'm still adjusting and if anything it forced me to stop talking and start doing.

And dating...oh wait, never mind. There wasn't any of that. I am however all caught up on House of Cards and I finished Nurse Jackie.

I decided that after my birthday I was going to do Whole30 or a realistic version for me. When it comes to food, I have no determination. If I could focus on my food as much as I do my workouts, I'd be a lean mean tri-ing machine. If anyone had taken bets on how long I'd last without: sugar, dairy, processed foods, bread/gluten or items resembling bread, and alcohol; I would have said 3 days. But I did it. I chronicled it on instagram. I don't know why I didn't want to share in Facebook, I just chose not too. It went well. I had lots of support from friends and some unlikely sources. It was a good experience. I'm still doing a modified version of it by really trying to focus on what foods I chose to eat. I'm still not back into the jeans from 2014, but my clothing is fitting much better.

In the middle of Whole30 I had a pretty significant break down about my workouts. And as if on cue, everything started to turn. I had a good ride. I had a good run. I kept up with almost all of masters swim. I finished probably the fastest lacrosse game I'd ever officiated and walked off the field knowing that I was where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be. It was like a switch was flipped.

I had lunch recently with one of the people I dragged into my pity party and they point blank said: The amount of negative energy from you is just too much.

And it was true.

To those of you I dumped on, thank you for sticking around and I'm sorry.

Things in my world are in a constant state of change and right now, it is all for the best! I've sold my home. Another lacrosse season is almost done. I'm actively working on changing some other be announced later, and I'm back to enjoying tris and training.

While I have some goal triathlons this upcoming season, my new "A race" that has my focus and excitement is my return to the Marine Corp Marathon in October. It will be marathon #8 (after telling my dad I'm never running 26.2 miles because that's crazy!). However, what makes this event spectacular and special and just damn awesome is that I'm running with someone else! I will get to feed off Aidan's spirit while he gets to borrow my legs. I GET to run with him. We will be running with the Kyle Pease Foundation and I feel incredibly honored that I have this opportunity.
If you are as moved by this opportunity as I am, we would love a donation of ANY amount. Really, just think if 10 people donate $10 that's $100.

Aidan and my fundraising page is here. We are THIS close to 50%. A couple clicks and you can be part of our team without taking a step!

Here's to a great spring and summer and more positivity and good stuff in all of our lives....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dear Motorist revisited....

Dear Motorist,

I'm sorry I delayed you a few moments while you had to wait to safely pass me. However, I also want to thank you. Thank you for losing those few moments to make sure I stayed safe while riding my bike. Thank you for sharing the road with me, I'm doing the best to share it back with you. That big goofy wave I gave you, that's because I wanted you to know I was waving and not, well, giving you the finger. So I use a big ol' goofy wave. I don't know if you are aware or not, but it is not legal for me to ride my bike on the sidewalk. That's right, if you are over 12 years of age, it is against the law to ride on the sidewalk.

You should know, I'm not the only one thanking you for giving up those few moments to pass me. My mom and dad thank you. My niece and nephews thank you. My brother and sister thank you. My friends thank you.

See, I'm more than just a triathlete trying to stay healthy and train for my next race. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm an aunt. I'm a friend. I'm a coach. I'm an employee.

When you sacrifice those couple of moments to get around me, you give me another opportunity to continue pursuing my goals and my dreams. You allow me to celebrate the next birthday, holiday, special occasion with my family and friends.

These thoughts I share with you are not original and many people with much greater influence than I have shared them. I just wanted to take a moment and thank YOU for sacrificing those couple of moments.

Please, I implore you, pass me like you love me because someone out there does.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Time to Lighten the Load...

I'm tired of being tired. Why am I tired? It isn't like I have kids. (Snarky reference to that stupid meme that says people who don't have children don't know exhaustion.) I'm tired because I over commit myself. I'm busy. I'm busy all the time. Therefore I don't get enough down time and I don't get enough one-on-one time with my bed and I'm spontaneously crying for no apparent reason.  (Special thanks to a friend who admitted this happens to her too. I appreciated her sharing cause I thought she had this adulting thing down.) And because I'm so very tired so often, I'm finding it tougher to deal with disappointments, you stuff.

So what's going to give... not as a resolution but as a life style shift? I'm going to start saying no thank you, and I'm going to stop being the first to volunteer unless it's really something I want to participate in or something very meaningful.

What cannot give:
My day job. Why you ask? I get paid biweekly and I did not win the Powerball. I'm disappointed also.

What I'm not willing to give:
Refereeing lacrosse. It pays for triathlon and I almost always enjoy it. #whistlewhileyouwork
Triathlon. I did cut back on distance this year. Call it a compromise.
Ironwilled: Women who Tri. If I need to explain why...It's like you don't know me.
Coaching. My adult athletes are all remote and a complete blast to work with. (I've got room for 2 more this season, just saying."

What can give:
Starting in December and concluding last week, I've stepped away from volunteering on a consistent basis for my neighborhood. To those of you who volunteer on your neighborhood association, God bless you!

I survived my full 1 year term on the association board as vice-president. I probably should add that to my LinkedIn profile. I digress. I don't know what I actually took away from it. I do not believe I achieved any sort of personal growth during my term. My fault? Maybe, maybe not. I know by not serving another term I get back 4 hours a month (drive time + 3 hour meeting) from not attending a monthly board meeting and my gmail account has exponentially less emails wanting my attention. That's TWO days back to myself just from not going to a meeting. And my gmail quiet!

I gave up my neighborhood Facebook group that I started and was the moderator for. Like life, this group ebbs and flows and there were times it was a great community. However, lately, it seems that the squeakiest wheels just want to squeak. They don't want to offer solutions. They don't want to stop squeaking. They just want to make noise. I'm out of diplomacy for these squeakers. I asked for someone else to take over the admin role for the group as I'd been it for 2 years or so. Only one person out of 170 offered. If you aren't part of the solution then you are part of the problem, and we're talking about improving our homes. I'm still around, but someone else can drag the horse to water.

It was not hard (not easy either by the way) to walk away from these obligations because they brought limited joy to my life. I can honestly acknowledge I'm not on my couch at night wishing I was at a meeting. I'm not disappointed that 2 people in the neighborhood Facebook group don't get the point of the group and need to be refocused and stop acting like children in the group. I'm not going to be the one who has to do it.

My volunteer efforts will be focused where they are not only meaningful, but appreciated.

However, not everything I've yielded has been an easy decision.

The most recent endeavor I decided to put on hold was Ironwilled: Kids who Tri. We will not continue in the summer of 2016. IWK was a recreational youth triathlon program that Amy and I kicked off last summer. We met with the kids 3 times a week for an hour-plus for about 8-10 weeks. It was a cost-free program and I really enjoyed working with the kids and their parents. However, it was at least a 6-8 hour commitment every week with drive time, prep, activity, clean up.
To do it right, and I don't do junk, I need more time to dedicate to it. I do not have the time nor the resources to focus on this right now. Right now. I may revisit it in the future as I do believe there is a need for non-competitive/non-elite programming for kids, but now is not the time for it to be singlehandedly produced by me. There are some great programs in the area over seen by full time staff. I posted my resignation letter in our group this afternoon. IWK was a great idea. It still is a great idea. But life happens and I'm not in a good place to lead it.

I've already identified some new endeavors to get involved with when the time is right. Until then, I'm working on saying no unless it's something I really want to be involved with, trying to adult better, and getting to sleep earlier.

And on that note...

Monday, January 4, 2016

I Am a New Year Resolutioner....

The memes on Facebook started a week or two ago. The specific complaints were quite obvious today. Someone is in my parking space. Why are all these people here? 

Well, I'm here to publicly admit...I am a New Year Resolutioner. Seriously....I know. I know. You've followed my journey. Training, working out, breaking a sweat is what I do. But it wasn't always!

What I haven't done in years is go to a group exercise class. What I've never really embraced was yoga. Yes, you read that correctly, YOGA. While in Hilton Head with Michele last week we went to 4 yoga classes in a row. Different type: Warm Yin, Slow Flow, Gentle, and something else I can't remember. I enjoyed it.

My January schedule is actually fairly light until lacrosse starts. I found a local yoga studio that offered a great intro deal and I signed up. I've been binging on yoga sessions (5 in the past 4 days) around work and my regular tri training.

I was keeping this a bit on the quiet side in case I bailed half way through January. Then no one would really know. That was until I was walking out of Restorative Yoga tonight. A woman almost didn't get into the session because it was full. She commented to the instructor about needing to remember to sign up (I didn't register for the class until 45 minutes beforehand as I had to see how I felt after my bike trainer workout.). Now, I may have interpreted tone that wasn't intended. What I heard was the instructor say something to the regular like, "It's January..." Maybe I heard the tone. Maybe there was tone. But DEAL WITH IT!

It's January and I'm in your class and possibly taking the place in the room that you usually have. Sorry not sorry. We all need to start somewhere. Maybe if I get a smile and introduction I'll stick it out past January. Maybe I'll stick with it to compliment my tri training. Maybe if an instructor takes them time to get my name I'll buy the next package. Still waiting for someone who works there to make me feel welcome other than one of the owners who I introduced myself too.

More honesty, if not for the little bit of yoga I tried a year ago and for my 4 day bootcamp with Michele, I may not have gone back past the first 1 or 2. I digress, that's for another post....

Maybe that person who is on your spin bike, or using the machine you want, or walking on the treadmill, just needs a little encouragement. Give it a shot. Especially you reading this that are already on the fitness wagon, remember there is always room for more. And if you had to park a bit further, add the walk to Strava and see if you can get faster at that segment.

Oh, and if you need a good chuckle, come do yoga with me. Not because yoga is funny, but because watching me turn my cactus arms into weeping willow branches is!