Friday, December 30, 2011


Admission:  I didn't take any pictures.  What the heck?  I must have been too busy having fun...

What I did do:

1) Have an AWESOME time with my family.  It's rare that we are all together in one place at one time but when it does happen it's really fun.  Many laughs. 

2) Lose at mini-golf.  I bodly predicted World Dominance on twitter.  And then I lost my ball in the water like 20 times.  All I can say is, those little fishing nets that they had by each hole came in handy... 

3) Lose at Scrabble.  I might have won once but I mostly got dominated by my mom, Oscar, my dad...  I've become dumber in 2011.

4) Lose at Settlers of Catan.  Starting to notice a trend here?

5) Swim at the bubble.  The rec center on Hilton Head has an awesome outdoor pool.  In the winter they put a big bubble over it.  It's a strange little place with the bubble but it's still a great place to swim with cool water and a digital pace clock (love). 

6) Run.  Lots of it.  A good deal of it in the rain but also some of it in beautiful, warm, sunny weather.  Oh yes!  And I had a running partner for 100% of my runs in Oscar.  :)

7) Eat lots of good food.  YUM.  I had some GREAT workouts when I was down in SC which I can only attribute to being fueled by my mom's excellent cooking.  :)

In short, it was a great time.  We got home early evening on Thursday and now it's back to work!  Well, not really.  It's back to work on Monday.  First we must celebrate the New Year!  Like last year, O and I will be ringing in the New Year with many of our triathlon friends.  This time though, I'm going to try to get home before 4 am.  That is one PR I don't want to be breaking...  :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful start to 2012!  Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


In just 1.5 days time, Oscar and I will be boarding a plane straight for South Carolina!  (actually, that's a lie...first we will be headed for Charlotte, NC and then we land in Savannah, GA...but whatever).

I am beyond EXCITED for a gazillion reasons but here are just a few:

1) We will be flying sans bike.  I haven't flown without my bike long I can't remember the last time.  Perhaps I was in college flying to a cross country or track race?  Not that I won't miss Petey (okay, I admit, I really won't miss him that much), but it will be really nice to bound easily through the airport without lugging that huge box that weighs SO MUCH!  Truth be told, I am NOT a light packer and my suitcase will probably be just as heavy as my bike box...but whatever...  :)

2) Without a bike I get to do lots of running and swimming in a very, very beautiful place.  HHI has a great masters program and lots of nice running paths.  I will also get to scope out some good training grounds for when I spend most of February in South Carolina swimming/biking/running!

3) I GET TO SEE MY PARENTS AND SISTER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW, NOT AT A RACE!  :)  I only seem to see my family at races when I am, well, focused on racing.  I am really, really looking forward to seeing my family (with Oscar too of course!) to have fun and enjoy each other.  Not to get up at 4 am and race for 5-10 hours.  :)

4) We already have like 15 movies planned.  (okay, maybe only 3...but whatever...  :)

5) I'm looking forward to kicking some serious butt in Scrabble.  I hope you know, family, I've been reading the dictionary.

6) Bowling.  My goal is to break 50.  :)

7) Eating all my mom's good food!  YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Because I worked on Thanksgiving I missed turkey dinner which is my favorite meal and so my mom agreed to make it for Christmas Eve.  I've been thinking about it ever since she told me that.

8) Naps.  Sleeping in.  Not working.

9) And most of all, I'm looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Although it's very easy to lose sight of the meaning of Christmas I've been trying very hard to focus on the miracle that is Jesus's birth and the life He lived.  And of course, the death He died for us. 

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2012!  Ready or not, here we come!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

Okay, maybe not EVER.  I have had some pretty good days in life (like my wedding day probably trumps today... :)  But still, today was a pretty darn good day!

First, I woke up BEFORE my alarm!  This almost never happens because, well, I really like to sleep and could probably sleep all day long if given the opportunity.  Nonetheless, this morning I woke up at 5:30 am and stared at the clock until it rung at 6 am.  Not only does this mean I was well rested but I was also VERY excited for...

The Pittsburgh Triathlon Club's 100x100 workout!

Kind of hard to see us all but we had an awesome group!  :)
I had been looking forward to this workout ever since it was announced that it was happening.  I was really curious as to what 10,000 yards would feel like and VERY glad that I would get to find out with a great group of friends vs by myself in my own little hot YMCA pool.

We did the workout in a pool that I've been to a handful of times (like when my YMCA closes for weeks on end for no apparent reason) and it is a strange little place.  Some people call it The Cocoon.  Oddly enough, there are about 5 or 6 (or 12?) cats running around on the pool deck and 1 that lives in the women's locker room.  I kid you not.  Exhibit A:

Very cocoon like.

Anyway, strange environment aside, I really LOVED the challenge of the 100x100.  We didn't get fancy at all.  We were going to do all of them on 1:40 but we threw 2x(10x100) sets on 1:30 in there from #40-50 and #90-100 and I also threw some pulling in there too.  We took ~4-5 minute break after #50 to eat (and I REALLY wanted to take my goggles off for a bit). 

Here are some things I learned:

1) Fatigue started to show a bit around 7000 in but fatigue REALLY showed up big time from about 8500 on.  I swam pretty much every single repeat in the 1:18-1:22 range but at the end I felt like I was putting in a 1:10 effort and only getting a 1:21 out of it! 

2) Chad will almost always think we are on #X when really we are on #X-2.  :)

3) I cannot (I repeat CANNOT) chew gummies and swim at the same time.  That almost ended very ugly.

4) The workout went much quicker than I imagined it would.  Although it was a bit monotonous when we were in the 50s and 60s, when we finished I couldn't believe that we had been swimming for over 2.5 hours!

5) There wasn't much time for talking and joking around but after #1 I did manage to say "only 99 to go!"  (*groan*)

6) Swimming with friends was so awesome and most certainly the main reason why I was so excited for this.  Special thanks to Matt, Josh, Chad and Chris for putting up with me.  I feel very lucky to be a part of this club!

Chad (center) doesn't look happy in this picture but he secretly loved it and can't wait until the next 100x100!  I can't wait either!

After we were all finished we grabbed some lunch and then I went home and rode my bike like a good little triathlete.  :)

THEN, it was NOODLES time!  If you've read this blog long enough, you know that I LOVE Noodles and Company.  I never thought the day would come when there was one in Pittsburgh but indeed, crazy things do happen.  There will soon be THREE franchises in Pittsburgh, one of which is a cool 5 minute walk from the hospital I work at (trouble).  Oscar and I headed there for dinner tonight, my first Noodles meal in ages. 

Happy Day!

And then we went to church.  And that always finishes off every Saturday very well. 

Whew.  Wonder how awesome tomorrow will be now?  :) 

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I've Been Retul-ed

Pittsburgh has Retul!  Yes, yes, even little Pittsburgh.  Those of us in the triathlon community here like to joke that Pittsburgh is the new Boulder (a city that probably invented Retul) but in reality we are not.  We do not have what Boulder or San Diego has in terms of triathlon numbers or opportunity.  HOWEVER, we do now at least have Retul and let me say, it's pretty awesome!

When I first heard of Retul (which is a computerized system for bike fitting in case you don't want to click on the link), I really wanted to have a Retul fit done.  I knew I would have to travel for it (likely Philly was my closest option) but knowing how important bike fit is, I figured it would be worth it. 

But...that never happened.  Instead I kept riding in my old position which probably wasn't that bad but did have SOME issues (most notably I ride off centered which makes my right knee wonky and causes a lot of saddle sores on my left side). 

Lucky for me (and all Pittsburgh area cyclists), Jake (Retul guru) came to town and set up shop at Top Gear, a bike store only 40 minutes from my house.  SIGN ME UP!

Jake probably didn't want me to take a picture of him but he had no choice.  Nobody likes a picture-less blog.

So today I was Retul-ed.  I was a little nervous about it because (1) I was afraid that Jake would tell me my bike is too big for me (which it kind of is but he worked around it) and (2) change scares me.  I mean I rode pretty well this past year so maybe my fit was okay and this new fit would not be okay? 

Early on though, I knew this was good stuff.  It was a process of 2.5 hours of checking flexibility and Jake assessing my current issues and figuring out how we might fix them and of course the space robot part where they put the sensors on you and you pedal and the computer figures out all your angles, etc...  I'm no expert (um...I really don't know anything about bike fit at all) but I do know this - I already feel better on my bike (I'm even now and my right knee is much less wonky!) and, given that I'm lower in front with a flatter back, will also be more aerodynamic.  Free speed?  Yes please!

(plus, I also have yet ANOTHER new stem to add to my collection...does anyone need a stem?...perhaps my sister would like one for Christmas...  ;)

Overall, it's a great process and I highly recommend you give it a shot if you have someone close by that does it.  If you are in the Pittsburgh area (or anywhere remotely close), I certainly recommend Jake at Top Gear.  As we all know, bike fit is one of the most important components of cycling so getting it right is paramount!

Anyway, Jake and I still have some work today.  We've made some intermediate changes with tweaking (and yet another new stem) to come in the future.  I'm feeling pretty excited about this.  And also about the possibility of saying goodbye to some of my saddle sores.  That in and of itself would be the best Christmas gift ever!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dang, That Was A Long Time Ago...

I've been such a deliquent blogger again!  I have no excuse other than it's a busy time of year (duh) and I'm trying to get lots of sleep.  Unfortunately when push comes to shove, blogging goes by the wayside (I wish I could make work go by the wayside instead - HA!).

Training is humming along well.  The double runs and double swims of November were replaced with big(ger) bike miles in December (I just knew that would happen).  I still have a double run or two but the double swims have disappeared.  Not to fear - I did manage to get a 100x100 swim set on my schedule for next Saturday.  Which makes me soooooo excited!  This will be my first attempt at such a set, something I've wanted to do FOREVER but never found a group to do it with (yes, I know I could do it by myself but...ouch).  ANYWAY, the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club is sponsoring the swim and so not only do I get to do 100x100 but I get to do it with a lot of great friends!  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I've also managed to find a new masters team that I'm pretty excited about.  Not to replace my own masters team at Pitt (which is so awesome I seriously wish I could swim there EVERY SINGLE DAY), but rather to ADD to the rotation.  This new team has a practice on Saturday, which Pitt does not.  And word on the street is, this Saturday practice is usually 5.5-6K in length.  Um...YES PLEASE!  (I think I really am a swimmer at, love, love it!)

In other news, the Occupy Pittsburgh people have been making news here in Western PA because they are getting kicked out of their spot and they are not going easy.  This is very similiar to Roxy when she does her rendition of Occupy Couch and Occupy Sunny Spot:

"Can I help you human?"

She lets you know if your bag is in the way of the sunny spot...
The good news is, in less than 2 weeks I'll be doing my own version of Occupy Hammock.  We are going to South Carolina for Christmas!  (which is where my parents live, in case you were wondering)  I simply CANNOT wait! 

This was from several Christmases ago.  Let it be known, family, I call the hammock FIRST!
And finally, I leave you with a conversation that O and I had on our run this morning...  We were discussed that while we both aren't *that* much older than 30, our 20s seriously seem like ages ago.

Me: Yeah, I'm only 32 but 29 seemed like light years ago.
Oscar (who is 34): Seriously, it's not like I'm 39!
Me: Right?
Oscar (after thinking a bit): I guess I am 5 years removed from my 20s.  (QOTD) Dang, that was a long time ago...

You might have had to be there but it was really funny - I swear!

Have a great weekend everyone!

PS  I bought whole wheat orzo at the grocery store, now I must figure what to do with it!
PPS We finally saw the Muppet movie today.  Spectacular!  Animal is the bomb!  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo Dump

Time for a photo dump from the phone! 

New suits in the mail today!  Makes for nice swim motivation.  I even got a new pair of googles.  I finally figured out that if I buy the kids size goggles they fit my face right.  :)

Also, new shoes!  I swear I only go shopping but once a year.  This just happens to be that one time.  :)  My mom will be happy to know that I came home from the shoe store with something other than running shoes.  :)
This past Tuesday I had a work dinner at the Marriot which was beautifully decorated for Christmas including many big nutcrackers!  Also pictured is my BFF from work Kristen (who is a kick-butt dietitian)!

Here we were clearly going to give Mr. Smiley Nutcracker a kiss but really all we did was laugh and make a scene.

Nope, not Pittsburgh.  But I do leave this picture of a Kona sunset on my phone for those times when I'm feeling a little blue.  Instant pick-me-up!  :)

Happy weekend everyone!  :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

I've Got Nothin'

Why is it that at times I can think of a million different blog topics and then at other times I got nothin'?!  As in the past, when I can't think of something good to write about, I just write a bunch of slop.  Yeah fun slop!  :)

1) Swimming a lot makes me tired.  I think I sometimes underestimate how tired swimming can make me.  I mean it's not like running where you are taking lots of pounding right?  All I know is, when my alarm went off yesterday morning it felt like I was GLUED to my bed.  So tired.  And sore.  I like!  Getting in shape!  :)

2) Oscar and I want to see the Muppet movie.  We planned on seeing it yesterday but that didn't happen because we slept in and then I didn't get my training done until too late.  (totally worth it for the extra sleep).  We'll eventually get there but in the mean time we had some very important discussions about who the best muppet of all time is.  (if you want to talk politics or world finances, our dinner table is not the place to be)  CLEARLY, the best muppet of all time is this guy:

I mean seriously.  How could you NOT vote for Animal??!!??!!  Oscar claims Rolf is the best.  Lame. 

3) Yesterday on the trainer I watched (among other things) the movie Bridesmaids (very funny and really good for trainer rides) and an episode of Law and Order UK.  Yep, that's right, Law and Order with the Brits!  It's kind of funny because they wear wigs in the courtroom and call the judge "My Lord".  Pretty cool if you ask me.

4) Also cool is this video.  I like this song (Manifesto) by the City Harmonic but what I think is especially awesome is that the singer (Elias Dummer) sings through about 75% of the Lord's Prayer without taking a breath!  Now that is some serious lung capacity!  If you don't want to watch the whole video advance to about 3:08 in and he goes until about 3:33 without breathing.  I bet he can swim a whole 50 under water without coming up for air.  :)

Hope everyone has a great week! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Double Days

Recently I've be doing several days a week of either double swims or double runs.  I like!  Although prior to about 2 weeks ago I had never done a double swim, I have done double run days in my life but not since this...

Bonus points for anyone that can identify me!  ;)
In high school we did double runs for just 2-3 weeks before the cross country season started in the fall.  And in college I did double run days 4-5 days a week pretty much year round.  But then I didn't do another double run for...oh...10 years.  :) 

My observations on double days thus far:

*Although I don't always feel better on the 2nd run/swim of the day, I almost always perform better (ie: swim/run faster with less effort).

*You get funny looks from the lifeguards at the pool when you show up for the 2nd time in a day.  You...again?  :)

*Double days seem to generate a large volume of laundry...even larger than normal.

*I CANNOT put on an already wet bathing suit.  I just can't do it. 

*I can re-wear running shorts no problem.  :)

*Double days are an easy way to really rack up the mileage/yardage!

I have yet to see a double bike day.  I have to say, I won't be too sad if I never do.  :)

Hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving.  So, soo, sooo very much to be thankful for!  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Of Those Weeks

Ever have one of those weeks?  You know, when nothing seems to go right? 

My week started out like that.  Woke up on Monday morning feeling blah.  Not awful but not right.  Marathon hangover?  (actually, that would be marathon spectator hangover)  I made it through the day okay with lots of extra rest and thought "perhaps I dodged a bullet!"  Except when I woke up on Tuesday, I felt much worse.  BLAH.  Definitely coming down with the plague.

Tuesday I did even less than on Monday including skipping all my training.  Trust me when I say, that pretty much NEVER happens.  But I wanted to try to nip this bug in the bud.  Other than going to teach my class and doing a little computer work, I laid in bed ALL DAY LONG.

That is until around 9:00 pm at night I got a call from O.  He was driving home from a late night at school (varsity letter ceremony) and this happened:

GULP!  He is NOT HURT.  Nor was the other driver.  So that is all that matters.  I thanked God over and over for that!  But our car?  Totalled.  And so Wednesday was a mess of insurance (State Farm has been awesome) and getting a rental car and because they determined the car was totalled, buying a new car.  As luck would have it, we JUST paid off this car ( the last payment was this month) and were looking forward to a few years of no car payments.  But that was not meant to be.  I'm not complaining though - my husband is in one piece and that's all I care about! 

Luckily today things started looking up!  :)  I woke up feeling much better and got back to training and a day of work at the hospital.  O too got back to work and after work, bought us a new car!  He doesn't mess around!  :)  Although neither of us are picky with cars.  We don't care about color or special features of if the seats heat or not - we care only about durability/reliability and price.  And the new VW dealership in town was looking for some business!  Our very first car was a VW (first thing we bought together as a married couple) and that car lasted us for 7+ years (of LOTS of driving) so we are going back!  And we are totally living the high life because for the FIRST TIME EVER (out of 4 cars we've had) we got a car with power windows!!!!  (I think this is only because they simply don't make VW Jettas without power windows anymore :).

And so goes life.  All is well and God is good!  And tomorrow is Friday!  :)  Have a great weekend everyone!!!!  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harrisburg Marathon

Today Oscar ran the Harrisburg Marathon while I cheered.  I think we both had a lot of fun, but maybe me more so than him after roughly mile 23.  :)  He didn't quite hit his goal time of 3:10.  No cramping this time (as in the last 2 marathons he's run) but this time nausea and throwing up for the last couple miles!  Hey, it must run in the family!  Good news is, he is making progress.  I'm sure much slower progress than he'd like but isn't that true for all of us?  Either way, I was so, so proud of him.  One thing is for sure, he finished what he started as he always does.  And I think that says a lot.

The race starts and finishes on a little island in the middle of the Susquehanna River.

Ready to go the day before the race!
My favorite spectator.  :)

18 miles into the race the runners go through a little park, around a little lake.

Race day was beautiful and perfect for running!

It's still fall in Harrisburg.
Clearly I cannot take pictures and cheer at the same time.  :)
I spent the day cheering with my friend (and former MAO teammate) Lindsay and her pup Lilly.  Lilly was highly entertaining all morning long.  :)
Huge congrats to all the racers and especially to Oscar.  Persistance and hard work go a long way.  I know you'll conquer your marathon dreams babe! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Marathoning We Go

Time to marathon!  No, not me (although I really wish it was me...I want to run a marathon soooooo bad!), but instead, Oscar!  It's time for him to put all the training miles to good use this weekend at the Harrisburg Marathon.  His goal is to break 3:10.  My goal is to cheer like crazy!  I can't wait!

Oscar is the one on the right.  My teammate Jason is on the left.
My first week back to training went well!  Of course it's not over yet but because I knew we'd be going away this weekend, I front loaded the week and all the big workouts have already been completed.  We had some great weather earlier in the week and I was able to get outside for my long ride and a few longer runs.  Last night the weather turned a bit and I finished up my hill repeats in the cold and windy/rainy darkness.  Yep, winter is upon us.  This morning it snowed but I was warm and cozy on my trainer sweating away.  IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK!

Happy 11-11-11 everyone and HUGE THANKS to all the veterans out there!  And happy weekend too!  Marathon reports to follow!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let's Get This Party Started!

Finally!  No more boring posts about the off season.  Now I can write boring posts about training again!  Because in my inbox plan #1 of the 2012 season arrived!  YAHOOOOOOOOO!

As per the usual, Dirk surprised me.  That man always has something up his sleeve!  Missing was the HUGE bike volume that I'm used to and in replacement, huge running and swimming volume!  (can Dirk hear my prayers to God somehow??...kidding!)

Now don't misunderstand, the word "huge" is all relative, not only to each individual but also to each individual at any given time of the year.  But that aside, I was pretty darn pumped to see not just double runs (ie: 2 runs on 1 day) but also double swims!  I might not be so excited about this when I actually have to do it, but the thought of it right now is pretty jazzy in my mind!  I haven't done a double run day since college ( 10 years ago) and I have NEVER done a double swim day.  FUN FUN challenges and most certainly something to look forward to!

HERE.  WE.  GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And in other exciting news, the state cross country meet was a huge success yesterday for O's teams.  The girls finished 8th and the boys a very close 4th place (only 20 points from winning).  It was a fun day of running around (or shall I say sprinting like mad, trying to follow O around the course to cheer - I think I might actually be sore today from it!) and watching some great racing.  Pennsylvania has some serious running talent and it was fun to watch some future super stars in action!

One of the rare moments Oscar stood still long enough to catch a photo.  Congrats Coach Shutt!

Mt. Lebanon girls getting ready to roll.

The state course is TOUGH.  This is a bugger of a hill 1.5 miles in that starts to separate the field out.

One of my very best friends, roommates and teammates from college is a high school coach in Western PA also.  Great to see her again!

Hope everyone has a great week.  I know I sure will with plenty of training to keep me busy and happy!  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Off Season

Off season continues to roll along.  I can't say that I'm super antsy to get rolling with "real" training yet but I can feel it coming on.  I'm starting to run out of things to keep myself busy.  I mean seriously - I cleaned BEHIND THE FRIDGE (as in move the entire refrigerator and clean underneath) the other day.  Who does that?  (okay, don't answer all probably clean behind the fridge every week... :)

I've also got all the "appointments" done - you know, the ones that you put off all season because there is no possible way to have enough time to do them when training hard - car appointment, eye appointment, vet appointment, dentist appointment (yuck).

And I've turned into super spectator as of recent as well.  During my last blog I was at the district high school cross country championships to root on Oscar's teams as they ran for a chance to qualify for the state meet.  Both his boys and girls teams made it which was exciting (but also expected as they've been running well all year).  I really enjoyed watching the races.  Three sisters from North Hills went 1-2-4 in the girls race to help their team to victory (O's team was 2nd place).  I positioned myself on the homestretch to see if the sisters would race each other all the way to the line or they would finish "together."  Can you guess?  They definitely fought tooth and nail for the victory.  I have to say, I probably would have duked it out with my own sister too.  :) 

They aren't triplets (they are each a year apart) but they certainly do look like it!
In the boys race I was truly inspired by a kid from North Allegheny (a cross country powerhouse in both the district and state).  I remembered from last year that he took the race out hard and built up a nice lead at 1.5 miles.  He eventually got passed and finished in the 5-10 place range.  This year he is a senior and he went with the same strategy - take it out hard and keep pushing!  At one mile he had a relatively sizeable lead.  When I saw them again at 2 miles he was in 3rd place.  Oh no - not again!  He was not to be denied though.  He clawed his way back up to the lead pack of 3 and with 200 to go he gave it everything.  I watched his face and could tell he was in a place he probably hasn't gone to before (ie: he was in a world of hurt) but he did it!  Even though I've never met the kid in my life, I felt immense pride in him for not giving up when he got caught and dropped.  One tough bugger.

The conditions were horrendous - this photo doesn't do justice to the amount of mud on the course!
Anyway, I suppose since I can't be racing myself right now, watching others take it to themselves is the next best thing!  So this upcoming weekend I'll be driving out to Hershey, PA (yes, where the chocolate is made - the whole town smells like chocolate bars!) to watch O's team at the state championships.  And then the weekend after that, it's back to Harrisburg to watch O run his marathon!  YAHOOOOO!

And because of all this talk of high school cross country, I dug up a picture of my freshman year in high school when my team won the state championship.  I'll let you guess which one I am...  :)

I can't believe this was in 1993!  :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Cross Country

Growing up, fall was always my favorite season of the year because it meant CROSS COUNTRY SEASON!! And cross country season is the best season of them all. Some of my best high school and college memories are of running and racing with my best friends over hill and dale all over the country.

My season might now be the summer triathlon circuit but fall cross country will always hold a special place in my heart. Today I am at the high school district cross country championships (and blogging from my phone!) to watch Oscar's team try to qualify for the state meet. It is pouring down rain, about 38 degrees and the course is sloppier than sloppy can be. Sounds like a perfect day for a cross country race to me!

Happy fall! :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Do you remember writing those little essays when you were in elementary school, always around Thanksgiving, where you detailed what you were thankful for?

Well here is my (pre-Thanksgiving) version!

1) I'm so thankful for all the encouragement and support that I received in regards to my decision to turn pro.  You guys know how to make a girl feel good!  HA!  Seriously though, I do really appreciate every little note, text, FB comment, email, blog comment, etc...  It will be a fun journey!  I'm glad you all are along for the ride!

2) On that same note, I'm SOOO thankful for the current pros that I asked advice from.  GEEZ!  Such a great group of women that gave such great advice and some very good things to keep in mind as I go through my first year.  If condensed into a single sentence, their thoughts can be summarized with something like this: There will be growing pains but with perspective and a positive attitude, it will be a great experience!  YEEEHAW - can't wait!  (and I'm really just excited about something I already knew - there are so many wonderful people in our sport that genuinely want to see everyone do well :)

3) Completely unrelated - I'm thankful that it's Taco-tastic Tuesday at Qdoba!  Seriously - $1 tacos?! 

4) I'm also really thankful for off-season training!  YAHOO!  I'm feeling great but definitely still limiting myself so as not to go overboard before the "real" training starts.  Mostly what I like about this whole scenario is that I do what I want to do when I want to do it.  This means MASTERS!  And running with Oscar!  (did someone mention a bike?)  I love masters swimming so much.  On Monday it was long course and that just made me even more happy.  And on Sunday I got to run with Oscar (okay, only 8 of his 20 miles were with me :) and tomorrow morning I get to run AGAIN with him!  YEAH! 

5) Believe it or not, I'm also really thankful for my job!  Ha!  I really like the people I work with and although a hospital can be a depressing place (like when families have to make the decision to withdrawal support or just cancer in general), mostly I think it can be very uplifting to see people fight like hell for their lives...and WIN!  And I know I say this all the time but I'm thankful for the perspective my job gives me.  It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when you are surrounded by people who would be thrilled by the thought of getting out of bed, or breathing on their own, or eating solid food.  :)

Of course I'm thankful for 10 gazillion other things (gazillion is a real number you know!) but I won't bore you any longer.  Have a great night everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No Regrets

I think one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to try and live your life with "no regrets".  To live life in such a way that you treat people as they should be treated, you love others as they should be loved, and you follow your passions without apology.  People who successfully accomplish this and keep their heads about them, are usually people that I greatly admire. 

Of course I haven't made it through 32 years of life without some regrets!  I've definitely made mistakes, and I'm sure I will make more.  But with the concept of "no regrets" in mind, I've decided to race professionally next triathlon season. 


I've been looking forward to this for a very long time.  Although when I first started into triathlon I had no concept of what "going pro" meant, it didn't take long for me to start to wonder if perhaps I'd ever be able to do such a thing!  The idea fascinated me and as I got a little faster each year it was easier and easier to envision myself making the leap.  But then at the end of the season each year, it just didn't feel quite right.  I would finish a season and start to dream of goals the next year and those goals would almost always center around staying amateur.  In 2009 the goal was to finish on the podium at 70.3 Worlds.  In 2010 the goal was Kona.  In 2011 the goal was to do well at Kona.  I kept coming up with excuses to remain an age grouper!

Without a doubt 2011 was a breakthrough year for me.  It may not have looked like it from the outside but in my own mind, I made a lot of gains.  I set PRs for sure.  I was able to compete with people I've never even been close to before.  I was able to win a few races.  But probably my biggest breakthrough came in training - in being able to handle a much larger work load both physically and mentally and ENJOY it (um...most of the time... :).  I got a little peek into what it would take on a day to day basis to compete at a higher level and I realized that I enjoyed that challenge just as much if not more so than the actual racing itself.  And that's when racing pro really started to feel right for 2012.  I was not just in love with the idea of racing pro like in years past, I was also starting to really love the idea of putting in all that work to see how good I could really be.  (and lets make no bones about it, it truly is A LOT of work)

When I started to think of goals for 2012, what REALLY excited me most was the challenge of racing against some of the best women triathletes in the world.  How would I measure up?  I may not like the answer to that question!!!  :)  But it's exciting to have the opportunity to at least find that answer and live with no regrets or no "what ifs".  I can't tell you how big my smile gets when I think of this!  Like I said in this article, we all need something that gets us out of bed each morning to train and this new challenge will undoubtedly serve as excellent motivation for me!  Nothing like knowing you will be starting races with Julie Dibens to get thy butt to thy pool to learn how to swim STAT!  :)

I reached out to several other pro women who have taken similiar paths and they all provided extremely candid and helpful advice in making the transition, of which I am so thankful for.  So after a lot of thought and discussion with Oscar and a (very) long chat with Dirk, who really emphasized some key ideas (like PATIENCE), I've decided to do this thing!  I have no idea where this next part of my journey is going to take me but I'm very excited to find out!  Here we go!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Puffins And Such

I haven't done a list for a while!  :)

1) Today I took Roxy to the vet for her annual checkup and some shots (she was due for a rabies vaccine).  Clean bill of health!

Cute.  Also, you may notice the pink "bandaid" on her front paw that she immediately tried to eat on the ride home.
2) This past Saturday I got to be cheerleader while Oscar raced!  Because he was just getting back into his routine and recovering from Kona (the support crew has more recovering to do than the athlete I think!), he used the race as more of a "tempo" than all out racing.  He still ran a 1:18:59 half marathon.  He ran with one of my Ballou Skies teammates who was also using the race as a harder tempo in preparation for ITU Long Course Worlds.  Being the awesome spectathlete that I am, I cheered hard and took this awesome picture!  (seriously, I wasn't trying to be artistic, I really just suck that much at taking pictures :)

3) The Kona sun did something crazy to my back and now I look spotted.  I think if you lived in Kona you'd have to take a bath in sun block daily!

4) I GOT TO SWIM TODAY!  I've been hankering to do a little light training but the big bad blister on my foot needed some time to heal.  Today I finally felt that it was healed enough to push off the pool wall so to the chlorine I went.  :)  Happy day!  I will bike a bit tomorrow and go to masters on Thursday.  Dirk has given me a total of 4 weeks to do as I please before we get back to a structured plan so I plan on taking advantage of it and go as I feel.  I do feel pretty darn good though.  Compare this to last year when at this point in the game I wanted NOTHING to do with my bike for a good 2 months.  :)  I guess I really learned to like my bike after all this year!  What I'm really excited for though is running.  Fall in Pittsburgh is THE best time to run.  Awesome temps and beautiful fall leaves.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  :)

5) I bought my first box of Puffins at the grocery store on Sunday.  There are so many people that praise the Puffin!  And indeed, I now understand why.  Too bad they are $5+ per (small) box! 

Hope everyone has been having a great week thus far!  Happy fall!

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Kona


Ballou Skies at the Underpants Run!  :)

The flowers in Kona are more beautiful than anywhere else I've ever been!

You also see stuff like this at the UP Run - two older gentleman in "adult diapers"!

The beautiful church on Ali'i.
The Mdot poster with everyone's name on it!  :)
My grandfather.  :)  You could find him most days lounging by the pool in his jeans.  :)
My mom and I at the pier.  My mom is one of my biggest supporters and has been to all 6 World Championship races I've done including Clearwater x 2, Vegas x 1, Kona x 2 and even Short Course ITU AG Worlds in Hamburg, Germany!

My mom found this guy outside of the house we were staying in.  He agreed to a picture.  :)

My dad helping me put my bike together.  This involved a hand drill and plyers.  Serious stuff!

My race wrist band and my hospital wrist band!  I took a visit to the Kona Community Hospital on Monday before we left to get my foot patched up and make sure it wasn't going to rot with infection.  :)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  :)