Monday, April 30, 2012

Peluso Open Water Swim Series Race #1 ...

After Ironman 70.3 Texas, I knew I needed to get some more experience swimming in open water. During that race, it took me 38 minutes to find my swim groove. It was ugly. And I really don't want to experience that again.

So, in an attempt to face my fears, I registered for a local open water swim series, which consists of three 1500m races, one each in April, June and September. Then, I looked at last year's results and I freaked out. These people were CRAZY fast. And I was going to get schooled. (Note: I later found out that last year's races were 750m, not 1500m. While the times were still fast, I should have been able to hold my own.)

Yesterday morning was the first race in the series.

Thanks to our nerves and our OCD tendencies, Sally (who's training for IMFL) and I showed up about an hour before we needed to. The course wasn't even set up yet. The site was beautiful.

looks can be deceiving ...

But, due to several recent rainstorms, the water levels were crazy high (9") and the current was wicked fast. Like "this swim is not for beginners" fast. Fan-freaking-tastic!

a buoy with a wake. never a good sign ...

I was not feeling good about the situation. We had been hearing all week how challenging the conditions were going to be and how there was a chance the event would be postponed. I knew deep down that it was going to be rough, but, I didn't want to just chicken out. It was one thing to get there, warm up and decide that it was unsafe for me to swim, but it was another to just bail all together. And we all know, I'm not the quitting type.

(Note: this video does not accurately show the current. Or the extent of my anxiety) 

So, we decided to get in the water and give it a shot. But, before we did, a few things were brought to our attention.
sexy. i know ...
  • The race would still be two loops, but shortened from 1500m to 600m (not a good sign).
  • That yellow buoy (pictured above) would be a pull out point. If you dropped back to it, you were out.
  • The water levels were high, the current was strong, but there wasn't a lot of debris, so the race would go on. (Doesn't seem like the best reason to not reschedule, but OK.)
  • Anyone who got in the water for warm up and decided not to race could defer to a later event.

Anyway, we got into the water.

And started swimming.

In place.


Sally and I looked at each other and pretty much in unison said, "There is no way this is happening."

And we bailed. Swam to shore and took off our timing chips.

It was kind of demoralizing at the time. I don't like to give up, but I knew that it was going to be a total fail. If I was able to swim to the turnaround, I don't think I would have had the strength to do the second loop. And I know that I would have been really embarrassed if I started and then got pulled out the water because that little yellow buoy and I became best friends.

So, instead, Sally and I hit the pool for a timed 1500m. And we crushed it.

30:44 - Way faster that I've ever swam a 1500 before.

It kind of made that embarrassing walk out of the river worth it.

UPDATE: This video is from the actual race. Proof that I was not exaggerating.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Live Like the Honey Badger: Principle 10

This is the tenth and final post in a series entitled, Live Like the Honey Badger. In each post, I address one aspect of developing confidence, self-worth, a fearless nature and the like. Previous weeks are linked below.

Principle 1: Honey Badger Don't Care
Principle 2: Accept Yourself. Your Whole Self
Principle 3: Surround Yourself With Honey Badgers
Principle 4: Break the Mold
Principle 5: It's Not Selfish. It's Self Fulfilling 
Principle 6: It's Your Life. Take Responsibility
Principle 7: Find Your Strengths and Play to Them
Principle 8: Embrace Failure
Principle 9: Define Your Own Happiness

Principle 10: Pass on the Honey Badger Mindset

As a mama Honey Badger, I feel it's my responsibility to raise my little ones to be Honey Badgers too. I want nothing more in life than to raise confident and powerful daughters who can be proud of who they are and the decisions they make.

Each and every day, I try my best to live my life in a manner that I would want them to emulate. Do I stumble? Yes, at times. But, I never let the little things get in my way (or the big things for that matter) and I use all of my failures to teach them about resiliency and perseverance. I want them to know that hard work pays off and that no one can hold them back except for themselves.

I see every interaction I have with my daughters as an opportunity to teach them a life lesson, be it, compassion or consequence. I am their mother first, their mentor second and their friend third. My methods may seem cold or harsh at times, but I know they will appreciate me for it later.

The lessons I teach are never anything complicated.

  • I tell them to listen before they speak, to think before they act and to treat others as they would like to be treated.
  • I tell them to create their own destiny, to follow their own paths and to trust who they are.
  • I tell them that they are beautiful because of the people they are, not because of what they see in the mirror. 
  • I tell them that it doesn't matter if their clothes are in shambles or if they are covered in slime, their beauty and worth will still shine through.
  • I tell them that they shouldn't care what others think, not because others' opinions are invalid or worthless, but because you should never let someone else define who you are going to or want to be.
  • And everyday, I tell them to be awesome, to make their day awesome and to help those around them to be awesome too.
It only takes a second to pass along these messages, but their effects can last a lifetime. It's not enough to just live your life like a Honey Badger, you need to help those around you do it too. So, go. Pass on the Honey Badger mindset. We'll all be better for it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Nuun - As you've probably heard by now, I was once again selected by Nuun to run Hood to Coast as part of their team, AfterNUUN Delight.

Click the image to see who else made the team ...

To say I freaked the freak out when they posted the list would be an understatement. I was jumping around and screaming. Then I told the girls and they started jumping around and screaming. It was pretty loud there for a second.

Once we calmed down, the first thing the girls said was, "So, that means we're going to get a lot of Nuun, right?"

Right girls.

That's why we made that video. It had nothing to do with me wanting to once again run the Mother of All Relays. Or wanting to represent a company and product I truly believe in. Or even because, sometimes, Mommy needs a break from all this chaos that the three of you produce.

It was nothing like that. Not at all. It was so you could have more Nuun. I mean, it's not like we currently have a stockpile of 20 tubes in our home right now. Obviously, we need to replenish our supply.

Tough Chik - And since we're on the subject of companies and products that I am completely obsessed with, let's talk about what is coming up on the East Coast for Tough Chik.

On May 19-20, I'll be running the Tough Chik booth at the Ground Force IT Powersprint Triathlon here in Richmond, the first of several Richmond Multisport events on the Tough Chik calendar for 2012.

Then on June 1-2, it's onto ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon and 10K. The Tough Chik booth will be set up at both the expo and the Post Race Party. If you are attending this event, be sure to stop by and say hi.

And if you haven't registered yet, here's your chance. By using the code ANNCON6, you will receive $10 off the half or $5 off the 10K.

Finally, if you missed registration for Team Tough Chik in December and want to join this FANTASTIC group of ladies, you now can. Registration for the team will open again on May 1st. If you want to learn more, all you have to do is CLICK HERE.

Seriously? - Apparently, my blog has finally made it. After four years and zero efforts to ever make a paycheck off all of my ramblings, I got this in the mail on Monday.

That's right, my blog has been pre-approved for a credit card. Too bad it would never be able to pay the bill ...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

North Face Endurance Challenge D.C. Giveaway ...

One of the best things about writing this blog (other than having a daily journal of our lives) is the many opportunities it has afforded me, and at times, my family. I don't take these things for granted and I can not express my gratitude enough for all that I've experienced in the last four years.

Since starting this blog,

I have been able to run all over the country, with bloggers who have become great friends.
I have been treated like a princess.
I have been blessed to be chosen to run Hood to Coast with Nuun, not once, but twice.
We were featured in Runner's World.
We get to try TONS of great products that we might not otherwise.
And on occasion, I'm offered free race entries, for events like this ...

The North Face Endurance Challenge D.C. on June 2-3

Two days. 9 events, including distances from 5K to 50 miler, a marathon relay and two kid runs.

It looks awesome. And challenging. And completely Honey Badger.

Unfortunately, I can't run it.

But, my loss is your gain.

The awesome people at The North Face Endurance Challenge D.C. are allowing me to giveaway a FREE ENTRY to one reader, good for any race distance (based on availability).

You know you want to run this.
You know you are looking for a challenge.
You know your inner Honey Badger is ready to attack this course.

So, here's how to enter:

Visit The North Face Endurance Challenge D.C. website and choose a race distance. Then come back here and leave me a comment to let me know what race you would run and why.

That's it. Easy peasy. And if you want a bonus entry, share this on Twitter (be sure to include @racingwithbabes in your tweet) or Facebook and leave me a separate comment to let me know.

Good luck!

Official Rules:

  • Winner receives one (1) free race entry. Transportation and lodging are not provided.
  • One entry per comment.
  • Only entries submitted correctly will be counted. 
  • Contest will run from 4/25 until 11:59 p.m. on 4/30.
  • Winner will be randomly selected and announced on 5/1.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Balance 890 Winner ...

So, do you want to know who won a sweet pair of New Balance 890s from like this?
Or this?

Well, then what are we waiting for.

There were 297 valid entries and thanks to the winner is ...
#86 - Cynthia @ Run, Dream & Laugh Out Loud

Congrats! Please email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your prize. Note: Winner has one week to respond before a new winner will be selected.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blue Ridge Half Marathon Recap ...

Location: Roanoke, VA
Date: 4/21/12
Temperature: 58 degrees at start, partly sunny
Official Time: 2:22:18
Place in Age Group (30-34): 25/51
Place in Gender: 116/284
Overall Place: 272/515

The Good:

Racing With Friends: One of the main reasons I ran this half was that I knew I would get to spend the weekend with some of my favorite running friends. Erika, Rene and G (who was later unable to attend) were all planning on running the Blue Ridge Half. Instant girls' weekend.

At the Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain on race eve

We had so much fun catching up and obsessing over the race. And we were luck enough to meet up with our Tough Chik teammate, Lauren, pre-race.

L to R: Erika, Rene, me and Lauren

It was awesomesauce.

The Bling: Although I failed to take a picture of it post race, the medal was fantastic. Simple and clean with a skyline of the mountain range on it. Maybe if you zoom in to this picture, you can get a glimpse. But trust me, it's sweet.

Post-Race Festivities: I've been to a lot of races. I've experienced a lot of post-race setups. And I have to say this race had the BEST post-race spread that I have ever seen.

Kiddie pools full of water, soda and chocolate milk.
Tables full of bagels, fruit, pizza, shrimp cocktail and barbeque sandwiches.

It was epic. Add that to the fact that the finish area was located in downtown Roanoke, home to numerous shops and restaurants and it would be hard to top.

Overall Race Organization: I cannot express how well run this event was. Everything from packet pickup to the finish line festivities was smooth and efficient. If the course wasn't so INSANE, this might have been my favorite race to date.

The Bad:

My Training: I never intended for this race to be anything but a fun run. I knew that coming off of Half Ironman training that I would be fit enough to run, but I also knew that six months of indoor treadmill training was going to do me a disservice on the climbs. Obviously, zero hill training equals pain on the climbs.

It hurt then and it hurts now. Two days post race and I am just as sore, if not more sore, that after Ironman 70.3 Texas.

Hotel Location: Do you know one thing you should not do when running a very challenging race?

Book a hotel on the race course.

The race passed our hotel right as you got to the mile 9 marker. I won't lie, when I approached that point in the race, I considered taking a DNF. But, my inner Honey Badger took over and dragged me to the finish.

The Ugly:

Mill Mountain: The first six miles of this race were absolutely brutal. The first two miles were uphill at a moderate grade without any break. Miles three and four were a SEVERE climb up Mill Mountain, where I saw pretty much everyone around me walk at one point or another.

Mill Mountain from our hotel at mile 9

Then miles five and six were straight down hill. Like "hard to control yourself, burn up your quads" kind of downhill. It was all kinds of ugly.

With that said, this race was beyond FANTASTIC. Every other aspect of this event was so stellar that under the right conditions, I would do it again. And if you are looking for an uber-challenging course, beautiful locales, and an amazing experience, I would HIGHLY recommend it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Sign Up - Today is the day that Doodle has been looking forward to for months - Kindergarten registration. How did my baby grow up so fast?

Last weekend at soccer. Note: blue hair gets WAY MORE stares than pink.

Anyway, she's been talking about it incessantly and even started a countdown. I really hope she realizes that all it entails is me filling out a bunch of papers and her being "screened" for readiness/placement. We might need some cupcakes to deal with the let down.

On Film - I know you have been sitting around for months thinking, "TMB talks about her swimming so much. I really wish I could see what she actually looks like when she's getting her fish on."

Well, wonder no more. Thanks to the cell phone video taping skills of my girl, Sally, you can now watch 38 seconds of my attempts at not drowning.

Go ahead, critique away. Especially if you know the key to swimming 1500m in 14 minutes ...

Find Your Fit - Spring sports have started up again around here. Doodle is back playing soccer and as expected, she is kicking a** and taking names. Soccer (well, all contact sports) is Doodle's thing. She's strong and coordinated and a little ball of muscle. Oh, and there's that whole not liking to lose thing. It kind of makes her unstoppable on the field.

Doodle (#3) on a breakaway ...

Need proof? She scored three goals in her first game and cried that she didn't score more. Go figure.

Dizzle, on the other hand, opted not to play soccer this year. After four seasons of watching her struggle (she's pretty much the opposite of Doodle), we agreed that she needed to find something better suited to her.

Apparently, that's cheerleading. *cue shock and awe from this uber-tomboy*

Dizzle (far right) "looking cute"

first attempts at stunting (not sure if that's even a proper term)

She loves it and if we're being honest, she's actually quite good at it. Thankfully, she's also quite good at running and she can't deny that she has perfect form. Now, if I could only convince her that running is as much fun as cheering. It would probably help me cope better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Why didn't I notice that before?

My best friend from childhood posted this on my Facebook wall on Monday. 
I don't think it could be more true or appropriate ...

see, it's fate ...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Missing: Run Love

I'll admit it.

Lately, I haven't been feeling the run.

I will happily swim and bike all day, but when run comes knocking on my door, I look for a place to hide, hoping he won't realize that I'm at home.

And the thing is, I know exactly why.
  • I've cut my weekly mileage in half from last fall. For me, running less has made me feel like less of a runner. I doubt my speed. I doubt my endurance. I know I shouldn't question either of these things, but I do. I'm human. It happens.
  • My run group has become wicked fast. Last fall, when we were all marathon training, we were all similarly paced. During my hiatus from the group during 70.3 training, everyone drank rocket fuel and took off. Their easy pace is almost my race pace and I feel like I'm sucking wind every time I run with them. It's rather defeating.
  • I'm kind of in love with being a triathlete. I want to swim and bike and strength train, in addition to my running. And the only way to fit that all in is to run less than I am accustomed to. My goals are changing, which is fine. I'm just having a hard time keeping that in mind when I'm in my peer group.

With that said, eventually, I give in and lace up my sneakers, but I can't seem to find my "Run Love." Instead, I am filled with "Run Tolerance" just counting down the minutes and miles until I am done.

And although, I quite enjoyed joining my sister, Beans, for her first four miler ever this weekend, my missing run mojo does not bode well for Saturday, when I am scheduled to run the Blue Ridge Half Marathon.
Four miles done. So proud of her.

13.1 miles of hills. 2500+ ft of elevation change. And one monster climb over the first 4 miles of the race.


An insanity that I have not prepared for.

Over the last five months, I have done nothing but focus on Ironman 70.3 Texas, which was pancake flat. I don't even remember the last time I looked at a hill, nevertheless ran one. Perhaps I am setting myself up for failure. Or maybe, just maybe, this race will be so absurd that it can't help but re-inspire my running mojo.

I'm not really sure.

But either way, I'm going to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I find my "Run Love" again. I know it's out there. Somewhere ...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Live Like the Honey Badger: Principle 9

This is the ninth in a series of posts entitled, Live Like the Honey Badger. On Fridays, I address one aspect of developing confidence, self-worth, a fearless nature and the like. Previous weeks are linked below.

Principle 1: Honey Badger Don't Care
Principle 2: Accept Yourself. Your Whole Self
Principle 3: Surround Yourself With Honey Badgers
Principle 4: Break the Mold
Principle 5: It's Not Selfish. It's Self Fulfilling 
Principle 6: It's Your Life. Take Responsibility
Principle 7: Find Your Strengths and Play to Them
Principle 8: Embrace Failure

Principle 9: Define Your Own Happiness

Take a look at yourself. A good look.

Do you know who you are?
Do you know who you want to be?
Do you know where your strengths lie?
Do you know what makes you happy?
Better yet, are you happy?

I am.

I can say, without a doubt, that I am genuinely happy with myself and my life. And I want the same for you.

My happiness is not a result of my life being perfect.

I have struggles and hardships. But I tackle them and embrace them as an opportunity to change and improve myself in ways I may have never considered.

It's not the result of having or being everything I could ever want.

I have imperfections and hang ups. But I know that they don't define me. Maybe I can eliminate them over time and maybe I can't. Either way, I won't let them defeat me.

And it's not the result of having reached all my goals.

I have successes and failures. But I realize that neither outcome is the end of my story. I'm a work-in-progress and I have so much further to go.

My happiness is not defined by any of those things. Instead, it is defined by my ability to be true to myself, to the people I love and the things I place value in. I define my own happiness.

And you can, too.

Stop worrying about what others expect from you and who they expect you to be.
Stop worrying about what is blocking your path to happiness and find away around it.
Stop worrying about what others will think if you stay true to yourself.
Stop worrying about making everyone else happy and take the time to make yourself happy.

Happiness is contagious. If you're happy, the people around you will aspire to do the same. And if you're happy, you'll be better equipped to help those around you find happiness too.

Don't wait for someone or something to make you happy. Take control of your life and define your own happiness.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Ironman - It's no secret that I have my eyes set on becoming an Ironman. And being completely impatient like I am, I really would like it to happen sooner rather than later. So, like any completely insane rational person, I narrowed down potential races to my top four, based on location, course, weather and time of year.

And thanks to my very scientific methods, I was left with the following (2013 races, of course) ...
At which point, I texted the list to my fellow potential Ironman Jill and we decided on which one would be our Ironman debut.

Ha. You didn't think I was going to tell you which one, did you?

I mean, someday I will, but not until that registration fee has been processed.

Anyway, I'm totally psyched and mildly freaked out about this. When I threw it out to J, shockingly, he didn't totally scoff. But, he wasn't entirely on board either. So, I think I need some ideas of how to frame it in the best light.

That's where you all come in. J reads this and all of the comments you leave. Let him know how you think this is an epic idea, how it won't be a total time suck and that he's wicked awesome (which he is. But, sucking up never hurts, right?).

Oh, and if you think this is a horrible idea, just pretend like I never mentioned it ...

Open Water - Since I had a complete mild freak out during the swim portion of Ironman 70.3 Texas, I decided that I needed to get some more practice swimming in open water. And the perfect way to do force yourself to do that is to sign up for an Open Water Race Series. Each of the races is 1500m, with the first taking place on April 29th. *cue panic attack*

In an attempt to determine what I had gotten myself into, I checked out last year's race results.

Big mistake.

In my age group (30 and under), the slowest finishing time in any of the races was 14:40.

Do you know what my fastest 1500m time is?


And that was in a pool. I am so going to get schooled. (Note: Only 2 people finished in over 30 minutes. There is a real possibility that I could finish dead last.)

Free Sneakers - Did you know that I am giving away a pair of New Balance 890s to one lucky reader? Well, have you entered yet? Then you should probably get on that. Just CLICK HERE to find out all the details.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cracked ...

Triathlon Egg: When triathlon meets Easter

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Balance 890 Review and Giveaway ...

I love running shoes.

Some might even say that I have a running shoe addiction.

Yes, I have seven pairs of running shoes in rotation and three more waiting in the wings.

But doesn't everyone?

I really don't see the problem here. I'm not addicted. I'm prepared. Sure, unless I am headed to the pool or to a formal affair, I only wear running shoes. But, let's be honest, you never know when you are going to get the opportunity to run. And with my schedule, I wouldn't want to miss a workout just because I had the wrong shoes on ...

And that's why I was totally stoked when and New Balance gave me the opportunity to test out the New Balance 890.

Pretty sharp, right?

Oh, and it gets better. These New Balance sneakers come in a variety of colors for both men and women. Including my personal favorite, yellow/red.


Not only do New Balance running shoes look great, but they perform well, too.

Here's what and New Balance shoes have to say about the 890 ...

"The sleek and stylish New Balance 890 training shoe delivers a lighter, more energizing take on the running experience. With a lightweight synthetic and mesh upper for breathability and support, this women's neutral running shoe gains its enhanced performance from REVlite midsole foam, which is 30% lighter than traditional foams but delivers the same responsiveness, durability and compression set. No-sew, welded seams guard against chafing, as flat laces and lacing holes lock in place for a snug, comfortable fit. An ABZORB® Strobel board and removable ABZORB® insole ensure a cushioned ride. The full ground-contact Ndurance® rubber outsole of the New Balance 890 running shoe is as compatible with midfoot and forefoot strikes as it is with traditional heel strike, adding to its broad appeal"

And I have to agree. The first thing I thought when I put them on was how lightweight they were, yet they didn't lack cushioning and support - a big sell for this Athena sized runner.

Supporting my tree trunk legs ...

After wearing the 890 throughout my travels to Texas, it was time to test them on a run. (Note: I like to break in my shoes my walking in them for a few days to make sure there aren't any obvious issues.)

Kickin' it in my casual wear.

Five miles later, and I was in love. No blisters. No aches and pains. Lightweight and responsive, I felt like I was running on clouds.

See the New Balance 890 sneaking into the shot?

Without a doubt, the New Balance 890's will have a spot in my running shoe rotation.

And they can have a spot in your shoe rotation, too. Thanks to and New Balance one reader will win their own pair of New Balance 890. (Note: the 890 is available in both womens New Balance shoes and mens New Balance shoes.)

Here's how to enter:

Mandatory: Become a follower of this blog. Leave a comment.

Bonus Entries:
  • Like Racing with Babes on Facebook HERE. Leave a comment.
  • Follow me on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
  • Follow on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
  • Tweet about this contest. Leave a comment. Sample Tweet - "I entered @RacingWithBabes' New Balance giveaway hosted by @OnlineShoes_com #running"
  • Repost on your blog or Facebook. Leave a comment.
 Official Rules:
  • Contest open to U.S residents ONLY. 
  • One entry per comment.
  • Only entries submitted correctly will be counted. 
  • Contest will run from 4/10 until 11:59 p.m. on 4/23.
  • Winner will be randomly selected and announced on 4/24.
Disclaimer: I was provided these shoes for free. However, the opinions are completely my own.

Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Nuun HTC Application ...

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that Nuun is sponsoring THREE all-female, all-blogger teams to run the Mother of All Relays, Hood to Coast.

It's an amazing opportunity. One that I was fortunate enough to be a part of last year. And one that I would probably sacrifice a limb for to be selected again. (I'm kidding. I swear. Kind of. I mean, I REALLY want to run HTC and represent Nuun again. And I could always get a prosthetic.)

Last year, I wrote an essay, perhaps the most uncreative of the creative applications I could have chosen. And then, I only shared it with the selection committee.

But not this year.

This year, I stepped up my game.

This year, I made a VIDEO ESSAY. Kind of like a written essay, except you don't have to read it and you get to see my epically cute and Nuun-obsessed children.

And, because I am fully prepared to embarrass myself, I am going to share it with all of you. (Note: I only had a cell phone camera and my editing skills leave something to be desired.)

So without further adieu, here is my 2012 Nuun/HTC minimally Creative Application ...

Obviously, I should have been a videographer. But, I leave that to the professionals like Rodrigo and Becker.

So, are you applying too? The deadline is TODAY!

And if Hood to Coast isn't your thing, but you still want to represent Team Nuun, then check out this opportunity to race a Columbia Muddy Buddy event near you. Nuun will provide teams of two with race entry, Nuun shirts and Nuun hydration kits.

I'd apply, but Muddy Buddy and I are bitter enemies after that whole shoulder separation incident last year.

For full details on how to enter, CLICK HERE.

Good Luck!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Live Like the Honey Badger: Principle 8

This is the eighth in a series of posts entitled, Live Like the Honey Badger. On Fridays, I address one aspect of developing confidence, self-worth, a fearless nature and the like. Previous weeks are linked below.

Principle 1: Honey Badger Don't Care
Principle 2: Accept Yourself. Your Whole Self
Principle 3: Surround Yourself With Honey Badgers
Principle 4: Break the Mold
Principle 5: It's Not Selfish. It's Self Fulfilling 
Principle 6: It's Your Life. Take Responsibility
Principle 7: Find Your Strengths and Play to Them

Principle 8: Embrace Failure

I know this might be hard to believe, but I am not perfect.

I make mistakes.
I stumble.
I fail.

Sometimes, things are so catastrophic that I don't know how I am going to pick up the pieces and move on. In those moments, it would be easier to quit, to believe that I'll never be enough, to just stop trying.

But, then I remember that taking the easy way out is just a quick fix. No one ever got to where they wanted to be by following that path. And if you take the easy way out often enough, you'll be left unfulfilled, complacent and questioning why everyone else is so much better off than you are.

So, instead giving up, I dust myself off and try again. Maybe I change my methods or tactics, but I don't let my mistakes and failures define me. I embrace those missteps and use them to push me forward. I don't let them limit me, instead, I trust that what happens in a single moment is not an accurate reflection of who I am as a whole.

I am not my past and I will not let it hold me back.

Unfortunately, some people will. 

As a society, we need to realize that failures are just as important as successes and there is no shame in losing. Learning to overcome hardship is a valuable lesson that will get you a lot further than being number one or meeting all of your goals. Let's face it, there can only be one winner and some days, in fact, most days, it's not going to be you. That doesn't mean there isn't value in all that you do.

An accomplishment is an accomplishment no matter how small. And within every failure, there is something to be learned. You just need to frame it in the proper context.

Embrace failure. Chances are it's the stepping stone to your greatest success.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Attached - It's been four days since Ironman 70.3 Texas and I am still wearing my athlete wristband.

I know I could take it off but I just can't bring myself to do it. I kind of feel like once I do, I am saying that this whole journey is over and I don't want it to be. So, instead, I will just walk around letting people assume I was admitted to the hospital.

Nuun Hunt - Every year at my daughters' preschool, there is an egg hunt. Each family is asked to bring a dozen plastic eggs filled with non-candy items. Traditionally, I fill the eggs with tattoos and stickers, but this year, I decided to shake things up.

That's right, a bunch of lucky 3-5 year olds will be getting single-serve tabs of Nuun. Not sure how everyone is going to feel about this, but I know Doodle will think it's epic. Then again, we call our car, Nuun Platuun, so maybe she's an anomaly.

Photos - The only time I have ever purchased race photos was for my first marathon. I shelled out the cash because I thought it was the only time I was ever going to run a marathon and I wanted to have proof. And since they were so expensive, I thought I would never purchase them again.

Well, I was wrong.

My race photos from this past weekend were AMAZING. Like the best race photos I have ever had. So, I bought them. Unfortunately, the link they sent me to download them isn't working. So, rather then show you the high quality ones, you get to see what I hijacked from the site.

Pretty awesome, right?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Rewind ...

Run Miles Ran: 82.17 miles

Bike Miles Rode: 381.3 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 16650 meters or 10.35 miles

Rest Days Taken: 8

Highest Run Mileage Week: 3/19-3/25: 25 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 3/12-3/18: 124.1 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 3/5-3/11: 6250 meters

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 3

Current Book: If I stack all my fitness magazines in a pile and read them all at once, does that count as a book?

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Didn't you hear that 16 and Pregnant, The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Make It or Break It have all come back with new episodes? Obviously, my evenings are rather productive.

Current Colors: Tough Chik Aqua and Purple

Current Drink: I'm on a rotation of water, Nuun and Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Current Song: Glad You Came - The Wanted

Current Triumph: Pretty sure I am going to be riding high from Ironman 70.3 Texas for a while.

Current Goal: Become a triathlon machine.

Current Blessing:
I survived my 70.3 debut. Isn't that enough? OK. Joking aside, I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful.

Current Excitement: Today is J's 32nd birthday, which means CAKE! In less than a week, my little sister and I are registering for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. And once I can walk normally again, I'm going to start my training for the Patriots Sprint Tri, which I am planning on crushing.

2012 To Do List Update:

  • Take 70.3 training day by day. Don't get caught up in what is coming, but rather focus on what is. Trust that it will get you where you want to be. - CHECK
  • Find the strength to NOT add races to your schedule during 70.3 training. That is your focus, don't screw with that because of FOMO (fear of missing out). - CHECK
  • Cross the finish line of your first 70.3 in less than 6:57:59. - CHECK. Goal crushed. 6:39:39.
  • Maintain at least one day of cycling and one day of swimming per week, post 70.3. Give J some proof that a new road bike would be a good investment.
  • Log 4,000 miles, swim, bike and run combined. - As of April 4, 1359.88 miles completed
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06 (or 1:56:18, if the half split from the NYC Marathon counts).
  • Race a Fall Sprint Triathlon. Actually train for the event, unlike in years past.
  • Add strength training to the routine.
  • Eat like an athlete. Be mindful of the nutritional value of your food. - Working on it. Slowly.
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from either Shyndigz or Two Sweet Cupcakes (approximately 1 dessert/3 weeks) - As of April 4, 8 desserts consumed.
  • Cut out snacking on the girl's leftovers. Just because they don't eat it, doesn't mean you have to. - Half Fail
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. - CHECK
  • Throw away the credit cards. Stop repeating history. - CHECK
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - CHECK
  • Declutter and Organize using this calendar. - CHECK
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work. - CHECK
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - CHECK
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. - CHECK

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ironman 70.3 Texas Recap ...

Location: Galveston, TX
Date: 4/1/12
Temperature: mid 70's @ start, 80 degrees @ finish
Official Time: 6:39:39
Swim Time: 48:55 (2:31/100m)
T1: 4:21
Bike Time: 3:17:31 (17.01 mph)
T2: 3:07
Run Time: 2:25:45 (11:07 pace)
Place in Age Group (30-34): 73/112
Place in Gender: 414/760
Overall Place: 1699/2670

The Good:

Racing with a Friend: When I first decided to race a 70.3, I knew I needed support. My solution - get a friend to race with me. Thankfully, I was able to convince one of my best friends, Heidi, to come along for the ride.
Athlete Check In
Trying to stay cool

At the athlete briefing
Goofing around waiting for Lance to arrive
Just before heading to the start
She trained in Texas. I trained here in Virginia. We met up for the race. And it was awesome. I can't express how grateful I am to have had her by my side (or in front of me, since she's wicked fast - she finished in 5:46). We had fun from beginning to end and despite the pain, we are already working on our future race plans.

The Bike: To be completely honest, I was a little scared that all of my miles on the trainer were not going to translate to the road and that I was going to blow up on the bike. But, fortunately, the course was so pancake flat that other than a serious headwind on the way out, this ride was just like my trainer sessions. Three hours and 15 minutes of non-stop pedaling.

Heading out from T1

After a rough start, which included that headwind and a bathroom break at mile 13, I kicked it into overdrive on the second half of the bike, negative splitting by 13 minutes in the last 28 miles. And I even rode in aero position for most of the second half. A huge deal considering I had NEVER gotten into the aero bars on the road before.

Nutrition: This is one area I feel that I really did well. Three hours prior to the race, I had a bowl of oatmeal and a banana, coffee and Nuun. 45 minutes out, I had a Luna Protein Bar. After the swim, a Honey Stinger Waffle. During the bike, four Chocolate Outrage GUs. Followed by another Honey Stinger Waffle in T2 and two more GUs during the run. It seemed to work for me and I never felt hungry or low energy. Maybe poorly hydrated, but that's a different story.

Strippers: No, not that kind of stripper. The wetsuit removal kind. Wiggle out of the top of your wetsuit, lay on the ground and two people rip it off you. Best thing ever.

The Bling: Just awesome.

The Bad:

The Swim: Prior to this race, I had never swam in open water. I had never been in a mass start. And I had never attempted to remove my wetsuit with any sort of speed. Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out at the start, even if I was doing my best to hide it.

I knew that on the perfect day, I could probably finish the swim in 45 minutes. About 30 seconds after the gun, I realized that it wasn't the perfect day. The mass start and open water kind of overwhelmed me. I was flailing. I swam with my head up. I swam backstroke. I swam breaststroke. I swam off course. I swallowed salt water.

It wasn't until 38 minutes in (I checked my watch) that I found my groove and cruised into transition. It was actually quite frustrating. Once I was swimming normally, I wanted to kick myself for getting so worked up. Later, I was shocked to learn I had only missed my "perfect day" time by about 4 minutes.

coming into T1 (Ignore the finger in the shot)

Hydration: In case you forgot, I am mildly freaked out by my bike. I am almost always certain that I am going to crash. Because of this, I was not brave enough to grab a replacement water bottle at the aid stations along the bike course. That meant I had 42 oz of water on the bike with me and once it was gone, it was gone - no matter how hot it was.

Right before I hit the mile 50 marker, I finished the last of my Nuun. 20 minutes left on the bike and nothing left to drink. Despite being very well hydrated heading into the event, those 42 oz of fluid were not enough to hydrate me during the first four hours of the race and I was so parched heading into the run. It was kind of a recipe for disaster.

The Run Course: Three 4.4ish mile loops. In direct sunlight. On an airstrip. Pure torture.

Signage: Although this was a very well run event entirely worth the $250 price tag, the pre-race (i.e. athlete check in/expo) was kind of a cluster. There was a severe lack of signage and we found ourselves wondering around quite a bit. A couple of big arrows would have been killer.

The Ugly:

The Run: Although I finished the run in 2:25:45, well within in the 2:10-2:30 window that I anticipated, it was rough. Right from the start, I knew I was dehydrated and my legs didn't have the power that I needed. So, I made a deal with myself - run one minute, walk one minute. I knew that as long as I just kept moving I'd finish. Sure, I wanted it to be over as soon as possible, but I gave it everything I had on that day.

Of course, as I sit here now, I can say, "Maybe if it wasn't so hot. Maybe if I had drank more on the bike. Maybe if I didn't push it so hard on the second half of the bike." There are a million "what ifs". But, I own that 2:25:45. I kept going when I really wanted to stop. And now, I have a mark to beat.

The Aftermath: Between the sunburn and muscle soreness, post race (and the last two days) has been ugly. I'm hobbling around. I'm short-tempered. I'm tired. But I don't really care, it was freaking awesome and I can't wait to do it again.