Monday, December 31, 2012


Last year I wrote about resolutions, or rather the lack there of.  Instead of making resolutions that we never follow through on, I asked for everyone to sit back and look at the year that just passed and celebrate all you had accomplished.

So, as the clock ticks closer to midnight, I'm doing just that.

Here are my little victories of 2012

And now I raise my glass to you, my friend, for all YOU'VE done and all that YOU WILL do.  It's time to say goodbye to one year and and welcome another, and I'm glad we'll welcome it together.


Sunday, December 30, 2012


I don't do much while on vacation....including writing!  I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and are looking forward to the new year.  I'm heading westward to the mountains with the hubs, so seriouslyhope is taking a few more days off :)

Be safe everyone...and let's hope I don't fall off the side of the mountain!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Well, I've gone and done it....

As you may (or may not) know, I've been kicking around the idea of getting me some new wheels, maybe even mentioned it a time or two here and there.  Well,  a sign from above an opportunity fell into my lap that I just could not resist.

I hope you will join me in welcoming the newest addition to my fleet.

I shall name her Thelma.

No, I have not gone for a ride yet...but I did finally get some pedals....

And yes.  The pink will be replaced with, oh I don't know, orange?

Ooooh, do they sell flame decals for bikes???

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Words for Wednesday

And when we have remembered everything,
We grow afraid of what we may forget.
A face, a voice, a smile?  A birthday? An anniversary?
No need to fear forgetting, because the heart remembers always.
                                                                                                                                - Sascha Wagner

Happy Birthday Dad.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It doesn't matter if I can do it tomorrow, because I did it today

Today, my friends, today I had a good day.  Something happened that I never ever thought possible.

Today I ran a 5K.


So fast that I achieved a personal record.

Fast enough to place in my age group, something I've wanted to do since my first 5K.

Fast enough that.............well, shoot.  Fast enough to actually WIN my age group.

And what is even more cool?  Is that those women in the 30-34 and us in the 35-39, and 40-44...well, we were faster than most of the girls in their 20s.

It just goes to show that we're just like a fine wine...we just keep getting better with age!

As I just told a good friend of mine.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to do it again.....but I did it today.

Party on, Garth.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Words for Wednesday

"You are somebody's reason to smile."
                                                                        - John Edward, author and lecturer
                                                                                  (yes, and psychic medium dude, but I really liked the quote!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Run All the Miles - Marine Corps Marathon 2012

Four weeks ago, I did something I thought I would never do in a million years.  No, I did not eat liver mush with pimento cheese (ick. No offense my southern friends, but I can safely say this will never happen in a gazillion batrillion quadrillion millenion years).

I ran a marathon.  The Marine Corps Marathon to be exact.

I really don't know what to say about it.  Obviously, right?  It's taken me 4 weeks to write about it!  It still feels a bit surreal to me.  I mean, I know I did it, right?  I have the pictures and the magnet to prove it.  But really?  Did I really do that?

Jyl and I set out on a 6 hour car ride to our nation's capital early on Friday morning, right after we completed our first fuel stop at Summit Coffee....a girl needs her coffee and bagel.   With our eyes to the sky and ear to the radio for any Hurricane Sandy updates, we made it to DC by mid afternoon.

Jyl is really happy she got
a BRIGHT orange shirt :)
This certifies that you,
Hope Childress,
are hereby able to
Potty Like a Rock Star
After checking in and unpacking, we decided to head over to the expo.  (In hindsight, I'm SO glad we did this on Friday. I mean, it was busy on Friday, but it was much worse the following day!)  This is where you pick up your number and then shop the vendor booths and the Brooks store, and buy enough stuff so you can "earn" a VIP porta potty pass, so you can "potty like a rock star" at the start line on race day.

From the expo, we took the shuttle bus to the First Timer's Pep Rally, which was good in concept, but I don't think feeding a bunch of first-time marathoners nachos with spicy chicken and beef were the way to go.  So, we ducked out to find our way back to the hotel and grab some real food there.

Trying to figure out the camera phone
outside the hotel...
That's the White House!
Saturday morning found us up and ready to go.  I had to do a little 10 minute jog just to shake out the cobwebs the day before race day, so Jyl and I threw on our shorts and sneakers and headed out the door.  What an amazing run!  We just went without knowing really where we were heading, only knowing we were heading toward that big white obelisk in the sky (aka, the Washington Monument).  You are not going to believe this...I didn't!  One or two blocks away, and BOOM.  There was the White House.  You can see my surprise!  And then we stopped for....wait for and a bagel before getting ready to see some sights!

My Diamond.
We did some re-con at the Pentagon to try to find the start line and then took in a museum or two where we saw the First Lady Dresses, visited the Hope My Diamond and I became President.  Lunch time found us out on the mall with our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taking in a kickball tourney.
Lori, can you carry me
to the finish line??

Saving energy for the big day to follow, Jyl thought it best we take in some R&R before we met our friends Lori and Ashley, and Lori's parents for our pasta dinner.  Lori would be running in her first marathon as well, so we were both a bundle of nerves.  See?  I'm holding on for dear life....

"....and let there be cute
puppies for all!"
Then it was time.  It was time to say our goodbyes and prepare ourselves for the next day where we would face over 20,000 other runners, dodging, weaving and fighting our way to the finish line.  What more can I say about the race.  It was 26.2 miles!  A lot of it was spent trying to NOT trip over people, run over people and looking at the sky to see if Sandy would make an appearance (thankfully for us, she did not; but my heart still goes out to all who were not so lucky).

There were happy times and times I wanted to quit.  Times I felt like I could go forever and times I thought I would break.  But, after all the motivational sayings I had written on my body, one stupid sign someone had was like a slideshow in my brain....

So I did.

And then I cried.  I cried for people who ran next to me. I cried for the service men and women who told me "thank you" as they shook my hand and for all those that weren't there.  I cried for my dad whom I hoped was watching me from on high and was proud.  And I then I cried for myself.  And then I got my picture made!

And then?

Then we celebrated!!  I try to keep this blog pretty PG-13, but I'm going to be honest with you.  I had not had a beer in a month by this point.  I was ready to taste some of that hoppy goodness with a delicious no-so-healthy pasta dish with some kind of cream sauce!  So we did!

Lori, how in the hell can you look this good after running
26.2 miles?  Gah.

NOT tipsy.  Just very happy with my partner in crime!
And then?

Since we were heading back south early in the morning hoping to beat most of what Sandy was preparing to throw at the northeast, we called it an early night.  We walked (Jyl walked, I hobbled) back to the hotel, absolutely exhausted!  I was still reveling a little, so I brought a glass of wine back to the room and had the best recovery night cap ever.

Ice, wine and a Twilight marathon
for the marathoner?
Yes, please.

Yes, this lasted for like only 20 minutes before I passed out.

Looking back, I started this without really knowing what I was getting into.  I don't know what I was thinking, trying to do this all on my own.  If it wasn't for Jyl, Lori and Ashley, I would NOT have made it through that day.

And I've made some pretty fantastic friends throughout this journey.

So many things to say, to so many people, so I will just say this:

I am so very lucky.

Words for Wednesday

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

                                                                                                                                - Mahatma Gandhi

author's note:
I wonder if Mahatma ever did any tempo runs.....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Free Time....

I keep a pretty tight schedule usually blocked in a 3 or 4 month time period, whether it be a school semester, training cycle....or as it was the case this fall, both.  During these blocks I ALWAYS look forward to those precious weeks between the ending of one block and the beginning of the other.  So many things I want to do and so many opportunities to get those chores done that I had not quite been able to get to.  And then I start making my two lists (you know me, I need my lists):  "Fun Things I've Been Wanting To Do" and "Chores I've Been Neglecting."  The possibilities are endless!  Kinda like that Swiffer commercial where the woman discovers she has time to read a book.  (And no, this is not an endorsement for the Swiffer Duster since its use would fall under the "chores I've been neglecting" list....)

So many things I've been wanting to do!  What to do first...  Out of all those things....

My gosh, I only have 3 do ALL those things.  Oh no, what if I can't get it all done?  How do I choose?  What if I choose wrong...time wasted that may have been better spent doing something else.  So much to choose from....what is it that I REALLY want to do?  Omigosh, I don't know what to do....

Free time, folks, stresses me out.

It stresses me out SO MUCH.  I get so overwhelmed that I can't seem to do anything.  So I don't.

Last night, I had time.  No paper do, no homework to read and the house to myself.  I got excited at the prospect of reading a know, for fun!  But I sat there, looking through my Kindle shelves, my much I haven't read yet, so much I want to read!  And then it happened.  I got so beside myself I couldn't make a decision.  Instead, I went and watched my DVR recording of Grey's Anatomy and fell asleep on the couch during an episode of Elementary (must watch this show.  Holmes is hysterical!).

The sheer stress of it all prompted this post and plea...

I want to read and I don't want to stress over the decision.  So friends, let's make this fun.

What's been on your nightstand that you might recommend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Brief Interruption

This brief interruption of regular programming has been brought to you by The-World-Must Stop-Because You-Have-A-Paper-Due Enterprises.  All systems were taken offline so that every available resource could be directed to the project's completion.

We are happy to report that this project is in its final stages and regular posts of thought provoking randomness and wit as well as coverage on most worldly topics, such as the Twilight marathon that will soon commence in my living room as we debate the acting prowess of Kristin Stewart, will soon resume.

C'mon know you missed me...

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's kinda like Christmas...

Hi folks.  Lots have happened since my last post.  Well, lots of miles anyway; 26.2 to be exact.  And there are lots of words to say and pictures to show, but we'll get to all that in time.

Right now, I thought we'd talk about a little thing called "recovery."

I was prepared for a lot of things; pain, celebration beer, mile 20, fatigue, porta potties....
And I was not prepared for a lot of things; the number of men seen peeing on the side of the road (really, no shame), the mob of people, the actual amount of shot blocks and hammer gels I would actually consume....
And I was not prepared for the days following. Physically, I was fine by Wednesday.  Stairs and toilets were no longer my enemy.  But mentally? Well folks, I'll be honest with you.  It wasn't pretty.  

Do you remember, when you were a kid, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv?  Seeing all the floats and marching bands go by, picking out the big balloons and dancing like a Rockette in your living room?  Okay, I may have been the only one practicing her kick line...but nonetheless, we all got excited when that last float came into view.  You know, the one with the jolly old man himself!  It marked the beginning of the holiday season.  You got your Sears Wish Book or the Toys R Us catalog in the made your "What I Want for Christmas" list, you waited, counted down the days, anticipating, dreaming.  And then Christmas Eve came and you could hardly sleep.  You just knew that jolly man was downstairs filling up the stockings, piling up the presents under the tree....You've been waiting for this day for WEEKS, and then, just like that

it was over.

No more cookies.  No more candy.  No more special hot cocoa with the peppermint stick.  No more parties. All the branches of your family tree returned to their own forests.  You're left.  All alone. Among the ripped wrappings and the once shiny bows that now have lost their luster.

Yea.  That's what my recovery was like.
Folks...I didn't even want peanut butter.  Now you know it had to be bad!

I've heard recovery is different for everybody.  People closest to me kept saying..."don't worry, it's normal."  No way in HELL was this normal!  All I wanted to do was lay in a fetal position and watch NCIS re-runs.  And I did.  And I felt horrible about it, but I still couldn't seem to pick myself up.  And then the flashbacks started.  Back to the times when I was happy laying on the couch feeding my face with Hershey Nuggets with Toffee, watching movies or the entire collection of X-Files, and I got scared.  So scared.  I began to wonder if I'd be able to get out of the spiral before I ended up like that again.  What's next?  What will I do now?  I don't have a plan.  I always have a plan.

I wanted to cry, but I didn't have tears.  I wanted to get up, but I didn't have the desire.  I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't close my eyes.  Before I knew it, my "vacation" was over.  Friday came and I had to get back to work.  I had to get back to something.  And then hour by hour, the haze began to clear.  I started feeling okay again.  I started to feel back to normal.  I could smile.  I saw a picture of myself crossing the finish and then it all rushed back to me.  That feeling of accomplishment, of pride, my sense of self.  And without even realizing it, my fingers typed that email...

Hi Coach Sarah -
So.  What's next :)

Bottom line.  Training is different for everyone.  And now I understand that recovery is different for everyone.  I wasn't expecting this depression, this grief.  I'm writing this today to tell you, Fellow Newbie That Might Be Reading, that no, not everyone experiences this; but if you do, it's okay.  Don't panic.  And a small're going to want to punch people when they tell you "allow yourself a few days,"  but before you throw down you need to remember these three words....they are right.

Allow yourself a few days, and before you know it, you'll be making that "What I Want List...."  Mine may or may not include a road bike ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Something's been missing

It's no secret that I'm getting ready to run my first marathon this weekend (see previous post).  Every once in a while, I have mentioned training, but you may have noticed I have not giving "updates" like I did when getting ready for the Flying Pirate half marathon back in April.  It's not that I haven't wanted to share, but there are only so many times you might want to read, "I ran today," because my friends, when you are training for a marathon, your life basically consists of a combination of three things,

  • eat
  • run/cross train
  • sleep

and then, the rest of life's little pleasures like working and such, you fit in around those 3 basic elements.

Now I will recap 16 weeks of marathon training in one swoop .....

And there you have it.
It's been the longest, yet fastest, 16 weeks I've ever experienced.
Let the carb load commence.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Words for Wednesday

Holy crap.  I'm running a marathon this weekend.

                                                                                                                     -words from yours truly
                                                                                                                                (and you can quote me)

Friday, October 19, 2012

You know it's almost "Go Time" when....

  • you can access the 10-day weather forecast for race day
  • your entire GU supply has disappeared
  • you are counting the hours until your pre-race massage because all of your muscles are on freaking fire
  • it's time to make the carb-load grocery list
  • you have used all your body glide
  • the reminder to pay your life insurance arrives in your mailbox
  • you start making your road trip play list (or rather, have Jyl make it because you are iTunes challenged)
  • your long runs are now 3 or 4 miles
  • you want to eat everything within your reach or sight.....or dream about
  • you have 20 different lists going because you write stuff down as you think of things to do or items to pack, only to forget which list you put it on or where the location of said list is
  • I'd write more but I can't find my list.....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ramblin' Rose - Where clunky bikes and doggie paddles make the best stories....

So, September was a big month for Team Peeta.  Graham finished the half iron distance.  Jyl swam with the fishes (and a dead whale?) in Boston Harbor.  And me?  Well, I tri'd the swim bike run thing at the Ramblin' Rose women's beginner triathlon.  You know, to see what all this triathlon hub bub was all about.  I decided back in July that I would do this.  You know, when I had a peg leg.  Because of course that's when we come up with all our goals and grand plans...when we're injured and can't do anything else but think.  So, it was then that it was decided that this 250 meter swim, 9 (ish) mile bike and a 2 mile run would be in my future.  And futures become the present in the blink of an eye!

Actually, this was why I started this love/hate relationship with swimming.  It took me just about a year, but I graduated from back floats and doggie paddles to actually looking like I know what i'm doing....kinda.

Biking?  Well, you never forget, right?  So, I thought I'd just take my mountain bike that I hadn't ridden in a year (and never on the road).  Should be okay, right?  I mean it's got two wheels, handle bars and a seat.  A bike is a bike, right?

Running?  I can do anything for 2 miles.  That's what I kept telling myself anyway.

So, on a dark Sunday morning in September, I woke up well before dawn, put on a borrowed tri suit (thanks Lori!), ate my English muffin and peanut butter with honey, loaded up the beast bike and my bag on my jeep and off I went.  Two pretty awesome ladies, good friends and fine athletes came to be my "crew" and cheer me on.  Rebecca beat me there, arriving before 6 a.m. to help unload and carry gear to the transition, Maggie came with coffee and bagels with cream cheese.  I had to wait for my bagel post-race.

It was a chilly morning.  Poor Rebecca, I kept throwing stuff at her to hold and to carry; clothes, phone, water, cap and goggles!  I was so fidgety, we both thought it best I get in the pool to do a length or two while it was open for warm-ups, just to calm the nerves a bit.  Finally the hour or so of waiting was over.  It was time for me to get to the race briefing and then line up for the swim.  It was Go-Time!

Damn I make a swim cap look good.
I felt confident.  I had worked so hard at this swim thing.  Coach Sarah thought I could put in a really good time.  I doubted her when we first talked about it, but I slowly began to believe her.  I still had nerves though.  I've never swam with people chasing me before.  After a bit of a wait, it was my turn to hop in and push off.  And me thinks I pushed off a little too fast.  By the third length I was starting to doubt I could keep the pace I was on.  I told myself that I could slow down a bit, it was okay!  So I did.  Too much.  At the wall at a lane change, I glimpsed like four caps in my lane.  All bearing down on little 'ol me.  Time to pick it back up.  So I did, but unable to get my breathing rhythm back I had a little bit of a freak out.  I ended up at the wall for a good 45 seconds to a minute trying to get my bearings.  All the while, cap after cap after cap went by.  Finally I was ready to get this thing over with, and then I realized I only had one more length to go.  SERIOUSLY??  YOU COULDN'T HOLD IT TOGETHER FOR ONE MORE STINKING LENGTH???  Boy was I angry.  I got out of that pool and made my way to transition, ripping my cap and goggles off and muttering choice words the entire way.  I hoped I used my inside voice, but seeing the looks on some faces, I'm sure I cussed in front of children.

I have no words
for this picture.
I think I yelled at myself the entire way to my transition area.   Things like "this is so NOT fun," "this absolutely sucks," "what on earth are you doing," "just quit and put yourself out of this misery!" I think that was the last thing I said before I got on my bike.

Oh, the bike.  I pedaled my little heart out.  I don't think I ever STOPPED pedaling.  And still I was getting passed.  Passed like I was standing still...or going backwards!  All that kept going through my head was "do I really suck that bad?"  I got decimated!  I think I may have passed one person, only to mess up a gear on a coming hill and she got me right back.  But there was one fleeting moment when I wasn't cussing or hating on the world in my complete loneliness and discouragement when it was actually pleasant.  Riding, the wind in your face, the landscape.  And then moment was broken as the words "ON YOUR LEFT" cut through the air like a knife in my back.  "yea yea...on my left.  Don't worry sweetie, I'll get you on the run."

Props to Maggie for her
mad photo skills!
I think these shades make
me look fast.
I don't know how many of you have tried running after spending 9 (ish...i think the course was short) on a bike pedaling your little heart out.  If you haven't had the pleasure, let me tell you that you actually have to tell your legs to walk.  After a wobbly 1/2 mile or so, I found my sea legs.  2 miles at 16 minutes 25 seconds, and a bunch of passes later, I was DONE.  It was over!  I'd never been so happy and angry at the same time.

Rebecca and Maggie were waiting for me at the finish...

Crew:  "How was it?"
Me:  "It sucked."
Crew:  "Ready to do it again?"
Me:  "Let me see how different a road bike is, and maybe then we'll talk."

And then I had the best damn bagel and cream cheese EVER.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Words for Wednesday

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

                                               - Dale Carnegie, author and lecturer 

                                                             (as found on Runner's World)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jyl Conquers Boston Harbor

The weekend of September 22 & 23 was a busy weekend for this trio; each embarking our on own quest.  Last week, we read about Graham's Iron Adventure.  Well, on September 22, Jyl went to Boston to slay her own dragon, Boston Sharkfest; a 1500 meter open water swim across Boston Harbor.

Take it away, Jyl!

So this past weekend I had the crazy idea to swim 1500 meters across Boston Harbor. I thought in my brain this Shark Fest Swim, the first year in Boston, would be a good idea and practice for my ultimate work out goal of swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco in 2013.

I arrived Friday morning to a cold and dreary Boston. After checking the forecast, I saw the water temp was about 62 degrees, not the 68-70 degrees they mentioned on the website at the time of sign up. I had a sleeveless wetsuit, an awful thing (no one likes trying on or wearing one of these things) and really wished I went for and practiced with the full sleeve one… Never did it cross my mind that the water would be this cold! Mistake number #1 of the weekend!

Saturday morning came and was dreary and drizzly and cold again. Wishing I had gloves and a winter hat as I walked from the hotel to the start was one thing! Man, if the air was this cold, imagine the water!
Mom and I hung out at the finish line, where water taxis were taking us over to the start. I noticed these people hanging around looked like serious swimmers/athletes. Mom mentioned that no silly normal or person thinking they were in shape would jump into the harbor! She was right!

I finally boarded a small water taxi to the start line with about 20 other swimmers. Most were quiet and checking out the scene, and there were 2 college kids on my boat going in Speedos for the swim. Man, I thought they were crazy, but they were the only ones doing it I would soon realize. Sure they were about the 10% of the crowd, but there were people, including a very cute Olympian open water swimmer, Alex Meyer (who won the race, finishing in half the time I did it, and no wet suit).
Anyway, I had about an hour and a half to hang out and stare at the dark, cold water from the start line. I chatted with people from all over the country, some experienced and a lot this being their first open water swim race, like me. Most of the Bostonians weren’t scared of the water temp, that’s when I realized I was a Southern girl now… My 80 degree HFFA pool temp will never seem cold again!

We got our rules and regs, and 300 people were set to jump off the pier in 4 waves. I decided to go in mid pack, and ended up in wave 3.  I watched the other waves go off and began to realize I was crazy. Why was I doing this? I saw some people struggle at the start for sure, but did not see anyone go to the wonderful kayakers or paddle boarders…

Jyl, post swim with her nephew, Daniel.
Damn Jyl, that looks cold...
I walked toward the start of my wave, and was nervous. Some people were sticking their feet in the water and testing it and I pondered it, and thank God, I didn’t do it. The whistle went off and I was on the far side of the pack and one of the last to go. I didn’t want to get in the crowd and when I jumped in feet first, it was a feeling of shear panic. I have NEVER felt this before. Some choice words went through my brain and then my brain said MOVE. My face, neck, arms turned to quick ice cubes and the first couple of strokes I did not put my face in the water. I was frozen. I tried not to panic and breathe and finally after about a minute I realized I needed to keep going and move forward. I honestly thought if there were kayakers that first minute, I would have stopped. It was awfully cold! I did an obstacle at the tough mudder where you dunk in a dumpster of ice and quickly climb out. This was worse and I had to go 1500 meters to the other side!
I got in my groove and stayed on the outside of the pack and took one stroke at a time. I can say for about 10 minutes I didn’t freeze, but then about half way through the race, I got cold again. Thank God for the wet suit! It was a saving grace. I also wore two swim caps, and I guess any extra layer helped some!

I know I touched things in that harbor, and not sure what they were? Fish, the bottom, dead bodies, garbage. Or other racers I didn’t see, but I did have a couple freak outs of 'what is touching my fingers?'
Spotting was hard, because of fog and the darkness, but aiming for the city was the only way I went. Also following the other yellow caps the whole way!

Finally I saw the white tent near the marina (and lots of huge Boston harbor boats) and I tried to swim faster, not sure if I did or not, but I wanted out. The taste of salt water was another thing I couldn’t practice for, and wasn’t prepared for. I finally saw the back up of finishers near the white tent with the timing pad, and also at that time, I could hear people cheering from the side of the harbor. I KNEW warmth was in reach.  I touched the timing board and then had to swim about 50 meters to the ladders to get out of the harbor. At that time I heard my mom and family calling my name, and I smiled. Thank God I was done!

I got out as quick as I could and got that wetsuit off (with some great burns around my neck from where it rubbed) and got in a blanket and had a beer. I finished and NEVER have to do that again!  My brother checked my time and it was just over 30 minutes. Again the Olympian did it in 16 minutes, and my goal was just not to come in last or have a boat pick me up, which neither happened.

Would I do that again? NO- I swam Boston and I’m happy I did it. Am I going to do Alcatraz? I haven’t decided. I can say the 55 degree water can’t be any worse than the water of Boston, but the current and shark factor and jumping off a boat, still make me not click the 'Register NOW' button… But I do need a new challenge for 2013, and I can’t think of anything else that would be more challenging and more fun!

Hey Jyl.....remind me to update the Reasons Why Swimming Sucks!  

I am so, SO proud of you!

I get asked a lot why I keep going, keep swimming, keep running.....  How can I not when I have completely awesome friends, like Jyl and Graham, that continue to surround me with inspiration and motivation?  I am one lucky girl.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Things I Might Do Post Marathon

Today was a big day.  Today my training plan called for 20 miles.  Of running.  I don't think you realize just how far that is unless you are on your feet going 6mph eating this nasty GU stuff every 45 minutes.  Things hurt, things went numb....

It was awesome.

Dude.  I ran 20 miles today.


We all run for many reasons.  Some of us, 1% of us, decide to take the plunge and go for 26.2.  We begin a 16 week period of ups and downs and blisters and pain; and it's also a 16 week period of sacrifice of sorts.  One question that every runner training for a marathon can relate too is, "what are YOU going to do post marathon?"

And so, when you're running for 20 miles, you have lots of time.  Lots of time to talk, to cuss, to blow snot rockets......and to think.  And today I thought of a list of things I might do post marathon:
  • throw the biggest party EVER.  Drinks all around!
  • eat greasy-bad-for-me pizza
  • sleep in until 6 a.m.
  • drink a diet Coke
  • quit running
  • relax
  • eat pancakes
  • stay up past 9 p.m.
  • celebrate Oktoberfest in November
  • soak in a hot bath for a week
  • clean my house
  • burn my sneakers
  • read more than 2 pages of a book without falling asleep
  • buy the entire series of Dawson's Creek and Felicity and enjoy a different type of marathon where the fuel is miniature Reese's Cups, Hershey Nuggets with Toffee and Almonds and a pint of Ben & Jerry's

and just to keep things balanced....

Things I WON'T Do Post Marathon
  • eat Gu gels for breakfast
  • go on 15-20 mile runs for the hell of it

Friday, October 5, 2012

Food for Thought: Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

If you do not already subscribe to, you need to. But then again if you do, my posts will become redundant and you will no longer read my Food for Thought editions.....(insert sad face here)

Anyway.  I made this amazing one-dish wonder with a recipe found on SkinnyTaste.  Quick, easy preparation, healthy, delicious and only a few ingredients.  Just the way I like 'em!  And yes, I know it's not really summer anymore, but you can still get zucchini at the grocer, or if you live in the south and are like my in-laws and tend to plant your garden a little late, you're still getting the "fruits" of your labors!

My apologies.  I once again forgot to take pictures of my amazing cooking skills.  I know you're sad.

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

1lb baby red potatoes, cut in half or quartered
2tsp oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder  
1tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
14oz Italian chicken sausage, sliced 1inch thick
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2Tbsp fresh rosemary (or other fresh herb like thyme)
2 cups zucchini, 1/2 inch thick and quartered

Place oil and potatoes in a large, deep non-stick skillet on high heat (Hope's Note:  I will be buying one this weekend.  I cooked this with a stick skillet and though it was still YUMMY, this part was a pain in my arse.).  Season with garlic powders, salt & pepper.  When the skillet gets hot and starts to sizzle, reduce heat to low and cook with a tight fitting lid on for abut 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the potatoes from burning.
Remove from heat and let them sit 5 minutes without removing lid.  Then set potatoes aside on a separate dish.

In same skillet, add sausage and saute on medium to low and cook until browned but not quite cooked through.  Approximately 10 minutes.

Season chopped veggies with salt & pepper.  Add onions, peppers, garlic and rosemary (or other herb) to skillet and mix.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers become slightly browned.

Mix in zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Return potatoes back to the skillet and mix well.  Add more salt & pepper if needed; cover and cook 5 more minutes.

Yields:  4 servings, each approx 1 3/4c

Nutritional Info:
326 calories, 11g fat, 23g protein, 33.5g carbs, 5.3g fiber, 5g sugar, 897mg sodium

Hope's Note:  I sliced the other halves of the orange and yellow peppers into strips to pack as a snack for one of my lunches this week!!

Hope's Note:  My mom gave me a Vidalia Chop Wizard.  Where I once laughed at her for using one, now I don't know if I could live without mine!  I did my onion, chop chop, pepper 1, pepper 2, pepper 3 chop chop...all in one swoop.  And there is was, in its own little prep container ready to go in the pan, already all together.  I am a BIG fan of easy and less mess, so I do love this little contraption!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Graham Finish(es) Strong

Instead of "Words for Wednesday," I thought I would bring you another source of inspiration.  My friend Graham, you remember Graham, entered the world of triathlon this summer.  His first event was a sprint distance at Tri Latta Triathlon on June 9.  This included a 750 meter open water swim, a 17 mile bike ride and 5K run.  This is important to know in order to help put what comes next into perspective.  About 3 months later, Graham, this crazy beast, entered and raced in the Finish Strong Half Iron Triathlon at Jordan Lake, North Carolina,on September 23, 2012.  The half iron distance is as follows:  1.2 mile open water swim.  56 mile bike ride.  13.1 mile run.

I asked Graham if he would share his adventure with seriously hope.  And, well, how could he say no?  Without further ado, I bring you Finish Strong Half Iron as raced and written by my good friend and training cohort!
as if setting up transition wasn't hard enough,
let's set it up in the dark!
After waking up early on race morning my mind started to go through its pre-race check list.  Everything was loaded in the car and I was ready to get to the race transition area and set up.  After getting to the race site I parked the car and started to unload my bike, it was still dark out so it made it challenging when attempting to check tire pressure.  I went over and picked up my packet since they didn’t have them available on Saturday at the pre-race meeting.  I took my bike, crate, towels, shoes, gloves, helmet, bike shirt and nutrition into the transition and racked my bike and laid out my stuff.  About 30 minutes before the race they announced that the water temp was 75 and wetsuits would be allowed – good thing I had my rental.  I put the suit on with about 10 minutes prior to the start and was ready to go.  Since it was a small race they put the men in group 1 and women in group 2.

The Swim 

No, Graham,
you can't come back
to shore....
I had my plan to swim straight and steady pace, not pushing too hard and try to focus on conservation of energy and hopefully avoid cramping in my calves which has happened a few times.  I would guess the first turn buoy was about 750m away and with a blink of an eye I seemed like I was making the turn, the little voice in my head said I think I am flying, that could not have been 15 to 20 minutes already.  After the turn I found my aim for the next turn and focused on my form and to stay relaxed.  After the second turn I realized that I am halfway done and heading back to shore, my voice went off again, telling me to relax and watch my form, at that point I realized that I had taken the second turn really wide and was about 75m wide of the site buoy – oops.  I again had to focus on staying calm.  Then I hit some waves from the side and surprised me some but was able to stay relaxed.  Other than swimming off course a little, I felt good.  Finally the last turn buoy, almost back to shore, focus on swimming straight, there just ahead is the boat launch and dock.  I kept my head down and really focused, then I decided I better check my direction again and just at the right time too – I was about 2 feet from swimming head first into the side of the dock, minor turn and another 20 feet until I could stand and run (ok, really walk) up the ramp.  After the ramp I headed towards transition and I saw Stephanie who came to help cheer me on and support.  I asked for the time and she said – under 29 minutes, I ran into transition and started to get changed for the bike.  After getting changed I asked again and she repeated “under 29” and I was shocked, the plan was to swim well and be in around 40 minutes.

The Bike

What I like to call
"Graham's bad ass bike pic"
The bike was the tail of two courses, 56 miles and basically the first 40 are about average minor hills turns and then the final 16 are brutal.  I don’t know the breakdown of my ride but the first 20 miles were good.  I hit the second water stop, which was supposed to be around 36 or 38 mile marker, and picked up extra water.  I continued to ride for what seemed to be another 30 to 45 minutes and I was expecting the 50 mile marker and saw the 40, ugh that took some steam out of me.  Oh and now this is where the bike starts to get challenging.  There were 3 long climbs and the first was near a cemetery and I thought to myself, when I fall off my bike and die from this hill they won’t have to move me very far to put me in the ground.  I pushed on only to find another equally challenging hill after having a minute or so to regain some focus and find some energy.  I knew the last hill was long – about a 3 mile climb and after getting through that I knew that I had conquered the bike and was almost ready to run.

The Run

Ok, normally I am a quiet person, I don’t talk to other runners, I just put one foot after the other and work on getting to the finish.  The run was anything but normal, I had to tell my body what to do and it talked back to me on many occasions.  I filled my fuel belt with water and I had 6 gels for the 13.1 run, ready, set, hyperventilate…ok, I have only gone 50 meters, that is not the right way to start a run.  Focus on calming down, it’s only a half marathon right?  After the breathing returned to normal, time to run to the first water stop, break down the run into lots of small goals.  I made it to the first water stop and refilled the two water bottles, I had been drinking some and pouring most on my head to keep my temperature down and avoid over heating which I have done in the past.  Next repeat previous goal, run to the next water stop and refuel, better take a gel while getting water too.  Ok, feeling good I hit the second water stop and feeling good, refueled and went on to the next stop.  At about the 2 mile mark I started to have pain in my left arch – I know that pain my brain responded – that is a nasty blister on my arch.  I haven’t ever had one there and it turned my run into a very painful walk run the remainder of the day.  I knew that I wouldn't let the blister stop me, I pushed on and hit the 3 mile mark when my right leg cramped from the top of my knee to groin, wow that hurt and I had taken a gel about 5 minutes prior, I decided that another gel was needed and started to walk again.  I pushed on, never stopping due to fear that my body would fall apart.  I hit the turn around and picked up my first wrist band and took another gel.  At this point I pushed myself to run a little and overall I found the run course a challenge.  Nothing too hard but it wasn’t a flat easy course that’s for sure.  Then I saw Stephanie, she was my support and she walked and talked and ran when I could.  I hit the 5th mile marker and I thought yay I am half way done!! Oh wait, no I am not – crap, this isn’t going to my plan.    After calming down and pushing through miles 5 to 8 I realized I hadn’t taken a gel in a while and went to the belt to realize I only had two left.  I came up with a plan to have them at the 9th and 11th mile markers and hope that my body didn’t get too mad.  So, I continue to run some and walk some, most of the walks were not by design or distance but due to my body cramping or reacting to still being on the course.  I felt muscles tweak, cramp, provide negative feedback to my brain from my hip, quad, calves and achillies both on the left and right side – basically my entire lower body.  I managed to keep upright and finally had about 300 meters to go when my left leg cramped really bad and caused me to hyperventilate again.  I almost fell.  I pushed through the cramp and focused on the breathing, one last turn and into the shoot.  Finally I crossed the line and then my lower body complained one last time and this time I couldn't remain on my feet and I fell, but at least I was already over the line.

I did it, I was now a HALF IRONMAN!

WOW!  Way to do battle, Graham!  Congratulations you Crazy Beast!  What you have accomplished is truly inspirational...and maybe a little crazy ;)

You can lay down now....

your work here is done!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Words for Wednesday

It's not so much thatI began to run, but that I continued. 

                                                 - Hal Higdon, American runner and writer (courtesy of Runner's World)
Hal Higdon, American runnerand -

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Words for Wednesday

A lifestyle change begins with a vision and a single step. 

                                - Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian and author (courtesy of Runner's World)

Jeff Galloway, U.S. Olympian and author--

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Run for Green 2012

Last year at this time, I was getting ready to "toe the line" at the furthest distance I had ever done.  I had been released from my walking boot (for a stress fracture) in August 2011 and was determined to "toe the line" for my first 10K at the Run for Green in 2011.

What a difference a year makes!  It's hard to believe that today I ran the Run for Green half marathon without a second thought.  Without nerves, without anxiety...almost without excitement.  It was just going to be another long run, another training run, just another Saturday.  I had no expectations, no race pace or finish time in mind.  I just went to run.

I started off with what felt slow.  I was being passed by so many people.  But it was okay.  I wasn't trying to beat anyone; heck, I wasn't even trying to beat myself!  After about three miles and few runners passed, I looked at my watch and realized that I was keeping an 8:30ish pace.  I was a little surprised and began to wonder if I could actually keep that pace, but I honestly wasn't going to hold my breath...

About four miles in or so, I caught up to Lori, one of my training partners.  We ran, we chatted, we stopped at the water stop, we ran a little more, we LAUGHED.  Word of advice, when abbreviating the word "ridiculous" to say "ri-dic", make sure you emphasize and enunciate the "ri" that precedes the "dic", or nearby runners might think you are calling the lead runner that just past you all, very bad names.....

After running through a residential neighborhood I like to call the Hotel California (because you can never leave...), we reached a nice little green way almost to the halfway point and turn around.  Turn arounds are fun, but disheartening at the same time because you get to see every single person that's running faster than you!  It was at this point I saw a face I thought I recognized. It was Coach Sarah!  My gosh I didn't know she'd be running today!  That was a nice surprise.  She was going fast.  No surprise there ;)

The second verse, same as the first.....

I won't bore you with the rest of the deets.  Bottom line, somehow I was able to hang onto my pace through all the rolling hills and climbs and averaged an 8:41 pace per mile.  I finished in 1:53:51, a huge PR by about 10 minutes.

After the race I enjoyed a bagel and coffee with Jyl and her mom (hugs to you both!).  And a special shout out to Jack, a fine gentleman I met at the finish line.  I hope to see you out on the DART runs soon!!!

Next week....we'll go for a trifecta...I'll be doing the swim, bike, run thing at the Ramblin' Rose.  We'll see how that goes.

I guess it's time I actually GET ON my bike......

Sunday, September 9, 2012

There's a first time for everything....

There is one good thing about training for your first have a lot of "firsts!"

First lost toenail - check (during my half marathon training, so I'm counting it)
First double digit run - check (again, during half training)
First massage - check
First blister - not yet thank goodness, I might faint
First 15miler - check
First 5am run - check that a gazillion times.....
First massage - check (can't wait for my next one)
First doubt that I will continue running after said marathon - check check and check

And this weekend my friends, I reached 2 more milestones.

First 18 mile run and.......

my first ice bath.
This is how the conversation went when I got home:

Kevin:  That's great!!
Me:  Honey, I'm going to need your help in a few minutes.
Kevin:  Are you okay?
Me:  Oh yes, but I'm going to take an ice bath and I need you to put the ice in because I don't think I can bring myself to do it.
Kevin:  Um.....are you sure?  That doesn't sound like it would be good.
Me:  I'm sure.
Kevin: .......well okay......

(in bathroom, me in tub, Kevin with bags of ice)
Kevin:  You are sure about this?
Me:  Yes, just don't splash me because it will be cold!
Kevin:  Honey, this is crazy.  You are crazy.
In my head: Honey, you have no idea.
(Kevin puts in ice)
Kevin:  Well, there you go!
Me:  Thank you honey!
In my head:  Oh holy hell.

I had my doubts, but I knew my people would not steer me wrong!  Worked like a charm.  I was able to move yesterday and today I'm hardly sore.  You know, if it wasn't for some IT band soreness, I think I'd be able to go for another 6 right now.   

But....that would just be crazy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The "E" Word

Entitlement.  A belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. (a Merriam-Webster definition)

This word, this feeling, as an amateur athlete, is getting me into an awful lot of trouble lately; and if I don't reign it in now, it will cause me nothing but problems in two months time.

A handful of peanut butter cups here, some wine or few pints of beer there....skip a short run or a weight session....have a 2nd huge helping of pasta followed by cookie time + a Skinny Cow ice cream...a wedge of brie here....  But I deserve it, right?  Because I (in no particular order)
  1. finished my homework 
  2. ran a long distance 
  3. had a bad day
  4. have been working hard
  5. didn't kick someone in the shin
  6. got out of bed
  7. etc....
Now look.  I am all for celebrating the little victories, but can you see this slippery slope I'm on?  I need to keep my victories into perspective and find a different way to celebrate them....and be very careful with the phrase "because I deserve it."  Why?  The bare bones truth is this.

I set a goal for myself and I am working toward that goal.  Should I celebrate the milestones that I reach?  Yes!  But am I entitled?  Maybe in some cases, but it is a hazy line.  Do I really deserve to eat a 1 pound bag of chocolate covered pretzels (I'm not saying I did or didn't in one sitting while watching The Hunger Games)???  No.  Am I entitled to skip a weight session because I've been good about other training sessions?  No.  How long can I really use the "I deserve it because it's my birthday" get-out-of-jail-free card?

I think that many times, the feeling of entitlement can lead us down rocky paths that circle us right back to where we started from, instead of further down the road to our destination.  Though your destination might be different from mine, that feeling of entitlement can trap us both.

No regret, no shame-on-me, no being hard on myself.  I goofed and I'm learning from it.  I lost my focus and lost my way, but I'm finding it again; rekindling the spark that lit the fire.  From here on in, I am determined to refocus my attention on my destination.  I will celebrate my journey, but in more positive ways that will take me across the finish line instead of keeping me from it.

And after I complete that 26.2, that is when I will have reached my destination.  That is the moment when all the little victories will culminate.  Then and only then I will I say "because I deserve it."

Journey on my friends, but beware of rocks and trees and obstacles along the way.
Keep your eyes on your destination.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summit's Tacky 10K: A Birthday Miracle

When I first received news that the next installment of the Summit Racing Series was on my birthday weekend, I thought to myself that "ooh!  That sounds like a fun way to celebrate!"  So, I signed up, early bird style!

Next time I decide to sign up for an evening race at the end of August in the North Carolina heat to celebrate without knowing what the course would be, someone kick me.

If anyone wants to ever do some challenging hill work, come to Davidson and sign up for a Helfrich Brother's Special.  Then throw in high 80s/low 90s temps with close to 100% humidity just for kicks.

I've run half the course numerous times as it's in our group's route arsenal, but the second half was new to me.  I had never been on that side of town, so I looked at it as an adventure.  I didn't go into this race with any real strategy (not that I really do with any race!).  I was using this as my long run for the week by adding a 2mile warm up and a 2mile cool down.

I knew the hills on the front half and decided that the hills on the second half were going to be just as bad if not worse.  So, at the start, I decided to just take it easy.  Starting at the mid to back of the pack, I was getting passed plenty!  I looked over my shoulder and realized that I was close to bringing up the rear.  It was so tempting to pick up the pace, but I knew I needed to play it safe in order to face the unknown, and was able to keep myself reigned in.  There was still LOTS of race to go!

The first mile brought me to our first hill.  It was one of many that I run week after week, and oddly I felt like it was my old comfort blanket!  I was able to hold steady and as people tried to bite off more than they could chew, I picked them off, slowly but surely.  I was feeling confident that I could hold a comfortable 9:15-9:20 pace through this part.  And that was my first three miles.  The next three brought me into the unknown.  I was welcomed by a very nice down hill.....but where there is down, there is an up.  Lots of ups. It was like I was in the belly of the earth and I had to climb my way out of hell!  Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly, but folks, it seemed like a constant climb without much relief.  Thank goodness for the spectators and the volunteers, and friendly familiar faces at one particular water stop (Randolph family, you were a sight for sore eyes!!!!).  Two more hills, that's all needed to get through before the last .5 and the finish.  On that last climb out, I looked at my watch and saw an alarming heart rate.  Holy hell.  I would expect to see that in a 5K running all out, but not now.  I needed to get that down.  So I brought it to a walk for what seemed like forever but I think it only lasted for about a minute?  I saw it come down 20+ points, I smiled and said "Okay, now get your arse in gear and finish this thing out!"  And so I did.

Somehow, I PR'd!  It was a birthday miracle!
Old:  01:02:00 (September 2011)
New: 00:59:39
I didn't shed that much time off, but on that course, in that heat?  I'll take it!

And as a bonus, Jyl threw me a little birthday party with mini cupcakes and everything!  Once I no longer felt like I was going to toss my cookies, I grabbed that little chocolate and peanut butter bundle of scrumptiousness and ran.  Well, no.  I just sat there and ate it, but I was really stealthy with the grab!

Thank you Jyl, Graham, Thomas and Lori for my birthday celebration!  And Helfrich Brothers, though I'm cussing at you, it really was a great race, a great post-race party and thank you for hiring a band for my birthday :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My First Day of School

Well.  Today was not my very first day of school, but the first day of the first semester of my senior year.  Now, don't get too excited, it will still be many semesters before I graduate.  I'm on the long-term plan.

And, since it is customary to take a picture on your first day of school......

Have I taken a picture of myself on the first day before?  No.  Why now? Why not?

Now...moving on.

Crazy schedule this semester, work, school, homework, and now marathon training.  Cross your fingers that I can pull it off!  I've only had class at night, but night classes are becoming hard to come by; with the decrease in faculty and I've pretty much exhausted all the general ed courses that they teach at night.  So, this is the first semester I've taken classes during the day.

I've been going to college part-time for about five years now, and today was the first day I actually felt like a student. Weird, huh?  I mean, I know I've put in the hours, spent the money on text books, written my share of papers!  But today I was among it all.  All the hustle and bustle, busting my arse to get across campus in 10 minutes for my next class, eating a quick PB&J sandwich under a tree....

Today was a good day.

Now, just remind me of that in a few weeks when I'm stressed out of my gourd...

Photo Diary - Sunday Swim

Jyl:  Look at you, with your back pack, swim gear in hand, swim cap on...and a cup of coffee. (laughing, shaking her head)

Me:  But I'm just not ready to give up my coffee yet...

Me:  I do look like a sight, don't I?

Me:  Quick, take a picture, this would be a great post.

Graham:  Awesome!

Jyl:  You're not going to post that (laughing)

Me:  (big grin)  is that a dare?....

This is me getting ready for our Sunday Swim...
with coffee in hand.

Why?  because that's how I roll.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I have two words for you....

Therapeutic Massage

Sounds all roses and daffodils, doesn't it?

Let me enlighten you.  It's more like blood, sweat and tears with lotion that smells good.

And they fool you.  They fool you into thinking it's going to be all zen and stuff.  Your sweet little therapist introduces herself.  You tell her that your calves are a bit tight from running, and maybe your quads could use a quick once over as well.  She angelically nods her head with wisdom and experience.  She leads you into a nice dim room with relaxing music playing and a comfy looking table.  She takes a short leave of absence while you hop on the table under the fresh linens.  You think to yourself, "Self? This is going to be so relaxing and nice.  Don't drool on yourself while you doze off into Sandman Land."  She re-enters this haven of serenity with her jar of lotion at the ready.  And then it begins....the pain.

Oh my heavens above did it hurt like hell!  I had knots and bumps deep in my muscles from my toes to my butt.  And let me tell you what, you do NOT want this little angel to hop up on the table to get a better angle to work one of those suckers out.  My. Gosh.  I thought I was going to die!  I didn't know there were so many dang muscles and ligaments and things I can't even pronounce.  And it seemed that each one of mine had a twist here or a bump there.

It was torture.  Absolute torture.

....and I've already made my appointment to go back in month.

Oh dear J.B, you are an angel indeed.  You are our guardian angel helping us prevent the bad things from happening to our bodies after the hell we put them through.  And we thank you :)

And I PROMISE to roll like a champ!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Swimming Update....

It's been awhile since I've shared any thoughts about my adventure known to most folks as swimming.  I know you all are on pins and needles wondering if I've drowned yet.  Well, unless I have a ghost writer, that has not yet happened.  But let us not tempt fate...

So.  It's going.  Kick by kick, stroke by stroke and length by length.  Sometimes with paddles and sometimes with a buoy, sometimes with both and sometimes with neither.  I go and go, back and forth, to and fro, one breath here, one breath there.  Swallow water here, blow snot bubbles there.  I try to channel my inner Dory and "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim."

I'd like to think that there is progress, but it is slow.  Slower than I would like. But I also recognize that I have come a long way since the first time I donned on my sexy cap and goggles.

Awhile back, I did a Top 10 list of why swimming sucks.  Well, in that same spirit I will offer some updates, thoughts and opinions.  In no particular order in my charming random fashion.

  • Don't inhale through your nose.  Water will go down your throat and it will burn and cause you make silly little girl noises.
  • I embrace my paddles and my buoy.  Love. Them.
  • I cannot do a dolphin kick.  Though it is entertaining to watch me try.
  • Not entirely swimming related, but water do male divers' trunks not come off when they dive?
  • I'm getting the hang of lane changes.
  • I love the feeling when you first jump in the water and your toes reach the breath out...and it's like you're breathing out everything that is wrong or chaotic.  And then you push off the wall and swim. It's just you and the black line keeping you straight; and everything else just ripples away in your wake.
  • Don't swallow air when you gasp to breathe.  It makes you burp and then people look at you funny.
  • I like watching other swimmers.  It's inspiring and can offer ideas of do's and don'ts.
  • Bikini bumps are still a problem, but I'm fighting the good fight.
  • Sometimes I think I just might have a decent stroke.
  • I bought some anti-fogging spray for my goggles a month or so ago.  I have no idea how well it works, it's still in the package.
  • I like how it feels when I cut through the water.

And with that my friends, I bid you ado.

Until next time...