Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Different Gift

Instead of presents this year, I decided to do something a little different.

If it is one thing I have realized, I would not be where I am right now without my family and friends.  They wouldn't let me fall; and if I did slip they were right there to catch me, pick me back up and kick me in the ass if need be.  I would not have made it through these several months if it wasn't for them.

And I also realized that not everyone has that.  There are many out there on their own; some thriving, some struggling.

I thought this year instead of gifts, I would give someone what you all have given me. Opportunity.

It was through running and sport that I was able to find unbelievable friendships, courage, and strength.  On this Christmas Morning, I would like you to know that a gift has been given in your honor to RunningWorks.

I can't say thank you enough for helping me get up on my own two feet.  It's because of you that I can help someone else get on theirs.

Wishing you warmth, love and a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

" shouldn't mix fairy tales with liverwurst and buttermilk."

That is sound advice, Betty Haynes; sound advice indeed!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dodged a bullet on that one....

I really had my doubts I could pull it off this time, but I did.  I made it through another semester, and I didn't even have to pull the one-less-organ card.

I passed!  so, guess what I did.......I SUBMITTED MY GRADUATION APPLICATION!!!!!
One semester to go folks.  One more freaking semester to go.

And just in case you were curious, as far as this list goes? I've done the 1st, 3rd, 6th and last bullet points thus far!

In other news....
I ran my "longest" post-surgery run on Sunday and only almost-died twice.  I'm calling that a WIN!

Safe to say that I'm getting back to my old shenanigans.
I do love shenanigans...

Monday, December 8, 2014

I think I found my niche.

Coach Sarah had me do a 1-mile time trial last week.  Why?  Um....good question.  I don't rightly know the answer to that.  She said "we" are doing one and I said okay because I basically do everything Coach Sarah tells me to do :)  (you would too.  have you seen her arms??  #gunshow)

I have not actually done one of these before.  I think they are used to base pacing estimates to determine/reach time goals for each race distance.  Anyway.  I 'm not writing a blog post on the ins and outs of mile time trials.  I'm writing to tell you that I think I found my next challenge.

After my time trial, I think I have shown some promise in the distance.  Now, I wouldn't be breaking any records like the elites did at the world championships last week, but I think that if there were age groups, I might could be a Beer Mile contender!

Now I just need to learn how to chug a beer.

The training cycle will begin soon, but I gotta build up my "base" first....

Or should we dare to be different and start something completely new.

Like the Mezcal Mile...

(better have a pull up bar at the finish line...)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Is that light at the end of the tunnel I see? Or a deleted scene from Poltergeist.....

Here I am.  In the final push of the semester.  Just one more test and a presentation to give.  Most of the hard stuff is done so it should be smooooooth sailing from here on in, right?


The surgery caused me to get so far behind in one of my courses that I literally can hardly see straight.  My professor and her department really have been cooperative, understanding and forgiving with past assignments.  But, the high volume of this class has had me spinning in circles and it's been all I've been able to do to just keep up with current work, let alone trying to get past work in.  I know, I know.  Cry you a river, right?

I do have the paperwork in place to allow for me to complete all coursework due by February 2015. But that doesn't quite work.  I mean, what happens if I fail this class?  I really need to know if I have to fit in a 3rd class next semester to get all my credit hours in to graduate in May.  AND I FULLY INTEND TO GRADUATE IN MAY.

So here is my plan.  Do 1.5 months worth of coursework in 1 week.  And if that doesn't get me a "D", I plan to beg.  And if that doesn't work, I have one final card to play..........

But you HAVE to pass me.  
I lost an organ in this class!

So, what do you think,
too much?

Thank you Chas for the idea.  I might have to use it.

Or maybe I should just lead with that....

So why am I sharing this?  It's not without purpose.

I hereby nominate this excuse to be considered among the 
Top 10 Excuses Professors Hear At The End Of Semester When Final Grades Are Released. 


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Hope is the dream of a waking man.

- Aristotle 

Thank you for saying so, Aristotle!  

You will always be my favorite

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Life isn't about getting and having, 
it's about giving and being.

- Kevin Kruse
author and entrepreneur

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Twilight 5K: The Day I Forgot How Hard 3 Miles Could Be

What to say, what to say.  It was a race.  We came. We ran. Some of us kicked ass and some of us lost a lung.  Or maybe that was just me that lost a lung, I'm not sure.  It's possible I still might be in a Papi Queso haze.

Do you remember when I said I was firing at about 85%?  Well, that theory has been proven false.  I think 75-80% is a more accurate assessment after Saturday's Summit Twilight 5K.  Coach Sarah gave me a simple strategy:  "I want you to build.  Half marathon (HM) pace for the 1st mile, 10K pace for the 2nd, 5K pace for the 3rd and kill the last .1."

So I ask myself, "Self?  What on earth does that mean?  How the heck do I know what my current paces are?  I haven't run more than a mile since September 17!"  Without much else to go on, I decided to use the paces from my PRs which would have shaken out like this:

What should have happened
1st mile - HM pace = 8:33
2nd mile - 10K pace = 8:18
3rd mile - 5K pace = 7:35
Last .1 = 7:15

What actually happened
1st mile - 8:24
2nd mile - 8:20
3rd mile - 9:25
Last .1 - 8:19

The Deets
Michelle found me at the start area about 5 minutes before gun time and we decided to line up just about mid pack.  She was coming off running the Savannah Marathon a few weeks ago so she was kind enough to stick with me.  Such a good friend!  It wasn't so much twilight by this time, but more like black-coffee-dark out and it was a little unnerving with the start so crowded.  We tried to get near some people with headlamps, but I don't think we had much success!  I know what you're thinking....why didn't we have headlamps.  Well, nothing like finding out an hour before a race that your torch is busted.  And yes people, I did try to change the batteries!  So, moving on.

It was dark which made it hard to keep an eye on what the good 'ol Garmin was telling me what my pace was.  We found an 8:30 at one point, it felt good and tried to hold onto it.  We know now that  was not at all what happened.  Still, all in all it felt pretty good and there we were, just like old times, chatting away!

And then as we start mile 2 I hear "HOPE!"  Pray tell who can see me?  It's pitch black out!  IT'S JACK!!!!  And then Michelle changed my name to Rose, we laughed about Titanic and then thought it best to get racing again.

Second verse, just like the first!  I looked down, saw the 8:20 and smiled..."Yes!  right on target!" This is GREAT!  We're KILLING IT!  We are AWESOME... and then I started having problems keeping my breath.  That's okay, you can hang in there....just 1.1 mile to go...

Then comes the greenway portion of the race.  This is the cool part.  It is pitch black and they light the pathway with luminaries on either side.  Such a neat sight!  But it caused a weird sensation that made me dizzy to be honest (And I say dizzy, not to be confused with ditzy as I'm normally known to be.  There is a difference.).

I was struggling by this point and Michelle was still happily chatting away, naming all the things we had waiting for us at the finish.  When I couldn't answer her, I knew I was in trouble.  I was wheezing and falling behind.  No matter how hard I tried to will it forward, my body slowed.  She tried to wait for me a couple times, but she was running so well I waved her on.  Then the hill we know as South Street happened.  Right at the 2.62 mark, my legs stopped moving.  I had no choice.  I was about to stroke out and had to get my heart rate back under control.  So, there I was, walking my not-so-happy ass up South.  After 10 minutes of walking (which was really only 30 seconds according to Garmin, but it FELT like forever), my heart calmed down and I started moving again.  I surprisingly felt much better and even passed some men that just passed me 30 seconds prior. I found my little motor and got myself up and over South Street to the finish line.

First race back since the surgery, first time running a full mile, let alone three, and first time running outside on the street and hills in two months.  Somehow I managed 11th out of 39 in my AG with a 27:01.  4 minutes off my PR but not too shabby if I don't say myself.  I guess it was folly to think I could hop right back in at a 7:30.  But I did.  HAHAHA!  This race was good for me.  Coach Sarah and I weren't planning on a race this soon in my recovery but it turned out to be a great way to accurately gauge where my current fitness is and what she needs to plan for me to get me where I'm heading. I mean...if I'm doing 8:40s at only 75% of my potential?  I suck at math, but it sounds like my future is so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Michelle promised me friends, beer and Papi Queso at the finish.  She didn't disappoint!  After getting some dry and warm clothes on, I found all my besties and was surprised by some Tri Team Ignite teammates!  DARTers and Igniters each had awards and PRs aplenty!  I love all my people.  Such a pool of fun and talented athletes!!  Special shout out to Igniter teammate, Doreen, for killing our AG and taking it for the win with a sub 20! SMOKIN'!  Imma gonna steal your Sketchers GoRuns!

Post-race festivities, PAPI QUESO (woot woot!), endorphin highs, dancing and shenanigans ensued, I assure you!

Until next time,
Keep moving.
Be strong and feel free.
And always let there be #shenanigans!

Me, Mr van Voo, Michelle and Matt!
trying to stay toasty before the gun went off
Why the hell are we wearing shorts in this weather??

Tri Team Iginite!!


Friday, November 21, 2014

3 Weeks In!

Well folks, I'm about three weeks into post-knife training.  It really is amazing how fast you lose it...not that I really had that much to lose haha!

I was in computrainer earlier this week and I was killing it! Or at least I thought I was until I looked up and saw the pitiful example of watts I was putting out.  I really just had to shake my head and laugh.  A "WTF" or two may have escaped as well, but I assure you they were good hearted WTFs.

No, this is not me.
My toe stand is much more
It can get a little frustrating, I won't lie.  I say at least once a day, "I can't wait to get my legs back" or "I'd like to regain at least 2 of my 4pk" or "What the hell happened to my lungs?"  As frustrating as it is, it's fun at the same time.  I really am having a blast.  It's a little liberating starting back at square one.  It's like a whole new adventure and I keep surprising myself; trying things I wouldn't normally do and doing things I didn't think I could.
Things like this ------------------->

Now, mine doesn't quite look like this, but I think I am almost there.  I just need to get one more hand up off the floor
And then there is that whole getting-back-up part....

It's not sustainable yet, but it looks like I may have gained a little speed somewhere along the way.  I see glimpses of it in my run/walk intervals Coach Sarah has had me doing.  Now, if I could just run a mile without stopping......

We'll see what I can sustain.  My first "race" back is the last race in the Summit Racing Series this Saturday night, the Twilight 5K benefiting Movember.  I'd say I'm firing at about 85% right now, so this will be a nice gauge of what I'm able to do, or not do, whatever the case may be.

What I'm really excited about?  Papi Queso Food Truck will be there grilling up thee most remarkable specimens of grilled cheese sandwiches known to man.

Oh, and truffle chips.
Can't forget about the truffle chips.
Almost as good as tater tots.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Tater tots and fried pickles 
make the world a much happier place.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's that time again

Things I will do when this semester is over

  • mop the puppy prints from my floor
  • master the flip turn
  • catch up on Chicago Fire
  • finish furnishing my apartment (hahahaha!  yeah right)
  • celebrate my newly found Monday night freedom by going to sleep at 8:30 (party on, Garth)
  • finish unpacking moving boxes (can you say dumpster?  if I haven't needed it in a year, I think I can get rid of it)
  • evening walks to the coffee shop
  • epsom salt soaks
  • read a book without falling asleep after 4 sentences
  • eat real meals
  • read a book that has nothing to do with environmental anthropology
  • go stir crazy with too much time on my hands?

Just four more weeks until winter break.

And then what?
One last semester until that final drive to campus to walk down that aisle, grab that piece of paper and run like hell before someone takes it away!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Words for Wednesday

There is a way to be yourself, I assure you this
There's a way to catch your dreams without falling asleep
You might as well get it while you can, babe
Cause you know you ain't getting any younger

- Younger (2013)
Seinabo Sey


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Words for Wednesday

It's hard to dance with the devil on your back,
So shake him off.

- Florence + The Machine
"Shake It Out" 
Ceremonials (2011)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thank you Juan Pablo

Last weekend when I was working at the store, I was witness to a very odd conversation.  Which, it is a store that specializes in triathlon gear and what not, so we do have many odd conversations; but this one really tops the podium...

The scene fades in.
Two young women enter.  One is a competitive open water endurance swimmer, the other competing in her first 70.3 in Miami. They are browsing the store, random chit chat ensues while the triathlete decides on her nutritional goodies.  They both walk up to the register, in no particular hurry, until the swimmer sees the stick of Body Glide near the register....

Swimmer:  OOOH  Body Glide!  I wonder if this would prevent me chaffing in my longer 3 mile swims.
My Thought Bubble:  3 mile OWS?  I would surely die before chaffing would be an issue.
Triathlete:  Hey, do you think they have that numbing gel they were talking about?
My Thought Bubble:  Numbing gel?  What on earth....
Swimmer:  I don't know?
Me:  Um....What exactly are you looking to numb?
Triathlete:  You know....for down there (motions to her nether regions)....for when I'm on the bike.
My Thought Bubble:  Did she just say what I think she said?
Me:  I can't say that I would willingly and intentionally, or encourage anyone to, put on something to make lady parts go numb.....
Triathlete:  (blank stare)
My fellow sales associate:  That is one area where I would definitely want to keep the blood flowing.....
My Thought Bubble:  BAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Triathlete: (blank stare)
Me:  What kind of saddle do you have??

Which leads me to today's Public Service Announcement.

Ladies and Gentleman.
If you are riding your bike and your nether regions go numb, SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Take my lead on this one.  Load up your faithful steed and proceed directly to your bike guru.  Have him look at your position and definitely look at getting a new saddle. The right fit on both will ensure your parts keep working as they should and your long bike rides will immediately become (cough) pleasurable, without the use of numbing gels.

It may sound like I'm poking fun, and I am a little because it was hysterical!  BUT I can write about it and poke fun at it because I've been in that same predicament.  My guru helped me choose a split saddle.  The Adamo Prologue to be exact.  And his name is Juan Pablo.

There are multiple variations of the type, open nose, closed nose...whatever, I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs. What I do know is that each has an opening that safely cradles all that we hold dear.  They are not cheap, nothing in this sport is, but I firmly believe that this is the one (cough) area where you should go ahead and make a serious investment.  Your nethers will thank you.

So, I owe a debt of gratitude to James for introducing me to Juan Pablo.  And thank you Juan Pablo for proving to me that chivalry is NOT dead by protecting this lady and all her parts through lots of miles.  May we share many many more long comfortable journeys together!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Words for Wednesday

You can either flip turn like a bad ass or flip turn like a bad synchronized swimmer.  
Either way? You're still flippin'!

fake it till ya make it, folks.... 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

I need some help.

You see, one of my closest and dearest and most awesomest of friends is running a marathon in a few weeks.  We were all going to run.  She was doing the full marathon and we were going to do the half.  Well, then life happened, for the better in this case.

Since I can't run, I have committed to be the best sherpa/spectator/cheering section EVER.  And to make this happen, I need YOUR help.

If you were running a marathon, who would you rather see on the course (in no particular order):

A)  King Kong and Ann Darrow
B)  Batman and Catwoman or Poison Ivy
C)  Superman and Wonder Woman or any other cool superhero/villian
D)  Peter Pan and Tinkerbell
E)  Chewbacca or Hans Solo and Princess Leia
F)  Any other suggestions you might have

This is pretty important stuff, folks.  I need input....
And fast.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Things You Thought You'd Never Hear Me Say

  • I miss doing planks
  • 24 hour relay in the mountains?  I could be talked into that...
  • Sour Patch Kids?  No thank you.
  • Century ride?  Why not...I haven't done one yet. And yes, 100 miles does sound like fun.
  • I don't want to watch any more tv
  • I love avocados
  • I can't wait to to have 4:30 am wake up calls again
  • Would I like a ride home?  No thanks, walking is good for me.
  • I'm sad I missed out on all the late season open water swims.
  • I don't want to drink smoothies ever again.

Okay, that last one is a bold faced lie, but I had to come up with one more to make it an even 10....

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I was supposed to be on a plane this morning.

I was supposed to be traveling to a city unknown.

The long overdue excitement finally hit me.  I was ready.  SO READY!  I was ready for my own little adventure, to break out of my little bubble and anxious to explore and experience the Windy City on my own, so completely focused on running the best 26.2 miles I have ever run.  I was looking forward to challenging myself and blow apart one of my goals and possibly meet the wouldn't-it-be-freaking-awesome-if goal; you know,  the one you only tell a select few about.

I was ready.

I'll tell you what I wasn't ready for.

I wasn't ready to stop.  I wasn't ready to end my season just yet.  I made it through an entire winter and spring of Ironman 70.3 training and a summer cycle of marathon training injury free.  Any athlete will tell you that making it to the start line injury free is more than half the battle.  I was at my peak and in the best shape of my life.  Or so I thought.

I was't ready for my internal organs to revolt and attack me.
Stupid non-essential organs.

Not an uncommon surgery, but a major surgery nonetheless.   As the good doc said, after he told me to chill the heck out, "small incisions do not mean small surgery."  Small incisions big enough to put me out of commission for a month.  Big enough to watch the Chicago Marathon pass me by.

I know what you're thinking.
Quit your moping.  It's just a race.  It's only a month.  Put your big girl panties on.

And you are right!

Now that the anesthesia and all the pain killers that end in 'codon are out of my system, I'm up and walking 2 miles a day instead of wiping drool from face.  I'm back laughing (I'm talking about those good 'ol belly, laugh-till-you-snort-or-pee-your-pants moments) with my peeps at the coffee shop. I'm feeling like my sassy self more and more every day.

And even though Chicago might be passing me by, I'll be looking ahead to what's coming up.  I have a session in a few weeks to map out my master plan for 2015.  I'm on a freaking AWESOME new triathlon team (HOLLA Tri Team Ignite!!!) and get the opportunity to get to know some pretty fantastic sponsors with top notch services and quality products that I get to learn about.  After I'm cleared for duty, I'll have had a month's rest and because my season is over, there is no urgency to jump all in.  I can ease back slowly and safely, building a strong base to take me into next season.

I may have been stopped short this year,
but next year I will be unstoppable!

And a quick note to Chicago Peeps:
Good luck to everyone running on Sunday.  Hate to miss it, but my heart is with you.  
May your feet be swift and gels be tasty!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thought for Today

Goodness knows I have my ups and downs, highs and lows.
Some things could be better or could be worse.
There are lots of things that I could do better to be better.

But when it comes right down to it,
I really do love my life.

Happy Wednesday, my friends.
It's good to be back!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rockin' the Schoolhouse Out!

Schoolhouse Rock 10K Recap

This past Saturday, against the smarter voices in my head, I ran the Schoolhouse Rock 10K; another Helfrich Brother's special in the Summit Twilight Racing Series.  I do love these guys, but dang they sure do know how to throw down a beating...and then throw a big party afterward!

With any race in the series, you can count on 2 things.  Heat and Hills.  I missed out on the last beat down  all the fun during the Summit Solstice since I was helping out the timing crew, so I couldn't, in good conscience, miss this one too!  

I had to throw on a couple miles each on in the beginning and end since we were using this race in place of my long run as part of my training for Chicago.  About a half hour before gun time, Michelle and I did what was supposed to be an easy 2 miles for a warm up.  Well, with energies high and lots of chatting, the little 2 mile warm up flew by and before we knew it, it was time to pick our spot at the start line where we met up with Coach Lolo (getting ready to Do the Choo, which is next weekend...GO LOLO!).  

With my new race strategy in place, we started off.  And I think everyone else had the same strategy because it seemed like everyone took off like a bat out of hell.  I was hoping that people would soon realize that they started off to fast and would eventually drop the pace.  Alas, that was not to be!  

Thankfully, the Somewhat Legendary Mr. McGonnell stationed himself with his camera at what turned out to be a very photogenic hill. I know...I didn't know there was such a thing either!  

I mean, LOOK! LOOK AT HOW TALL I AM!  Almost Amazon like...

I like how we are all making the same face here...

Of course, he didn't realize it was me, or he was trying to pretend he didn't know me, either way he almost missed me blazing by....


And then there is the Honey Badger.  

Then again, the Honey Badger always makes this shit look good.

Alright, enough of the photogenic wonders of McGonnell....back to the race.

With a less-hilly front half, my first three miles averaged out to be a sub 8:00 pace.  I tried like the dickens to hold onto that, but that back half of the course is brutal and with three substantial mountains hills that come to memory; Patrick Johnson Lane (a.k.a The Hill That Must Not Be Named), South Street and Spring/Woodland Streets, my pace fell off a bit.  I was able to achieve a personal victory over Patrick Johnson though....(momentary bravado and puffed up chest)  he ain't so tough... 

Bottom line?  I gave each hill my best shot, tried not to puke on the down hills (glad to report I was successful but not without some questionable moments) and used the flats to my advantage.    

51:30 finish time
8:18 pace
A 3 minute PR for yours truly.

38th overall
13th female
4th in a decade big 30-39 Age Group :p 
2 items on AG to note:
        I was the oldest to finish until you hit spot 12! Go me!   
        And if AGs were grouped by 5 years like they are usually, I would have placed 2nd :)    

The whole fam damily had a good night.  Here are some shots at the finish.

Say Congrats!!!
1st in her AG!
Mr. van Voo
as if he needed an introduction
killing the finish!
She's gonna
me = hot sweaty mess

And then we ate weird food truck concoctions, stretched and "hydrated." 

stretching and "hydrating"
And remember.  Racing is ALWAYS better with friends!
Next up?  Run for Green Half Marathon.
This Saturday.
Be there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Song for the Week

I have absolutely fallen in love with this song.

The violin.
The lyrics.
The vocals.
The arrangement.
The way I can hear and experience the emotion behind every note, every chord and every word.
The way it makes my chest pound.

This song is me.
And it made me realize something.

That "somebody?"  Well, that "somebody" is me.

And for what it's worth, the entire album is fantastic.  I highly encourage you to give it a listen.  Unbelievable sound and feeling.  You won't be disappointed.

Shatter Me featuring Lzzy Hale
Lindsey Stirling, Shatter Me (2014)

I pirouette in the dark
I see the stars through me
Tired mechanical heart
Beats 'til the song disappears

Somebody shine a light
I'm frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

Shatter me!
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

If only the clockwork could speak
I wouldn't be so alone
We'd burn every magnet and spring
And spiral into the unknown

Somebody shine a light
I'm frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

Shatter me!
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

If I break the glass, then I'll have to fly
There's no one to catch me if I take a dive
I'm scared of change, and the days stay the same
The world is spinning but only in gray
If I break the glass, then I'll have to fly
There's no one to catch me if I take a dive
I'm scared of change, and the days stay the same
The world is spinning but only in gray

Somebody shine a light
I'm frozen by the fear in me
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me
So cut me from the line
Dizzy, spinning endlessly
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!


Shatter me!
Somebody make me feel alive
And shatter me!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things I've learned

Today is a weird day.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it.  I'm happy all around.  I feel comforted knowing the right decision was made, but I feel scared too.  I mean, this is it; I really am out here all by myself, sink or swim time.  And I'm overwhelmed with possibilities and a little stressed out by them as well. Do I stay, do I go?  A door is about to burst wide open, and the time I've been waiting for has finally come when I must walk through it.

Today is the day when a simple piece of paper will be given to a judge.  A piece of paper that states that after 12.5 years, my marriage will legally be dissolved.

Way to just throw it all at you like that, huh?
Boom.  The words are out.  Did I just say what you think I said?  Yup.  I did.

You're probably thinking I'm kinda crazy, right?  I mean, me saying it all out loud on the interwebs like this... Well, part of this online thing I've got going on here is that I keep it honest and true.  I always lay it all out, whatever is on my mind, the good and bad.  Why?  So we can not only poke fun and laugh at shenanigans, but so we both can learn from my experiences, my mistakes.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I wanted to share with you some things I've learned navigating my way through relationships, marriage and divorce.  These are just my opinions and things I'm still working on myself.  Take them or leave them.  Maybe they'll offer you some insight, a different view point.  Maybe they'll help you, maybe they'll just make you roll your eyes.  Either way, I thought I'd offer them up just the same.

  • Accept people for who they are.  
  • Accept them, yes, but don't allow them to treat you badly just because "that's just how they are."  There is a way to treat people; with truth, honesty and respect.
  • You should be accepted for who YOU are, and allowed room and given support and encouragement to grow.  DO NOT accept anything less than this.
  • As tempting as it is, pushing everyone away is not the answer.
  • The moment when you want to shut out every person is the very moment you need to find the courage to let them in.  
  • If you shut down, you shut down possibility.  
  • You are in control of how you feel.
  • You need to be willing to give a part of yourself, but be careful not to lose yourself along the way.
  • Take time to smell the roses.  Always.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  People who really love you, spouses/boyfriends-girlfriends/friends/family whomever, they will still love you no matter what.  And if they don't?  Move on.  You ain't got time for that.
  • Be you.  Don't let other people dictate what you do or what you think.  
  • It's okay to get a little crazy sometimes.  
  • Do what makes you feel good.  
  • Kind words and small gestures are huge.
  • Keep breathing.  Each day will get easier.
  • And, with any kind of relationship, you have to communicate.  Even when you're saying goodbye.  

I've made my share of mistakes through all this, no doubt.  I've tried, and continue to try, to handle everything with as much grace possible and I will be the first to admit that I was not and am not always successful!  At times I get irrational and angry and sad and pissed off, and you know what?  I'm okay with that.  I mean, I can't be all unicorns and rainbows all the time.

I am a lot of things, but when push comes to shove, I'd like to think my heart and mind will remain open to possibility, to whatever tomorrow brings.

I guess that's that.  Time to write "The End," and ask the question, "what's next?"
Because the possibilities are endless.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Team Ignite - it might get a 'lil crazy!!

A few (but not all) random thoughts on why I'm excited about next season and being on Team Ignite

The outfit.  Let's be honest, I don't care if your male or female, we ALL love new race clothes and want to look cool and bad ass in our nifty new tri kits.
The gear.  It's cool to be able to say "swimskin" and not have it sound dirty.  Or it will, and we will all laugh.  Or at least I will.  #shenanigans
Time Trials.  Posts have been lighting up about the final night of the CC Time Trial Series and the team did fantastic!  And though the thought scares me to death.......I WANNA!  I want to play with the cool kids next year
Learning.  I'll be training side by side with some unbelievable and awe inspiring triathletes.  What an awesome opportunity to get to know them and learn from them.  #Ishallbeasponge
Speed.  I'm intrigued by the wondrous awesomeness of what is known as race wheels.
Going back to the outfit..... loving the fact that the new kit will match the color scheme that Thelma and I have going on.
New goggles.  Because mine just sprung a leak in the pool yesterday :/
Group activities.  I love being part of group activities!  #shenanigans
Spa days for Thelma.  She loves them and doesn't get them because I'm clueless.  She's dirty.  And noisy and needs attention.  #morelearning #Thelmaisadramaqueen
Potatoes.  Love me some McAlisters.
Strength.  Trading in my little "bb guns" for a couple of sawed off shot guns....
Sink or swim.  My swimming, well it's no secret that it sucks.  So, in order to keep up with my teammates, I will be living at the pool this winter and shall become one with my paddles. #findmylats
Group racing.  Racing with friends is the BEST.
No more separation anxiety.  Since we'll all be wearing the same thing, I will be able to pick out my people in a crowd  #nevergetlostagain

All #shenanigans aside.  I really can't wait to get started.  I feel so privileged to be a part of this team and to work with and get to know Rich and Tonya and my teammates; to be able to do what we love to do, together, and to tell our stories and share this beautiful sport with both athletes and non-athletes alike.  It doesn't matter what your passion is, if you're excited about it, the excitement is contagious and infectious in the most wonderful of ways.

The reason at the top of my list?  I can't wait to unlock my next level of potential and show everyone what I can do.  Why, you ask?

To show you that if I can do it,
So can you.
Light the fire.
Let it burn.
Find your passion.
Get excited.
And be your own kind of awesome.

and always let there be #shenanigans!
(and photo ops)

Cheers to

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dear Dad,

Another year has flown by.

I never know what this day will bring, where I'll be or how I'll be feeling about it.  Heck, I guess that goes with every day!  And I guess with everything I write, I never quite know what I want to say to you.  I just start writing and let whatever happens to be inside just flow through my fingers and out onto the keyboard.

I'll be honest, today kinda crept up on me.  It shouldn't have though.  You came to me about a month ago.  I was at a small concert and this band played a song that I thought you would have liked.  You would have liked the band, the music, and I felt you there, just for a moment and then you were gone.  You used to come to me right before this day years ago.  It's been a while.  In fact, I was really mad at you last year for that.  So thank you for the visit.  I needed it :)

So much has changed; both good and bad.  I wish you were here to see it, to be a part of it. I wish you were here to talk to, to help me understand things that are beyond my comprehension; things only a dad could tell his little girl.

I find that I've been quite reflective lately.  I don't really know why.  I've been asking weird questions.  You know, the kind of questions that there really aren't any answers for. Like.... I know everyone comes into your life at the precise moment they were meant to for a reason.  I truly believe that.  But I find that I've been really analyzing this, trying to figure out the reasons why people have come into my life.  What was I supposed to learn from them, what was I supposed to take away from that interaction or relationship, etc.  And then I start wondering, well if they came into my life, I was meant to come into their life as well, right?  Well, why?  Stupid questions, yes.  I acknowledge this.  I should just accept it and move on.....

So then I move to; well they came into my life, why did they leave it?  And why did they choose to make their exit in the manner in which they did?  You left, but I know you couldn't help that.  You would have stayed if you could.  And I guess that's one of many reasons why I wish you were here, to offer some fatherly insight.  Some of it makes sense, but some of it baffles me.  Dad, how can some people pretend I never existed?  I guess this is such a foreign concept to me because I'm just not built that way.  But I also realize I'm not in their shoes, I'm not experiencing all that they are.  I don't know the inner workings of their mind or their heart, it's not fair of me to try to make any of my own conclusions. All I can rightfully do is accept it, respect it and because I'm me, always leave a line open to them.

I look at our pictures often.  I close my eyes and try to remember your voice.  Unfortunately, that's a memory that has faded over these 23 years.

I love you, Dad.  I miss you.  Come visit more often.  I want to hear you laugh.  That big 'ol belly laugh you used to do!  Check in on me once in a while.  I've got some big things coming up you won't want to miss!

Love always,
your pigwart

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Musings

  • dark chocolate covered banana chips is where it's at
  • I miss Thelma
  • sometimes running 15 miles is harder than running 20 miles
  • I miss half iron training
  • sometimes harder miles are more of a gift than easier miles... they force you #HTFU and #GTWD and make then you go "RAWR" because you realize you're a bad ass and a rock star for getting it done.
  • I've devised a new body/number/division marking policy for triathlon that should be implemented as of 1/1/2015
  • sometimes quiche is not the answer
  • Chicago is 4 weeks and 6 days away #hurryupandgetherealready #wantitdone
  • sometimes dates dipped in Barney Butter Cocoa+Coconut Almond Butter IS the answer
  • lunchtime workouts would be much easier and much more frequent if I had a hairstyle that required no maintenance. #missingmyponytail
  • I have developed an addiction to dried mangoes
  • getting antsy.  I need a challenge.  Something a little nuts, a little extreme that I would never do.  Something cool, something fantastic....something epic.
  • 3 weeks of classes done....13 more to go #slapshandtoforehead
  • I am REALLY looking forward to running the Savannah half. The weekend is going to be an absolute blast!  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thoughts to Ponder

when on a plane....

"...close the air blower above you when you get in your seat; 
you are simply blowing germs directly into your face."


thank you USAT for that tidbit.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adventures with Thelma: The Season Finale

LKN Triathlon 2014

I swam.  I biked.  I ran.

I had previously laid out my new strategy I decided to implement for the last tri of my season.  Goal #1 was to throw caution to the wind, go all out and leave nothing left and see what happened.  Trial by fire so to speak.  Goal #2 was to do better than last year.

Mission Accomplished.

With a hectic night before and a later-than-I-wanted bedtime, I was thankfully able to get a good night sleep and woke up ready to go....and hungry!  I made a line directly to the kitchen to whip up some vittles.  I've made a few changes in my eating habits and have been testing some new things for my pre-race breakfast for Chicago.  It seems to be working, at least it has on my last couple of long training runs, but this was the perfect opportunity to test it out in an actual race albeit a short one.  After breakfast, loading the car and taking care of my fluffy sons, it was time for me to get my tail in gear and head to the race site down the road.

With plenty of time to set up my transition area and to settle in, I was able to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. I ran into Mr. van Voo on my way to get my timing chip and we headed over to get our numbers marked. After a little chit chat we went about our individual pre-race rituals.  Me?  I donned on my ear buds to go for a quick and easy warm-up jog. I have to say, THEE most perfect song came up on the shuffle.  One that made me close my eyes, shut out the world and let the electricity and energy take over.  I just let my legs turn over however they wanted and lost myself in the song. I don't recall ever having a moment quite like that before!  Best warm-up EVER.  I've been debating on if I should share it as a Song for the Week or not.  I dunno...I might be selfish and keep that moment to myself...

Time to head back to transition and make all the final preparations to make the trek to the lake.  Cool thing about my transition area?  I got to rack next to one of my most favoritest couples EVER!  Made for such a fun pre and post-race, not to mention all the photo ops!  Mr. van Voo's area was far far away, but he made sure to stop by the fun side of the island for this gem of a pic...

Whole 'lotta trouble right there...

Ready to race!

Making new friends!

Enough of that.  Time to get racing!

My wave was all women 39 and under.  That's a lot of women.  And don't let the pink caps fool you....they were brutal!  I don't think I've ever had as much contact in the water as I did at that start.  Good news, it didn't really phase me.  I kept my head down and plowed forward regardless of what was in front of me, swimming over, kicking and hitting as I went.  It's okay though...because I apologized to everyone before the horn blew just in case!  And if anyone tries to tell you that triathlon is not a contact sport, they clearly have no idea what they are talking about.  Now, I don't know if I quite made the lake my bitch, but I did shave a lot of time off from last year.  Still, lots of room for improvement, but I knew that going in.
18:39  (last year:  23:03)

I am not known for my fantastic transition times.  But this day, I did run as fast that I was a blur.....  Now, I'm not going to share my T times, because, well, they are embarrassing.  
All you need to know that each transition was faster than last year!  

So, the bike.  It felt great!  I passed more people than I got passed, so that's good.  It's hard to compare to last year though because they changed the course a bit and came up shorter than yesteryear.  All I know is I was able to attack the hills like I wanted to, use the downhills to my advantage and concentrated on my efficiency on the flats.  I'm good on flats!
58:54 - 17.3mph  (last year: 1:03:27 - 16.8mph)

Angry.  Dude next to me decided to use his area AND my area and I had to dig through all his bike crap, shoes included, to get to my stuff.  Yes, I threw it ALL.  And used some very colorful language as well.  

It didn't beat my stand alone 5K PR, but it might have beat my PR for a 5K in a tri.  I don't have much memory of the run, maybe because I was oxygen deprived, but my best memory was seeing a woman in my AG a bit ahead of me, locking her in my sights and methodically reigning her in and passing her well before the finish line.  This might have been my best run in a tri to date.  The absolute BEST memory?  Seeing my peeps when I crested the hill right before the finish!  Definitely gave me what I needed to keep pushing through!
25:15 - 8:08  (last year: 27:07)
that poor hat.
this is what a freight train looks like
too bad I can't punch people with
my quads...

And then we were done.  Endorphin highs for all!  
I FINALLY finished a sprint triathlon in under 2 hrs, it's only taken me two freaking years.
1:47:52 put me mid AG, which is better than my second to the last finish last year with a 2:00:06.
Yup, 12 minute PR folks.  I'll take it.
Go big or go home!
Go big and head to T3
I do love T3
It wouldn't be right if we didn't do this
Callin' all the ladies!!!

What can I say...
I'm in demand.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Breakin' the Bubble

And just like that, another summer is over.  A busy summer.  Lots of training, lots of socializing and trying to get all my ducks in a row.  It didn't quite turn out like I had hoped.  Sadly, I never did get my beach vacation; though I did get two trips to the lake and was able to take away one of my most fondest memories to date.  Maybe the summer didn't turn out exactly how I'd hoped, but it was still a good summer regardless!

Alas, summer is over and fall is about to start.
And, when one thing ends it leaves a new beginning right at your feet.
The question is, what are you going to do with it?

Triathlon season is over.
Marathon training has been in full swing.
School has started.

Sounds like the same old same old, doesn't it?

Funny thing is....
I'm not good with "same old same old" anymore.

Time to get out of my bubble and see what the hell happens.

Time to spice it up a bit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Words for Wednesday

Your life doesn't get better by chance,

It gets better by change.

- Jim Rohn
entrepreneur and motivational speaker

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Go Big or Go Home - LKN Triathlon 2014 Preview

This is it.  This weekend will be my last tri of the season.  Thelma is just beside herself; almost inconsolable.  I know, I know, but do your best to hold back your tears...

Enough of that.  Now to task.
If you will allow me, I'm just going to speak quite frankly.

Last year, I pretty much sucked.  Yes.  That is the truth and do not argue with me.  In most of the triathlons I've done, I've played it safe; slow and steady and had my eyes only on finishing.

Do you know what I say to that right now?
Screw that.

I'm employing a new race strategy.
Instead of safe, we're going balls to the wall.  Well, figuratively speaking since I am female.....

Balls to the wall, people.

Grab the water.  High elbows.  Use the water for all it's worth and make that lake my bitch.

Run, even if snot is coming out of my nose.  No happy celebratory I-survived-the-swim pictures.  Ain't got time for that.

Watch out....Thelma's hungry.

Get the hell out of Dodge.

I can breathe when I'm done.

I'm not quite sure how it's all going to shake out, but at least I will know I will have left everything I had out there.  And that, my friends, is my goal.
To give it everything I've got.

Game face engaged.

Go big or go home.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Guess what today is

Today is my first day of classes for the Fall 2014/Spring 2015 academic year, and ..........wait for it.............


That's right folks, my last fall semester.  Why you ask?

Because I am FINALLY in my last year and I can honestly call myself a senior!

Only two more semesters to go, my friends.

Cap and Gown...I'm lookin' at you.  You will be mine........eventually.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Words for Wednesday

One of the most common causes of failure 
is the habit of quitting 
when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.

- Napolean Hill

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's all in how ya spin it....

I miss writing.  I do.  Truthfully, I've been at a loss of what on earth I could write about.  I've been happy as a little clam; workin', trainin' and socializin'!  I don't really even have anything sarcastic to say in my own witty way.  So what on earth is a girl to do?

I brought this dilemma up after a somewhat awful long run two weeks ago.  The suggestion was made for me to write about how I bonked.

Gee, thanks.
But he was right.  I did.  And I should write about it.


So, I'm asking myself, "self?  what the hell are you going to do about it?"  Well, I don't quite have the answer to all of it, but I will tell you one thing I need to do....change my damn attitude, that's what!

I won't lie, I've been getting a bit down on myself and frustrated about it.
And then I happened upon a blog post I wrote last year.  I know people say you shouldn't look back, but dammit sometimes you need these little reminders on just how far you've come.

I read that post and I tried to find a run from the same time last year to compare to this year....
I couldn't find one.  Why?  because I'm running longer and sooner that I was last year, training for a marathon that happened around the same time frame.  Hmmm what does that tell me?  I may still be chasing my Boilermaker goal of 1:20, but I came a heck of a lot closer this year than I did last year.  Hmmm what does that tell me?

It tells me that even though I don't feel it right now, the proof is in the pudding that I am getting better, getting stronger and getting faster.

I could keep beating myself up, or I can quit bitchin' and take the lousy along with the awesome days, and use them both to learn from to make me into the best athlete I can be.

It's all in how ya spin it...
There.  You saw it here folks...I just kicked myself in the ass.

Monday, August 4, 2014


I'm not going to Chicago to run a marathon.....

I am going to Chicago purely for this bucket of deliciousness.

And I must run 26.2 miles in order to do so because I am not sharing one kernel from that tin.....

your ticket to heaven on earth


Friday, August 1, 2014

Sometimes ya just gotta change things up...

It is a with a conflicted heart that I post this today....

It may not be the same without popcorn on Popcorn Friday
but as you can see I am having no problem devouring this bowl of fruit and walnuts....

I'mma 'bout to make Happy Plate!
nom nom nom nom nom

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Self Portrait

I'm pretty sure this is what I look like while open water swimming.....

I saw this on Google+ but after a little research to give photo credit,
I found that this image is part of a collection by Seth Casteel in a book of which you can purchase,
Underwater Dogs.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Song for the Week


I heard this song earlier today and I think it sums things up pretty perfectly.
Each day brings me closer to my "Independence Day," and I can honestly say that I am absolutely loving my life right now!

I'm ending one journey and have started another; possibilities are endless and it's exciting to see what happens next.....

"give yourself some room
to move to the music you hear"
"nothing is wrong, if you move to the beat"

Serena Ryder, Harmony (2013)
lyrics found below

There's a light and I can see it in your eyes
There's a memory of the way you used to be
Nothing's gone it still shines evey time you turn it on
And when you slow it down...

People, working every night and day
Never give yourself no time
Got too many bills to pay
Slow down, nothing's gonna disappear
If you give yourself some room
To move to the music you hear

Gotta get up, listen to me
Clappa your hands, stompa your feet

People, looking for the great escape
Looking to the greener side
Trying to find a better way
Slow down; open up your big brown eyes
Feel the rhythm in your heart
You don't even need to try

Gotta get up, listen to me
Clappa your hands, stompa your feet
Nothing is wrong, if you move to the beat
Clappa your hands
Stompa your feet
Stompa your feet

When you can't seem to shake off all the feelings that are breaking

Little pieces of the music that's in you
All the pain that you feel
I can prove it's not real
There's just one thing you gotta do

Gotta get up, listen to me
Clappa your hands, stompa your feet
Nothing is wrong, if you move to the beat
Clappa your hands
Stompa your feet
Stompa your feet

Stompa your feet, stompa your feet

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Words for Wednesday

....realize that winning doesn't always mean getting first place;
it means getting the best out of yourself.

- Meb Keflezighi
2014 Boston Marathon winner
as found on

Friday, July 18, 2014

That moment....

...when you get your training plan for the coming month and see your first 20miler...

I mean, you know it's coming; you're expecting it (though maybe not THIS soon....).
Nevertheless, this face still happens:


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Words for Wednesday

It's supposed to be hard.  If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. 

The hard... is what makes it great.

-Jimmy Dugan
A League of Their Own (1992)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Song for the Week

I am reposting this because

1) it's awesome
2) it always seems to get me a little pumped.
3) and it's race week so it's time to get a little pumped!