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.