Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wonderful You Wednesday: Gratitude Changes Everything

Welcome to Wonderful You Wednesday at My Life as a Trimommy.  This is an ongoing series where I will have a post by myself or a guest that focuses on body image and self esteem.

As I was thinking about what I would write for this week's Wonderful You Wednesday post, one thing kept coming back into my mind over and over...gratitude.  This isn't directly related to body image, but I really feel that if we start to apply this idea we can't help but see changes in all areas of our lives.

In the past few weeks, this is a theme that I have seen repeating in my life as well as others.  For my Syracuse 70.3 race, one of the mental strategies I used to get up and over the hills on the hard bike course was gratitude.  As I prepared and during the race, when I started to feel nervous or anxious, or the going got tough, I reminded myself to be thankful that I can even do what I do.

In all the interviews I have done during my stint as Aflac Iron Girl Across America host, these women who have overcome obstacles that many of us will never have to face say to me again and again, they are thankful for every day they wake up.  They are thankful to be with their family, they are thankful for their health, and they are thankful for the opportunity to share that with others.  No matter how hard an event is for them, they are just grateful they can get out there and do it.

I am supposed to do a 45 minute run today, and Noah woke up with a sore throat, so I kept him home from preschool.  All of you mommies out there know what that does to a run:  it either cancels it or it gets moved to the treadmill.  I've been putting it off for hours, and now Noah is napping, so I could just hop on.  But instead I am making excuses:  I'm tired, I have work to do, I'll run later so I can run outside, I don't feel like running on the treadmill.

Instead of making excuses, I will be grateful.  Grateful that my son is healthy, and it's just a virus.  Grateful that I can spend some unexpected time with Noah today. Grateful that I can run.  Grateful that I have a treadmill at home.  Grateful that I have a job that I love.  Grateful that I can relax tonight.

Gratitude changes everything, BUT in order for it to work, you really have to believe it.  The interesting thing is, once you start to remind yourself of all of the things you have to be thankful for, it's really hard to remember what the problems were to begin with.

What are you grateful for today?


Monday, September 27, 2010

Aflac Iron Girl Bloomington: Pictures and Thoughts

I spent the weekend in Bloomington, Minnesota, for the Aflac Iron Girl Bloomington Duathlon.  Over 1400 women participated in the event.

Sunday morning was CHILLY!!!  Fortunately, I had checked the weather and brought a fleece and some gloves.  There were a lot of spectators wrapped in blankets while they cheered, and the women danced and jumped at the start line to stay warm.

One of my favorite parts of the day was towards the end of the race when I went out for my own run.  I've been doing this at the last few events and have really loved being out there will all the women racing.  The run course was a 2 mile loop around Normandale Lake.  Part of the race was on the road and then it switched to the path on the lake.  I stayed on the path the whole time, so I was by myself for about a mile, than ran along with the girls, cheering them on.  After my second loop, I decided to run the loop the opposite way, and that was fantastic.  I was cheering and clapping and doubt, most of the girls thought I was crazy, but I was so inspired by them.  My 6 miles went by without me even thinking about it!!

Every now and then I would see someone who looked like they needed some company.  I would chat with them, encourage them, and then see them run on to the finish.  Over and over what I realized from these women and myself is that we are so blessed to be able to do this.  Gratitude was the overarching theme of the day for me.  Gratitude for being alive, for our families, for the ability to get out and do events like Aflac Iron Girl, for being able to get out of bed even!!

Congratulations to all of you who participated on Sunday!  I am grateful for the chance to join you in your achievements and successes!! Thank you!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Trimommy Review: The Silver Maple

A few months ago I saw a review on another blog featuring the jewelry Jacque from The Silver Maple.  I noticed she didn't have any triathlon-inspired jewelry, and I sent her a message letting her know that I thought a lot of people would be interested in her designs with some tri-inspired messages.  She kindly thanked me, and we both went on our ways.

Well, a few weeks ago I got a pleasant surprise when she emailed me and said she had something ready and would I be interested in featuring it on Trimommylife?  Well, that wasn't hard for me to answer.

Take a look at what she sent me.

I tried to take a picture of me with it on, but they did the necklace no justice, so I thought I would just stick with the good one!!  

Love it!!  Thanks Jacque!!  I got it on the 16" chain, but she also has a longer 18" chain as well.  And you can also choose the color of bead you would like.  I chose black, because that way I can wear it with almost anything!!  I put it on on Monday and haven't taken it off since!

Jacque has generously offered a substantial discount of 20% off any of her designs to Trimommylife readers through October 12th.  Just hop on over to her website and after you have picked out what you want, just use the discount code "TRI" at checkout.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wonderful You Wednesday: Do It Because You Can

Welcome to Wonderful You Wednesday at My Life as a Trimommy.  This is an ongoing series where I will have a post by myself or a guest that focuses on body image and self esteem.  This week's guest blogger is my twitter friend and fellow blogger, Donna.   Check out her website and blog, My Fitness Year.

Do It Because You Can!

Do you have things that you do, just because you can?

Do you choose to do new things, even if you know you will not excel?

For me, I’ve chosen to do triathlon. And, I know that I’m never going to be the fastest or the most elegant athlete out there when it comes to the swim bike run.

But… I CAN do these things. And I’m thankful that I CAN... So I do.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with a progressive degenerative nerve disease, Charcot Marie Tooth.  Receiving a diagnosis of CMT was like receiving a welcome to the unknown. No one can say how CMT will progress. No one can say if it will progress. And no one can say what the future will be like in terms of mobility for someone with CMT.

The only thing I knew was that getting and staying strong would be a good thing. So I decided to take up triathlon –because I could.

I’m learning to run again after a 30 year break. I’m managing biomechanical challenges. I’m doing things that doctors once advised me would never be possible. It hasn’t been easy. But one thing my father always told me was that “nothing good comes easy.”

I’ve had to look inside, tap into my determined self, and explore and test my limits. I’ve had to make myself uncomfortable. When you do something for the first time – whatever that might be – each step along the way involves self discovery. For me, triathlon has taught me so much about myself, both physically and mentally.

I’ve had to develop patience. I think it is human nature to focus on what we are good at doing. For someone whose nerves don’t communicate well with her muscles, choosing to swim bike and run means that I’m doing things that may not naturally suit me. I’ve had to accept who I am, that I won’t be the best in the field, and instead I’m focusing on the joy that comes from being able to swim bike and run. The action is the reward in itself.

The cycle – of learning something, trying it out, testing myself, learning from the process, and doing it again – has been amazing. I have gently pushed my limits, redefined what I though was possible, and repeated the process, over and over.

I ran my first continous pain free mile in January 2010. I ran my first continuous 10km in August. And I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon this year.

I’ve learned that CAN is completely within my reach. That anything – with patience, tenacity, perseverance and a bit of redefinition – is possible. And I know that nothing should be taken for granted. Because for each of us, who knows what the future may hold.

September 19th to 26th is CMT Awareness Week. CMT is the most common neurological disorder,  impacting 1 in 2500 people, each differently. To learn more about CMT please visit To contribute to find a cure, please visit

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Few More Thoughts...

Today, I realized that even in my massively long Syracuse 70.3 race report I neglected to point out a few things that made me smile during the race.

  • At one point on the bike, a little girl yelled, "I love your yellow bike!"
  • One of my favorite things about triathlon is the variety of people you meet and see while out on the course.  I am always encouraged by everyone, and reminded constantly of why I love this sport.  Thank you to everyone who said a kind word, or laughed at the hills with me, or smiled.
  • On the run this young kid passed me right around mile 2.  After he got about 20 feet in front of me he just let a couple of huge farts rip!  I kind of laughed about it until I ran through the aftermath.  Good thing he was running much faster than me.
  • Further along in the run I was passed by a man wearing a speedo similiar this Splish only with more flowers and rainbows:
  • I told him I hoped he used a lot of Body Glide that morning.  After which I became slightly disturbed as I watched his psychedelic butt prance away.
  • The food after the race was AMAZING!  Thank you Bella Domani!!
  • I had a lovely conversation with a man from New Jersey on the shuttle back to transition who was excited about having completed his first half-ironman.  I'm such a little social butterfly when I get around other triathletes, but I just can't help it.  It's like I have an instant bond with anyone who tris!!
  • As I was picking up my bike, I ran into a Trimommylife reader who thanked me for the course review. Congrats to Tonya on a great first half-ironman!!  I hope your next race is equally rewarding as this one was!!

  • And lastly, I love it that every single person that finished the race, man and woman, young and old, experienced triathlete and first-timer, kept their medal hanging from their neck throughout the rest of the day.  I love that!!
Have a wonderful evening!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ironman Syracuse 70.3 Race Report

Pop some popcorn, sit back and relax...this is going to be a long one.

So, this was my first Ironman branded 70.3, and the biggest race I've ever participated in.  It was also in my hometown of Syracuse, so I knew a ton of people that were racing, spectating and volunteering.  Going into the race, I surprisingly did not feel any pressure to "perform."  Actually, it was not surprising because I had been intentionally working on some mental things about the race that had nothing to do with beating anyone or competing.  My goals for this race were to stay within myself for the bike, push hard on the run, have fun, smile, be thankful, and encourage others along the way.

The weekend started out with a trip out to transition to check-in our bikes.  This was the first race Kel and I have every done together, so it was fun (but also a bit nerve-wracking since there was two of us with pent-up nervous energy.)  This was also Kel's first half-ironman, so I wanted everything to be very smooth for him leading up to the race.

We checked our bikes in.  I had an okay spot almost at the end of a rack, but the run to and from bike out/in was very far.  I decided when I saw the long grassy run up a hill to the mount line that I would start with my shoes on the bike, because I didn't want to get my cleats all muddied up and struggle getting clipped in, as I have been known to do.

Buttercup had sweet company for her night out.

I was expecting the water to be a bit chilly, so I decided to just dip my feet in instead of taking advantage of swimming during the practice swim.  My thoughts on this are it's going to be just as cold tomorrow and there really isn't anything you can do about it, so don't worry.  I try really hard to not worry about things that are completely out of my control like weather, water temperature, other people, etc.  It is a very good triathlon technique (and also works really great in everyday life too!)

Yep, it's cold alright.

On the way out, I ran into Christine, aka Holistic Guru.  So fun to meet in person, someone I've only ever talked with over the phone or internet.

We ended the evening with a great Train-This team dinner at Mike's house.  It was fun to hang out with my team-mates, many whom I have only met online.  Mike's mom also fixed a fantastic pasta dinner with homemade sauce and meatballs and bread from Columbus Bakery (basically the holy grail of Italian bread.)

I was in bed with a full tummy by 9:00 and actually slept pretty well for the night before a race.  I was all packed and ready to go, nutrition mixed up and waiting in the fridge, clothes laid out in the bathroom...I was ready.  The alarm went off at 4:25, Kel and I did the bathroom dance that all long-time couples do very gracefully when getting ready at the same time.  We gathered our things and were out the door by 5.  

Which was a very good thing, since there was crazy traffic getting to the race site.  (On the way, I realized I had forgotten to put on my HR monitor.  Not a big deal since I was racing by perceived exertion, but I still wanted to record the race to look at later).  By the time we parked and walked the 1/2 mile to transition it was already 6:15, giving us only 30 minutes until transition closed.  I don't like to wait around forever, but I do like more than 30 minutes to get ready.  

And this was when things started getting funky.

I got to my bike and immediately realized my front tire was flat.  I stayed very calm, pumped up the tire and threw my transition stuff together.  I felt the tire, and it was definitely not holding air, so I popped the wheel off, ran over to bike support (thank you Syracuse guys are awesome!!) where the bike mechanic changed it in no time, pumped it up for me and handed it right over with a reassuring smile.

I ran back to my spot as the announcer was saying that transition will be closing in 4 minutes.  I did not have my wetsuit on yet, still had to put my wheel back on the bike, but I stayed calm and got everything done, including smearing some sunscreen on despite the temptation to skip it because I had serious doubts as to whether the sun would shine at all (but, as we all know, you can still get UV damage on a cloudy day!).  I was out of transition right at 6:45, and then they announced the race would be delayed by 15 minutes due to the crazy traffic getting into the park.  At that time, there were still athletes in cars out on the road waiting to get into the park.  Talk about a stressful morning!

Kel and I took a quick warm-up in the VERY cold water.  I'm glad I got that out of the way before the race started.  It gave me a lot of confidence, and I also got the chance to make sure I could see the buoys which I find hard to do in the stress of a race start.  I dried off and put on my sweats, watched the pros go off, gave Kel a kiss, then headed for the bathroom.  It wasn't really in the plan to take the wetsuit off again, but Kel advised that it would be a very long day if I needed to go now and didn't.  He is a wise man.


The swim was fairly uneventful.  It was a shallow water start and I lined up on the second row.  I had already decided to go out nice and easy since the water was so cold.  I didn't want to get out of breath and start panicking.  The start was very smooth with no body contact at all.  I got into my rhythm pretty quick and, as usual, had no feet to hang onto.  I am typically not fast enough to keep up with the fasties, but faster than the slow people, so the benefit is that I have nice clean water.  I concentrated on smooth long strokes and good sighting.  I think I didn't push as hard as I could have because I was a little concerned about the cold water.  I did start to feel a little twinging in my left calf a couple of times, but I flexed my foot and put it out of my mind. I never went off course, which is a first for me.  A solid and very cold swim.

Swim 1.2 miles:  37:54, 23/70 W35-39, 1:48/100 yds.


I won't lie, I was glad to be getting out of the water.  My feet were very cold.  My wetsuit did not cooperate as I got out.  I'm supposed to be able to pull it up and then it breaks apart from the top, but that was not working.  Then I tried pulling it down, and that wasn't working either.  Right as I got to the wetsuit strippers, it finally came down.  My friend, Ken, helped pull it off my arms, I sat down, and he ripped it right off...AWESOME!!

I ran the long run up to transition, and during that time decided not to put on my arm warmers.  This was a mistake that I paid for on the bike.  I dried off a bit, got my gear and went.  Shoes were on the bike already, and I bike with no socks (also maybe a mistake).  I got to the mount line, put my right foot into the shoe and then went.

T1:  3:34


I had ridden this course three times prior to the race and each time my time was 3:23 to the minute!!  Kind of crazy, but I was definitely expecting a faster time on race day.  It took me a minute or so once I started to get my numb foot into my shoe, but I finally did and got down to business.  Then I tried to take a drink and realized in my transition rush I had put my aero bottle on backwards.  No biggie, I just pulled the straw out and stuck it right into the hole where you fill it up.

My goal on the bike was to stay within myself, and I executed that very well.  It was extremely discouraging to watch so many women in my age group (24 to be exact) and the age groups that started AFTER me pass me, but every time a negative thought crept in my head I literally said, "Stop!" and got back to MY race.  I had a blast on every hill.  I tried to encourage everyone I passed, I almost blew a snot-rocket right onto my Train-This teammate, Alexa (that's what you get for passing me on  Sweet Rd! ;)), I hooted and hollered, I yelled how much I love hills, I smiled, I thanked God that I could even be out there, and every time that nasty voice that started making excuses, or told me I need to lose weight, or started to say discouraging things started to speak up, I said (sometimes yelled), "Stop!" and then replaced it with a prayer of thanks or a smile or a joke or the thought of one of my beautiful children or my husband who was out on the same course as me.

My Garmin crapped out at mile 43, so from there on I had no data.  No data, no worries!  Smile and keep going.  My fingers were so frozen I could hardly shift gears.  Frozen fingers?  No worries, just use two hands to shift and keep going with a smile.  I was very encouraged along the way by all of the people I knew along the course, and those I didn't know.  Syracuse showed up for all us on Sunday morning, and it made me very proud of my hometown.  At one point, I got a little weepy because two of my coaching clients were out on the bike course cheering for me.  It was totally unexpected and it brightened my day so much!  Thanks, S. and E.!!!

My nutrition was solid, even though I felt that left calf twinge 3 or 4 times, I just tried not to worry about it.  I didn't take any aid at the first aid station, at the second I missed my first water bottle, grabbed another and then dropped it while I was trying to put it in my bottle holder.  At the third I slowed way down and made sure I grabbed it, filled up my aero bottle than chucked it.  At one point, I was very tempted to stop when I saw a Snickers Dark unopened on the course...yum!!

I finally rolled into transition, quite numb and happy to be headed to the run.

Bike:  3:15:54 47/70 W35-39, 17.9 mph (8 minutes faster than I have ever ridden it!!)


No biggies here.  I was out of my shoes on the bike, ran and racked Buttercup, threw on the shoes, grabbed my nutrition and was off.

T2:  2:11


The first few miles of this run are downhill, and they felt great!  I finally started feeling my toes around mile 2, and that was a relief.  I was taking splits as best as I could with my watch, which fortunately I had decided to wear so I had a running time.  I didn't even think to use the lap button...duh!!  Anyway, I estimated I was running between a 9 and 10 minute mile, and was happy with that.  My goal was to finish under 6 hours, and as I was leaving transition I was right at 4 hours.  I knew a half-marathon under two hours would be a stretch, but I decided to give what I could and make the most of it.

The miles ticked by very quickly.  I had a shot block before every aid station and followed it with a swig of water.  I walked at every aid station, and as soon as I had my water down, I was running.  Along the way, I saw so many people that I knew out cheering.  It means so much to me that you guys took time out of your day to come watch me run by!  At the first aid station on Erie Blvd. my friend and coaching colleague, Brendan, walked with me through the whole aid station just encouraging me the whole way. I was excited to get to the mile 9 aid station since it was the Y aid station, and I knew every single person there!  They even wrote me a message on the course!! AWESOME!!!  

Around mile 10, I felt my pace start to slow.  I felt like my left calf was really close to cramping, and I didn't have any salt with me and none of the aid stations had any either.  I was looking forward to some coke at the next aid station, but they had none, nor did any of the rest of the aid stations. (I later found out that many people were asking for coke, including the pros, and wondering why it wasn't there, even though the athlete packet said it would be on the course.)  I started asking the people running around me if they had any salt, and no one did.  At the very last aid station, where another of my friends was volunteering, I decided I would have to have some gatorade since I was basically keeping the cramps at bay with my amazing mental fortitude.  It did help and I was able to pick up the pace for the last mile.  My thoughts during this time were mostly about how if I could be in labor for 24 hours, I could do anything for 10 minutes!!

Coming into the last aid station before the finish.

I finally came around the corner and ran through the throngs of people to the finish line (that was awesome too!)  I crossed the line and realized that I had PR'ed by 3 minutes.  Hey, it's not a lot, and it wasn't under 6, but I'll take it.  After I saw the splits I also realized I had PR'ed my stand alone half marathon time as well.  Kel was there with my in-laws and the boys, so many people were cheering my name...I felt like a rock star!!

Run:  2:05:19 39/70 W35-39 (wow, I passed a few people!), 9:31 pace

I also want to mention that Kel had an amazing day and finished his first half-ironman distance in 5:13:09!!  (However, I did have a faster swim than him...certainly that counts for something???)  I am incredibly proud of my man!!

Kel coming through the final aid station with a smile and a thumbs up.

All in all, it was a great day.  It was not a perfect day, but what was perfect were the imperfections and my ability to stay focused and get through them.  What a great way to end the tri season.

And if you have made it this far, YOU deserve a medal!! Thank you for all of your support and encouragement, and thank you Coach Mary, my guide in this crazy world of triathlon and to my amazing sponsors Trakkers, First Endurance, Saucony, TriSwim, and All3Sports.  I am honored to be a part of your team.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Countdown to Syracuse 70.3

Tomorrow is my last tri of the season, and it's great to be ending it at home with the inaugural Ironman Syracuse 70.3.  This will be my first Ironman branded race, so I'm looking forward to comparing it with the other half-iron distance races I've done like Rev3 and Musselman.

I went to pick up my packet yesterday, and was underwhelmed by the schwag.  No women's cut race shirts...and we all know how I feel about that.  With a race that has, in my estimation, about 800 or more women racing, I'm surprised they can't splurge for women's shirts.  Nonetheless, I don't do these races for the goody bags, so I'm not going to hold it against Ironman!!

I did end up buying another long sleeve, women's shirt with the Syracuse 70.3 logo, so I'm all set with bragging shirts!

My Train-This teammate, Amelia, drove down from Canada yesterday to stay with us for the weekend.  We have had a great time talking about her adventures in Africa and beyond, triathlon this and that, giving her the low-down on the course, and much more.  She seems to be one of the kind of people you meet in your life that you instantly connect with.  I'm so glad she decided to stay with us this weekend.  Here she is spread out in the studio, making lists of some kind, and doing the intensive pre-race prep we all do the day before a race!

Today, Kel and I are going to drop the boys off at Gramma's and Grampa's house for a slumber party, then off to the race site to check in the bikes, and then we are going to head over to the team dinner at Mike's house.  It should be a wonderfully relaxed day.

If you want to follow me tomorrow on, my bib number is #831, and my wave takes off at 7:40.  And in case you were wondering, my husband is KellyM (#415) and I'm KellyJ.  It's Kel's first half-ironman, and he is going to rock it!!  It probably doesn't hurt that we will both be sporting Trakkers green, either!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonderful You Wednesday: Feed Your Soul

Welcome to Wonderful You Wednesday at My Life as a Trimommy.  This is an ongoing series where I will have a post by myself or a guest that focuses on body image and self esteem.  

I've been struggling with my nutrition lately.  I'm not sure why.  I've been doing some work with the Holistic Guru, Christine, so I feel like I have been very mindful of nutrition and eating, yet still, I find myself reaching for things that I would not consider to be the best choices.

 One of the concepts Christine introduced me to is the idea of primary and secondary nutrition.  We think of food as being our main source of nutrition, but what if we looked at it differently.  What if we fed our souls first and our bodies second?  Here is a great look at a new food pyramid that incorporates this very idea.

In this pyramid, you see all of the basics of nutrition that we are used to seeing in a food pyramid, but surrounding the food we feed our bodies is the food that feeds our soul.  Spirituality, relationships, career/work, and physical activity are integral to our well-being...just as important as food.  And here's the tricky part, if there is a part of that outside circle that has a break in it, most of us will try to fill that with food.  At least that is what I do.

So, what I'm learning, is that I must focus my energy towards feeding my soul, not feeding my body.  I will do this every day by thanking my God for every morning I wake up and can move my body the way it is supposed to move.  Thank Him for my beautiful family and the roof over our heads.  Thank Him for the blessings He has given me in my work.  I will hug  and kiss my children and my husband.  I will train with purpose.

And before I reach for the junk, I will think of these things. It reminds me of a beautiful verse from Phillipians 4:8:
"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

How do you feed your soul?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aflac Iron Girl Seattle: Pictures and Thoughts

Aflac Iron Girl Seattle was a blast!  My only regret is that my trip was so quick, since it was my first visit to Seattle.  I did have a few hours to explore, and my hotel was 6 blocks from Pike's Place Market, so I was able to see a bit.  The 5k/10k run was at beautiful Green Lake Park, made even more beautiful by almost 3000 women and girls becoming Iron Girls on Sunday.

One of my favorite things about the run/walk events is the many mother-daughter teams that participate.  To see mothers crossing the finish line with girls as young as 5 and 6, both with huge smiles on their faces, is one of the memories I will most cherish of the Aflac Iron Girl season.  Those moments are what Aflac Iron Girl is all about.  Those little girls are going to remember the day they raced with mommy, and who knows where they will go with that!

After the run was over, I had an hour and decided to get a run in myself.  As I was running past two women who had just completed the 5k I heard one of them say, "The women who did the 10k are amazing."  It made me smile because it's good to be reminded that fitness is a lot about perspective.  We all look up to those amazing people.  

And I think all of you are amazing!  Thank you for your inspiration!  I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Countdown to Syracuse 70.3: The Run

I have not run this course because a very large portion of it is basically unrunnable due to traffic on a regular day.  Of course, that will not be the case next Sunday, so the other day I took some time to drive it.  Word on the street has been that this will be a fast run course as it is primarily flat or downhill.

When I was driving it on Wednesday, I was surprised in the first 6 miles be how rolling it felt in the car.  While it is definitely more down than up, there are still some gentle rollers during the first half, which goes through the village of Jamesville, under the highway, and then through a residential area that is currently being completely repaved (approximately miles 3-5).  It was completely torn up on Wednesday, and my husband commented to me today that he doesn't think it will be finished by race day, so be prepared for a less than smooth road surface for this section.

After the turn onto Genesee Street and then a quick left onto Erie Blvd., the course is basically flat and/or downhill.  This next section which lasts from approximately miles 6-12 is a 4-lane divided highway with businesses and shopping on either side.  We will be running west in the east bound lane for the majority of this part.  It is not the most beautiful part of Syracuse to be sure, but the upside is that we will have automatic spectators throughout due to the traffic that will most assuredly be riding down the road with us.

Around mile 12 we will hit downtown Syracuse and turn onto Salina Street.  The views definitely get more interesting here, and there is about a half mile that is a false flat.  Maybe it won't be so noticeable when we are running, but I certainly noticed it in the car.

The race ends at the Inner Harbor, where there will hopefully be a great big party to celebrate all of the finishers!!  This is also where the awards will take place.

I'm looking forward to this half!!  Let me know if I'll see you there!  Happy taper!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Countdown to Syracuse 70.3: The Swim

A few weeks ago I posted a review of the Syracuse 70.3 bike course that has proven to be one of my most popular posts.  Since we are just over a week away from the big day, I decided to write a bit about the swim and the run.

The Swim:

From the map on the Syracuse 70.3 website, it seems the swim will start on the far left of the beach (where the furthest signs in this pic are), go out straight into the lake, turn right for a short end of a rectangle, and turn right again to the swim finish at the right side of the beach.

This is the right side of the beach not pictured in the picture above.

The swim takes place in Jamesville Reservoir.  The reservoir is a small lake that is sheltered by trees all around.  There is a sandy beach, and the swim will be in waves with 4 minutes between each one.  I have swam several times this season at Jamesville Beach, where the swim will be starting.  The water is a little murky, so if you are planning on looking for fishies while racing, you are pretty much out of luck!  It is also quite weedy, but the weather here has been cooler the past week or so, so I'm hoping for less weeds.  I also heard a rumor floating around that WTC was going to try to pull some of the weeds on the swim course, but I'm not sure if that is true or not.  My guess is that if you are in a later wave, the weeds might not be so awful.

As far as water temp goes, like I said above, it has been significantly cooler here this week (think sweat shirt weather).  I'm planning on wearing my full wetsuit, and wouldn't be surprised if the water is in the high 60s.  Just think of it as refreshing!!

I'm not exactly sure where the transition area will be, but you will have to run across the sandy beach to get there, so plan on having a water bottle to squirt off your feet.  Wherever transition will be, I don't think the run will be too far from the swim exit.

I think the run to transition will go across the sand and the sidewalk then through the grass on the right.
See picture below for a continuing view.

I'm not sure if transition will be in this parking lot or on this grassy area, 
but I'm guessing one or the other.
Check back tomorrow for a rundown on the run course!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wonderful You Wednesday: Fake It Until You Feel It

Welcome to Wonderful You Wednesday at My Life as a Trimommy.  This is an ongoing series where I will have a post by myself or a guest that focuses on body image and self esteem.  This week's guest blogger is my friend and fellow blogger, Molly Baker.   Check out her blog, I'm a Sleeper Baker.

I'm going to put it right out there. In a year and a half, I'm turning 40.

I don't feel like I'm getting closer to this milestone, and since I still get carded at the liquor store, hopefully I don't look it either.  Well, aside from those lines that are creeping out around my eyes.  As I think through my life so far, I've been pretty confident about myself, but like everyone, I've also had major moments of self doubt.  But the one thing I've learned, is that when I'm physically active, I'm a happy, confident person.

I was always active growing up, playing tennis and wiffle ball, swimming and riding my bike.  I joined sports teams in High School, including Field Hockey, where we drank Diet Pepsi along with water during practice. (it was the '80's, we didn't know any better). I turned a critical eye onto myself after I became a cheerleader, comparing myself to some of the other, barely thinner girls.  I filled some of my days with Slim Fast and grapefruit.  When I look at photos of myself from that time, I ask myself, why? Why did I do that to myself when there was no need?  College was another story.  This time when I looked at skinny girls, then back at my own Freshman Fifteen body, I'd just hide my Grunge loving self inside flannel shirts and jeans, go to Happy Hour, then eat a pint of ice cream while watching Melrose Place.

After I graduated, and was out in the professional world, I woke up.  I got myself back in the gym, started eating better, and feeling better.  It was about that time that I hit upon my credo, Fake It Until You Feel It.  At work I had to feel confident, otherwise I wouldn't succeed.  I bought myself some power suits, pretended I had nothing to lose, and it worked.  This attitude spilled into my active life.  I got back into running, doing races.  And the confidence just grew.  It stayed with me when I got married, stayed with me when I had my children.  After my daughter was born, I knew I had to keep up the confidence, in order to be a good role model for her.  

And now, I'm much better about comparing myself to others, but sure, I have my moments.  Like when I take the kids to the pool and I see other Mom's rocking a true bikini and I'm waltzing around in my tankini.  Then I remind myself that they probably didn't run 8 miles that morning, like me.  Ultimately, who cares if they did or didn't, because I'm proud of the fact that I did. 

My self confidence has evolved to the point that I'm running my first marathon this weekend.  I haven't even run it yet, and I'm already thinking about the next thing I'll take on.  One thing is for sure, I'm a work in progress, always evolving.  

In every positive sense of the word.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Skinnyman Race Report

So, I have totally been putting off writing this race report.  As I said in the Sunday report yesterday, it was a strange race for me.

I have done this race a couple of times, but last year had to take a medical deferment because of a foot injury.  I was really looking forward to testing my fitness on a known course, but then the run course was drastically changed due to road construction.  It went from a course with one hill in the first mile and the last two either downhill or flat, to a constantly rolling course with a short downhill finish.  I was a little bummed, but I've been so focused on Syracuse 70.3 and getting going on my ultra training, that I was surprised when the race was only a few days away!  I had definitely not been focusing on sprint racing physically, but I also didn't spend a lot of mental energy on it either, which I think has a lot to do with my feelings during and after this race.  On the other hand, I had a lot of friends at this race that were doing either their first or second tri, and I was excited for them.

I rode over to the race with my friend, Lisa, and despite having gone to the bathroom at home, I had to make a pit stop at a gas station on the way there.  Once there, I hemmed and hawed over where I set up in transition, and finally staked out my spot.  I really took my time setting up and getting body marked and kept debating over whether or not I should go brave the port-a-potty lines since my stomach still was a little rumbly.  As I was finishing setting up, I noticed a great-looking bike next to mine and realized I was set up to a woman who even the fastest guys around are scared of.  I noticed her shoes were already on her bike, and I had been going back and forth as to whether I would try that at this race.  I even practiced last week, but had pretty much chickened out.  I said something to her, and she smiled and said it was her first time for that too and encouraged me to give it a go, which I did.

I donned the wetsuit, but there was no opportunity for a swim warm up.  My stomach was still gently protesting what I was doing, and that had me concerned a little bit.  I'm not sure if it was something I ate the night before or nerves, probably a little of both.  I think I lacked a little bit of my usual excitement and energy going into a race.  When my wave got in the water, it was almost like I was too calm.  Once we got going, I felt like I got left in the dust by the faster swimmers.  I was kind of hoping I could hang on, but after just a few minutes I felt like I was swimming by myself.  I started passing a few of the slower swimmers from the earlier wave, but I just felt like I was swimming way behind the other women in my wave.

After the halfway point, I was really struggling.  I began to think this might be the hardest swim I've ever done.  I was wondering about my time.  I kept looking to see how far I had left to go, and this was only an 800 yard swim!  I just felt slow.  I finally spotted the last buoy, swam all the way to the steps, and was happy to be out of the water.

Here is the weird thing.  My time was really good for me.  Much faster than it felt.  I was thinking it might be around 16 minutes or so, but was shocked to see my split.

Swim 800 yds:  13:53 (1:44/100 pace) 

I ran through transition, got out with the bike and into the shoes on the bike without a hitch.

T1:  1:12

The bike felt pretty good.  I got passed early on by two women in the 40-45 age group.  I tried to hang with them, but they dropped me on the hills.  I pretty much rode the entire, windy ride, surrounded by men.  I got passed by I few men, but I passed way more than passed me.  I passed a couple of women, but many, and most right at the beginning of the ride.  I felt like most of the fast women were way out in front of me.  My stomach felt okay, but I did not take in much EFS drink just to be on the safe side.  Again, my feelings were that this was okay, not spectacular, but not awful.

Bike 14 miles:  45:46 (18.7 mph)

In and out of T2 without a catch.

T2:  1:02

The run was hard.  My calf was tight for about the first 1/2 mile or so.  I reached into my mental toolbox and pulled out the special words that I have been using for those tough runs, and after that I finally settled in to a comfortably hard pace.  Looking back, it might have been more comfortable than hard, but I think I did the best I could have done for that day.  I did actually pass one woman in my age group which hardly ever happens to me on the run.  Then I got passed by two more in my AG and several not in my AG.  Overall, maybe 5 or 6 women passed me.  It was kind of an out and back course, so I could tell that despite the feelings I was having of not being totally there, I was still in the top group of women, which was nice.  On the return trip, I heard a lot of cheers for me from racers and spectators, and that really spurred me on to the finish.  I sprinted hard for the last 400 yards or so, and good thing, as I noticed in the results another woman had been chasing me down and finished just 2 seconds after me.  I was completely oblivious to this during the race, which I think is kind of funny.

Run 3 miles:  26:31 (8:50/mile)

Total:  1:28:34

27/252 women overall
9/29 F35-39 AG (tough age group, huh?)
174/609 overall

Ultimately, I am pleased with the outcome, but I think I really neglected getting myself pumped up for this race.  I have never had a race before where I just felt kind of flat, despite having a pretty solid day.  It was strange, and I still haven't quite gotten my head around what happened.  Shortly after the race, I had pretty much decided that I was going to take a break from racing sprints.  I sent Coach Mary an email saying so, and she promptly replied with these wise words:
HEY! There is never a reason to take a break from sprints! Sprints are ALWAYS good tempo workouts. Look at some of the top Ironman pros (except Chrissie Wellington). They get smoked in some of the short distance races but they still do them. They are good for you for tempo work, transition work, and mental work. In fact they are terrific in terms of the mental work!!!!! When we go long we are always slower.... we need to take those mental lessons and turn them into opportunities!

That is why I love having a good coach.

Next up, Syracuse 70.3...and I am going to rock it!!

Lisa (in front) and Sabrina.  Sabrina had an amazing first triathlon, 
and is definitely going to be back for more!!

Kristin and Karin ready to go despite the early hour.

Scott and Jessica who may or may not still be married depending on who was faster. ;)

Maria getting in the last little bit of caffeine to fuel that swim!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Sunday Report

I know, I know...I haven't put up anything about my race yesterday.  That's because it was a strange race for me.  I'll go into more when I post the race report, but right now it's only written in my head.  The skinny details on the Skinnyman are:

Swim 800 yds:  13:53 (1:44/100 pace)
T1:  1:12
Bike 14 miles:  45:46 (18.7 mph)
T2:  1:02
Run 3 miles:  26:31 (8:50/mile)

Total:  1:28:34

27/252 women overall
9/29 F35-39 AG (tough age group, huh?)
174/609 overall

To make up for a crazy strange race for me, I had a wonderful trail run this morning with my friend, Ben.  We ran a gorgeous 11 miles this morning on the GLER course (the ultra I spectated last week).  It was a cool but sunny morning, and I had a wonderful time.

This afternoon, Kel and I took the boys for a hike at Beaver Lake Nature Center.  I gave Ryan the Flip camera and Noah the regular camera, and they totally went for it.  I'm still working on Ryan's very scientific video, but I was able to take a few of Noah's 100 or so shots and make a little video for you.

Nice, huh?  I'm still trying to figure all this stuff out, but I'm getting there!  We had a really great day.

...and here are the numbers for the week:

(A): 8:04:51
Swim:  13m 53s 801 yds (yeah, I only swam in the race this pool was closed all week)
Bike:  3h 55m 37s 53.87 mi
Run:  3h 55m 21s 22.98 mi (isn't it weird that my bike and run times were almost exactly the same?)

Total:  8h 4m 51s

I'm looking forward to my last big week of training before Syracuse 70.3.  Two weeks to go!!!

Have a great week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Home Day

Today, the boys and I are having what we call a "home day".  That is a day where we stay at home all day, which is very rare for us, especially during the week.  We might hop on our bikes and head over to the neighborhood pool for an hour this afternoon, but, in essence, we will be home all day - no errands, no car, no gym, no stores.  I like home days every now and then, but I don't think I could do home days every day.  I guess I'm the kind of girl who just needs to be doing something.

One of the reasons we are not going anywhere is because I have a rest day today because I'm racing tomorrow!!!  It's a sprint tri called the Skinnyman, in beautiful Skaneateles, New York, which happens to be the town where Kel and I were married.  It's supposed to be a chilly day, so I'm looking forward to pushing really hard, especially on the run.  I'm hoping all of my trail runs will pay off with a speedy run split.

I picked up my packet yesterday at Syracuse Bicycle.  Usually I just pick up my packet on race day for this race, but I needed some work done on my wheel and also needed some nuun, so I went over to get my stuff. When they handed over my shirt, I was beyond ecstatic to see that it was a women's fit shirt!!  (You may or may not remember my pet peeve of getting men's shirts at races, but you can read about it here.)  I think I might have jumped up and down!  The woman who had made the decision to have women's shirts happened to be there, and I gave her a hug...really!   It's about time race directors realize that women make up a huge percentage of their racers.

I got a great goody bag that had the usual stuff, plus a full size water bottle.  Generally speaking, I always think there is nothing wrong with another water bottle.  On a day that Kel and I are both riding long, we will use every single one of our water bottles.  The problem is we have a little bit of a storage problem.  Our current water bottle system consists of a tub on top of our fridge with overflow into the wooden bowl on top of our fridge.

Here's a closer look at the tub (which I'm pretty sure is from the hospital from when Ryan was might have even been what he got his first bath in!)

...and that is not even all of our water bottles.  Both of our aero bottles and all of our stainless steel bottles are missing from this photo.  Clearly, I need a new solution.

I will freely take suggestions.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August in Numbers

How did it get to be September already??  Here are some numbers from August:

3 Aflac Iron Girl Events (Syracuse, Columbia, Boulder)

1 spectating day at GLER 50K/100K Ultra Run

8 trail runs

1 sunburn - maybe one day I will learn how to apply sunscreen properly

2 rides on the Syracuse 70.3 course

...and of course the training numbers:

Swim:  5h 43m 16,101 yards
Bike:  24h 2m 8s 338.61 miles
Run:  10h 37m 27s 65.46 miles

Total:  40h 22m 35s (nothing like getting a whole work-week worth of training in!)

I have a feeling September is going to be a great month!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wonderful You Wednesday: Celebrate the Unpretty

Welcome to Wonderful You Wednesday at My Life as a Trimommy.  This is an ongoing series where I will have a post by myself or a guest that focuses on body image and self esteem.  gger is Lisa Barnes, a local ironman triathlete, spin instructor and more.  Check out her blog, The Spinster Chronicles.

Celebrate the Unpretty

My roots in running had nothing to do with empowering me as a person. I didn’t run to be stronger, more fit, or as part of my plan to become a good triathlete.

I ran to impress boys.

I cringe when I type that sentence, as I can vividly recall the first summer I started to run. It’s a simple story—girl meets boy, boy has no interest in girl because she’s fat, girl seeks to change body so to attract said boy in the future.

This was the theme behind thousands of my strides through the summer of 1991.  It would be another two years before I started to think of myself as a runner, and two more after that before I received any recognition as a talented athlete. With
a steady winning streak in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter relay and 1600-meter relay races in varsity track, I began to assume an identity that empowered me as a person.

Skinny girl? Guess again. “Girl meets boy” dissolved from my imagination and was replaced with “Girl meets challenge,” and I became hooked on the pursuit of personal progress, setting goals and making my life meaningful through fitness.

What happened over the next ten years has probably saved me from taking a lot of bad turns in life. I became so focused on becoming a better runner, that I passed by opportunities to do things that most people considered fun. Parties, booze, drugs, casual sex, etc. I knew early on that I had an addictive personality
and learned later on that I was lucky it latched onto running before it got a chance to meet vodka, cocaine, cigarettes or online shopping.

Though running has been a tool to help me get over many boys (I managed to avoid drugs, but I still dated my fair share of losers), it has never regressed into an activity I engaged in to attract boys. I’ve come to love running for the way it makes me feel on the inside. Having nice legs and a strong core have become
welcome bonuses to being a runner, but I don’t think of it as something I need to do to be attractive.

As with any sport, triathlon and running have exposed me to absolutely perfect specimens of both men and women. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that when I notice a perfect pair of calves hammering a multi-thousand dollar bike past me on the road, I take notice and do a quick evaluation of all the ways my body (and bike) 
are not at that level…but I’ve come to appreciate that the beauty of sport is not skin deep. A great tan,  perfect abs, lean limbs and the gentle shift of a perfect breast as a woman glides over asphalt like a gazelle are not the only ways to appreciate how training and racing can make us look and feel. Too often I feel that we (as triathletes) get wrapped up in the cosmetics of our sport—and then judge ourselves based on unrealistic (and much too limiting) criteria as to our success in swimming, biking and running.

To me the beauty of triathlon is to see a force of energy make its way over the earth despite the obstacles that might stand in its way. It makes no difference to me if that energy is trapped inside the body of a twenty-something girl, a 250-lb woman or an eighty-five year old man. No matter what you were born with, you must have the will to coordinate your head and heart, your senses and your sanity in a way that will permit you to keep stroking, pedaling and striding. Even more so when you have to this through wind, hail, rain, snow, and scorching sun.

It took me a long time to appreciate the body that I have. No amount of running or triathlon was ever going to give me the body that I thought I needed in high school to attract the “popular boys” (most of which have beer guts at this point, I might add). I’m always going to be pale by default, with a disproportionate bottom and top, and the boobs of a twelve-year old boy. I’m always going to have arms that I would swear were actually the upper thighs of strength-training midgets. My nose is big, my calves are wider than I would like them to be and I can’t seem to pull my hair back into the kind of pony tails I see in fashion magazines, but I’ve decided that none of that matters. Because none of that compares to the feeling of crossing a finish line that at some point in the past seemed like an impossible feat. It used to be the one at the end of the 5K. Then the 10K. Then the half- marathon, the marathon, my first sprint triathlon, and two Ironman races in Lake Placid.

I started a tradition a few years ago. Many races hire a photography service to take pictures of people while they’re on the course. After the race, they send you a link to view the photos and you can purchase them. Most of the time  my pictures come out horrible. My face always has some blend of freakishly contorted muscles, my form is always a nano-fraction off from where it should be, and there is always (I repeat,  ALWAYS) some kind of flabby area that seems to be very prominently displayed in the photo. Let’s just say that these photos hardly match up to the image I have in my head of how I feel I most look as I’m pouring my heart and soul into a race.

But I buy them anyway. And I frame them and put them up on a wall in my apartment (not in a highly traveled area, but displayed nonetheless). 

I do this because the lack of perfection in those images is a testament to the beauty that I can feel manifesting itself on the inside. The energy exchange between head and heart. The little voice in my head that is constantly churning out the “can-do attitude” and the encouragement that I need to put one foot in front of the other all the way to the finish line. That is what I see when I see my lip curled unattractively over my teeth, or my shorts riding up in an unflattering way. I see a woman at work, on a mission, beautiful because she’s “going”—
and she’s going to keep going until she gets to where she wants to be.

When we cross the finish line…we’re all rock stars and supermodels, aren’t we? Is there any one of us out there who have completed a race, met a goal, checked off an event on our “bucket lists” and haven’t felt like the most beautiful and important people in the world?

Accomplishment is wonderful, and accomplishments are for all of us…big, small,  tall, short, young, old, brave, timid, veterans, newbies, males, females, strangers, friends and everyone in between.

It may be Wonderful You Wednesday here on Kelly’s blog, but you can be wonderful everyday if you choose to be. Set goals, let yourself settle into the body you came with and ask it to come with you on an adventure to the finish line.

Remember to smile for the camera.