Sunday, June 30, 2013

#SummerGratitude: Week 1(ish)

Today I am grateful for everyone who has taken part so far in #summergratitude. It is simply sharing what you are thankful for this summer on twitter, facebook or instagram by using the #summergratitude hashtag. We have a growing little community of gratitude over on our facebook group, and we would love for you to join us!!

Here are a few of my favorite posts from the first week of summer. Thank you to all of you who shared! Be sure to stop over at Donna's blog to see what she loved this week! (She lives in London, so it might not be up yet!)

grateful for being able to swim, bike and run!

A great cup of coffee to start the day..

Sleeping in on a rainy day

Perfectly ripe nectarines...

Watching bumblebees forage through the shrubs and flowers I planted and looked after all spring

a really great babysitter 


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Around the Web - Triathlon Version

Just a few things I've spotted here and there that are worth taking a look at!

  • Crowie's Core Workout - easy to do at home!!

  • and to go along with the previous one, check out this awesome Gentle Alarm for your smart phone. I have been using this for about a year and I LOVE it! It is so much nicer to be woken up gently than scared out of sleep! (This is the link for the Android version, but there is an iphone version as well.) The free version doesn't work on Wednesdays, which I think is hysterical. Well worth the $2.50 if you ask me!!
  • Are your goals outcome based or process based? Redefining your goals can make a huge difference in performance satisfaction and success!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rev3Tri Quassy Finish

I know it was almost a month ago now, but I realized I never posted my (free) finisher's pics from Rev3 Quassy. I think it is one of my all time favorite sequences.

Nothing better than a family finish line!! Thanks Rev3!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Easy Hard Decision

I briefly mentioned my easy hard decision of dropping down to the HalfRev at Rev3 Cedar Point in my last post. I thought it would be worthwhile to write a little bit more about that here, as I know many of us deal with these kind of decisions when it comes to choosing races, distances and training.

I have written before about how to know if you are ready for your first 140.6 here. What I have come to realize is a lot of those questions should be answered before deciding on any 140.6, whether it is your first or your 15th!

After Rev3 Cedar Point last year, I immediately decided I was going to do another full this year. I had so much fun, loved the training, and really wanted to give it another go. After I signed up, though, I realized I wasn't feeling the same zest about it that I had felt last year. I thought it was just because it wasn't going to be my first and I just left it at that. Then a few things sort of popped up that made me realize maybe there was a little more to my feeling less than excited than I gave them credit for.

I was feeling very stressed out about how I was going to fit in training for a full with the boys being out of school for the summer. Last year it didn't seem to be quite as big of a deal. Maybe it's because they are older and less inclined to go to the childcare at the gym everyday. Maybe it's because I feel I really need to focus on some issues I am currently going through with Ryan. Whatever it is, it was stressing me out to think about how I was going to juggle everything.

I am also working hard on some new ideas. I feel like I am in a creative stream right now, and I realized a few weeks ago that I would much rather spend time working on these ideas than ride my bike for six hours.
When I first realized this I almost felt guilty. I felt like I had to do another full, and I wasn't even sure why. Maybe people were expecting me to. Maybe I felt like because I had so much fun last year it should be a no-brainer. Maybe I'm just crazy...well, I'm definitely crazy, but that's another post completely!

I sort of kept pushing off my decision, knowing it would be easy to drop down to the half even last minute. Finally, with a friendly push from some good friends and coaches, I realized that for a variety of reasons I just didn't want to do a full this year and THAT IS OKAY. There is nobody I am going to disappoint by not doing another one. I'm not letting anyone down. And most importantly, I am being true to myself and what I am feeling.

So, now I am just racing three HalfRevs. (BTW, I think it is hysterical that I use the word just in this sentence. See...I really am crazy!) The minute I made the decision, I realized it was actually an easy one all along. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Into the Rhythm

Have you ever noticed when you are running and a new song with a faster beat comes on you eventually start running to the new beat? Maybe that only happens to marching band veterans...

Or every now and then when you are in the car with the radio on and the blinker all of a sudden is syncs up with the beat of the song?

I love it when that happens.

But the few moments before everything is moving together there is a feeling of disconnection. It just doesn't feel quite right.

That is how last week was for me. My kids had their last day of school on Wednesday and I spent the rest of the week trying to settle into the new rhythm. At first I tried to fight it, hoping my own rhythm would be the one to win out, but then I realized everything would work together to much more nicely if I adapted.

Summer definitely has its unique rhythm. Dinner is a little bit later and little more relaxed. Bedtimes are loose. Mornings can be lazy. Children need things to do or they just might spend all day playing Minecraft (or maybe this is just my kid???). Hours at a time can be spent at the pool or the playground.

I have actually been a little stressed about how I would manage this summer. I work from home and am busier than ever, which is always a good thing until you have kids to entertain. I have also been worried about how in the world I was going to get in my training. I used to take the boys to the Y almost every day where they loved to play in the childcare...nowadays, they are not so into that, so I don't feel comfortable making them do it every day.

So how am I going to make it work?

Adapt. Be flexible. Be resourceful. This is my mantra for the summer.

A few things I'm doing to make everyone's summer a little bit more fun and less stressful:

  • I will be getting up early to get work done. This means I MUST get to bed at a decent hour. Maybe this will be my July #project30days.
  • I am hiring a babysitter for a few hours a week, so I can have time to work without distraction.
  • I will create opportunities for my kids. We have already made a list of fun things to do this summer, and they are both signed up for a couple of camps.
  • I will learn to enjoy the down time. One of the things Ryan loves to do is go fishing and Noah loves going to the skate park. For me that means simply sitting and watching which can be hard. I'm going to do my best to soak it in. 
  • I will schedule time for me, but I won't let my needs dictate our family schedule because that only creates more stress for me.
  • In terms of training, I have made the hard but easy decision to race the HalfRev at Rev3 Cedar Point this year instead of the Full. More on this in another post... I will also be spending quite a bit of time on the trainer this summer, but that is nothing new for me.
  • Be present and in the moment. #SummerGratitude will be a huge help with this.
Now that I've wrapped my head around this new rhythm I'm pretty excited to see what kind of music we can make as a family this summer!

What do you love the most about the rhythm of summer?

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today is the first day of summer, and today I am grateful for the sunshine, my kids' laughter, the blue sky, my bike trainer, the green grass of our backyard, riding in the car with my windows down and the pink wispy cotton candy clouds of the summer sunset.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to be grateful for the small simple things in our lives, and that is what #SummerGratitude is all about. My good friend, Donna, my soul sister, my sister from another mother, my long-distance digital friend who one day I'll get to hug in real life, and I decided a few months ago that we wanted to do a project together. Last year I started tweeting little things I was grateful for with the hashtag #summergratitude (actually, I can't remember if I started in the summer or the winter...), and Donna joined in with me. It was wonderful to see the little things that mean so much if we actually acknowledge them and pay attention. So when we started talking about a joint project this year, we landed upon #summergratitude again, but this time we want you to get involved too!

Each week we will be collecting pictures, tweets and facebook messages with the #summergratitude hashtag and posting our favorites on our blogs. We have created a facebook group that you can join here. This is not about competition - it is about inspiration! It is about collective gratitude. It is about finding joy in other's joy. It is about the little things, beauty great and small - freckles on a nose, a blade of grass, a muddy child with a bright smile or a beautiful sunset. It is about cultivating a spirit of thankfulness for each and every moment, no matter what.

Be thankful and share with us! Join our community of gratitude this summer. You can follow us at all of these places:

Facebook: #SummerGratitude
Twitter: @TrimommyKelly and @Donna_De
Instagram: TrimommyKelly and Donna_De

My goal is to post at least once a day!! Please join us!! I can't wait to be inspired by your moments of #summergratitude!!

Cotton Candy Clouds

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflections on my 39th Year

Today is my 39th birthday, and it has been an interesting year. It has been a year of changes, a year of looking in, a year of contemplation, soul-searching, and digging deep.

I find in my life things happen in waves and phases. This year has certainly been in the valley of one of those waves. Just like this past year has been a time of turning inward and really sorting through a lot of different emotions, I feel that upcoming year is about other things. When I meditate on what is coming in my life the words that keep coming to me are





Summer Sky 

This year will be about taking what I have learned about my true self and expanding outward and upward with my knowledge in a way that goes beyond myself.

It is a new year, and I am excited to see what each day will show me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Missing something in your life? Cultivate it!

My house is crazy. It seems there is always something going on, being yelled, being thrown (hopefully not at someone), or being played (hopefully not me!). I'm sure any parent of boys can totally relate. I'm sure girls are noisy in their own right, but my guess is that it is a different kind of noise.

Everywhere I look there are dirty socks laying around. (Seriously, what is it with the socks? Even my husband is guilty of this one.) Or legos. Or stuffed animals. Or light sabers. Or nerf guns.

A sock at the boys' never know when you might need one!

I swear these pictures were not staged.
One of the things I seek in my life is peace. It's easy to see why I desire that so badly when you step into our house for a few minutes.  For a long time, I would just wish and hope that I would find a pocket of peace here and there, but it just never seemed to happen. Then I started to have a realization.

If I want something in my life, it is up to me to cultivate it.

Just like a farmer tills the land, plants the seeds and waters them, then keeps a watchful eye on his crops while the sun shines down on them, so do I need to do the same thing to the crops I want to grow within myself - my own desires and feelings.

"Happiness cannot be found - it must be created anew every day."
~Jose Raul Bernardo

Some of the things I have realized I have to cultivate in my own life are peace, contentment, ideas, creativity, and gratitude. These things don't come to life by accident! It is easy to just sit back and hope and wish, but it is not until I start to take action that my crops begin to grow. A farmer can sit around all day and think about how much he would like some tomatoes, but until he takes the time to cultivate them, he will only be dreaming instead of tasting.

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

So I have started to cultivate the things, the desires, the dreams I have in my own life.

I get up early in the morning to start the day with a quiet cup of coffee and my journal and my thoughts. That brings me great peace.

I make my bed and every time I pass my room I see it tidy and neat and that brings me great contentment.

I make a weekly to-do list that I call my "sunshine list" of things I can do to bring my ideas to life. These actions help to grow my ideas so they begin to bear fruit.

I keep a little notebook with me to write down ideas for blog posts that come to me on the fly that I know from experience I will forget if I don't put them to paper right away. This cultivates my creativity. The more I write and think and share, the more I have to write and think and share.

I find small things in the day to be grateful down and I write them down each night. This takes just a few minutes of my time, but reminds me how much I have to be thankful for in my life.

All of these actions are things I do for myself. If I depend on someone else for these things (with the exception of God - who can do all things) I do not have full control of my own emotions and desires. It is not my child's responsibility to bring me peace. (Even just writing that makes it seem ridiculous, although that is kind of what I was doing!) It is not my husband's job to bring my ideas to fruition. It is not anyone else's duty to see that I am content. Once I take responsibility for how I want to feel, then all of a sudden I can find ways to help myself feel that way.

What feelings and desires do you long for in your daily life? How are you going to cultivate those feelings and desires?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can't Find Greek Yogurt? Make it!!

Fat thanks.

Fat stomach...I'll pass.

Fat babies...

photo by Anne Geddes
photo by Anne Geddes
um...totally adorable. (Seriously, when Noah was a baby he had the fattest little thighs. I just wanted to eat them up!)

Fat in my yogurt...YES!!!

I like full fat yogurt. It tastes good and is good for you! I especially like organic, grass-fed, full-fat yogurt. Seriously, that is some health in a container, right there!

I also like thick, creamy greek-style yogurt, but it's hard to find greek yogurt that is also organic and grass-fed. So I do what any industrious health-seeker does...I make my own!

Step one:

Buy some full-fat, grass-fed yogurt. I like Maple Hill brand that I can get at Wegmans. (Side note: they have a great little article here on why you should grass-fed and full-fat is great.)

Check out the ingredients: Milk and yogurt cultures. That's it!
When I have the time, I make a special trip out to Wake Robin Farm, which is only about 30 minutes from house to buy yogurt there! I walk into the self-serve farm shop, pay my money on the honor system in a little wooden till, and leave a note for the farmer who is my friend. It is one of my favorite things to do. They also have cream on top milk and artisan cheeses they make right there. My kids love the fresh cheese curds!! If you live anywhere near Jordan, NY, it is definitely worth the trip!! They are also at the CNY Regional Market on Saturdays if you live in and around Syracuse, New York.

Step Two:

Line a fine mesh strainer (or a colander works too) with a coffee filter. (If you use a colander, you will need more than one to cover the whole thing.) Cheese cloth works too, but is not always on hand. Put the strainer over a bowl. Dump the entire container of yogurt into the strainer and let it sit for about 30-60 minutes. (Honestly, I don't really keep track. I dump it in and then go about my business until I remember it is on the counter.)

(The cheesecloth covered jar in the background is my homemade kefir...let me know if you are interested in that!)
Step Three:

After you have let it strain for a while, you will see the liquid in the bottom of your bowl.

Voila! Now you have greek yogurt. I just put it right back into the original container. You can see that it only fills up to a little more than half once the liquid is strained out. 

I eat this with my go-to breakfast of strawberries, yogurt, almond butter and chia seeds. So good!!

Now off to the store or farm market! It's time to make greek yogurt that is full of goodness!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Father's Day Gifts for Athletes

Father's Day is just around the corner on June 16. Have you figured out what you are going to give your dad or father of your children? I thought it would be fun to come up with a list for all of those TriDads out there.  As most of you know, triathlon is not a cheap sport, but I think I've come up with a list that hits any budget you might have.

Here they are from most expensive to least:

  1. Power Meter ($$$) - If you know a triathlete or cyclist who is serious about their training they either have a power meter or want a power meter. There are several different brands -CycleOps, Quarq, and SRM to name a few. (I do not own a power meter, so I have no experience or brand loyalty to any of these companies.) Power meters are either crank-based or wheel-based. Depending on the kind you get, there might be other costs involved like getting it built into the wheel and then making sure the power meter is compatible with the bike computer. My suggestion if this is something you want to give someone is to surprise them with a homemade gift certificate and then let them help pick it out.
  2. Coaching ($$-$$$) - I think coaching is a great gift for busy dad triathletes (shocking, I know!). I see a lot of dads working full time jobs, taking care of their families, and then trying to squeeze in training in between and often not getting the most out of the time they are putting in. A good coach will help optimize the time available for maximum performance and health. The nice thing about coaching is that you can give one month or 12 months or anywhere in between. This might be a great way to give someone a chance at seeing if they would enjoy being coached without feeling like they have this huge commitment. I know some good coaches if you are interested. :) 
  3. Race Entry ($-$$$) - In our house Kel and I always have the annual discussion of who is racing what. Some of this is about logistics, but a lot of it is about finances. What better way to show your guy that you support him in his love of triathlon then footing the bill for a race entry. The cost can be anywhere from $20 to $1500 depending on the race. Even better, why not get a couple race entries for a local race and do it together!
  4. Massage ($$) - Does this really need an explanation? Even the toughest of guys could use a little loosening up. Massage is an excellent recovery tool for any athlete.
  5. Free Training Day (free) - I love this one! Why not make up a homemade gift certificate for a totally guilty free all-day training day! It could read something like this: "This certificate entitles you to one full day of training however you choose. All typical chores will be done for you while you are out. There will be no guilt trips or knowing stares involved. When you come home from your long day of training there will be a recovery meal waiting for you (after your long hot shower, of course), and a massage to be had later in the evening. Enjoy!"
  6. Bike Cleaning (free) - Every year for Mother's Day Kel gives me an entire season of bike cleaning and basic maintenance. While I am fully capable of cleaning and lubing my own bike (as every good triathlete should be), he is just so much better at it, and I think he kind of enjoys it, to be quite honest. It's a total win for us because he doesn't have to spend money on a gift for me (a true miracle in his eyes, I'm sure) and I have a clean bike all year! If you are giving this to your husband, make sure you actually know how to clean and lube a bike. It's really not that difficult and what a treat to your man to say you will take care of the dirty work!
These are just a few creative gift ideas for the athlete in your life. If you have others, please share!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

#Project30Days June: Enjoy My Child

Well here it is six days into June and I'm just getting around to putting up my project for the month. I could feel bad about that, but that is NOT what #project30days is about! I actually started on the 4th, so I will just go a bit into July and not sweat it!

I struggled a bit with coming up with a project for this month. The last two months have all been about exploring my inner self and my reactions to doing or not doing certain things every single day, but I kind of wanted to push outside of that box a little bit. In my heart I knew what I needed to do.

Now for the real talk. I have had a rough month with Ryan. His behavior has been extremely challenging and frustrating to me, to the point that I don't even want to be around him.

Yes, I said it.

I have no desire to spend time with my son. AT ALL. I dread practically every interaction I have with him, and I'm sure on some level he feels that. The other day I was so upset by this, I made myself go lay next to him in his bed after he was asleep just so I could feel connected to him. My heart aches for my child and for myself. I'm putting this out here because I think it is important as parents to be honest with each other. I know I love my son, but I have been struggling to feel that on a day-to-day basis. Does this make me a bad parent? Does this mean there is something wrong with me?

Some people might be shocked that I would put this out here for the world to see, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only parent who has ever felt this way. If you are reading these words and you know what I'm talking about, I just want to tell you are not alone. There is not something wrong with you. You are not a bad parent. Being a parent is hard. Being a good parent is one of the most difficult jobs there is and struggling for perfection does not make me a better at it. Hiding behind a wall of guilt does not make me a better parent. Being ashamed of my feelings does not make me a better parent.

What does make me a better parent? Recognizing my limits, addressing my fears and my doubts, honoring my true emotions, and holding onto my intense desire to help my son succeed make me a better parent. Mistakes make me a better parent. Failing makes me a better parent. Letting things go makes me a better parent. These statements are extremely hard for me to write, but I'm putting this out there because I know I am not the only one who needs to say them and own them. I am not perfect and never will be. I will make mistakes. I will fail. And even still, I am a good parent.

So for the month of June I will spend time each day learning to enjoy my child again. I plan on doing one thing, big or small, each day to show him how much he means to me. Yesterday I left a surprise note on his Kindle letting him know I love him. Today I'm going to take him to a thrift store that he loves. I have started a list and I am up to 12, so if you have any ideas for me, I would appreciate them. How do you show your kids how much they mean to you in a way that they will really get? Parenting is a team sport, and I need some serious help from the bench right now.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Teaching Our Kids How To Eat Healthy: It's Our Job

Since Noah has a July birthday, I got to go into his class yesterday for an early birthday celebration. I read a book to the class then I had lunch with him. For his birthday lunch he requested a sub sandwich, which was fine with me, so I picked it up on the way there.

As I sat down at the table with 15 1st graders (yes, I counted), I started to check out what other kids were bringing in their lunch. All of the kids at our table were "bringers" instead of "buyers." With the exception of Noah who was happily eating his sub and some mandarin oranges and two other kids at the table who had relatively healthy lunches with very little processed food in it, every other child at that table was eating a lunch that just made me cringe - Doritos and chips galore, lunchables in which the meat and cheese were the only things that DID NOT get consumed, juice boxes, gatorade, oreos, one kid had a ding-dong cupcake AND a cookie, sandwiches on white bread, Gogurt (don't even get me started on this one), and several fruit cups that got tossed unopened into the garbage can. I could not believe my eyes, and I have to admit I got a little judge-y (real talk). Seriously, how is it possible that kids are eating like this EVERY SINGLE DAY?

I sometimes struggle with what I allow my kids to bring in their lunch as well as what kind of snacks we have around the house. Ryan has a peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat every day, and I have to admit I don't feel totally comfortable with that, but he also takes a piece of fruit or a yogurt and white milk. Noah is more of a snacker and doesn't love sandwiches, so he usually has a yogurt pop (organic with no artificial crap in it), a larabar, a pack of nuts and/or a piece of cheese. I have found for him, my little junk-food junkie, if I can get fairly healthy foods that come in packages like other processed foods (chips, cookies, etc.) I think it makes him feel more like the other kids who are eating crap. So I spend the extra money and buy almonds in individual packs and mandarin orange fruit cups. After lunch yesterday I realized that I am definitely on the far end of the spectrum, and what I consider to be junk most parents might even think it is relatively healthy (gatorade for lunch!! and gogurts).

Don't get me wrong, I am all about having treats. I currently have a pint of ice cream in my freezer and several bars of dark chocolate in the cabinet. We still have some trail mix left from our weekend trip that is chock full of M&Ms. We have popsicles (Edy's) in the freezer and my kids eat frozen waffles (gluten free organic) with real maple syrup for breakfast more days than not, but come on, moms and dads! If this is what we are BUYING and FEEDING our kids day in and day out, how will they ever learn what is good for them? What are we teaching them by having chips in their lunch every day with a cookie or three on the side?

I don't want to be the kind of mom who is so strict with food that my kids go crazy on junk food when they are away from me, but I feel that has been happening a little this year with Noah.

The other day he went over to someone's house and when I picked him up the mom said to me, "I hope he isn't too wound up. The boys got into the junk food." He had eaten a popsicle, a cupcake, and two Airhead candies. My first reaction was to be blown away by the fact that there was so much junk food in their house and secondly that the mom wasn't monitoring the intake of said junk. Then I realized that what I had was a teachable moment. I can either be a food Nazi, or I can teach my kids the importance of making good choices and thinking about what they are putting in their amazing bodies. I had a conversation with Noah about how he needs to learn to make healthy choices even when I am not there. The most important part of that conversation was not the how of making good choices, but the why of making good choices. Here are some of the whys that Noah came up with:

  • healthy food makes you taller so you can be better at basketball
  • healthy food helps you run faster
  • healthy food makes you stronger so you can do karate
  • treats are okay every now and then, but they don't help us get bigger and stronger like healthy food
I know I cannot control everything my kids put in their mouth, but it is my job as a parent to help them learn how to make good choices most of the time. It is my job to provide them with healthy food at home so they know what good choices look like. It is my job to equip them with the knowledge that helps them understand why we eat the things we eat, and what happens to our bodies if we don't feed them what they need.

It is also my job to teach them to enjoy indulgences and not feel guilty about that (something I personally really struggle with), so yesterday, in celebration of Noah's early birthday, I pulled 75 cents out of my purse and let my beautiful, healthy, strong child buy an ice cream cone. He loved it and when he was full he put it down half-finished and said thank you to me. He was probably thanking me for the ice cream, but in my heart I know he was thanking me for much more.

That is a job well done.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rev3Tri Quassy Race Report: The Numbers Don't Tell the Story

What a weekend! As I write this I am giving myself a much needed quad massage with my Compex (one of the many benefits to being on Team Rev3!) My body is totally wrecked from the Rev3Tri Quassy HalfRev on Sunday, but my heart is full and my mind is proud of my race performance. We had a wonderful family weekend in Quassy. Kel raced the OlympicRev on Saturday, I raced the Half on Sunday and the boys got to play in the park three days in a row! What a pleasure it is to go to a race weekend that has something for everyone!

Kel coming in for a high five from me after his swim!
This was my first Rev3 race that I did not qualify for the Athena division (good and bad!), so I knew going in that I would not be competing for any podium spots. My goal for this race was simple: go hard and take risks. I have long felt that I am very good at being safe and finishing, but I didn't want to just finish this race. I wanted to push my limits and see what I was capable of.

My sister, the boys, and me!

Well, I definitely pushed my limits. In my heart I know that my performance for this race was awesome, but the numbers on the results page definitely do not reflect that. It was just a crazy day. The weather was beautifully brutal - not a cloud in the sky, hardly a breeze and almost 90 degrees. Going in I knew this was going to be a challenge, so I was mentally prepared to suffer and to make sure I was hydrating well. I also knew from experience that this course is hard. Quassy is NO JOKE! Most of the races I do have a tendency to be on the harder side because of location, but there is NOTHING around Syracuse that even comes close to the level of difficulty Quassy serves up.

Pre-race smiles!
The swim was awesome. I got to hang out with my friend and teammate Jen until the start, which was awesome. I forgot to start my watch and decided to just go with it. I did get a kick in the goggle when I was trying to draft off someone's feet - totally my fault and I just stopped really quickly to get the water out of my goggle so I wouldn't lose a contact. I felt super strong on the swim and accomplished my goal of not settling into my typical all-day pace. Once I looked back at the splits, I was a little disappointed to see my usual half swim time of 36 minutes and change, but the swim is unpredictable, so I'm holding onto the fact that I felt strong, and I swam straight and smooth the entire time.

Once onto the bike, I diligently started fueling and hydrating. The hills on this course are absolutly relentless. Before you are all the way down one, there is another looming up ahead. I felt strong for the first half despite a moment when I thought I might actually have to get off my bike and walk up a particularly steep hill, and then around mile 28 or so my stomach started to feel like there was a heavy rock in it. Looking back, I think I actually over-hydrated around 90 minutes or so and my stomach just shut down a bit until it could process everything. That took about 20 miles in which the best I could do was just ride up and down the hills like I was out for a Sunday joy ride. I was unable to get my intensity up where I wanted it, so I just did the best I could. With about 8 miles left in the ride, my stomach started to come around and I pushed into transition (up more hills!). I ended up with my slowest bike split ever, but still had my head in the game and was ready to run.

Onto the run, my stomach issues totally disappeared and I felt strong...really strong.  I totally nailed my run plan which is something I am very proud of. The day was hot and I could literally feel my skin burning despite 3 coats of sunscreen including one in T2. Even though I felt strong, the pace was still slow which was probably just the result of the heat. I was putting ice in my bra and down my shorts at every aid station! I made some friends on the course, which is always a treat, but had miles 10-12 all to myself where I was really able to push and dig deep and learn to love to suffer just a bit more than I have in the past - goal accomplished! I finished the last mile with my new pal, Grant, who had played a little leap frog with me the whole race. He finished just ahead of me and waited with his wife to give me a hug! This is one of the top reasons I love this sport. Where else would I get a hug from a sweaty, near-stranger and have it be the highlight of my day?

The boys ran me into the finish line and I headed right over to the ice baths and had a nice cold coke, which I had been thinking of at every single aid station but had only gotten one sip during the race. It was glorious!

A couple of things stuck out to me about this race. As a mid-packer age-grouper my goal is often more about competing with myself than it is about competing with others. I think this is very typical, so when the numbers just don't add up to what you expect that can be a very hard thing. HOWEVER, what I realized about this race is that the numbers don't always tell the whole story. They don't show how hard I worked, they don't show how hot it was, they don't show how positive I stayed. It is so important to have goals that extend beyond numbers because on a day like Sunday I hit all of my goals even if I didn't see the numbers. That is a great race!

The other thing that stuck out was that each of us has the ability to create a race experience not only for ourselves but for the people we are on the course with. We can choose to be encouraging and positive or to be rude and negative. It is up to each of us to pay tribute to each other while we are out there! I was so blessed to have shouts and smiles and high fives and good jobs and sometimes just a nod spoke a thousand words of empathy and understanding. There were also a few times when I came across racers who maybe didn't do the best job at that for whatever reason. I would really encourage all of you to think about the kind of race experience you want and then to try to give that to others as well.

This was a special race for me because my sister and my men were all with me! A big thanks to Emmy and Kel who wrangled the boys for my (extra) long race, which is not easy. As we left the park I saw many a spectating spouse with kids who were on the verge of melt-downs. I thank all of you for your amazing support! It is not an easy job, but it really means so much!

Also thank you to all my sponsors, Rev3Tri, PowerBar, Compex, Normatec, Pearl Izumi, Blue Seventy, Biotta Juices, and SBRSports and to my coach, Kim! I could not do this without you! And lastly, thank you to all of you! All of your texts and tweets and facebook messages really do mean a lot to me! I feel you out there with me, pulling me into the finish.

Onward to the next race!!