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Friday Five: My 5 Favorite Running Photos

Every week, I co-host the Friday Five linkup with Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run, and every week we email each other to chat about the theme. What should our theme be? What do we want to write about? What would be fun to read about from others? This week we chose a fun, open-ended theme: “My 5 Favorite ___”. I love the fill-in-the-blank themes and seeing what others choose – be sure to check out the linkup of other running and fitness blogs below to see what they did with the theme!

Yesterday’s post about my six-mile run contained this photo that I absolutely loved. The sun peeking through the trees was just stunning. I loved it so much I made a running inspirational quote graphic and used it as the background. So since I typically yammer on too long, I decided to choose an almost-wordless theme: “My 5 Favorite Running Photos“. You see, I take photos while running. Sometimes lots of photos! So I wanted to share five awesome ones.

1. I took some cool photos while running in Venice, Italy last summer. This one was just awesome looking up the street near the place we were staying.

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2. I love this photo from running up a mountain in Switzerland last summer.

Because… cow. Really close cow.

Swiss cow

3. We’re taking a time machine back to 2008 when my daughter was 2.5 and we ran at the Cape Cod National Seashore. This was our 2-mile water stop. I love, love that place and grew up going there every single summer since my grandparents lived on the Cape.

Cape Cod Run with stroller

4. And now this moment during the Disney Enchanted 10K (part of the Glass Slipper Challenge along with the Princess Half Marathon). I just loved running through Epcot with the lights glistening on the water!

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5. I’m so lucky to be able to run around Washington, DC from my office building downtown sometimes. I couldn’t pick just one so this is a two-fer from one evening in October last year.

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Gotta love Georgetown at sunset.

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BONUS: Since it inspired this post, I’ll say yesterday’s 6-mile run through the woods and around a little lake. Sometimes it’s the simple moments.

Running in trees

Do you ever take photos of what you see on your running adventures?

Where is an interesting place that you have gone running?

 

Half a Run is Better Than Nothing, Right?

Half. Only half. A couple of times lately, I’ve been so squeezed for time with the family schedule, working, commuting time – you name it – that I’ve only fit in half a run compared to what I wanted. So six miles turns to three, and eight miles turns to four. You get the point. This is different than tapering for my half Ironman – this is unintentional.

But half a a run is better than nothing, right?

So yesterday I conquered that challenge and ran – all by myself, no kid in a stroller – for six lovely miles.

Running inspirational quote

You have to understand my Saturday to get why I only squeezed in half a run that day. I got home from work on Friday night at 1:00am – yes, 1am! – so getting up at 6am to run just wasn’t going to happen. I thought to myself “I am not a robot.”

And after working all day then on into the evening, I really wanted to have a nice breakfast with my kids and not rush out the door for personal exercise time. So I had a nice morning with the kids, then went to Soccer Time #1. My daughter plays on a U9 team and my husband is the coach, so I packed up snacks for the boys and met them at the field. We had just arrived and settled into our chairs when it started to rain.

At soccer game in the rain

 

It’s a glamorous life as a Soccer Mom in the pouring rain.

Then it was Soccer Time #2 – my middle son’s soccer class. Wet and cold, I stood there shivering for an hour. I guess Summer is really gone now.

Then I took him to his friend’s birthday party. The day was flying by me, with no run in sight.

Then? Then I was pretty much out of time before friends were coming over for dinner. So I changed and ran a quick 5K loop. And by quick I mean I was pretty happy with my pace, then took a quick shower – the guests arrived while my hair was still wet.

But half a run is better than nothing, right?

5K Run before dinner

On Sunday, I took my new aero bars and new tires out for a spin on the bike. I was supposed to run after cycling to make it a brick workout.

New aerobars

 

It was not a satisfying bike ride. I tried out a multi-use path (runners, walkers, cyclists) and between people walking their dogs with headphones on, and stopping at the millions of street crossings, my 30 mile ride took a long time. It felt like half a workout. Then I had to skip the brick part of it to take a child to another kid birthday party and getting to the Jack White concert on time.

But half a brick workout is better than nothing, right?

Monday was a rest day – and my son’s 5th birthday!

So Tuesday. I thought TUESDAY, YOU’RE MY DAY. You’re going to grant me a full, satisfying workout! But no…. another three-mile loop. This time with my son, who yelled at me “RUN FASTER, MOMMY!” at every available opportunity. Such as up this hill.

Stroller Run up hill

Did I mention he turned FIVE the day before? And that he’s BIG and HEAVY? It was like having my very own coach motivating me to push harder! It was a good workout, even if it was short.

But half a run is better than nothing, right?

So yesterday: Wednesday. Wednesday was my day. Finally.

I had a work event in a location other than my usual building, and found myself with a shorter commute home than the usual hour drive through DC traffic. So I parked at my parents house and changed into running clothes.

And I finally got my run. The full run that I had been dying for – a full six miles. It wasn’t what was on my training plan for Wednesday, but it was just what I needed.

Run on path in woods

The weather was gorgeous, and the paths around the lakes in their neighborhood are really relaxing to run through. I enjoyed every minute of the loop around the two lakes.

Running on path

Except one moment. On every loop, it was the same moment.

Running with gnats flying in eyes

No, I’m not winking at you – there was a patch of gnats that got in my eyes and mouth when I ran through this section.

But other than the gnat area – lovely. Just lovely.

Running in trees

I had a slower warmup and cool down mile, but the middle miles were paced pretty well. I worked hard up some small but steep hills, and got into a great groove after mile 3.

Six mile run

It felt great to run without the stroller for the first time in a week, and to just live in the moment and enjoy the weather and scenery on this gorgeous September day.

After six mile run

I can’t wait for more fall running days like this.

A full run is better than a half a run, right?

After Ironman 70.3 Augusta in a week and a half, I move into the fall running season – the Army Ten Miler, the Baltimore Half Marathon, and maybe one more race yet to be announced. I’m looking forward to it!

Do you do a shorter workout if you’re short on time, or skip it all together?

Is your weather lovely this week too?

 

Tri Talk Tuesday: The Anatomy of a Triathlon Race Day Plan

Today’s Tri Talk Tuesday linkup, which co-host each and every week with Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles, is all about your Triathlon Race Day Plan. Thinking through your race day plan, setting your race day plan, executing your race day plan – link up a post about race day planning below! I’m totally focused on Ironman 70.3 Augusta at the moment, so I’m going to share what I’ve been mulling over as race day nears: the Anatomy of a Triathlon Race Day Plan.

Time is ticking.

Tick tock, tick tock.

The clock is counting down to Ironman 70.3 Augusta faster and faster each day. Okay, sure, maybe it only feels like time is speeding by faster as the date approaches. Maybe that’s because my life has gotten busier. At work, things are busy: our concert season has started back up again for the fall and I’m working nights and weekends again. At home, things are busy: I’m planning a birthday party for my newly-turned-5-year-old’s party on Saturday.

Sure, nothing else going on but triathlon training and race day planning – yeah… right!

But it’s important to stay focused, and I have been giving some thought to how I want the day to go. I’m doing some mental strategizing in those spare moments where I can think through the race day plan. So here is what’s on my mind.

The Anatomy of a Triathlon Race Day Plan

The Anatomy of a Triathlon Race Day Plan

HEAD = VISUALIZING

Head brain

You could say that the fate of the race day is “all in your head”, but you’d be wrong. Your body needs to be trained and ready for the challenge of the race. However, your mind is a very powerful tool in executing your big goals, and you can use it to your advantage.

Visualize three things:

1. Your race components – swimming, biking, and running – and how you will feel through each leg of the race.
2. The two transitions. Visualize yourself executing them, step by step.
3.  Your feeling of strength and accomplishment crossing the finish line.

Try to keep your visualization positive and don’t let self-doubt enter your mind. If you have any motivational mantras that you can think through for race day, incorporate them as part of your pre-race visualization. Here is one of mine:

You Can Do Anything

Yes, you can do this. Yes, you will finish.

TORSO = FUELING

Runner torso

 

Map out your fueling strategy for the race – for both food and hydration. Start with thinking through pre-race and think through all the way through to the end. Write it down if you’re like me and can’t keep these things straight in your head. Do you eat the Gu before the swim start or the solid food? It all depends on what worked best in training.

Then set it all out. Every last morsel.

Separate it out into piles, then place it in ziplock bags by what you need at home/hotel, on your transition towel, on your bike, in a pocket for the run – whatever works for you.

Hydration is an important part of the fueling strategy so incorporate this into your plan.

LEGS = PACING

run legsIt’s easy for me to go out too fast on a run with the excitement of race day. Likewise, I’ve learned that it’s easy for me to not push myself while swimming. The magic is going to happen when I think through my ideal pacing and make a goal and a plan for the race.

I used to wing it more with race strategy and pacing – we’ll see how I feel that morning!  – but now I’m all about the plan. I have a better idea of my pace from training and there is less left to “wing”.

I’m playing around with pace calculators online – not to pressure myself or stress myself out – but to get a realistic sense of where my training has taken me and how I can apply that to race conditions.

Playing beat-the-clock with your time goals can be very stressful during a race, so try to be realistic. I’m thinking about my pacing and how I can keep pushing myself while still saving enough energy for the entire journey.

AND THE LAST THING YOU NEED? 

After these three things, designed to feel prepared, all you need now is: flexibility. The ability to adapt to conditions and circumstances. The ability to not get stressed when something goes wrong and the plan is tossed out the window.

Meanwhile, I’m going into taper mode – if you’re tapering for a race, don’t forget my Top 10 Things Not to do When You Have the Taper Crazies!

Do you make a race day plan or do you wing it?

Link up a Race Plan post below and be sure to visit other blogs in the linkup!

Tri Talk Tuesday

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EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale Review & Giveaway!

I have a confession: I am obsessed with weighing myself daily. I know, I know, lay off the scale. I know I’m not “defined by a number” – I’m now a fit and healthy athlete. I’ve heard it all, I’ve thought it all. But yes, I still weigh myself every day. You see, it took me a long roller coaster of a ride to lose the 50 pounds. And frankly, I’m finding it work to maintain the weight loss, even with my level of physical activity training for half marathons and triathlons. So when I had the opportunity to review the EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale, I jumped on it. My scale is old, the battery compartment cover is missing so if it moves it doesn’t work, and if I step on the scale 5 times I could get 5 different weight readings. And hey – maybe the EatSmart scale will have better news for me than my old scale. Oh wait, it doesn’t work that way, does it? No, it doesn’t – but read on for my review and a giveaway of the scale!

EatSmart Bathroom Scale Review & Giveaway

So what did I think of the EatSmart scale

I love it, it’s awesome. If you’re already using a step-on-activated, digital scale you might not notice an earth-shattering difference from your own scale, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find that the EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale is a step [pun intended] above whatever you’re used to. Or at least it was for me.

EatSmart ScaleHere’s my rundown:

PROS:

  • Easy to read display – huge numbers that are backlit like nobody’s business.
  • Consistent readings – I stepped on it 5 times and got the same weight staring back at me. Because that’s really its job, right? To tell you your weight and not monkey around? Goodbye, old scale with 5 different readings.
  • Low profile to the ground – no more tripping on my scale in my foggy haven’t-had-coffee state.
  • No klunk-klunk feeling & sound when I step on the scale – it’s kind of magical, no noise or click-klunk feeling when you get on – it just simply displays your reading effortlessly.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Comes with 2 AA batteries. That’s all you need to do to set it up – just put the batteries in.

EatSmart scale battery cover

EatSmart scale comes with batteries

CONS:

  • You may not like the number it displays (however the scale takes no blame, only credit when you DO like the number!).
  • It’s a mouthful to say “EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale” every time you want to recomment it to someone.
  • No real cons that I can think of!

You really don’t want to see a photo of my toes, so I weighed a bunch of things in my kitchen to show you the big, bright display.

A 5-pound bag of flour was – you guessed it – 5 pounds.

EatSmart scale weighing flour

We do Amazon Subscribe-and-Save for things our kids eat a lot of. Check out how heavy the applesauce we get delivered every month is!

EatSmart scale weighing applesauceAnd a big container of Cytomax? Also 5 pounds. That’s a lot of electrolytes.

EatSmart scale weighing Cytomax

It also comes with this cool tape measure! I have flexible tape measures, but none that retract into a holder like this!

EatSmart tape measure

So of course I used it to measure the scale itself:

EatSmart scale measure

THE GIVEAWAY:

Fun news – the awesome folks at EatSmart have offered up a scale just like mine for one lucky winner, so how about it? Enter here via Rafflecopter and be sure to follow me and EatSmart in all capacities listed for more chances to win. I promise I don’t bite on Instagram, but you may have to endure post-workout selfies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

EatSmart bathroom scale

The Details: Giveaway ends Sunday, September 21 at 11:59pm. Open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

I was provided a complimentary EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Friday Five: Five Blogs to Love

Good morning – it’s time for the Friday Five! It’s that time of the week when I co-host with Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run. This week we’re doing the theme “Blogs to Love”, which we love to do. I love spreading the blog love and helping people discover new running blogs, triathlon blogs, fitness blogs – fun stuff! We’ve done this theme twice before – one was my Triathlon Blogs to Love post from last November, and another was what we called “Follow Friday” back in April!

Blogs to Love September 2014

Today I’ll toss out a mix of running blogs and triathlon blogs – just five blogs to add to your Bloglovin or other blog feeder. Besides yours truly, Eat Pray Run, DC, and Mar on the Run, of course!

1.  The TriGirl Chronicles

If you are looking for a triathlon blog to read, Courtney is my buddy and my co-host for Tri Talk Tuesdays. She’s been dealing with injury, job changes, and is doing an amazing job. She also just got certified as a triathlon coach if you are looking for info on that, head over to her blog.

2. MCM Mama Runs

Erika and I have met in person through being ZOOMA Annapolis Ambassadors and have become friends. I love her blog and reading about her many race adventures. She has done a humungous pile of half marathons this year already and achieved this crazy Venus status of Half Fanatics, so I look to her for guidance in my getting-crazy race schedule!

3. Running with Attitude

I love Michelle’s blog and feel as though she is the wise one that I can learn from in running and handling training with kids in your life.

4. Coach Daddy

I’ve sung the Coach Daddy praises before when I’ve linked over to his Six Words segments that I’ve participated in. He has this thing he does on Friday – throughout the week he jots down the questions his girls ask him, and then he answers them on Fridays. Love it – he’s a breath of fresh air, and hilarious. And I learn a few new things, too!

5.  Running Rachel

The more I read of Rachel’s blog, the more I like – I keep heading to it as one of the first stops I make to see what’s new. She has three kids like me, but she homeschools and also does all these fun biking and active activities with them. She’s always got the scoop on gadgets and gear, which makes her a go-to for me.

Speaking of adding blogs and following people, are you subscribed by email to my blog or following on Bloglovin, and stalking me on social media? If not, please do! Check the right sidebar under my pic for the links or here’s a handy cheat sheet:

Lastly, a quick word – last month I coordinated the Race to the Finish Line Raffle. It took me a while to get all the prizes sorted out after all the winners were contacted. I had one issue with a company not communicating but it turns out there was a staffing change in the PR firm handling the request, and the company itself is awesome. Now that that’s all sorted out, I’ll post tomorrow to formally wrap it all up and thank the amazing companies who donated, and all the amazing donors who supported the Ronald McDonald House NY!

I also have a new giveaway launching this weekend so be sure to pop in here over the weekend for these two things. If you’re subscribed you won’t miss a thing!

What’s one thing you’re excited about for the weekend?

What’s one must-read blog in your reader?

Link up with us and share your five Blogs to Love!

DC_linkup

 

Did You Sleep in Stinky Workout Clothes Too?

What’s the right thing to do when you fall asleep in your stinky workout clothes? Why, wake up and go for a run in them, of course!

Okay, is that gross? I don’t want to gross you out.

Last night I went to the gym after the kids were in bed, since I couldn’t fit in a workout that morning before my kids woke up. I swear, some days it’s like beat-the-toddler-clock. My two boys are almost-5 and 2.5, and they share a room. This means that when one is awake, the other is awake. And they are both screaming, playing, jumping, and hungry.  So if I’m not up and outta there early, it is hard to get in the weekday workout. This has been a real challenge training for a half Ironman.

So after those crazy boys were in bed, and my daughter was consumed with reading Harry Potter #4 for the hundredth time, I went to the gym. I took my au pair and she signed up for a membership, and then we went to work out. I wanted a cardio workout, core, and arm weights out of the evening’s visit.

I walked up to the cardio area and thought: treadmill, bike, elliptical, stair climber – what should I do? I’m already not “on plan” today. Okay, let’s face it – I’m already not “on plan” at all lately, since I did an Olympic Triathlon instead of my planned training activities this weekend. And my weekday training is not always what’s written on the schedule. Because… life.

So I hopped on the exercise bike. Sure, I could have been on my bike trainer at home to ride on my actual bike that I use in races, but I was more focused at the gym. I did a hill workout for 30 minutes, keeping my cadence in a particular range the whole time. It was a great workout!

Cardio machine Hill Plus

Then I did some core work on a mat. All of a sudden, the clock struck 10pm and like Cinderella at midnight, I faded out. I did a few arm weight machines and headed home.

And promptly fell asleep on the couch. In my workout clothes.

My husband told me to go up to bed, but I pictured the mountain of laundry all over my bed just waiting to be folded, and shut my eyes again.

So I woke up this morning, on the couch, in my stinky workout clothes, and decided to go for a run.

But the kids – the kids woke up too! They were screaming, for fun, seemingly having a competition to see who could scream the loudest. BOYS!

So I changed a diaper, made some breakfast for them, and took one of them with me. The bigger one. K is turning 5 next week, and he’s getting heavy! But I figure it’s better training to push a heavy kid in a running stroller. Then when I run with his younger brother, or without a stroller, I feel so amazingly light and fast!

And we have such an amazing time together as we run – if you recall our recent conversations about life and death while we were running, you have an idea of how interesting life with K is.Today we didn’t talk about life and death, and there was only a small amount of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle discussion compared to usual, but we had a great four-mile run.

Fourt mile stroller run with funny faces

He always likes to go by the commuter rail station on our stroller runs, so on our first pass through the station we asked someone when the next train was arriving, and we timed our loop accordingly. We caught the train just as it was arriving into the station and he jumped out of the stroller with joy.

As we ran back, he saw some of the older boys that he’s gotten to know in the neighborhood – fourth and fifth graders who you’d think would balk at playing with a kid who still rides in a stroller. But no, they all waved happily at each other and said hi. We arrived home and I showered and got ready for work, feeling great about the 4-mile run this morning, not caring that it wasn’t exactly what my plan called for.

I’ll be sad when the day comes that he’ll be too big, or too embarrassed around other boys, for a run with mom.

Did you run today? How far?

 

Reston Triathlon Race Recap 2014

Reston Triathlon Race Recap 2014

Reston Triathlon Race Recap

I’ve now completed two Olympic-distance triathlons this season – the NYC Triathlon in early August, and now the Reston Triathlon this past Sunday. It’s been a joy to participate in these races, the Iron Girl Columbia, and the other races I’ve done this year – I’m thankful to be able to do all these amazing things physically after having major surgery last December. Truly thankful. This was my first time doing the Reston Tri, which I had heard about from two colleagues at work. Apparently it’s a local Northern Virginia triathlete favorite, and people do it year after year – they both said “you have to sign up for Reston!” back when it opened many months ago.

So I did.

Because that’s what I do, I sign up for all the things.

From what I understand, it hadn’t been exactly Olympic distance in the past – the swim was slightly longer and there were minor differences in the exact mileage of the bike and run legs. This year they trued it up to exactly Olympic distance, because they are hosting the 2015 World Police and Fire Games next year. Not having done it before, the course changes didn’t bother me since I don’t know the previous course.

I have to admit, I wasn’t that motivated for this race. Maybe it was hard to come off the high of the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon, or maybe it was because my other Olympic was so epic and meaningful. Or maybe I’m just focused on Ironman 70.3 Augusta in 3 weeks. But there you have it – I was not that motivated but of course I still wanted to do my best. I didn’t have any time goals and decided to treat it as a training race for Augusta. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep leading up to race day – some late nights and early mornings in the days prior. That was a good learning experience for the big race week coming up.

PACKET PICKUP:

Packet pickup was at the high school where the finish line is, outside of the school at various tables and was super easy.

Reston Triathlon packet pickup setup

No pre-race bike racking for this race, just bring your helmet for an inspection. Pick up packet, get helmet checked and stickered, get your swag. That’s it. REALLY nice volunteers – everyone was so helpful for a newbie to the race like me.

Reston Triathlon packet pickup

Speaking of the swag, I was extremely impressed with the stuff they dish out to participants. A magnet, long-sleeved technical shirt, socks that said Reston Triathlon, a quick-dry towel, and a custom Reston Triathlon race belt – all in a drawstring bag. That’s a lot of stuff! The only problem was the sizing of the shirts – they only had gigantic shirts (a problem with the supplier, I was told the next morning).

Reston Triathlon swag

They had race course talks three times in the mid-day, but I only caught the end of one of them.

RACE MORNING:

I woke up at 4am from a bad dream, and was pretty bummed to have screwed up my sleep like that after having barely any sleep the night before. I went back to sleep until the alarm went off at 4:45am, and then got ready quickly. The drive was just under 40 minutes and I wanted to have enough time to set up both transition areas. Yes, two transition areas. More on that now…

TRANSITION SETUP – 2 TRANSITION AREAS:

I had been a bit stressed about the logistics of the two transition areas and having to bike between them in the pitch dark on race morning, but it worked out way easier than I expected!

Here’s how it works: you park your car at the high school and set up your bike-to-run T2 gear. Then you bike to the lake and set up T1 swim-to-bike stuff. You pick up your timing chip and get body marked at the lake.

At the T2 setup, I spent too long making sure I had everything I needed – I could have streamlined this or separated my gear the night before. I had plenty of time since parking was easy and my car was really close. I decided to leave my transition bag at the T2 rack since there seemed to be enough space in my rack and I was at the end – that way I didn’t lose my car key over at the lake transition area.

Reston Triathlon T2 setup

I jogged back to my car and grabbed my bike off the car bike rack, then rode over to T2 with the drawstring backpack on my back. You’re given a clear plastic bag for your T2 stuff and they transport it to the high school after T1, so that was stuffed inside. I realized I had left my flashlight in my transition bag, but the sky was getting brighter and I didn’t need it.

I arrived at the lake area and there was a giant line of cyclists waiting to get in. An awesome volunteer came out and said that we should go in and rack our bikes, that the line was for body marking and we could do that after. Excellent! I racked the bike, got body marked, and picked up the timing chip. Easy!

They gave athletes the opportunity to warm up in the pool right next to T1, but I opted not to. I still had enough time to chat with a friend and use the portapottie – the low-key feel of this race was really relaxing and I wasn’t stressed or anxious about the race.

After the National Anthem played by a violinist from the National Symphony Orchestra who was also competing, played on an electric violin (very cool!), they started arranging the first few swim waves.

I finally started to get that race day butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling as the swim waves went one by one. I was in wave 7.

RACE START:

The start was an in-water start, treading water. When it was my wave’s turn, we walked down the sloped water’s edge and waded in – the water felt warm! It turned out to be wetsuit-legal but if you had a wetsuit you weren’t eligible for an award, so there was a separate entrance with a timing mat to mark the entry of those individuals. I had opted to leave my wetsuit in my transition bag and was fine without it at that water temperature.

I found the swim start for my wave slightly confusing – people were chatting and treading water, and I guess they were telling us to move back a bit in the water, so we did. Then someone said GO, but I didn’t really hear until others said “Go? Did they say go?” Yep, go. So we did. I think a whistle could have been clearer but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

THE SWIM: Distance = 1500 meters.

Time = 40:22. Pace = 2:41/100 meters. 20/30 in age group.

I’m not sure how the swim waves were arranged, but it wasn’t by gender/age. Someone told me it was by expected swim time that we submitted when we registered. If that’s the case, I completely overestimated my swimming abilities months ago when I registered, because my swim wave dusted me. I thought I was an adequate swimmer until Sunday morning and I totally lost my confidence as they left me behind.

So there I was, swimming along kind of slowly, apparently. And then I started to feel really sick – nauseous and like I might throw up in the water. Great…

I felt so sick that I actually thought about swimming over to a kayak to see if I should stop the swim. It wasn’t a panicky feeling or nerves – it was simply nausea. This has never happened to me before in open water and it wasn’t choppy enough to give me motion sickness. I realized that I must be turning my head to breathe with too big a swing of the head, and maybe I was making myself motion sick!

I kept swimming, using breast stroke to balance out the freestyle, and I spaced out my breathing when doing freestyle – hooray – eventually the sick feeling passed.

It takes me a while to get in the groove when swimming on a normal day, so with the nausea it took longer. After a while I hit a decent groove and started to enjoy the swim. The swim wasn’t that crowded – a few people ran into or over me, but it wasn’t bad.

The wave behind me was catching up and after a lot of mental negativity about my slow swimming, I had to clear my head. I decided to just focus on myself and not let it get to me.

After the turn I realized how badly I need tinted goggles – the sun was right in my eyes!

T1: 2:24. 10/30 in age group.

I came out of the water as quickly as I could, depressed to see most f the bikes gone already in my wave and others around mine. I felt like I did pretty well in T1 – my transitions are getting better. Some things worked in my favor – my feet weren’t sandy, and I didn’t have a wetsuit to deal with. I spent a moment shoving my swim gear into the plastic bag so that the volunteers could transport my things and nothing would get lost, but I probably could have left it on top of the bag since they seemed pretty efficient.

I grabbed my bike and hit the exit.

THE BIKE: Distance = 40K

Time = 1:33:19. Average pace = 15.98mph. 22/30 in age group.

I had been curious how hilly this course was for a while. It’s a 3-loop course. So after one loop of the bike, I felt more confident knowing that it was rolling hills and nothing too major. However, I suppose my average pace still leaves a lot to be desired. I felt like everyone in this race was fast, fast, fast and I was getting passed a lot.

I had some good miles where, according to my Garmin data, I was up over 20mph for the mile, and then a lot of 15s and 17s. There were rolling hills and a few awesome downhills, but mostly I was just working really hard for the duration of the bike leg.

I tried to keep up with my fueling as a practice for the 70.3, even though I didn’t feel like I needed much. I stopped hydrating at one point because I had to use the restroom – that’s a hard balancing act!

T2: 1:59. 15/30 in age group.

I dismounted the bike, immediately looked around for a portapottie as I ran my bike to the transition spot. Didn’t see one but they probably existed somewhere in T2.

Grabbed my run stuff and changed shoes. Decided to start running without a potty stop. Thankfully I was saved…

THE RUN: Distance: 10K.

Time = 57:35. Pace = 9:16/mile. 13/30 in age group.

I ran out of transition and there was a water stop with really enthusiastic volunteers. Water? No thanks, I had to use the bathroom, water did not appeal to me. But I knew I needed to hydrate for the run. Then I saw a portapottie right there after the aid station! It didn’t have a lock but I used it anyhow – it really saved me for the run.

Anyhow, enough of that. The run. The run was so fun!

I felt strong and enjoyed the shaded course. It was really twisty and had a lot of small hills – it was never really flat for long, you were mostly going up, down, or turning a corner. It was an out-and-back, then another longer out-and-back type of course on a paved path through a park in the trees. I thought it was a fun course.

I passed a lot of people who had just passed me on the bike. I found the other athletes really supportive – lots of “you look great!” and “great job!” type of comments to each other.

My Garmin data says it was 6.22 miles, and that my time was 56:45, but I think it auto-paused for the potty stop. My average pace was really 9:08 without that stop.

  • Mile 1 = 9:22/mile
  • Mile 2 = 9:18/mile
  • Mile 3 = 9:01/mile
  • Mile 4 = 9:17/mile
  • Mile 5 = 8:51/mile
  • Mile 6 = 9:05/mile
  • Mile 7 (partial) = 8:31/mile

Around miles 4-5 I realized I wasn’t pushing it as much as I could and I stepped up my game, as you can see from the pace data. I got a lot of comments from people as I passed them running, which boosted me and made me push it harder. People were so nice on that course! I yelled back “I’m trying to make up for my slow swim time!”

It felt amazing to get faster as the run went along and to finish really strong.

FINISH AREA:

Immediately after crossing the finish line I was handed an ice cold, dripping wet towel and water bottle. It was awesome. And not just a throw-away water bottle, a “real” water bottle – more swag! The food area was amazing – pizza, granola bars, apples, bananas, and tons of other stuff. There was also a table set up by Great Harvest Bread Company with amazing fresh bread and honey – I didn’t know them and found it was perfect after the race!

OVERALL FINISH TIME: 3:15:36. 19/30 in age group.

I’m okay with my overall finish time, but thought that I’d do better on the bike leg and come in closer to 3 hours based on the training I’ve done. Overall I’m happy that my transitions are getting better and that I felt so strong on the run. I have some swimming and biking work to do now!

Reston Triathlon with bike

It was a nice race, and I can see why people do it year after year – if I lived closer I’d be set to do it again and test my improvement year after year. It’s not that far, but it’s not in my neighborhood like it is for many participants.

Reston Triathlon finish

Don’t mind my crazy hair – I braided it myself at 5am. I really needed my daughter to do that for me! I need to bring her to every race to be my personal hair stylist.

What’s your favorite finish line food after a race?

 

 

Tri Talk Tuesday: Triathlon Skills Development

Today’s Tri Talk Tuesday linkup, co-hosted by yours truly and The TriGirl Chronicles, is themed Triathlon Skills Development. I have a lot to work on in my Swim-Bike-Run journey, and I’m always striving to learn more and work harder. I don’t pretend to know it all – I’m still a toddler in the world of triathlon! So I’m going to share a few ways that you (and I!) can develop your skills in the three sports of triathlon.

Triathlon Skills Development

 

 

Work with a coach.

This is an obvious one to many of you who have been doing this for a while. But for those of you who are new to triathlon or considering it – hiring a coach is not just for the elite athletes! There are many USAT certified coaches out there, and with some leg work you can find one who matches what you are looking for in terms of services offered, communication style, and working with you on your goals. It can be pricey, no doubt, but there are various options – an online-only coach is one way to get a customized training plan and keep you motivated, but without the full-service coaching that might be out of your budget.

Join a club.

Training with others is a great way to improve your skills. I know that any time I run with others I am faster, and when I bike with others, my skills improve! This is my first week of Master Swimming, and although that’s more than a club (it’s coached workouts), the spirit is the same – train together and push each other.

Gadget-ize.

There are a million “techy” ways that you can develop your skills. Here are a few key ones:

A multisport watch – I have had the basic Garmin 10 for running for over a year, and now have the Garmin 310XT for triathlon training. The Garmin 910XT is the highest-end multisport GPS watch at the moment. Even with the simple running watch, the data that comes off of these things is incredible! Elevation, pace, air temperature – you name it, it’s on the Garmin log.

A heart rate monitor – with a heart rate monitor you can train in ideal heart rate zones and pace yourself during a long endurance activity. I really need to step it up and learn to use my HRM.

A speed/cadence sensor – I’ve been working on my bike cadence after getting the Garmin speed/cadence sensor, and this thing was a lifesaver at first! It’s no longer functioning fully, so I just need to spend a few minutes troubleshooting. I only think of it when I’m about to ride the bike, which is not a good time to mess with your gadgets!

A power meter – now, I haven’t delved into the power meter mania, but apparently it’s a really great way to develop your cycling skills.

Take it to the Trainer

I’ve been working my tail off on the trainer to improve my cadence and therefore improve my cycling skills. While the trainer doesn’t substitute for riding outside to practice maneuvering technical turns and corners and your bike handling skills, you can focus on one certain area in a workout without distraction.

Speed Work ‘R Us

Speed Work. Make it a part of your life. I’m doing this with running, I’m learning this with cycling, and I’m a mess at it with swimming (hey, I just want to get to the end of my swim workout, never mind how fast!). If your training plan doesn’t include speed work, start doing a little reading on ways to incorporate this once a week.

Bike ride

It’s a good time of year as the season is winding down to think about ways to develop your skills in the off-season. I’m starting to make a plan to stay motivated and work hard during the winter months – we’re going to talk about it in a future Tri Talk Tuesday!

Next week’s theme is RACE PLANS – not the season race calendar plan, but making a goal and a plan for an individual race. Ironman 70.3 Augusta is in less than three weeks, so this is a hot topic on my mind!

What’s one way you worked on your specific swimming, cycling or running skills?

Link up a post about Skills Development below! It can be new or old – just join us!

Tri Talk Tuesday

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6 Tips for Going from Workout to Work!

Recently, I posted 5 Tips For Keeping Your Style Fresh Without Breaking the Budget, which was part of the Carefree Challenge. Every day there’s a different prize – today’s prize is a $100 gift card for a top beauty retailer, so you would think that I’d be imparting beauty wisdom on you today. But you’d be barking up the wrong beauty tree. Well, kinda – I’ve got 6 Tips for Going from Workout to Work!

Now, I’m not a beauty blogger and I’m not the most fashionable person on earth, so I won’t pretend to be the beauty guru of the internet – I talk about what I know here on the blog. And what I know is getting sweaty from a good long run. And then having to get un-sweaty for a good long day at work. And sometimes I’ll go for a workout or run and have to go back to the office, donning suit and dress shoes, and have to look not only presentable, but polished.

I’m going to tell you all my secrets today. My confessions, my tricks. You won’t tell anyone at my work, will you?

6 tips for going from workout to work!

1. Keep a Good List.

I keep a checklist in my bag at all times so that I don’t forget anything – for the workout or run, and also for getting ready for work afterwards. I’ve had too many workout-to-work fails to lose the beloved checklist. In fact, I’m transferring the list over to my phone so that I have it no matter which bag I use.

The list is king. If you have a good list list, you can be prepared for any situation.

2. Plan Your Workout Accordingly.

Check the temperature, the humidity, and make a call. Indoors or out? Low-intensity pilates or high-energy run outside?

Often if I choose an indoor class like barre, Pilates, or just run a bunch of stairs in my office building. This way I don’t have to worry about sweat and stink, and I’m better able to freshen up quickly to get back to work.

3. Locate the Showers.

Have a gym nearby? A fitness studio with a shower? A few minutes on Mr. Google-knows-all, or picking up the phone to call a few places, could mean the difference between Stinky or Awesome.

I switched gyms to one that has a branch downtown (thus, showers), I go to a barre class that has a shower available, and I even found a shower in my office building. There could be somewhere nearby that you can pay a drop-in fee to use the workout and locker room facilities.

 It just takes a little planning.

4. If You Can’t Shower, Do the Next Best Thing.

Here’s where I tell you my secret. My confession. I don’t always shower between working out and going back to work. Depending on the workout, or how hot and humid it was for the run, I really have to. Otherwise = gross.

But sometimes, I’m able to be sneaky and just freshen up with some wipes, body spritz, and deodorant. I’ve been using these wipes, or you can try these – there are a few kinds out there.

Nobody has been the wiser. Until now – hi coworkers!

5. Pretend You’re Superman.

Do a quick change and pretend you’re a superhero. It’s fun, I swear!

I like to have the quickest, easiest thing to change into after working out. In most cases, it’s my black wrap dress. After the workout I shed the exercise clothes, freshen up, throw the dress over my head, put the hair in a ponytail, and slip on some shoes – done.

Now, don’t think if you see me in the black wrap dress that it means I haven’t showered, because that’s simply not true. Nope, nuh-uh. I swear…

6. Hide the Evidence.

Do not, I repeat DO NOT, put your workout bag in your office after all this. I’ve made that mistake. Eventually you’ll be turning up your nose and wondering “what’s that?” Um, seriously girl, that’s YOU. The former you that did the sweaty workout. Before you did your superman change and became Awesome again.

Hide that bag in your car or your coworkers will think something died in your office.

Now you can be sneaky with a mid-day workout too! This picture was taking in the bathroom at work – sneaky!

2013-12-19 13.21.40

Have you ever done a midday workout and then gone back to work?

Be sure to enter the #CarefreeChallenge giveaway here! Today’s daily prize is a $100 gift card for top beauty retailer!

Conventional knowledge says that it takes about 30 days to form a habit. This is why giving yourself a challenge for a minimum of 30 days is a great way to improve all facets of your life. Carefree believes there’s no time like the present to begin a fresh, healthy habit.

Commit today to the Carefree® Freshness Challenge – and be rewarded with 30 days of fresh tips. From beauty to style, moves to ideas, and the chance to win daily prizes – the Carefree® Freshness Challenge will help you find the freshness you need to feel confident and ready for anything – day or night.

The Challenge is every day August 12, 2014 – September 10, 2014. Each day you visit, you’re entered to win for a chance to win the Grand Prize – $5,000 for a fresh new wardrobe! Kick Off the Challenge on August 12th – commit to wearing Carefree® Acti-Fresh Liners every day to keep your panties fresh. Whether you’re looking for comfortable absorbency or discreet protection, CAREFREE® has a liner to deliver the freshness you need to feel confident and carefree.

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This post was sponsored by Carefree via Sverve, but all opinion are my own.

 

 

Friday Five: Race Day Rituals

Happy Friday! Today’s Friday Five linkup, co-hosted by me, Eat Pray Run, DC, and Mar on the Run has a fun, light theme this week: Race Day Rituals. I’m going to list 5 of my pre- and post-race rituals. Spoiler alert: it won’t be that earth shattering but it might entertain you.

5 Race Day Rituals

But first, a short word about my week. This has been the craziest week, and my posting has been all over the place at weird times. So before the Race Day Rituals, I thought I’d give you a review of my week in fitness, life, and blog posts:

Sunday was the Runtastic Orbit Activity Tracker Review. That morning, I met up with a couple awesome ladies from my Moms Run This Town group for a 7 mile run, where I pushed my 2.5 year old through the gross humidity. It was great to run with them – the miles flew by! Then I worked all afternoon and evening for a Labor Day concert. It was a pretty exhausting day.

running 7 miles with stroller
Monday I posted the Healthy After School Snacks recipe collection. I biked 51 miles in Prince William Forest Park in Virginia with a colleague friend from work who has done more Ironmans than he can count. I had a lot of bike troubles and it’s been at the shop ever since. Brakes rubbing on the tires, shifting problems… must get it all fixed before my half Ironman in 3 weeks! I’m just thrilled that I powered through 51 miles, got some hill practice in, and I feel way more prepared for Ironman 70.3 Augusta. I had a numb/painful toe issue that I need to think about in the coming weeks.

Cycling 51 miles

Tuesday was Tri Talk Tuesday with 5 Favorite Triathlon Gear Must Haves. Check that out if you want a recommendation for a bra with no bounce and a great training swimsuit!

That day I drove an hour and a half in horrible traffic to work, then turned around and came back out to the suburbs since for the second time this week, a kid ended up in the ER. My kids need to stop getting hurt!

Son with head bump and crazy hair

Wednesday I fell asleep on the couch. I was totally wiped out – no post, no workout. Just me and the couch.

Thursday I posted my Iron Girl Columbia Race Recap! Yay – I’m so excited about that one! Go read why it’s “not just a sprint” – it was meaningful for me. Then I hit the gym last night  at about 9:30pm for a 3-mile run on the treadmill.

Treadmill shoes

 

Phew. Now it’s Friday. So now you’re caught up and here are my 5 Race Day Rituals:

1. The Eats. 

I have to eat before I work out, especially before a race. Usually this consists of quickly throwing toast in the toaster and grabbing a banana, and inhaling it in the car on the way to the race.

2. The Johns.

No, not that kind of John, if your mind goes to the gutter. The porta-john. Or does anyone even call it a “John” anymore? I call it a portapottie but “The Potties” had much less pizzazz than The Johns for this title.

We all need to clear the system before we do a race, no? Why run with all that extra stuff in your body!

3. The Shoe-Tyings.

I have this thing I do before every race. It’s a last-minute shoe re-tying. It’s a compulsion. I have to do it or I don’t feel “right” for the whole race. I guarantee you, if you are standing behind to me in the half marathon starting corral, waiting for the gun to go off, you will get a view of my butt as I reach down and retie my shoes. At the very last minute. Every time.

The one race I didn’t retie the shoes this spring? I got a blister on my toe. What’s up with that?

4. The Foods. All the Foods.

Ah, the post-race Eat All The Things. Mmmm… food. Okay, I’m hungry right now, and you get the point.

5. The Kids.

I will now reminisce about a time when I would come home from a long run or race and sit on the couch with my feet propped up. Bwahaha – that was so long ago I’m actually laughing out loud!

You know what my “post-race ritual” is now that I have 3 kids and a husband who is texting “When do you think you’ll be home?” as I enjoy my post-race banana in the finishers’ tent?

    • Walk in door, wearing medal proudly around neck.
    • Kids jump on me.
    • Husband disappears – he’s been “on duty” since early morning and wants to go anywhere but where the kids are screaming.
    • Kids declare (well, more likewhine) that they’re:
      • hungry
      • thirsty
      • hungry
      • poopy-diapered
      • hungry
      • someone-grabbed-their-toys
      • hungry
      • shoe-is-untied
      • hungry
      • want to watch a movie
      • hungry
      • want to go outside
      • hungry
      • spilled milk all over themselves
      • hungry
      • you get the point
    • Make lunch for kids. Do dishes/laundry/house cleaning
    • Wonder when I can finally take a shower
    • Husband declares that I smell bad
    • Quickly shower and put wet hair in ponytail.
    • Wish I had time to stretch or wish I had one of those foam roller thingys for times like this.
    • Mediate fights between kids.
    • Make dinner and feed family.
    • Put kids to bed.
    • Stay up too late.
    • Wonder why I don’t recover properly from race.

So there you have it. That’s my race day in a nutshell!

Do you have any superstitions before a race? Anything you MUST do after the race?

Join the linkup and visit the other blogs! I swear this week I’m getting to every single one of you.