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Tri Talk Tuesday: 5 Favorite Triathlon Gear Must Haves

Every Tuesday I enjoy having triathlon blogs link up for Tri Talk Tuesday, cohosted by Courtney at The TriGirl Chronicles. We pick a theme each week and can write about anything related to that theme. Most are triathlon-related and some are general fitness or running. Today we decided to share our Favorite Must-Have Gear, so I’ve picked my 5 Favorite Triathlon Gear Must Haves to share with you today!

5 Favorite Triathlon Gear Must Haves

It’s hard to narrow my favorite gear to just five things, but I didn’t want to list every single piece of gear that I use for training and racing, just a few faves. If you would like a comprehensive Triathlon Transition Checklist with general gear discussed, click here. So here are my five favorite things! I’ll go in order from swimming to biking to running.

1.  A training bathing suit that stays put: Mine is the TYR Alliance Bathing Suit.

I absolutely love my training bathing suit. I searched high and low for a bathing suit that would fit well and would hold up through many uses. I swear I never, NEVER have to tug or pull at this thing – and that’s usually a given for me with bathing suits. And bonus – it’s even flattering. I recommend this to people all the time so I wanted to share with you!

 

Mine is black and pink and I love it. I even lost weight and it still fits great since the material is pretty great. Here’s a pic of me in the suit – ignore the goggle marks, I have new goggles now that don’t make the huge dents in my face.

Pool swim

2. Goggles that don’t leak: mine are Aqua Sphere Lady Kayenne Goggles

I’ve mentioned these before, they are my favorite goggles now. They don’t leak, I don’t have to mess with them, and they just plan work. I have the tinted ones in my shopping cart since mine are clear, and I want some tinted for open water swimming with bright sunlight in my face.

They don’t fog like my other goggles did, and although they do still leave small indentations in my face, it’s nothing like the photo above. And I’m starting to realize that the goggle marks seem to vary based on how hydrated I am (aha!).

3. A good sports bra – I wear the Moving Comfort Juno

I always see people out running and think “would it be weird if I told them to go buy a new sports bra?”

The answer to that question is – yes, that would be weird.

So I’ll just tell you – if you are running and you can feel a bounce, go buy this bra. It’s my absolute favorite.

I used  to be loyal to the Enell sports bra when I was a larger size, so if you really need maximum support, check that one out. But now the Juno works well for me. I really wanted a racerback bra now that I do triathlons, because many of the tops are racerback, and I was thrilled that I found one that held me together.

I swim, bike, and run in it – no issues with the water.

4. Comfy Triathlon Shorts – I wear SOAS Racing

Okay, seriously, I went biking 51 miles yesterday and did not think about my “shorts area” once. They are lower rise than my other tri shorts, which means that they don’t roll down when I lean over on my bike.

Cynthia SOAS tri kit

 Yes, I’m a SOAS Racing brand ambassador, but it’s only because I love the clothes – I don’t get anything for recommending them!

5. A visor that stays put – I wear Headsweats Supervisor

It’s no secret I love Headsweats, and I’m a Headsweats Ambassador. But I swear I reach for the Supervisor all the time. It’s a must-have for me! I wear the black one most often.

Soaking wet from running in rain

Remember you can use YOUSIGNEDUP25 at Headsweats.com for a discount!

There are many more things I love, but I love to share my favorite things!

What is your MUST HAVE for training and racing?

Next week’s topic is Skill Development – link up with us!

Tri Talk Tuesday

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Disclaimer – some of the links are Amazon affiliate links. I do not receive anything from recommending SOAS Racing and Headsweats.

Healthy After School Snacks

 

Check out Healthy After School Snacks

by Cynthia Steele at Foodie.com

As I’ve gotten healthier and eat more wholesome foods, I’m on a quest to improve my kids’ eating habits as well. I’ve put together a recipe collection featuring healthy after school snacks for inspiration. I’d love for them to avoid sugar-laden packaged food, so these healthy after school snack recipes appear to be just the kind of thing they’ll love while not being junk! We have to have peanut-free and nut-free snacks in our house because of my youngest’s food allergies, so you won’t see any peanut butter snacks here!

Healthy After School Snacks - a recipe collection

My Healthy After School Snacks Recipe Collection includes:

Baked Coconut Sweet Potato Fries – I had to add these since they are my family’s favorite! My daughter is always asking for them and wants to eat them after school sometimes! They’re very filling.

Homemade Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips – These take a while on low heat in the oven, so best to make them in the morning for an after school snack. But with only two ingredients they look easy and yummy!

Mango, Avocado, Banana, Kiwi, and Vega One Smoothie – Smoothies are a favorite in my house, so I’m sharing one that my kids love!

Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins – I’ve made these and they were a hit with my kids. I froze a batch of them too!

Frozen Fruit Bites – These look fun and easy – something my kids could make after school to take part in the preparation!

Tortilla Rollups These look delicious and my kids love little bite sized snacks!

Bug Bite SandwichesHow could my kids not love something so cute?

Rainbow Fruit KabobsTotally easy – we have skewers and we have fruit!

Frozen Yogurt Covered Fruit PopsThese look great!

Romaine Pizza Rollups - These look like the perfect after school snack – cute and healthy.

Apple Pie Balls – These are what I’ve been looking for and wanting to make – a nut-free Larabar-like snack!

3-Ingredient Banana PuddingMy banana loving kids will like this!

Enjoy!

- Cynthia

This is a sponsored post with Foodie.com.

Runtastic Orbit Review – Activity Tracker Fun!

I’ve been having fun trying out a new gadget – the Runstastic Orbit. It’s a new activity tracker that just came onto the market a few weeks ago. My dad and sister both have activity trackers and I’ve always been fascinated by them! I wanted to share my Runtastic Orbit review so that you can learn about this cool little gadget.

Runtastic Orbit Review

My job is really unique – some days I’m almost entirely on my feet running around backstage at rehearsals and concerts, and some days I’m almost entirely on my rear at my desk or in meetings. So the idea of tracking my steps and active minutes, with a gadget to inspire me to be more active on my “meeting days” has always been appealing. I’ve also been really wacky with my sleeping habits and wanted a way to track my sleep so that I could make it more of a priority.

Runstastic Orbit is a little device that can be worn in a couple of different ways – either on your wrist, or clipped onto an article of clothing or a belt. I’ve mostly worn mine on my wrist like a bracelet.

Runtastic Orbit wristband

I’ve been wearing it pretty much every day for the month of August. I didn’t want to do the review too soon upon receiving it – activity trackers are a new type of gadget for me and I wanted the chance to test it out a bit in various circumstances so that I could let you all know my real thoughts.

THE COOL FEATURES:

Here are some of the super cool features of the Runtastic Orbit:

  • Tracks my steps each day – and I can set daily or recurring goals for steps.
  • Tracks my active minutes with the same goal-setting capability.
  • Tracks how many miles I’ve walked or run.
  • Records my sleep duration and habits.
  • Works with the Runtastic app as a running watch.
  • Waterproof – I swim, shower, and wash dishes with this thing. I even wore it to the beach and the pool on multiple occasions.

Runtastic Orbit at the pool

THE DEVICE & CASE:

As I mentioned, I’ve mainly worn the unit in the black wristband, on my wrist. It has held up really well. You have to understand that my things take a beating! The Orbit has withstood three kids’ tugs and pulls, swimming, biking, running, working, and really – everything in my life for a month! It holds up to sweat pretty well, and has been easy to clean when it gets dirty.

Runtastic Orbit running

At one point I thought that the little opening in the wristband where the screen peeks out was starting to pull up, but I realized I just needed to adjust the unit in the case – easy peasy. So I’ve been really pleased with the physical components.

THE APP:

The Orbit works with two apps – the Runtastic Me app, which is the main app tracking the info gleaned from the Orbit activity tracker, and the Runtastic app, which has bonus features when you have an Orbit. I have an Android phone and it works great with both apps.

The Runtastic Me app syncs up with the Orbit pretty quickly when I open the app. It will have a green ring around your profile picture if you’ve met your goals for the day, and yellow if you’re close. There’s also progress bars on the app and on the device’s screen on my wrist. That’s pretty motivating when you see it!

Runtastic Me app

I’ve had some minor confusion with logging in that I need to get sorted out. I used my email address to log into the Runtastic Me app, but used Facebook to log into the Runtastic app. Then I couldn’t get them to play nicely together. I changed my Runtastic login to my email to get them to sync up, but now I’m not sure if I can ever use Facebook connectivity with it – I’ll have to check out the FAQs and customer support. I’m sure there’s a way they can merge it for me, but think that through before you log in to each app. Maybe if your email address is the same for Facebook it won’t matter! I can update when I figure out if they can merge the two logins.

THE BENEFITS OF THE RUNTASTIC ORBIT:

  • I’m definitely more active on my “sitting” days and keep the option to have it buzz me to get up during the work day if I’m too idle. You can turn this off if it annoys you, but I have found that it really makes a difference.

Runtastic Orbit alarms

  • I’ve played around with daily step and active minute goals, but lately haven’t had time to manage it on a daily basis so I just leave it at one step amount and monitor my steps. But what I’d prefer is to think through each day and set a goal in the morning when I get up. For example, if I know I’m running 7 miles, then a step goal of 10,000 steps will be met pretty early on in the day. I should change it to a larger amount so that I don’t become a slug later on at work during the day!
  • I’m paying more attention to my sleep habits, that is for sure. Let’s not talk about how I still fall asleep on the couch…

Runtastic Orbit sleep tracking

  • I can manually enter cycling and other workouts into the main Runtastic app and it will sync with the “Me” app to have an accurate representation of my active minutes.
  • The Orbit will give me a 50% of completion notice, and then a 100% completion notice with a trophy when I reach my goals. Love it!
  • It has “Happy Tracking”, but I’ll be perfectly honest and say that I haven’t really done a lot with this. I’ve pressed it a few times and love the smiley face, but haven’t analyzed data related to it.

Runtastic Orbit Happy Tracking

THE CONS:
The one con I can think of is that it’s pretty thick on my wrist since I have to wear it on the 2nd & 3rd tightest hole in the band and the rest of the material wraps around. It has a lot of hole options for wrist sizes, and since my wrist is pretty small, it’s doubled over on the underside of my wrist. So this has been cumbersome while taking notes in meetings, and I’ve been taking it off or putting it on my left wrist during those times. I’d love to see a shorter band option for purchase. It doesn’t bother me typing or doing other activities, only for hand writing notes at work.

The only other con is that I forget to turn on the sleep mode a lot – you just have to hold it down for a few seconds, but I tend to fall asleep quickly when my head hits the pillow. I have to remember to push that button before going horizontal. I think other activity trackers have the same manual sleep button-pushing too, though. So that’s just me. I’m the con in this scenario…

RUNNING WITH THE ORBIT PAIRED TO THE RUNTASTIC APP:

This is pretty fun – turn on the main Runtastic app (not the “ME” app) and it will pair with your Orbit! It tracks mileage and time, which has been pretty cool. I have a GPS watch so this hasn’t replaced that at all, but it’s totally fun.

OVERALL:

I’ve found the Runtastic Orbit to be a fun, interactive bracelet that motivates me to take those extra steps. It’s easy to use, can track several types of information, and I love having a watch on at all times that I can see in the dark – one quick button press and I know what time it is!

Runtastic Orbit to work

Have you ever worn an activity tracker?

How many hours of sleep do you usually get at night?

 

I received the Runtastic Orbit at no charge, but all opinions are my own.

Friday Five: Fall Fitness Fun

Hello, and Happy Friday! It’s a three-day weekend for many of you, but for me, not so much. I will be working all afternoon and evening on Sunday for a Labor Day concert – please do a please-no-rain-dance for us since the show must go on! Today’s Friday Five linkup cohosted by me, Eat Pray Run, DC, & Mar on the Run is themed “Fall Preview” so I’m yapping about Fall Fitness Fun – five things I’m excited about for the fall in the running, triathlon, or fitness realm.

Friday Five Fall Fitness Fun

This should be easy since I have FOUR races on the calendar in September and October, but I decided not to spend numbers 1-4 just on listing the races you already know about from my 2014 Race Calendar. So here are Five things I’m looking forward to this fall.

1. Running in cooler weather

Granted, we’ve had a mild summer and some really nice days for running, but there is nothing I like more than breathing in the cool, crisp air when I’m out for a long run.

2. The Big Race

Okay, let’s sneak this in as #2. I’ve got a little something called Ironman 70.3 Augusta to look forward to. In fact, yesterday it was 1 month exactly from the race date and I started a mini-freakout. I’m not feeling like I’m really fully-fledged in my peak week, so how can I think about tapering in a couple of weeks?

Ironman Augusta 703

3. October is for Running

In October I have my Army Ten Miler re-do race, where I’m going to NOT miss the start and also NOT going to be doing a Whole 30 and WILL have my fueling more figured out! I’m going to have the best Army Ten Miler experience anyone could ask for, right? Because last year it wasn’t.

Then, 6 days later, I have the Baltimore Half Marathon. I’ve had my Sub-2 hour half marathon goal, but if I don’t make it at Baltimore (hey, it’s only 3 weeks after my half Ironman, it could go either way), I’ll have to add a race!

I may add one more race this Fall. But you didn’t hear that from me. Or if you did, don’t tell my husband.

4. Master’s Swimming

I finally signed up to join a Master’s Swimming program near me. It starts in about a week, and I’m pretty excited. I’m only registered for 1 day a week but want to keep swimming on my own in addition to the coached workout. I might do a drop-in on a second day on weeks when that’s possible or do the second day with the DC Tri Club if I can spare a weeknight out with my busy schedule.

I grew up living at the pool for swim team and was a lifeguard for years – and lately I just don’t have it all together in the pool as I thought I would by this point. I’d love some structured workouts and maybe I’ll make more progress!

5. Fall Soccer Season

No, I’m not playing soccer, but we’re going to be a soccer family again this fall. My daughter is playing and my husband is the coach of her team. My middle son is taking a “Kickers” class. He did Pre-Kickers a couple of sessions and liked it, and he’s a total sports-oriented boy, so this will be loads of fun for him. The only downside to soccer season is wrangling these two monkeys during my daughter’s games. It’s not like I can actually watch the game without distraction! Don’t they look so innocent at this soccer game last Fall? You’d never guess it was necessary to chase them around the entire time!

Boys at soccer gameThis is from a soccer game last fall so they look a little older now!

Bonus for you – last night I ran a little 5K with Mar from Mar on the Run and Colleen from Live Free and Run.

Running 5K with friends

Excuse the make-it-Instagram-square borders, I don’t have time to edit photos taken this evening to post by Friday a.m.!

It was a quickie down the Mount Vernon Trail in DC after work. I jogged over a mile from my office, we met up for the run, and then Mar and I went out for a beer. Lovely evening!

Having a beer

My 5K time was 26:26, according to the tear-off bib system (no timing chip), and 8:30/mile pace. Not my 5K PR from the Fit Foodie 5K, and actually my watch said I was a little faster than that. But it was a fun, low-key race.

What are you looking forward to this fall?

DC_linkup

New York City Triathlon Race Recap 2014

I’m thrilled to finally post my New York City Triathlon Race Recap from the big race a few weeks ago. I have to confess that I had hand-written my race recap on a notepad the night of the race, but I haven’t been able to find it, so that’s what has taken me so long to post this. I’ve searched high and low, but no dice – so I’m recreating the race recap. I remember it all anyhow – it was unforgettable! What did we ever do before computers?

New York City Triathlon Race Recap 2014

The NYC Triathlon was an incredible experience – with some curveballs thrown (the rainy weather!), some epic highlights (running out of transition into a NYC street lined with cheering spectators!), and many meaningful moments (racing for the Ronald McDonald House NY!).

You may recall that I signed up for this race to fundraise for the Ronald McDonald House New York. So first, I have to acknowledge all the amazing supporters that helped make that happen. Friends, family, and random strangers all donating money to this great cause, along with amazing companies donating items for the Race to the Finish Line Raffle. I am in awe of the awesome support. Because of all your generous support, I exceeded my fundraising goal and helped our team raise $175,000 for the Ronald McDonald House!

Ronald McDonald House fundraising triathlon check

And now, back to the New York City Triathlon Race Recap! I’ll try to be as concise as I can, but this was such a BIG race and there are logistics to that are helpful to talk about in case you are considering this race yourself.

GETTING TO NYC:

This was a whole leg of the triathlon itself! Since I was going for my daughter’s doctor appointment and then staying through the race, it was even more complicated than your typical racecation packing since I was packing to be mom and also athlete. I talked about it a bit on that week’s Friday Five from New York.

We had a lot of stuff – note the big bag in the pic below - inside it is my bike! It went underneath the bus from DC to NYC and it worked out great. It’s not the same exact one, but it seems similar to this bag. I took off both wheels and it fit perfectly without removing the handlebar. I even put the helmet, bike pump, and cycling shoes in the bag, along with some other cycling odds and ends.

Daughter at bus stop

We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for the first few nights for medical reasons, and then I moved us to a hotel closer to the race start for Saturday night. I wanted to be able to get a cab easily to the race start on Sunday morning and get a few extra minutes of sleep (oh, the irony – if you keep reading about race morning, you will see!).

PACKET PICKUP & MANDATORY PRE-RACE BRIEFING:

Keep in mind that for this race, the pre-race briefing is mandatory. You have to attend a meeting and then get your hand stamped on the way out of the meeting room in order to pick up your bib and packet for the race. They have ample briefing times throughout the day. I went on Friday evening.

NYC Triathlon Mandatory pre-Race briefing

The packet pickup line for my age group was long, we women 40-44 must have all shown up to the same briefing. Thankfully I had the time, but it meant I didn’t get check out the Expo at all – and I love expos!

After getting my packet and scanning the chip to verify it was working, I picked up my goodie bag and red NYC Triathlon t-shirt (which I LOVE!).

NYC Triathlon Packet pickup

BIKE CHECK IN (SATURDAY):

On Saturday morning, I did a 4-mile run through NYC’s Summer Streets, when they close the street and let it be a pedestrian haven. Then we went on a boat tour to the Statue of Liberty. Then I had to move us from the Ronald McDonald House to a hotel and put my bike back together. Talk about packing Saturday to the brim!

It is mandatory to check in your bike at the transition area on Saturday. No race-day check-in. This race is so huge that there are two transition areas. Two!!! They’re named Red and Yellow. I was in Yellow, where all the females were (and some males – but Red was all males).

NYC Triathlon Yellow Transition

The security procedures require that you take your transition items in a clear plastic bag that they provide. Nothing else is acceptable. So on Saturday, I rode my bike from my hotel (after reassembling the wheels and putting the race number stickers on) with the clear bag with a few items, plus my purse emptied out and shoved inside the clear bag. I needed my purse since I was going to a dinner after the race. I actually used the goodie bag they hand out to put all these things inside it for the bike ride to transition, then when I got there, shoved the goodie bag/backpack into the clear plastic bag. Worked great. Phew!

NYC Triathlon transition security

They were running tours of transition but my timing didn’t work out to take one. I looked around a bit on my own.

NYC Triathlon bike check-in NYC Triathlon bike rack sayings

Do you not LOVE that fun message on the bottom of the collage? I checked my bike over, made sure it was in an easy gear for the morning’s ride out of T1 (because there’s a hill soon after you exit transition), and headed to my dinner.

It was a team dinner for the Ronald McDonald House triathlon team, and it was so great to get to know others participating and supporting the House. I spoke at the dinner about what the House means to families who stay there, and what I’ve observed in our two years of frequent visits. Then some of the participants had Sabrina sign their jerseys for the race. That was so sweet!

After the dinner, I laid out all my race stuff and obsessed over it, put the Tri Tats on (with some confusion on where to put each bit), and tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Tried… 

NYC Triathlon race numbers

I had decided not to wear my SOAS Racing Ambassador Team top and to go with the Team Ronald McDonald House jersey. They say never race in something you haven’t trained in, but so far I’ve done that with tops a couple of times and it has worked out just fine.

NYC Tri gear laid out

RACE MORNING:

Well, can we call it “Race Night” because I don’t think 3:40am counts as “morning”. My alarm was set for 4am and I was worried about oversleeping. So of course at 3:40am, really loud drunk people were talking loudly right outside my hotel room door. I really wanted that last 20 minutes of sleep! Oh well, I got up and got moving. Grabbed my transition bag, strapped on my timing chip, and headed out the hotel to get a cab. No issues with that. The cab dropped me off near the parade of people walking to the transition area in the dark. It was raining but not too heavily.

NYC Tri early a.m.

When I got into that tunnel in the photo above, I removed the two clear transition bags from my usual transition bag and stuffed the empty backpack inside. This worked well so that I could use the backpack straps most of the way (and on the way home from the race).

NYC Triathlon Yellow Transition early a.m.

I set up my transition area and covered it with one of the big plastic bags. I wasn’t sure how the rain would go during the race and figured if I could avoid stepping into soaked running shoes, that would be a bonus.

Protecting Tri Gear From Rain During the Race

I chatted with some lovely ladies before the race – the woman next to me was an Instagram buddy – we realized when we posted our race numbers that we would be next to each other!

Then I took my bike over to the bike support tent to get the tires pumped. While waiting in line I watched the elite men getting their gear ready. Nice bikes!Pre-Race NYC Tri

I had the bike tech check my chain and give my bike a once-over because after what happened in the Maryland Olympic Duathlon, I was paranoid. And since I had taken my wheels off, transported the bike in a bag under a bus, then in multiple taxis and Uber cars, then put it back together myself in a hotel room, I was worried that something had gone wrong.

It did. But they didn’t notice from a once over. Stay tuned for the bike leg of the race…

WALKING TO THE SWIM START:

I had been worried about being out of transition by 5:15am and thought I’d use every second of the time available, but in the end I felt ready to go before it closed! Yay for being prepared and getting there early. Maybe I should thank the drunk people who woke me up 20 minutes early?

It’s a long walk to the swim start, which was reiterated many, many times, so I headed up carrying my wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, and pre-race fuel in a bag. I loved walking along the quiet Hudson River, seeing the boats get ready for our race.

NYC Tri walk to swim start

I had read on another race recap that for the run from the swim exit to the transition area, you could stash a pair of shoes under a bench since it’s such a LONG way. I couldn’t picture what they meant since I didn’t know the area, but it became clear to me when I saw people doing this:

NYC Tri shoes stashed swim exit

I didn’t leave any shoes. And yes, it was a long way to T1 and full of gravel. Shoes might have been good.

THE RACE START:

The swim start area was pretty exciting. My friend Karen had actually gotten up before dawn to come watch me, and took a few pics of the area.

NYC Tri start corral

NYC Tri pro corral

I decided to get into the portapottie line immediately and get that task out of the way. Then I had someone snap a quick pic of me before I put on my wetsuit, not knowing that my friend was down at the starting corrals!

NYC Triathlon ready

I texted with her, glad that I hadn’t gear checked my bag yet, and ran down the hill to find her.

NYC Tri it's never too early to start drinking

She offered to carry my stuff so I could avoid gear check, so I put on the wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles, and was ready to go! It was my first race in my long-sleeved XTerra Vector Pro Wetsuit, although I had practiced in it the week prior, and I felt pretty awesome in it.

NYC Triathlon swim ready

Remember you can use SA-STEELE for a discount on XTerra Wetsuits!

I found my corral of ladies and chatted with my friend while waiting for the start. I didn’t mind hanging back at the end of our wave, since they were doing a fluid start and sending in 15 athletes at a time – no big deal when I’d get in the water, I figured.

NYC Triathlon women 40-44

Soon it was time for our corral to start moving towards the starting barge. I actually met another Instagram friend – I loved connecting with people before the race and then finding myself right next to them! It made the huge race feel a little smaller.

NYC Tri swim corral

THE SWIM START:

It should be noted that I did not see anything floating in the Hudson River as I waited! In fact, the water looked fine.

Once we got near the starting barge, everything moved quickly. The had a bunch of athletes sit down, blew a whistle, and they jumped in. Then the next group was urged on quickly. As I walked onto the barge, I noticed one of the sports psychologists chatting with a woman who looked nervous. She called out to us – “ladies, you’ve got her back, right? She can do this!” and other really positive, encouraging words.

I asked the woman if she wanted a jump-in-buddy, if it would help to hold someone’s hand while she jumped in. Then another woman said she’d go in with her too. The sports psychologist gave her some more positive words and I hung back and waited to see if she would do the race. She moved forward and sat down on the barge with me and the other woman.

At the very last minute, she got back up sand said she couldn’t do it. I have always wondered if she got in with a later wave, I’ve been thinking about her!

They blew the whistle immediately, and I wasn’t sure whether to jump in – I was pretty thrown off my game. And you can see I’m now swimming with the next - I didn’t see many women 40-44 during the race. That doesn’t really matter since your timing chip is what matters, though. I jumped in, forgetting to turn off my Garmin.

Jumping in Hudson River

THE SWIM – 1.5Km/1500M = 20:48

I had a horrible swim. I know it was fast and there was a strong current, but it felt like it took FOREVER. I thought it would never end. I had drank a pre-workout Energizer drink that I had trained with, but that combined with the adrenaline of race day, combined with the unsettled start with worry about the woman who maybe didn’t do the race, combined with the hype about swimming in the Hudson – well, I did a lot of breaststroke. Which probably looked like a doggie paddle. Ugh.

Swimming in Hudson RiverEvery time I stuck my face in the water to do freestyle, I just could not keep it in there. Maybe it was part mental because of all the build-up about the Hudson, or maybe my heart and body were just too ramped up, but it wasn’t happening for me. I felt like someone who didn’t know how to swim or had never swam in open water - but I had just swam a strong mile and a half in open water the week before! I flipped onto my back and did backstroke a bit, along with some breaststroke.

About midway through I started to get into a groove, and felt a little better about it. But then my calves started cramping like crazy! So just when I felt comfortable with my face in the water for freestyle, my calves would seize up.

But no, nothing creepy touched me in the Hudson and I didn’t see anything gross. Once, my wetsuit cord touched me and I thought it was something gross, but then realized it was just me. I did get a couple of big mouthfuls of the Hudson. So far, no odd illnesses have developed!

Swimmers in Hudson River

I have never had such a hard open water swim, thankfully it was over quickly. The volunteers pulled me out of the water (ick on the squishy bottom of the riverbed at the end)  and I climbed up onto the dock (you can see me in the pink cap behind the volunteer).

NYC Triathlon swim exit

T1: 11:55

Yes, you read that right: 11:55. WTF? Well, first, it’s a really long run back to transition. Second, I wasn’t running. I exited the water and started to run but my calves were still cramping – they were seizing up any time I did more than a hobble down the path. The path had gravel and this whole part was just very NOT FUN. I hobbled/walked my way back to T1, took off my wetsuit, and grabbed my bike gear and rolled out of there.

THE BIKE: 40K = 1:47:37, average pace 13.7mph :( 

Everyone says to be in a really easy gear coming out of T1 because there’s a short steep hill. I had heard to not make it TOO easy or you’ll never get momentum for the short jaunt to that hill. So I handled that pretty well. I shifted lower quickly for the hill and rocked right up it with no issues. The course wasn’t that crowded at this point – maybe since I was so far behind my wave.

Riding in the rain wasn’t that bad – there were puddles though that made it nerve-wracking in case there was a pothole underneath. It’s NYC, after all. But the course was okay and I took it conservatively.

I noticed an annoying sound from my front brakes while riding, and during the race it became clear that my brakes were rubbing on my front tire. I am totally unlucky with bike issues during races lately, it seems. I reached down multiple times to pull the brake off my front tire, and that would help for a few minutes, but then it would rub again.

To add to it, mud and twigs got stuck in between the brake pad and tire. I stopped once to flush that junk out with my water bottle, and after that things seemed to get better.

NYC Tri Cycle 4

At a certain point, the men’s wave behind me started to catch up. There were tons of fast men flying by me and not all were using good Triathlon Etiquette. I made sure to look over my shoulder before passing others, because otherwise I was going to get run over by someone full speed ahead. I heard a lot of them going the other direction on the outbound of the bike course telling others in their wave to STAY TO THE RIGHT – there must have been a lot of people riding left or in packs unnecessarily.

NYC Tri Cycling 3

I loved seeing my daughter, au pair, and friend at multiple points in the race. It was such a boost to have them cheering for me!

NYC Tri cycling

Physically I felt pretty good during the bike leg, and I felt like I was working the elevation and gears well. But my pace was like 1mph slower than I expected for a rainy bike leg, but I picked it up in the second half after washing the gunk out of my brakes.

NYC Tri Cycling 2

So the pace per mile looks like this – you can see how much faster I was in the second half of the race after cleaning out the brake/tire gunk:

  • Mile 1 = 11.2
  • Mile 2 = 15.3
  • Mile 3 = 14.8
  • Mile 4 = 14.9
  • Mile 5 = 12.8
  • Mile 6 = 12.6
  • Mile 7 =15.5
  • Mile 8 = 10.6
  • Mile 9 = 14.7
  • Mile 10 = 16.3
  • Mile 11 = 11.3
  • Mile 12 = 14.4
  • Mile 13 = 14.3
  • Mile 14 = 9.7 (this must be the mile I stopped to wash out my brake pads)
  • Mile 15 = 16.4
  • Mile 16 = 17.1
  • Mile 17 = 15.7
  • Mile 18 = 15.9
  • Mile 19 = 19.5
  • Mile 20 = 18.1
  • Mile 21 = 21.5
  • Mile 22 = 17.1
  • Mile 23 = 16.3
  • Mile 24 = 18.0
  • Mile 25 = 12.2
  • Mile 26 = 9.3

I just can’t believe the difference in the first half vs. the second half! My finish time would have been so different if my pace was more like miles 15-24 for the duration.

My Garmin wasn’t giving me my pace during the bike, so I had no clue what pace I was going (my bike computer must have gotten knocked out of whack during transit to NY).

At one point I rode up to pass someone and noticed they had a Ronald McDonald House jersey on and then I realized my daughter’s name was on the back – it was one of the ones she had signed! That gave me a boost.

T2: 6:55 

So you can see here how a potty stop in transition can really add to your T2 time… ’nuff said.

THE RUN: 10K = 59:31. 9:35/mile

I ran out of T2 and had this moment where I thought “why am I doing this, ugh!” I’m not sure what got into me – the exhaustion from the brake pad meets tire bike ride, the rain, the tummy troubles that led to the T2 portapottie stop. And you run out into a hill staring you in the face – not exactly a way to get momentum and cruise into your run leg.

But then I saw my cheering squad right at the run exit and it cheered me right up!

And then – well, then I ran into New York City with basically two walls of cheering spectators making noise and cheering me on. It was incredible. And it got me totally revved up for the run. I felt amazing as I ran through the streets and headed to Central Park.

Spectators at NYC Triathlon

The run through Central Park was great – I had a great 6.2 miles and felt pretty strong. I loved seeing spectators, many of whom were wearing triathlon or Ironman attire, cheering on people they didn’t even know.

And I loved being a part of Team Ronald McDonald House and seeing other teammates along the course – we cheered for each other and spectators cheered for us. NYC Tri run

When the run got tough, I thought about all the kids who are going through much more serious and life-threatening medical issues than she has, and how much strength they have to get through it. It really kept me going.

NYC Tri Run 2

Just a few more run photos – they’re all from the same area!

NYC Tri run 3

I passed a lot of people on the run - at the split I was going 9:23/mile. I’m happy with my run, it felt great.

NYC Tri Run 4

THE FINISH:

Running to the finish in Central Park was a thrill. What huge crowds! I saw my cheering fans at the end and ran into the finish chute.

NYC Tri finish chute

I am proud of my race, even though the swim and bike legs weren’t what I had hoped. And the race felt so special and meaningful.

NYC Triathlon with medal

FINAL TIME: 3:27:44

No, it’s not what I had hoped for, but I knew the reason for the slower first half of the bike and felt like with the second half picking up pace that I wasn’t doomed to be back of the pack on the bike forever.

After the race we had a luncheon with our Team and I went to pick up my bike from the transition area.

What a fabulous experience. I truly enjoyed it, despite the rain, despite the awful swim, despite the brake issues during the bike. I thought this race would be a one-and-done type of experience because of the cost and logistics, but I am thinking about doing it again in the future. And for the Ronald McDonald House, of course!

Have you ever run through Central Park?

Budweiser Made in America Fest! #MadeInAmericaFest


You know that I work in the music field for my “day job” and music is also my main squeeze, my passion in life. Besides my kids, running, triathlon, and traveling the world, of course. I actually work in the classical music field, but I love all types of music! I’ve been attending concerts since a very young age and have been fortunate to see some amazing artists in person – many as part of big music festivals. Hey, I was at the FIRST Lollapalooza back in 1991! (Does that make me sound old?)  I heard about the Budweiser Made in America Fest and thought it would be fun to let you know about it since I know that many of my readers love music too! And somewhere, there’s a picture of me with those Budweiser Clydesdales…

Budweiser Made in America Fest #MadeInAmericaFest

The Budweiser Made in America Fest is coming to Los Angeles and Philly this weekend, and you don’t want to miss it if you’re in those areas – heck, if you can get to those areas.  I am working a big outdoor Labor Day concert this weekend so I am tied to the DC area, but you should go if you can get to LA or Philly! It’s going to be a fabulous event.

It’s the inaugural year for the festival in LA and the third consecutive year for Philadelphia, but it’s the first time they’re running it simultaneously on both coasts. Actually, they’re the first American festival to do that!

Check out the details for each city:

LOS ANGELES

Grand Park in Downtown LA – August 30 & 31

The Amazing Lineup:

Imagine Dragons, Kanye West, John Mayer, Steve Aoki, Juanes, Afrojack, Kendrick Lamar, Rise Against, Weezer, Sublime with Rome, Metric, Capital Cities, Chance the Rapper, Cypress Hill, Gareth Emery, R3HAB, Schoolboy Q, Wolfgang Gartner, Borgore, DVBBS, 12th Planet, YG, Mute Math, Rita Ora, Nipsey Hussle, Dr. Dog, Terraplane Sun, ZZ Ward, Classixx, Hit-Boy, DJ Mustard, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Jay Rock, SZA, Yellow Claw, Grits & Biscuits, Will Sparks, Cut Snake, Scavenger Hunt, A Tribe Called Red

The Good Causes:

The festival benefits the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and there’s also a “Cause Village”. The vendors for that are:

Shawn Carter Foundation, United Way, Headcount, Budweiser Veterans, Tyler Robinson Foundation (Imagine Dragons charity), Dogs without Border, Hire LA, Food Forward, United States Green Building Council, LIFT Los Angeles, Skid Row Housing, LA Street Car, & LA Street Gallery.

The Scoop on tickets for LA:

Get excited about LA by watching this:

PHILADELPHIA

Benjamin Franklin Parkway – August 30 & 31

The Amazing Lineup:

Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Tiesto, The National, Steve Aoki, Pharrell Williams, J. Cole, Girl Talk, Spoon, Chromeo, City and Colour, Grimes, AWOLNATION, R3HAB, Gareth Emery, De La Soul, Baauer, Tommy Trash, Mayer Hawthorne, Kongos, 3LAU, The Neighborhood, Danny Brown, YG, Holy Ghost, Penguin Prison, Destructo, Bleachers, DJ Cassidy, Cherub, Will Sparks, Young & Sick, Vacationer, Cut Snake, Kaneholler

The Good Causes:

The festival benefits the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, and United Way of Lancaster County. There’s also a “Cause Village” here too. The vendors for that are:

Shawn Carter Foundation, United Way, Headcount/NAACP, Budweiser Veterans, Donda House (Kanye West’s charity), St. Jude Hospital (Kings of Leon supported charity), Partners in Health (The National), World Childhood Foundation (Tiesto), Philly Paws, Drive Change, Born this Way Foundation, Why Hunger, & Mural Arts.

The Scoop on tickets for Philly:

 Get excited about Philadelphia by watching this:

The roster looks awesome! I should pull out photos and ticket stubs of festivals I’ve been to and reminisce this weekend since I can’t make it. If you go, be sure to pop in and post about it!

Which festival would you like to go to most?

Which artist would be your favorite in the lineup?

 

This is a sponsored post, but since I love music and sharing cool info with you about cool things, I hopped on board to post this!

Parenting while pushing the running stroller

Kids say the darndest things. Wasn’t there a show about that? I never really “got” that with my oldest – she didn’t say too many jaw-dropping, poignant, or how-does-she-think-of-that type things that we heard of other kids saying. She was more of a realist. Extremely verbal from an early age, she has always taken things quite literally. But my middle child? He’s unique. And this morning on a 3-mile run with him in the running stroller – we had a few of those darndest things.

It was only 3 miles but it felt like 10.

And although he’s nearly 5, it felt like he was 10.

We had to sneak out the door so that the 2.5 year old didn’t see us or fighting would ensue. They both love the stroller SO MUCH that I even did a running stroller relay on Saturday afternoon in the rain with them – 1.1 mile with the 2.5 year old, and then 3.1 miles with the almost-5-year-old. You may have seen this on my Instagram on Saturday afternoon:

Running stroller relay in the rain

Going from light to heavy didn’t even pose that many issues with pushing – it all went really well and they didn’t mind getting a little wet (someone remind me to get a rain cover for that thing!).

But today’s run was HARD. He felt heavier than usual, but it could have been because he was jumping around in the stroller with His Stick (I capitalize this serious “weapon” because he carries that thing everywhere when outside and I’m surprised it doesn’t have a pet name), pretending to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, fighting Shredder with all his might.

Running with stroller making faces

 He is HILARIOUS – we have a couple more faces-photos but I chose the two best ones.

We had barely gone a half a mile and as I pushed him, we chatted about school. He’s starting Pre-K next week but his sister went back to school this week to start 3rd Grade. He said he’s happy about school starting, but he’s really enjoying it now when he can just do whatever he wants. And at school – you LEARN THINGS. [Yeah kid, we all love vacation but it eventually ends... get used to it.]

I replied that it’s great to learn things! My grandmother used to say that “you learn one new thing every day”.

He got a little confused – your grandmother? You mean Nana? I said no, my grandmother – Nana is YOUR grandmother. This grandmother was my dad’s mom, but she died a long time ago.

(This devolved into a side convo about how he thought PopPop’s mom was Nana, and I said NO! Nana is his wife! Kids get confused about these things… but I digress).

We had a nice discussion about my grandmother and how she was a lovely woman and I miss her. And how he remembers vaguely the other grandmother, who loved him to pieces and died more recently.

I was huffing and puffing, about to pop a wheelie and push him around the corner, but he must have sensed a sadness in my tone through the heavy breathing.

He said “Okay, okay – I don’t want to talk about it. We should NEVER mention this again!”

I stopped the stroller and looked him in the eye. 

WHY?

He said that talking about people who have died makes you sad, and I don’t want you to be sad. “So let’s never mention it!”

I explained that talking about people we love who have died is important. They live in our hearts now and remembering them does make me sad, but it also makes me happy for all the wonderful memories I have of them.

We chatted a little more and then gave each other a kiss, then it was back to the stroller running, huffing and puffing and realizing it’s quite a bit warmer and more humid than I expected.

Throughout the run, he said more hilarious things, along with singing, hitting things with His Stick, and asking questions – but mostly it was just Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chit chat.

he was insisting on knowing if Shredder is real, and if there were really Ninja Turtles (not just make believe) could they defeat Shredder in real life. You get the point.

It was unexpected, but important. I love the bonding time that these stroller runs have given us.

Did you run today?  How far?

Which is your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? This is a Very Important Question to my son.

 

Cars, Please Don’t Kill Me! An Ode to Cycling on the Road.

Today’s Tri Talk Tuesday linkup theme linkup with The TriGirl Chronicles is none other than Cycling on the Road. As triathletes, we simply have to practice the cycling leg of the race, it’s a necessity. Sure, the bike trainer can build your muscles and sure, cycling classes at your local studio can give you a good workout. I’m a huge fan of these things – I just rode for an hour on my trainer last night! But there is absolutely no substitute for time on your actual bike on an actual road.

I appreciate the muscles that I’ve built up on the trainer. I can certainly practice hill climbing and endurance (while making my way through House of Cards on Netflix!). But cycling on the road gives me a chance to practice changing my gears to climb and descend a real hill, clipping in/out of the pedals in a pinch, and maneuvering around obstacles like potholes and curvy roads.

And it’s not only a training tool – road biking is really enjoyable and fun. I absolutely love it.

But it’s freaking scary.

Why? The cars.

Hearing about tragic deaths of cyclists due to inattentive or drunk drivers has me riding in fear of my life with every training ride. But today, I won’t give you any words of wisdom on bike safety, and I don’t have any tips for sharing the roads. I felt inspired to leave you with a poem: An Ode to Cycling on the Road entitled “Cars, Please Don’t Kill Me!”

Cars Please Don't Kill Me, An Ode to Cycling on the Road. #triathlon #triathlete #swimbikerun #cycling #fitness #poetry #safety

Cars, Please Don’t Kill Me!

An Ode to Cycling on the Road

As I buckle my helmet

and slip on my bike shoes

and wheel my bike out the front door

__  

One thing is certain, one thing is sure

I have the same fear

I’ve had each ride before

__

My thoughts are on safety

I follow the road rules

I keep my mind sharp and alert

__

But the cars on the road

Are who’s really in charge

Of whether or not I will get hurt

__

It’s scary to feel

A car zooming by me

Less than six inches or perhaps three

__

It makes my heart jump

And gives me a panic

To realize it could have killed me

__  

I am not a nuisance

It’s perfectly easy

To share the same road with a bike

__

You simply need patience

And human compassion

And pretend they are someone you like

__

Because riding that bike

Is somebody’s mother

Somebody’s sister or wife

__

And with a small bit of caution

The difference is made

Between taking or saving her life

__

So Cars, Please Don’t Kill Me

I want to survive

This ride on the road on my bike

__

I know we’re all people

Who want the same thing

To enjoy life, whether same or alike.

by Cynthia Steele, You Signed Up For WHAT?!: www.yousignedupforwhat.com

I hope you enjoyed my Ode to Cycling on the Road. And next time you’re in a car – put down the cell phone, pay attention to your surroundings, and have a little bit of patience.

Oh and if you want to share the poem, please either share the direct link to this post, pin the image, or credit me with a link if you copy and paste it.

Thanks for reading!

What something to keep in mind for bikes & cars sharing the road?

Link up your Tri Talk Tuesday post below – hopefully some of the road biking gurus linking up will have some great safety tips for you!

Tri Talk Tuesday

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Detour SMART Bars: Healthy on-the-go snacking

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar.

I am on a roll with finding new things to eat and drink that I love. The latest awesome find? A healthy snack bar called Detour SMART Bars. I had the opportunity to try these yummy, healthy bars through FitFluential, and they’re now a go-to for when I need a quick healthy snack.

Detour SMART bars

As you may have noticed, I have been on the go this summer. I’m either running out the door to go swim laps in the early morning, or I’m running out the door to get to work, or I’m running out the door to go to the gym late in the evening after kids are in bed – you get the idea! Always running out the door. And always hungry, as my Ironman 70.3 Augusta training has kicked up a notch.

And as a family we have been having a busy and fun summer, so healthy summer snacks are a must.

THE TASTE:

I was sent two flavors to try - the Blueberry flavor, which I absolutely love. It’s not too sweet - I’ve mentioned on other reviews that I don’t love overly, sickly-sweet things – this has a nice flavorful taste and a sweet overtone, but it’s not super sugary or sweet tasting.

Detour SMART Bars Blueberry

I also received the Apple Cinnamon flavor, which had a nice mild flavor. Again, not too sweet or strong. This is the one I like in the morning, since it tastes breakfast-y to me. Yes, I have a thing about cinnamon and breakfast.

Detour SMART Bars Apple Cinnamon

There’s a yogurt drizzle on the bar that adds a little kick of sweet, but doesn’t overpower it.

THE TEXTURE: 

Detour SMART Bars are thinner than some other snack bars on the market, which is awesome. They’re chewy, which is my preference – not crunchy. There are some bars I’ve eaten where my jaw actually gets tired from chewing, but not these. They are soft and easy to chew.

Detour SMART bar opened

THE NITTY GRITTY OF NUTRITION:

Nitty gritty – get it? I’m punny. In this case I mean the nutritional details, the low-down on the bar and its inner-workings.

Calories: Both bars I tried were 130 calories per bar. One bar in a package. It’s not going to break the caloric bank to have one of these when you need a little snack. There are other flavors, and those might have different nutritional information, but the two I tried were 130 cals a piece.

Gluten info: Detour SMART Bars are gluten-free snacks.

Protein: Double digit protein content, unlike many other snack bars. The protein source is from whey, rather than soy.

Sugar content: The bars only contain 4 grams of sugar each. This is like a miracle when other “healthy” snacks have 10-20 grams (or more!) of sugar in the package. You all know I’m on a mission to limit my sugar intake, so this has been a huge source of reassurance to me as I cut the hidden sources of sugar in my diet down to a bare minimum.

Organic: The bars have quite a bit of organic sources making up their yumminess – in fact the nutritional info says “made with 38% organic ingredients”.

Allergen Info: You all know this is important to me, so I thought I’d list the allergen info in case it’s helpful info for others. The package states the following: “Contains soy and milk ingredients and may contain peanuts or tree nuts.” They also make a flavor that is peanut butter chocolate, which wasn’t in my shipment but sounds delicious. Although we are careful at home and around my youngest, I do eat products containing nuts when on the go, so I have been snacking on these bars in the car, at work, en route to workouts – you name it. I am super careful at home and around the toddler, but otherwise I’ve been enjoying these bars as a healthy snack on the go!

IN SUMMARY: I like the taste and the texture, and find these bars really filling!

Detour SMART bars packages

You can check out Detour Bar on their website, and also follow Detour Bar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Speaking of Instagram, if you want to try these bars for yourself, head on over to my Instagram for a my first ever Instagram giveaway!

Do you feel like you’re always on the go too?

Do you carry snacks with you wherever you go like I do?

Friday Five: Five Things to Love About My Vacation

Hey there, happy Friday! The week has been a different one for me – I took the week off from work and then on Sunday, right after Iron Girl Columbia, I packed up the car and went on vacation to the Bethany Beach (Delaware) area with my three kids.

This week’s Friday Five linkup with Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run is a favorite theme from a few months ago: “5 Things to Love About ___”. Last time we did this theme, I chose “Five Things to Love About Morning Workouts“. Yes, I did an ode to Morning Workouts. No, it did not make me the supreme goddess of morning workouts, but I do my best with that! I suppose I’m a morning person trapped inside a night owl’s body.

This week I figured I’d recap my week with “5 Things to Love About My Vacation“. I wanted a low-key, personal post today – nothing profound, just stuff about my awesome week of vacation with my kids and my big BRICK WORKOUT.

5 Things to Love About My Vacation

1. Fun activities with the kids.

Sure, my speech-delayed-plus-terrible-twos youngest was screaming every 10 minutes some days, and my almost-5-year-old hit his sister with sticks in the backyard at times, but I wouldn’t trade the week with them for anything. We had such an awesome week (aside from the moments like that)!

From the beach

Beach with kids

As I said on Instagram: “Not pictured: middle child who was freaking out about seagulls eating his French fries.”

To tennis

Tennis with kids

To pirate mini golf…

Pirate mini golf with kids

We did a lot of fun things together this week. What great memories!

We’ll forget all about the screaming and stick hitting, right?

2. My 43-mile bike ride & 3.3-mile run brick workout.

I need to get in longer rides for my Ironman 70.3 Augusta training. I know this. And yet it seems to be hard to squeeze it in on weekends between my races, travel, and family stuff. So I took advantage of being on vacation and brought my bike with me in the trunk of the car.

I met up with Julie from the Luna Chix DC Triathlon Team, who was also on vacation here in Delaware this week, and we biked 43 miles from Bethany to Rehoboth to Bethany to Fenwick and back to Bethany.

Biking over Indian River Inlet Bridget

It was so great to go on a ride together and have a nice chat, and also to get in a long training ride. It’s fairly flat here, so although it wasn’t hill practice, it was really good training for endurance, fueling, and working out some kinks (ouch to the Morton’s Neuroma flare up while cycling!).

Then I ran 3.3 miles to make it a good, solid brick. In the heat.

Brick run in heat

Don’t mind the sweat, I’m just practicing for a half Ironman in Georgia – the heat will be a guarantee!

3. My daughter’s exciting milestone.

She’s 8.5 and has been wanting to get her ears pierced. She had two prerequisites:

1) She has to be responsible enough to clean those suckers herself. I have two little boys to put to bed, and bedtimes can be a struggle. These days, she totally exceeds this requirement – she even assists with her youngest brother’s bedtime, helping him brush his teeth and reading him a story. She’s the best!

2) She has to keep her room neat enough and her jewelry box tidy enough to not lose earrings. She’s getting better with this.

We were out at the Rehoboth outlets doing some shopping, and our au pair and I surprised her with a stop into Claire’s. She picked out earrings and got her wish!

Ear piercing at Claire's

It was actually great that it was a surprise – she got nervous and excited, and it all happened so quickly that there was less time for her to stress about it! I think she looks great!

Pierced ears

The earrings she chose include a donation to the Make a Wish foundation!

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Am I crazy, or was this a really good movie? And not just for a 4 year old – I loved it!

My middle child is a super fan – he came to the movie wearing a TMNT mask, a TMNT shirt, TMNT Crocs, and carrying two TMNJ toys.

TMNT movie

Excuse the fuzzy picture – it was dark in there!

5. Did I mention quality time with these three?

Kids out for a walk

Truthfully, we only went to the beach once. My youngest absolutely freaked out about the sand touching his feet. It wasn’t fun to have him on the beach since he wanted to be held every second there. Also, the ocean water & sand weren’t a great idea for my daughter’s freshly pierced ears – maybe we should have held off on that “surprise” until the last day.  But there was tons to do throughout the week!

Kids at restaurant

Out to lunch at 14 Global in Bethany Beach, which I absolutely loved. And they even made an allergy-safe meal for my youngest!

It’s the last week of summer for my daughter – Monday it’s back to school and she is SO excited to start 3rd grade! My middle child will be in Pre-K five afternoons a week, and my youngest will stay home with our au pair (he’s only 2.5). And my work will start to get busy as our concert season starts back up again.

Summertime vacation memories are the best.

Now it’s time to pack up and head back – I bought a new Thule bike rack on Amazon and had it delivered so that I can fit my middle son and his suitcase, because he had already been out here with my mom for a week when we arrived. I needed the trunk space!

New bike rack

Photo by my 4.5 year old – yikes!

In case  you didn’t check them out, this week I posted about:

Check it out!

What is one great memory from your summer?

Have you seen the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie?