You Signed Up For WHAT?!

Fit Foodie Race Weekend Recap

Recently, I had the good fortune to be involved with a really fun event – the Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend in Fairfax, Virginia. I was excited to be a race Ambassador for this event in its first year, and as you’ll see from my recap, it’s more than just a race – it’s a food and fitness experience.

Fit Foodie Race Recap Run Eat Drink

I loved the concept – a whole weekend of events combining food, fitness, and fun. When registering, you could pick one event, a combination of events, or register with the “Make It A Weekend!” option, so naturally I picked ALL. Did you expect anything less? I’ll recap it event-by-event since it’s packed with all sorts of fun, all weekend long.

Packet Pickup in the Mosaic District

On Friday I headed to the New Balance store in the Mosaic District in Fairfax, VA, the site of packet pickup. There’s no “packet” – I grabbed my bib and t-shirt – and it was totally easy and smooth sailing.

If you haven’t been to the Mosaic District, you should – I loved discovering this gem of an area that weekend. It’s a really cool with shops, restaurants, and events like yoga in the park, farmer’s markets, and live music. The place was hopping on Friday night when I headed to get my bib and go to the VIP cocktail party.

Light Up The Night VIP Cocktail Party

I met up with my fellow race ambassadors at the reception, and we immediately headed for the food and beverages. Gotta try out all the good stuff! And good stuff it was – it was an amazing sampling of delicacies by top DC-are restaurants.

Fit Foodie VIP Reception

There was a lot of cheese. Amazing cheese - Sartori Cheese.

Sue with cheese

Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes – maybe she should change it to This Mama Runs for Cheese?

I loved this cheese so much, and we received a gift bag filled with cheese, which is a huge hit in my house. It is seriously awesome cheese. (Can you tell I love cheese?)

It was nice to get a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company dressed nicely, rather than all sweaty at a race.

Fit Foodie AmbassadorsSome of the Fit Foodie Ambassadors! From the left: Lauren, Sue, Erika, Courtney, me, Deb, & Amy.

The food was delish. This beef salad in a jar was the best thing I have eaten in a long time - who knew?? I’m going to have to try to make something like this at home.

Fit Foodie VIP receiption food

So in summary: I ate a lot of cheese and had a few drinks with the ladies. A good time was had by all.

Fit Foodie photobombMe, Lauren, and Courtney with a Sue photobomb in the back!

This is neither here nor there, but imagine how hip & cool I felt when I discovered that my glasses matched Lauren’s glasses!

Matching glasses

There was a raffle – you put your tickets in the jar for items you were intested in. I didn’t win anything but it made it pretty fun to have a chance to win prizes like this one.

IMG_1063

Fit Foodie 5K Race

Unfortunately, I woke up at the time I was supposed to be leaving, so I quickly got ready and raced out the door. The drive over to Virginia was quick and easy and I found parking easy in a garage near the start. Bonus!

The pre-race warmup was underway, which looked like tons of fun.

Fit Foodie pre race warmup

Since I was running late, I was intent on finding my friends for a pre-race photo so I skirted around it and headed to the find the gang.

Fit Foodie 5K pre-raceTop pic, from the left: Sue, Erika, Lauren, Courtney, me, & Deb. I don’t remember whose shoes are whose in the bottom pics!

We had some excited chitter chatter and photos, and soon the crowd was being instructed to head to the starting line.

Fit Foodie 5K starting line

A few thoughts on the 5K Race start:

  • It was a mass of people all crowded towards the starting line, and it didn’t seem as though runners had seeded themselves front to back according to pace.
  • We thought to ourselves “this isn’t going to be pretty, keep your distance and don’t get trampled”!
  • Thankfully, the organizers realized this and instructed a waved start. I was really impressed with how they handled this on the fly – they had a person standing at the start line, and the announcer said that everyone behind her should wait.
  • Although not everyone could see her, and it was a little hard to hear the announcements, it worked because she was not shy about putting her arms out and instructing the runners.

A few thoughts on the 5K Race course:

  • The route briefly went through a parking garage and my watch lost GPS signal. Therefore, it was never on track with the course mileage while running, and the total mileage was short.
  • It was an easy run through the garage, so it wasn’t a big deal to run through it, it was just not handy for tracking myself via my own Garmin. Thanfully it was a chip timed race.
  • I liked the fact that the course had a mix of hills and flat, to keep it interesting for the 3.1 miles.
  • The only negative was when the course crossed over itself – this happened a couple of times. It worked out okay, but it would have been a little easier if someone were really instructing people in a forward manner about who should yield to whom in that circumstance. No big train wrecks though.

And how’d I do? Awesome! I was thrilled with my 5K time and felt amazing for the whole race! Official time was 25:18, with an average pace of 8:09/mile.

Fit Foodie Run finish

Oh and I loved that they had computers there to check your results since my Garmin was off – what a thrill that gave me! I have never been on a leader board that I can recall – 5th in my age group!

Fit Foodie 5K Race Results

After the race was basically a food tasting. This was really cool – vendors were set up with amazing, gourmet food to sample! I loved this idea and it really made the race feel unique compared to other races.

Finish line food tasting

I didn’t get a chance to taste many things because I heard there was more food over at the finisher’s village. More food? And the possibility of more cheese? Yes, please!

Love DC Chefs Experience/Finisher’s Village

Wow, tons of fun stuff packed into the Finisher’s Village. There were coupons and samples of various products, Cooking Light & Health magazines handed out, food to sample, fitness experiences, cooking demos – you name it. Apparently there was alcohol too, but I had to rush off to get my son some medicine at the store so I couldn’t stay and party. I sampled some food, chatted with friends, and headed home.

Post Race Finishers Village

Celebrity Sunrise Yoga

The fun didn’t stop on Saturday, on Sunday you could sign up for Sunrise Yoga or Boot Camp. For a yoga review, check Run Salt Run’s recap.

Power Systems Obstacle Course Bootcamp

I chose the Bootcamp, along with Erika/MCM Mama, and we had a great workout! It was taught by Patrick Goudeau, a celebrity trainer who kicked our butts, and was set up on the roof of a parking garage. There were stations set up when we arrived, so we knew what we were in for. This picture doesn’t really give the scope of all the equipment set up all over the roof.

Fit Foodie Bootcamp

He started the workout with warmups – relay race style, and we had two teams pitted against each other – with the punishment for the losing team being pushups. That got us moving!

Then it was time for the Bootcamp circuit that was set up. We did the circuit and felt encouraged and motivated at the same time! Patrick came around and had people dig deeper and work harder:

Fit Foodie Bootcamp circuit

I had a blast and it felt great to do different workouts than I was used to. The first time through I couldn’t do this, but on the second – look at me go!

Boot Camp jumping

 

Thanks to Patrick for a great workout!

Fit Foodie Boot Camp PatrickAmy, Erika, Patrick Goudeau, me.

Celebrity Chef Brunch

After the boot camp, we headed to brunch. The food was lovely and varied, all healthy and fresh. It was a long table set up outside and it was nice to chat a bit with ladies from the boot camp since we were busy sweating during the workout.

Fit Foodie Brunch

Overall, a really great experience at the Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend, and I’m looking forward to next year! They also have races in Austin and San Diego if you’re in one of those cities.

Fit Foodie Race Recap

A special shout out to all the fabulous sponsors of the Fit Foodie Race Weekend – they treated us well, and I think I’m in love with Cooking Light & Health Magazines, Sartori Cheese, and New Balance!

Cooking Light Health gift

If you haven’t checked out these great companies please do – amazing magazines and cookbooks, incredible cheese, and shoes that made my feet happy! And hey, my shoes match my daughter’s now since she already had New Balance kids running shoes!

Mommy daughter running shoes

And did I mention CHEESE?

Sartori Cheese

 

 

 

Would you pick Yoga or Bootcamp if you had a choice?

What’s your favorite type of cheese?

Tri Talk Tuesday: Your Race Support Crew

Today’s Tri Talk Tuesday topic is near and dear to my heart: The Race Support Crew. I’m linking up with only one co-host today, Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles. A little birdie tells me that Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete is in Lake Placid for Ironman Lake Placid (no, she’s not racing!). [Well, the little birdie is named Miranda.]

I don’t have any super eloquent words of wisdom today, just a few thoughts on having support in your training, on race day, and how to handle it when you are disappointed that you don’t have a cheering section to be there at the race.

Having support in training

It’s a crucial element to your training – the support to get out there and do tough workout after tough workout, pushing yourself to your limits.

You Can Do Anything

Each person’s situation is different – where you get your support is unique to you. And support during your training can come in many forms.

In person, such as a runny buddy, running group, or a triathlon club.

At home, such as your husband waking up with the kids on a Saturday morning because you’re out biking or doing an open water swim.

Virtually, from online groups and friends that you communicate with on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

From within yourself, knowing that you have it in you to get out there even on the days when you don’t want to.

Condor running quote

Having support on race day

 So you’ve done the training, and now it’s race day. Who do you want cheering you on? Who will make a difference in your day for the positive?

Here’s my typical cheering section – this is me at Iron Girl Rocky Gap with my dad, daughter, and my former au pair, who is sadly now back in France but was there to cheer me on for several races during her year in the United States.

Iron GIrl support crew

My dad is my biggest fan and I like to have one or two of the kids there to cheer me on.

DSC_3765

And to have a young daughter at the finish line is inspiring to her, but also to ME.

DSC_4410

One thing you won’t see is my youngest, at least not until he’s older. Why? It’s just not worth having a tired, cranky kid who has to get up while it’s still dark out and doesn’t really “get” what’s going on, to only catch the slightest glimpse of me as I whiz by on a bike or running. My husband usually stays home with the youngest boy or both younger boys, and they have a quiet morning.

Also, my husband is not a big fan of getting up at Oh-Dark-Thirty to come to a race with crowds of people, wrangling kids on his own in unfamiliar territory. It’s not his idea of fun. I’d love to have him there for a race in the future, but for right now, this is what works for us.

When disappointment strikes – where are all my super fans?

I’ve also been to races alone, times when I wish someone were there to see me cross the finish line. Breathlessly recapping the race and everything that happened just doesn’t have the same effect – did it really happen if they weren’t there to witness it? Or if I don’t have someone to take pictures of me at the finish line?

Yes. It did.

So what can you do to wipe your broken feelings off the floor when your support team doesn’t show up on race day?

hey girl finish line

First, don’t panic – you can still enjoy a race even without Ryan Gosling, your dad, your husband, your kids, or your friends. Here are a few ideas of ways to get handle it:

#1: Enjoy being distraction-free. If I go to a race alone, sans kids, I am able to focus on myself, my transition space, my bike my goggles – all the nitty gritty of triathlon. I’m not distracted by giving suggestions for where my family can spectate, how they should look for me on the bike course, or a kid that needs the potty, I’m able to focus on my race.

#2: Find a new buddy. You can try to connect with others through Facebook events or groups if you are looking for a running buddy for the race, or someone to cheer you on. Or hook up with the local running group or tri group and join the group to have a community there with you.

I’m editing my post here to add – check to see if the race has pace groups! I ran with the 2:00 Pacers at the Frederick Half Marathon, and it was INSTANT running companions, and I ran right near the Galloway Pace Group at the Princess Half Marathon and it looked like the same situation!

#3: Say cheese. I run with a camera and take pictures along the way, so that I have memories for myself of the race experience. Or have someone snap a picture of you with their cell phone before the race and text it to you – you’ll have it waiting for you when you finish and can relive that pre-race excitement.

But most of all:

#4: Try to live in the moment. Do the race for YOU, for how you feel crossing the finish line, for your own personal growth and accomplishment. Nobody can take it away from you.

Who is typically there to cheer you on when you cross the finish line?

Do you enjoy doing races alone without a cheering section?

Next week’s theme: Race Prep & Logistics! (7/29) – join me as I obsess over my NYC Triathlon logistics! !

Tri Talk Tuesday

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

Friday Five: Friday Favorites

Happy happy Friday! I’m linking up for the Friday Five as usual with Courtney and Mar for a fun theme of Friday Favorites. This has been a super busy week, with our former au pair visiting from France, some special outings, and lots going on!

For my post about Favorites, I’m not focusing on things, I’m focusing on experiences. And this week has been chock full of favorite experiences! So here are my favorite things that happened this week.

1. Moms Run This Town

I had a nice run with some ladies in my Moms Run This Town group on Saturday. It was scheduled as a run + coffee and it was nice to get to know some new ladies! I brought my middle son, he is loving the stroller lately.

Running with K in stroller

2. Maryland Olympic Duathlon

On Sunday, I completed the Maryland Olympic Duathlon. It was an incredibly well-run race, with great staff and volunteers. Unfortunately they don’t control the weather – it was hot. And it was hilly. Hot + hilly = tough time.

I also had some mechanical issues with my bike and lost a ton of time and get pretty frazzled at the start of the bike leg. But I learned a really great lesson. I’ll try to post my recap soon and tell you all about it! Here’s just one pic of me with my dad before the race. He was doing the relay and had a great time with his relay partner Stephanie!

Maryland Olympic Duathlon pre-race

3. Venus

On Wednesday, I had the BEST time at the Washington Kastles match with my daughter and Mar.

EleVen ambassadors

First of all, they give a racket to kids under 12 to encourage the growth of the sport of tennis in youth. And it works – my daughter left inspired and with a racket in her hand – no obstacle to going out this weekend to play a little tennis since I have a racket at home too!

Second of all, the players all sign autographs for kids down on the court after – what a thrill.

Washington Kastles matchThird of all, it was super exciting – such amazing athletes and the whole thing was just a blast.

Williams Hingis tennis

Martina Hingis and Venus Williams playing doubles.

Fourth of all, VENUS. Mar and I are both brand ambassadors for Venus’ clothing line EleVen by Venus. Because of this we were lucky enough to meet the one and only Venus Williams and chat with her after the match. She was AMAZING – so nice and genuine, and I am honored to be associated with her through her fitness apparel line.

Meeting Venus Williams

Mar, Venus, me, and Sabrina

Sabrina meeting Venus

Sabrina and Venus. Sabrina is in a women’s XS skirt from EleVen – it was a tad too big (she’s 8) but we pinned it and she loved it!

I’ve long been a fan of Venus and the message of empowerment and embracing positive change really resonated with me, so I’m thrilled to be involved. I’ve just bought a few more items so I’ll be doing a clothing review soon, but if you want to check it out, you can use “Team11CynthiaS” for a discount on EleVen apparel!

EleVen apparel at the Kastles match

With my daughter in matching EleVen apparel after the match.

4. American Girl

My daughter had two special things this week, what a lucky girl. On Thursday we went to a theater showing of the new American Girl movie, Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight. I know that sounds like some of your personal hell, but it was SO fun for us. They had crafts and activities, and a scavenger hunt in the store. The movie was in a real theater and we really enjoyed ourselves!

5. Yoga

Today is a long day for me – working all day plus an evening concert, so I’m going to slip in a little afternoon exercise. I’ll be trying a local yoga studio – catch my review next week!

In case you missed it: I hope you got a chance to check out Tri Talk Tuesday, even if you’re not into triathlon – our topic was Race Day Fueling. Check out the awesome posts on this topic linked at the bottom of my post, they’re applicable to running too!

Also, thanks for your kind comments and support on my post about Balancing Motherhood, Career, Travel, and Fitness. Many of you were so sweet to say I have it all together, but I just want to point out that you haven’t seen the state of my closet, or the long checklist of undone house projects! Thanks for your kind words!

Special note:I’m halfway to my fundraising goal for the Ronald McDonald House New York and the New York City Triathlon is in two weeks! Please consider supporting this worthy cause – $5, $10, or anything you can give – no amount is too small! The link for my fundraising page is here. I’m staying at the Ronald McDonald House with my daughter for her next medical appointment and would love to be able to say I’ve met my goal for them!

What is your favorite thing from this week?

Did you ever have an American Girl doll or other favorite childhood item?

 

Link up your Friday Five post and remember to check in with other blogs in the linkup to discover their “Favorites”! Your own personal interpretation of the themes are welcome.

DC_linkup

Balancing Motherhood, Career, Travel, and Fitness


If you had asked me in my 20′s what I’d do about work vs. motherhood when I eventually had kids, I would have told you I planned to be a stay-at-home mom, but that I’d keep busy with the kids, part-time work, and volunteering. That was my plan. But plans change.

When I eventually started my family at age 33, I had a career that I loved – and so I’ve found myself balancing motherhood, career, travel, and fitness for more than 8 years.

It’s a journey.

It’s not perfect.

But it’s possible.

Balacing Motherhood Career Travel Fitness

I also never intended to live near my family - we were happily living in other cities for years, and vowed never to move back to the area I grew up in. I even remember saying to my parents in frustration: “Why can’t you understand that we’re never moving back to Maryland?!” But plans change.

I found myself being offered a great job in the city where my family lived, pregnant with my first baby. In contemplating the job and the move, I spent a lot of time discussing it with my parents. At one point in the conversation, my mom tossed out the offer the clinched it: “I’ll watch your baby. You wouldn’t need daycare.”

Mom? Are you serious?

That baby is now 8.5 and I’ve had two more babies. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of work, kids, travel, and fitness, with all those things intertwined. But I have learned a lot.

Balancing Travel

I took the job, and started work seven months pregnant. After my daughter was born, it was a pretty short maternity leave before returning to work for a few days, then going on a 12-day, 6-city business trip around the United States. Naturally, I took my daughter and my mom.

She was 6 weeks + 6 days old, and her first flight was to Omaha, Nebraska. Glamorous? She didn’t mind – she was happily sleeping in her car seat. I was still learning to breastfeed, and until that point, my husband was the Master Swaddler (not me!). But I tossed that swaddle blanket in the suitcase and hoped for the best.

My mom was amazing – she didn’t even know how to unfold the stroller yet but jumped right in as I ran around doing work-related tasks. She and I learned so much on that trip – such as:

- You can’t find tiny diapers in Chicago on a Sunday night, and…

- They won’t let you out of your seat during takeoff, even if your baby has a poopsplosion and it’s leaking all over your business suit.

- If you have to be working at 6:30am, be prepared to get up at 4:30am to nurse the baby, get yourself ready, and pack up the hotel room for checkout.

It was a whirlwind, but it was a trip that started an impressive travel schedule for my daughter – she flew on 24 flights by 24 months old.

Toddler with suitcase

Climbing in the suitcase for another trip at age 8 months.

During my time at my current job, I’ve gone on many business trips, often with a kid in tow.

Toddler backpack

My mom has gone on several business trips with me and a baby, putting a baby to bed in yet another hotel room while I work a concert, walking them around the lobby when they are fussy. And sometimes, the trips happen without the kids, and I travel to a far-off land solo.

China 2008

One of three trips to China – 2008.

Going to Asia three times in one year was an adventure for my husband at home, and at this point I’ve been on several more international business trips with more kids added to the situation at home, and thankfully my mom has been around to help my amazing husband juggle everything.

Toddler China outfit

My daughter wearing the outfit I bought her in China.

Balancing Fitness

In between each child, I’ve tried to get fit, achieve goals such as marathons and half marathons, and lose weight. Sometimes I’ve been more successful than others.

After baby #1, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, and it was a struggle – scraped together training time, injuries, and setbacks happened but I made it to the finish line.

Cape Cod Run with stroller

A training run on vacation on Cape Cod.

After baby #2, I stuck to half marathons. I trained with the local running club and got more control over my personal fitness and weight loss. I was no longer scraping together training time, but trying to make it a priority. I joined Weight Watchers. Things started to click. I was finally losing the “baby weight” and hit my goal weight.

Then baby #3 came along.

Mom with baby

My mom meeting my third baby in the hospital. At just about 11 pounds, he didn’t fit in the hospital-issued clothes or in newborn diapers!

After baby #3, things have finally clicked – I’ve finally hit that groove where the weight came off, I feel stronger than ever, and I’m figuring out the balancing act of motherhood, career, travel, and fitness.

Balancing Career

I won’t lie – it’s a juggling act. And sometimes I make mistakes and have setbacks (let’s not talk about the sleep-deprived work days, missed workouts, and late school forms, mmmkay?).

It works best if I try to take my work, family, and fitness schedule day-by-day, week-by-week, and to not get overwhelmed with what’s to come. If I look at a week on the calendar where I have a heavy training week combined with some intense work days and the kids have appointments, I may do a mental freak-out and shut down. Instead I rely on a complicated calendar, lists, and frankly – my mom.

It hasn’t been easy to juggle everything, but my mom has always been there for me. We have a near-daily chat each morning. She listens to my rambling, we talk through my various schedule craziness, and discuss babysitting needs or school pickups she might help with.

Nana feeding baby

My mom feeding my youngest during a birthday party for my middle child.

It has been a huge bonus to have a support system through my journey as a working mom who travels internationally and tries to fit in a demanding fitness routine. And I know not everyone is lucky enough to have their mom nearby – hey, I was pregnant and ready to go it alone in another city. I never expected to have the family support.

And you can find YOUR support system. It may not be your mother, but finding someone who cares enough to be there for you – even if it’s just to listen to you – can make all the difference in your success balancing motherhood, career, travel, and fitness.

And you can be that support to others – lend an ear or a hand to someone who is juggling multiple demands and be there for a friend. Have each other’s backs. It can be fulfilling to give more than you receive in a relationship.

 

Is there someone who helps you balance the demands of your various responsibilities?

Have you been there for someone lately who needed an ear or a hand?

 

Like a good neighbor State Farm is there.

State-Farm-Logo

 

 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm. 

 

Tri Talk Tuesday: Race Day Fueling

I love Tuesdays, because it’s time for Tri Talk Tuesday! Each week my co-hosts Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete and Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles pick a theme and link up with other triathlon blogs.  Today our theme is Race Day Fueling & Nutrition – I learned a little bit about needing salt on a hot day at the Maryland Olympic Duathlon on Sunday – it was hot and I felt pretty miserable in the second run loop. I’ll tell you all about it in my race recap later this week! Link up your triathlon post below with your triathlon post and tell me in the comments what works for you!

Race Day Fueling

So how do you fuel for your race? This is kind of a big topic. And there’s no one right answer – the answer depends on YOU and YOUR RACE DISTANCE.

Here are 5 factors to consider when working out your race day fueling needs:

1. Race with what you trained with.

The common wisdom is to not try anything new on race day. This means to be sure you have pre-race and during-race fuel that you have trained with in your longer and brick workouts.

How can you be sure you know what works for you? Start early in your training experimenting with different pre-race meals, different during-biking foods and gels, and running after having these same items.

2. Find out what will be on the course and try it out.

Want to use the electrolyte drink or gels they provide on course? Most races will post the info on the website or in the Athlete’s Guide with what they will be offering on the course. It can be helpful to pick up that same fuel and train with it, so that you know if your body will tolerate it on race day.

3. Your pre-race fuel begins with the night before.

Start thinking about your pre-race fuel with the meal the night before the race. Practice eating different meals the night before your longer workouts and see how you handle the workout the next morning. If your race is out of town, identify places to eat where you can get a meal composed of the protein/carb/etc. ratio your body performs well on, or bring your own food in a cooler.

4. Breakfast or no breakfast?

Don’t do what I do and scrounge around the morning of a race for something healthy to eat that has sustenance. Check your refrigerator early and make a trip to the store for your pre-race breakfast food.

And don’t forget to eat the food you packed, like I did for the ZOOMA Annapolis half marathon!

And don’t do what I did for my racecation triathlon in September, the Iron Girl Rocky Gap, when I found myself at a gas station the night before the race buying a banana and a yogurt and looking for other healthy options!

So what should you do? Do what works for you, but again (you’re sensing a theme here), practice it in your training. Find a pre-race breakfast that works for your body, keeping in mind that you will be nervous, anxious, or stressed on race day so your body may react more harshly to “creative” food. I like to keep it simple.

5. Sip Sip Sip.

Don’t forget to hydrate on the bike to prep your body for the run! You don’t want to feel miserable because you are dehydrated.

NEW YORK CITY TRIATHLON RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE FUNDRAISER:

I’m exactly halfway to my goal and encourage you to support this awesome cause! As I’ve mentioned, I’m doing the NYC Triathlon to give back – we stay at the Ronald McDonald House every few months with my daughter for the treatment of her rare tumor. It’s a great place for kids who have medical challenges and their families where they are able to just be a kid through all of their challenges. Please support their wonderful work! Donations can be made on my NYC Triathlon Ronald McDonald House fundraising page: Ronald McDonald House fundraiser.

T-shirts are on sale here - I need to sell 20 in order for them to be made and I don’t think I’m going to meet the goal with only a few days left of the sale – please check it out! They’re Champion shirts in tech/running/performance material. Want a fun shirt that supports a great cause?

Shirt Collage Support Ronald McDonald House

What do you eat the morning of a race?

Do you have a ritual dinner the night before a race?

Be sure to visit all the other triathlon blogs linked below and leave a comment!

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a triathlon coach, these tips are just my own personal opinion and perspective. Consult a medical professional and/or a tri coach for a specific fueling and nutritional plan if you want more specifics!

Friday Five: Fitness Snapshots, Summer Edition

For today’s Friday Five linkup, we’re revisiting a previous favorite theme – Fitness Snapshots. It was back in the spring when we first did this one - check it out here. The idea is to share five photos of how you were active during the week. Link up your Friday Five post at the bottom of the thread, link back to one of the host blogs – me, Eat Pray Run, DC, or Mar on the Run, and visit other blogs in the linkup (and comment!).

Don’t have a blog? No problem! Post your pictures on my Facebook page or tweet them and tag us and we’ll re-tweet your picture.

Friday 5 Fitness Snapshots

So here are some snapshots from my week. I’m still getting used to my new phone’s camera so bear with me as I figure out how to take a good pic with it.

1. Saturday Pool Fun

On Saturday I took the kids to the pool for the afternoon. We walked through the wooded path and up the hill, with my son dressed like this.

Ninja Turtle Mask

It was a pretty active day, swimming around with them and doing some laps on my own. I love summer pool season!

He loves those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle masks and wears them all the time. On Wednesday, I was walking out the door to work and he said “MOM – promise me you’ll wear this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask at work!”. And so I did.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask

2. Bike-Run Brick on the Olympic Duathlon course

On Sunday, I met up with some local triathletes to do a preview of the Maryland Olympic Duathlon bike course. It’s a 26-mile, hilly, 2-loop course. I had ridden one loop of it when I did the Maryland Women’s Sprint Duathlon (see link for race recap) but wasn’t sure how two loops would go.

I learned two things riding this course: First, my cycling pace suffers greatly on hills and my finish time won’t be as great as I had in my head; and Second, I won’t die on Sunday – I can do it.

I haven’t ridden outside (i.e., not on bike trainer) as much as I should have and my hill riding and pedal cadence needs a lot of work.

After the ride, I ran 2 miles around the park where the run course will be on Sunday.

Bike Run Brick duathlon training

3. Hill Repeats

On Tuesday, I ran to a nearby hill and did some hill repeats. I won’t lie, it kind of sucked – the heat/humidity is out in full force lately. The only thing worse than the hill repeats was the 1-mile run home from the hill.

Hill repeats

4. Late Night Bike Trainer

On Thursday night, I got in a  little bike trainer session. I started later than late, because I had to put my bike back on the trainer and although it was easy the first time I tried, this was the second time and it seemed more complicated! So I spent a while messing around with it so I wouldn’t collapse and fall on the floor, buried under my road bike, 3 days before a big race. So: 30 minutes done.

Bike trainer selfie again

5. Great Dane Planks

After the bike trainer, I decided to do some planks. But my Great Dane Daisy was a curious doggie and wanted to join in the fun. This resulted in not much planking.

Great Dane planks

So that was my week. I had a medical issue and didn’t work out as much or as hard as I wanted to, but some weeks are like that. Hey, it’s my taper week before the duathlon so it’s good I slowed it down, right? Right???

Okay, another plug for my t-shirt sale and fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House NY. As I’ve mentioned, I’m doing the NYC Triathlon as part of Team Ronald. We stay at the Ronald McDonald House every few months with my daughter for the treatment of her rare tumor, it’s a great place for kids who have medical challenges and their families. I have seen kids come in from the hospital looking very ill and tired, but later at the House they are able to play with other kids, do a craft with a volunteer, do a kids’ yoga class, play an instrument, or spend time with their family in a home-like environment. Basically, they are able to just be a kid through all of their challenges. Please support their wonderful work! Donations can be made here: Ronald McDonald House fundraiser.

T-shirts are on sale here – I need to sell 20 in order for them to be made. They’re Champion shirts in tech/running/performance material. Want a fun shirt that supports a great cause?

Shirt Collage Support Ronald McDonald House

Have you ever had an animal or kid nose in on your workout?

Do you do hill repeats? How long is the hill you use?

In case you missed it —

  1. If you missed this week’s Tri Talk Tuesday post, it wasn’t just about triathlon – it’s Healthy Eating Inspiration for fueling your training – check it out!
  2. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for an Apera Sprint Pack!
  3. Did you catch my recap of the Disney Princess Half Marathon yesterday? Are you registering for 2015?

Link up your Friday Five post here! Remember to link to a specific Friday Five post and not the general link to your blog. Your post has to be a Friday Five post or it will be deleted, but you don’t have to do our theme. Link back to one or all of our blogs so that your readers know you’re a part of the linkup and can discover other blogs. A tip – if you’re on Blogger, please enable the Name + URL comment option, you’ll get more comments!

DC_linkup

Race Recap: Disney Princess Half Marathon

I have a secret. I never finished this race recap of the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and thus Part 2 of the Glass Slipper Challenge. I left you hanging.

Now my secret is out.

It’s been sitting half done in my Drafts folder for a while but I got crazy-insanely busy after that fabulous race weekend, with our au pair moving back to France and another moving in. Work was busy, home life was busy – I let a lot of things slide. I’m all caught up now and figured what better time to finish it up and publish it than the week that registration opens for the Princess Half Marathon!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap

[Be warned, there are a lot of photos in this post.]

So let’s set the scene with a look back – click the links to refresh your memory: I took a fabulous Mother-Daughter trip with my 8-year-old, first enjoying a few days in Tampa seeing old friends from when I lived there.

IMG_20140219_234500On Thursday, we visited my friend at the Ironman Offices and then drove over to our Disney hotel, the Pop Century Resort, to meet up with my friend and her son in our hotel room. Then Sabrina and I headed to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo, where I was duly impressed with all it had to offer, and picked up my race packet and shirts.

Disney Expo Prince character photo

(see recap of the expo for more pics)

That evening, we had a great time at dinner with other friends who were there for the race. I highly recommend incorporating a social aspect to your Disney weekend!

On Friday, we spent the day walking around Magic Kingdom. It was an absolute blast. But it occurred to me – 19.3 miles of running was to come this weekend, and the rest of the time I’m walking all.day.long at the Disney parks. How is this going to go?

On Saturday, I ran the Enchanted 10K for Part 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge - you can find that race recap HERE. The rest of the day was spent walking around Animal Kingdom.

So here we go, the big race on Sunday, the long-awaited, bucket-list race, the Princess Half Marathon Race Recap!

So wait: I had just walked around Disney for two days, plus ran a 10K on Saturday morning. And you may recall that I was newly recovered from major surgery – this race weekend was less than 12 weeks from my hysterectomy. Yikes. So the goal was to enjoy, to live in the moment, and to soak it all up and take pictures.

PRE-RACE: Yes, another day up at 3am to get to the bus line by 3:30am. That’s going to hurt for a second day in a row!

Disney Princess Alarm

We had all our costume pieces and running necessities laid out and we were ready to go at 3:30am. I was ready to rock the Rapunzel Running Costume after running in a Sulley from Monsters Inc. costume for the 10K!

Rapunzel Running Costume

The problem? The babysitter for my friend’s son was LATE by 20 minutes. YIKES! We dashed out the door as soon as she came and got in the long line for buses to the race start.

Bus line Princess Half

Bus line for the Princess Half Marathon at the Pop Century Resort

Waiting for the bus gave us plenty of time for a  few pictures, but it was a bit dark out at 4am!

Disney Princess Half Marathon costumes

My friend was dressed in a Princess Leia race costume. I had originally intended to be Rapunzel and have my daughter dress alike, and then got this Princess Leia idea. So I bought a white tennis dress and planned to do the Leia costume. Then I thought about my mommy-daughter trip and went back to my original Rapunzel plan. I sent the dress to my friend and was so happy she dressed as Princess Leia – it was perfect for her, and she executed it way better than I could have!

Princess Leia costume before race

The bus ride was fun, with everyone in costume and all a-twitter about the big race.  I was already having fun and of course it was a blast to be with my daughter on the bus, dressed alike as Rapunzel.

Princess Half Marathon bus

Then we hit tons of traffic. Umm… I didn’t want to stress out too much, but I needed to drop Sabrina off with my friend’s husband and get to the start!

Princess Half Marathon traffic

I get this question all the time: What did you do with your daughter during the race? My friend’s husband was kind enough to have her join him and his two sons to watch the race. THANKS, MIKE! So our bus arrived and we dashed off to the meeting spot.

Rapunzel Costume before race

And took a few pictures in our race costumes!

Princess Half Marathon Race Costumes

Princess Leia Rapunzel Race costumes

Everyone had told me that it was a long walk from the bus dropoff to the race start, but at the 10K it hadn’t seemed very long at all. HINT: it’s a different starting area for the Half Marathon than it was for the 10K! It was indeed a very long walk to the race start and I was in a hurry. I said goodbye to my friends since I was assigned a different corral, and headed up to Corral C.

Princess Half Marathon walk to corrals

RACE START: First, the obligatory pre-race selfie! I’m really here – I didn’t defer, I am at the Princess Half Marathon!

Rapunzel at race start

And one more check of the costume and Rapunzel braids. It was still pitch black out, but it was pretty hot and humid already. Would these long braids hold up? How would they be for running 13.1 miles?

 Rapunzel at race start full length

It was very festive – pre-race announcements, accolades, and the Fairy Godmother giving us a send-off.

Fairy Godmother at start

And fireworks!

Fireworks at race start

Corral A & B went off and then it was our turn.

Princess Half Marathon starting corrals

I really liked that each Corral was treated the same – the Fairy Godmother sent us off too.

Fairy Godmother sendoff

And we had our own Fireworks!

THE RACE: I absolutely loved the race. I just loved it. I loved that there was so much to see, and I didn’t know what was coming next. I am someone who doesn’t like surprises – I even snoop at Christmas presents - and so I had tried to find out in advance what character stops were when. But in the end? I’m so glad I didn’t know! It was a complete thrill to happen upon each character photo stop, visual entertainment, and musical entertainment.

Near the beginning was the music of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” playing while people flew gorgeous kites on poles.

Kites Princess Half Marathon

I stopped for my first character photo pretty quickly – I mean seriously, Jack Sparrow? The line was semi-long but moving.

Pirates of the Carribbean

But still, I had to get that one!

Jack Sparrow photo

They had other interesting things to entertain us along the route:

Mickey hands on bridge

I didn’t stop at all the character photos but I did take a bunch of pics as I ran by:

Alice in Wonderland photo

Alice in Wonderland closer

When we finally reached the Magic Kingdom and Main Street, it was a thrill.

Main Street race pic 1

Main Street race pic 2

Rapunzel on main street castle

I looked for my daughter, knowing she’d be on Main Street with my friend’s family. FOUND HER!!!

Rapunzels on Main Street

 I’m still working on taking video while running, but you get the drift:

And then it was CASTLE TIME!

Princess Half Marathon castle

I even took a video as I ran through:

I enjoyed running through Tomorrowland:

Running into Tomorrowland

Magic Kingdom running

My son was obsessed with Monsters Inc. at the time, so I took this for him, check out Mike Wazowski above my head.

Monsters Inc

Another view of the Castle as we rounded around Magic Kingdom:

Almost to the castle

Pretty carousel all lit up:

Carousel

No line (maybe since Princess Tiana was taking a break?), so I took another character photo!

Princess Frog Pic

And some I just had to snap while running to show my kids:Woody Character photo

Aladdin character photo

Sophia the First is another purple princess! I think my camera was getting humid or had fingerprints by this point.Sophia the First

Hey, it’s me! Sort of…

Mile 9 Princess Half

THE COURSE: I liked the course – we got a taste of several Disney parks and there were plenty of spectators at various points. There are some parts that weren’t that interesting like the highway and overpasses, but come ON, when else do you get the green Toy Story army man yelling at you up one of the overpasses? We could hear him in the distance for a while leading up to it, wondering what was going on.

Toy Story Army Man

And any race you run is going to have boring parts, but I’ve never had as many things to see as this Disney race to get me through a half marathon.

Epcot Ball

Everyone was really into Frozen that week: 
Mile 13 Frozen

THE FINISH: Fit for a Princess. I felt fabulous as I crossed the finish line in 2:26:11 and was thrilled with that result for a race less than 12 weeks after major abdominal surgery (which mandated NO exercise/running of ANY sort for 8 weeks), plus stops for character photos, and followed by two days of walking around Disney parks, AND RUNNING A 10K!

Princess Half Marathon Finish Watch

I finished right in front of the Jeff Galloway Pace Group for 2:30 finish time. I ran near them for quite some time and it looked like a great experience!

Jeff Galloway pace group finish

The finish area:

Princess Half Marathon finish

Glass Slipper Challenge finishers went to a certain area to get our third medal, with a wristband to verify we had finished the 10K the day before.

Every finisher got a snack box and a handy bag:

Princess Half Marathon finisher bag

POST RACE ACTIVITIES: The first order of business? Try and get a photo with my twin, Rapunzel. They had two Princess photo areas and you pick a line to wait in. But the princesses swap out to give each other breaks. So you don’t know which princess you’re going to get. I was lucky.

Rapunzel race costume with Rapunzel

There was an individual finisher pic area too:

half marathon finisher

I watched them give out the awards the winners: Princess Half Marathon winners

I didn’t buy post-race champagne – I was hot and didn’t feel very good, but it was a neat idea:

Champagne at finish

I met up with my friends and we snapped some pictures.

Princess costumes at finish

My braids and flower had stayed put, but were soaked with humidity!

Rapunzel flower in hair

We were overheated, exhausted, feeling a little sick, and the bus line was VERY LONG. That was actually a horrible experience. I won’t dwell on that, but it was not good. The line took a really long time, not sure how it was for other hotels but Pop Century is a huge resort so there were a lot of people waiting.

Post race buses

Later on, we went to Epcot for the day to eat and enjoy the park.

Going to Disney after raceAnd if you’re wondering, the answer to “Do I wear my medal in the park?” is YES! But I only wore one of the three.

Wear your medal in the parkHooray for the Epcot Starbucks for having coffee, I needed it after waking up at 3am for two days in a row. And I was a Princess to them!  Disney Starbucks cup 
MY TAKE: I loved the Disney Princess Half Marathon, loved doing it as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge, and would definitely do it again. However, I don’t have the money to allocate to a Disney vacation every year, so I’ll be skipping it in 2015 and hoping to plan for another Disney race in 2016!

BONUS: Disney used my picture on their blog, posted it on their Facebook page, and tweeted it out as an example of a Princess race costume! It’s pretty obvious I was hot and sweaty… Let’s just assume I had dumped a cup of water on myself, mmmkay? RunDisney Princess Tweet

Have you ever done a Disney race?

Are you registering for the 2015 Princess Half Marathon?

PS – I’m nearing the halfway mark on my fundraising for the NYC Triathlon for the Ronald McDonald House, where we stay with my daughter every few months, but my donations have slowed down this week. Help support a great cause by donating here or buying a tech/running shirt here. Here’s another glimpse at the shirts that will be made – train or race in a fun shirt while supporting a worthy cause!

Shirt Collage Support Ronald McDonald House

Tri Talk Tuesday: Fueling Your Training

Today’s weekly Tri Talk Tuesday linkup theme is “Triathlon Training Nutrition”, hosted by The TriGirl Chronicles and The Cupcake Triathlete. Be sure to check out the linkup at the bottom of the post for other blogs talking about fueling your training.

Okay, don’t laugh at little ‘ole me writing a post on training nutrition – I’m not here claiming to be an expert. And I’m not here to tell you what to eat or how to eat to fuel your training. In fact, I’m so far from an expert in nutrition that I’m still finding my way. That’s why this is not a “5 tips for fueling your Half Ironman Training” or “triathlon nutrition advice” type of post. It’s far different from that.

So as long as you understand what this post is not, let’s talk about what it is - inspiration.

Healthy eating inspiration to feel your best
Healthy eating inspiration to fuel your active lifestyle, and most of all
Healthy eating inspiration to find what works for YOU.

healthy eating inspiration

You are an athlete. You may have completed 20 triathlons, 2 triathlons, or 0 triathlons. But you are an athlete the moment you start training. And as an athlete, you need to see your body as a machine, a tool to get you through the necessary training. See yourself as an athlete and think about these three points:

Eat healthier to feel your best

It’s no surprise that what you put into your body affects how your body feels. That’s pretty obvious.

Then why do we have so much trouble eating healthy if we know we’ll feel better because of it?

ONE WORD: Habit.

We have conditioned our brains to think certain foods are what our body needs, when they are really what we want. It’s time to break those habits and those associations and give our body what it needs.

I am guilty of falling into a rut on with my nutrition and eating – I think we all fall into these ruts. I tend to reach for the same few things when I’m hungry and in a pinch: toast, fig newtons, a granola bar – something “carby” and easy to grab and shove into my mouth in a hurry as I grab my bag and race out the door. But finding new “favorites” can make all the difference in how you feel and your energy level throughout the day.

Healthy snacks to fuel training

We can retrain our brains to look at food and make different choices by consistently making healthier choices. I’m doing another round of the Whole 30, and I’m on Day 8 – I’m getting into a groove with it. No, I’m not used to giving up wine, yogurt, bread, and other favorites, but I know that I will feel better if I avoid these things. And it’s just 30 days – I can not only survive without them, but thrive.

Eat healthier to fuel your active lifestyle

Food is fuel. Food does not have to be the point of life, the habit of our evenings, the reward for something great happening, the consolation for something unpleasant in our day. Food is fuel.

Say it again: FOOD IS FUEL.

Let’s say you’re active person – you enjoy running, biking, swimming, or another physical activity. What you put into your body will directly affect not only your performance in these sports, but your energy level before, during, and after the activity.

Extreme dieting + endurance activities = a potential recipe for disaster.

Yes, I lost tons of weight last year by training for triathlons and running. And yes, I was logging all of my food and watching what I ate. But it was not extreme dieting. It was fueling this active lifestyle with healthy fuel.

Fuel yourself with healthy, fresh, food and make smart choices, and you will reap the benefits in your training.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a cookie (well, unless you’re doing the Whole 30 like me) – have that cookie if you want to, but don’t have 5 cookies. And you don’t need to treat the cookie as a reward for working out. That’s a topic for further discussion, but think about overall healthy eating, with the occasional enjoyment of cookies. Make sense?

So you wanna eat a cookie

Eat healthier to find what works for YOU

I’m lactose intolerant but I handle gluten just fine. Someone else might be affected severely by gluten but can guzzle a big cup of milk. We’re all different.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? The differences in our bodies?

Experiment with various nutritional changes, add in healthy foods that you don’t usually eat (how about trying some fish for dinner instead of pasta?), and take note of how your body reacts. Logging your food in a journal or on an app is a great way to see if you notice any positive or negative changes when you shift your diet.

We’re not all the same, so we don’t need to follow the crowd or eat a certain way because we hear that it’s “better” – find what works for you, your life, and strive for a healthy balance with your training and nutrition.

Your body is worth it. YOU are worth it.

You are worth it

What’s your favorite healthy side dish?
How much water do you drink each day?

PS – I’m nearing the halfway mark on my fundraising for the NYC Triathlon for the Ronald McDonald House, where we stay with my daughter every few months, but my donations have slowed down this week. Help support a great cause by donating here or buying a tech/running shirt here. Here’s another glimpse at the shirts that will be made – train or race in a fun shirt while supporting a worthy cause!

Shirt Collage Support Ronald McDonald House

Be sure to check out the other triathlon bloggers linked up here!

Next week’s topic: RACE DAY NUTRITION!

Tri Talk Tuesday

 Loading InLinkz ...

Remember I’m not a nutritionist or a health professional, all information and advice is my personal thoughts and feelings on the topic.

Apera Bag Review & Giveaway

You all know that I’m a lover of bags of all types. Big, small, bulky, sleek – I love bags. But although I have tons of bags, but I haven’t had the perfect gym bag. Until now: I recently had the chance to review an Apera Bag, and chose the Performance Duffel, and now the hole in my gym-bag-heart has been filled.

Apera Bag Review

I’m not kidding, I had a serious need for the perfect gym bag. It was pretty evident in my recent Friday Five: What’s In My Gym Bag post that I needed an intervention. Do you remember this photo?

Gym bags.jpeg

I was switching from bag to bag from day to day, leaving things behind that I needed at the gym or at the pool. I would be at work, trying to quickly sneak in a run before driving home, zip over to the trunk of my car, and realize that my socks were in the other bag at home. And honestly, all the moving things from bag to bag was getting a little tiring. And although I love my triathlon transition bag (on the left in that photo), it’s gigantic – there’s a wetsuit compartment and a place for a bike helmet, for goodness sake – it’s not exactly something that I can just grab and take to the gym.

So here I was, all sad and lonely for the perfect gym bag. And then Apera came into my life.

I was torn when picking a bag – they have several on the site and I was interested in the Performance Duffel, the Yoga Tote, and the Sling Tote in particular, but ultimately decided that since I have so many active endeavors and need a bag to hold them all, the Performance Duffel would fit them and keep them organized the best.

And of course I picked pink.

Apera Bag Performance Duffel

Here are a few of the awesome features of the bag:

  • It has healthier protection. The bag has antimicrobial product protection on the inside and outside of the bag. The compartments are ventilated, and the lining is wipeable.

Apera bag antimicrobial

  • The base is water resistant, sturdy, and wipeable. I have set my bag down at the gym pool, in the locker room, in the bathroom of the gym, outside on concrete – you name it. I’m thrilled that the bottom of the bag has a sturdy material that is water-resistant.

Bottom of Apera Bag

  • Huge shoe pockets. I am not kidding, I have been putting running shoes, cycling shoes, work shoes, or flip flops in a plastic trash bag to take with me when I go workout. And I often need a second pair of shoes with me – a bike-run brick, for example, necessitates two different shoes! So i am loving the shoe pockets on the Apera bag, so that dirt on the bottom of my shoes doesn’t get on the inside of the bag. They are huge, too, I’ve put a pair in each end rather than just one of each shoe in each pocket.

Shoe pockets

  •  Pockets. So many pockets. I am loving the pockets – I can keep all my things organized really well!

Apera bag pockets

  • Fits in a gym locker. I love that I don’t have to remove things to make it fit, or turn it on its side. It fits perfectly in a regular gym locker – here’s a photo for perspective:

Apera bag in locker

  • Water bottle holders. This is important to me – I’ve had water or other drinks spill all over the inside of bags before. I love having the water bottles ready to grab on the outside of the bag.

Apera bag water bottle holders

  • Handles on the sides. This may sound like a silly thing to get excited about, but each side has a handle like this and I’ve used it tons of times for grabbing the bag.

Apera bag handle

Check out this video from Apera for a look inside at the Performance Duffel:

Okay, so it’s clear that I absolutely love this bag. The color is bright and just POPS, and I have gotten tons of compliments on it whenever I’ve taken it out in public.

Also, here’s an awesome thing – Apera donates one bag to the Special Olympics for every three bags they sell. Amazing commitment to their cause!

A negative or “con” about the bag? It’s big. I love that it’s big for all the reasons I’ve stated, but if you are just running out for a quick workout, half the bag might be empty. But since it fits in the gym locker and it’s pretty streamlined, I’m totally fine with the size so I don’t keep switching back and forth between bags. If you’re interested in a slightly smaller gym bag, try the Sling Tote.

Want an Apera Bag of your own? There are two things you can do to make that happen!

1. First, Apera was kind enough to offer a giveaway for my readers! You can enter to win an Apera Sprint Pack – this is the same bag that Apera donates to the Special Olympics.

Apera Sprint Pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

2. Second, you can head to the Apera Bags website - they have having a HUGE Anniversary sale right now. ALL bags are 20% OFF!  Also, any style of blue bag (including the blue version of the Performance Duffel – the same bag featured in my review), and all of the Duffel Packs are 40% OFF. It’s a fantastic sale – it runs through the end of July so hurry!  

3. Third, if you sign up for Apera’s newsletter, they do a monthly giveaway of one of their bags! So enter mine and enter theirs – more chances to win!

And here’s a really fun thing: it’s mega-giveaway time – I’ve joined up with Runaway Bridal Planner and Half Marathon Mama to be a part of the My Fitness Favorites Blog Hop giveaway. My Fitness Favorites Blog Hop ImageBefore you go, please check out my fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House New York, a place near and dear to my heart – you can support the NYC Triathlon Team Ronald here or buy a tech/running shirt to support the cause here. Now head on over to the next giveaway in the Giveaway Hop!

Disclaimer: I was provided a bag to review by Apera, but all opinions are my own. Giveaway open to residents of US and Canada. Bag will be sent by Apera directly upon selection and confirmation of the winner.

Friday Five: Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Independence Day! Happy 3-day weekend for many of you!

Not for me, though.

This is one holiday that means work for me, so I don’t get to enjoy a 3-day weekend. In fact, you may have seen a heads up on my Facebook page about this post going up late today. Why? I got home from work at nearly midnight last night, and after midnight the night before. That was after working all day long. Which was after doing the mom gig, plus exercise before work on both those days. As you can imagine, I’m pretty exhausted and will be working all afternoon and evening today. Not much time for blog writing this week.

This morning, instead of stressing about getting this post up, I’ve been feeding, caring for, and spending quality time with my kids. Priorities.

But right now shhh – I’m hiding in my bedroom typing while my kids watch a movie, so this won’t be a long post – they’ll find me soon enough!

So for the Friday Five linkup this week, my co-hosts Courtney and Mar and I couldn’t resist the obvious theme: Fourth of July. I was going to get clever with the theme, but knowing that the kids are going to break the door down any minute asking for milk, wanting me to settle a dispute, or needing a butt wiped, you’ll get this list including triathlon training recaps:

1. SHIRTS FOR SALE!

I am so excited and also a little bit freaking out: yesterday marked one month until the New York City Triathlon. Eeek! I’ve mentioned that I signed up for the race as part of Team Ronald because it’s meaningful to me and to my family. My daughter has a rare tumor called Lipofibromatosis in her hand, and we’ve been traveling to NY every few months for surgery, MRIs, and appointments. When we do, we stay at the Ronald McDonald House. It’s an amazing place and has made my daughter feel comfortable throughout the experience.

Since we just celebrated the two year anniversary of her second surgery and NO tumor recurrence, our hearts are full of joy and relief, and I am focusing on giving back.

I designed a fun running/tech shirt – please check it out and buy one to support the Ronald McDonald House!

Shirt Collage Support Ronald McDonald House

I’m sure many of you can relate to that feeling of running in a race thinking “why did I sign up for this!” or have had someone say to you “you signed up for WHAT?!” – so buy a shirt and celebrate during the race that yes, you signed up for THIS!

2. Biking with Dad

I finally got my front derailleur replaced and took my bike off the trainer. It was about time. On Sunday I headed out for a 16-mile ride with my dad. Ahhh, it was awesome!

Bike selfie

I’ll be honest, I had been on the trainer for so long that while I knew I had bike muscles built up, I was worried about my bike handling skills – clipping in/out of the pedals, maneuvering, changing gears up a hill. Everything came back - just like riding a bike.

Also, I had another demonstration on bike repair from my dad during our ride, since he “dropped his chain” during the ride.

Dad dropped chain

It was a quick and easy fix and we were on our way.

Bike ride

3. Stroller Running

I’ve mentioned my “energetic” middle child, right? He’ll be 5 in September and he has energy that we wish we could bottle up and sell. Or we could just hoard the Energy Bottles for ourselves, find a way to consume it, and we’d save money on coffee. Oh, and he wakes up early. Very early.

So picture this: On Wednesday night mom (me) goes to sleep at 1am after getting home from work 30 minutes prior. Ponders shutting off the workout alarm set for 5:45am, and ultimately decides to push it back 30 minutes. Kid awake at 5:45am Thursday morning. OWNED, mom! You gotta get up now! No slacking!

So we went for a little stroller run, and apparently I stopped my Garmin for a while so I’m not sure how long it was. But it was more than 3 miles, a million questions, and 20 singings of his personalized superhero theme song long.

stroller run big kid

4. Holy Humidity, Batman.

Thursday I got in my first solid brick workout of the season. I biked on the trainer for 45 minutes, which I thought was hot and sweaty enough.

bike trainer angled

Then I did a decent transition and ran out the front door for a 2-mile run. And OMG, holy cow, WTF, yikes, any-other–exclamations-you-can-think-of, it was humid.

humid 2 mile brick run

I was told on Instagram that this expression won the interwebs for the day. Awesome.

My first mile was a decent pace of 8:44 but my second? Umm… a bit slower 9:28. I need to work on running steady pace in the humidity.

5. I lied…

…about this post being short, but #1 was super important! So there, I just made up for it with #5.

Oh and if you missed it, I’m on DAY 4 of the WHOLE 30 ROUND 2! It’s going great so far but takes a lot of planning out meals and snacks in advance. Check out that post if you missed it!

Happy Fourth of July from the Nation’s Capitol!

United States Capitol

What are your plans for the Fourth of July?

If you aren’t in the US, what are your plans for the weekend?

DC_linkup