You Signed Up For WHAT?!

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer Review #fuelyourbetter

I tried a new thing recently – the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer. It’s a powder that you mix into a cup of water, then drink 20 minutes before a workout for energy, endurance, and mental focus. Intrigued? I certainly was.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer Review

You might be surprised to know that I’m not actually the Energizer Bunny. I can’t stay up late writing this blog, take care of three kids, work a full-time job, run half marathons, train for a half Ironman, and hold it all together without some sort of boost. I need my coffee. Need it. But my “coffemaker” (aka my husband) isn’t usually up at the time I get up to workout. And often my workouts are late at night after the kids are in bed.

So what’s a girl to do when she needs a kick in the pants to get her legs moving?

Confession #1: Lately I’ve been staying in bed an extra 15 minutes under the guise of “I’ll just wait until I’m more fully awake” before I go workout.

OR…

Confession #2: My other recent method is to head downstairs to spend time on my computer while I “start to wake up”.

You wanna know how these two methods are working out?

Toddler whining

Not very well!

I have been taking so much time to “wake myself up” that I’m still prepping for my workout when the kids wake up, need breakfast, and then whine about something or other. Sigh, life as a mom of small children.

So when Sweat Pink offered Ambassadors the opportunity to try the Vega Sport products as part of the Fuel Your Better campaign, I jumped at the chance and immediately selected the Pre-Workout Energizer. I had been curious about it for a while, thinking it might be just what I need for morning workout energy.

Vega Sport Fuel Your Better Motivation

I was already familiar with Vega – I had tried the Vega One in January, and enjoy it in smoothies. You may recall that I didn’t love it mixed only in water – the texture wasn’t as smooth as I’d like. It’s awesome in smoothies so that’s how I use it. But this Pre-Workout Energizer was a totally different powder situation. Unlike the Vega One, the Pre-Workout Energizer stirs into water smoothly and doesn’t leave chunks or a gritty texture. I could still see some of the powder floating on the top of the water, but it didn’t feel like anything – it was not chunky or gritty. Here’s a pic of when I first poured the packet into the glass, then after I stirred it.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer in glass

I tried it before an Open Water Swim – I mixed it in a water bottle and drank it in the car on the way to the lake, which was an hour away. They say to drink it about 20 minutes before exercise, so I timed it perfectly on my drive to 20 minutes before I would be starting my swim workout. I most definitely found an energy boost, but it was about a half hour later, during my first lap around the lake course. Laps two and three were awesome and aside from tired arms from swimming 2200 meters, my body had tons of energy.

Fuel Your Better Vega Sport

The taste is bright and clear, light and fresh – I’m not sure how else to describe it. I’m really pleased with the taste and it’s easy to down the 8 ounces quickly and want more.

My only mistake was drinking it one day when I thought I was about to hop on the bike trainer, then a child distracted me. So I was all revved up to workout, but not able to – I felt like I was totally wired! I don’t remember this racing feeling during the other times I’ve used it, so it was definitely not designed to be taking effect while you are standing in the kitchen buttering a kid’s waffle 20-30 minutes after drinking it!

Things to know:

It’s dairy, soy, and gluten free. This was handy since I was doing the Whole 30 when it arrived, and avoiding dairy and soy were a priority for me during that time.

Also, it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, which of course I’m thrilled about since I’m eating a pretty clean diet these days.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer instructions

It’s plant-based, which I think is great – I’ve been eating so many animal products on the Whole 30 and frankly I’m thrilled with a vegan product to add to my fueling.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer ingredients

The packets make it really easy to use – no measuring, just open it. I can’t tear the package open like I expected (using the notches at the top), but I pull it from both sides and it works.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer packet

It definitely helped me “Fuel My Better” for morning workouts - I was able to get a great workout with sustained energy each time I drank it before morning exercise. Also, I often work out late at night – you’ve likely seen my bike trainer selfies at 10pm after the kids are in bed. I am going to try the Pre-Workout Energizer the next time for some late-night energy to get the workout done so I don’t rely on a late-night caffeine boost that keeps me up half the night!

It’s a keeper for me.

Do you eat or drink anything before a workout?

Disclaimer: I was provided the Vega product for free in exchange for the review, but all opinions are my own.

 

Tri Talk Tuesday: Triathlon Race Logistics

It’s race week! I love race weeks – the excitement, the anticipation, and of course: the freakout. I don’t always get “the freakout”, but I have it in full force this week as I gear up for the New York City Triathlon. This race has some notable “firsts”: My first triathlon of the 2014 season and my first Olympic-distance triathlon. And more than that, it’s a logistical challenge for me if ever there was one – out of town and I can’t just drive my car to the race start! So in honor of the madness, and just because I need you all to obsess with me and enjoy my particular brand of crazy on this lovely Tuesday, the Tri Talk Tuesday linkup is themed: Triathlon Race Logistics.

But first – did you pop by yesterday? Did you catch that big post with all the amazing raffle prizes? I launched the “Race to the Finish Line Raffle” – tons of generous companies have donated awesome prizes to support the Ronald McDonald House through my fundraising for the New York City Triathlon. If you’re a triathlete or a runner, this is for you – for as little as a $5 donation to the Ronald McDonald House, you could win an XTerra Wetsuit or another cool prize! Go enter HERE!

I’m linking up with my buddy Courtney at The TriGirl Chronicles today, our third co-host Miranda is en route back from Ironman Lake Placid, where she had a spectating vacation!

So: Triathlon Race Logistics. 

GULP.

Triathlon Race Logistics

I’m such a genius that my first triathlon last year, as well as this race (with its “firsts”), are both out of town Racecations. Why do I do this to myself? Why don’t I go easy and do something local, where I can just toss my bike in the car and drive over, and ease the pressure on myself a bit?

Because that’s me. I sign up for the things that make my life crazy.

I posted last week about Getting Ready for the NYC Triathlon, and I’ve been busy getting ready ever since! So here are some logistics tips for a triathlon that I’m learning as I work through the details of my weekend:

  • Keep a really detailed Triathlon Transition CheckList. I like to keep mine on my computer, so that I can always reference it, print it out each time I need it, and check off items one by one as I pack them. I even use it for packing up the car for brick workouts.
  • Read through the Athlete’s Guide that the race provides, and any other related instructions. This will tell you whether you need to attend a pre-race briefing the day before the race, when you need to check in your bike, and you can plan your weekend accordingly.
  • Practice transitions! ‘Nuff said.
  • Find out whether the race “wetsuit legal”. Don’t have a wetsuit? You can rent one or swim without if the water temperature is comfortable enough.
  • Practice swimming in your wetsuit ahead of time! You may be surprised at how it feels in the water.
  • Also, practice stripping off the wetsuit in a hurry. Can you reach the strap so you don’t need help from a stranger? Does the sleeve get stuck on your watch? Practicing ahead of time will save you stress.
  • Check the race website or Athlete’s Guide for the swim wave assignments. If you will have a lot of time between the start of the race and your swim wave, learn when you have to be completely OUT of transition and pack a snack and anything else you might need for waiting. For example, in the New York City Triathlon there is a long  wait for the “Red Transition Area” athletes, and they might be waiting two hours after leaving transition until their swim wave starts. Think through what you might need and pack it in a way that you won’t leave trash or other items on the grass by the swim start.
  • Transport your bike in a safe and convenient manner. If your race is local, this might mean a bike rack on your car, but if the race is out of town, you will need to think through the logistics of getting your bike there safely. This has been a huge stress for me for New York. Many “big” races (Ironman, NYC Triathlon, etc.) have a bike transport service – you drop the bike off at a designated bike shop in your metro area, and it magically appears at the race transition area. Yes, this sounds awesome! But it’s expensive and it isn’t in my budget for this weekend. You can also pack the bike into a box and FedEx it to your destination, but this might not be convenient. I’m choosing to take mine on the bus from DC to New York with me. I have a plan – I just bought a bag to protect it, and spent last night practicing disassembling and re-assembling the bike so it fits in the bag safely - wish me luck!
  • Plan your race morning transportation well in advance. Fine, for a local race, this isn’t a big deal. But for a race out of town in an unfamiliar area, you don’t want to have a huge surprise on race day when you are sitting in traffic and don’t make it to transition in time before it closes! I just decided to stay closer to the race on Saturday night and booked a hotel. From that hotel I can either take a cab or worst case: walk to the transition area in less than 30 minutes. I think it will serve me well to not be on the other side of town and take away a lot of stress.
  • Line up your cheering section! We all love to have fans and last week we talked about race day support. For a triathlon, this is logistically more complicated than a running race – but it’s also pretty exciting for spectators. Plan in advance with your friends and family who plan to come, and help them out with your expected timing at various locations for them to cheer. Your swim wave may not start for a while, so try to estimate your day’s timing to ensure they have a fun time and don’t miss you zooming by on the bike (because you’ll be zooming, right?).

To add to all of this, I’m packing for my me, a child (we’re going to NY for my daughter’s medical appointment), and dealing with running a really fun Raffle to fundraise for the Ronald McDonald House.

If your race is a Racecation, check out my Racecation Packing Tips, from a Friday Five post this past Spring! I will amend it one day soon for a triathlon racecation!

These are definitely not all the tips in the world, but hopefully it’s a few things to help you think through Race Day Logistics!

What is your most challenging logistical aspect of a race?

Have you ever done a race out of town? Share one tip with us in the comments!

Tri Talk Tuesday

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Race to the Finish Line Raffle!

It’s time for something really exciting, like super-duper-crazy exciting! I’ve been working on this Top Secret project for a while and am so thrilled to finally announce the “Race to the Finish Line Raffle“!!! Do you like to win amazing prizes? Do you like companies like Oiselle, Road ID, Nuun, Sweaty Bands, and XTerra Wetsuits? Well, keep reading!

Race to the Finish Line Raffle

As you know, I’m doing this crazy thing called the New York City Triathlon on Sunday THIS SUNDAY! (cue the OMG!!). There is a really good reason why I added this big, logistically challenging, Olympic distance race before all my triathlons this year.

And that reason? The Ronald McDonald House.

Ronald McDonald House logo

We are frequent guests of the Ronald McDonald House New York – it’s been our home-away-from-home when we travel from the DC area to NYC for my daughter’s medical appointments, surgery, and MRIs. We travel to New York from the DC area to see a doctor who is the expert in hand tumors, because her tumor, Lipofibromatosis, is so rare - there are less than 100 cases known worldwide.

We just celebrated the two year anniversary of her second surgery and I am so happy to be able to give back to the House for all they have done for us. When we stay there, I get to know children and families going through scary medical challenges, and while the kids may look like “patients” during the day at the hospital, they come back to the house and they are just kids. They stay in a more residential environment than a hotel with their families, where they can play with other kids, eat home-cooked meals, and do crafts with amazing volunteers. They are all lit up from the inside when they are at the House.

Crafts at the Ronald McDonald House

Sabrina learned to make Rainbow Loom bracelets with the help of awesome volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House when she was in NYC for a medical appointment last summer. You can see Ronald himself in the background.

My daughter and I will be checking into the Ronald McDonald House on Thursday for her next appointment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and we want to give back on behalf of all the families and children who have this oasis in New York City. Traveling to NYC for medical care would be impossible for so many, if not for the work of the House.

So please join me in supporting the Ronald McDonald House New York by entering my Race to the Finish Line Raffle! I’ve gathered donations from my favorite companies as a THANK YOU for your generous support of my fundraising efforts for the New York City Triathlon’s Team Ronald. See this as “Cynthia’s Favorite Things” –  you’ll see below that most of these things I own and love!

Here’s the run-down of the amazing prizes that generous companies have donated in support of this worthy cause:

1. Knuckle Lights – 1 pair ($39.99 value). I reviewed Knuckle Lights this past winter and I am still in serious love with these things. In fact, I don’t just use them for running – they are simply handy hand-held flashlights that make sense for running in the dark. If you haven’t tried them, you should check them out!

Knuckle Lights

2. Borelli Active Performance Scarf in Sea Glass ($38 value). I reviewed this scarf as part of a Girls Gone Sporty Gear Girls Review and I have loved it ever since. I wear it all the time, in many ways (see photo below). The designer, Marissa Borelli, has offered a new one just like it for one lucky raffle winner!

Borelli Active Performance Scarf

3. Another Mother Runner Prize Pack: Signed Book (either Run Like a Mother or Train Like a Mother), Magnet, & Bumper Sticker ($22 value). I’m a longtime fan of Another Mother Runner and enjoyed being featured as the Follow This Mother recently, so I reached out to the two awesome ladies Dimity and Sarah and they offered up this prize pack!

Another Mother Runner Prize Pack

4. Nuun 4-pack of hydration + water bottle ($35 value). I love Nuun and drink it all the time in training, at races, and just on a daily basis (I had some with dinner tonight!). Nuun has graciously offered a 4-pack and a water bottle to support the Ronald McDonald House.

Nuun 4 pack water bottle(winner may not receive the flavors pictured above.)

5. Bondi Bands – pack of 5 ($45 value). I reviewed Bondi Bands recently and love them for so many situations – I love having a wide band to keep my frizzy hair out of my face this summer! Bondi Bands has sent me a 5-pack for this raffle, and you could win all 5 headbands with these fun sayings on them!

Bondi Bands

6. ENERGYbits – 2 sample-size packs ($20 value). You may recall my review and giveaway of ENERGYbits back in the fall. I reached out to ENERGYbits to keep in line with my “companies I love” prize giveaway and they offered up 2 sample size packs! This equals 2 servings so that you can really give ENERGYbits a try and see how they fuel you for your day-to-day life, or for exercise.

ENERGYbits

7. Oiselle Songbird V-Neck Shirt ($30 value). Oiselle has seriously cute clothes, and what’s not to love about this shirt? Oiselle doesn’t typically do giveaways or raffles, but they were moved to support this great cause – what an awesome company! The shirt will be in the “Fresh Green” color, in the size of the winner’s choice (inventory dependent).

Oiselle Songbird V-Neck Shirt.jpg

8. Cytomax Quick Energy Pack ($28 value). I love Cytomax for cycling and fitness hydration, and so I’m offering up this Quick Energy Pack of 6 packages of Energy Chews, 6 hydration packets, and 2 water bottles. I was so fortunate to receive a large container of Cytomax for the ZOOMA Annapolis half marathon training and want to pass along the on-the-go version of the sponsor goodies to a winner!

Cytomax

9. Sweatybands – one headband ($15 value). Sweatybands is everywhere – literally. If you go to a race expo, to a running store, or really walk around an area where people are active, you can’t miss Sweatybands.

I love love them, and am thrilled that they sent a headband to support the Ronald McDonald House! Here is the one they sent, which I’ll send to one lucky winner:

Sweaty Bands

10. Road ID Gift Card ($31.98 value). I know $31.98 sounds like an odd number, but Road ID was so generous to donate this gift card in exactly the price of their most expensive ID (the Wrist ID Elite) plus the cost of shipping! It’s on its way to me now, and I can’t wait to pick the winner for this one and send it out. You know I’m a huge Road ID fan and mentioned it in my Safety Tips for Female Runners post a couple of months ago. I just bought myself a new one with some fun charms and interchangeable bands.
Road ID
11. One tennis racket autographed by Venus Williams! You know I love Venus and have been really obsessed with her clothing line EleVen so much that I became a brand Ambassador. So of course I had to list this prize as #11! Stay tuned for a review now that I’ve bought several items and tried them out! Oh and the new fall/winter/spring collections are really exciting!
But anyhow, we’re not here to talk about clothes, we’re here to talk about the raffle prize! Venus has signed a tennis racket and it’s on its way to moi via trusty FedEx. I’ll update this post with a photo when it arrives! She met Sabrina a couple of weeks ago at the Washington Kastles match, and has such a big heart that she donated this racket for the fundraiser!
Sabrina meeting Venus
12. Sweat Pink Swag Bag: SweatPink tankSweatPink lacesSweatPink Momentum Bracelet ($70 value). I’m an active Sweat Pink Ambassador, and the awesome ladies at Fit Approach have a soft spot for the Ronald McDonald House – they offered up this amazing Sweat Pink Swag Bag! I wear my Sweat Pink tank top all the time, as you’ve probably noticed in photos
Dad daughter cycling class
Also included in the Swag Bag are the signature pink laces, and this gorgeous wrap bracelet.
Sweat Pink laces bracelet
13. One XTerra Wetsuits Vortex Sleeveless Wetsuit ($300 value). Guys, this one is huge. I’m an XTerra Sponsored Athlete and I have a little magic going on, and I can order a wetsuit for one lucky winner. If you are a new triathlete and need a wetsuit, XTerra is for you – all you have to do is enter my raffle per the instructions below, and for as little as a $5 entry, a wetsuit could be yours. If you’re a seasoned triathlete, you could give XTerra a try!
The wetsuit will be ordered by me in the size of the winner’s choice, and shipped directly by XTerra. Timing of delivery is inventory dependent, see XTerra website for size charts and availability of sizes.
Xterra Vortex Sleeveless Wetsuit
14. One XTerra Wetsuits Vortex Fullsuit Wetsuit ($400 value). Umm, another biggie. Huge! I’m also going to raffle off one long-sleeved wetsuit from XTerra, same deal as above. I can’t think of a better cause to benefit from my partnership with XTerra.
XTerra Vortex Fullsuit Wetsuit

NEW PRIZES – JUST ADDED!

15. SOAS Racing Red Houndstooth Run Kit (tank top and shorts), Size Large ($88 value). I am in love with SOAS clothing for triathlon AND running, and am a member of the 2014 Brand Ambassador Racing Team, so I’ve been wearing the gear in all my races. Check out the run kit in action in these race recap photos. The apparel is women’s-specific fit, and feels great in action. The outfit offered is in Red Houndstooth, and will be size Large. You will love it for running – so light and comfy!

SOAS Racing red houndstooth run kit 1SOAS Racing red houndstooth run kit 2

16. Five Bani Bands headbands – 5 winners! ($10-20 value each, depending on the headband). I first tried Bani Bands at the Blogger Brunch I attended the weekend of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I absolutely love my headband – it doesn’t slip and it’s even adjustable so it will fit anyone and no worries about it stretching out over time! Bani Bands is so generous and offered up 5 headbands! Pictures to come, they are being shipped to me as we speak. I’ll pick 5 separate winners for these.

17. Headsweats Supervisor Visor in Black ($20 value). You’ll recognize this from most of my training and race pics – this is my favorite visor and I wear it all the time! I’m a Headsweats Ambassador (see sidebar for coupon code if you’re in the market for headwear) and love this visor for running. Here I am at the Fit Foodie 5K:

Fit Foodie Run finish

Headsweats has generously donated one new black Supervisor just like mine to the cause since they know how much I love it!

So… are you enticed? Excited? Like winning things? Want to enter? WELL, LET’S GO!

Here is how to enter the raffle: Make a donation in a $5 increment to my Ronald McDonald House fundraising page for the NYC Triathlon before August 4: CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

* Donations in $5 increments = 1 raffle entry for every $5 donated ($5 = 1 entry, $10 = 2 entries, etc.).

* Bonus entries are awarded at the following levels: 

  •             $25 donation = 6 entries (1 bonus entry)
  •             $50 donation = 15 entries (5 bonus entries)
  •             $100 donation = 30 entries (10 bonus entries)

You can see that $25, $50, or $100 donations will give you way more chances to win a prize! All donations are tax-deductible and are made on the fundraising page directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

So come on – race me to the finish line and let’s support the Ronald McDonald House New York together! I’ll be checking into the House on Thursday with my daughter and would love to say that I met my fundraising goal (or exceeded it!), thanks to the generosity of so many of my favorite companies and the generous people entering the raffle.

And of course, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and photos throughout the New York City Triathlon weekend!

Leave a comment telling me which item you’re most excited about! 

If you aren’t able to donate and enter the raffle, please consider sharing using the buttons at the bottom of this post!

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The Details:

  • Open to residents of the continental US and Canada for shipping cost reasons (I’m shipping a lot of these items at my own expense).
  • Entries will be valid for all donations through Monday, August 4 at 11:59pm.
  • Minimum entry to raffle is $5 for one “ticket”.
  • Winners will be chosen by random number generator.
  • Winners will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Winners will be sent a short survey requesting them to rank their prize preference in order. Prizes will then be chosen for each winner in the order that winning numbers were drawn, according to the prize preference ranking surveys.
  • A winner may decline the prize that is chosen for them, and a new winner will be selected.
  • Maximum of one prize per person.
  • Previous donations to the fundraising page are eligible for raffle entries.
  • You must use a real email address when donating so that I have a way to contact you.
  • All items are brand new, either donated by the company or by me, as indicated.

Friday Five: Fitness Goals Check-In!

Happy Friday! Another Friday, another Friday Five linkup with my DC Trifecta partners in crime – Courtney from Eat, Pray, Run, DC and Mar from Mar on the Run. We chose the theme of “Goals”. It seems like only yesterday that I laid out my Five Fitness Goals, but it was way back in April - that was three months ago! And now the summer is half over, but my triathlon season is just beginning. Time has been flying, so I figure it’s time to do a Five Fitness Goals Check-In!

Five Fitness Goals

Let’s review my goals from the April Friday Five post, ignore all the drama in the comments on that post (seriously, did you catch all that?) and see how it’s going:

1. Run Goal: Sub-2:00 Half Marathon

Hasn’t happened yet, but you might recall that I came *thisclose* at the Frederick Half Marathon! My recap says the final time was 2:00:04, but looking at the results now it says 2:00:03! Grrrr… I could have run 4 seconds faster! Okay, okay, I’ll stop beating myself up about that one. I was thrilled with my finish time, I swear. I just came so close to this 2014 goal!

I may go for it at the Baltimore Half Marathon in October, but I am not going to decide now – I could be totally burned out from the Augusta half Ironman three weeks prior. And I tossed in the Army Ten Miler in between those two races. Someone stop me from signing up for another race in September and October! 

If I don’t do it in Baltimore I have my eyes on a nice flat, fast half marathon later in the fall/early winter. :)

2. Bike Goal: Endurance and Confidence

Working on it! If you missed yesterday’s post about Getting Ready for the NYC Triathlon (it was posted late in the day!), I mentioned a hilly 20-mile bike ride recently. So that was 3 weekends in a row of hilly, decent-length rides – once previewing the course of the Maryland Olympic Duathlon, once doing the duathlon (recap coming!), then the 20-miler with the Luna Chix.

I need to start hitting even longer rides to test out my nutrition plan and build my endurance, but I’m happy that I’m at Olympic-distance cycling right now. I almost can’t look past the NYC Triathlon yet since I’m overwhelmed by it this week.

3. Swim Goal: Bilateral breathing

Working on it! I tend to go with the safe breathe-on-the-right and have to remind myself to do both. I’m going to try to get one more open-water swim practice this weekend before the NYC Triathlon to try my new wetsuit, and will work on the bilateral breathing in the lake. I’m sure it will be different than in the pool, especially with other swimmers around me making waves.

4. General Fitness Goal: Stronger Core

I’ve been taking a hiatus from my usual Pilates class, but I’m back to barre and doing some core work on my own. Honestly, Wednesday’s Barre3 class was more of a glute-buster than a core workout this time, and I’m feeling it in my “seat”. Ouch!

Barre3 Georgetown studio

5. Race Goals: Half Fanatic and Ironman 70.3

 Give me a big HIGH 5!

High Five

Well, fine, maybe a half a High Five (a high two-and-a-half? A one-handed-high-five?). I am a HALF FANATIC!!! I ran three half marathons within 90 days. What do I get for doing that feat of endurance? Nothing!

Well, that’s not true – I get to say I’m a Half Fanatic, pay a membership fee, be assigned a unique number (I’m Half Fanatic #7608!) and be in an awesome community of fun people who love to run half marathons. Instant buddies at runs and validation that I’m not the only crazy half marathoner out there.

The second half of this goal will come on September 28. (Spoiler alert: I’m going to finish!)

In yesterday’s post I hinted at something big and fun I’m working on. Check back this weekend for the announcement – there are going to be some awesome prizes ’round these parts – I’m launching something I’m calling the Race to the Finish Line Raffle!

As you know, I’m fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House by doing the NYC Triathlon, and I have some amazing companies who have donated raffle prizes for this worthy cause. I’m getting it all together in my “spare time”, meaning after midnight on weekdays – and you wonder why I’m not getting up at 5:30am to run this week…

I’m so grateful to all the people who have donated so far, and am hoping to make my goal by the time I check into the Ronald McDonald House next week. And you could win an awesome prize!

Are you a goal setter or are you an anti-goal-setter?

Have you accomplished any of your 2014 goals already? 

DC_linkup

Getting Ready for the NYC Triathlon

Overwhelmed. Nervous. Confident. Excited. Grateful.

I’m all of these things as I get ready for the NYC Triathlon weekend. And most of it doesn’t even have to do with the race itself. I have so much going on related to the race and the weekend in New York, I need to take it piece by piece:

Overwhelmed

The logistics of getting to/from NYC for my daughter’s medical appointment and this race are pretty complicated - it’s enough to drive me off the deep end. I’m taking a bus with my daughter, our suitcase(s), my bike, a carryon/laptop bag, and a purse. And then I’ll drag that stuff from bus to cab to the Ronald McDonald House.

Take the bus Thursday afternoon? Take the bus early Friday morning? So much to sort out and I’m talking myself in circles.

The race weekend logistics have been consuming me, along with making lists of things not to forget and planning a top-secret project that I hint at down at the end of this post (don’t skip ahead, cheaters!).

You’d think since I do travel and logistics planning as a large component of my job that I would feel super low-key and zero-stress about it, but somehow this seems more complicated than getting 150 people and instruments around the world. More on the logistics of the actual race on the blog thisTuesday, because it’s the THEME of Tri Talk Tuesday.

In Tuesday’s episode of “Yes, She Signed Up For THAT”, join Cynthia as she obsesses compulsively about the logistics and race prep for the NYC Triathlon and watch from the sidelines as she slowly loses her mind…

Nervous

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous about the race itself, it’s my first Olympic distance triathlon and it’s in unfamiliar territory. I had my whole race calendar planned out to have the Iron Girl Sprint triathlon in August, my first Olympic in early September locally, and then the half Ironman in late September. And then I screwed up the planning by adding this one in there ahead of all the other races!

But I’m loving it, in a nervous-stomach-turned-upside-down, I-feel-like-I’m-losing-my-mind-type-of-way.

I’ve been reading race reports and now I’m getting nervous about the swim – oh, just little things like condoms floating down the Hudson River, dead fish tickling my arm, and drinking toxic water by accident. But I just bought a new long-sleeved wetsuit so hopefully that will keep my body more covered during the swim!

Xterra Vector Pro long sleeved wetsuit

My new baby: the XTerra Vector Pro wetsuit, long-sleeved. I’ll let you know how it works out!

Remember: you can use SA-STEELE for a discount on XTerra wetsuits.

The bike course: apparently it’s hilly, I’m obsessively trying to determine how it compares to the Maryland Olympic Duathlon that I did last week, which I thought was pretty darn hilly.

And yes, I’m a little nervous about the race day logistics – getting to my “Yellow Transition Area” (this race is so huge they have two transition areas!), doing all my race prep in transition, and leaving transition by 5:15am sounds kinda insane. It’s going to be like the Princess Half Marathon where I get up at 3am or some crazy time and then had to race.

Confident

Here’s me: I’m nervous but confident. Total double personality.

Yes, it’s my first Olympic distance triathlon, but I just did an Olympic Duathlon and didn’t die. I know that if I can do the Duathlon, I can do this race. The swim is a down-current swim in the Hudson River, and if you float down on your back, you’ll even make the cutoff. So I’m not too concerned with the swim timing, I’m a decent swimmer. And I’m sure I’ll get the bike course done, it might not be fast, but it will happen. And I think I can handle the running, especially with the spectator support in Central Park.

BUT: My training hasn’t been that consistent during the weekdays. Hey, but on the weekend I’m a rock star!

On Saturday I decided to “run commute” TO a family BBQ, which was just over 5 miles away. I started out feeling really sluggish and slow, and was so stressed about my pace. The doubts crept in – how am I going to rock the NYC Triathlon if this is my run pace this week?

Somewhere around mile 4, the magic kicked in. Have you felt that magic? I suddenly let go of my pace, my stress, and just relaxed. I felt my body and mind change in that moment, knowing that this is the part of training that makes the most difference in my ability to keep going another mile when I’m not feeling it. I arrived at my destination and kept running to make it an even 6 miles.

run commuting 6 miles

On Sunday, I did a group bike ride with the DC Luna Chix, and it was a nice hilly 20-miler in Northern Virginia. I wanted hill practice and I got it! I love the Luna Chix activities and wish I could attend more often – they even hand out Luna bars at the end of the workout.

Luna bars

After the ride, I went out for what was planned to be a 2-mile run for a brick workout, but I got lost and ended up doing a 3-mile run. Oops.

bike run brick with luna chix

 Excited.

Oh yeah, I’m excited about the race. Seriously, I get to race through New York City – what fun! I’m looking forward to the experience. Not much more to say other than my excitement is totally distracting me from mundane things around the house like bills and laundry. Wouldn’t YOU rather read race reports of the NYC Triathlon than do the dishes?

Grateful

I’m actually headed to NYC first and foremost for my daughter’s medical appointment. As I’ve mentioned, I’m doing this race as a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House since we are frequent guests there through her tumor surgery and follow-up care. I’m supremely honored and grateful to be  checking into the House knowing that I’ve been able to give back to them for all they’ve done for me.

 

Speaking of which… I’ve been working on something amazing and cool, so stand by! I’ll give you a hint: there are awesome prizes involved for the awesome supporters of the Ronald McDonald House. You are not going to want to miss this!!!

So.. there you have it. My obsessive preparations for NYC have taken over any thoughts of Ironman 70.3 Augusta. Oh, there’s a little thing called a Half Ironman in my future? You’d never know by the focus I have on NYC. This is no training tri, people, this is my focus for the next week and a half. And I cannot wait!

Have you felt that running magic lately?

What is making you stressed and anxious lately?

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

 

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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!