Week 1 of Triathlon and Ultra Training


It’s that time of year again! Time for me to ramp up my training for my 50K in the Fall. Last year my training got all shifted as my miscarriage and resulting D&C thwarted my attempts at a 50-miler last November and I settled instead on a local 50K. That’s the same 50K I’ll be doing again this year. And training starts this week!

Of course, I also still have one more triathlon to go this season and I’m doing a training session for Fleet Feet for that one and that training starts this week too!

Except the triathlon schedule considers a week Sunday thru Saturday and I prefer to organize it like my 50K training program does and make it Monday through Sunday.

Other than that? Same start day!

Here are the issues I face with this challenge:

1) How do I merge the two programs with each other. For example, this weekend I need a 10-mile long run one day and a 1-hour medium effort run the next for my 50K training. But for my Tri training I need one day where I Bike for 45 mins and run for 30 minutes, and another day where I do this 1200m swim workout. Do I do my 10-miler on my swim day? Or merge my 10-miler with my 30-minute run on my bike day? I DO NOT KNOW.

2) How do I merge the two programs with the rest of my life. For example, this weekend we’re going to Knoxville for my 20th reunion Friday night and coming home Saturday night. I could get in a run in Knoxville, but not a bike or a swim. So, now I have to basically put my bike and swim into Sunday, which is not the way I’d really like to combine the workouts because those are my two high-anxiety exercises and I prefer to keep them on separate days.

BUT! This is a damn awesome problem to have. I love that this is my life now. Trying to figure out how to mix up my swims with my bike rides with my long runs and how to do it in a way that allows me to reach my goals. I also love doing that mixed in with my professional life because that life requires a lot of sitting at a desk and I’m glad I have plenty of things that will help me mix that up a bit. Especially as we start the roller coaster of selling and then buying a house, on top of the fact that I’m SENDING MY BABY OFF TO COLLEGE.

Let’s recap my history: I don’t handle stress well. Unless “well” is stealing Donnie’s eclairs out of the fridge when he’s not looking. Then I handle it swimmingly. So, having a training program to keep me active will help keep me from jumping in front of delivery truck of potato chips and either A) committing suicide or B) hijacking the bus and eating all of it’s contents.

Here’s to a crazy 6 weeks!

Dear Dad,


You are missing a lot if hilarity down here on my triathlon adventure. Seriously. You’d be laughing your ass off at about 99% of the stories I’d call you with.

But – man – you’d also be SO PROUD of me. I loved doing things that made you proud and so many times lately I just long for that feeling from you.

I rode my bike on the road for the first time with a friend of mine last week. I am still having some saddle issues (It’s not a seat! Did you know that?) on my new-to-me bike so my friend got out some hex wrenches and taught me how to adjust it. You would have been cracking up (and possibly rolling your eyes) at how many times we each said, “Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey” during the whole ordeal.

I needed to put my bike on the trainer tonight to test out our adjustments. The trainer basically turns any bike into a stationary one. Unfortunately, mine doesn’t fit perfectly on it so I have to use something called a “Kinetic Skewer” that comes with the trainer. I’ve seen that damn thing lying around my house for years now and never knew what it was. Today? I looked up a YouTube video on how to use it and I put that baby through my wheel and my bike on the trainer.


And then! I adjusted the seat myself.

AND THEN! I realized I was getting too much resistance and noticed my brake was not letting loose from my tire so I worked on it too.


So, yeah. You’d probably be equal parts mortified I’m 36-years old and just now doing this, and proud of me for doing it anyway.

You’ve missed me doing two triathlons now. TWO! And one duathlon! You probably wouldn’t have been too shocked that I became an ultra-runner, since I expressed interest in that while you were alive, but you would have probably never pegged me for a triathlete. Let me tell you – it hasn’t been easy. Donnie has had about as much fun teaching me how to ride a bike as you had trying to teach me how to drive a stick.

I think you would have loved to take one of the Tri 101 classes here at our Fleet Feet. You would have most-definitely enjoyed all of the local riding groups. I wish we had discovered this world while you were still alive so we could have brought you a long on some of our adventures. I know how much fun you had at my brother’s Ironman – and how fascinating you found the entire event. You were the first one who told me about strippers!

NO. Not those kind of strippers. The ones that strip off wetsuits from triathletes after they get of the water. Donnie is his own stripper and I’m not doing any wetsuit legal races…but some day I’d like to be on the other end of that process just for your sake.

And DUDE. Donnie is kicking some ASS in this triathlete world. You beat him at our first 5K we ran in 2007 – it’s hard to believe that now because he’s running sub-20 5Ks now. His goal is to get under 19 minutes. NINETEEN MINUTE 5K! Can you believe it?

My point about all of this? I miss you. I wish you could be here to laugh at me when I almost leave my swim cap on for my bike, or be proud of me when I successfully shift gears on a hill. I think of you so often during all of this and wish I had started it earlier in life so that maybe we could have enjoyed it together.

Love you. Miss you.

What We’re Watching: ORPHAN BLACK

Spoiler Free! I promise!


We don’t watch a lot of TV lately. I watch So You Think You Can Dance but I watch it the next day and I fast-forward through everything but the dancing. That bring a 2-hour show down to about under an hour. I watch Franklin and Bash because it’s light-hearted and funny. That’s my basic weekly TV schedule lately. Less than two hours a week. That’s unheard of for me.

I do like to have shows on OnDemand or Netflix or something that I can turn to when I want to watch something. Right now it’s Merlin. I’m irritated the show got cancelled so I’m trying not to get too into it. So, it’s mainly just a show the kids and I curl up in bed and watch periodically.

Basically…right now…there’s only one show I’m really into. And that’s Orphan Black. It popped up on my radar a few times recently on list of “Shows You Should Be Watching”. We decided to start watching it this weekend after seeing several people online outraged that the lead – Tatiana Maslany – didn’t get nominated for an Emmy. That’s a good compliment to a show right there. And – of course – we love BBC American, so why now?

We’re four episodes in now and we are hooked. First of all – we both like it which is nice. Donnie usually likes all of the grown-up shows everyone else likes (Walking Dead, Game of Thrones…) and I don’t like those shows. Orphan Black is a good middle ground. I don’t feel like it overdoes the sex and violence (I’m a prude!) and he doesn’t feel like he’s watching The CW.

But that girl – Tatiana Maslany – is amazing. She’s basically playing four+ different characters and I’m constantly forgetting it’s the same actress. Not only that, but sometimes she’s playing one character who is playing another character and she pulls it off. For example: The main character is Sarah, but in one episode Allison had to pretend to be Sarah. Well, Maslany managed to play Allison-being-Sarah instead of just being Sarah and DUDE. It was AMAZING. How does she do that? She gives each of these characters enough of their own individuality that she can even play them being each other and make you forget it’s the same actress.

Plus…the story is super-fascinating. Clones finding each other? And then finding out they’re being hunted? There’s some great secondary character not played by that actress too – including Sarah’s sassy brother Felix who I want to come live with me forever. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Anyway…we’re still only four episodes in, but if you’re looking for something gripping to watch at your leisure? I think the first season just came out on DVD. We’re watching it free on Xfinity.

Unless you’re already watching it…and if you are…can you reassure me the whole season stays awesome? LURVE THIS SHOW.

Operation Reduce Commences NOW.

When Donnie and I shopped for houses two years ago, we focused mainly on size. We were hoping to add at least one – hopefully 2 – more kids to the mix. We also didn’t mind looking at houses that needed updating because Donnie and I enjoyed renovating our old house. He built a custom closet, tiled floors, painted, etc. I updated light fixtures and sink hardware. We settled in on this house that was huge but needed quite a bit of work.

It’s our forever home! We have our whole lives to update it!

We’ve been here four years now and haven’t done anything since we moved in.

Here’s two big problems:

1. My body sucks
We weren’t able to have more kids – it seems – and my reproductive issues have gotten worse and worse. I am now scheduled for surgery that will make conception basically impossible. We have let go of the idea of having more kids.

2. We became one-million times more busy.
We both start our athletic/health kicks to extreme levels after we bought this house. Meaning that all of our “free time” now goes to working out and training. Not to painting. Or even cleaning.

So. We made the horribly depressing decision to sell this house. It’s waaaaay too big for our needs now and we are waaaaaay too busy to care for it.

While this makes me sad on about 100 million levels, I’m also – at heart – a minimalist. This means I get to start really paring down our crap. Truth is? I’m pretty good about keeping tabs on that stuff anyway. I don’t like having every closet full of storage and every room full of furniture. While we bought a bunch of furniture for this house, it’s still no where near as full as it could be. And we still have copious amounts of closet space not being used. So…we are in a good position to cut the size of our house by a half.

But still – we hope to cut the size of our house down to a half. That fact combined with the simple need to prepare this house for sale, and we have started Operation Reduce. It’s easier to keep a house clean for showings if you don’t have too much crap to begin with. Plus, if we don’t want to take that crap with us, then now is the perfect time to sort through all of the crap we own.

This weekend we got started on the yard and…THE KID’S CRAP.

Nikkiz and Wesley have pretty big bedrooms, as bedrooms go. Plus, they have a giant playroom. This means that – over the last four years – they have accumulated quite a bit of crap. I’ve always been good about going through toys and such before birthdays and Christmas so that we’re not just piling on new toys on top of old stuff. We make regular trips to goodwill. However, they still have a lot of stuff. And if we have an extra room in the next house? It will not be a playroom. It will be an office. So, they need to be able to fit all of their toys in their own bedrooms.

By the time the weekend was over I had made 2 30-gallon bags for goodwill and 6 bags for garbage. They had so many broken toys and stained clothes and games missing pieces and electronics ruined by markers and liquids…I was just appalled. This is what happens when your kids have too much crap. They don’t take care of it because they have so much crap it doesn’t matter if something gets ruined.

Let’s just say there was a lot of exasperated, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”s being shouted this weekend.


By the weekend’s end, we had cleared out this many containers. That’s a lot of stuff that:
A) I won’t have to clean up every time we have to show the house or
B) We won’t be taking with us.

This feels so damn refreshing to someone like me!

And I kept the kids a part of everything. For example, I made a pile of all of their stuffed animals and made them fit what they wanted in one bucket. I gave Wes his box of matchbox cars and made him make them fit into a box half the size. I kept giving them smaller containers to put stuff in so they’d have to weed through the piles they had. It actually went really well. They didn’t pitch fits because they thought the whole process was kind of fun, going through every toy they owned. And most of the time? They didn’t even fill up the container I gave them.

The first weekend was a success. I feel 9 bags of clutter lighter. And I’m only mildly overwhelmed by how much left there is to do. If we can get our house on the market sometime in the Fall, we’ll be lucky. But we’re not sure how feasible that is.

I mainly just can’t wait to live in a smaller house that will require less cleaning.

Not that I do it in this house, but at least the amount I’m not doing isn’t quite as large as the amount I won’t be doing in a smaller house.

The One Where I’m Actually Shocked By My Own Results.

As always - thanks to Gregg Gelmis and We Run Huntsville for the pictures!

As always – thanks to Gregg Gelmis and We Run Huntsville for the pictures!

The Open Water Swim

Long story short? I didn’t drown!

Here’s the thing about me and water that I’m learning this summer. I’m actually finally okay with not being able to see or touch within a reasonable distance of being able to see or touch. Right now that “reasonable distance” is probably 200m since 400m is a comfortable swim for me now. I don’t panic as much as I thought I would at the beginning of the season. I’m confident in my back stroke and my sidestroke as backups should I start to panic or have a problem. So! 400m as a down and back in open water? Not too intimidating in theory.

This is where the problem was: THE PEOPLE. There were SO MANY PEOPLE and they were on my side and touching my feet and blocking my path or trying to swim over me or around me and AAAAAAA!!! See – the bad part about being a slow hodge-podge swimmer – as opposed to someone who can start with the freestyle and end with the freestyle without taking a break – is that I was surrounded by other people like me. So all of those bodies around me? We weren’t all swimming in the same path at consistent speeds. No…we were all frantic and dodging and switching strokes and heading for lifeboats and trying to find clear paths…and it freaked my shit out.

(Not literally. After the girl pooping in street story that has gone viral, I feel like I need to clarify that.)

Now…it didn’t scare me enough to motivate me to hang on a life boat. Or to seek out a buoy from a rescue swimmer. Those two things were legal and encouraged if you needed help or a reak. And while I wanted to do those things? There were other people doing those things and I was trying my best to GET AWAY FROM ALL OF THE PEOPLE. I just wanted a clear path to swim my own way without feeling anyone accidentally grab my foot or swim over top of me.

So, because I was panicking a bit about being around all of the people – and seriously considering leaving the swim all together – my assortment of swim techniques was the messiest thing in the world. I’d sidestroke, breast stroke, float on my back, flip to my side, doggie paddle, tread water, and then back to my Nemo sidestroke. I was so worn out and really doubting my ability to finish but I just kept doing it. Sidestroke…breast stroke…flip to my back…sidestroke…breast stroke…etc.

BUT! I didn’t stop and take a break at all. And looking back on how much I struggled? I’m super-proud of that. I didn’t even hold the rope or the buoys marking the course. I “swam” the entire distance without assistance of any sort. And I’m damn proud of that. And after what felt like 20+ minutes, I was done.

The Bike

I was SUPER-exhausted getting on the bike, but I mounted it without too much embarrassment. That’s the good part about starting in the back of the pack, none of us are there to win so people are quite forgiving. I got passed by several at the start as weaker swimmers gain ground on the bike. But once I got going? I felt GREAT. This was my first race on my new-to-me bike and it felt amazing having a good fit and a lighter ride. I’m also just getting much better on the bike. I’m still having to slow down to about 4 miles and hour to turn (SO NERVOUS! TURNING!) but overall I felt great. I was consistently passing people and passed about 7-9 people on the last 2-mile stretch. My “saddle” was hurting like a mo-fo by that point, but other than that I felt great! YAY for the bike!

The Run

The run SUCKED DONKEY BALLS. I was sooooo tired at that point having done a 9-mile bike ride faster than I’ve ever done it. I forgot to grab my running fuel on my transition so I had no extra energy. The sun was beating down and I was sooooo hot. I just really struggled to get going. It was ROUGH. The whole time I was looking at my watch, counting the distance one piece of a mile at a time. I found myself thinking I run 5 miles in my sleep, why is this 5K killing me? It was AWFUL. AWFUL. AWFUL.

The Finish and The Results

I sprinted to the finish and straight to the bucket of ice-cold Gatorade. When I’m hot on a run/bike I want nothing more than Gatorade. My body craves those electrolytes and that sugar like an addict. AND IT TASTED AMAZEBALLS.


Here is the comparison from my first triathlon to this one. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I nearly pooped my pants when I saw this! My swim was FASTER? (And the “swim time” included a jaunt to the transition area!) And my running pace was the same? AND LOOK HOW FAST I WAS ON THE BIKE! My overall time, even though the distance on the bike was 2.3 miles longer, was FASTER than my first Sprint! The only thing I did worse was my T1 transition but that’s due to the tattoo thing! And also I remembered everything this time. That T1 transition last time, I forgot my GPS and my sunglasses.

(Note: For comparison to the competitive triathletes – Donnie’s T1 time is like 45 seconds and his T2 time is like 30 seconds. HA!!!!)

So…even though I felt like ass during the swim and run? I’m super-happy with my times! Way better than I thought! So…all in all? SUCCESS! I’ve got one more to do this season – and the bike on that is 14 miles (EEK!) but it’s the same type of open water swim. Between now and then I need to get better with my swim so I don’t panic as much around all of the people.