Two Words: NAKED. TENTS.

We did it! Short story? Donnie finished 6 minutes faster than his dream time. It was a great day for all of us! I’ll post the longer story later but I thought I’d share some interesting/weird things I learned Sunday. If you think Why would I find this interesting? I don’t care about triathlons. you should still give this list a try because SO MANY of these things are SO INTERESTING. And some are a little (a lot) weird. You would think that being married to a triathlete for 5 years and participating in several triathlons myself would have made me prepared for this weekend. But MAN! Did I learn SO MUCH about the sport in general, but also about what makes Ironman races different (both because of the amount of racers and the distances completed) than other triathlons.

Things I Learned Spectating An Ironman

  • At our small local races, there’s always one color of swim cap in the packet pickups. But at the Ironman there were at least four. Silver were Pro Men. Yellow were Pro Women. Green were “age group” Men (non-pro). Pink were age group women. There were also orange caps and I think they were the the athletes in the physically disabled division and supposedly there were white but I never got confirmation on what those meant.
  • Speaking of physically disabled athletes…some of the athletes in that category were blind! One I saw on a tandem bike. I’ve heard of blind runners at big marathons because I know someone who volunteered to be a leader one time, but I didn’t ever consider a blind Ironman – but there were a few I think this weekend. I know I saw one for sure!
  • The officials posted at 4am race morning that the water temp was too warm for the race to be “wetsuit legal” but they allowed athletes to choose to wear their wetsuits anyway. They would simply forfeit their right to an age group award and they would have to be part of the group that entered the water last. I thought that was REALLY interesting and there were a lot of people in that group! I can see why – from what I hear wetsuits really help with buoyancy.
  • There are naked tents! Basically…if you don’t want to wear the same thing all day (Donnie has a Tri kit he wears for every event) there are big tents – separated for men and women – where you can run in and get naked to change your clothes! NAKED TENTS! I found that SO INTERESTING because I am almost dangerously modest so to know there are people who just don’t care and do what they gotta do just BLEW MY MIND.
  • There are bike aid stops! I have only done small triathlons so there’s no aid on the course but at this one there’s several and there’s evidently a “technique” to slowing down and grabbing the aid and finishing it before you get past the stop so you are “cleared” to litter. Another reason I couldn’t do an Ironman. I’d need to stop completely for that type of thing and I’d cause all SORTS of problems.
  • Everyone uses Blue and Red bags at the Ironman – those are the run and bike transition bags. Most people use the green bags which are your “morning clothes” – the things you keep on until you get in the water. You get to pick all of those up after the race. But there are also Orange and Black bags for “special needs” while on the bike and run. They get trashed if you don’t use them so they’re mainly for nutrition type things. I imagined you stop and get your Orange “special needs” bike bag and do what you need to with it and then disposed of the trash and ride off. BUT NO! We saw professionals riding through the 53-mile point getting the stuff out of their bag WHILE THEY WERE RIDING AT SUPER-FAST SPEEDS. I think there must be rules about “littering” because several seemed to be asking spectators to grab their bags and one girl was trying to get someone to take her trash and they didn’t realize it so she just shook her head and put it in her shirt. It was SO WEIRD watching people dig stuff out of bags going like 17mph or faster. Some were even filling up the water bottles between their handle bars WHILE RIDING. INSANE.
  • Some of the cyclist were getting High Fives from spectators where we were and that FREAKED ME OUT. I told the kids “DON’T GIVE HIGH FIVES!” because we are NOT a graceful family and I was TERRIFIED one of us would accidentally cause a huge bike wreck. I have NEVER seen cyclists ask for high-fives before. NEVER. And since Donnie was kinda in the “front” half of athletes, we saw all of the really fast guys/girls before him and THEY were the ones asking for high fives – so we’re not talking about the Kim-Type cyclists in the back! These are SUPER FAST cyclists! It blew my mind.
  • PEOPLE PEE ON THE BIKE. This was ENTIRELY new to me. I was listening to one story where a guy said he watched a girl pop up off her seat, hold her leg out to the side and then you see the pee coming down the leg sticking out. Another girl evidently congratulated her on her form and she said, “Thanks! I’ve never done that before! I’m proud!” And then the guy telling me the story said he had never done it either so he thought, “Great idea!” and did it too – several times! He was just as proud. Of course it happens, they’re on their bikes for 6 hours (that’s Donnie’s bike time, some are faster, some are slower) and they’re supposed to be drinking a lot so they’re bound to have to go. And what a pain – especially if you’re a girl – to stop and unclip out of your bike take off your spandex etc. But I had NEVER thought of it before! NEVER!
  • Someone threw thumbtacks and oil on the bike course. AND THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. Evidently in some circles this is considered a “funny prank.” Donnie was still out on the bike when I heard the official report but he was on the second loop so I was confident they had cleaned it up and he’d be safe from at least that problem.
  • For an Ironman, you don’t rack your own bike after you finish. A volunteer takes it from you while you head to get your run bag. I would NOT want to be one of those volunteers because I would NOT want to be responsible for those expensive bikes!
  • Interesting aid given out on the run course: Wet/Cold sponges and popsicle sticks covered in vaseline.
  • Close to the transition/finish areas there were HUGE yellow flags that said CROSSOVER and there were volunteer security crews there. Basically, that’s where you go if you need to get from one side of the run course to the other. The security was in charge of queuing people up until there was a “break” and then letting them through quickly until other athletes came up to that point. As someone who has seen spectators cluelessly crosse racer’s paths and almost get tackled? I was happy to see that.
  • There are volunteers in blue gloves at the finish line who basically carry finishers either to the medical tent (where TONS of racers get IVs of fluids) or to the chairs in the waiting area where their family can find them. It’s an insane job as a volunteer but I bet you just feel SO INSPIRED seeing all of those finishers!


Let’s Do It.

282955_10151583998038496_62141375_n Well! Today is the day! We leave this afternoon for Chattanooga where Donnie will run the Inaugural Ironman in the city. He’s been training since April for this event, has been coached since May, and has blown my mind every step of the way.

If you aren’t familiar with what training for an Ironman looks like, it basically looks like you took on a part-time job. You’re look at weeks where your workout load is 12-15 hours total. And that’s JUST the actual workouts. That’s not the prep that goes into each workout. The cleaning of the bike. The rinsing of the swimsuit. The blending of the recovery shakes. The filling of the water bottles. He drove to Chattanooga several times to do 90+ mile bike rides on the actual course itself. This is the perk of doing a close-to-home race. But the idea of driving less than 100 miles to RIDE YOUR BIKE FOR 108 MILES, seems slightly insane to me.

But the more insane part? Most of his long bike rides were followed by runs. Like 75 miles on the bike followed by 2 hours running. And that 2 hours? Was STILL done at a HUGELY FASTER pace than I could even do a 5K. He’s fast. SIDENOTE: His bike is worth more than E’s first car was worth.


We’ll find out around 4:30am Sunday morning when they take the official water temperature if the race is wetsuit legal. If it is, there will be people there to help him rip off his wetsuit after he gets out of the water. They’re called “strippers” in many circles and that was my Dad’s favorite story to tell after my brother did his Ironman in 2008. “Kim…they have these people there and their only job is to strip the wetsuit off of you as fast as possible when you come out of the water.” SIDENOTE: I helped as a stripper at a race once. It’s a hard job.

The swim is all down river. They plop them in and send them on their way. We were hoping to take the shuttle to the swim start and walk back but it turns out that Donnie can swim 2+ miles faster than I can walk it with two kids in two.

1077147_10152034916323496_460471955_oSo…the distances are supposed to be 2.4-mile swim 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run. Yes…You heard that right. The LAST thing he does for the day is runs a marathon. BUT! The Chattanooga bike course is actually FOUR MILES longer than the 112 it should be. And to an outsider, it may not seem like 116 is much more than 112 in the grand scheme of things. But trust me – IT IS A LOT MORE. But people are already making Chattanooga stickers that are different from your typical 140.6 stickers. I love that.

The bike and the run are both loops because – logistically speaking – it’s a lot easier to control loops in terms of safety and aid. This is good for us because our potential to see him is double what it would be otherwise. However, the bike course requires a shuttle and we’re worried they may be a little crowded so we may only see him once and then catch the shuttle back so we don’t miss any of the run.

If you want to keep up with him – here’s the info he posted on Facebook:

I’ll be wearing a myathletelive tracker. You’ll be able to see me (and my data) for the bike and run in real time here:
If you can’t live without knowing how I’m doing even for a second, you can link to the iphone/android app download from this page:
Official Ironman live feed:
IM Chattanooga page:

And – of course – you can follow me on Instagram if you want to see our updates as spectators.


It’s been a long and hard 6 months for him and I’m so very excited to see him finally do this thing he’s been thinking about so much. He’s as ready as anyone can be and I know he’ll do great. I would have thought that this would have been so hard on us as a family that I would never want him to do another one, but – while it has been hard – it’s also been loads of fun. Yeah, he’s working out 10-15 hours a week, and when he’s not working out he has no desire to wash dishes or mow grass…but it’s been fun to watch him. He’s learned so much and come so far and we’ve loved going to every race this summer gearing him up for the big event. I’m actually really excited he wants to do it again next year!

So…off we go. I’ll try to blog from Chattanooga but I may be too exhausted, so if you don’t see me here, catch me on Instagram.

Farewell, Bullet Journal Volume III

If you’re new to bullet journals…here is a good primer to my particular method and why I like it. Here is a follow-up to what I started doing differently once I got used to the method. Here is my write-up celebrating ONE WHOLE YEAR to using this method. And here is the review of the Rickshaw case I ordered for my bullet journal.

It’s my favorite time of the year! It’s new Bullet Journal Day!

Well, technically it’s tomorrow but for the sake of the blog…It’s Today!

One of the things I hated about conventional planners and calendars is that you only get to feel that thrill of a new one once a year. Or, if you’re me, you buy new ones several times a year to get that “new” feeling, defeating the purpose of them all together. But with a bullet journal, when you fill it up? You get a new one! It took me 6 months to fill volumes 1 and 2 but since I started using mine as a scrapbook (still the BEST. IDEA. EVER.) I filled this one up in less than 3 months. And normally I would start a new one on the first of the month but I only have about 3 pages left in volume 3 and we’re about to take a big trip with lots of notes and such, so I decide to start the new bullet journal tomorrow, the day we leave.


One thing I ended up doing with this volume was putting washi tape along the edges of the “work” pages. We’ve had some big projects launch recently at Capra Strategy and I wanted an easy way to spot a page with work info that I’ll need to reference later. I also wrote “Capra” in the corner and highlighted it orange. I normal don’t have that many work reference pages in a row, but this was necessary with my last month or so of chaos. I love that you can SEE the chaos in the increased density of washi-covered pages.

Trying Something New

I’m trying something new with this next Bullet Journal. It may be a one-time thing (Perk! You can change methods in 3’ish months if you hate it!) but someone told me THEY do it this way so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m working in TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS in my bullet journal. You open it the normal way and you’ll see the index with the calendar pages and I’ll put my daily pages consecutively going in that direction. BUT! Flip the journal over and work upside-down and backwards and you’ll see a DIFFERENT index page with my reference pages listed. This seems like an interesting way to do it with some perks, but it also could be a PAIN IN THE ASS. Especially since I use a cover for mine.


When you meet the two sections together, the books is done. I don’t know, it seems like a more efficient way to organize things but it might not be worth flipping over constantly…I’ll let you know if I like it in 3 months, okay?

Until then…feast your eyes on one year of my life displayed awesomely on my shelf. THIS…this is my favorite thing about the bullet journal. It creates a gorgeous archive that makes me look all interesting and shit.


Dear IronWife,


You don’t remember me but I was a REAL bitch to you back in July 2012.

We were both at a triathlon in Chattanooga to support our husbands. We both had two kids, around the same age, and you were wearing an IronWife shirt and making signs for your husband with your kids while waiting on him to finish the bike.

And I hated you.

Well…hate feels like a harsh word…but I really did NOT like you.

You see…2012 was the first summer I tried being an active spectator – along with my small children – in my husband’s triathlons. It was his third season and the first two seasons I used the, “Wesley is too young to really be cooperative” excuse to avoid going to races with the kids. I did spectate one or two with them, but it always made me want to jump off the nearest bridge as my son spent ages 2-5 in what I politely refer to as his, “Demon Possession” Phase. I didn’t mind spectating on my own, but when I had the kids with me it was just SO. VERY. DIFFICULT.

In 2012 my son was really old enough to control a little bit, but he was still not an easy child. And I had started to lose patience with him AND the race about 2 minutes after the start.

July 2012

July 2012

The weather was SO HOT and my kids were SO WHINY and I had carried too much stuff around but was too far from the hotel to take any of it back and I just found myself very irritated with the entire scene. And there you were…wearing your supportive wife shirt with your well-behaved kids…making signs going above and beyond the cheering I was doing.

And I mocked you MERCILESSLY inside my own head. You seemed happy to be there in the heat with your kids cheering for your husband and I kinda wanted to trip you while you were walking down the stairs for setting UNATTAINABLE STANDARDS by which I had to compare myself.

And I am SO SO SO Very Sorry.

Because on Sunday I plan on eclipsing your support by a million times as my husband goes to race his first Ironman.

I plan on spending all day out on my feet, in the sun, with my two kids. And I plan on LOVING EVERY SECOND of it. We will all be wearing #TeamDonnie shirts that I had made and we’ll be carrying the gear we’ve accumulated after 3 full seasons of spectating as a family. The kids will have their own cameras to document and I’m challenging them with goals for cheering on other racers from our town. We made our Ironman a Good Luck cake this weekend and he’s been reading supportive letters every morning this week written by members of the family and collected by Me.

I see your IronWife shirt from 2012 and I trump it a million times over.

I’m sorry I was so insecure and so stressed that I took my irritability out on you. I’m sorry I made fun of you and your support inside my own head. I’m sorry I didn’t take the chance to befriend you like I have so many other spouses since then. I’m sorry I was an asshat.

But know I’ve thought of you often this summer, while I’ve supported my husband in his Ironman training. I’ve actually used you as a guide, as you seemed so purely selfless that day, focused on your husband so intently. I’ve often hoped that I look as dedicated from the outside as you did.

So, Thank You. Thank you for being the supportive wife I set out to be. And if our paths should cross again, I promise I won’t be such a bitch this time.



The Future Is Not Here Yet. In Case You Were Wondering.

Hey! I have an idea! Let’s quit setting the “scheduled” posts in WordPress because Zoot is too dumb to understand complicated things like “the future”.

Spoiler Alert: WE ARE NOT IN 2015 YET. If you set a post to publish in 2015, IT WILL NOT DO IT UNTIL 2015. I have made this mistake several times now, yet still, it continues!

Let’s recap, shall we?

photo 1

First! It’s Soccer Season! Wesley aged up to U8 and Nikki aged up to U10 and y’all? U10 is SO MUCH FUN. This is almost like REAL soccer. There’s a goalie (and we have some kickass goalies) and the girls understand field positioning and strategy and adapt in the moment and there’s some INSANE levels of athleticism. It’s great. I have loved watching her and her team SO MUCH. Wes is doing well too, they’re playing longer quarters this year in U8 and it does require a little bit more of an understanding of the game and not just, “Crowd the ball…try to score.”

I will say this – it is really difficult to wrangle two kids for soccer when most days we only have one free parent. Donnie and I are always both training for SOMETHING and we have to squeeze in our training during our non-work hours (obviously) so, most days, one of us needs to be doing a workout overlapping with one game or practice. I’m taking all practices right now but Saturday mornings, one of us ALWAYS has to be doing SOMETHING. Luckily, Nikki’s coach lives down the road so when there are simultaneous games at different ball parks (Yep. That’s fun.) they can help us out. This past weekend Donnie was finished with his bike ride before soccer started and I did my run afterwards. He took Wes’s game as he saw Nikki last, and I took Nikki’s. It’s weekends like this where I’m grateful we didn’t squeeze in another kid after Wesley. At least now we’re one-to-one.

photo 2We used Sunday Family Dinner this week to wish Good Luck to Donnie at his Ironman on Saturday. The entire family (his parents, brother, sister and their counterparts) all donned #TeamDonnie shirts as a surprise. We also all wrote him a “Good Luck” letter and he’s choosing one blindly every day this week as encouragement to build up to his race on Sunday. If you care about such things, feel free to follow me on Instagram which is probably where I’ll be posting my updates. You can also track him with the My Athlete Live tracker ap on your phone OR you can check his progress at the Ironman website. They always have live feeds set up for race day and if you’ve never watched the finish line of an Ironman? I highly recommend it. We often gather the family around our computer to watch our friends and it’s weirdly riveting to watch strangers accomplish a task this daunting. So many different reactions at the finish line! But all of them having just traversed 140.6 miles – so it’s awe inspiring.

This week involves a lot of me at the computer trying to do catch up (we had a BIG project at work culminate last week – EEK! So proud and excited!! Check it out!) so that I can take half a day off Friday and half a day off Monday surrounding Donnie’s Ironman. It’s a big week in our family. I’m sure you have at least one sappy, “My husband is so amazing!” entry to look forward to before and after this event.