2015 HSV Sprint Tri (1573 of 1640)-L

Huntsville Sprint Tri: A Family Affair

One of these years I’m going to convince E to join us at this race and then it will be the Best. Race. Day. Ever. Until then? This past Saturday will suffice.

Our plan was to have Donnie do the race alongside Nikki like I did last year, and Wes and I were going to do the relay with Wes as the swimmer. But – since he’s little and not 100% confident, I was going to do the swim alongside him. That plan was almost perfectly executed until Donnie got an infection in his elbow that was going to keep him from swimming. SO! Nikki would do the swim alone and then he would jump on his bike to do the rest with her. I knew I would finish the swim with Wes, so quite a bit behind her, so I hoped I’d be able to catch up and do the rest of the race with Nikki and Donnie.

We left the house with 3 bikes, 3 swim bags, and 2 nervous kiddos around 5:10am on Saturday. I woke Wes up right before we walked out the door so he could get as much sleep as possible. I had breakfast for him to eat at the race. We parked where we were instructed and walked the half-mile or so to the race area and headed over to transition to find our bike spots and got our transition areas kinda set up.

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Donnie and Nikki set up their stuff together because they reported the same swim times so got consecutive numbers. This was my first time being part of a relay team which meant we got our own bike racks! (The relay teams, not just us.) We set up our spot and headed to body marking!


After that the kids got some breakfast, we got our timing chips (they go on your LEFT ankle so as not to get tangled with your bike gears) and jumped in the pool for a warm-up swim.

That’s when Wes started to freak out.

He has swam 400m at our YMCA pool before, but it’s a 25yd pool so it’s not as long, visually, as the 50m natatorium pool. I’ve never really seen him too nervous about anything. He’s just…well…chill. Sometimes he acts nervous about stuff when he sees Nikki is so he can get attention, but he’s never really anxious. But Saturday? He was more nervous than I had ever seen him.

2015 HSV Sprint Tri (617 of 1640)-L

2015 HSV Sprint Tri (614 of 1640)-L

The great thing about this race is it’s full of first-timers so the back of the pack is just a big ball of nervous people which actually can make you feel better, believe it or not. Because those are the people you’re entering the water with, so it suddenly feels less like you’re in a race, and more like you’re in a group therapy session. I reassured Wes that he could do the whole thing on his back if he got really anxious. He jumped in the water and started to freestyle. He’s pretty good and fast with the freestyle, but he’s not perfected breathing yet so he gets worn out so it wasn’t long before he flipped on his back, I caught up with him (we go in separately) and started my roll as “cheerleader” for the race.

He did the swim about 60% on his back and about 40% freestyle but he made it! He took a 10-second break at the end of every lap (we had planned that in advance) and just did his thing, and I think he kinda had fun! Once we got out of the water he stayed with Donnie’s parents and I jumped on the bike to try to catch Nikki and Donnie. I caught them about 2 miles into the 7 mile ride and they were doing great. Nikki was getting REALLY anxious around cars (for good reason) and turns so I took the lead and Donnie brought up the caboose of our train and then she settled in better being able to see exactly where to go by following me but still having Donnie in the back coaching her. She did GREAT.

2015 HSV Sprint Tri R (1681 of 1735)-L

2015 HSV Sprint Tri R (1684 of 1735)-L

2015 HSV Sprint Tri R (1685 of 1735)-L

2015 HSV Sprint Tri R (1675 of 1735)-L

We headed back to transition to start our 2 loops around the lake. She stayed in much better spirits this year, I think partly because it wasn’t as hot and partly because we weren’t in dead last position off the bike. As much as I tried to make that funny last year (Look! We have a police escort!) it was discouraging for her and while we ended up passing some people on the run, she still was disheartened. This year we never even saw the sweeper cop so she started the run in a much better headspace.

Donnie gave her a challenges to meet (catching up with certain walkers) to earn short walk breaks and I would just pour water on her head whenever she asked for it. It was great, she did fantastic. We had Wes meet us before crossing the finish line so he and I could cross as a team and then it was all done!

2015 HSV Sprint Tri (1568 of 1640)-L

2015 HSV Sprint Tri (1574 of 1640)-L

Nikki was the only one in her age group again this year so she scored First Place but I told her that ALSO meant she was the bravest 9yo triathlete in town that day because she took a challenge no one else did!


She also improved last year’s time by 13 minutes and she didn’t even train as often as she did last year because I wasn’t working from home this summer so I wasn’t able to get her out as much as I would have liked.




All in all? HUGE improvement. She moves up to a more challenging age group next year so she’ll have to really work at her speed if she wants to place – but I’m hoping she’ll become more confident and maybe do it alone! That would be awesome.

Either way it was a great day and – as always – a great race. I just can’t recommend this event enough. It’s got a great mix of elites and first-timers so it makes it a super-fun race mood. It’s also got one of the best Race Directors in the business and she stays with all of the swimmers as they go in the water. If you’ll recall she helped calm me down MY first year and she does that for all of the swimmers which is SUCH a great gesture.

Can’t wait to do it again next year!!


Hello To The Next Decade Of Awesome.

I’m 40 today. I’ve been looking forward to 40 since, about 37 probably. My 30s were 1 million times better than my 20s so I’m banking on the same trend for my next decade in this body, on this earth. This body and this earth better not disappoint me in that regard.

There are a lot of things with me that are exactly the same was me in my 30s, but a lot of things are dramatically different as well. I still drink too much Diet Coke but I’m mostly an herbivore in my diet. I still love Harry Potter and reading Young Adult Fiction, but I also read adult fiction and even non-fiction which I hated when I turned 30. I still sleep with a stuffed animal my Dad gave me for my 10th birthday, but I finally stopped wearing his watch. I still have my favorite TV shows that I won’t miss but we no longer have cable. I still don’t really care about makeup or manicures or hairstyles, but I have started dressing up for work every day…and liking it. I still am terrified of large social gatherings with strangers, but I very much look forward to small gatherings of friends. I’m still married to the love of my life, but we have two more kids now. I’m a Mom to three now, instead of one, but one of those children is now a legal adult. I’m still a Daddy’s girl, even after he’s been gone for 6 years. I still am a lover of animals, but we’re down two from when I turned 30 and I still miss them terribly. I’m still blogging here, although less about infertility and pregnancy and more about running and bullet journals.

The one area that is drastically different is the area of fitness. When I turned 30 I hadn’t even run my first 5K. When I eventually did run a few, I had one that took me 39 minutes and I now have a sub 25-minute PR. I am currently signed up for my first 100K while I didn’t even know such a thing existed at 30. I didn’t swim or ride bikes and now I’m a triathlete. I had never uttered the word “burpee” or “plank” and no I got to boot camps for fun where burpees and planks are usually on the menu. My level of fitness at 40 is a million times higher than my level of fitness was at 30 and because of that, I can’t wait to see where I’m at when I turn 50.

The most fascinating thing to me about aging is looking back – not only on achievements I’ve made – but on how many of those I wasn’t even dreaming about a decade ago. I didn’t know about triathlons or ultra marathons when I turned 30. But I had also never heard the words “bullet journal” or “zendoodle” – two words I use daily now. I’m definitely looking forward to pursuing the challenges currently in my scope, but I also hope to discover new challenges that I don’t know to set my sights on yet.

I’m going to spend some time this morning with my new bullet journal (I’m switching to Leuchtturm1917 because their dotted notebooks come in HARDCOVER, I’ll report back after I’ve been using it a bit.) and then I’m going to go for a ride and a run before drifting into work a little later than usual. Then I’m going to eat dinner at my favorite restaurant and be sad my oldest child can’t celebrate with me.

But mostly today I’ll just be happy to be 40. I surround myself with people who prove age is no boundary for adventure, so another year is just another opportunity to be awesome. Another day to set fire to the world with my enthusiasm and spread joy in my community with my endless love for my friends and family. I’ve been beyond blessed these 40 years and I look forward to next decade of achievements.



We took our first vacation in 6 years in May. Part of the reason why it wasn’t a priority before was that the two week-long beach trips we took years ago nearly killed me. Having to care for small children away from home is a giant pain in the ass. Home is where all of the things are they are used to. Getting them used to naptime and bedtime and meal time in a strange place makes no vacation relaxing.

But I noticed in May that even with older children, if you’re the primary caregiver, vacations are still exhausting. I still had to do laundry halfway through our trip, I still monitored meal time and food needs for 3 of the 5 people. I packed snacks everywhere we went and tried to organize schedules so everyone got to do what they wanted. I got up stupid early to take advantage of early park hours just so I didn’t make everyone else suffer through my need to photograph every inch of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and so I could practice my spells without people being bored.

My vacation was still very much about caring for the family. I did all of the packing for Nikki and Wes, I loaded up the car for the trip and drove halfway. On the day we left I packed everything into the van myself and then when we got home I did all of the laundry from the trip.

Vacations are damn exhausting.

But today? I leave for a real vacation. I leave tonight and come back late Monday night. 5 days of worrying about ONLY myself. No one else will be depending on me for clean clothes or meals. I won’t have to clean the kitty litter twice a day or wash dishes. I won’t have to pack lunches or cook dinners. I won’t have to worry about bed times or leg cramps or nightmares. It’s me and only me for FIVE DAYS. I can wake up and run and not worry about whether or not Donnie has a workout first.

My brother and his wife are flying me to Denver as a birthday gift. They’re flying my Mom out too and we’re all spending the weekend in Breckenridge. I get to see my one nephew that I haven’t seen in over a year (I think? I’m pretty sure it’s been since they came for my 50-miler.) and I haven’t seen my SECOND nephew yet! He was born in January so I haven’t met him yet. I AM SO EXCITED.

Of course there’s still the Primary Caregiver stuff I have to do before I leave. Make sure all the laundry is done. Make sure the house is clean enough that it can be picked up for a showing. Make sure there’s groceries and pet food and kitty litter. Make sure Donnie knows schedules and obligations while I’m gone.

But once I’m on that plane? It’s all him. And all I have to do is make my nephews love me in 5 days. (The baby should be easy to win over, I’ll have to bribe my older nephew with ice cream and candy when his parents aren’t looking.) (Just kidding, Guys!)

I might blog from there, but I’m not sure how the internet availability will be. I’ll definitely be posting pictures of mountains on Instagram. I’m actually doing a 10K on the Fourth in Breckenridge which should be interesting. I ran in Denver when I visited several years ago and it was terrible because they have this weird situation where THERE IS NOT ENOUGH OXYGEN TO RUN. Luckily the ONLY time limit is that I have like an hour and a half to get to the aid station at mile 2.8. Even with no oxygen, I think I can swing that.

See you in the mountains!

“Fake Parachute Pants” Is Going To Be The Name Of My Memoir

I had something going on every night this week. And y’all? I am NOT a night person. If you want to meet me for breakfast or for a run at 5am – I am ALL over that. But an evening workout or dinner and a play? I’m the WORST. Luckily my workouts were with people who knew me well and my social outing with someone I could relax around so this week it wasn’t so bad being out “late”.

(I had to put that in quotes because I was still home by 9:30 every night. SOOOO LATE FOR ME.)

That meant I had no time after work or dinner to do the domestic chores like dishes or laundry so I’ve been doing all of that in the morning which has been TOTALLY CRAMPING INTO MY BLOG TIME. Luckily, this week is an anomaly because if I really went that long regularly without blogging I’d have to start paying a therapist.

The play I saw last night was called “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” and it was written by Nora Ephron and performed by a couple of my friends. Y’all? I LOVED IT. If you are local, you have two chances to see it, if you’re not local keep it bookmarked in your mind in case it pops up in your community. Basically it’s storytelling around clothing and it got me thinking of all of the memories I have associated with an item of clothing. Or an outfit. I walked out of there thinking of NO LESS that 20 stories I’ve probably never told on this blog, all surrounding clothing.

SO! Today? You get the one about the Michael Jackson concert.

My Mom worked for a charity services group when I was little. When the Michael Jackson Thriller tour came to town, the charity (which helped children) was given tickets and they had more tickets than kids so my Mom took me. I WAS SO EXCITED. But I had nothing to wear. So, my Dad took me to Hills which was a discount store that had clothing (In my memory it was like the Wal-Marts of today, but it may have been even cheeper) and we found a pair of fake parachute pants. I say “fake” because parachute pants had a specific fabric to them and these? These were more like plastic cargo pants.

BUT STILL! Close enough. They were maroon and I wore them with a white top with stripes that totally didn’t match but my pickins’ were slim and I was just excited I had something close to cool.

Except they were essentially plastic. And we were going to a hot arena for a crowded concert.

And they melted. ON ME. There was a non-plastic lining to the pants, THANK GOD, but the plastic outer layer? Melted around the ass area. I never wore them again.

The concert was amazing, I could barely see Michael Jackson and it was before the days of multiple Jumbotron Screens so I felt a little short-changed. Like, Why do they sell tickets here if we can’t see them? But it was still my first concert and my first melted clothing.

It happens to everyone at least once, right?

At least everyone who buys their clothes at Hills.

Split Timing at Mile 5

Turning My Kids Into Future Race Directors

Yesterday was my first day “off” in a whole week! My first rest day! I did 9 workouts in 7 days and then didn’t do SHIT yesterday and it felt great! What did NOT feel great was the incredible amount of binging I did as I was just so damn tired and when I’m tired all I can think to do is eat. So, you know, Yay! for consistent workouts! But Boo! for eating my weight in french fries!

Our town has a big race every Memorial Day. It’s the Cotton Row 10K. There’s a 5K and a 1-mile fun run too, but the big event is the 10K as it’s been running for 30+ years and it involves this fantastic hill that is so steep the road has actually been graded (grated?) to provide better traction for cars. It’s basically 3 miles uphill, and then 3 miles downhill. I was trying to do it in sub-56 minutes for several years (bake in the day they only gave out participation items if you did it under 56 minutes) and finally met that goal last year so this year I decided to finally give back to the event and volunteer. Nikki and I worked packet pickup (which we do for a lot of races, she loves packet pickup) on Sunday and then we all sat at the 5-mile mark yesterday calling out split times for runners. It was pretty great and it always makes me feel good to get my kids out volunteering at races because I want them to understand how many people it takes to get these races going. If you’ve ever run a local event but haven’t volunteered, try to find a way to do that, it will be eye-opening.

Packet Pickup on Sunday

Packet Pickup on Sunday

Split Timing at Mile 5

Split Timing at Mile 5

Split Timing at Mile 5

Split Timing at Mile 5

We have two ways to be “in the loop” for volunteer opportunities in our community. One is our Huntsville Track Club. It’s very cheap and I’m a member and some of the opportunities come from emails with them. BUT – most of the requests for volunteers pop up in a Facebook Group a local person started years ago: We Run Huntsville. It’s a “closed” group, but he lets anyone who is a real human join. It’s actually a pretty great resource all around for group runs and advice seeking, but that’s where I see people post requests and online signups for volunteer opportunities. I tell the kids that I like to volunteer more times per year than races I actually participate in so that, in some way, I’m balancing things out on the side of me giving back more than I take.

Nikki LOVES to volunteer. She just loves feeling like a grown-up and being a part of a big group trying to accomplish something. She actually cried a few weeks ago because Wes and I were going to volunteer at a race and she couldn’t help because she had a soccer game. I can’t tell if Wes actually likes it or not, he usually just plays on his DS but at least he shows up and knows there are people involved with these events that do it just because they want to help. We’ll see if he becomes more involved as he gets older.

I don’t do a lot of volunteering at the kid’s school. I tried this year but failed miserably and have probably been put on “banned” lists at this school for the rest of my life. BUT! I do a lot of volunteering at our local running/triathlon events so I’m hoping – in the big picture – that helps things balance out.

Do you have any events through school/work/church at which your kids can help out? Do you find that maybe one of your kids like it more than others? I never really got E out doing that kind of stuff but I’m really hoping Wes eventually enjoys it like Nikki does. I don’t want that kind of thing to feel like an obligation, but I do want him to give back since he participates in local events too!