vrijdag 30 december 2016

2016 Top Posts

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

As the year draws to a close, I thought I would go through my blog stats and find out what my most popular posts were this year.  And there were definitely some surprises.  Interestingly enough, these weren’t necessarily the posts that got the most traffic through the year – I’ve got some older posts that remain popular thanks to the Googles.  Maybe I do occasionally write some interesting stuff.

Race Report – 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta

This was my most popular post this year and it’s definitely no surprise.  I think I talked about the fact that I was racing a 70.3 to everyone who would listen.  If I put it out there in the world, it would happen, right?  Right.  (Well, and I had to do all that training.)  This was definitely my biggest personal accomplishment this year and something I will forever be proud of.

Drama at the Princess Expo

This was actually a pretty short post, but people love runDisney drama.  A better read along the same lines is Why I’m Not at Princess Half.  I will forever love runDisney races, and it was the Princess Half that got me into distance running in the first place, so this race will always have a special place in my heart.  That said, PEOPLE!  Get over yourselves.

A Review of the Swim Bike Fuel Nutrition Plan

(Okay, so I wrote this post last December, but it was late in the year, so I’m counting it.)  After years and years of trying to find a “diet” that worked for me, and years of watching my weight creep up, I tried the Swim Bike Fuel plan and finally, I found something that worked.  There’s no magic here.  In fact, I’m not sure that there was a ton of stuff in the plan that I didn’t already know.  It works because of how the plan is setup, the support you get from the other participants, and the knowledge that this isn’t a diet.  It’s a general way of looking at food and deciding what you should be using to fuel your body.

The Internet Bullies are at it Again

While I wasn’t the one getting bullied, there’s a real problem with internet bullying.  You would think that this is something that teenagers do to each other. And it is, but a lot of adults are no better.  I don’t understand the need to cut down a stranger.  You can think whatever you want about another person, but keep that opinion to yourself.  And if you spend your time putting someone else down in order to build yourself up, well, maybe you need to take a closer look at yourself.

Stolen Water at the London Marathon

This one was kind of a surprise.  But in many ways, it goes along with the internet bullying post.  People saw something happen, made assumptions, and decided to publicly shame without knowing the facts.  Interesting that this made the popular posts.  I guess we all love a bit of drama in our lives.


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donderdag 29 december 2016

2016 Accomplishments

Image via lumpi / Pixabay

There has been a lot of talk about 2016 being an absolutely terrible year.  And to be honest, a lot of not so great things have happened.  And it never helps when the year is capped off by the deaths of beloved celebrities.  But there have also been many awesome things that happened this year.  So I thought I would go through my list of accomplishments.

I completed my second year on the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team and was welcomed back for a third year.  I absolutely love being on this team.  Obviously I love the products that Coeur makes (if I could live in the joggers, I probably would) and I would be racing in their gear regardless of my affiliation with the team, but I truly love the beliefs behind this company.  Their kits are made in the US.  They support athletes of all shapes and sizes and are working to increase their size range.  They aren’t just about the elite triathlete or the age grouper who ends up on the podium time and time again.  And the team is made up of incredible women.  At first, I was intimidated because I’m not a fast racer, but it quickly became clear that it didn’t matter.  It’s about what you bring to the team.  Sure, it’s great to see Coeur up on the podium, but it’s even better to see ladies in Coeur cheering each other on and being a positive force.  Being part of this team has made me a better athlete and a better person.

Race bib number 1810Of course, the big accomplishment of the year – Augusta 70.3!  I completed my first half ironman and it was everything that I had hoped and more.  I spent the summer training like it was my job (well, not really, since I had an actual job to do so I could pay for my racing habit) and the work paid off.  I beat every single one of my time goals, and know that in better conditions, I could race even faster.  It certainly wasn’t a perfect day but I have no regrets about how I raced and I’m proud of what I accomplished.  More importantly, I had family and friends come down to cheer me on, and that made those last miles even more incredible.

I also raced a few great half marathons and pushed through some less great triathlons.  Now that I think about it, my triathlons this year were all in not-so-great weather.  Let’s hope for a change in 2017.

My niece was born this year.  So really, that trumps everything.  And I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family.  I think I saw more of them this year than in many previous years, something rare since I moved 700 miles away.  Not sure if I can make that work again in 2017, but it’s always fun to try.


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woensdag 21 december 2016

Wednesday Workout Recap

This poor cat is very cold.

Here it is!  My return to glory.

Except not quite.  Whoops?  There’s glory in the attempt, right?

Monday – Rest day.  I went to my choir holiday party, something I have managed to miss for the past 7 years.  It was fun, but part of me wonders if getting a bit more sleep would have also been fun.

Tuesday – Got my annual skin check at the dermatologist.  She said my skin was boring.  This is a good thing coming from your dermatologist.  But given the pale pale color of my skin and the number of hours I spend outside, it’s worth going to make sure nothing weird is happening.  That evening, I went back to Team Fight swim.  It was rough.  I’ve still got a lingering cough from my cold (as do many) and it’s clear my lung function was down.  I was just tired.  (Note: this could have also been from singing 3 Christmas concerts over the weekend.)

Wednesday – Trainer ride plus some weights.  I haven’t been great about the strength work, so it’s good to be getting back to it.

Thursday – Strength and ab work.

Friday – Shannon and I went to see Into the Woods.  I still don’t love the second act in its entirety, but this production was awesome.  Very minimalist, small cast doubling parts, cast doubling as orchestra.  Definitely impressive.

Saturday – I was supposed to join the local Coeur girls for a workout and brunch, but the roads were icy and my road wasn’t salted by the time I needed to leave, so I missed the workout, but showed up for brunch.  Because clearly I’m not going to miss out on friends, fun, and food.  Got in a 2 hour trainer ride later that day.

Sunday – Scheduled 8 mile run, got in about 3 and my body was just done.  Zero energy.  Not going to worry about it.  It was a busy week.


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dinsdag 20 december 2016

Everyone Needs a Break, Right?

brenkee / Pixabay

I feel like December has been a total wash in terms of fitness. I ran a half marathon in late November, then went on vacation. Came back and went straight into rehearsals for our holiday concerts. All totally worth it, but I was starting to feel like a slug. (The gross congestion that has lingered all month thanks to the dry air isn’t helping the slug feeling either.)

So this past week, I wanted to get back on track. Turns out that jumping right back in after a few weeks off and still dealing with a lingering cough doesn’t work out so well. And then comes Christmas vacation, where I will get in some workouts but inevitably miss some as well. However, after Christmas, it’s on. Not after New Years. I’m not waiting that long. I need to get back to it. Race season is coming soon and I always feel better while training. Also, I have put on a few pounds since my half IM and I would like those to go away again, please and thank you.

Mostly, I’m just feeling the need to get back into a routine of working out, eating well, and tying to get enough sleep. I’m never perfect, but I feel so much better when I try.

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Pilates Body Power Booty Workout: Gabrielle

donderdag 15 december 2016

Calling out Cheaters

tswedensky / Pixabay

In the running community, there’s a pretty popular blog that calls out marathon cheaters.  The guy who runs it does an impressive job of reviewing race results and calling out course cutters and people who have someone else run with their bib so they can get a Boston Marathon qualifying time.

But sometimes I think that maybe the site goes too far.  Recently, he called out a bunch of people at the Honolulu marathon.  He pulled up race times and looked at people with Boston Qualifying times (not people who registered for Boston, just people who ran a BQ) and then reviewed whether timing mats had been missed.  Apparently, the course was pretty easy to cut, so a number of people just skipped chunks of the course.

Now, in general, we don’t know why someone course cuts.  Maybe they are under trained or injured and just need to stop running.  I’ve seen races where there is a sign during the marathon that says something along the lines of “If you can’t continue, turn here for a quick route to the finish.”  It prevents the race from having to pick up too many stragglers in a vehicle.  Plenty of people show up to marathon start lines unprepared and are unable to finish.  It’s not a great situation, but it happens.  People underestimate what it truly takes to run 26.2 miles.

The people who were called out on this post did one other thing – they posed for “finisher’s” pictures with their medals, taken by the official race photographers.  I’ve talked before about how I feel about wearing a finisher’s medal if you don’t finish a race.  I don’t love it, but a number of races give them out to people who are swept, and I’ve just decided that I can’t let someone else’s actions affect me.

So yes, what these people did wasn’t awesome, but is it really something we need to get worked up about?

Of course, if these people then used those ridiculously fast marathon times to register for Boston, that’s an issue.  They’re taking a spot away from someone who actually did qualify and deserves to be there.  (Note – I think that there are some checks done, so someone who misses all the timing mats on the second half of the course probably won’t actually get into Boston.)

I just don’t know how I feel about publicly calling out these people.  What’s the point?  We don’t love what they’ve done, but is public humiliation really the best answer?  They lied about finishing a race, but in the whole scheme of things, is that something we want to focus our energy on?

A few years back, I got called out in a public forum for possibly having someone run under my bib at Space Coast.  The first year I ran the race, I had a terrible race.  I woke up with a killer headache, but walked the race anyway because it was the first year of a five year series.  The next year, I had an awesome race.  Still slower than my PR, but a good race. I cut over 30 minutes off my time from the previous year.  So obviously I had cheated.  Except that if anyone looked into my race times (I do have an Athlinks account), they would see that the slow race was the outlier, not the fast one.  I pointed this all out and the guy shut up pretty quickly and then deleted the information upon my request.

Now, I’m not saying that’s what happened in the Honolulu marathon.  There were enough missed timing mats that it’s clear people cut the course.  But I just think that maybe we spend too much time worrying about what other people do when the net effect it has on us is really minimal, if at all.

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dinsdag 13 december 2016


During a conversation with some of my Coeur teammates, we were talking about back of the pack racing and I went back to look at some race results to figure out if I had ever actually been the last finisher in a race. (The fact that I didn’t know shows you just how much I care about my placement.)  But in doing so, I also went back to read my recap of my worst race this year, the General Smallwood International. This race was technically the slowest paced, though in my mind, it was the worst because of the weather.  It was cold and rainy and just miserable.

But I also remember being pretty miserable about being so far behind in the pack.  The run was a looped course and on the second loop, I didn’t see anyone. Just me, running through the woods all alone.  At least by then the rain had mostly stopped and it was just insanely wet.  I remember wanting to quit, but being much too stubborn to quit.  After all, it wasn’t like I was hurt or sick.  I just wasn’t having fun.  That’s not a reason to quit.

When I went back to look at my race report though, I was blunt about how disappointed I was in myself for how I had performed in the race.  Before I read that, I just felt proud that I gutted it out and still finished.  And I’m still proud that I finished.  I haven’t forgotten the misery, but with time, I’ve been able to reframe that bad race.  The conditions were terrible.  I stuck it out anyway and I finished.  My splits weren’t that bad given the weather.

So while it’s definitely still my worst race, I see it differently than I did in the days following the race.  And I guess the lesson is that time does heal and reframing your situation can always help.  Maybe you had a bad race.  But did you stick it out and refuse to give up?  That’s what counts.  (Of course, if you’re injured, please stop – doing the smart thing and knowing when you’re risking worse injury takes a lot of guts and it’s worth it in the end.)

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Fat Burning Strength & Sculpt Workout: Body By Becky

maandag 12 december 2016

2016 Holiday Newsletter

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Today’s Holidailies prompt is to write a version of the holiday letters people send out in their Christmas cards.  I always love this prompt!

(As an aside, I had big plans this year to send out a funny holiday photo card.  Maybe something with the cats, and then something from my 70.3.  Guess who didn’t find the time to do that?  Yeah, that would be me.)

So, 2016!  Big year!  You might have seen the news, but some huge things happened in the United States.  However, we’re not going to talk about that, because everyone has had more than enough politics for the year.

2016 was a pretty big year for me.  I set out to race a 70.3 and I finished!  For those of you who aren’t insane triathletes, a 70.3 is a triathlon consisting of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run for a total of 70.3 miles.  Yes, it’s insane.  Yes, it was awesome.  I’m not sure when my next will be because training took up a lot of time, but I’m definitely glad I did it and I will be doing another one in the coming years, I’m sure.

As part of my training, I did a couple of metric century bike rides.  That’s 100 km.  100 miles is a little out of my reach right now, but 100 km (62ish miles) is a pretty awesome challenge.

So yes, I’ve become an athlete.  Those of you who knew me in high school still can’t figure out what happened to me.  I still can’t figure out what happened to me.

2016 was also awesome because my niece was born.  So take that, terrible things in 2016.  Babies being born outweighs all the bad stuff that happened.  (Though I still can’t figure out when my brother became a responsible adult.)

The cats are still cats.  Pippin and Cadu turned 12 this year.  They are turning into grumpy old men, but they’re still very sweet.  Pippin is not a fan of the cold weather, but he seems to be enjoying laying in front of the heating vents or burying himself underneath the electric blanket on the bed.  Cadu is impervious to the cold and sleeps in his spot on the couch and will not be moved, no matter what.  Do not take his spot.  Or else.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year.  Here’s hoping 2017 is even more incredible.


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Yoga for Strength & Balance: BeFiT Trainer Open House- Laurel Erilane

donderdag 8 december 2016

Holidailies: Snow or Rain?

For many years, I’ve participated in Holidailies in December.  The idea is to post daily through the month, using optional prompts if you so choose.  Clearly, this year I’m a bit off schedule, as it’s December 8 and I’m just mentioning it now.  I blame vacation.  But it’s definitely a project I enjoy and you should check out the portal to view some of the other writers who are posting.  There’s a lot of great stuff out there, and perhaps you’ll discover some writers you otherwise wouldn’t have found.

My random prompt for today is:

Talk about snow.  Did you grow up with it?  Do you prefer snow or rain?

Okay, who prefers rain to snow?  That person is crazy.

My first winter in the DC area was miserable.  It felt like it was always 35 degrees and raining, and there is no more miserable weather.  I don’t care how cold it gets, you can always bundle up, and once you’re inside, you can take off all those layers and be nice and toasty warm.  When it’s cold and rainy, the dampness just gets through everything.  Your feet end up all wet and as a short person, the bottoms of my pants always end up wet as well.

I much prefer the snow.  Of course, no one knows how to drive in the snow in this city, so that’s fun.  And I mean snow flurries.  Three flakes fall from the sky and cars start crashing into things.  So I just stay home.

There’s something magical about the snow.  Even when it is feets and feets of snow, like we got last year.

Someone is not a fan of the snow.

It just makes everything look so pretty.  Yes, it involves shoveling, but even that isn’t terrible.  I love the silence after a snow.  It’s like all the sound gets absorbed and the world is quiet.

So count me in for a snow lover.  All the way snow.  I can’t wait for the first snow of the year.

(As long as it doesn’t hit just as I’m trying to fly home for the holidays.)

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dinsdag 6 december 2016

Race Report – 2016 Space Coast Half Marathon


I love this race.  LOVE this race.

For the fourth year in a row, I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  It’s become part of my holiday tradition.  Stuff face on Thursday, fly to Florida on Friday, visit Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, race on Sunday.  (Then gallivant around Disney.)

This race is so well organized and so much fun to run.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that a good number of the people running have raced before so they know what’s going on.

The race starts and ends at a park.  The race provides transportation, but we’ve found it easier to just drive in and park.  This year, Liz drove us in and dropped us off which was a huge perk.  As per usual, met up with friends and waited for the race start.

Pro tip – there are indoor bathrooms.  Avoid these.  Just go use the portapotties.  The indoor bathroom line is ridiculous and by the time you get through the line, they will be just as gross as the portapotties, if not worse.

One thing I love about this race is that it’s an out and back.  That means that if you know anyone else running, you’re all but guaranteed to see them out on the course.  It also means that you get to run by some fabulous spectators twice.

The residents in this part of Cocoa have to deal with their road being pretty much shut down thanks to the race, and many of them handle it quite well.  There are a lot of people out in their yards, watching and cheering.  And some of them get really into it, cooking breakfast and providing all sorts of drinks for the runners.  I’ve never seen so many different alcoholic options on a course before.  Very impressive, Cocoa residents.

As for my race, it went surprisingly well.  I wasn’t sure how it would go since the race is often terribly humid, but this year was a bit cooler than normal, which made me happy.  I wanted to run a sub-3 if I could.  My training hasn’t been stellar, as it’s technically my off season, so this race was just to see what happened.  And I ended up with a course PR – 2:55:14.  Not by much – only a minute or so.  But it felt awesome and I had a great time, so I’ll take it!

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CARiFiT: Post Natal Foundations Workout

CARiFiT: Post Natal Fitness Series Introduction