2014 In Review

2014_in_review_image1_1_1Well, here we are, another year is in the books – and my what a year it has been!

Sometimes, we all get so wrapped up in our day-to-day grind that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and it’s only when we hover above all the minutia and really take a “bird’s eye view” that we can see how far we’ve come!

2014 was an #epicwin year for me!!  I accomplished so much!

Personally, I celebrated both my 1 year and year and a half anniversaries of wine-sobriety.  That’s right, sports fans, I have not had a drop of vino since May 5, 2013.  And that’s a HUGE deal for a chick who, in my hey day, used to pound down at least 4 bottles of wine per week!

Deb and I celebrated our 4th year together, which makes me a really lucky gal, four times over!

Josh headed off to middle school and is doing terrific.  What a great kid he is!!  He was diagnosed with ADHD and gluten/dairy intolerances this year and has just taken it all in stride.  Amazing!  Erin headed off to the University of Maryland (College Park) on January 3rd and is a Junior majoring in English and doing incredible.  Nicki is a sophomore at Stetson University double majoring in Religious Studies and Psychology and is also excelling.  We have 3 really smart kids!!! 🙂

Business-wise, 2014 was a breakthrough year for us!  The speaking calendar was full, including a huge national convention in Dallas in August, and several regional trainings for the same company.  We launched several new products, and organized a 5K race to raise money for domestic and family violence awareness.  It was so successful and garnered so much positive attention, that we incorporated our non-profit entity, Building Remarkable Communities, Inc., and are organizing an entire racing series in 2015 consisting of 5K, 10K, and 15K running events spaced 3 months apart so people can progressively and safely train to the next distance.

old_meAthletically, it was an awesome year!  I came into the year a newbie runner – previously having run no more than a really, slow, sloppy 10K .  In February, I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Then I took some time off from racing pursuits to train for my karate black belt test in July (which I somehow passed).  In August, I picked Swim-Bike-Run back up in a major way to prepare for my first solo Olympic Distance Race at Battle of the Bridges.  Then in October, shifted into pure running mode, as I prepared to take on my longest distance run ever – a full marathon – at the Space Coast Marathon. Along the way, I ran a couple of half marathons and some 5Ks (including a PR 5K at the Operation Changing Lives 5K ).   And to put the proverbial cherry on top of 2014, in October, I was named to the 2015 Swim-Bike-Mom Ambassador Team, which means I, along with 27 other amazing women, get to spread the word that triathlon is for every woman – no matter their size, shape, age – triathlon is a big tent and there is room for everyone!

2014 in Review: 
Swam: 17.98 miles
Biked: 1,156.72 miles
Ran: 573.11 miles
Longest Swim: 3200 yds
Longest Bike: 112.01 miles
Longest Run: 26.2 miles

Looking to 2015, I can only say BRING IT ON!!!  Officially, I will be virtually running the 3 races in our race series; I am running a half-marathon relay at the Melbourne Music Marathon Weekend on 2/1 with my friend and swim buddy, Megan White; Gulf Coast 70.3 triathlon on 5/9; and Beach2Battleship 70.3 triathlon on 10/17.  There will likely be some additional sprint and oly triathlons, as well as some half marathons and other 5K/10K events TBD.

My goal in 2015 is to run 100 miles each month – not sure how that’s supposed to happen, but I am assured that it can be done.

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2015?

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Everything Happens For A Reason…

forwardThere are two mantras that I do my level best to live my life by.  The first comes from Meredith Atwood (Swim Bike Mom) – “Just Keep Moving Forward,” because no matter the distance, the struggle, the obstacle, or the goal, I can get to the finish line if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move in the right direction.  The second is “Everything Happens For A Reason” – even if I don’t know what that reason is at the time.

eveything-happen-for-a-resonThe last few days have had me saying “everything happens for a reason” A LOT!  After my impromptu Reindeer Racer half marathon on 12/19, I got a headache – a really nasty sick headache that wouldn’t go away.  But I had stuff to do!  Christmas stuff, work stuff to wrap so I could take some time off during the holidays while all the kids were home, workout stuff – you know, STUFF!

So, I soldiered on.  Come to find out, I’m a pretty good soldier.  I had skipped several workouts – my head pounded and even the thought of a swim, a bike, or a run made me nauseous, but everything else got done.  Anyhow, the headache persisted and I finally went to the urgent care doc the day after Christmas.  I told him my head had been hurting for nearly a week – lots of pain and pressure, no drainage, no congestion, and this weird burning, tingly feeling from my forehead all the way back to the crown of my head.  Quick diagnosis:  Sinus infection.  The doc shoved a script for an antibiotic in my hand, charged me $100, and sent me on my way.

Saturday afternoon, I noticed tiny little blistery things on the right side of the bridge of my nose that burned and itched.  By Sunday, the blisters had spread down my nose to the tip and in a line up the right center of my forehead.  What on earth?

Monday morning I woke up and my right eye was nearly swollen shut.  I hurt bad.  I have been known to let things run their course – I don’t like going to the doctor and I don’t like drugs and I don’t like going to places where sick people hang out.  But intuition told me this was different – and it was so close to my eye!  MY EYE!!  I work on the computer for a living – I write for a living – I need my eyes!

So I posted on my SBMAT group – there are many nurses and at least one doctor in our group – and gave my symptoms and the progression and asked for thoughts.  Immediately, post after post pop up urging me to go back to the doctor because it sounded like shingles.

SHINGLES?  Isn’t that something that old people and cancer patients get?  Not me, surely!

But, it was getting worse, so back to urgent care I went.  I was seen by a lovely PA named Janet, who spent a good bit of time with me and explained what shingles was.  Apparently, if you’ve had the chicken pox you can get shingles.  It pops up during times when your immune system is compromised and under times of great stress.  I would say that my body and my mind have both been under a good deal of stress over the last couple of months.  She said that the virus attacks a neural pathway which is why it is so damned painful.  My particular nerve involvement is the trigenimal nerve which includes the eye.  5-7 days for the blisters and then they crust over and heal and that’s that.

SHIT!

So, she sent me on my way with an antiviral med (to slow/stop the spread), prednisone (to alleviate the inflammation), and lidocaine patches (to help with pain).  She told me to stay away from infants and really old people – I am contagious to them – they can catch chicken pox from me, but not shingles.  Deb and the kids would not be affected because they either had chicken pox or had the chicken pox vaccine.

And I was told ABSOLUTELY no working out until Monday, 1/5.

This is where the “everything happens for a reason” thing comes into play.  See, although I had very much PLANNED to take the week between Christmas and New Years off from exercise, and my body needed the break very much, I was having great mental stress over taking that much time off, but KNEW that I NEEDED it.

So, the universe decided to take the situation out of my hands.  I may not particularly like its methods, but I know the universe conspires to bring about my greatest good.  My new training cycle to prepare for Gulf Coast 70.3 begins on Monday, so I’ll be nice and rested and ready to get back to training.  The universe is conspiring to make sure I’m READY!!

Everything happens for a reason…

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Gearing Up For 2015

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

It’s been a great December!  After Space Coast on November 30th, I took a few days off from training.  The race left me mentally and physically depleted.  I wasn’t on speaking terms with my running shoes for 4 whole days!  Finally, on Thursday morning a tacit truce was offered.  I laced up and went out for a 4 mile jog, which felt so good it turned into a 5 miles – and darned speedy one too – for me, at any rate.

I was planning to take most of December off from structured training – and I kind of did.

But on December 9th one of my SBM peeps posted that there were only 150 days until GCT… 150 Days!  That’s not so much time… It’ll be here in a blink of an eye!

My friend, Megan, invited me to come swim with her at LA Fitness where they have an indoor pool.  I was totally dreading swimming outdoors – even in Florida, the temps are chilly in the early morning.  It’s not the getting IN the water that’s the problem – it’s getting OUT and making it to the locker room before turning into a human popsicle that was a tad unappealing.  So, Megan and I started swimming 3 times per week – AND she hired Coach Pam!!  AND she’s also racing GCT!!!  AND she’s like half my age and in amaze balls shape!  SOOOOO, she’s like the PERFECT training partner for me!  Pushing me, every step of the way to give my best – or get left behind!

RR-halfThe week before Christmas, I got the crazy idea to run a half marathon – a virtual half marathon… The 2014 Reindeer Racer Half by US Road Running… Mostly because I loved the medal.  So, on December 19, I got up early and I ran 13.1 miles… for “fun” (and for the cool medal).  It was hard… I was really bummed.  I thought it should have been easier.  I thought I should have been faster.  But then I started thinking about it, and I realized that 13.1 miles is a long way to run – PERIOD.  And I just got up and did it – in 2:07:31!  So, props to me for that.

Then on Sunday, I wasn’t feeling right.  My head hurt so bad – from my right eye all the way back to the crown of my head.  Advil didn’t touch it.  I skipped swim on Monday… and Tuesday… I gutted out Christmas morning, not wanting to mess things up for my family.  And finally went to urgent care on Friday and was dismissed with a Rx for antibiotics and prednisone.  Hopefully, that will do the trick.  Still not feeling awesome.

Christmas was AMAZING though!  All the kids like their presents!  Josh’s piles were ridiculous!  He got pretty much everything on his Christmas list (with the exception of the smartphone – not happening), but the highlights were a New England Patriots football and the 2014 Topps NFL Card Collection.  At 12 years old, I’m not sure if he still believes in Santa or if he’s just putting on a good show for me, but either way it was cool!

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Santa was very good to me as well!  I got a race entry to the Beach2Battleship half iron triathlon on October 17th, and a new sleeveless wetsuit, among a bunch of other cool things – I feel legit now!!!

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Now, here it is December 28th (Happy Birthday Gramma, I hope things are awesome for you up in heaven.  Miss you every day), and my week of sloth must come to a close soon.  Free week ends on 1/1, and the 2015 training season begins on 1/2.  I’m psyched to get back at it.  I want to swim, and , bike, and run…  And I will… A LOT!

Wishing you all an incredible 2015!

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Only 150 Days…

keep-calm-only-150-days-leftWhen I think about most things, I think of 150 days as being a pretty long way away…

When I think about a trip being 150 days away, it seems pretty far out there…

When I think about a work deadline being 150 days away, it feels totally doable…

GCTLogoBut when I was reminded yesterday that Gulf Coast Triathlon 70.3 is 150 days away, I freaked!  WHAT?  ONLY 150 days?  OH.MY.GOD!!! 😮

In 150 (now 149) days, I have to swim 1.2 miles in the Gulf of Mexico – and it’s not a “swim out past the break and then swim parallel to shore” type swim… It’s a “swim 1/2 mile out to sea, and then turn around and swim back” type of swim – THAT scares the heck out of me…

Then I have to get on my bike and pedal 56 miles…

THEN, I get to dismount the bike and run a half marathon…

It will likely be a 6-8 hour day – the longest race I have ever attempted.

And it’s only 149 days away.

I had planned to take the month of December off from structured training, but now I’m kind of scared to do that.  I’m scared I lose all that I’ve built over the past 6 months.

I know it’s important to rest and recover after the season, and I AM taking it easier, and I AM taking the week between Christmas and New Years off (consider that my off-season, I guess).

Coach Pam is busily preparing my training plan that starts 1/2/15.  I have a huge time goal for my first 70.3 and I know that the only way it’s going to happen is to stay true to my training, train hard, train smart, and no slacking.

I think I’m up for the challenge!

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RACE REPORT: Space Coast Marathon

left_2b2014 was the 43rd running of the Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon in lovely Cocoa Village, Florida.  It was also my very first full marathon attempt, and I was more than just a bit nervous about the whole affair.  Everyone kept telling me that “the hay was in the barn,” and I knew that to be true, but the farthest I had run before Sunday, November 30th, was 20 miles – and if the Battle of the Bridges Triathlon taught me nothing else, I learned that a 10K is a long damned way to run on fried legs!

Being the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my holiday feast was a little more restrained than usual.  I enjoyed a cinnamon bun with the Macy’s parade, and then carb-loaded with some mashed potatoes and stuffing at dinner, but that’s about the extent of it.  We crammed our normal 2 days of Christmas decorating into a day and a half and Deb and I headed for Cocoa Beach around mid-day on Saturday.

First stop was the Expo and packet pickup.  I got my bib and timing chip and my race shirt (my first long-sleeved tech shirt – I feel like a REAL runner now).  I poked around the expo for a few minutes, but really, how many running skirts and t-shirts can you look at.  I wanted to go check out the race start location in Cocoa Village.  One look at the narrow, one-way streets in the cute little village made me understand very clearly that I wanted NOTHING to do with driving to the race start the next morning, so Deb and I decided that she would drop me off at one of the satellite shuttle areas (a local mall) and then come down to the race venue when things were well underway.  It was a good plan!

Then we went out for dinner and I didn’t worry about how many carbs I ate for once.  Back to the hotel for some last minute organizing and stressing out and I was ready for sleep.  You know, I kept feeling like I was forgetting something – lots of somethings – and then I realized that packing for a running race and packing for a triathlon are completely different animals:  shirt, bra, shorts, socks, shoes, visor, sunglasses, Garmin, waterbottle, bars, bib, chip… DONE!

The alarm went off WAY too early at 3:45 so that I could get to the shuttle by 5am.  I think I actually could have slept an extra 20-30 minutes, but I’d rather be early than late.  The bus carried us across the Indian River from Merritt Island and dropped us off at Taylor Park.  I quickly joined the line at the port-o-potties – just in case – and headed over to Delannoy Avenue to the marathon staging area.  The half marathon was off at 6:00am one block over.  Once they were off, we walked up to Brevard Avenue and lined up in our pace groups.  Coach Pam told me to line up with the 9:00/mile group because it would thin out quickly and I would have space to run – she is very wise.

Space-CoastAt 6:30am sharp, the jumbotron showed the video of a space shuttle blasting off and we were off on our 26.2 mile adventure.  I had programmed 109 2 minute run/30 sec walk intervals into my Garmin, guessing that would be about right for what I hoped to be a 4:20 marathon.  The marathon course is a double out and back.  The half marathon ran the south loop and the marathon ran a north loop first and then continued on the half marathon course.  I saw many people I knew from the local running scene – Ironman, Kelly Cory, passed by twice (going the other way very speedily) during the day, I saw Jennifer Florida pacing the 4:00 group, Fellow RWB teammate, Steve Parnell, blew by me at about mile 20, and I saw my favorite Race DJ-ette, Alice Neal out there too.

But my favorite person on the course was my tri-buddy, Megan White.  Megan has the most bubbly effusive personality and seeing her on the side of the road cheering at about the 13 mile mark was so great!  It gave me a real boost going into the second half of the marathon.  My half marathon time was 2:07 – I really did hold back and stick to the plan that Pam had laid out for me.  She said to run the first half in 2:05-2:10, no faster.  So, I did – even though I felt like I could have easily run a sub-2 hour half that day.  I drank water at the water stops and I ate a Shaklee peanut butter snack bar every hour.  I had a bottle of Performance for the last 10K (and boy did I need it).

By Mile 16 I was tired and drenched with sweat and hot, but nothing really HURT yet – that was about to change.  At Mile 20 I experienced what my friend, Carrie, describes as  “leg death.”  Both calves seized up in knotted charlie horses.  I tried to run through them, but nothing doing – it was like my legs were misfiring.  There were these electrical shock spasm-y things happening that made me think for split seconds that I was going to fall on my face.  Sometimes it felt like my knees were going to buckle backwards.  It really sucked!!

I would run an interval and then walk 2, run 2 and walk 2 – whatever it took to “just keep moving forward.”  I was listening to my running playlist really loud – like the volume might help propel me down the road or something – and at Mile 22 all of a sudden I hear “ANNNNGIE!!  ANNNNN…GIEEEEEE!” and see this little bit of a person bouncing up and down on the side of the road like a spring and it’s MEGAN again!!  How awesome to see her on the course twice and how desperately needed both times.

too-toughI was able to run/hobble/walk/shuffle until I saw the Mile 25 marker and suddenly I was reborn.  I ran the last mile solid – not terribly fast, but I ran it all.  Coming back into the village the streets were lines with spectators who cheered encouragement, and all of a sudden I got really emotional and felt like I was going to burst into tears – weird, right?  Once around Taylor Park and I was at the finish line.  I did it!  I ran a marathon.  It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty and there certainly wasn’t anything negative split about it, but I finished it!

Deb was right there at the finish line – somehow she managed her way inside the ropes.  As I crossed the finish I felt so many things – pain, relief, exhilaration, and profound gratitude for a body that can accomplish such a punishing feat and walk away (mostly) in tact.  I got my medal – which is probably THE most awesome medal of all time – and again I was overcome with the emotion of it all.  I worked hard for something for months and months.  I trained while others slept.  I pushed myself harder and farther each week.  I trusted my coach without question or reservation. And I accomplished something that only 1% of the people on Planet Earth can claim.  I am a Marathoner!

Now, I look to December, which will be my “off season,” and enjoying some unstructured weeks of exercise.  I’m hitting Half-iron training hard on January 2nd in preparation for the Gulf Coast Triathlon on May 9th.  I can’t wait!!

Thanks as always to my family – especially Deb and Josh – who support me in all my crazy adventures without complaint and are always there with a smile, an ice pack, an encouraging word, and even a kick in the pants when I need it.  Thanks to my awesome coach, Pam Giese, for believing in me even when I don’t believe in myself, and for being a shining example of the kind of athlete I want to be.  Special shout-outs to my Swim-Bike-Mom Ambassador Teammates and my Tri-Peeps on the Tri-Fecta FB Group for their encouragement and BTDT advice – you all ROCK!!  And a special thanks to my favorite flamingo toting, cheerleading tri-peep, Megan, for boosting my spirits and lending some of her boundless energy when I needed it most on Sunday – you’re the BEST – and to Carrie Giordano for all your 1st time marathon advice – you were BRILLIANT!!!!! 🙂

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