What I’m Thankful For

It seems as though the past 6 months have been a total blur. Full of moments that run the gamut of nearly every human emotion:

The thrill of racing and finishing a difficult race
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pressure (and anxiety caused by said pressure) in a period of great transition at work.

Feelings of loss and sadness. The feeling when you cry so much that you can’t breathe and your face hurts because you’ve used so many tissues.

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Joy from spending even the quickest, simplest moments with my nieces and nephew. 

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The camaraderie of training with others, and the sense of accomplishment once it is over. 

IMG_3009  and my favorite: laughter from being silly with my oh-so-understanding and patient husband.

IMG_2796 There have been a lot of things in the news and in my personal life over the past few months that have made me step back and realize how unbelievably lucky I am. As cliched as it sounds, these feelings of gratitude are most intense when I am in my favorite place, the water.

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As a middle schooler who didn’t quite fit in with the cool crowd, swim practice was a place to work out my social frustrations and provided an oasis of new friends who weren’t privy to my school issues. It helped my self esteem and confidence levels and I formed long lasting friendships. In college, the pool provided a respite from a tumultuous family crisis. Again, it was a place where I turned to “swim the $@%^ out of it” vs other, negative decisions. I had friends from that same pool that let me cry and got me laughing hysterically when I didn’t think a smile was possible.

There were multiple Walden Pond swims this summer where the water provided the exact outlet that I have always turned to for relief. I would lift my head up to site and see the sun rising above the mist, trees and beautiful Walden pond. If you haven’t experienced it, I demand that you go for an open water swim there next summer. It is such a quiet, pure and zen moment in time. Those moments, though they are so quick, bring me back to the present moment and think: Wow, this whole living thing is great.

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So then stroke after stroke, breath after breath I would start thinking about exactly how lucky I am: I have a roof over my head. Clean water to drink. A heating system that works. I have my health. I am very busy, but I also have the time to do things that make me happy: like go on long runs/bike rides, get up ridiculously early in order to make swim practice. My husband and I both have stable jobs. Jobs that we actually like and where we feel appreciated and valued. We have friends and family who we love very much. I wish we could see everyone a bit more often, but such is life. 

Life may be short, but I would like to think that we are filling each moment with incredibly important people, beautiful moments and I’m making a point to be incredibly thankful for what we have.  So, today I am thankful for not only the water for providing perspective and an outlet to work out stress, but I cannot think about this existence without all of the friends who make my life so full. 

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

 

I Mustache You Some Questions

Linking up today with Erin @ sweet sweat life to complete “I Mustache you some questions” I thought this might be a fun exercise!

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Four names other people call me other than my real name.

  1. Chambers – My maiden name 🙂
  2. Swimmykimy – Obvs
  3. Kimmy – This one speaks for itself
  4. KC – Initials from my maiden name

Four jobs I’ve had:
Lifeguard, best job ever – On the ocean in Cape Cod. Truly “the good life”!
Media Buyer/Advertising slave – I would say, the complete opposite of the previous job 🙂
Development Professional – Very hard, but gratifying work. I love my job!

Four movies I’ve watched more than once.
Empire Records – This movie is responsible for a friendship with one of my best friends and many laughs 🙂 If you have never watched this movie I highly recommend watching this and this
Swingers – Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau at their best
Without Limits – Ultimate pump up movie about Steve Prefontaine 

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Four books I recommend:
A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington (Just a tiny bit of a pattern here :))
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld – Great engaging and easy read. Loved reading this while I had a long commute via public transit.
Gold in the Water P.H. Mullen – Young swimmers chasing the Olympic dream, the absolute best kind of reading!
Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger – I can’t say exactly why, but I have found the character of Holden Caulfield to be incredibly interesting and complex. 

Four places I’ve lived:
Acton, MA
South Yarmouth, MA 
Wooster, OH
Boston, MA

IMG_1125Lucky to call this my back yard on Cape Cod!

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Wooster 🙂

Boston

Beantown 🙂 🙂

Four places I’ve been:
So hard to choose!
England – So fun to visit one of my best friends in my first trip abroad
Bermuda – Honeymoon 🙂
Panama – Visited my best friend from HS while she was in Panama in the Peace Corps. An amazing, once in a lifetime experience. Visiting her site and meeting the members of the community she lived in was the highlight of the trip. 
San Francisco, CA – By far my favorite city (other than Boston!), great views, surrounded by water, highly walkable, a great deal of history, great food – the list goes on!

Four places I’d rather be right now:
Machu Picchu, Peru – Bucket list!
Vieques, Puerto Rico – Love how this place is off the beaten path, So Warm and wonderful!
CO – Skiing/friends
Charleston, SC – I’ve always wanted to check this city out!

Four of my favorite foods:
Carrots!
Avocado
Seared Tuna steak
Raw Almonds

Four things I don’t eat(and drink):
Soda
Fast food
Frozen lunches from a box (have to agree with Erin on this one!)
Olives

Four TV shows I watch:
Modern Family
Property Brothers
Live sports/30 for 30
Jimmy Fallon (DVR’ed!)

Four things I’m looking forward to this year.
2 week vacation this March – Visiting Hannah and Nick in London and then onto South Africa!
The Summer 2015 Triathlon Race season
Long weekends on Cape Cod in the spring/summer
Finding some work/life balance

Four things I always say:
“biggest pet peeve”
Thank you
Mind over matter
The intensity never stops!

Not going to tag anyone, feel free to play!

Foodie Friday: Moroccan Chickpea Soup

There are some recipes that sometimes just warm your soul and bring you back to a warm and safe place. For me, Moroccan Chickpea Soup fits that short list. Over the past few years I have really come to enjoy the process of making soups: chopping the vegetables, watching ingredients come together in the pot and create the most delightful aromas that fill my apartment. Best of all, I love being able to make a large quantity and have a healthy and filling meal to bring for lunch throughout a busy work week. Come to think of it, this was probably one of the first soups that I made from scratch! Rob’s sister sent it to us about five years ago, but it’s been a staple ever since the first day we made it. The spices and the depth of flavor really makes this soup special. The other important reason why this recipe is on my short list of staples is that it is extremely healthy and loaded with nutrients. Enjoy!

Rob and KTRob & his sister, Katie!

Moroccan Chickpea Soup
Chickpeas seem to call out for Moroccan spices, so that's what they get here. I make this soup really chunky and hearty.
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Print
2402 calories
324 g
0 g
90 g
98 g
11 g
3008 g
7337 g
24 g
0 g
64 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
3008g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2402
Calories from Fat 783
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 90g
139%
Saturated Fat 11g
53%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 18g
Monounsaturated Fat 46g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7337mg
306%
Total Carbohydrates 324g
108%
Dietary Fiber 14g
56%
Sugars 24g
Protein 98g
Vitamin A
308%
Vitamin C
287%
Calcium
100%
Iron
140%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  2. 1 large onion, medium diced
  3. 6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
  8. 2 (14.5-ounce each ) cans chopped tomatoes
  9. 4 (15-ounce each) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  10. 1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  11. 1 teaspoon sugar
  12. Kosher salt
  13. Freshly ground black pepper
  14. 1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur.
  3. Add spices and saute a minute or so.
  4. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar.
  5. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well.
  6. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.
  7. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes.
  9. Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve soup, drizzled lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
Notes
  1. Instead of using a potato masher, if you have an immersion blender, I recommend trying this once the chickpeas are cooked and soft for a creamy and smoother consistency. It also saves a bit of time when in a pinch!
beta
calories
2402
fat
90g
protein
98g
carbs
324g
more
Swimmykimy http://swimmykimy.com/
*Note: I’m not sure exactly where this recipe originated, so I apoligize if the author/creator is not properly credited!*

Boston Triathlon Team, New Member Application Deadline November 8!

This past year, I was accepted onto the Boston Triathlon Team and I was very proud to race in the blue and green this season! BTT has proved to be an excellent group of likeminded triathletes and friends. I have learned so much from fellow teammates about the sport of triathlon, enjoyed the team camaraderie during events, the support of teammates during an injury or difficult time and last but not least, the post-race celebrations! We are certainly a team that likes to work hard and also have fun. We are sponsored by not one, but two alcoholic beverage companies, after all!

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Do you live in Boston? Are you interested in joining BTT? Feel free to shoot me a note or comment with any questions! You can find the new member application here: BTT Membership Application 2015 Template-1

BTT is now accepting new membership applications through November 8, 2014 for the 2015 season. Please complete the attached form and EMAIL your completed application to Kelwin Conroy at membership@bostontriathlonteam.com.

Here is the skinny on the rules:

Active Members must be residents of the Commonwealth of MA on January 1 of the year they first join the team. Active Members must also at least twenty one (21) years of age.

Active Members must participate in a minimum of 4 events per year, wear the 2015 race jersey while racing, and record their race results on the BTT website. These 4 events must include:
1. – at least one complete triathlon (relays do not count)

2. – one official BTT volunteer event

3. -one additional competitive race (any multisport race, single sport race, or relay in a multisport)

4. -your choice of any of the above

If you do not fulfill the minimum requirements during your first year on the team you must re-apply for the team the following calendar year. Exceptions due to extenuating circumstances are at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

Active members are required to wear a current BTT race top when racing in a multi-sport event and to the extent possible, when volunteering for BTT. (Your membership fee includes a uniform stipend.) Our sponsors provide funding in exchange for advertising. As a team member, you are representing these sponsors by honoring a commitment to display their logos while racing and to the extent possible, when training or volunteering.

*A “triathlon” shall be defined as a competitive race that includes a swim, bike and run. In the event that a triathlon is modified by the race director due to weather or other safety concern, the Active member will be viewed as fulfilling his/her triathlon requirement as long as the member completes the modified race.
* “Volunteering” shall be defined as participation as a volunteer at an activity sponsored by BTT and provides race support to the race director or to a charitable or civic event.
* An “additional competitive race” shall be defined as any competitive sport event/race, such as running, road biking, mountain biking, swimming, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing.
* “Competitive race” shall be defined as any single sport competitive race event, including but not limited to running, road biking, mountain biking, swimming, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing. A relay in any type of race is also acceptable.
* BTT Race Top Requirement refers to the current year’s BTT race top showing the current year’s sponsors.

 

Back in Action…

Hello, it’s me again! Yes, inconsistent, “I always make a comeback and promise to blog all the time” Kim. After some technical difficulties and an unrelenting schedule, I seem to be on the other side. I look forward to catching up on all things sweaty and getting back into a regular rhythm!

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Happy Fall!

 

The “Not So Endless Runner”

This post has been brewing for a few years, so be patient with me if I ramble on at all. Since I completed my first USAT sanctioned event in the summer of 2011, I knew I was completely hooked on the sport of triathlon.The only issue was, I didn’t own a bike, wet suit, tri kit, or really have any training strategy. I just sort of went with it for two summers. I borrowed road bikes from fellow triathlete friends, showed up and pretended like I knew what I was doing.

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Luckily, I had an absolute blast and knew that it was the start of a long and (hopefully) happy relationship with triathlon. I was so jazzed that before 2012 even rolled around I publicly made a commitment that 2012 was going to be the year of triathlon. I signed up for three races and shouted it from the roof tops.

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And then, just a few days later my boyfriend at the time asked me to marry him! So all of a sudden there was a wedding to plan and pay for, so quickly I reverted back to my “borrow & make it work” strategy of cycling.

Kim Tri Finish

Since I was already signed up for races, I completed two sprint distance triathlons and then unfortunately had to skip the third race due to the time conflicting with our wedding. I had fun, laughed a lot and struggled through one very hilly bike course (or at least it seemed to be at the time), but it was all for fun. The rest of the summer I focused on getting lean and tone for the big day by trying out a lot of different classes. Boxing, Pilates reformer, Exhale Barre, Hot Yoga, Spinning…and running nearly every day. If getting buff for your wedding was a sport, I was dominating it. I really enjoyed the variety and the excuse to be so laser focused on working out, and even welcomed the fact that I didn’t have a “goal race” on the horizon.

I haven’t discussed this too much on the interwebs because I never want our wedding to be the subject of a wedding blog and picked apart by other brides to be. It was our day, and to us it was magical and perfect and that’s how I would like it to stay, our perfect day. It was an absolutely picture perfect day and we celebrated with all of our best friends who flew in from all over the country and even the UK! Our wedding weekend was one of the most special times in our lives, not because we were now husband and wife, but that we had all of our friends and family in one place supporting us. There aren’t any words to describe the outpouring of love, it was just amazing.

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After our wedding, we both settled back into real life and I came to realize that my reliance on group classes and laser focus before our wedding made me unbelievably burnt out. I set out on runs on beautiful fall days feeling extremely fit, but mentally I was beyond checked out. I couldn’t really compute what was happening, so I decided to take some time off, rethink some things and go back to working out when I was ready.

Luckily, it didn’t take long for me to snap out of my funk. I set my sights on a new goal, the Ironman Timberman 70.3, a race I had been eying for a few years, but my lack of cycling experience and scheduling always got in the way. I signed up, made the commitment to buy a bike (and everything that goes along with the sport of triathlon) and dove in head first.

After a great 2013 season where I learned so much and fell so hard for such an amazing sport, I have come to realize that I am not the same person I was when I started this blog. I’m now a part of an amazing team, have made new triathlete friends and I am constantly researching and learning as much as possible about swimming, biking and running. Yet, I still find myself typing on a blog that says it is specifically focused on running. Yes, I do still run. But, after seven and a half years of overuse injuries I am beyond done with the traditional marathon training program. Clearly, my body cannot handle the stress of the pounding and the variety that triathlons offer not only plays to my strengths, but helps me compete without suffering season ending injuries.

So, in a few days I am going to say goodbye to “Tales from an Endless Runner” and this blog will become www.swimmykimy.com! A journey through my triathlon obsession and all of the musings that go along with it. I hope you will join me for the ride while I aim high and try to achieve my new goals…

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Smashfest Queen: Banishing The Boring Kit

I have a new squeeze in town and I thought I would shout it from the roof top, I love Smashfest Queen!

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I first learned about Smashfest Queen on twitter and instagram and was instantly drawn to their bright, loud and flashy tri-kits. Couple that with the fact that I am a fan of former swimmer (OMG ME TOO HILLARY, ME TOO!) turned TOTAL triathlon badass, Hillary Biscay who just so happens to be the co-founder of this amazing company so I knew I had to give these kits a try.

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Ultraman Champion = seriously inspiring

I am drawn to bright and fun clothing in my non-athletic life, so I decided that my plain black tri kit days were over and I really should embrace my over exuberance for color in my athletic life. Thank you to Hillary and Michele for helping me from being trapped in the world of “boring black and bla, oh that could be anyone rounding that corner” kit and helping cure my creative triathlon expression!

Unfortunately Smashfest Queen is so popular that the tri bottoms were backordered for about a month, but I received the top right away and really enjoyed breaking it in on trainer rides.

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STS: Sweaty Trainer Selfie, sorry but I’m not sorry.

First Impression: I LOVE the print and I can’t wait to take this onto the road. It actually motivates me to get a workout in because the print is so fun. You know that feeling when your workout gear is so cute, you just HAVE to put it on? Maybe that’s just me, but I love it.

According to their site they say that “this delicious design honors the amazing place where our company blossomed one year ago; Kona. This kit is pink, but take a closer look, it’s red and purple. In addition, the design is reminiscent of a brightly colored fish when the sun hits it scales. She sure is pretty!” Well, who doesn’t want a kit inspired by the superbowl of triathlon? Sign me right up.

Shelf bra seems more than sufficient, but I have only taken it on a couple runs. The top is tight, but it’s not “you make me feel like a 10 pound sausage in a 5 pound bag” tight.

Fabric: it is extremely quickly drying, which thank goodness because I sweat a TON! After a particularly hard trainer session, I stripped off my clothes and hopped into the shower to notice that I was completely drenched and my top was only somewhat damp.

Bottoms: one word of caution is that they run extremely small (which I neglected to notice in my endorphin fueled shopaholic spree on their site), I ended up ordering a large because the medium was just too tiny (Ok, time to insert the bit about the 10 pound sausage HERE) the large fits perfectly and is very comfortable. One feature I really love is the compression leg opening at the bottom of the short, it’s really comfortable and isn’t bogged down by heavy seams. Now since I am a member of the Boston Triathlon Team, I will most likely be using this for strictly training, but I would love to bust it out for a race at some point during this upcoming season!

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I haven’t taken this out on the road or tried it in a race yet as it is still very much winter in Boston, but I am looking forward to doing this really soon! Now the coolest part of getting this kit in the mail? The note that came along with it, complete with purple glitter pen!

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This currently lives on my fridge

 

Be sure to check out smashfestqueen.com for all of their amazing triathlon, cycling, running and casual gear. I look forward to bright, beautiful triathlon style for years to come!

What is your favorite triathlon kit, or race outfit and why?

Hello, 2014 (a little late!)

Welcome, 2014! Err, I mean, 18 days ago. So, I’m a little bit late to the “new year post” party, ooops!  I think it’s safe to say, that when the clock struck midnight and the ball dropped, I sighed a huge sigh of relief and smiled that 2013 was finally behind us. 2014 is here, and it’s time to look forward and rediscover my optimistic view of the world. That might read like 2013 was the worst year ever for me, which is certainly not the case. I certainly had my share of happy moments, laughs and amazing races. There were so many adorable babies born, engagements that I celebrated, weddings that I shook my tail feather late into the evening at, and not mention landing a job that I absolutely LOVE. On top of that, I have a husband that loves me unconditionally and can find the silver lining in absolutely everything. I really am very, very lucky.

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Sadly, 2013 was full of a lot of bad news. I said to a friend recently that I can’t remember a year with more cancer diagnosis’s and deaths. Not to mention,  fear and anxiety that brought my beloved city to it’s knees in April. To top it off, there were some sketchy and terrifying crimes in my neighborhood.  But, dealing with these hard times is a part of life and as my mother’s extremely ill best friend said to me recently, life is really just one foot in front of the other.

I’ve decided that my only new year’s resolution this year is to live life to the fullest. Take advantage of every opportunity, savor every second and remember to laugh. If 2013 taught me anything it is that life is very, very short. Unfortunately, I can’t leave all bad news in 2013, but my new mantra for dealing with unfortunate and sad news is to turn lemons into lemonade. I am going to focus on trying to find the silver lining in every situation and do something positive to help ensure that someone else doesn’t need to suffer in the future.

To kick off this resolution, 2014 will also be my first time training and racing with a team, the Boston Triathlon Team! Acceptance onto this team is very competitive and I’m honored and psyched that they have so graciously welcomed me onto their team. After just a few events, I have learned so much about cycling and the sport of triathlon. I’m so thrilled to be a part of the team, make new triathlon friends and proudly wear blue and green while racing!

BTT

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I am hopeful that with the help of my new team, an indoor trainer and time in the saddle, 2014 can be the year of the bike. Prior to the 2013 Kona Ironman world championships Mirinda Carfrae said in order to win she “had to get faster on the bike.” and I am employing that same strategy. 2013 was the year I purchased my bike and I surprised myself with how much I came to enjoy my new sport, but I am very far from an expert. 2014 will be the year I build upon that foundation, learn more technical knowledge and simply spend more time on the bike trainer and on the road.

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So far I have three triathlon races on the calendar: Patriot Half Ironman, Cohasset Triathlon and Ironman Timberman 70.3. I’m eyeing the Twin Lights Half Marathon and Mashpee Superswim and I’m looking forward to adding a few more. Are you racing any of these races? Let me know! Do you have any suggestions for races that I should add to my schedule?

There are plenty of other exciting things that will be happening in 2014, and I can’t wait to share all of them!

What is your new years resolution? What are your goals for 2014?

The concept of “rest”

I have approached that time of year where I have to utter that dreaded four letter word:

REST.

For those who know me well, and quite frankly those who know me via the inter web know that I don’t sit or rest well. My mom said this about me when I was a baby, and I guess it’s a skill that I simply never learned.

The thing about participating in endurance sports is that you push your body to the limit, sometimes it gets angry with you. That happened in March when my hip began to hurt so much that I physically could not run, never mind sit for long periods in the car or at a desk.

After months and months of rehabbing and a misdiagnosis, I found the cause of my problem: my lower back. I won’t bore you will specifics (if you are curious feel free to ask!), but the pain I was feeling in my back was caused by an issue with a disc in my lower back, so I started treatment for that with the help of my miracle worker chiropractor and magically things started feeling better. Finally, I was able to run pain free, for the first time in months and even though it wasn’t advisable during my treatment, I was able to keep up half ironman training and successfully complete the race pain free with a smile on my face.

Once I bid adieu to triathlon season (tear), I made a promise to myself that I would slow down and rest. Even though it is eating a bit of my soul, I know that this is a good thing for my body and future athletic pursuits.

Mentally, I know it’s good to take a break from the grind of constantly peeling out high mileage.

When I say “rest”, I’m not completely checking out from the gym, swimming or running; I’m just doing workouts at a much lower intensity. I’ve been enjoying my quick 3.5 mile runs around my beautiful neighborhood in this delicious time of year.

I’ve reacquainted myself with a contraption known as the elliptical or one of my favorite calorie burners, the “big step.” I’m still finding joy in the pool and sweating it out in spin class, the only difference being, these activities max out at 30-45 minutes and include a fierce menu of stretching and icing afterwards.

So what am I doing with all of my free time?

Making delicious dinners with Foxy:

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Has anyone tried Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash pasta sauce? It is UN-REAL! Pricey, but definitely worth it.

Spending time with my adorable nieces and nephew, though I would like to do more of this!

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Enjoying fall in my neighborhood on beautiful days like this one:

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Enjoying delicious beverages (who am I kidding, I did that during training too :))

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Icing other sore and tired body parts with interesting compression devices. Pashmina anyone?

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and lastly, I’m still keeping my athletic goals in my mind by catching up on blogs and watching some favorite motivational movies

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In addition to all of this fun, I’ve been scheming a really fun adventure and a few exciting side projects I hope to share in the next few weeks. 

What are your favorite “off-season” activities? Do you have any suggestions for me? 

Timberman Half Ironman Race Report

Ok folks, here it is, the spoiler alert – I had  BLAST at Ironman Timberman 70.3. So much so that I am still riding the wave even a week later! The day was not without it’s challenges, but for the most part I had an unreal day.

Pre-Race:

My alarm wet off at 4am, just as planned. I joke with Rob and a lot of my friend’s that as a swimmer we have a ridiculous internal body clock. Well, race mornings seem to only magnify this special quality. I found myself staring at the clock at 3:59am – BOOM! Not only did I think, “Oh, I have a moment to myself to relax before this alarm goes off.” I thought “OOF, Jules and D are ALREADY at the parking lot.”

Foxy was a rockstar husband/sherpa and ran everything out to the car while I ate breakfast, packed up my essentials and made sure that I was achieving everything on my to do list. I put on the TV and watched a really heart warming Make A Wish story about a terminally ill boy who got to meet the entire Seattle Seahawks team and play with them during training camp. I thought it was particularly approprate considering how much Ironman Timberman raises for the Make A Wish Foundation. Always good to start off your day feeling thankful for what you have!

Once we piled in the car, I felt confident, some nervous energy but most of all, I felt excited. I knew I put in all of the work that I could, so it was time to test my training.

We made the short trip to Ellacoya State Park. I updated my facebook status with an amazing quote from Andy Potts “Every Race is a balance of hope and doubt” (then I improvised) “today, the hope will be louder than the doubt!” I felt great and just wanted to stay positive and most of all, HAVE FUN.

In addition to motivational quotes from my swimming/triathlon idol, we were treated to an amazing sunrise over the lake at that hour:

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(Photo credit: Beth from Unleash the Beath)

When we arrived I was very pleasantly surprised to see that we were able to get a parking spot at the state park. Usually, the parking lot fills up so quickly that people are diverted to the nearby ski mountain for parking and shuttle service. I was really happy that I was able to park with Foxy (aka, Zen Fox) and walk with him to the transition area 🙂

I stopped and got inked by the body markers and then made my way to my transition spot. Since I was so close to the end Foxy was able to stand so close that we could chat. Then, I started bumping into people left and right, first Alett’s husband Hugh – who spotted my amongst the craziness and looked as cool as a cucumber. Then I saw Julia and Dutch. Then I saw Alett herself. I met a Ashley in the rack position next to me  who I recently friended on Instagram. I finally met up with my high school best friend, Kaitlin in line for the porto-potties. I then bumped into Will, another friend from high school at the Porto-potties, along with his entire crew (who I had met briefly previously.)

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LOTS of excitement in the TA

When I arrived at the park I thought I had eons of time, then all of a sudden I found myself sprinting to the transition area before it closed in order to retrieve my wet suit, cap and goggles before it officially closed. Luckily, I still had another 45 minutes before my wave went off, so I spent that time joking around with Rob, Kaitlin and my other friends I had picked up along the way.

Before too long I saw that my wave of women was corralled and we were quickly pushed to the edge of the lake, so I kissed Foxy goodbye, hugged Kaitlin (who unfortunately her wave wasn’t set to go off for another 30 minutes) and made my way to the edge of Lake Winnipesaukee.

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So excited to SWIM!

I watched the two waves in front of me go off, and when they called my wave to the water, I did my standard nervous shake out, jump and arm movements and confidently walked the distance to the swim start (side note: I absolutely LOVE beach starts, nothing gets my adrenaline going more! I realize that the lake where Timberman is located is insanely shallow, but this was a huge let down for me) and tried like hell to let my body relax enough to pee.

NO DICE.

I stood at the start and made my way to the front row. I looked around and found Jules and wished her good luck! I talked to MJ and Mary (newly acquired triathlon friends) and tried to just take in the amazing scenery. Before too long they were giving us the count down, and then WE WERE OFF!

The swim:

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In every triathlon race my strategy is to take out the first 50 yards relatively hard so I can do my best to break away from the pack. I did that and quickly noticed that there were 2 other women hanging with me and I thought “sweet – PACERS!”, so I just tried to settle in and find my pace. Unfortunately, the field was so dense with slow people in the waves in front of us and the chop from the water was so tough that I struggled to settle in. In the beginning I tried to count the amount of different colored swim caps I passed in Ragnar/Reach The Beach fashion, counting my “kills” (though, they would then definitely not only kill but murder me on the bike in a few short moments), but after awhile I started to lose track and gave up. The last cap I remember seeing was five waves in front of me. Hooray for swimming!

Somewhere along the way I felt my left calf seize up in a slight charlie horse and I tried to remain calm. Calf cramps when you’re roughly 20 minutes into a 6+ hour day doesn’t exactly bode well. I quickly modified my stroke and did everything in my power to stretch out my leg while still pulling like crazy. It seemed to work, but I struggled with the current pushing me into shore on the parrallel section and then it then again, pushed me  away from the finish on our way into shore. I kept on thinking to myself “why do I feel so crappy?!” (In hindsight, this is because I didn’t warm up. I always enjoy stretching out and getting loose, but no one I was with wanted to join. Next time I will most certainly warm up!)

Finally I closed in on that beautiful white arch and hammered down for the last 200 yards. I knew that expending lower body energy at this point wasn’t worth it, so I tried to turn off my legs and let my upper body do the work. Quickly I was on shore and Foxy was standing nearby screaming my name.

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I made my way into the transition area and reminded myself to relax and take my time. I knew I had over three hours on the bike ahead of me, so taking an extra minute wasn’t going to kill me!

Swim time: 30:25

T1: 3:04

The bike: “Go Knausser”

Oh hello the bike, my triathlon nemesis.

I’ve been dreading this section of the race ever since I signed up. There were a million questions swirling in my head…

What if I got a flat tire? What if I bonked on the bike? What if my ass hurt so much I wanted to cry? What am I going to do if I need to pee?

I tried to quell my nerves and just focus. A friend of mine from college told me that a former triathlon coach of her’s told her to treat the bike portion as “an all you can eat buffett.” So I went to town and did just that, trying to get as much down before infamous Marsh Hill.

T-Man elevation chart

There was a gentle hill straight out of the transition area and I looked down at my bike computer to and noticed it said I was going 25 UP the hill. I knew something was definitely wrong and realized that when resetting it the night before I accidentally set it to kilometers and not miles, sonofa! I joked to myself that I was channeling my friend’s Hannah & Nick in more ways than my transition towel 🙂

There were a couple hills and turns into little neighborhoods and I knew that Marsh was coming soon. My left hip flexor was CRAZY tight and I was very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, I was getting passed like crazy by all sorts of fancy bikes. I told myself “this isn’t your strength, just ride your own race!”

Prior to Timberman I met Paul from the Boston Triathlon Team, who told me that people climbing up Marsh Hill will be “tire to tire”, which didn’t seem possible to me at the time. As I approached Marsh I all of a sudden felt like I was in the middle of the peloton in the Pyrenees mountains at the Tour De France. USAT has a rule against drafting, but apparently that doesn’t apply to Marsh Hill! Everyone was literally tire to tire, huffing and puffing away. It was a pretty surreal moment having so many cyclists working so hard to conquer a single hill.

I was hurting big time and would have loved to hop off my bike and walk it up the hill. I started thinking about a lot of friends and people I know that are sick, or had lost their battle with cancer. I thought of my friend Tanya and her husband Eric who passed away from brain cancer in March. My heart ached and I dug DEEP. A few days before we left for Timberman I found some photos from their wedding in fall of 2004. When I found the photos, my heart sank, but instead I decided to use this as my motivation to literally carry me up this hill. I thought about his suffering and how people rallied by his side in his final days. People from different parts of Eric’s life changed their facebook photos to “Go Knausser”, and I must have repeated that to myself hundreds of times. Eric’s fight and strength were exactly what I needed to dig deep. From now on I’m going to call that beat of a hill Knausser’s Hill instead of Marsh hill!

Just when I thought the hill would absolutely never end I heard my friend Julia talking to someone behind me and I heard her say “that was it, we’re done with Marsh!” I said hello and then she was off. We had some amazing descents which I took at full speed before we headed out towards the main highway.

The next 30 miles went like this:

“I need to pee…should I go in the woods?”

“THIS IS SO BORING”

“MY ASS HURTS”

“I think the entire race field passed me”

I saw a few of my friends heading out on the other side of the road which gave me a nice boost, but my GOD that bike course was boring! Where are the mountains, lake, neighborhoods, ANYTHING to look at?! This would probably be my biggest beef with this race, the bike course wasn’t exactly what I would call visually interesting.

Somewhere around miles 30-40 I finally gave in and used a porto-potty, where an eager volunteer was ready to hold my bike and get me anything I might need. So amazing! It took me awhile to find a break in the pack so I could head back out, but eventually I did! Before too long we hit the same hills on the way back and then I was within 3 miles of the transition area. I passed by the section of the run course that shares the road with the bike and thought, “man, that looks hard” and I instantly went into my lowest gear and tried my best to spin out my legs.

SO HAPPY TO BE DONE (with the bike!)

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T2: I dropped my bike, drank some water and slipped on my sneakers and then I was off – 13.1 miles!

Bike: 3:22:16/16.61 average MPH

T2: 3:02

The Run: “No White Flags”

I had been slightly nervous about the fact that the run course is a double loop, but as soon as I made my way out on the run absolutely loved it. It was so motivating seeing my fellow competitors working so hard, and I was able to see a lot of friends, which gave me a huge boost. I set a goal for myself: No walking (except for the hill around mile 4) and no bathroom stops until the second loop. I also made the decision not to run with a garmin or to worry about my pace, but rather to just enjoy the experience and focus on feeling good and finishing with a SMILE!

As I ran I was surprised at how good I felt coming off the bike, I guess that is what happens when you actually put work in! I kept on seeing more and more friends, which was a huge blast. I heard a LOT of people choking and gagging, which I tried my best to block out. The last thing I needed was to barf, ick. The first lap was suddenly done and I made my way towards the turn around – I knew this would get in my head so I just decided to look at the finish line and take it all in…I would be there SOON! I looked around for Rob but sadly never saw him. Apparently my splits were saying I was walking so he was expecting me much, much later. Definitely a bummer, but it’s always better to be faster than slower 🙂

Lap two: I somehow found myself running with a woman that worked in fitness at my rival high school. She was running as a part of a relay and tried to motivate people as she ran by. Most people were scowling and getting pretty annoyed, but I personally LOVED her drill sergeant attitude and insesent comments for me to push up hard sections of the course. I don’t know who you are, but Fitness instructor/coach from Lincoln-Sudbury High School – you literally carried me through the 2nd lap.

As I approached the finish line I dug deep and all of a sudden Rob was running up to me, I was shocked he wasn’t at the finish line, but again my splits were all messed up so he had no idea where I was on the course.

As I ran through the finish chute I kept on thinking, I’M DOING IT!!!!!!! I put my hands up and then enjoyed the fact that I could finally walk after over six hours of racing.

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The run: 2:14:19

Volunteers were putting medals around finisher’s necks and all of a sudden a man was telling me congrats and I looked up and it was ANDY POTTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a huge moment of disbelief and then like a small child asked “CAN I HUG YOU?!” he laughed and said yes.

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Final Time: 6:13:06/Division Rank: 55/Overall Rank: 1292

Happiness level: through the freaking roof.

Post race thoughts:

  • I loved every moment of this race. Yes, even when I was really bored on the bike, it was still better than my best running race.
  • I have finally found my sport. I will definitely run another marathon, but not for quite some time.
  • I have a LOT of work to do on the bike, but I’ve also made a lot of progress considering how I was nervous about even biking around the block, let alone 56 miles.
  • I can’t wait to do it again!
  • A full ironman would be a ridiculous amount of work, but I think I can do it…someday!

I definitely never could have done with without the amazing support of my husband Rob, who is my rock and “Zen Fox” (His new nickname I bestowed upon him during Timberman craziness.)

I also had some amazing friends near and far that were unbelievably supportive, THANK YOU!

And to everyone in blogland/twitter/instagram – you ROCK! Your advice kept my nervousness in check, laughs on point and enthusiasm was through the roof.

Now the big question is – WHAT’S NEXT?!

What races should I do next year??