Monday, December 3, 2012

who doesn't like a good challenge?

You can take the personal trainer out of the gym or training studio but that doesn’t ever stop them from being a trainer. That’s my story. By choice, I don’t personal train for a living anymore. Do I regret that decision? Not at all. That doesn’t mean I’m doing what I love for a living now, but it is what it is and if I can personal train on the side, as I please and keep my skills sharp, then I’m a happy camper. I love helping others reach their goals and enjoy sharing my training secrets and discoveries.  

As a personal trainer, you learn to keep things fresh and exciting. My creativity was at an all time high when I was in that field full time and every now and then, something will spark the flames. Before I go into explaining the December Challenge, I thought a little history was in order. For those not in the know, I have a bit of a mean streak competitive personality. This competitive beast inside likes to come out and play every once in a while, which usually involves making up crazy fun monthly challenges amongst myself and the 3 usual suspects, KarenSummer, and Beth. Past challenges have been to swim 5 days in a row and the distance had to be no less than 1 mile.  Another one I came up with was to ride the bike, on the trainer standing for 30 minutes straight. I hadn’t made any recent challenges because of all the races we had on tap recently. I figured the training volume we had on our plates was challenging enough, so I let them girls off easy.

Fast forward to last Thursday, or was it Wednesday? I was tagged by Jennifer on Facebook asking something about a monthly challenge she remembered seeing. She was kind enough to gently throw her training partner JC under the bus because “he needed a challenge” but she happily added that she would also take part in whatever challenge I proposed. She's a good sport!

Now that you know how my mind works, I quickly started jotting down different ideas for a challenge. It occurred to me that December was only 2 days away and what better month to start a challenge, right? After all it’s the most stressful wonderful time of the year, with lots of parties, lots of sweets, high calorie beverages, and in general,  too much of everything we probably don’t need anymore of anyway. My other thought was, wouldn’t it make more sense to start getting into a healthy habit this month versus when the rest of the world starts on January 1st

And this my friends is how the 1 mile a day challenge all came about. I was actually taken aback to see such a welcoming response to the challenge when I first posted in on Facebook. What I thought might be just a handful of us doing it, turned into a much larger number and I think that is so awesome and I'm proud of every single one of you for participating, even people I've never met! As insignificant as running or walking a mile might seem to some, it really does take some discipline to do every day for the entire month. The challenge isn't the mileage for some of us but rather the consistency part. A good example of this is me sleeping in this morning. I was allowed to because it's a "rest" day on my training schedule. What this means is,  I have to make sure I get that mile in when I get home, sigh. No big deal you say? Can I let you in on a little secret? I hate running after work. I'm not the late day runner type at all. BUT, a challenge is a challenge and I NEVER BACK DOWN, so be sure I will be running later, even if only 1 mile. (side note day 3 complete - 1 mile done!) 

I'd like to leave you with this awesome workout video: 

If a walrus can workout, anyone can! By the way, check out the flawless form that this behemoth has while doing crunches.  Impressive to say the least, so take a lesson. Now stop, drop and give me 20!

Much love and peace out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ironman florida 2012 ...the afterthoughts

i was going to do a cartwheel but thought i might kill myself so i played it safe and did a Matty-O double bicep pose instead.

after every race, especially the long one's like an ironman, you start to immediately make mental notes of things to do the same and the things that you definitely don't want to repeat. none on my list are do or die items but they hopefully will allow for an awesome race day and an easy, chillaxin post race experience. i also start thinking about what's next and can't wait to experiment with some new training modes without the fear of injuring myself before an important race such as an ironman. it's like a new found freedom.  

first thing i will do next year before dropping off my T1/T2 bags is to write my number really big with a black sharpy. if you drop off special needs bags, which i did not do, don't forget to put your number on those bags as well. last year was uneventful as far as retrieving my bags after the race, this year not so much. i still do not have my wetsuit, goggles, cap and other items like sunscreen, bodyglide, etc ...apparently, the humidity caused a lot of the race numbers (stickers) to fall off the bags. when i went to get my bag after the race, they looked and looked but couldn't find it so they asked me to come back in the morning because it would be much easier to find then. no big deal to me. i go back the next morning, which was much easier because by now, most bags had been picked up, but mine was still nowhere to be found. thankfully, when i first bought my wetsuit, i wrote my name and phone number on the inside flap. some wetsuits have a designated area to write in your info, some don't. if you have a place to write your contact info, do it! the race director and i were discussing my missing bag and that was the first thing he asked, "did you write your info on your wetsuit?" he said he was surprised how many people with wetsuits that cost well over $500, don't write in their contact information. truth be told, when we were heading back to the condo to pack up and leave, i told the J-Man, i really didn't care if i ever got that wetsuit back because i didn't like it anyway, so there. i couldn't think of a better excuse to buy a new (better fitting) one. maybe they all fit like crap, i don't know. i just know that i hate wearing a wetsuit. about an hour into our trip heading back home, i got a call from a 727 area code, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from my 813 area code. low and behold, a very nice triathlete, whom i have never met but we both have many mutual friends, called to say she recognized the name on my wetsuit as we are on several of the same email lists, and she would bring it home with her. our goal is to meet up on friday so she can unload my very smelly wetsuit.  

on that note, does anyone want to buy said wetsuit from me for a really good deal? it is a women's small/medium full xterra vortex, used exactly 4 times. see it below ...

the second thing i would do differently would be to safety pin not just my chip but my watch band as well. i lost my watch about 10 minutes into the swim and had to go watchless the entire race. did it hinder me? i would say no. in fact, after much thought, i think the way the weather played out that day, it was best for me not to have a watch. as soon as i felt the watch fall off, i told myself that, it was meant to be and to just carry on. i actually use the watch to time my eating and drinking so i had to improvise and use the computer on the bike as my guide, which worked out just fine. i found myself doing the nutrition and hydration by instinct so i probably could have winged it completely without any sort of timing device. 

the third thing i would do differently is to get a condo unit on a lower level. it makes coming and going much easier as you don't have to wait as long for the elevator. we were on the 18th floor. goal for next year is to get a unit no higher than the 12th floor. this is specific to this condo we stayed at, called The Shores of Panama, which i would highly recommend. i would also recommend Sunbird as well. i heard that LakeTown Wharf is great too but it is not on the water like the others i mentioned, but it's only a walk across the street to hit the beach. they are all within a half mile, so walking distance of the host hotel where the expo is and where the race starts and finishes. i would warn you to not stay at the host hotel ...icky and noisy! that's all i have to say on that. 

the fourth thing i learned was that i like eating shot blocks way more than powerbars so i am retiring the powerbars for good. gels and blocks from here on out. the only problem i see is that i really love the blocks so much so, that i have been eating them for no reason. they are addicting and i'm sure we will find out one day that they put some addictive ingredient (like the tobacco industry did with cigarettes) in those yummy shot blocks. that reminds me, i need to hit up Target today to buy more ...i am training for a marathon you know!

there are many thing i will not change, such as my training. despite not beating my time from last year, my training was solid, i never slacked, and in the end, i did have a good race. after getting very ill in february, it took a good 2 months before i felt like i could train without feeling super fatigued. i never really felt like my running returned to where i left off. the biking and swimming pretty much did, so not all was lost. still trying to dig up that lost running speed because the Disney Marathon is less than 8 weeks away. 

speaking of the Disney Marathon, my pal and virtual training partner for the race, Karen, at working it out blog sent me the Hal Higdon 8 week training plan for those who have recently run a marathon (sort of the same but my marathon was not stand alone) and have to get ready to run another one soon. so far, so good. i did my long run for the week, 8.25 miles (don't laugh) this morning and it was not easy. physically and mentally, it's hard but i like the way the plan is laid out because it seems to me that the way Hal has it all planned out, it will ease me through this "still recovering from an IM" phase without having a meltdown.  Click HERE to see the plan i am following. what i love most about this plan is that it's simple. i need simple. once i start seeing acronyms and 400's, 800's, i'm mentally checking out. give me miles and let me go about my merry way. 
as soon as ironman florida was over, i could hardly wait to get back to my weight training ways. i was able to incorporate the weights into my first 2 IM's but as i mentioned before, with the whole getting sick and i swear i had post virus fatigue for a long time after, i couldn't find the extra energy to fit all the swimming, biking, and running in, so the weight training went out the window and yes, it made me mad. i missed it. now with all that crazy training volume behind me, i have jumped right back into the weight training except now i have adopted a more "crossfit" way of training. i have never been one to participate in a class or group setting. it's just not in my DNA. i do not get along well with others ...kidding, maybe. anyway, so i have created my own at home crossfit workouts and i love them! i have been having so much fun creating my own workouts and kicking my own ass, it's ridiculous. the best part of all is that i didn't have to buy anything because i already have everything i could possibly need, just add creativity and you got a hell-a-good workout! in less than 2 weeks, i can already feel and see a difference. the neighbors that come out to get their newspapers at 5:30am look around to see where all the ruckus is coming from. good morning sleepy head neighbors! yep, that would be me jumping rope or doing walking lunges in front of my house! 

thanks for reading, much love and peace out friends!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

ironman florida 2012 race report

sunset from our balcony
i can't bring myself to type up the usual, split into 3 days worth of swim/bike/run race report, but what i can do is present a summary of my race experience intertwined with other happenings and observations that occurred along the way.
  • rolled into PCB around 3:30pm on thursday. a little later than planned but it worked out great as it seemed most athletes had already done the mandatory check in, which had to be done by 5pm. i walked right in the check in tent, no line (unusual to not have a line at an IM event), got my wrist band, really nice gear bag, timing chip, swim cap, etc. 
  • after check in we went to our condo located a 1/2 mile from where the race starts and finishes. mental note, this condo is in a great location, will stay there again next year. by the way, it is totally worth it to rent a condo versus going the hotel route. it ended up only costing about $20 more overall and we had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, full kitchen, washer, dryer, linens, and a view of the gulf of mexico to die for.  
  • next stop, quick trip to walmart right across the street. this eliminated the need to eat restaurant food for every meal. i was able to eat like i normally would and during a race week, that is very important. walmart was also a lifesaver on 2 occasions. i don't race with my garmin (i'll tell you why later) but instead i just use a basic timex ironman watch and keep an eye on my overall race time. well, the dang watch decides to fall apart on my easy 2 mile run the day before. I was running with Summer and we had a good laugh when it happened. i told her, no prob, i'll either go buy a new one at walmart or maybe just a new band will suffice. the other save my life event was for unknown reasons, i started to breakout with itchy hives on thursday night, so J-man darted over to the W-Mart and bought me some liquid benadryl; disaster averted. 
  • so i don't race with my garmin. why? i have read on many forums about way too many people losing them in the swim. i would be so pissed if i lost a $400 watch. J-Man overheard a few people mention that they had lost their garmin's during the swim on Saturday. i don't mind losing a $30 timex ironman watch, which is exactly what ended up happening on Saturday. the new band made of velcro came undone and in the middle of all the chaos, i'm trying to secure it. i did that about 3 times and finally just had to say, F it, if it slips off, it won't be the end of the world. before the first turn buoy for lap one, the watch and i bid our farewells and i wondered how many watches were down there in the watch graveyard. 
Summer B and Shorty KC
  • friday, the day before the race was very uneventful, which is exactly how i planned it. did my 2 mile shake out run with Summer as i mentioned earlier and J-Man took his parent's around town and they did lots of walking, sight seeing type things. after the run, i walked down to the main IM tent to register for next year's race. last year, i waited until the day after the race to register and man was i glad i didn't wait until Sunday this time because it was the longest line ever. longer than last year. after that, i met up with a bunch of bloggers and made some new friends, then went back to the condo to grab Mandy (my bike), T1 and T2 bag so i could check them in before the 3pm deadline. 
J-Man sitting in his favorite beach chair

blogger and friend meet up

Rinny sighting!
  • i used my left over special needs bags from last year and made up my T1 and T2 bags before i left Tampa so the only thing i needed to do was transfer everything over to the official race bags. i highly recommend doing this if you are like me. i am highly organized but start to lose my mind and all common sense when it gets closer to race day. 
  • i slept really well on friday night which i never do before a race, so i was very happy about that. i planned on waking up at 4:30am but some alarm (unrelated to any of the 3 alarms i had set) kept going off around 4am. J-man went outside to check and said it was an alarm a few floors above us and lights were flashing. he said he didn't see smoke or fire so i went about my normal race morning routine. i ate a 3 egg white omelet and 2 slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, then gathered all of my stuff (wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, watch, water, gel) and off we all went for our 1/2 mile walk to the start. 
  • i got over to body marking around 5:30am, then went to check on my bike, no flats thank you Jesus, stuck my cell phone in my aerobag, then met up with J-man and his parent's again, put my wetsuit on and walked down to the shore. it was already 73 degrees. first thing that jumped into my head when i looked at the water ...

"The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."
- George Costanza, in "The Marine Biologist"

  • as angry as that sea was, i knew i would be fine. somehow i have tricked myself into believing, "it's just like swimming in the pool." laugh all you want but it has worked for me. i won't lie, it took about 1/2 mile for me to feel settled in but i never felt panicked or scared. the swells were incredible, which made sighting a little tricky and i felt incredibly dizzy. nonetheless, i kept telling myself to just keep moving ahead and that i'd be on my bike soon. as i mentioned earlier, my watch slipped off around the 0.4 mark and instead of getting discombobulated, i told myself that maybe it was a sign from above that it was best i didn't have a watch on today, so i just let it go and didn't think about it again. about a minute after going all Zen with the watch incident, someone grabbed my goggles and pulled them down, so i had to quickly get them back on, which i did without any problem. my eyes stung from the salt water getting in them but i quickly forgot about it and kept on moving forward. 
  • last year i saw a million, huge jellyfish, this year, only 1 itty bitty one. the water was not as clear this year and that was fine by me as i heard several people saw sharks under them at last year's swim. the 2nd lap was a little less crowded but i did manage to get a soft kick in the jaw on the way in. i quickly stumbled out of the water like i was drunk. normally i am always a little off balance when i get out of a swim, even at the pool, but this was a little more than usual. i made it up the long transition to the wetsuit strippers (love them) and ran through where the T1 bags were, was quickly handed my bag and then ran into the hotel where the women's T1 area was set up. thankfully, i had a volunteer all to myself, she dumped my bag out and i put on my helmet, sunglasses and race belt as she sprayed me down with sunscreen, she put one sock on my foot as i did the other sock, slipped my shoes on, said a huge THANK YOU and out i went to get Mandy. definitely not as smooth as last year but finally got Mandy and headed out, jumped on at the mount line and we were on our way.
  • all this time i had no idea what my time was but was somewhat disappointed when i saw the clock heading out on the bike and it read 1:45:??. i thought, my god, that swim really did kill me. thankfully, my mind wasn't that out of whack and i remembered that the time started when the pro's started so it was about 15-20 minutes ahead, so i cut myself some slack and didn't give it anymore thought. 
  • on the bike, i immediately washed my salty mouth out with water, drank some powerade and got settled in. as usual, i started eating about 15 minutes into the ride and thereafter eating about every 30 minutes and drinking every 10 minutes. i really made sure to not screw up on hydrating because it was hot and getting hotter and sunnier by the minute. i never had to stop on the bike, just grabbed what i needed from the volunteers as i rolled by them. the wind is always a factor at IMFL and did not disappoint. mostly the last 20 miles were the worst but i just tried to stay mindful that i had a marathon to run after so blowing up my legs on the last 20 miles to keep a 20mph average or to maybe make up about 5 minutes on time, would not be too smart. thankfully, i did not witness any crashes or near misses but as usual, did see lots of drafting and loved when they got caught, ha-ha!

heading back with 1/2 mile to go
  • i was so glad to finally get off of the bike. weird thing that happened was there were about 7 volunteers standing around waiting to grab your bike as you came in and i walked right by all of them like i was invisible. someone yelled at them, "someone get her bike!!" then they woke up and someone grabbed my bike and i hauled ass into the hotel to get my T2 bag. uneventful here, just put on visor and running shoes, a quick spray down with sunscreen and a quick pee stop at the port-o-potty.

  • i knew within the first 5 minutes of the run that it was going to be brutal because of the heat and that i would have to come up with a plan of attack to make it through without looking like the walking dead by the end. the plan was, walk through every aid station, sip some water, dump rest on head and arms, drink a few sips of Perform or coke, dump one cup of ice in tri top, and hold some ice in each hand. repeat again at next aid station. i did this the entire time and it helped tremendously. i learned the ice in the hands thing recently. studies show that holding ice in your hands is one of the best ways to keep your core temp down. who knew? the first lap was hard with the heat but the second lap was better with the sun finally starting to set. i saw lots of people i knew along the run route and want to thank all of them for the shout outs. they helped me so much and lifted my spirits. i got a lot of compliments on the Betty designs tri kit i was wearing too. 
HOT! The weather, not me.
  • the last mile was the best. as much as i wanted to do a cartwheel across the finish line, there was no way my legs would tolerate that. i would have surely ended up on my ass, so i opted for the double bicep pose instead. i also let all the racers in front of me go ahead to give me my space this year because last year, i was dwarfed by all the people around me, so it was hard to see me finish.
  • guess who never once knew what her race time was, even after she finished the race? me! i had to ask the person who was catching if she happened to see my finish time. honestly, had you asked me what i thought it was, i would have guessed 13 hours, so i was pleasantly surprised when i turned around to look at the clock and see 11:41. i knew it was a few minutes under that time and was thrilled considering how hard the day was. 
  • as much as i would have liked to have beaten last year's time, i was not at all mad or disappointed. i proudly claim my time of 11:39:47.

here is the comparison of last year's race and this year's:

2011:                                                                 2012:
S - 1:20:30                                                        1:21:42
T1 - 8:26                                                               8:36
B - 5:43:16                                                        5:41:29
T2 - 4:49                                                                4:59
R - 4:08:28                                                        4:23:01
Finish: 11:25:29                                                 11:39:47

i had a great time this year and can't wait to do it again next year but hopefully with cooler temps!

much love and peace out! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ironman Florida Stalking Info

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it’s that time again. Time to conquer another 140.6 miles of awesome at Ironman Florida! Feels like it was just yesterday that I was standing in line to register for 2012 and that was the day after last year's race. Seriously, it's scary how fast time flies.

For those of you who have followed my blog over the past 2-3 years, I sincerely apologize for not “keeping up” on updating very much this year. Between work, training, and just plain old life stuff, I literally found myself with zero desire and zero time to blog. I have bunches of unfinished posts that i started that are sitting in limbo (draft mode). However, I have been keeping up with my training and that’s all that really matters, right? No doubt about it, I have my priorities straight dang it!

Many of my coworkers and friends have asked me if I’m excited for the race and of course, what else can I say but yes but truth be told, the answer is yes and no. No, I’m not all that excited as far as the race itself is concerned (gasp!). I’ve tried to figure out why that is and the only explanation I can come up with is that since it will be the 3rd time doing this distance, it isn’t all that new anymore. Yes it‘s still a challenge, yes I thoroughly enjoy the training and racing, and yes, I will qualify for Kona come hell or high water one year soon and I won’t stop until I get there, but the newness of doing 140.6 miles has worn off some. I guess I may have to sign up for a double iron to remedy this problem …just kidding Joel!

But let me tell you why I am excited. I get to hang out with some awesome friends, many of them bloggers, some who are racing and many who are volunteering and getting in line to register for next year’s race. The best part of all?  Some of those friends who are racing will become an Ironman for the first time and that fires me up. I’m so super excited for them that I can hardly contain myself!

For those who would like to stalk me on Saturday, here is how to do it: 

~ go to
~ click on the COVERAGE tab
~ click on Ironman Florida from the drop down list
~ enter my bib#862 or my last name, Concepcion

Keep in mind that Panama City Beach is in the Central time zone and the race starts at 7am. My goal is simply to beat last year's time. I have other specific goals but I'm keeping them on the down low for now.

Thanks to everyone who has wished me well for the race. It is very much appreciated and believe me when I say that knowing so many of you will be tracking me on Saturday is a huge motivation for me. It is a long day and there are always a few rough patches along the way but knowing I'm being "watched" will keep me focused and on task.

I'll leave you with a few pics ...

Super cool bracelet that a former personal training client gave me. LOVE IT!

My Halloween costume. I think I'll wear it to race in too!

Much love and peace out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

cheers, jeers and miscellania

  • Lance Armstrong was staying at the hotel we stayed at. He was walking out with a couple of friends as we were walking in. Nobody even realized it was him ...except for us. I immediately turned to the J-man and said, "that's Lance." Then I said, "his calves are a lot smaller than i thought they'd be." Some people notice nice butts, i notice calves. i guess in his case, size doesn't matter. 

  • Some of you know from my blog that i was adopted at birth. i don't know a whole heck of a lot about my biological roots but i do know that i was born in Winter Haven. Winter Haven and Haines City (where the race was at), are pretty much almost one in the same as they are so close to each other. As we were driving through Winter Haven, I looked over at the J-man and said, "thank god i didn't have to grow up here." there is pretty much nothing there to make note of. at one time, it was the home of circus world and the boardwalk and baseball theme parks. both parks have since met their demise. once you exit off of I-4, it looks like a place where time has stood still for ages.  it appeared very run down and economically poor. I couldn't help but think how lucky I was to have had such a great childhood (in Tampa), yet it made me sad too because I couldn't help thinking about my Mom and Dad, the one's who raised me. i miss them so much. 

  • On race morning, I had some time to kill after getting body marked and setting up transition so J-man and I found a place to sit and people watch, which is always a hoot. As I was sitting there lathering on the sunscreen, I overheard this chic as she is walking by, talking about the HUGE alligator she saw yesterday in the lake we’re about to swim in. I look over at J-man with eyes wide open and said, “why did I have to just hear that?” I did my best to get that visual out of my head of the alligator swimming underneath me. I won’t lie though, I did think about the alligator for like 5 seconds, then I was fighting for space the rest of the time so my mind was preoccupied thank goodness. 

  • I forgot to mention in my race report how awesome the residents along the run course were. there were a few on the first mile of the run loop (aka: the big climb) who came out with their water hoses and sprayed us down. it was so awesome. i made sure to run by them every loop. i didn't care that my shoes were all wet and squishy inside. maybe that's what saved me from getting any hot spots or burns on the bottom of my feet. some people really did have burns on their feet ...true story. 

  • I only pee'd one time the entire race and that was on the run IN A PORT-O-POTTY, not in my shorts, ok?

  • Speaking of pee’ing, you know how sometimes a world record time in a running race has an asterisk to note that it was wind aided? Does it matter that when I pee’d on the bike, it was rain aided? Does it still count? I feel like maybe I cheated. Did I? 

  • Leg hugs were in order on Saturday at the race expo. The leg hug thing is something that The Discombobulated Runner came up with last year and it was a hit so we decided to make it a ritual. Where she came up with this is still a mystery to me but I loved the idea. Here is how it works, when you meet a blogger buddy for the first time, you have to hug their leg and take a picture to prove it. They in turn have to hug your leg back with picture evidence. As crazy as it sounds, it became a hit so we continue the tradition. Here is my evidence:

  • I hope everyone has a lovely memorial day weekend. I am doing 2 back to back centuries, one on Saturday and a completely different 100 mile route on Sunday. I will be well over 300+ miles for the week …yee-haw! 

  • Have you noticed all the frozen yogurt places popping up? I do ♥ me some good frozen yogurt every now and then and my favorite flavor is ooey, gooey cinnamon bun. don’t judge me!

  • Part of me is sad that florida 70.3 is over but the other part of me that needed a break from the hard core training is very happy. I like waking up and doing whatever I feel like doing. I'm sure I'll be itching to ramp it up again soon but for now, i shall enjoy the no structure schedule. 

oh crap, it's time to ride ...much love and peace out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ironman 70.3 florida race report

the pelican bling

the swim
lots to say about the swim. i know without a doubt that had this swim not been rerouted, i would have knocked it out in 35 minutes. i'm not the betting kind but i would have put down some serious cash on that. unfortunately, due to a drought, the lake had a lot of shallow spots so the swim had to be reconfigured from the usual out, over and back rectangular pattern to an out, over, in, over, out, over, in. make sense? it was like the letter "W." in a nutshell, it was a royal mess of turns but it was what it was and i'd rather have a swim than no swim. i had no desire to do a run/bike/run. i'm not sure if all the turns had anything to do with this, but it was kinda rough out there. lots of contact. i thought with a wave start this would not be too much of an issue. i don't remember having that much grabbing, pulling, jostling for position at ironman florida and that was a mass start. can anyone explain this to me? 
as i was standing in the knee deep muck waiting for my wave to start (i was in the 6th wave), i had to laugh as i looked down at what i would describe as disgustingly dirty water. i've been spoiled swimming in bodies of water that you can actually see the bottom. oh well, my mantra is just swim like you are at the pool and that's what i tried to do despite the zig-zag mess of turns. 
swim time: 44:04
T1: 3:14
the bike
i love this part as most of you know. as usual, you have your wind, rough roads, and a few unsafe riders who nearly take you out (yes, i almost got taken out at mile 3). this course was hilly and it was hot. my goal going into this race was to not be as conservative on the bike as i have been in past races. i told myself to go all out and i pushed as hard as i could the entire 56 miles. i did my usual fig newtons early on, a gel at halfway, 2 bottles of water and a bottle of powerade with nuun. 
bike time: 2:41:53 / 20.76 avg.
T2: 2:36 

the run
i thought about this 13.1 miles all week and knew it was going to be hot. hotter than what i am used to running in. my strategy was to manage each mile, one at a time. i knew that there would be aid stations at approximately every mile, so i decided that i would quickly walk through each one. i made sure to grab whatever sport drink they had, water, ice, and a sponge and then upward and onward. let me just say that the magic trick to surviving a run when it is as hot as it was, is to dump ice in your jogbra. sorry guys, not sure what you can do to keep the ice in. maybe you can wear a manzere? how does Seinfeld always work his way into my posts? ok, back to the run this is the routine i did every single mile and it worked like a charm. as much as i hate running in the hellish heat, i know it can be done successfully.
run time: 1:52:07 / 8:33 avg

total race time: 5:23:54

i am happy with my time. it placed me 8th in my age group out of 92. i will be back next year for sure. 

much love and peace out!

Friday, May 18, 2012

i did it!

before i even tell you what i did, let me take you back to 1997 as i was training for my first marathon. most of my training was done solo so i wasn't exposed to the typical runner's antics, like snot rockets, peeing out in the open, changing clothes in your car, etc ... fast forward 6 months to January 1998, to the start of the disney marathon, my first marathon. i was in total shock for the first mile or two as i saw men and women just running off to the side and relieving themselves and not even being discrete about it. i thought to myself, oh my god i would never do that and to this day i haven't, but, let me clarify. i can pee outside just not in the wide open or while people can see me. in order to pee, you need to relax, and just knowing i can be seen, makes me tense up so forget about being able to go. give me a tree or wall to hide behind and i'll let it flow.

****side note****
to all of my non-athletic friends, my family, my beautiful husband (hi honey! sorry i couldn't tell you to your face that i did this while we were riding), who may read this, i know you may be slightly appalled at first when you read the rest of this post but all the cool kids are doing it, so why can't i? isn't that a title of an album??

back to the story over the last couple of years that i've been doing tri's, i have had many conversations with my compadres via email, twitter, and facebook about peeing while you are riding your bike, specifically while in a race. this really is a common topic among us tri-geeks. 95% of them encouraged me to DO IT! they even sent me instructions and tips on how to go about it. imagine that! so my excuse is that my friends made me do it. if you'd like to read some more humor on this particular subject, check out this article HERE.
not only did i pee on my bike once, but i did it twice. i think riding in the rain had something to do with it. fortunately, i wore my road shoes and not my tri shoes. raise your hand if you know what an underpass of an interstate smells like, where all the homeless people gather.  unfortunately, my road shoes now smell like this. good news though ...based on the most recent fabreeze commercials, this should not be a problem, right? fabreeze can kill the odor of dead fish and decomposing bodies according to the commercial. 

a little sunshine and a lot of fabreeze should cure the stink, right?

ok, enough of the pee talk, let's move on to more important stuff like lots of fun things going on this weekend like IRONMAN TEXAS. i want to wish Jason at CTER  and Heidi an awesome race! you both will have so many stalkers sending you good race mojo the entire day and we are all there with you. tomorrow is YOUR day!

here in florida, we have the FLORIDA Ironman 70.3 in haines city going on. what makes it a little more special is that Lance Armstrong will be there racing, which i think is pretty cool. i'm looking forward to meeting Summer, a blogger that is like my long lost little sister. you'd think based on all of our email and text messages that we've known each other our whole lives. i also get to watch JC (not my JC) and Jenny rock their first 70.3! and lastly, i have to settle a bet with this guy on Sunday ...i'll be coming for you on the bike mister! a great weekend indeed.

KC bib#425 and Mandy reporting for duty on Sunday!

much love and peace out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

shop til ya drop

i hate to go shopping! ever since i was a kid, i hated it. be it groceries, clothes, furniture, and especially christmas shopping. there is one exception though ...i love to shop online, especially on ebay. i have an eye for awesome deals and i wait like a predatory bird, watching and waiting until the last 15 seconds and then i pounce on it! deal done, i got the winning bid!

within the last year or two, i have bought 3 killer bike frames on ebay. 2 were road bike frames, which the J-man has built up into fabulous racing machines and the other is my beloved cannondale, atom green raven, a mountain bike frame, which is still in the planning phases. i keep telling him he needs to do this for a living. i swear he is that good! and a straight up perfectionist at that. sometimes it drives me crazy. but i digress ...

last week i got bit by the ebay shopping bug (AGAIN!) and found some SAAAWHEEET deals. check it out:

pearl iZUMi tri top, new with tags from Wheat Ridge Cyclery in Colorado. got it for $22 flat with free S & H.
i was sad they didn't have any matching shorts left.

this beauty should be in my hands by the end of the week. picked it up for $45 total.

sugoi tri top and bottom from Keswick Cycles in Pennsylvania for $50 w/free S & H. i already wore it on a 72 mile ride in the hills on saturday and LOVE it!

if you'd like me to be your personal shopper, please contact me, provide me with your credit card number and a wish list and i will gladly shop for you and i'll do it for free!

much love and peace out!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

sorta kinda wordless wednesday

someone stole my blogging mojo! i don't know where it went to and i have no idea how i'm going to get it back but i'm working on it. in my defense, i did have a huge insurance exam that i've been studying for since january and finally took the exam yesterday, so maybe my mojo will return soon.

in the meantime, i ordered a case of creative juices, so when that arrives, i should be one mean, lean blogging machine. yeah, right!

the good news is, no one has stolen my training mojo and i am so very excited to be racing next month along side (ok, not really along side but you know what i mean) Lance Armstrong. should be fun!

gotta roll, my bike is calling me!

much love and peace out!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

february from hell

that is the month of february going down the toilet!
a lot of you emailed me and texted me last month while i was on my disappearing act tour and i'd like to say thank you for checking in with me. that was very kind of you and much appreciated. so you wanna know what happened? i'm not even sure where to begin really so i'm going to break it down into the good, the bad, the sad and the ugly but not necessarily in that order, ok?

i decided somewhere back in late december, early january that my running was going so well that why waste it, so i found a marathon to do. one that was close to home, fairly flat, and no fuss (meaning, not a huge crowded mess of runners like Disney for example). my goal? qualify for boston, which relatively speaking, should have been in the bag easily. i only needed to run a 3:45 or better. i can't remember the last time i ran a marathon over that time, so you can see why i was so sure of myself. i wasn't being cocky at all. all of my long runs were spot on and i was feeling like a million bucks.

friday, feb 2nd, 2 days before marathon day, i swam that morning before work and felt perfectly fine. i got to work at my normal time and noticed throughout the day that i had an annoying, dry cough. nothing that was alarming to me at all. i had no cold like symptoms and i never felt out of sorts. next day, saturday, i did an easy run and went to swim. again with no major issues except for that same annoying, dry cough. on my way home, i stopped at walmart and bought some thera-flu and zicam just in case i needed it.

we left for melbourne around 2 in the afternoon on saturday so i could get to the expo to pick up my goodie bag, race shirt and bib before they closed. on the drive there, i noticed that i started getting chills. now, if you know me, you will know i am ALWAYS hot. i like my environment cold. this was not the case on this 83* day. i was freezing and i couldn't stop shaking. luckily we had 2 towels in the J-man's truck so i covered my legs and upper body with them and felt much better. i still didn't feel bad at all, just had chills.

i went to bed around 9 that night, again, still not feeling crappy at all. i still had chills all night and woke up a few times, drenched in sweat. no big deal i tell myself.

i wake up on race day and do my usual routine. shower, eat, drink a tiny bit of coffee, get dressed, etc ...
the J-man asked how i felt as i was starting to cough a little more than the last few days. i told him the truth ...i felt fine and that i was going to go out there, run the marathon and get my boston qualifying time. the drive to the race start was uneventful. as i was waiting for the race to start, the J-man came up to me and looked me straight in the eyes and asked me if i felt okay enough to do the race. i looked him straight in the eyes and said, "i've got this." as in, i've got this BQ, no prob, kiss-kiss, see ya at the finishline.

bang! the race starts right on time. i tell myself to not get all caught up in the 1/2 marathoners pace and to hold my "easy" pace. first five miles was like i was on a treadmill. every mile split was an 8:20. i thought there was something wrong with my garmin. rut-roh, mile six and i see an 8:45 and now i feel really, really sick. what the hell? by mile 8, i pulled out the white flag and surrendered. by surrendered, i mean, i knew the marathon was out of the question. i told myself to just finish it up with the half marathon and call it a day. yes, i was pissed off. all of this hard work and nothing to show for it. the last 5.2 miles were hell. i really didn't think i was going to even make it back to finish the half. i did something i never do in a race. i walked (gasp!). i had no choice at this point but to go into survival mode. i saw the J-man at mile 11 as he was about to take my picture. i yelled NO PICTURES! i also told him that my day was over and to meet me back at the finish. by the way, i've yet to check the camera to see if he took any pictures that day. i would rather just forget the entire weekend. there was no way i was going to leave without the cool spinning medal, even if it was just the half marathon. thankfully, the medal for the half and full were almost identical except for the ribbon. i ended up finishing in 1:57:35 ...pitiful! it made me even more sick to see that time. ok, let me clarify, finishing in just under 2 hours isn't horrible, but for me, based on my normal race pace in a half, it's horrible.

as soon as i was done, i grabbed a water, declined the official finishers picture with my medal, and immediately found a bench to sit down on. i had nothing left. i was almost dead. i drank some water, coughed my head off, then gathered myself up to head back to the car. we went back to the hotel so i could shower, then we headed home. i slept all the way home (2 hours). as soon as we got home, i grabbed my bags out of the car, threw them in the office, changed into sleeping cloths and went straight to bed and i slept like Snow White ...but only for 2.5 weeks. LOL!

oh look! it's the J-man and Snow White!
actually, what ended up happening was the first week, the doctor thought i had pneumonia and was treating me for that with 3 different meds and a shot in the butt cheek. after a week of that, i was getting worse, not better, so back to the doctor. this time i was scared. i thought for sure i would get there and they would send me straight to the hospital. thankfully, they didn't. the doctor did however, change his diagnosis to the bubonic plague severe bronchitis and the flu and gave me 2 more meds and yet another shot in my tushy. let me just say that i have never in my life been so sick. not EVER! what a freakin' nightmare.

i had to skip running the inaugural st. pete rock and roll half marathon, which meant, i didn't get to drop it down low with Flo Rida after the race. boo-hiss on that. thankfully, i did get to run the gasparilla half marathon but i was nowhere near race shape thanks to the ebola virus. yes, i was a bit sad and frustrated to not be able to open up all cylinders this year but i'm okay with it now. the medal is to die for too. i would have crawled the entire way for that medal too.

all in all, i feel so much better now. i am not 100% YET but getting closer everyday. i will admit that i was extremely frustrated for the last few weeks because i felt like my progress was soooo slow, my breathing was like a 3 pack a day smoker and Lord knows i am not the most patient person. but now i look at my almost month long hiatus as a much needed vacation for my mind, body and soul. albeit, a vacation that was forced upon me but one that obviously was much needed. that's how i chose to look at it.

i officially began my hard core training for Florida 70.3 so watch out world, i'm on my way back.

much love and peace out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

just wanted to let you know ...

i promise to update my blog this week. i had a february straight out of hell. that is all.

as a side note, i'm not feeling the wordpress thing so much yet so rather than not blog at all,  i am going to stay here on blogger until i have the time to really understand wordpress a little better. in other words, wordpress is frustrating me and i'm finding myself avoiding blogging all together. thanks for reading.

much love and peace out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

i moved!

there is still a lot of work to do design wise over at the new blog but the basics are up and running. of course, the most important part was getting KC's kick a$$ playlist on there and i'm happy to report that it was a success. we have music! still, there is sooooo much to re-learn. i was a blogger pro and now i'm nothing but a wordpress virgin ...sigh!

please come see me HERE!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

baby steps ...

i've been kicking something around for awhile now, but fear was paralyzing me. everytime i tried to finalize the process and hit that button to seal the deal, i chickened out. i think it had something to do with losing everything i've built up over the last 2 years. i'm talking about migrating from blogger to wordpress. something about losing all of my posts, comments and followers really scared me. this was, until a good blog buddy/IT expert came along and helped me see the light. basically, he has emailed me the process of migrating, bit by bit, and so far, it has been a smooth process. i'm still clinging to blogger by my fingernails and told him that before i really hit that button to migrate everything over, i wanted to finish this one last post on blogger.

so, this shall be my last post here on this site. once i have figured out my way around wordpress and how to actually do a blog post on it, you can come visit me. i will post my new blog address on this "old" blog as soon as it's ready.

yay, success! only 1 scratch from mountain biking all weekend!
guess what i've been doing a lot of lately? mountain biking! well, not really, because we don't have any mountains to speak of here, but we sure have some gnarly, technical single track, with tree roots bigger than my head. as the J-man and i were riding this weekend, i realized that we have been mountain biking since 1992 ...20 years! it feels like just yesterday sort of. we started off on $200 Schwinn hardtails, which totally cracks me up. i couldn't imagine riding a hardtail on those trails ever, but we did. we graduated a long time ago (read: came to our senses) to full suspension and once you've gone to full, you never go back, for real.

the coolest part of Saturday's 21 mile ride was that we did it 5 minutes faster than the week before. i can feel my bike handling skills coming back more and more after each ride. Sunday's weather was rather crappy (too windy and cold) for a decent road bike ride so we decided to ride the mountain bikes again but this time, we decided to do 30 miles. OMG, can you say, ouch? if you have ever mountain biked, you will totally agree with the statement i am about to make ...30 miles on the trails is like 60-75 miles on a road or tri bike. no joke! i've always said that but i really confirmed it again on Sunday. so far, i have been biking on the trails, 3 times this year and that is already 3 times more than i did last year. i would seriously consider doing some kind of Xterra or similar race if the timing is right. of course, the dangerousness of it all constantly plays thru my mind and the sensible, overly cautious side of me says, you are crazy, don't you know you could bust your ass, break something and not be able to do any races for awhile? then there is the daredevil side of me that says, RIDE ON SISTER!

here are some older pictures of the trails we ride on. i can't say enough about how peaceful it is to ride without kling ons, leeches, wheel suckers, or whatever you call them, constantly butting in on our rides. thankfully, they don't (and probably can't) ride a mountain bike.

a great escape from the hustle and bustle

ain't it pretty?
i was lucky to have yesterday off, so i did my long run (23 miles) and it felt pretty dang good. even with tired mountain biking legs, i wrapped it up in 3:05:13. i did half of the run on hard packed trails and then the other half on the paved trail at the local park. i made sure to keep moving, moving, moving throughout the day so i wouldn't lock up. as my good friend Matty O would say, "motion is lotion." that was my motto for the day. in sticking to that motto, i then did a 25 mile road bike ride with the J-man and everything was working like a well oiled machine. i woke up this morning, hit the foam roller for a few minutes and i was good as gold.

that's all i got for ya! much love and peace out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

M-Dot races versus the rest

i've been kicking around whether or not i really want to do the HITS triathlon series in Ocala at the end of March. ever since i saw the first magazine ad last summer, i was intrigued. i thought, finally, another company that will give WTC a run for their money.  the turnout for the first 2 have been less than desirable (see total numbers below). keep in mind that they hold 3 races on Saturday, the "open" which I believe was like a super sprint distance and was free to anyone who wanted to do it, the sprint distance, and the olympic distance. on Sunday is the half and full distances. the numbers you see below are total participants (all men and women together) for the first 2 races of the HITS series:

California race (12/3/11 and 12/4/11)
open: 141 (remember this race was free)
sprint: 253
oly: 192
half: 119
full: 21

Naples, Florida (this past weekend - also Disney marathon weekend)
open: 83 (free)
sprint: 168
oly: 141
half: 61
full: 17 (4 females total out of this 17)

i have said this since the series first started advertising, that they are charging too much for their entry fees ...pretty much what an Ironman event is charging for their races. that is preposterous! if you are the new kid on the block of triathlon race organizing, regardless of how much experience your consultants have (read: six-time Ironman World Champion Dave Scott will serve as a key advisor and spokesperson for the HITS Triathlon Series), you should be trying to entice athletes to try out your events. once they can prove that they offer a quality product that can stand up to IM events, then maybe you can justify the registration fee but not when it's your first year and you have no proven track record. personally, i try to spend my money wisely and i do my homework before making any big purchase. shelling out $300-$700 for one single event is a big purchase to me and from the homework i have done thus far, my gut says that the HITS 70.3 event in Ocala, Florida is a no go for me. plus, i've been hitting the forums to see what others who have raced in these last 2 series had to say and it wasn't all that positive.

i did a little research online regarding the registration fees for similar off brand races of the 70.3 and 140.6 variety. the prices listed are the highest rates charged, not the price you would pay if you registered early and also how many total participants involved. here is what i found:

~Great Floridian (aka: GFT) 140.6 (200 participants) - $500.00
  No70.3 at GFT.

~Redman (in Oklahoma) 140.6 - $400.00 (100 participants total in 2011)
  Redman 70.3 - $300.00 (165 total participants)

~Rev 3 (using Cedar point as my reference) 140.6 - $525.00 (not sure how many participants)
  Rev 3 half iron distance - $250.00

~Chesapeake Man (in Maryland) - 140.6 - $375.00 (216 total participants)

~Beach to Battleship (in N. Carolina) 140.6 - $475.00 (674 total participants)
  B2B half iron distance - $250.00 (818 total participants)

most of the races listed above have been around a long time, so they have a proven themselves, regardless of whether it is an overall great experience, just okay, or not good at all. sometimes the numbers of participants doesn't tell the entire story. for example, i think that the first 140.6 that i did, the Great Floridian, is avoided by most triathletes because of the amount of elevation involved on the bike course and because it isn't an M-dot race, not because it isn't a well run event. and, before ironman came around, the Great Floridian was THE destination for anyone wanting to do a full iron distance race. back in the day, they used to have about 800-1000 athletes competing. now they are lucky to have 200.  in my experience, GFT cannot compare to Ironman Florida and that is why they can't and don't charge $700 like IMFL can. i did notice recently that HITS lowered the price of their full just a tad from what I remember first seeing, but they are still charging the same for the half distance that an ironman event does. crazy i say.

what do you all think?

much love and peace out!