Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

July Happenings

Aug
2015
02

posted by on Fun

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The last few weeks have brought some much welcomed changes in my life.  I don’t talk about my career on the blog, but I am going to make a slight exception here.  I had been with my job for almost two years (and that was after being at my previous position for 7.5 years and that job being relocated to another city after a corporate merger).  It had been clear for quite some time, that I was at a place that was not a good fit for me.  Since I truly believe that life is short and you should do all that is within your power to make your world as happy and as healthy as possible, I found a new job opportunity.  I am still working in the finance realm, but it is at a company that I am excited to join and welcome the new possibilities that I feel are in my path.  I started the new job on July 13.

With a bit of time before starting my new job, we decided to take advantage and get out of town for a few days.  After much deliberation, we headed south to Charleston for four days/three nights.  I had been there a few years ago with my college sorority sisters, but Tony and I had not been together.  I found a super cute boutique hotel downtown that was in a great location that allowed us to walk to restaurants, shopping and other sites.  We only used the car once, when we drove out to Folly Beach to get our feet in the sand and feel the ocean breezes.  We had great fun and I wanted to share some of the highlights via photos.    

Morning runs at Waterfront Park

Charleston 1

Charleston 3

 Adventures on beach cruiser bikes borrowed from the hotel

Charleston 2

Beach Time

Charleston 4

So the week of my new job, I worked three days, as I had a previously planned vacation with my college sorority sisters (the same group I visited Charleston with a few years ago).  We go out of town for a girls’ trip once a year.  This year we headed to Asheville, NC for a long weekend of great times!

Biltmore

Asheville

To top of the month of July that seemed to be full of travels, Tony and I headed down to the NC coast a couple of Saturdays ago for the afternoon.    It was a fun impromptu trip on a beautiful day!

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With Ironman Lake Placid 2015 happening last Sunday, my mind was full of memories from the day that was the most challenging yet most rewarding days I have had. Congratulations to all of this year’s finishers!

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July was a great month complete with fun and positive change.  So now looking forward to later in the summer….

I have decided on two more triathlons to put on the calendar.  I am planning a sprint at the end of August and an Olympic in early September.  While I have still been active and training regularly, my workouts have not had the structure and focus that they typically have when training for specific race.  I am glad to have some races to focus on and get some goals in mind.  More on that to come!

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If you have ever read Runner’s World list of their favorite crazy races, then you might have heard of the Krispy Kreme Challenge. It has also been included as #85 on the “102 More Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate” by Sports Illustrated. So, what is the Krispy Kreme Challenge?

(The following race description is from the event website). Participants begin the Challenge at the Memorial Belltower on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Runners then travel 2.5 miles through historic downtown Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme located at the intersection of Peace and Person Streets, where they attempt to consume one dozen original glazed doughnuts. The hardest part of the Challenge awaits them as they run 2.5 miles back to the Memorial Belltower. This is the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

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Belltower at NC State

The Krispy Kreme Challenge started in December 2004 as a dare between a few NC State undergraduate students. Organizers decided to publicize the Krispy Kreme Challenge and turn it into something that would not only be an event to bring together people from all over the country but also to benefit an important cause along the way. This event is held annually, with 2015 marking the 11th running of the event.

With this craziness being held in our city, Tony and I have always talked about participating one year. We decided that this year would be the year. With it falling on Valentine’s Day, we figured it would be a fun way to start the day:) This year they included a new “race” category, called the Dynamic Doughnut Duo. This is in addition to the challenger category (the category for runners who are truly taking the challenge and can claim victory by eating all twelve doughnuts and completing the race in under one hour) and the casual category (for runners who are taking a less serious approach to the event and eat as many or as few doughnuts as they wish). The Dynamic Doughnut Duo is for a couple to register together and share one dozen. We never intended to eat a full dozen, we just wanted to go out a have fun and support a great cause, the NC Children’s Hospital.

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Pre-run photo

It was a cold, but sunny morning, so we layered up for the 8:30 am start.  As always, there was a great turn out for the event.  I was not as cold as I anticipated having to wait around for the start.  It was definitely brisk, with temperatures in the low 20s, but we stood in the sun as much as possible.

Tony and I ran together, with him matching my pace. I wanted the first half to be at a decent tempo pace for me, since I was not sure what to expect post-doughnuts. We made it to the Krispy Kreme around 8:53 (I know this due to the time stamp from the first photo I took there). There were people everywhere with their doughnuts…some eating leisurely and some tackling the dozen.

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The masses eat the doughnuts!!! (Photo from WRAL.com)

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Krispy Kreme, a NC tradition (Photo from WRAL.com)

We knew that we would never try to eat the dozen…I love KK doughnuts too much to never want to eat them again. I had decided I would eat two.  I wanted to eat some, to take part in the fun nature of the event, and thought anything more than that would make for a hugely miserable 2.5 miles to the finish line.

Our dozen!

It has been ages since I have had a KK doughnut, so they really tasted great! (For anyone that knows KK doughnuts…they are absolutely perfect when the “hot now” sign is on…nothing like that today, but always good to me).

Tony devises his plan!

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No way we are eating all those!!

My two doughnuts!!

While Tony’s picture shows a very strong start, he ate about 1.5 total.

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His eyes were bigger than his stomach!

We started back and quickly passed a spectator offering bacon to the runners (something “salty to cut the sweet”). Since bacon is one of Tony’s favorite foods, he sampled and really enjoyed it!

I started to feel my sweet treats about 1/2 mile later. My stomach was definitely wondering what the heck was I doing…this was not typical run nutrition that I had taken! There was one particular hill that really did not support the combo of doughnuts and running, but it seemed that after I got passed that, the worst was over. After we crossed the finish line we quickly saw evidence of what happens to some with this brutal combination (hint: watch where you step!!). Luckily, Tony and I were feeling ok.

Our official race time was 48:28 which includes us stopping to have the doughnuts and photo fun. My Garmin showed a total of 43:56 and 4.86 miles. My mile paces were as follows: 8:44 / 8:41 / 9:23 / 9:07 / 9:22.  We actually finished in the Dynamic Doughnut Duo category in 44 and 45th places out of 1134 finishers in the category!  There were 2256 finishers in the challenger category and 2597 in the casual category.

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smileMy scientific conclusion is that there is definitely an impact to one’s running pace after the consumption of doughnuts!!!

This was one race that I don’t plan to repeat, but I am glad that we participated once and got to experience a bit of the craziness that is the Krispy Kreme Challenge! More importantly, this year’s event resulted in a donation of $195,000 to the NC Children’s Hospital bringing the eleven year total to $953,000. Having fun a supporting a great cause! Good job NC State!!

KK

posted by on Fun, Triathlon

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This was my first week back to a training plan.  Ever since last summer after completing IMLP, I have been using the “no plan” training route and while I have been fitting regular sessions (5 to 6/week), it has been more of a variety with no particular goal or race in mind.  I did enjoy that time, but I am ready to get a bit more structure with some specific goals in mind.

Monday PM:
65 minutes on the bike trainer:  
W/U: 10-minute easy spin followed by 4×30-second one-legged drills, focusing on smooth circles.
Main set: 2×10 minutes beginning at 60 RPM and increasing RPM by 5 every 1 minute to max out at 105.  No rest between sets.  
4×5 minutes with cadence for odd intervals being 95 and even is 70.  2-minute rest between intervals.  
C/D: 10 minutes easy spinning.

This was a work-out from my IM plan that I decided to incorporate.  I always liked this session because the time seemed to pass quickly with the one minute changes in the initial main set.  I felt good during this workout and I liked bringing back something from last year’s plan.

Tuesday PM:
To be honest, I have only done a handful of swims since IMLP.  While swimming is something that I really can’t afford to take long breaks from, it ended up happening.  Initially, I allowed myself the break.  As time passed, I could not find the motivation to get back to the pool.  I think I used all my swim motivation last spring/summer, when I had those days that I absolutely DID NOT want to swim.  But, I never allowed myself to succumb to that, since I needed to put in all the time required to be prepared.  Well, the mental break happened, and I think I just really needed it.  Getting back to the pool has been pretty good so far…
 
2400-yard swim:  W/U: 400; Main: 1×500; 2×400; 1×300; 1×200; 1×100; C/D: 100
I did not push too hard, but was pleasantly surprised that my times were not as slow as I expected.  I had put in a few swims in just the last couple of weeks to try to start working out some of the cobwebs before the plan kicked in.        

Wednesday AM:
4 mile tempo run on the treadmill.  My goal was to maintain an average pace of 8:30 and that is exactly what I did.  I felt pretty good on the run; definitely tough to maintain my pace, but I was able to complete as planned.

Thursday AM:
45 minutes on the bike trainer.
W/U: 10-minute easy spin followed by 4×30-second one-legged drills, focusing on smooth circles
Main set: 4×3 minutes in big gear with low RPMs (55-65 RPMs)
5 minute recovery between intervals but maintaining 90 RPMs
C/D: 10 minutes easy spinning

This was another workout from my IM plan that I decided to incorporate.  There were some solid sessions in that plan, so I plan to frequent several of them.  
 
Thursday PM:
I planned to do 1-hour yoga that is offered by Trilife, a great local triathlon shop.  I got there, checked out their new store location and chatted with the owner a bit.  I changed and was ready for yoga, but the instructor never arrived.  Apparently there was a miscommunication, so no yoga.  Oh well, after chatting some more I then headed home.  At least I had gotten in a morning training session!

Friday PM:
This was originally planned to be my rest day.  However, with a beautiful weekend in the weather forecast, I was thinking that the swim planned for Sunday would turn into an outdoor ride, so I opted to get in the swim Friday instead.  
1900-yard swim with speed intervals:  
W/U: 500 easy mix with swim/drills/pull/kick incorporated throughout
Main set: 8x (100 moderate/:15sec rest/50 FAST), :30 sec rest between intervals.
C/D: 200 easy

Wow!  I have not done speed work in the pool since last summer!  I was not aiming to push too hard with this workout, hence the 50 sets for speed.  However, I found that I was pushing my 100 pace a bit over “moderate”, but it felt good.  I was feeling the fatigue about mid way through, but I was able to hold a fairly consistent pace of 1:52-1:54 for the 100s and :53-:55 for the 50s.  This was another workout from my IM plan that I had done early on.  I was able to compare my times to last February when I first swam it.  I am probably “about” 4 seconds off that pace.  However, I swam consistently all the winter prior to that, so overall, I feel ok about where I am currently.        

Saturday AM:
We had a day full of plans, so I got up early and jumped on the treadmill before we headed out for the day.  I completed a 6-mile run at target race pace.  My goal was to average just below 9:00/mile pace and I actually averaged 8:56, so I was pleased.  My legs were happy when I hit the 6 mile mark, because they were definitely feeling a week’s worth of training.  

I have included a few fun photos from our day trip to Beaufort, NC, which is located in the eastern part of NC.  We had a great day!

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2015-02-07 Sun

Sunday PM:  
As I mentioned earlier, the forecast was for a warm February day (sorry to you all that are surrounded by snow), so I planned to ride with my bike friend Susanne.  We rode a 30 mile route and battled some VERY windy conditions, but it is hard to complain since the temperature was in the low 70s on February 8!  It was a great feeling to be out on the road riding.  Spring can’t come soon enough!

Total training time: 6 hours 45 minutes
Swim: 4,300 yards
Bike: 54 miles
Run: 10 miles
   

Sweat1

R ‘n R in the DR

Feb
2015
03

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Lately my life has gone from one extreme to another. This post focuses on the one that I enjoyed the most!! In mid-January, we headed down to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for some fun in the sun! We had a super relaxing trip. The flip side to the story was that after arriving back for vacation, life became incredibly busy, especially on the work front, due to a pressing deadline.  However, I made it through all the craziness! Life should be a bit more “normal” for the foreseeable future.

So back to vacation talk…we traveled with one of our closest couple friends, Kelly and Sean, for our week long get-away. We selected an all-inclusive resort where we could focus on extreme down time or select activities if we chose to leave our lounge chairs. We did not plan any off resort activities before we traveled. We went with the mind set that if we decided to try something, we would…otherwise, resort time was the plan! I wanted to share a few of the highlights through some fun photos!

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Our home for seven days!

Waiting for an evening show to begin!

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Enjoyed the view!

The swaying palm trees

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We enjoyed lots of beach time!

And lounging at the pool!

Tony enjoying some time in the shade!

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Sean with some raft time! Rafts were a fun past time during the week.

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Enjoying another post-dinner evening show. We had lots of beautiful nights!

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An evening stroll on the beach.

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More beach time!

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This never got old!!

Frozen drinks in pineapples!!!

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Creme Brulee!

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Great friends on an awesome vacation!

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Looking at this and remembering the cold weather that is at home!

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The palm trees are so relaxing to look at.

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A nice afternoon walk on the beach.

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Our last evening and finally enjoyed the swings at one of the pool bars. Fun!

Apart from a short shopping trip a few blocks away from the resort, we ended up not choosing any off property activities during our stay. We did however, begin each day with quality time at the on-site gym. I was able to get in a good workout each day, which was needed to offset (albeit only a little) the eating and drinking we were enjoying at the all-inclusive! It was a great trip and I thoroughly enjoyed all the rest, relaxation and great times spent with my hubby and good friends! The sun and warm temperatures were a dream and a welcome treat since leaving icy and cold conditions at home. This was the first winter tropical vacation we have taken and I highly recommend it!

As I mentioned earlier, life is back to normal. Actually, I start my official training plan for Raleigh 70.3 yesterday. It has been months since I have had a plan to follow and while I have enjoyed my “no plan” training, it will be nice to get back to that structure.  Stay tuned for updates!

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Saturday night was an annual event that we look forward to every year.  It is the MJG Santa Pub Crawl to raise money for brain cancer research.  Back in July, I posted about the MJG Brain Cancer Research Fund and why it is a cause that I believe in.  This annual event is one of the big fund raisers of the year…plus it is a blast!

We had some friends over to our house for food and drink before we headed to downtown Raleigh for the festivities.  We got in some great photo opportunities as well!

SONY DSC

Tony and I were ready for our 7th year at the MJG Santa Pub Crawl!

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Kelly & Sean as Santa’s Elf and Ralphie from A Christmas Story!

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Donna and David as the snow globe and snowman!

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A little kiss for my polar bear!

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A couple of elves ready to hit the town!

The night consisted of visiting three different bars and hanging out with lots of great people!

pub 1

Pub Crawl

Tony with our friends Amanda as Ms. Reindeer and Rusty as Santa Burt

Pub Crawl 2

Santa Eric (the organizer of all the craziness) with Bert and Andrea, Ms. Reindeer

Pub Crawl 3

My Tony with Tony G., as Scrooge

Lee & Kelly

Kelly and I with Jiri Tlusty, a Carolina Hurricanes player, who just happened to be at the second bar that the crawl visited.

Polar Bear and Bert with Elias Lindholm, another Carolina Hurricanes player, that agreed to have a photo to support the cause!

pub 3

pub 2

The Polar Bear and Santa Bert receive so many requests for photos from people that are at the various bars (not there for the event per se) that they also ask for a small donation when they agree to the picture. All those donations added up to over $100 that will go to the cause!

The evening was another night of great fun and I am certain it raised a lot more money for brain cancer research!

My Favorite Things

Nov
2014
26

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Favorite Things

With the holiday wish list season upon us, I decided to compile some of “my favorite things”.  If you are an athlete looking to try out some new gear, here are some of my suggestions.  If you have an athlete on your gift list and need ideas, try one of the product suggestions below!  There are SO MANY choices on the market today, I think personal suggestions are great resources when choosing to spend our money on something different.


SWIM

Aqua Sphere Kaiman Lady Goggles

Goggles Clear Goggles Tinted

I have tried many different brands of goggles through the years, and these are the ones I always come back to.  I always keep a pair of clear (pool) and tinted (open water) and these seem to last the longest for me.

Underwater Audio Waterproof Ipod Shuffle

Waterproof Ipod

This is the best!!  If you spend any amount of time in the pool, I HIGHLY recommend the Waterproof Ipod Shuffle.  I have had mine for almost two years and I can’t imagine not having it.  Every once in a while when I accidentally forget to pack it for my swim workout, I get really bummed that I don’t have music during my laps!  It is really life changing!!!

Orca S4 Sleeveless Wetsuit

Wetsuit

I have had this wetsuit for a couple/few years so Orca has replaced it with the newer version S5.  This is the first wetsuit that I actually like and am comfortable swimming in.  I found it to be reasonably priced and have been pleased with it the last several seasons.


BIKE

Shimano Women’s SH-WT52 Triathlon Shoes

 

Tri Shoes

I have ridden in these shoes for quite a while and it seems that this particular generation has been discontinued as they are not included on the Shimano website.  However, I was able to search and find them at other various online locations.  Overall, I would buy this one again or the newer generation.

Polar Water Bottle

Polar Water Bottle

I have so many different Polar bike bottles and they are great!  I love the insulated bottle because it will keep the fluid colder longer on those hot days.  I also like the drinking spout on the lid is removable for extra cleaning.

CamelBak Water Bottle

CamelBak Water Bottle

Another insulated bike bottle option that I routinely use.  However, I only put water (no sports drink) in this bottle since the cleaning options are not as versatile.  However, I do like the twist open/close feature of this bottle.

TRAINER

Unfortunately, the trainer that I have and would highly recommend is no longer available.  Tony purchased it for me several years ago as a gift and he found a good product at Nashbar.  It was sold at a VERY reasonable price point and it included a great feature which is a power meter.  Due to the expense, I do not have a power meter on my bike for outdoor rides, but my trainer has one and I have found it to be a solid training tool.  I was bummed when we could not locate the trainer online to include it here on my favorites list.  However, if you are looking for a trainer and find one with power that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend it.


RUN

Instead of showing different images for my favorite run gear, I found one race picture that included most of my favorites.

Run3

UnderArmour 7″ Compression Shorts

I have been running in UA compression shorts for many years.  They last a tremendously long time.  I have not purchased the current version that UA is selling, because the ones I have are still in good shape.  Most of my running capris and tights are also UA.

Mizuno Wave Inspire

Everyone has a favorite shoe and the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 is mine!  I have two pairs of these shoes (different colors) and Mizuno has been my go to shoe for a few years.  I also recommend that everyone get a personalized fitting for the particular shoe that is great for them, but if the Mizuno Wave Inspire ends up being an option for you, I highly recommend it!

Nathan Hydration Belt (4 Bottles)

I love my Nathan belt.  The flasks slide in and out so easily and with only one hand.  I like that for the really long runs I can use all 4 bottles or only pack a couple for shorter, hot runs!

Headsweats Visor

Anytime I run outside I wear a visor or hat.  I always race in a visor and you can not go wrong with Headsweats!  I own multiple!

XX2i Sunglasses

Great sunglasses at a price that won’t break the bank!  They include a lifetime warranty, which I have taken advantage of when there was a small crack in the frame.  It is fairly hassle free to get a replacement!

Thorlo Running Socks

One of my go to running socks.  They don’t slide or bunch up.  I highly recommend!

Feetures Running Socks

Ditto as above.

Nathan Hydration Pack

Nathan Hydration Pack

This is a great pack for those SUPER long runs!  Lots of pockets for added storage…phone, nutrition, etc.


GENERAL

Bic Bands

I love the BIC Bands because they stay in place!  While I typically wear a visor/hat when I run outside, that is not the case when I run on the treadmill.  I wear the BIC band when I run on the treadmill and when I do any other type workout (weight training, yoga, etc).  I have never had one fall out and I am actually planning to purchase a couple more in the new future!

Garmin 910XT

My Longest Ride!!

My Garmin 910XT has made several appearances on the blog over the year.  I love it!  It captures everything and more you would want to know about your swimming, biking and running workouts.  In my opinion, it has been worth every penny!  I know there is a new Garmin for triathletes on the market, but I will say, the 910XT has been terrific for me!

Road ID

Road ID Slim Road ID Sport

I have two Road IDs.  The sport version on the right, I have had a few years.  The slim ID on the left, I recently purchased.  My comments on this product are easy…if you don’t have one, GET ONE!  No questions asked.  Period.  That’s all.


NUTRITION

Honey Stinger Waffle

Honey Stinger Waffle

The Honey Stinger Waffle has got to be one of the best tasting sports nutrition products on the market.  There are six different waffle flavors, but the honey is my favorite!

Clif Shot Bloks

shotbloks_strawberry

The Clif Shot Bloks are one one of my go to picks!  I have tried other chews and while some taste great, the shot bloks are both tasty and easy to dispense.  The tube shape is handy and you don’t have to use your fingers to pick one out of the package.  Great design!

Bonk Breaker

Bonk Breaker

One of the best picks for long rides.  These also come in a ton of different flavors and there are some I like alot!  The PB&J is a familiar flavor and usually not difficult to find if you need to pick one up last minute in a retail location.

Osmo Nutrition

I started using this product early this year and used it all during training for my sports hydration needs.  It is not overly sweet and I found it easy to drink.

HAPPY SHOPPING!!!!!

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mustache

Today I am playing along with a questionnaire that is going around on several different blogs.  I was tagged by Sweat Courage’s Kristin and am happy to participate!

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

1.  Lee-Lee:  This has been used over the years by lots of different people.

2.  Darlin’:  Tony’s nickname for me.

3.  Auntie Lee:  This is always sweet to hear because it is said by special people!

4.  That’s all

Four jobs I have had:

1.  Sales Associate in a department store (first job as a teenager)

2.  Waitress (College)

3.  Office Assistant (College)

4.  Finance Professional

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1.  Top Gun

2.  A Few Good Men

3.  Forrest Gump

4.  Dirty Dancing

Four things I’m always saying:

1.  I’m cold!  (And it is only November)

2.  I’ll have a glass of Chardonnay…

3.  I’m gonna get my workout in…

4.  I want a taste of something sweet…

Four books I’d recommend:

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2.  The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks

3.  A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington

4.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Four places I have lived:

1.  Apex, NC (where I grew up)

2.  Wilmington, NC (college)

3.  Raleigh, NC (where I live now)

4.  Only lived three places

Four places I have been:

1.  Hawaii (twice)

2.  Italy

3.  Various Caribbean Islands

4.  Mexico (twice)

Four places I’d rather be right now:

1.  Somewhere tropical enjoying warm weather

2.  In front of a roaring fire (first real cold night of the season and I am really feeling it!)

3.  Wilmington, NC – One of my very favorite places and I never tire of visiting

4. Australia – This is a bucket list item and dream vacation

Four things I don’t eat:

1.  Red onions

2.  Olives

3.  Tofu

4.  Liver

Four of my favorite foods:

1.  Fried Chicken (rarely indulge, but the southern girl in me loves it!)

2.  Breakfast (I know this is a food category, but I love breakfast foods)

3.  Homemade Lasagna

4.  Sushi

Four TV shows that I watch:

1.  Scandal

2.  Modern Family

3.  The Biggest Loser

4.  Carolina Hurricanes hockey

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

1.  A tropical vacation that is being planned for January.

2.  Working toward new goals in racing with the hopes of setting some new PRs.

3.  Fun times with friends and family.

4.  Continuing to live life by trying new things and going new places.

Four People I Tag:

1.  Gabi

2.  Jamie

3.  Courtney

4.  Cynthia

Feel free to play along and answer any of the questions you pick in the comments below!

Life After Ironman

Sep
2014
10

posted by on Fun, Ironman

9 comments

Life after Ironman has been great. August was a really fun month!! Don’t get me wrong…life before Ironman was great too…just super busy! The first several days after we got home from Lake Placid were easy. I was only back home and at work for two days before I headed off to the Outer Banks of NC for a get-away with two college sorority sisters.

Girls Beach

Girl Time!!!

The timing was really perfect. No training to think about. Just enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation. It rained almost the entire weekend (yes, I thought I already had my fair share of rain), but we had a good time none the less.

Beach

Enjoying a very short peak of the sun just in time for sunset!

Upon returning home, I had a surprise awaiting me. Tony had gone on a bit of a mission while I was out of town. This is what he had done with my race bib and medal. I love it!!!

Medal

So, after the beach trip, it was back to work. Only a four day work week, but I believe in easing back into things :). It is so very nice to have my morning start at 6:10-6:15am. There were no 4:45am – 5:00am alarms to think about!! I also continued to enjoy my evenings off from training. I did not have a set number of days in mind for recovery…I just wanted to take it easy for while and ease back into activity. Well, so I thought!!

That next weekend we had plans each day of the weekend! The Friday night outing was a cookout with a group of friends…it was a bit of a pre-party for the next evening’s 40th birthday celebration for a good friend of ours.

Lee and Tony

At the Birthday Celebration!!

Sunday was a dinner out with a couple friend.  She wanted to hear all about the race, so we had a nice afternoon catching up and chatting!

Rewind a bit to Friday…As we were leaving the cookout, I was talking with two girls that are currently training for their first half-iron distance and iron distance races about the training they were doing the following morning. They had a long run planned and I agreed to tag along. So, my first REAL activity after IM was a 10-mile run…IN THE RAIN!! And yes, AGAIN, I had experienced my fair share of the wet weather, but I wanted to go. I did not necessarily think my first run back would be 10 miles, but I knocked it out, with some achiness.

The following week was another short work week because I took a bit more time off work. That Tuesday afternoon we headed out after lunch for Charlotte. We attended the Linkin Park concert that evening.

Linkin Park 2

Linkin Park Concert with Great Friends!!

Well, the concert was an absolute blast!!! They are my favorite band and I had an awesome night at their concert. My favorite concert to date!

LP Concert

Such a Fun Night!!

The following day, we spent time at the White Water Training Center. (The Center’s 500+ acres offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels. Guests can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, ropes courses, a canopy tour, and mountain biking on our 25+ mile trail system. (Description from their web site.)) We had heard a lot of positive things about the White Water Training Center and it was fun! Our favorite part was the whitewater rafting. Our guide really showed us a great time!!

The next weekend included more fun dinners. Friday evening included a “thank you” dinner. Tony had the idea to show our appreciation to the people that had helped me with my training by having them over for a dinner party. It was a great night with lots of triathlon talk! The following night was a dinner get together with a friend that we had not seen in over a year. It was great to re-connect and catch up on the latest happenings! The Sunday was a dinner with my family. My brother planned the dinner as a congratulations on my Ironman! It is always nice to spend time with family and to snap some fun pics with my niece and nephews!

Family Collage

The next two weekends included attending a surprise party for (another) friend’s 40th birthday, dinner out to celebrate our friends’ (Tim & Nicole…part of the crew from Lake Placid) recent marathon finish, attending the football season opener for NC State and a dinner out to a local “special occasion” steak house to celebrate our good friends’ anniversary.

State Game Field

Go Wolfpack!!

State Game LandT

NC State Football!

Angus Barn Collage

Amongst all our activities, we have enjoyed some down time, watching some new movies and  I actually started reading my first book of the year!  I finally treated myself to my first pedicure of the summer.  I waited until after the race because I was spending so much time in running shoes.  Four days after my pedicure, I lost a toe nail!!  Unbelievable!!  So much for waiting!!

As far as training, I have enjoyed flexibility and doing whatever activity I want to do! There is a group bike ride that leaves from a local Tri store on Tuesdays and Thursdays and due to my IM training, I had been unable to check it out, until recently. We have enjoyed this ride multiple times over the past several weeks in addition to some Saturday rides from our house. I have also tried to start more regular yoga and stretching. I have run a few times here and there. I also took my mountain bike out on a local path for a different kind of ride. All in all, I have been staying busy and enjoying different levels of activity from the endurance training I have focused on for the past months. [I guess it is good that I have maintained some regular level of activity…as I write this recap, I am really noticing that our August included lots of eating!!!]

I think it is only natural to think about what’s next? I do not have any races planned for the remainder of the year. I plan to keep active, like I have been the past several weeks since IM recovery, but eventually add some strength training into the regiment. I will get back into the pool soon and try to get in swims, with (SOME) frequency. I have a few races in mind for next year, but am still pondering. I will say that the longest race on the agenda will be a half IM. I plan to have a completely different focus for next year and set some new goals. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy the flexibility and keep having fun with the activities I choose!

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Saturday was a full day with a swim and run on the training plan, as well as, a stop at Trader Joe’s and other errands/chores to get done.   The day flew by and before I realized, it was time for dinner out with friends!  For about a year, we have discussed trying this ”new to us” restaurant in Durham.  The restaurant is called Dame’s Chicken & Waffles and I have read lots of good things about it.  From the name of the restaurant, you can already tell that it was definitely a splurge dinner!

Growing up in the South, there are lots of dishes that I love, but I have to enjoy on rare occasions/in moderation.  One of my favorites has always been my mom’s fried chicken, which I actually have not had in a very long time!  I had never tried chicken and waffles, but I knew it would be a delicious pairing! 

We rode to Durham with our friends and even though there was a long wait for a table, we were fortunate enough to grab seats immediately at the bar, where they also served dinner.  Nicole and I had a delicious version of a strawberry mimosa while we all chatted. 

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner

The order was chicken and waffles all around, just different versions/flavors for each of us.  I had the classic waffle with chicken cutlets and a strawberry “shmear “ on the side (whipped butter combined with strawberries).  My meal was quite tasty and you can see from the portion size that it was generous…even so, I still ate every bite (I guess the swim and run from earlier in the day really worked up my appetite)! 

Yummy Chicken and Waffles!!

Yummy Chicken and Waffles!!

The group thoroughly enjoyed dinner and we all left with full bellies.  We headed back to our friends’ house and hung out there a while until Tony and I called it a night.  We had a bike ride on the plan for the following morning while our friends were hitting a long trail run. 

For Sunday, Tony and I decided to attend a group ride that Inside Out Triathlon Club was hosting.  The ride started in downtown Raleigh and covered part of the Raleigh 70.3 course.  Since we are very familiar with the course and know that it has its fair share of challenges, we thought it would be a good ride.   The ride was a 40-mile ride, which was a bit shorter than the scheduled time on my training plan.  However, we figured it would be a solid pace ride and that would result in a good day of training.

After we headed out of downtown to start the ride, Tony and I worked our way up to try to hang with the front of the pack.  It is hard to stick with the group when the course has stoplights and lots of people that have to get through.  We hung with the front of the pack for the first hour and then we fell into a smaller group of 5-7 that really ended up being a good move.  The ride with the front of the pack had a lot of “rubber-banding”…quick starts/stops which make it harder to fall into a steady pace.  After we formed our smaller group, we were able to maintain a good, steady pace that seemed to work for the small group.  The ride totaled just over 40 miles and our average pace was 18.1.  I was pleased with that for this early season ride. 

All in all it was a good ride and we were glad we decided to join the group for the day.   The morning started a bit cool, but it was sunny and so it really was a pretty day!  I plan to watch out for more group rides that may pair up with some of my training.  It is a good way to meet new people and check out different scenery.  However, I still love being able to walk out of my house and jump on my bike! 

 

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After a Saturday morning of training followed by an afternoon of “stuff”, ideas for dinner were being driven by my growling stomach!  When I got home a bit after 5:00, Tony and I were discussing dinner ideas which turned into an impromptu sushi night out with our neighbors.  I want to explain a bit about our neighbors.  Usually, neighbors are people that you end up moving in next door to or vice versa.  That happened with this family, initially, but we ended up leaving the neighborhood where we met and moved together to our current neighborhood.  We are so fortunate to have people living next door that you can count on for just about anything…a cup of milk, a dog sitter or someone that you can turn to in the case of an emergency.  We are very lucky to have neighbors that are true friends!

I suggested a restaurant called Shaba Shabu and everyone was game!  We had been there several times and I love sushi with the BOGO option!  Service was slow, but that gave us plenty of time to chat, catch up and share some laughs!

Sushi Night Out - Tony & Lee with 1/4 of the Neighbor Family!

Sushi Night Out – Tony & Lee with 1/4 of the Neighbor Family!

It is funny how someone can live next door and you can go for weeks with just a passing wave while coming and going or a quick chat in the driveway to check in.  It had been too long since we spent some QT with them.  We had a great evening and I was glad all our schedules allowed for this impromptu dinner out!  Plus the sushi was tasty and really hit the spot!!

The plan for Sunday was a bike ride in the forecasted 67 degree weather!  Most of our riding peeps were out of town or unavailable, so Tony and I hit the road together.  We planned to leave for our ride around 11:00, but ended up heading out around 11:45.

Getting ready to ride!

Getting ready to ride!

It felt nice outside, but we quickly realized that it was rather windy.  We had a headwind that was not too fun, but the couple of times we had the tail wind, it was great!  This training ride was planned for 2 hours and 45 minutes and my goal was getting time on the legs and in the saddle, without a real concern for speed.  It has been a couple of months since I have ridden on the road, so I was glad to have the weather cooperate to allow us to get outside without wearing 2-3 layers!  The course is one we have done many times before, but not exactly this way.  It contains some rollers which keeps things interesting.  Despite a few areas with bad pavement, this course is really a good one.  Tony planned the route to estimate a ride time of 2:45 and I will say that he did a great job planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014 - our goal was 2:45.  Pretty good planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014 – our goal was 2:45. Pretty good planning!

Our first outdoor ride of 2014

I was happy to have had a warm February day to get in the first outdoor ride of 2014.  I was even happier that Tony rode with me and plans to support me on many rides to come!