Archive for November 2014 | Monthly archive page

My Favorite Things


posted by on Fun

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


posted by on Fun


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!

posted by on Ironman

This has been a big year for me. Goal accomplishment is always something to be proud of, but pushing yourself past your (thought to be) limits then accomplishing your goal, can really be life changing. I put in all the hours needed to accomplish my goal of becoming an Ironman.  I never once slept through an alarm clock for an early morning training session. I jumped in the pool, laced up my running shoes or climbed on my bike, more times than I could count, when all I wanted to do was chill out on the couch. I had the discipline required to push myself to knock out countless training hours. I am proud of myself for this. I did the work!!!

Besides myself, the biggest contributor to my success is my husband.  I have mentioned Tony so many different times on the blog in reference to something he has done to support me while I worked to fulfill my dream. Well, today, we are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary and I could not think of a better time or a better way, to truly explain what a big part he has played in making this year and this accomplishment so special.


I think it is only appropriate to start (kind of) from the beginning. He has always had faith in me to do things way before I ever believed I could. He would not always vocalize it, and never pressured me, but when I told him I was ready to train for my first triathlon in 2009, it was no surprise to him. He knew I would get to that point even before I did. I remember one Fall when I told him that I wanted to do an Olympic distance tri the following race season and he said “you can totally do that now”.  As I increased distances and challenges by signing up for 70.3’s and ultimately Ironman, he always had faith that I would be able to reach my goals.

Even before my first triathlon, when I started riding my bike on the road, he always rode with me and encouraged me. He (usually) remained patient with me…any of the times he didn’t, I was the one being hard headed! When I started riding with groups, I was often intimidated because I felt I was the slow one, but he continued to encourage me and always stayed with me if I fell behind!  He never gave up on me…even the times when tears were involved! He taught me so many lessons and gave me tools I needed to build my confidence (as I was stepping WAY out of my comfort  zone) and become a stronger athlete!


I cannot tell ALL that he did this year during my Ironman training. To touch on some of the things that made such a big difference…

He logged many miles with me on the bike. He never let me ride alone and “closed the gap” on most of my rides. For instance, when I could find people to ride with me for 60 miles, but the total I needed was 90, he would ride that final 30 with me and pull me when I needed to be pulled and would talk me through the tough miles. He would run with me on my long runs or accompany me on his bike, when the runs got really long, so that I would not be out on the Greenway by myself when it started to get dark. He kayaked along side of me on lots of long swims since very few people actually want to open water swim for 75 or 90 minutes. He made sure dinner was done so that I could have something good to eat when I was training after work and dinner was not until 8:30/8:45. He tried to reassure me when I would have bad training sessions and all I could focus on was frustration and negativity. He never complained when our together time was cut short in the evening to 15 or 20 minutes because I could not hold my eyes open to watch tv and chill together after late sessions and dinner. He ALWAYS made sure my bike was tweaked and in good shape for all my rides and most importantly, the BIG DAY!!!

I will say that I completely supported him during his two Ironmans. I was so proud when he crossed the finish line because I knew the hours of time he put into his training. However, I could not relate to what he was experiencing or help him train. That was long before I had gotten really active and while my support was genuine, it was very different than what he was able to do for me.

Believing in you

As I ran down the Ironman chute, I saw him standing on the side just at the finish line with a big smile on his face cheering me to the very end. He could not have been at a better place as I ended that journey. He would have been proud of me regardless of how that day played out…whether I met my time goals or had a horrible day. He is my biggest supporter and I could not ask for a better partner to have by my side, whether it is the ups and downs of a “normal” day or as I confront new challenges and chase my dreams.


posted by on Ironman

Last weekend we spectated at Beach 2 Battleship (B2B) in Wilmington, NC as a friend of ours participated in her first iron distance triathlon. It was an absolutely beautiful day for a race and being in Wilmington (one of my favorite cities) is always a treat! Tony and I went to college in Wilmington (where we met), I raced my first half iron at B2B in 2012, plus Wilmington was just voted as America’s Best Riverfront in the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest sponsored by USA TODAY.   I have known what a special place Wilmington is for a long time, but now it has been published for the rest of the country to see!  It was a great weekend and we had a blast cheering on our friend and the other triathletes.  We were thrilled to watch her cross the finish line as we knew how much work she put into her training.

When two friends and training partners completed their Ironman goal (Louisville and Chattanooga) since I raced at IMLP, I was able to re-live my epic day in my mind and many of the emotions were revisited as I tracked them on race day. However being at B2B, to cheer on our friend as she went for her goal, really allowed me to reflect on my day and what I was able to accomplish after so much training and hard work. You can’t help be reminded of all the hours of preparation that is required to reach that IM goal.

As I train, I become a bit of a data junkie. My Garmin 910XT works in full force when I swim, bike and run. After workouts, I enjoy analyzing the training data and assessing gains I am making or face the reality of a less than stellar workout. As I posted weekly training updates on the blog, I was able to track training volumes over the course of time. One thing I had not done, until just recently, was review the totals for my Lake Placid training plan. I thought it would be fun to total all my weekly volumes to remind myself of the hours and miles I spent preparing for my first Ironman. This data could also be helpful to someone that is considering signing up for their first Ironman. It is easy to get caught up in thinking about race day and crossing the finish line to hear Mike Reilly call your name, but one must fully consider all the miles and hours that are required leading up to race day!

Im Training Totals

Obviously, all training plans are different and are geared toward one’s individual goals and total miles and hours will vary. However, this will give an idea of my experience.

Since this weekend is Ironman Florida, I can’t resist to include this picture of my hubbie since Florida was his very first Ironman in 2008. I was so very proud of him on that day and had NO IDEA the spark that would ignite for me several years later.