Hello world!

Welcome to my new page and the start of my rebranding!! Stay tuned for some great product reviews, recipes and more!!! Thank you for checking it out!

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Where have I been? Where am I going? Read on to find out!

I have opened this document and stared at the blank page more times than I can count. I start to write, re-read it, and start all over. So here we are…. months later, and finally hitting the restart button in many ways, in blogging, fitness, running, and most importantly, life. To say the end of last year and the start of this year were rocky is an understatement.

After a year of putting myself through a great physical challenge, which turned into a mental challenge… the battle wasn’t over. 2013 was a year for me… I lost my best friend, my grandfather… with that I went through emotional struggles I never imagined I would. I crept deep into my mind and soul on my training runs and during my races. I found that girl I lost a long time ago, that girl I always was… and couldn’t remember how to be. The next logical step was to let her free. Easier said than done, but, a necessary step on my path to true happiness.

Since the holidays, my life has gone turned upside down, and righted itself, went a little sideways, and seems to be righting itself once more. Ah, life… you tease… always keeping me on my toes. A significant relationship ended, I sold a house I was once so proud to be the owner of, I moved, I traveled more than I didn’t, saw my little brother get married, witnessed the fruits of labor of our race committee at another Susan G Komen of Southern NV Race for the Cure, had not 1 but 2 car accidents, I worked on several publications for work, I started a new job, ran my first relay event, PR’d at a half marathon that, for the first time ever, I didn’t take a walk break in… and sometimes I worked out, sometimes I ate healthy, sometimes I ate the cake and had the extra beer… I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I breathed deep. I learned I suck at being patient (hey, we can’t all be perfect). I held on to friends for sanity and laughter, I found new friends and amazing support from places I never expected, I turned 40. I grew, I changed, I learned, I loved… but most importantly, I came out of it all okay. I am happily, safely, wonderfully at a place where I put myself first, where I give with all my heart, and treasure those in my life.

So, am I back? I think so. I’m getting back on track with my fitness, I have worked with my trainer to reset my goals to what I feel is attainable this year, to what I feel matters, I have reexamined my priorities, I have found myself in a place I feel at peace and happy. Does it get better than that?

But, it’s time to restart this blogging journey… Ladies and gents… it’s time to get this party started! I will be moving over to www.naturallyangela.com! Don’t worry, I will redirect this page there… but, it is time to change things up. Like my page on Facebook and if you already follow me on Twitter, great! Just notice @solesisteronrun will change to @naturallyange and my Instagram will also change to @naturallyangela. The new format will continue to discuss running, yoga, and fitness, as well as add in wellness, recipes, natural approaches to healing and cleaning, etc. A bit of a rediscovery of self and keeping life simple… So… please continue to follow the adventures of me and Miss Mia Pup!

ToiletTree Skin Care System Product Review

I was recently given the opportunity to try and review the ToiletTree Skin Care System. I have seen similar skin care systems at various beauty stores and have always been curious as to how they worked. Based on the price of some, I just wasn’t ready to make the leap.

Price is one of the many things I love about this skin care system, the entire system is only $39.95! But, really, the system itself is AMAZING!! The unit is waterproof and contains a body brush, a soft and medium face brush (for sensitive and normal skin) as well as a pumice stone for your feet! I absolutely love the options that this system includes as they provide an opportunity to care for your whole body.

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I use the soft brush nightly on my face, it is soft enough to not irritate my sensitive skin, yet gives a nice deep clean. I am amazed every night at the extra dirt and make-up it gets off my face. Once a week I use the medium face brush for a deep clean. My skin has never looked better after a month of use. My skin is less dry and flaky, any inflammations and acne are gone.

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I have used the body brush a couple times a week, and it is great at removing the dry, flaky skin brought on by the Las Vegas desert weather and hard water. I just put a small amount of body wash on the brush and the spinning works up a great lather while sloughing off dead skin.

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Lastly, the round pumice stone. As a runner, my feet have seen better days. I use this 1-2 times a week and my heels are feel as soft as they would after a professional pedicure.

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The brushes change very quickly, and snap into place with ease. With the unit being waterproof, I leave it hanging in my shower so I never forget to use it.

Here is a rare pic of my skin make-up free.

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You can check out their products and follow them on social media~

ToiletTree Products

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon (for reviews and purchase)

Here is some great information from the company on their product and what the package includes:
Skin Care System Features:

·  System includes 4 interchangeable brush heads: 2 face brushes (1 soft for sensitive skin, 1 medium for normal skin); 1 large body brush; 1 pumice sphere for tough foot skin

·  Battery operated (4 AA batteries included with purchase)

·  Water-resistant design allows for use in the shower

·  Water-resistant strap for convenient hanging and storage

·  Available in 6 colors: Pink, Purple, Green, Blue, Gray, and Black


Skin Care System Benefits:

·  Reduces the appearance of problem areas, such as: dead skin cells, oily skin, dry patches, fine lines, blemishes, visible pores, blackheads and wrinkles

·  Stimulates skin renewal and improves overall skin clarity and appearance

·  Energizes skin and leaves it smooth, soft and radiant

·  Cleans deep to help remove stubborn makeup

·  Enhances absorption of moisturizes

The best part? I love this so much, I am going to give one away to one of my readers! Enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lifestyle Accountability Podcast

Hello everyone and welcome to 2014! I was fortunate to be interviewed for a Lifestyle Accountability Podcast, and the interview is now live! Check out my show as well as some other great athletes!!

Podcast

2013 Year In Review

Well… they always say things don’t turn out as you planned, and 2013 definitely reminded me of that. Not just a moment in the year, but the entire year. This year has definitely been an emotional roller coaster for me. I’ve had more laughter than I could have hoped for, treasured friendships that started or grew stronger, found a physical strength and mental determination I never knew I had, dealt with chronic medical issues, and experienced the most painful loss of my life.  (sorry this blog post is a long one…)

In December 2012 I announced I would be running 13 half marathons in 2013. It was 2013, 13.1 miles, I was turning 39 (3×13)… a whole cute concept. I worked out my race schedule. I spent more money than I would like to admit. I know now, I don’t ever need to set that goal again, but I am grateful I was able to accomplish this goal. It was a true life changer for me. For many reasons outside of running, it was an exhausting year. At times I had no interest in going for a run, of training. I just wanted to run to run… I was starting to miss that, and some moments, it felt more like work. Overall, a good, solid running year. Here’s how the races went…

January’s race I woke with an occurrence of the chronic eye issue I have. I was in pain, my vision was blurry and I was frustrated. It was 20 degrees that morning. All of that, showed on the course. From the moment I crossed the start line I just wanted it to be over, and I couldn’t shake that feeling. I couldn’t get warm or find my groove.

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Running From An Angel Half Marathon

February was actually a great race for me, my time was back on point, I felt great, the race was at the beach in CA, truly, a great race. I was able to hang out with a great friend and make some new ones. I wish every race could be like that event.

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Charlene and I at Surf City Half Marathon

March… my husband had been sick for 2 weeks before this race. I woke up race morning with a sore throat. By the time I hit the start line, I was nauseous, achy, it hurt to breathe. I told myself it was a little cold, to get over it and run. I ran, and ran slow. It hurt to breathe when I was running, the body aches were brutal. My stomach was so queasy taking fueling was a challenge. But, I knew this course, and when to take it easy and when to push. I finished, albeit slower than normal. Turns out, I had bronchitis and severe respiratory infection. I was out of commission for a couple weeks.

Six Tunnels Half Marathon

Then, April came. I was excited for April, even though I hadn’t trained it was a shot at redemption, great race, great people, in Hollywood… my running BFF and I had great plans. Then, the start of that week, my world as I knew it forever changed. My grandfather passed away. I lost a part of my heart and soul that day. I made it back to town and felt in my heart I needed to run to try to heal. Maybe for the distraction, I don’t know. I went to the race. Until that race started I wasn’t sure if I would actually run it. Right before the starting gun I decided to start and to finish. Nothing more. To just let the race happen. I did just that. Overall, it was a good race, my pace was solid, and I noticed around mile 9-10 that if I stuck with it, I could PR on a half. When I realized that, I felt nothing, no sudden surge of energy, no intense motivation. I took that as a sign. I decided to just enjoy the last 3 miles, encourage others and enjoy the run. At that moment I felt such a strong presence with me it took me back, I literally stopped on the course to catch my breath. In my heart, I knew it was pappy guiding me. He led me to exactly the race I was meant to have. At mile 11 I came across a limping runner. It was her first half, she had hurt her quad but wanted to finish. She had that frustrated, annoyed, heartbroken yet determined look on her face. I asked if I could walk with her a bit, asked if she was okay. We started talking and I ended up walking with her to the finish, encouraged her as she jogged across the finish line, made sure she got to medical and that was that. That race gave me a brief sense of peace.

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Hollywood Half Marathon!

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Medal and pappy charm

May brought along the second race in the Beach Cities Challenge… OC! I knew from the get-go this would not be an amazing race. I am the Race Chair for the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and our event was the day before. So, on a handful of hours of sleep, a long drive from Las Vegas to CA, and an exhausted body… I dealt with the poor race organization and finished this race. Actually, better than anticipated, but honestly I don’t remember much of the course. I was in a daze I think for most of that race and later, when I saw video, thought, I ran there?! Five down…

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Charlene and I after OC Half Marathon

In June not only was I running a half, I was conquering one of my biggest fears: bridges. I have always been terrified of bridges, the Wipro San Francisco Half Marathon I was running ran over and back on the Golden Gate Bridge. Hey, if you are going to conquer a fear, do it big! So… I flew out to SF and stayed with my younger brother. We celebrated his now fiance’s birthday and had an enjoyable weekend. On race morning he chose to run the race with me. This meant SO much to me, and having him by my side for 13.1 miles, including that bridge, a priceless moment in time. He was great at keeping me distracted while on the bridge and keeping me moving on those San Fran hills!!

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San Francisco Half Marathon medals from 2012, 2013, and Half It All Challenge

July brought me to Bryce Canyon, Utah! We planned a lovely girls weekend, rented a house near the finish line and took off for a getaway. The scenery was beautiful! The race was fun. This course was mostly downhill, so that was an interesting challenge. After, we relaxed, ate, relaxed. We went for a hot but amazingly beautiful hike the following day.

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Kristin and I after Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

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Hiking in Bryce Canyon

August… I did my first ever midnight race: the infamous ET Race in Rachel, NV. This was so much fun… it was dark except for runner head lamps, quiet and serene, which made the 7 mile incline at the start of the race less annoying. You could see the beautiful full moon and hear the cattle. If you ever are in the Las Vegas area in August, I suggest running this event. It is totally worth the lack of sleep.

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ET Half Marathon shirt, medal and race bib

September was my double-up month! I did my first ever trail half marathon at the Henderson Trail Classic, and that was truly a challenge, but so glad I did this. It renewed my love of running in a lot of ways… new challenges, new outlook, new workout. I got to spend some great time with my running BFF before and after, a truly great experience. I also ran a satellite Running Troops half marathon with my running BFF Charlene. This was bittersweet… getting to run side by side with her was wonderful, but this was her last run pre-injury and she was out of commission until right before Christmas. 12 long weeks. This brought me to 10 completed races!!!

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Henderson Trail Classic Half Marathon

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Running Troops swag half marathon

October I brought on a new challenge to myself as well as my 11th half marathon. I ran the final race for the Beach Cities Challenge in Long Beach, CA, where I PR’d for the year and got to hang out with some amazing running friends!! I loved this race, everything about it. I was just a little sad that my running BFF couldn’t run it with me as planned. Next up for my crazy October… a sprint triathlon, the Iron Girl. I was looking for a way to change up my training and reignite my desire to complete this goal. This was such an amazing challenge. The training, the event, the challenge of swimming and cycling… just amazing. I loved it so much, I am planning on 2 for next year.

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Hanging with friends post Long Beach Half Marathon

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My Beach Cities Medals and Challenge MEDAL!!!!

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I AM AN IRONGIRL!

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Coming in to the finish!

November brought me to Philadelphia, which has become a running family tradition. I met up with a couple cousins again this year for this event. I returned to PA for 1 ½ weeks prior to the race to spend time with friends, and ended up catching a cold. My goal to hit a sub 2:20 faded on race day with that cold, but, I was proudly able to finish at my regular pace, keeping me on track. At this point, some personal stuff was going strong, and I was struggling with that, so the running and training kept me distracted.

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Philadelphia Half Marathon

December… this is it, the final month, the final race. Due to changes with race schedules, I ended up selecting a satellite location for the Operation Jack Half Marathon on Dec. 28th. Unfortunately, I hurt my hip 2 weeks before, so trained less and had to run slower than normal… but I did accomplish something pretty amazing that day. For the first time in a half, I ran the first 10 miles non-stop. At that point took a 30 sec walk/stretching break and carried on. I took about 2 more over the last 3 miles, for a total of 1 ½ minutes of walk breaks. That to me was amazing compared to the 4/1 or 3/:30 intervals I have been using. I finished this race with a smile on my face, and a few tears. I dedicated a mile to those that over the past year have really made an impact on my life. My running BFF, very fittingly, was at the finish with a huge sign, a huge hug, some tears… and a cupcake. Is there any better way to finish a race? I don’t think so. I was also lucky enough to have a great friend pace me for this, to make sure I didn’t go too fast!

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Operation Jack Half Marathon

So, all in all, a fun racing year. Exhausting, at times overwhelming, but fun racing year. I am grateful I was able to accomplish this and thank everyone for their support. But an extra special, personal thank you to those who truly made a difference in my life the past 12 months; they offered support, love, encouragement and strength. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. So thank you to: RG, JH, MK, CR, CW, FA, WV, KZ, JD, KB, Pappy, and my family. Love you all more than I can put into words.

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My year in bling!!

Here is to an AMAZING 2014!! Stay tuned for the goals I have in store for next year!!

Spartan Race Championships and Giveaway!

Hello Spartan Warriors!!!! I am sure you already know, but here to remind you of something BIG in Spartan Land happening THIS SATURDAY!!!

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NBC Sports will be airing the World Champion Spartan Race for all to watch in awe as the warriors conquer the obstacles and course on December 7th, from 4:00-5:00 PM. Stay tuned to watch the warriors at their finest moments. Experience the strength, joy and commitment these warriors have!

As an added bonus, I have another Spartan Race giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, as always, a 15% discount code for any upcoming Spartan Race in the Continental U.S. I’ll be at the Vegas one this April… who is going to join me??

Click HERE for the 15% off!

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Iron Girl Las Vegas

Awhile back I wrote about the opportunity I was given to compete in the Iron Girl Triathlon at Lake Las Vegas. Well, on October 26th, after months of training and a few mild panic attacks, I became an Iron Girl!IMG_4856

This event was life changing for me. I didn’t realize it when I initially signed up that through the training and the event I would challenge myself daily, learn about my strengths, my perseverance and determination. That in so many ways, big and small, this triathlon would change me.

I started working with my trainer on workouts and adding in the swimming and biking while not losing my running, as I was still working on my goal of 13 half marathons (11 down!!). We increased my strength training, focused on core and upper body to help with the swimming and tackled this head on.

I was never really a swimmer. I could get by, but it was never something I was a fan of, or got excited about. Honestly, the first time I was hopping in the pool to try to do laps, I was terrified, anxious, unsure. But, I did it anyway. I didn’t hate it. My form is still horrible, but, this coming year, I will work on that.

Week by week I improved my swimming, biking and running. I went to the lake and did an open water swim to get a feel for that. I rode my bike more frequently. Physically, I was prepared. Mentally… that varied day to day. Honestly, everyone else’s confidence in me kept me from an all-out panic attack.

Then… race weekend arrived. My friend Karen and I were completing this together, so we shared a hotel room at the resort to make it all a bit easier on us. She picked me up that morning and we played a little tetris to get both our bikes in her car. With that done, we headed out to Lake Las Vegas.

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Packet pick-up was super easy and we got some great stuff in our packets!! We then briefly hit the expo and picked up some goodies. All of the volunteers were helpful and cheery. Such positive energy helped ease the nerves a bit. Up next… getting the bikes racked! We checked in to our hotel, grabbed what we needed for the bike racking and headed out.

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Our participant bracelets to get us into Athlete only areas

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I loved that they had the bike racking set for Friday afternoon. One less thing to stress about, my bike was in its place and ready to go. The volunteers there were again very helpful. When we mentioned it was our first Tri, the lady in our lane gave us some pointers on bike racking, talked to us about ways to quickly find our bikes after the swim and gave us some great encouragement. After that, we went down to check out the water and swim start areas. This was helpful to get a lay of the land for the swim start, where the buoys were, and from there, the path to transition 1.

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Karen racking her bike

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me testing the COLD water the night before!

Before we knew it, it was race morning!! We were up early to get our transition items in place and try not to panic. I received a few sweet messages from friends as last minute encouragement, and a simple “You’ve Got This” from my trainer. I wrote those words on my arm for the event. We set up our transition points and got marked with our numbers. Then, we headed to the swim start area to wait for it all to begin. We met some great people there, many also doing their first Tri. Thankfully, we also ran in to a great friend of mine and her son who came to cheer us on!

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Now… the event itself!!

The swim start was good, every 10 seconds, 5 new swimmers went into the water. The water that morning was 64 degrees. Quite chilly!! All the talk and discussion about the chaos of the swim doesn’t prepare you for it enough. So many people swimming, at different paces and with different strokes, you get kicked, hit, and sometimes swallow water. I honestly just focused on staying calm and swimming. It worked. I made it through the 500 meter swim with no breaks, and no panic attacks. Getting out of the water, I was initially surprised how tired my arms and legs felt, especially as I started the ¼ mile jog to the first transition area. My T1 time was a bit slower than I wanted, but I was struggling to catch my breath, calm down and feel my feet enough to put socks on.

When I initially started the bike (which started with a climb), I struggled to get started. I was rushing, panicked and couldn’t catch my breath. With all that I couldn’t get a good start on the bike. At that moment I stopped, walked my bike for a bit and pulled myself together. After that, I was good to go on the bike. It was a nice steady climb out of the resort area to the main road. It was a nice out and back loop and the officers regulating traffic were great and shouted words of encouragement as we rode by.

My T2 time was great, under 1:30. I chose to wear the same sneakers on the bike and for the run, which helped. I quickly racked my bike, took off my helmet, grabbed a swig of water and my race bib and was off. The run was my time to shine!!! This run started with about a 1 mile climb, but I held steady. In all my training I worked towards an 11:30 min pace, and on race day, had an 11:00 min pace. Running in to the finish, I felt strong.

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My finish!

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All in all, this was an amazing event! The organization was great. The few snags they hit, they handled quickly and made sure they worked to ensure the safety and well-being of the participants. Every volunteer or Iron Girl representative I interacted with was friendly, encouraging and helpful. The courses were a challenge, but doable. The bling was great!

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Without a doubt, I would recommend this event to anyone, especially those looking for their first triathlon experience. I will be back next year… and may challenge myself to move from the sprint distance to the Olympic distance!!!

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Gift from my running best friend Charlene. To symbolize all the cupcakes we eat post race!

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Some expo goodies I purchased!

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A new runner girl charm and my TRI charm

Iron Girl and Athleta, thank you for a wonderful event and a life changing first triathlon!!!

Diamond Candles Review and Giveaway

When I was a kid the promise of a toy in a box of cereal or cracker jacks was the best thing ever. I was the impatient child digging to the bottom of the box, pouring the contents out, whatever it took to get to the prize. I love prizes. Who doesn’t??

So… when I first learned of Diamond Candles, I was beyond intrigued. All natural soy candles with amazing scents, and in every candle there is a ring of a value between $10 and $5,000. It’s the box of cereal prize for grownups!! What ring will you get? What will it look like?

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Truly amazing scent! Not over-powering at all and my house smells amazing!!

 

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That’s the ring…

After spending days trying to decide which scent to try, I chose the lavender lemon scent, place my order and patiently waited. When the candle arrived, I lit it right away. I let it burn whenever I was home and kept waiting for it to burn low enough for me to start to dig for the ring. Yes, I dug for the ring… I really couldn’t wait to see!!

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Finally, I could get to the ring and got it out. What I unwrapped was a fun and glittery ring! So much fun and now I cannot wait to order another candle and see what that one holds for me!!

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Have you heard of or tried Diamond Candles? What ring did you uncover??

Now, the fun part for all of you… a chance to win your very own Diamond Candle!

See the contest below for your chance to win. Be sure to follow Diamond Candles on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and check out all the amazing scents they have!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Dear October

First, I must apologize to all of you for going MIA lately. I am not going to reveal all the reasons why, it is still personal issues I am dealing with personally. 2013 has been a tough year to date. I am getting stronger and more focused day by day. Know that I have missed you all and am going to ease back in to a stronger blog presence. That said… here is my post to October, enjoy!!

Hey there October… it’s me. The girl who went a little crazy and booked lots of stuff for this month. About that… I’m not really sorry, I’m a little nervous, but not sorry. I am actually very excited to tackle this month of challenges. So, if you could do me a favor and be kind, I would greatly appreciate it.

As you know, 2013 has been a year of challenges and struggles… I need a solid, positive month to help me start the last quarter of this year strong, focused and positive.

So let’s work together on this to guarantee success… this weekend’s brother visit and regatta event will be amazing. Our team is strong and ready for the challenge. Plus, who doesn’t love quality time with the brother?!

I’ve waited all year for Long Beach and to finish the Beach Cities Challenge… so not only do I get to do that this month, I get to finish with a dear friend, side by side. Who can ask for more?

Lastly… I am going to have a strong showing at the Iron Girl. All the training, the panic, the preparation will all pay off. That lake swim, not so scary… that bike ride, doable, that 5k- easy!

So, October, I will do my part in this agreement for an amazing month, you do your’s and together, we will create an October to remember!!

Iron Girl August Recap

I must apologize for being quiet in the Iron Girl training reports through August. Have no fear… the training has been going down!

First, with the help of Franklin at iBodyFit, I have been working on building my strength. He gives me great workouts that are never the same and work my body. I haven’t felt so many sore muscles in forever. It feels great!! We are really focusing on my core and upper body and it shows. Muscles are getting defined and the weight and body fat are dropping.

I’ve added swim/bike brick workouts once a week and bike/run brick workouts as well. I will be adding in another biking day, finally getting a bike to train outdoors on and will be attending an open water swim workout on the 15th!!

I have been a busy bee getting myself in Iron Girl shape and getting excited for this event!!

But… before I become an official triathlete, I will be completing 2, yes 2 half marathons between now and then along with a rowing event.

A huge success for me: I was able to swim 500 meters non-stop in the pool. I know I will not excel at the swimming portion, but am feeling better and better about it as the weeks go on.

I also just completed my first trail half marathon… that report will be coming tomorrow. A true challenge and a humbling experience, but I loved it.

I also met to fellow Iron Girls this weekend which was exciting. I am actually meeting them for the open water swim, did I mention the swim is 2 hours before I need to be at the airport? Nothing says crazy dedicated like heading for a swim, changing in a casino bathroom and heading to the airport for a business trip.

This next week will be a bit more low-key on the training, but, staying focused!!

I am an Iron Girl!! You can be too! Info on how to join me, or find a race near you HERE!