triathlon

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!!

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!!!

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!

 

KindRunner Custom Fit Process

Have you checked out KindRunner.com yet? If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! They are an amazing online running store with an experience like no other.

One of their many great concepts: Custom Fit Process. As most of you know, if you go into a running store, they will look at your current sneakers and help you find a good sneaker based on your stride and form. Well, KindRunner.com does this as well, online and with a phone call.

I absolutely LOVE my sneakers Brooks Pure Connect, I’ve had some great results in them and they fit wonderfully. I wanted to try out the Custom Fit Process to 1: make sure they were the right shoe for me, 2: experience the process itself, as a KindRunner ambassador it is good knowledge to have and 3: discuss trail shoe options. Going through the custom fit process is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my running.

The first steps are to fill out an online questionnaire that asks about your running habits, current shoes, issues, injuries, etc. Then, you attach pictures of the soles of your running shoes so they can examine your wear pattern for stride, pronation, supination, etc. Next step: schedule a time for the phone call.

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I didn’t write on my application, and they didn’t tell Mike when he was given my info and photos, that I am a KindRunner Ambassador. I wanted to experience this as any customer would. Mike called me right at my scheduled time (I LOVE punctuality!), and we got right down to business. He discussed what was on my info sheet and then stated that based on the wear pattern I am pretty much as neutral as they come in runners. I hit midsole on the 4th to 5th metatarsal and turn in to the center, just like one should. That basically, it shows I work on my form. So, yes, FORM IS IMPORTANT!! Overall, I was right, this is a great shoe for me. For running efficiency in this shoe, I am a 9 out of 10. He did discuss with me the Brooks Pure Cadence, as it has more arch support but the same heel drop. He asked why I preferred the low heel drop and when I told him it helps me keep my form by letting me know when I heel strike, he laughed and said, yep, form is important to you. (it is, knocking on wood, I have never had a running injury).

So… with the determination that my street and racing shoes were a good fit and options for me if I wanted more arch support, I asked him about trail shoe options. As I increase my trail running, it is beyond evident that my Connects are not good on the trail. Mike reviewed four different shoes with me and gave me great information as far as weight of the shoe, heel drop, what terrain each is better for and how they fit (snug, narrow, etc). He gave me his thoughts on which ones would be best for the trails I would be running.

Then, he started to tell me about KindRunner and how he started the business. At this point, I let him know I was an Ambassador, he was excited to hear how much I enjoy the company and commented how no one told him that before he called. I am glad… it was nice to learn that they treat all customers the same.

So… now the decision is which trail shoes do I get??

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I went with Inov8 and they had a unisex version so I didn’t have to wear pink.

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All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my experience. I have been to several local running stores and definitely feel that I received more in depth information, more dedicated time as the customer, and great feedback on my shoe/running concerns with KindRunner than I ever got in a store.

Well… now it’s your turn. Go check them out, sign up for the Custom Fit Process and experience it yourself. I want to hear how it goes.

Remember… they also offer Confident Runner Pricing if you know which shoes you want and won’t need to worry about exchanging/returning them, Kindness Cash: where you receive $10 for every old pair of shoes you send back for them to re-purpose, and free shipping.

Iron Girl Training Week 2

Another successful week!

Sunday: July 28: I was supposed to head out for a long run Saturday, but thanks to my dog, postponed it a day. I started out later than I wanted, waiting for the hubby to get up and sit with Brinx. So, by the time I headed out, and being totally exhausted, I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been and it was later. The temps weren’t bad but it was humid, and I was in direct sun most of the run. By mile 3.5 I was not feeling well, nauseous and my skin felt tingly. I slowed down, drank some water, but at mile 4, wasn’t feeling better. I turned early to head home and ended the run at mile 4.5. I felt off a good part of the day, so I know I made the right decision.

Monday: July 29: Monday is consistently iBodyFit day, and again, they delivered with an intense workout for New Legs. Lots and lots of side lunges.

Tuesday: July 30: Another swim day!! This week wasn’t as easy, but I still got 15 laps (750 meters) in. Then, I spent about 5 minutes working on my kicks. I am still not comfortable keeping my face in the water, so I need to really focus on this next week versus a certain number of laps.

Wednesday: July 31: This was my most exciting day!! I did a mini-brick workout. My first one! I won’t lie, I was nervous heading in to it, and unsure it would go well. I started with a 1 hour spin class and afterwards, changed into my running sneakers and hit the treadmill. I decided ahead of time to only run for 15 minutes at a slower pace, just to see how my legs felt running after a bike ride. I was able to run 1.5 miles! For the first couple of minutes my legs felt heavy, but overall, they felt great, I could have kept going. I was on a high from this workout the rest of the week!!

Thursday: August 1: Typically, Thursdays are iBodyFit and run days. Early in the afternoon, the winds really picked up, and with all of my eye issues, I am very nervous running in high winds. So, I got my upper body and core workout in and relaxed. Rescheduled the run to Friday!

Friday: August 2: Had a wonderful 4 mile run. I mean wonderful. The entire run felt great, the weather was perfect, my body felt great, my breathing was great, a truly great run.

Saturday: August 3: REST DAY!

Sunday: August 4: Long run day! Another perfect weather day, I headed out for 8 miles. I was much more prepared and the first 4 miles were uphill, but overall, a great run for me. Which then set the tone for a really great day; I went to brunch with my husband, ran a couple errands, than relaxed at home with the dogs and watched football.

Another awesome week of training. I am still amazed at how strong I am becoming and what my body is capable of doing. I love how it surprises me every week. Next up: getting a swim cap… the pool water is not kind to the hair. I thankfully picked up goggles and that made a huge difference.

Iron Girl Training Week 1

Iron Girl Training 7/20-7/27

Well… it wasn’t officially the start of Iron Girl training, but, I got a head start on it all. I must say, I loved week 1 of training! I cannot believe how much stronger I am feeling compared to last year. So… let’s get down to it. What did I accomplish and learn? Well, quite a lot

Saturday: 7/20: Completed a 7 mile trail run with friends. Not the fastest pace, it was super humid in the desert, but the cloud cover kept the sun from becoming an issue. While out there, I chatted with my friend about triathlons. She competes in them regularly, so had some great tips as far as practicing laps, starting early and light with brick workouts, outfits, etc. She is an invaluable resource!!  I tripped over a rock on this run about 4 miles in, scraped up my knee and shin/calf, but was able to finish. It looked worse than it felt. Every time I hit the trails, I love them more. It is such an amazing full body workout

Sunday: 7/21: Not much of anything… ran some errands and enjoyed the day.

Monday: 7/22: An iBodyFit strength workout for 1 hour, a nice combination of upper body and core. Every time I complete my workouts from them, I am AMAZED at my strength!

Tuesday: 7/23: My first time hopping in the pool to swim!! I was nervous, as I cannot remember the last time I swam laps, and know my form isn’t amazing, but, was excited to see where I was at with this training. I decided to swim for 30 minutes. I managed to complete 5 laps (250 meters) without taking a break. Overall, in 30 minutes I completed 15 laps for a total of 750 meters! Tuesdays will be my swim day so the next jump in the pool I will see how many laps I can do without stopping, then practice stroke. I didn’t have goggles for the swim, and that did not feel good in the eyes, so made sure to pick up some goggles!!

Wednesday: 7/24: My favorite SPIN CLASS!! I absolutely love the class (my friend I run with that runs tris, yeah, she teaches this class). Anyway, a great class with hills, sprints, etc. I love that she tries to create the class around how her street rides are. It’s helpful to create that scenario.

Thursday: 7/25: A short 3 mile run in the neighborhood to work on form and breathing. I did my normal 3 mile loop and overall, this was uneventful. A good run and working on my form and breathing was good. Also completed my second iBodyFit strength workout of the week: Bis, Tris and Core. Ow… but a good workout!

Friday: 7/26: My official REST DAY!! I had a great evening with my husband and dogs and even enjoyed some pizza!

Saturday: 7/27: Well, this was supposed to be a long run with my friend, but late Friday night we realized my one dog wasn’t walking right and was in pain. I canceled on the run (and moved it to Sunday) to get my dog to the vet first thing in the morning (he’s okay, slipped a disc in his back) and later in the evening did a short yoga routine to calm my anxiety and get some sleep.

Overall, a pretty solid week of training. I loved EVERY moment of it and look forward to week 2!!

Want to join me? You can… and here is a discount option for you!

Registration
Event Website
Registration Site
Discount for readers: $10 off registration only:  Coupon Code: SOLESISTER
Remember to put my name in the referred by section (Angela Wozniak)