Monday, November 30, 2009

Giveaways - Who Can Resist???

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Giblet Challenge 2009 - A Weekend of Throuple Love!

Okay, so I'm over a week late getting this posted, but better late than never. ;) A couple months ago, Running Dork, Running Lawyer, and I made the Giblet Jog announcement - we were all going to run the 10 Mile Turkey Trot in Wichita on the 21st and the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon in Kansas City on the 22nd. Well, please give some bloggie love to the Running Lawyer - the only one of us that actually accomplished this feat!!! Due to injuries, I down graded to the 2 mile Turkey Trot and the Gobbler Grind 5k, and Running Dork was one of the best Athletic Supporters that a group of runners could ask for!! ;)

Okay, so let me start at the beginning of the weekend. I got off work early on Friday the 20th and headed out for the 3 mile drive to the Dub. I got there around 5pm and met up with Beka at her abode. Kristen showed up a little bit later and we enjoyed an AMAZING dinner with plenty of wine and laughs. And apparently wine is my new pre-race-requisite because I ran my fastest race EVER the following morning. (PS - fastest ever for the running worm is basically faster-than-a-snail-but-still-slower-than-a-turtle.) ;)

Here's a pic of the Throuple on Friday night:

I stayed the night at Kristen's house and we met Beka at the race. The start time was 9:30, which was actually kind of nice since it was pretty chilly out that morning. After a long line for the bathroom, we barely made it to the start in time for the gun.

This race was my first run in almost 3 weeks after being sick and having a lot of craziness in my life. AND, I had only ran 3 times since my last stress fracture, so I was hardly prepared for this race. I was really just there to have fun. I told Beka I anticipated finishing my 2 miles in around 22 - 24 minutes. So you can imagine my surprise when I finished my first mile in 9:30! Now I will say this - being that the race was in Kansas, it was EXTREMELY flat - no hills, barely even an incline here or there. The course was really nice - right along the river, some of it on streets, most of it on a trail, and even part that went through a grassy field - srsly. I was covered in stickers afterwards...which did not feel good when I accidentally sat back on my heels later and got some stickers in the tooshie!

Anyway, if this race had been a 5k, I definitely would have gone out way too fast in the first mile and then ran out of gas at the end. But since it was only 2 miles, I really pushed myself to maintain my speed. Those of that have been following my blog for awhile are aware that I've only been running for less than a year. So when I finished the race in 19 min & some change, I was SHOCKED...and excited! New PR for the Running Worm!!! And after a 2 month running hiatus (other than 3 small runs), I was pretty pumped!

There are no pics of me running this race cuz I told Beka - who was waiting at the finish line - that I wouldn't be done until 22 - 24 min, and I finished several minutes faster than expected, so she didn't have her camera ready for me. ;)

But here is a pic of Beka & me (& Milo!) after the race...and after I changed out of my sweaty running clothes - thank goodness for Beka's ridiculously dark tinted windows so I could change in the car. ;)
We got to see Kristen run by in this trail during her 10 mile race and then we jetted over to the finish line to see her finish. She did AWESOME!!! I only aspire to run that fast one day!
After the race, Kristen and I went back to her place to shower and get cleaned up. We then met up with Beka and Kristen's mom for some yummy brunch before we headed out for the 3 hour drive up to KC. We arrived just in time to pick up our race packets. Then our friend Indi and her husband met up with us and we headed out for a tasty viewing of New Moon, followed by dinner (and drinks of course!) at California Pizza Kitchen, and some amazing gelato at a cute little gelato shop.
Here's a pic of us ladies (from left to right: Indi, Beka, Kristen, Me) at CPK:
That about wrapped up our night. Then we had to get some shut eye before the race the following morning - 8am start time!
Here's a pic of us girls before the race Sunday morning (from left to right: Katy, Valerie -who has a new bloggie of her own that you all should check out at The Coach's Wife-, Me, Kristen, Indi, Beka)

The GG started promptly at 8am and I started of just as fast as I had the day before - big mistake. I wasn't far from the end of the first mile when I felt some crazy pain in my shins and my left knee. I didn't stretch as well as I should have the day before and I was seriously just shuffling along.
Here's a pic of me during the first mile - I was still running faster at this point - notice the blur! ;)

Anyway, the rest of the race was pretty painful. All I really wanted to do was stop and walk, but I knew that if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to run again. I never EVER run 2 days in a row - my body just can't handle it. So racing 2 days in a row had me in a great deal of pain. But I just powered through so I could be done. Didn't stop for water....knew if I did, my legs would refuse to run anymore after that. So I did manage to run the entire race without walking....and somehow, even though I felt like I was at snail-pace, I still managed to PR! I will say this though - this was only my 4th 5k. 2 of those I ran with a yet-to-be-diagnosed stress fracture....and a 6-year-old in tow. The other I ran in August in nearly 90 degree heat with some massive hills. My previous times weren't hard to beat - they were all slow as all get out. So yeah, there ya have it - 2 PRs in one weekend! Not to shabby for the Worm!
After I finished the race, I could barely walk. I grabbed some chocolate milk and hobbled over to a tree where I did some much-needed stretching, which totally helped! Then Beka, Indi, Trevor (Indi's husband) and I went and drove around to try to spot our friends running the half. We were successful - first we spotted Kristen and obnoxiously yelled out the window at her....for a couple blocks. ;)
Here is a stellar pic that Indi took from the front seat featuring me and Beka hanging out the back window yelling at Kristen who is running on the left:

And just a few blocks ahead we spotted Valerie too. Cheering out the window of the car was so much fun, in fact, that we just started cheering for random names. The best was Lindsay...because some girl perked right up at the sound of her name and started waving wildly back at us and giving us the thumbs up. Ah, good times.

We then headed back to the finish line where we anticipated Runnur Mark finishing in roughly an hour and a half....and he did not disappoint.
Here's a group pic after the race (Mark, Me, Beka, Kristen, Indi):

And what would a race be without some Jazz Hands photos?? Too bad Mark scurried away before this was taken. ;)

After the race, we got cleaned up and headed out for some traditional post-race Chipotle love. Nothing quite screams "celebration of accomplishment" to me quite like a loving bowl of Chipotle - yummmmmmm!!!!
And here's a pic of us ladies after our delicious Chipotle love:
Shortly after this last pic was taken, we all parted ways...sigh. It was definitely one of the best weekends I've had in a LONG time!!! I do believe we plan to make this a tradition....with hopefully some more fun weekends together in between. These ladies are a blast - nothing beats the Throuple. Nothing. Except maybe the Throuple + Chipotle.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Holidays, My Friends!

Hello, friends! I know I've been away for nearly 2 weeks - wow, has it been that long??!! Yeah, my life has been a bit crazy. Our entire family has been sick (back-to-back, with multiple illnesses), we've had a lot of unfortunate circumstances come up among several friends and co-workers, and of course we had the tragedy of losing our dog. I do want to take a moment right now to thank you all for the kind and thoughtful comments you all left on my last post. The unexpected loss of Callie has been very tough on all of us. Our Golden Retriever, Cooper, is especially having a difficult time right now. And our house definitely feels quieter and emptier. But having the love and support of so many wonderful friends has made this difficult situation a little more manageable - so a huge THANK YOU to you all!

I really just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm working to get a post up soon (hopefully today) about last weekend - AKA the Giblet Challenge with The Throuple. But in case I'm unable to get it all finished up before the end of the day, I didn't want to miss out on an opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday weekend! And while you're enjoying your turkey and pumpkin pie, don't forget to take a moment to reflect on the many blessings in your lives to be thankful for. I feel so truly blessed for so many gifts I have been given in my life...and that includes all the wonderful people who have brightened my life so much.

All of you out there in bloggie land really have touched my heart in so many ways this year and I truly do consider you all my friends. I am so honored to have "met" all of you this year, whether exclusively through the interwebs, or actually in person. Your comments always brighten my day - many of you have given me great advice, words of encouragement, flattering compliments, and smiles all around. Several of you have become my Facebook friends, many have become email buddies, and of course there's The Throuple (consisting of myself, Running Dork, and Running Lawyer) that has come only to exist through the magic of blogginess. Without the blogosphere to bring us all together, I would not be a part of a friendship I have found to be so special (and I mean special in sooooo many ways, lol).

Each and every one of you readers out there have had a hand in making my life just that much more meaningful this past year, so for all of you I am thankful! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with safe travels, surrounded by the ones you love! And thank you all for being my friends! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Heart Is Heavy Today...

It wasn't that long ago that I sat in front of this very computer posting this note on Facebook about the loss of our boxer, Nikki. What a truly sad day that was for our family. Many tears were shed, memories shared, and hugs given.

Just a few weeks later, I found myself writing this note on Facebook to share the arrival of our new lab, Callie. It was a bitter sweet day. Though we shared great joy in the arrival of Callie, it was still in the back of our minds that we had lost our sweet Nikki and had it not been for that loss, we wouldn't have even been getting another dog.

Today I struggle as I sit here again, with tears streaming down my face. Less than 10 full months after her arrival to our family, our home is once again left with a very important piece of the family missing. It is with a very heavy heart that I regret to inform my friends that we have lost our dear, sweet Callie.

Last night before bed, we noticed that she was struggling to get up the stairs. Normally energetic and full of life, this was extremely out of character for her. We called her over to us and closely examined her body and noticed a very red bulge in her belly. She wasn't whining, crying, or we regretfully waited until this morning to take her to the vet. I did give her 2 benedryls to help her sleep. If only I had known what pain she was in....

Randy took her to the vet first thing this morning where they performed xrays on her and determined that she had been hit by a car. She's a frequent fence-jumper and has little regard for sadly, this was not shocking news. The vet advised that he would need to perform surgery as she had a hole in her abdomen and her bladder had fallen through the hole. He advised that there could be more damage, but he wouldn't know until he got into the surgery...but he knew he needed to move quickly.

Randy called me at work to let me know that Callie would need to stay at the vet until at least Monday to recover as the surgery was going to be very invasive. Clearly, I was concerned...but for whatever reason, I had no doubt that she would come out fine. She's a young, healthy pup and not even one fiber of my being thought for a moment that she wouldn't be okay. Afterall, she had been walking around since she was hit yesterday - she even walked herself home after it happened. And though we could see that she was struggling to get around, she never "told" us that she wasn't okay. I was 100% confident that she would return to us on Monday and our lives would go on as normal, minus another hefty vet bill.

Around 11:30 am, my work phone rang with an unfamiliar number on the caller ID. I answered and was greeted by a voice that sounded shaken and apologetic. It was our vet. He said there was a hole in Callie's abdominal wall and her bladder and intestines had fallen through. He said generally, he would take tissue from elsewhere to repair the hole, but her muscles were so torn up that there was no other tissue for him to use. He also said that her leg was so damaged that even if he was able to repair her abdomen, she would have lost her leg. I couldn't even wrap my head around this. If her leg was that badly damaged, how was she even able to walk??

I sat there, stunned, with tears pouring uncontrollably down my cheeks. I asked him what our options were, as I choked back tears. He quietly stated that there were no other options...other than to euthanize. I choked out the words "Can I come be with her before you let her go?" He said that I would need to hurry because even under anesthesia, he was unsure how much longer he could keep her alive. He said he had her clamped up and if he removed the clamp, she would bleed out.

Frazzled, I quickly shut down my computer and tried to gather my things, while sobbing hysterically. I gal a row away from me heard me crying and came over to ask if I was okay and if I needed anything. In a daze, I raced to my car. I cried the entire way down the elevator and to my car and I'm sure I made several people that passed me quite uncomfortable. Once in my car, I lost it completely. I called Randy and told him they couldn't save Callie. I could barely keep it together and knew I needed to stay calm while I drove, so I called Charren too. Somehow, by the grace of God, Charren just happened to be almost to the Broadway Bridge just as I was about to get on the Broadway Bridge and she kindly asked if I would like for her to go with me. Thank you, God, for looking over me and making sure that Charren was just where I needed her at that exact moment!

I drove as quickly as I could to the vet's office and ended up stuck behind the most ridiculously long line of backed-up traffic ever! I sobbed uncontrollably, thinking I would never make it in time to say goodbye to Callie. I feared I would walk in just moments too late. Nearly 40 minutes had passed by the time I got there and the vet had told me he wasn't sure if he could even keep her alive for 20. I bolted through the doors with red eyes and a swollen face and didn't have to say a word - they immediately took me back to Callie and handed me a box of tissues.

I spent the next 10 minutes hugging, kissing, and petting my baby girl, with tears and sobs escaping me the entire time. My heart just aches because we didn't realize the extent of her injuries. We knew something was wrong last night...she must have been hit and then walked home. She limped around, but didn't whine or bark or tell us she was in pain. We noticed some swelling and just gave her some benedryl to help her sleep so we could take her in today. :( The vet said that even if we had taken her in yesterday, it wouldn't have saved her...but I just hate that she had to suffer that long. If we would have taken her sooner, we could have ended her suffering...

The vet offered his condolences over and over and it was clear that he was having a hard time with the loss as well. The lady from the front desk told us he was taking it very hard, and it was clear to see the pain in his eyes.

The hardest part is yet to come. Rylie will be home from school in just a few minutes and I dread breaking the news to her. Then we will all head over to Randy's grandparents' house to bury Callie next to Nikki and Max.

Nothing can ever really prepare one for any type of loss. Being through it already doesn't make the next time any easier. Today's loss was completely unexpected. Nothing could have prepared me for this. I left for work this morning knowing she was hurt, but truly thinking that everything would be fine. Each time I finally get myself under control, I start to cry again. Our family feels incomplete and I just keep hugging Cooper, knowing that once he realizes Callie isn't coming back, he's going to have a really tough time.

We will all miss our little Cal Bell very dearly. If you have pets, please make sure to give them some extra love today...and every day. You never know if that day will be their last...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back In The Groove

Yesterday was a pretty good workout day, esp considering yesterday was MONDAY! I got in a quick 3 mile run right after work. Well, technically, I ran the first 2.5 and walked the last .5 with Rylie when she got of the bus from school (I got off to a late start). I stretched really well and then I went ahead and did P90X Core Synergistics. Let's just say I'm pretty sore today...but it's a good sore. Ah, I miss this feeling. ;)

Tonight I'm getting a third MRI on my neck since '05. My doctor has been treating me for neck issues since my last car wreck back in February and things just aren't getting better. I've been through a third round of physical therapy, I've taken steriods, and I refuse to get another round of cortisone injections. I had 3 back in '05. I was pain free for about 6 weeks...but the side effects (horrible acne and a 30 pound weight gain) lasted for nearly a year! NEVER. again. I hate getting MRIs. I hate having to hold completely still for 45 min - an hour while they take all the pictures. I usually end up having muscle spasms and it takes way longer than it is supposed to. And I have a feeling this MRI isn't going to be a whole lot different than the others. Sigh....

Well, I hope everyone is having a great week. Oh, and if you want to read a really BAD ASS race report, check out my buddy John's race report from the Beach 2 Battleship 2009 Half Ironman here - nothing short of amazing! Way to go, John!!

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3 mile run, P90X Core Synergistics

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Give Away I Can Get On Board With!!!

Hey bloggies, if you would like a chance to win a Box O Goddies, click here for a chance to win 12 Peanut Butter Clif Bars (BEST flavor ever!!), 10 Clif Kids Mixed Berry Twisted Fruit Sticks (who doesn't love chewy, fruity goodness?!) and a Headsweats Supervisor. You can't beat that with a stick! All courtesy of The Daily Cadence. Check it out!

Back In The Saddle...

Literally. Yesterday I took my bike out for a ride for the first time in a month! I hit the trails at Smithville Lake with my riding buddies, Mike & Kathy and put just over 31 miles on the bike - wow! Not bad for my first ride back in a month! It was such a gorgeous day out yesterday, despite a bit of wind. It was just so great to be outside, enjoying the beautiful fall weather. I'm feeling pretty good today, other than some tightness in my shoulders/neck from being on the bike for 3 hours. Oh yeah, and the tooshie is a little tender as well. ;)

Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I haven't had many workouts to blog about in awhile. Well, after my triathlon and 10k in September, I started to train for the Giblet Challenge and it wasn't long before I started to feel a very familiar pain in my left leg. That's right...stress fracture #2 of the year. :\ It was a disappointing blow, but I knew I needed to take some time off so I could heal properly. And my "time off," I don't just mean time off from running....but I ended up taking time off of everything. That wasn't really my intention...but laziness (and self pity) got in the way. Basically, I haven't swam since Nations Tri and I've only been on my bike 3 times (including yesterday). I really didn't workout in October other than a short bike ride and a few times that I lifted weights at home. Nothing really worth I'm not even posting my "October totals," since there's really nothing to post.

Anyway, I'm determined to get myself back in gear. I managed to gain about 7 pounds during my trip to Mexico last month...sigh. And with the holidays coming up, I really need to focus on keeping myself from gaining any more weight. Last week I started running again and this week I plan to start back up with P90X. So...if you notice a bloggie hiatus and think I'm not working out again, you're probably feel free to leave me a comment reminding me to get off my lazy @$$ and get into shape! ;)

Here are my workouts from the past week:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009: 3.2 mile run

Wednesday, November 4, 2009: weights - bicepts, triceps, hamstrings, shoulders

Friday, November 6, 2009: 2.5 mile run

Sunday, November 8, 2009: 31.1 mile bike ride

Hopefully I can stay on track! Oh, and I would like to give a shout out to my darling daughter Rylie, who placed 3rd in the All Around at her gymnastics meet on Saturday! She took home 4th on beam and bars, 2nd on floor, and 1st on vault!!! I could not be more proud! :)

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hello for Now! ...More on the way!

Hello, friends! First of all, I've noticed several new followers over the past month - welcome!!! I hope you're not disappointed in what you've seen so so-called "fitness" blog has been lacking in the fitness department lately. And there is a perfectly good explanation for that, which I will post about later. Kind of a long story, but I'll try to give you the condensed version.

Life has been pretty busy lately. Between work, vacation, gymnastics meets, and weddings, I haven't had much time for posting in the bloggie blog...and I apologize. I have lots to catch up on. I'll get there...eventually. ;)

Until then, I want to wish everyone a very happy Friday! I also want to wish a very special Someone a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Please stop by Erin's blog at Dancing Sweet Pea and give her some birthday love!!

Also, with winter quickly approaching - snow/sleet/darker evening hours - many of us may find ourselves running outside less and less and spending more and more time on the treadmill. Running inside is not always my first choice, but often times a necessary evil. Well, my new friend Ana introduced me to a site that many of you may find interesting: Treadmill Reviews. Here you will find reviews on ALL TYPES of treadmills (srsly, there's a buttload of reviews!), as well as some other fun links and info - check it out!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Hopefully next week I'll be back to my old bloggin' self! ;)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Foto Friday - Running Dork & Running Worm - LOOK OUT!!!!

The time has come!!! Yes, it's been a few months...perhaps it was laziness that prevented me from posting these pics sooner...perhaps it was the fear that Fair Weather Runner, whom I refer to as The Running Dork might kick my @$$ for posting them...or perhaps it was my concern that the world just isn't fully ready for the pure awesomeness of a "Couple from the Throuple" together in the same place at one time! Yes, that must be it! So...brace yourselves, bloggies! Because this is just a tiny bit of preparation before ALL 3 members of the Throuple unite in just 3 short weeks for the Giblet Jog Challenge 2009! That's right - the world may implode with awesomeness, cuz we are Just.That.Awesome.!!!

Okay, here's a pic of Miss Fair Weather Runner herself & me, just moments after she invited me to her hotel room - yes, that really happened!!

We were SO EXCITED to finally meet each other - can you tell??? ;)

We *heart* each other.

A few drinks into the night, we started to get a little silly - can you believe it?? (Notice I'm doing "gag me with a spoon" in the back ground, LOL!)

In case you're wondering, we're simulating "running" with our fingers. Yep. Told ya. Awesomeness. No doubt about it.

And here, we're actually pretending to run. You can't see the arms pumping, but I'm sure it was quite a sight. I wonder if I actually make that face when I run??

And in this last photo....I'm not really sure what's going on. And it's apparent that I didn't know at the time either. ;) Ah, good times.

Well, that's about 7 of the 30ish pics taken that night. Sigh...if only I had pics of The Running Lawyer from when we met for breakfast a few weeks back.
Okay, carry on with your Friday. I hope everyone has a spooktacular weekend!! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Was Tagged!

I was tagged by my dear friend Erin at Dancing Sweet Pea!

Instructions are to copy these 35 questions and fill them in with the answers that suit you then pass it on to 6 favorite bloggers (notify them that you've given them an award!)35


1)Where is your cell phone? in my purse in my desk drawar

2)Your hair? blonde with loose curls today

3)Your mother? is amazing

4)Your father? a lot of fun

5)Your favorite food? sushi, chipotle burrito bowls

6)Your dream last night? something only I would dream...

7)Your favorite drink? water, crystal light, frozen margs

8)Your dream/goal? IRONMAN!

9)What room are you in? my cubicle at work

10)Your hobby? triathlon-ing, internetting, blogging, drinking, acting a fool

11)Your fear? failure

12)Where do you want to be in 6 years? somewhere WARM

13)Where were you last night? At home

14)Something that you aren't? emotionally stable (lol)

15)Muffins? yummy!

16)Wish list item? new house, another vacation, and that my kiddos don't get the swine flu!

17)Where did you grow up? Emporia, KS

18)Last thing you did? Talked to my desk partner about the flu

19)What are you wearing? Black pants and a charcoal colored sweaterd

20)Your t.v.? needs to be bigger

21)Your pets? are the best pets in the world!

22)Friends? mean the world to me

23)Your life? is crazy!

24)Your mood? stressed

25)Missing someone? since Sept 12, 2005...

26)Vehicle? an old Pathfinder that needs upgraded

27)Something you're not wearing? glasses

28)Your favorite store? Maurices

29)Favorite color? Pink!

30)Last time you laughed? this morning

31)Last time you cried? a week ago

32)Best friend? I have too many...oldest is Melissa (AKA The Militia)

33)One place that I go to over and over? the lake!

34)One person who emails me regularly? The Throuple (Running Lawyer & Running Dork)

35)Favorite place to eat? Chipotle, Kona Grille

Six people I will pass this on to:

The Running Dork
The Running Lawyer
Lindsay @ Chasing The Kenyans
Jamie @ Sweaty Hugs
Jess @ All Things Creative

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hearts to my Homies!

Check it out - I returned from my amazing trip to Mexico to find a gift from my girl Beka the Running Dork - notice a new masthead, anyone?? Niiiiiiiiiice, eh?? Me gusto mucho!!!!! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Peace Out....I'm Off To Mexico!!!

Okay, I know I've been away for nearly 2 weeks. I've had a lot going on, including jury duty this week (I'll spare you the details) and some other stuff that I'm not quite ready to disclose to the blogosphere just yet. And - I'm sorry to disappoint you - but I'm going to be away for at least another 10 days or more. At this time tomorrow I will be on a plane on my way to a MUCH NEEDED vacation with my husbie to celebrate 5 years of married bliss. Might I add that we have not taken a trip together since our honeymoon, so YES - much needed!!!! Here is the resort we'll be staying at in Mazatlan:
I'm so ready to put all my stress and worries on hold for a week as I relax in the sun, drink cocktails, and enjoy some incredible food. I will miss you all dearly...but I'll post some fun-filled pics when I return. Have a great week next week, everyone! Muah!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nations Triathlon: Part 3 - RACE DAY!!!

Here it is, Nations Triathlon Race Report!!!!

My day began bright and early at yeah, not so bright...but def EARLY! As typical with most racers, I didn't get much sleep the night before. I was ready for bed by a little after 9pm. I laid there and my mom kept talking and we talked until probably 10:30 or so. I finally dozed off...and woke up 20 minutes later at 10:50...and proceeded to stay away until about 1:30. I finally had to take a second muscle relaxer to fall back asleep. So I only got about 2.5 hours of sleep that night. :\

Here I am in the hotel before we met up with the team to hop the shuttle over to transition.

We were on the 5:15 shuttle and made it to the race site with PLENTY of time to set up transition, snap some photos, and then WAIT. The race started promptly at 7am. My swim wave actually didn't start until yeah, 2.5 hours to just "hang out" before the race.

Here's a pic of me & Ann all body marked up. We put our names on our arms so people could cheer for us. And I got a peace sign, for good measure. ;)

Here's a pic of me & Coach Jen before the race. Notice how dark it still was!

Here's a kinda cool pic of the sun coming up over the Washington Monument:

And a pic of Ann & Me at the "Run Out" area of transition.

With pleny of time before the race began, I made sure to set up my transition area perfectly. I met the girl with her bike racked to my right. The person who was supposed to be to my left was a no-show, so I actually got a little room to spread out. Ironically, the girl to my right was in the swim wave before me and we were in transition at the exact same time during both T1 and T2. I wish I could have met up with her again at the end to get a pic, but I never saw her again after T2. I met a really nice guy from the DC area named Hampton in line for the bathroom early in the morning. We met another nice guy in line for the bathroom in transition before the race started. The lines for the bathrooms inside transition were so long, we literally waited at least 30 minutes. At one point, a guy came up to us and said that his swim wave started in 5 min and wanted to know if he could go in front of us. Of course, we let him.

By the time I got out of the bathroom, it was time to get my wetsuit on and head over to the corral. As I was waiting in line, I saw my mom. I ran over to the fence to give her a hug. She wished me luck and snapped this pic:

The water was a chilly 72 degrees that morning, so it was a wetsuit legal race. It was 2 degrees cooler than it had been the day before, yet it felt fine when I got in. Maybe it was the wetsuit. Maybe it was the adrenaline. Whatever it was, the water felt perfect and I was very grateful.

At exactly 7:48, the horn sounded and my wave was off. I was soooo nervous about the swim. I had a horrible practice the day before and I have heard horror stories of so many people having anxiety attacks in the water. In fact, after the race my mom told me that they pulled a TON of people from the water that were not able to finish the race. I'm glad I didn't see that - it would have really shaken my nerves.

Anyway, my swim started out great. I was worried that I would feel clostrophobic and crowded in the water, but I was actually fine. I mean, there were a few times when someone would grab my ankle or I would brush up next to someone, but nothing major. I found someone about my pace to draft behind and just went for it. And amazingly, I swam really straight too. It's crazy, but my swim was just "on" that day.
If you zoom on this pic, you can see me with my PINK goggles. :) I am to the top left part of the photo with my face out of the water:

Before no time at all, I was already to the Arlington Bridge and near the turn-around point. Probably the only time I started to feel any anxiety was when I was swimming under the bridge. This is so funny, but I have had reoccuring nightmares about being in a river with a bridge falling on top of me. I always wake up thinking "When the hell will I ever be swimming in a RIVER??!! And under a bridge, no less!" LOL, I guess now I know... Anyway, I sucked it up and made it under both times just fine. Here's a pic of the bridge:

My swim felt great and I was passing the white caps from the wave 3 minutes before me all over the place. I even passed a few men from the waves 6 and 9 minutes before me. I remember looking up at one point and seeing the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and thinking "Wow, I bet not many people have seen these historical landmarks while swimming in the Potomac River."

I just felt so good during the entire swim. On my way back from the bridge I actually remember thinking "I'm really sad the swim is almost over. This is such an amazing feeling and I just hope I remember how I feel at this exact moment for the rest of my life."

At the very end of the swim with only about 25m to the dock, I inhaled a HUGE gulp of water and started choking pretty badly. I remember just thinking to myself, thank the LORD this is happening now at the end of the swim and not at the beginning! That would have definitely rattled my nerves and probably would have blown my whole swim.
I climbed onto the dock and started running to transition thinking "WOW, that went by so fast! I can't believe the swim is over. And it went so well!" I got to transition, dried off, and started getting my helmet and shoes on when I remembered that I forgot to pee before I got out of the water. Damn....I really didn't want to waste time running to the bathroom, so I ignored the urge to go...and for a split second, I even contemplated going right then and there...I mean, my tri suit was wet from the river and everything...but I decided against it. I spoke briefly with the girl racked next to me, and then I was off. When I turned my bike computer on, I noticed that it had only been about 40 minutes since I started the race. Could this be right?? Did I really complete almost a mile swim in less than 40 minutes?! The fastest I think I've ever swam 1500m in the pool was about 40 min, and I had figured the race would take even longer with the zigzagging and the massive group of people all over the place...but when I got my splits at the end, I was shocked to see my swim was actually 35:20 - that's right, I killed it! :)
Swim: 35:20
T1: 4:50

My mom was waiting for me right outside of transition and caught this pic of me on my bike:

Okay, the bike portion of the race was definitely my weakest. Let me just say that I've never heard "On your left!" so many times in my life, lol! I was being passed all over the place. But I just started cycling less than a year ago, so it's to be expected. In fact, I really just started ALL of this in the past year, so it's not anything I'm stressing about. I'm just glad my swim went so well and just set the tone for the rest of the race. I tried not to stress about my slow bike time, but just tried to focus on having fun. And I definitely learned that I need to make some upgrades to my bike before the next race. For example, it's time to get clips. This will increase my speed AND help me use different muscles and expend less energy. I also need to get aerobars. My handlebars only allow for one position and not only is it not very aerodynamic, it's also rather uncomfortable. My back was in KNOTS for a good 2 weeks following the race.
The course itself was awesome. It was pretty flat for the most part and we rode through a beautiful wooded area into Maryland. I had a few minor complaints, like the roads were pretty narrow and didn't allow too much room for passing. There were also a couple sharp turns. The worst part of the course was that in the last mile, there was a MAJOR crack in the road AND it was at the bottom of a hill. There were volunteers out there warning people about it, but when you're flying down a hill at nearly 30 mph, not knowing what to expect, that crack/bump could (and probably DID) cause some major damage! In fact, for a moment, I thought I blew my tire! There were also not enough volunteers at the end of the bike course to remind the cyclists to lift their bikes up over the curb before running into transition. My mom said that people were blowing their tires all over the place, running them into the curb! Yikes! And there were several wrecks there as well. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have no wrecks/flat tires, etc on the bike course.
A few moments that stood out in my mind during the bike:
Overhearing a convo between two girls on their bikes:
Girl A: I sure am enjoying this scenery.
Girl B: I sure am enjoying this company.
-How sweet!-
Passing Jon, a teammate of mine, around mile 10. I was heading out on a loop and he was just finishing up. He passed and yelled my name - made me smile.
Hearing "Go Team!" more times than I can count - being an event to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it seemed that MOST participants were members of Team in Training. There was such comradery on the course - everyone cheering each other on. What a great feeling!
Ann, who was in the swim wave 3 minutes behind me, caught up to me (and passed me) on the bike course with about 5 miles left to go. It was cool to see a familiar face. My last big race was the St Louis Half, and I did that entire race with my 2 friends. The thing about a tri is that it is impossible to do it "with" anyone. Aside from the fact that the swim waves all start at different times, you also can't bike side-by-side either. Basically, you are on your own the entire time. This is just something I'm not used to. But it was very empowering, nonetheless.
As I was riding along, I saw a catipillar in the road inching his way across. He got out of my path just in the nick of time. This also made me smile.
By the end of the bike, I felt very slow and like I had been passed by everyone on the course, LOL. But I was still having fun and I kept telling myself that my time didn't matter because I felt amazing and was doing something I had always wanted to do since I was a kid, but never actually thought I would have the opportunity to do. So I savored every moment and kept on smiling...and also thinking of what changes I need to make on my bike so I can improve next time - that's right, there WILL BE a next time! :)
Here I am at the end of the bike portion of the race. We had to dismount our bikes at the blue line and then walk/run them into transition. This part kind of sucked since I was in the row the furthest away from this side of transition.

Bike: 1:36:54, avg pace: 15.4 mph
T2: 7:48 - (I had to stop for a potty break during T2)
Here's a pic of me heading out for my run - my mom did a fabulous job of getting pics!

My run started out pretty well. I put some biofreeze on my knees since my IT bands had been giving me some problems. The biofreeze worked like a charm and I felt no pain whatsoever during the entire race. The first mile flew by and I felt great, but I was concerned that I didn't fuel well enough on my bike. I tried to eat a powerbar and just couldn't choke it down. I ate about 2/3 of my shot blocks, but the rest flew off my bike when I hit the "bump" at the end of the course. I had grabbed my Chocolate Outrage Gu before I left transition for my run, but it must have fallen out of my pocket in the bathroom, because when I went to reach for it, it was no longer in my pocket. So I was really concerned about fuel, but I knew there would be Gu at mile 4, so I just needed to make it there.
The first 2 miles were great. We ran along the Potomac River at first. There were plenty of water stations, and since we were mostly in the shade for the first 4 miles, it wasn't too hot either. Shortly after the mile 2 marker, I started to get chills/goosebumps. I was worried that I wasn't properly hydrated, and even more worried that I did not have enough calories to keep me going.
At about 2.5 miles in, I had to stop and walk for a minute. I just felt like I was running out of gas. No more than a second later, a girl came up from behind me and said "Looking good! you need a Gu??" It was like she was sent to me from God - YES, I would LOVE a Gu! She smiled, gave me a Gu, and was on her way. Bless her! A mile later, there was a fuel station and I grabbed another Gu because I had a feeling I would need it before the race was over.
Around mile 4, I decided that I really needed a salt tablet. I unzipped my fuel belt and discovered dissolved salt capsules all over the inside of my belt. Great. At the next water station, I scooped out a pile of nasty salt and forced it down. Gross. But I needed it. It was also about this point that I realized there had been no bathrooms along the entire course. I didn't NEED one, but wow...seriously? No port-a-potties at ALL?? Good thing I didn't have an emergency like I did in St Louis...or that would have been a mess!! You can bet your @$$ that I mentioned this on the event survey I filled out - must.have.bathrooms.on.the.course.
Shortly after mile 4 I saw Coach Jen. She came over and jogged with me for a bit - asked how I was feeling and said I was looking great. I immediately asked her for some salt tablets. She said she had some over on the other side of the road and that she'd meet up with me at mile 5. The road looped down and met back up across the street at mile 5.
That next mile was a bit of a struggle. It was getting into the 80's, we were no longer in the shade, and I was feeling parched and low on fuel. I had my final Gu that I picked up earlier and just pushed on. At mile 5, Coach Jen was waiting for me with the salt tablets. I took them with some water and she jogged with me a ways, reminding me that there was only a mile left to go. She said "just 10 more minutes and you'll be done." The guy behind us, who was quite a bit older said "well, maybe 12 for me." I smiled and thought "yeah, same here."
The last half mile was the worst. I could see the finish line, but all I wanted to do was walk. I was just completely out of gas. I wanted to sprint to the finish, but I was barely shuffling along. Just as I was about to cross the finish line, I heard my mom yell my name. I knew it was almost over and I felt a wave of excitement and pride rush over me.
During my training, I kept wanting to get a time somewhere in the 3:30's. Realistically, I just wanted to finish in under 4 hours. Idealistically, I wanted to be around 3:30ish...but mainly just under 3:40. After being sick the weeks before the race and not training for the last 2.5 weeks leading up to it, I thought that my goal of the 3:30's was shot...but I was still hoping for under 4 hours. Well, my official chip time was 3:39:16 - I came in under 3:40 afterall!!
Here I am, crossing the finish line - courtesy of Ann! (Someone stepped in front of my mom right as I was passing by and she missed her shot - she was so pissed!! But it's all good, cuz we have this one:)
Run: 1:14:26, Pace: 12:01
Definitely slow, but not bad for recoving from a stress fracture and having been sick.
So, to sum up, overall stats are:
Swim: 35:20
T1: 4:50
Bike: 1:36:54
T2: 7:48
Run: 1:14:26
Final: 3:39:16
Here's a pic Ann snapped of me shortly after I finished the race:

Here's a shot of Ann & Me with our medals:

Here we are being silly & high-fiving each other cuz WE DID IT!!

What a great feeling of accomplishment!

Here I am with Jon. We trained together for 2 seasons and finally got to do an event together.

Rylie made me a Hannah Montana bracelet with some beads she got for her birthday (the pink thing hanging down is a guitar, lol). It was too big for my wrist, but I wore it on my ankle during the run so she could be with me during my race. I took a pic so I could show her that I remembered to wear it. :)

Jodi, Ann, & Me: Trying to act tough. LOL

Jodi, Jon, Ann, & Me: displaying our splits:

Here I am with my proud mama - so glad she was able to go on this trip and share such an amazing experience with me!

After the race, I was feeling very weak and light headed, but was having a hard time eating. I just didn't even have the energy to chew. So I chugged 2 powerades and a muscle milk. But I really never felt all that great until after I ate dinner that night.

Here are some signs that were on the path that led to the transition area. Of all the times that I walked back and forth in and out of transition those 2 days, I never noticed these signs until AFTER the race:

After the race, we all headed over to the finish line to get our "finish line" photo with our medals...and turned out that they didn't have a professional photographer with a back drop to do an "after" photo. So we just had my mom take this one of us with the finish line in the background:

J.Ro, Me, Ann, Jodi, and Jon. Amy & Jeff were MIA...
And here are all of us girls by one of the flags. You can't see this, put we're throwing a "M.A." sign...for Mid America, our chapter. ;)

The shuttles after the race were supposed to start at 1pm. We got in line before 1pm and waited at least 45 minutes for the shuttles to show up. That was frustrating because we were all tired and exhuasted. By the time we got back to the hotel, all I wanted to do was take an ice bath, shower, and nap. Actually, I really wanted food....but didn't have the energy to walk 6 blocks to get something, and I figured dinner was just a few hours away. So I didn't get anything to eat. That was a mistake...cuz I ended up feeling soooo sick later before we got to dinner. And I tried to take a nap, but never did fall asleep...
Our Victory Party was held at ESPN Zone. It was fun, but I did have a few complaints. For one, the tickets were $43 and all we got were appetizers. For that kind of money, I better be getting steak and shrimp! Or at least get my drinks included, which they were not. :\ Also, there was one bartender in particular that was completely rude and unaccomodating. And not just a little snippy, but like the worst service I've ever encountered.

Here's a pic of Ann, Me, and Jodi at the Victory Party:

Here's a pic of us playing one of the video games, LOL:

This game was so funny! You had to "ride" horses on a race track and bounce up and down on the seats like you wer similating a horse race. Let me just say that 4 girls bouncing up and down on these things drew quite a crowd of guys watching our asses, lol.

After we left ESPN Zone, I walked down the street from our hotel with the team and we had some drinks at a little cafe. Ann and I ordered some tirimisu to share....hands down, BEST tirimisu EVER:

Yummmmmm, doesn't it look delic?! Here's a pic of me & Ann savoring the caramel sauce:

Yes, it was THAT good:

We had a great time drinking and reflecting on our adventure together as a team. Here's our last pic of the day:

From left to right: Jon, Ann, J.Ro, Jeff, Coach Jen, Me, and Jodi in the front. Ah, good times!
So, there ya have it. My first official Triathlon Race Report. It only took 3 weeks to post, but there it is. I want to take this opportunity once more to thank EVERYONE for all of the support along the way. It's been quite a journey....and it's only just begun. :)