Enough

“All I can tell you really is if you get to the point

where someone is telling you that you are not great or not good enough,

just follow your heart and don’t let anybody crush your dream.”

-Patti LaBelle

enough

There are a lot of things in this life that I am not good at… that I struggle with in fact. At the top of that list is feeling like anything I do is ever good enough. Despite being a complete devotee to self love and acceptance, I have to admit that I am by far my own worst critic. I am pretty sure I am not alone in this admission. The thing is, it’s not because I’m unhappy with who I am. It’s that I’m not happy with where I’m at.

I have accomplished EVERY major goal I set my mind to in the past year. I overcame numerous obstacles including not knowing how to bike or swim, surgery, and injury (and FEAR!) to not only become a triathlete, but complete my first Half Ironman (in less than 7 hours!). I finished not one, but TWO 50K ultras with a third in the works, AND ran in my first sponsored race thanks to Bondi Band at the Ragnar Adirondacks.

Beyond the athletic sphere I have made strides in my personal life as well. I successfully negotiated for a better (and more importantly healthier!) position at work with better pay and a better schedule… which means seeing the hubs more… YEA!!!! I also have spent another year actively involved with CT-ALIVE in various projects to raise funds for victims of domestic violence, including my next run for the Running For The Color Purple Campaign this weekend.

I have taken on every challenge full steam ahead without ever taking my eye off the goal. Yet, despite everything I have achieved, I have yet to ever feel satisfied or fulfilled. Sure, it’s exciting when the task at hand is accomplished, but almost immediately my thoughts turn to the next challenge. There is no resting or stopping to savor the moment. I simply don’t know how to slow down.

The fact is, no matter what I do or goal I reach, I always feel like I have more untapped potential that I am just wasting. So many people go through life fearing failing above all else. I, on the other hand, fear not trying. I would rather chase a dream I only have a fraction of a chance of completing than go after one I know I can obtain. I want to live every moment to the fullest and know I used every ounce of my potential. I don’t want to waste a single second! When I leave this earth, I want to be sure I made the absolute best use of my time here. That is why I constantly feel pressure to do more to make an impact.

I know there is something greater I should be doing with my life; and, at times, I struggle with trying to figure out exactly what that is. I am well aware that I am not the brightest, most charismatic, or talented person out there, but I do have the desire, drive, and resolute determination to make a difference. I want to inspire people to chase their dreams. I want to change the way they view what is possible. I want to educate the public, demystify domestic violence, and give a voice to those victims and survivors who can’t speak for themselves. I want to do all these things on a larger scale than I am now. I want to affect lives!

That is why I see myself as an author and public speaker. I am already taking steps to get there. I have no idea how long it will take, but I intend to stick with it until I am successful. All the women I admire (Diana Nyad, Meredith Atwood, Brook Kreder…) all have something in common- They are inspiring others, particularly other women, by chasing their dobetterdreams. They all took on goals that other people questioned their ability to obtain, and they found a way to make them happen in spite of any obstacles. These are my role models. They have achieved the type of impact I want to make. (Okay, so realisticly, I am never going to achieve Diana Nyad levels of inspiring, but I would settle for my own TED talk… just putting it out there, Universe)

It may all sound a little looney; but I am a firm believer that the people who possess the power to change the world are those who believe they can.

I believe. I just need to figure out what my path is to get there.

In the meantime, I have been trying to remind myself that while it is great (and completely healthy) to constantly strive for more in life, it is also necessary to accept yourself as enough. It may sound contradictory, but it falls in line with Maya Angelou’s quote “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I may not feel like I have reached my full potential in life yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t continually strived to become the best version of myself. Everyday I am doing the best I can with what I have to work with. That in itself is something to be proud of. I will continue to push outside my comfort zone and challenge myself until I grow into a person capable of changing the world. However until then, rather than focusing on the destination, I intend to make a better effort at appreciating the journey and trusting that the universe will guide me.

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Double The Miles, Double The Fun: Ragnar Adirondack Recap

“Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes
no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances
on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the
approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted
from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense.
The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that
is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that
the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running
such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of
their being — a call that asks who they are …”
– David Blaikie

(I know it’s a long one, but it’s so good!)

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Hello All!

I’m baaaaaaack, which means I survived my Ragnar Adirondacks Adventure! I’m not sure I can adequately do justice to what an UNBELIEVABLE experience it was, but I will do my best. I had no idea what to expect go into this event as I had never done a Ragnar Relay or run for a sponsor. However, I did at least have a few ultras under my belt, so I knew what to expect from a mileage standpoint.

Since an ENTIRE weekend of racing is A LOT of race to recap, and ultra runners tend to have a LOVE/HATE relationship with their miles, I thought it might be more fun to break this post down into The Things I LOVED/HATED About Ragnar Adirondacks.

FEELING THE LOVE:

  • For starters, I LOVED LOVED LOVED the overwhelming support from our sponsors (Bondi Band, Shower Pill, Clif Bar, Chase This Skirt, Nuun, Energy Bits, Vega, KT Tape). Immediately upon arriving at our room the hubs and I found our beds decked out with goodies (it was like the animal shaped towels on cruise ships, but BETTER). Sandra, the super fabulous Bondi Sales Manager, had left us our Bondi Bands, compression socks, sponsor samples, and our Bondi Shirts which had the Bondi logo in PINK SPARKLES… Bondi clearly knows the way to a girl’s heart… Given that Bondi had already paid for our race, hotel, and supplied us with free nutrition from our other sponsors, I completely did not expect all the extra gear and goodies they gave us. The generosity on the part of the sponsors was truly beyond my wildest expectations.

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  • I completely assure you that I am not trying to brown nose our sponsor when I tell you that I LOVED the Bondi Bands. They were bright, colorful, and had all kinds of fun sayings which meant we could coordinate to both our outfits and our moods. It was super fun to switch out on each leg and wear a different option. Plus, they completely lived up to every claim by Bondi. I have have had some experience with sweat and headbands, and these are by far the best I’ve used. The colors didn’t bleed or run, they absorbed a TON of sweat, and they absolutely did not slip. They also were extremely soft and comfy, which meant no headache. I have now had over 50K of experience with these bands, and I don’t think I’ll ever wear anything else again. Luckily I have a whole stash now, so I can can wear a different one for each workout of the week. Likewise, the compression socks were equally top notch. I already own a pair of generic compression socks and a set of zensah sleeves, and while I feel like a traitor for saying so, I like Bondi’s better. They were more comfortable than my sleeves and had better compression than anything I’ve owned previously. I also completely put them to the test when I got a HUGE blister on my first leg (from running on the grass to spare my joints). I pulled on the compression socks for my night legs and not only didn’t feel the blister, but it actually got better (not 100% better, but dramatically improved)! Needless to say, I was super impressed. It was like blister treatment magic.

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  • I also LOVED meeting the rest of the team and getting to know them. It was really interesting to get to meet runners from all over the country (and Canada!). Together we got into some serious shenanigans and shared plenty of laughs.

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  • The fact that we were an ultra team was another BIG PLUS for me. I LOVE running long; so, for me, the double legs were a bonus. It was kind of amusing to me how many people looked completely stunned when they found out we were doing the ultra and asked why we would want to. I, on the other hand, was equally perplexed as to why they would only do 3 legs when they could be doing 6! Double the miles, double the fun people! For their convenience I compiled a list of my top 5 reasons to run a Ragnar Ultra so they could see just how much they’re missing out.  I mean who needs breaks to rest or eat anyway? That stuff is for sissies!

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  • I also have to mention that I LOVED my night legs, even in spite of the fact that I had the suckiest climb of the entire course. Running at night with a headlamp makes any run seem that much more bada$$. Plus, I enjoyed the peace and quiet- just me and my tunes out on the open road with stars as a backdrop. What could be more perfect? It was an awesome experience… even if it involved climbing almost 700ft in two and half miles… without any flat or downhill.
  • thatsmeAs much as I LOVED the running, I enjoyed Bondi Banding our fellow racers almost equally as much! Our team name was the Bondi Bandits, and our race tag involved sneaking up on unsuspecting teams and leaving Bondi Bands with our team and sponsor info. Sandra, Lisa, and I had SO MUCH FUN tagging the other vehicles and socializing with the other teams. The other runners were all super excited about the bands, which became a great opportunity to get information about Bondi out there. However, by far, the best part was Bondi Banding the other team’s mascots and getting photos with them, including a team with a giant pickle that we banded with “Suck It Up Buttercup” and a bear named Murray who got “Run Like a Princess Today.”

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  • One great thing about Bondi Banding the other teams is that it not only gave us a great opportunity to meet a lot of runners (and get them excited about our AWESOME sponsors!!!), but also gave us a chance to check out a lot of the other van themes and decorations. There were so many cool ideas out there (including a team of parents who titled their team “Every Child Left Behind”), but my absolute favorite was the “Twelve Hangry Blerches.” Their van was EPIC!
  • 10621901_10152290579877397_1547844836_nOn a similar note, being that this was my first Ragnar, I really enjoyed and appreciated the fun atmosphere with all the crazy themes and costumes. I have never been involved in a race event that encouraged so much silliness, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. From the costumes, to the van decorating and tagging, it was crazy and chaotic at times, but also extremely entertaining, especially when random people honked, waved, and rang cowbells for you while you ran.

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  • While I have to say that I LOVED meeting all my teammates (because we were an Ultra Team, and that by default made us all pretty awesome), I was especially grateful to have had Lisa (and her husband Jay) for company. She and her hubby are just some super cool, laid back people, and it was an absolute pleasure to hang out with them (including at our grown up sleep over party after the race when were bunked up in the same room). Adam and Jay hit it off immediately being the only source of testosterone in the group; and Lisa and I ended up running our last legs together, so we had plenty of time to bond. Thank you Lisa for keeping me entertained even in the delirium and sharing your story about your pet raccoon named Sara Lee. You are a class act and an amazing runner. I can’t wait to hear about your next ultra!

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  • As great as it was to make new friends, I also completely lucked out and LOVED that I got to do this event with my hubby. I was beyond fortunate that Bondi was willing to sponsor my race entry, but the fact that they invited him too was beyond anything I could have hoped for. I am so lucky to have a husband that not only understands, but shares my passion and love for running… even if it’s not quite to the same degree. It meant so much to me to have him there and share the experience with him. Therefore, I am super grateful to both Bondi and my hubby for making my race experience extra awesome.

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  • Finally, I cannot discuss all the things awesome and wonderful that I LOVED about Ragnar without mentioning our team supporters. The Bondi Bandits were so beyond fortunate to not only have Sandra (who is completely lovely and totally deserves a raise) but also Jay who volunteered to be our driver. Given the amount of mileage we were all running, having a driver was HUGE. Plus, Jay was COMPLETELY AMAZING. In addition to driving the entire 200 mile course without any breaks or rest, he also cheered us on at exchanges and circled back to make sure we had enough food and hydration. Jay was the person who met me at the end of my second night leg and made sure I found my way back to the van. He truly went above and beyond. (Lisa, you have a good egg!) Plus, he had a great sense of humor, which was absolutely necessary when contending with a van full of exhausted, cranky women.

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  • Likewise, Sandra was a total trooper! She was at nearly every exchange and stayed up with us through the night. Despite the fact that she wasn’t running the legs with us, she was 100% in the trenches. She looked out for each and every one of us and had a smile on her face every step of the way. I honestly don’t think we could have had a better Bondi rep, and I give her major kudos for dealing with a van of (at times) hungry, overtired, and irritable runners with absolute grace. Truthfully, there were moments when I wanted to strangle us. I’m not sure how she managed without the benefit of running induced endorphins other than that she is just a super woman. Sandra and Jay, as far as I am concerned you get the team MVP award. We truly could not have done it without you!

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NOT FEELING THE LOVE

  • Hate is such a strong word, but I can definitely say I was not feeling the love for the ENDLESS HILLS… especially my ridiculous night climb. I am, however, super grateful that section came after dark when I couldn’t see it coming! By our last leg, Lisa and I decided we were both over the hills. To make our point, I took this photo and sent it to Ragnar. They were apparently amused because it was the only photo I posted that they liked… sadists.

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  • The other thing I “HATED” about the Ragnar Adirondacks course was THERE WAS NO PLACE TO EAT! We were literally driving in the middle of nowhere for hours on end, which was great in terms of scenery, but completely awful in terms of getting in a real meal. To make matters worse, the three times my team stopped to eat were all while I was running. That meant 0/3 meals for me. By the third time, it was starting to feel personal. They did finally bring me back to get food after my last leg when my eyes were glazed over and I couldn’t formulate sentences. Half a sandwich later, I was feeling like a whole new person. On a side note, I am sure any nearby locals were highly amused when I was so calorie deficient and dysfunctional that I got tangled in my own shirt and couldn’t figure out how to fix it (I’m talking full on straight jacket style…) Luckily for me, Krave Jerky and Mojo bars are pretty darn delicious and were in plentiful supply… for a while at least. Ultra running is hungry business!
  • As much as I hate to say it- because by far the majority of my Ragnar experience was completely amazing- another thing that I was not super fond of was some unsportsmanlike conduct by a few of the other teams. While I get that the concept of keeping track of “kills” and running for time can be fun, I don’t agree with people using it as a means to put down other runners. Running a Ragnar is supposed to be about fun and camaraderie. I think it’s incredibly unfortunate that some people forget that due to being so caught up in the spirit of competition. It’s not okay to insult and ridicule other runners, and I personally did not appreciate the team of guys who loudly made fun of me for wearing a hydration pack and “a lot of gear” (commenting that it must be “To keep her from running too fast”) at the start of my first night leg. They obviously had no idea that I was running a cumulative 12 miles due to my back to back legs OR that my headphones were not on despite being in my ears. It was a pretty lame move on their part, although I suppose I should thank them. I was so annoyed by their endless commentary that my night legs were actually some of my fastest… despite the monstrous climb.
  • While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I HATED being stuck in tight quarters with a bunch of cranky, hungry, tried women, I certainly wouldn’t call it my idea of a good time. There were times that were absolutely hilarious, but then there were also instances when I just wanted a hot meal, a set of ear plugs… and maybe some leg room.

All that being said, I would 100% do it again in a heartbeat! As I already mentioned, I simply can’t say enough for what an absolutely amazing experience Ragnar Adirondacks was. The entire trip exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity by Bondi Band AND to have had the support of all our other sponsors who were all both more than generous and super supportive. Beyond supplying us with a wide assortment race fuel (Clif bars and Bloks, Mojo bars, Krave jerky, Vega supplements, Energy Bits, and Nuun) and Bondi gear, we also were provided bath wipes from Shower Pill to keep us feeling somewhat human between our legs, KT Tape for our weary joints and muscles, and the most adorable race skirts ever from Chase This Skirt.

For me Ragnar Adirondacks had everything I could want in a race: beautiful scenery, high mileage, great staff and volunteers, and a super fun atmosphere. The fact that I was able to run it through the support of sponsors was truly a gift. I am glad to have been connected with some great companies who not only have great products, but actually care about their athletes. I would absolutely recommend each sponsor that supported our team and would like to extend a sincere big thank you to all of them.

For anyone interested in seeing more photos from our adventure, you can use the hashtag #BondiBandits on twitter or instagram.

It’s Ragnar Time (Insert One Million Exclamation Points Here)

“Running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—

something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally.

For me it’s not so much about the health benefits.

Those are great, but I believe that the best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.”
-Kara Goucher

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My sentiments exactly! 

Normally (not that most people would consider a Ragnar normal…) when people run a Ragnar, they do it with a group of friends. I however as we all know like to walk run that fine line between crazy and EPICALLY AWESOME. That is why I will be running my Ragnar with a group of strangers. That’s right! A whole team of people I’ve never met… aside from the hubs that is. You would think there would be a little part of me that would have some trepidation about this, but the truth is the only thing I am feeling is BEYOND EXCITED!!!! (It’s going to be SO AMESOME!!!!!)

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Originally, I was nervous about the sleep deprivation and prospect of getting sick/run down from being up for 30+ hours, BUT I have been SO PUMPED about running both my first Ragnar and first sponsored race that I have been too excited to sleep anyway. So far, I seem to be functioning fine… aside from this manic, furiously typed post anyway. 😉

This morning my poor hubs found out just how excited when I kind of refused to let him sleep… because I couldn’t sleep… because it’s like Christmas in our house! Christmas in September! I tried REALLY hard to let him sleep, but after I got all the chores done and packed, I just couldn’t contain my enthusiasm anymore. I tried rubbing his back and cuddling him to get him up, and when that didn’t work I just talked to him incessantly about my ENTIRE day yesterday (mostly my job interview YEA!!!!!).  Since that also didn’t work, I resorted to bribery and made him breakfast. Breakfast bribery, I’m not above it.

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I am happy to report that the bribe worked and we now have movement resembling packing. (Woohoo!) I am hoping we will be on the road shortly. In the meantime, I thought I’d take the opportunity to connect with my blog community AND thank all the amazing sponsors who I’ll be referring to as my Ragnar Fairy Godmothers this weekend. Please check them out and show them some love!

Bondi Band

Chase This Skirt

KT Tape

Clif Bar

Nuun

Shower Pill

Vega

Thank you sponsors for making my racing dreams come true this weekend!!!!

For anyone interested in our Ragnar journey, you can follow us on instagram and twitter with a hashtag #BondiBandits.

I Did It

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.

If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”
― Nora Roberts

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Folks, I did it.  I finally took the plunge and applied for a new job. Correction, I applied for several new jobs.

It’s sort of amusing when you stop and think that it took me almost six, yes SIX years to realize my relationship with my ex was abusive. Now here I am almost six (must be my lucky number…) years into my relationship with my current employer fully acknowledging that this relationship is also abusive. In reality, I have know for a long time that my work environment is toxic. However, I approached it with the same blind optimism I applied to my failed marriage. I thought if I sucked it up and stuck with it that it would get better. I thought I could help fix it. I didn’t want to give up and admit defeat.

Again, my thinking was backwards.

It’s not me, it’s them. I can’t fix it because it’s not my problem to fix.

The sad part is that it took my health deteriorating (again) for me to realize that this relationship is indeed as unhealthy and abusive as my previous marriage. I have spent more days not feeling well than not in the past six months (since being “promoted”). I STILL have a cough and sinus infection that I just can’t shake- a full month after getting sick for the Timberman and after a full course of antibiotics. Actually, I am pretty sure what I had was pneumonia, which is probably why it’s taking so long to recover. Regardless, this is a COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE way to live.

I am tired of feeling sick and rundown 100% of the time. My eye twitches even on days I’m not at work. I have nightmares about having to go to work. I have no reserves left.  There is nothing left to give.  I told my supervisor I was looking for other work.

WHY DOES SHE STAY?

There has been so much conversation in the media recently about “Why does she stay?” thanks to the Ray Rice incident. Those of us who have experienced abuse know there a host a good and valid reasons not the least of which is SAFETY ***women who leave their abusers are 70 TIMES more likely to be murdered in those first two weeks than any other time in the relationship!!!*** However, if we all stopped and took a look into our own lives, we would realize we all put up with some type of abusive situation at some point or another. While it may not be as extreme as domestic violence in many cases, a lot of the reasons for continuing to endure other toxic situations and relationships are the same. I can tell you from personal abuseexperience that although my safety may not be in jeopardy at my current job, I feel as physically and psychologically drained as I did in my first marriage. So why did I stay so long?

As I said previously, the reasons are similar.  I held out hope it would get better. I attributed my stress to other sources in my life. I tried to convince myself I was lucky to have a job [spouse who loved me and would do anything for me]. After all, there are so many people struggling just to find work, I thought I should be grateful to have the financial security afforded by my current employment. On a similar note, I worried that I would suffer financially if I changed jobs. As awful as my current situation has been, struggling to pay the bills and not being able to afford to eat did not seem like a better prospect. Loss of financial security is TERRIFYING even with a strong support system and second income. Imagine how individuals who are completely isolated and buried in debt by their abusers feel about this situation… Then add to that fear of retribution…

Beyond all the “practical” reasons, though, the thing that has kept from moving on the longest was LOSS OF HOPE. I truly didn’t think I could do better (in either instance). I believed that even if I got out of the situation I was in that I would just end up in another one just as bad or even worse. It seemed so much easier to face the enemy I already knew. To put effort into getting out only to end up going through the same mess again was something I was convinced would break me. It took everything in me just to get through each day, each hour, each minute. I honestly couldn’t think far enough ahead to get my head on straight. Abusive relationships (spouse, work, or otherwise) are so draining that there is no energy left to dream or hope or plan. There is no imagining a better way of living let alone surmising a strategy to get there. When you are completely surrounded by and enveloped in negative, toxic energy day in and day out, it is so easy to believe that every other job (or spouse) will be the same. That is why is each time I had to get to a point where it was completely unbearable.

In the case with my job, I finally realized that my fear of every other job being as awful was the same terrible logic I had applied to dating. Not every employer treats their staff poorly, just as not every relationship out there is dysfunctional. There are people out there who get up and actually look forward to going to work. Good jobs exist. The key to finding one is knowing your worth.

I am finally at a point where I know my worth both personally and professionally. I would not be true to myself if I continued to work in my current position. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be respected, treated well, and appreciated. I am not willing to settle anymore. That is why I am seeking other employment. I will not feel guilty for putting myself and my health first.

This job is my last tie to my “old” life; and, to be honest, I will be happy to let it go. I am ready to put my the last piece of my past behind me where it belongs. While I obviously wish I had acknowledged how unhealthy the situation was sooner, I am happy that I am finally applying my new outlook and philosophy on all areas of my life. I can’t beat myself up for being an optimist and hoping things would improve. It’s at the core of my being and has gotten me this far in life. In the future, however, I will have to pay extra mind to situations and people that are wearing on me. After all, I should be able to still see the world through my rosy colored specs and still look out for myself. One would think the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Sometimes you need to just take the leap and have faith that the universe will take care of things. I am taking that leap.

Change is a good thing and I am 100% ready to embrace it.

I’m Going to Lake Placid!

“Opportunities do not come with their values stamped upon them.

Everyone must be challenged.

A day dawns, quite like other days;

in it a single hour comes, quite like other hours;

but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us.”
-Maltbie Davenport Babcock

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For a long time I have dreamed of racing at Lake Placid. As it turns out, I’ll be there sooner than I thought! While, it may not be for my original fantasy involving a 2.4 miles swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26 mile run, it will involve plenty of mileage.

In an unexpected turn of events, I have been invited to run with the Bondi Band Ultra Team at Ragnar Relay Adirondacks. Unluckily for the team (but lucky for me!), they had some runners drop from the event due to injury.  Surprisingly (and also fortunate for me!) there are not tons of ultra runners available to travel to New York on short notice for a multi-day event (Go figure, right?). I guess there is some benefit to planning life at the last minute because I had no conflicting races or plans.

My initial reaction to the invite was that is was WAAYYY to good to be true! Here I had an invitation to run a Ragnar Event with my race entry and hotel paid for and free gear and nutrition from sponsors…. All I had to do was show up and run. I could not, for the life of me, figure out the catch. How was there not a line of people fighting over this AMAZING opportunity? When I saw the race finished in Lake Placid, I knew it was a sign to just go for it.

There are some times in your life when it just feels like the stars and planets perfectly align in your favor, and this was one for me. I was being offered an opportunity to do something I absolutely love, on a long weekend I just happened to have off from work, within hours of my house, at a location I have dreamed of racing. I felt like I won the karma lottery.

Even after registering and sending me measurements for my race gear, I still couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I held off on posting just in case something fell through… Then it did. Another runner dropped from the team, and we were sent scrambling for a replacement. Again, no one was available who could cover that kind of mileage.  Just when it seemed all hope might be lost, the hubs volunteered to cover the toughest legs of the team (He is a keeper that hubby of mine!)

Sooooo now it is official! We have a full roster! Both the hubs and I will be running as Bondi Bandits at the Ragnar Adirondacks in less than two weeks!!! I am so psyched to be doing my very first sponsored event, and even more so that I’ll have my hubby there with me. Beyond that, I was thrilled to learn that our main sponsor Bondi Band is not only founded by a kick a$$ lady from New England, but also donates 10% of all profits to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. That is the kind of company I am proud to run for and represent.

As great as it is to get a free race entry and new gear, I am almost more excited about being a part of a team of like minded individuals!  I am so looking forward to finally meeting all the other ladies in person! I love ultra running, so the opportunity to connect with other passionate endurance athletes (and bad a$$ ladies) is a huge bonus for me.  After all, there is nothing like spending hours end running and sleeping in a van to bond a group of strangers!

For those of you interested in learning more about some of the other fabulous members of the Bondi Bandits, I provided links to their blogs below. Be sure to leave them some love!

RunAllTheRacesShare Perfect Goofy Gail and Kimberly’s adventures as they run Disney and everything in between

Mother Maker Marathon RunnerA blog about embracing life with a bit of grace, a lot of perseverance, and a positive attitude

Fabulosi-TBecause life is too short not to be fabulous 

While your at it, you can check out our sponsors as well!

Bondi BandIn addition to generously sponsoring the team entries, they are also supplying us with new gear! They have so many cute headbands and socks, it was hard to choose!

Chase This SkirtUm, did I mention we get to race in custom made skirts!?! Coolest team/race/moment of my life ever.

Clif Bar– The hubs and I already use Clif Bloks as our go to nutrition/electrolyte replacement on long runs and rides. I love that they even come in margarita flavor. 

KraveHealthy Gourmet Jerky, who knew there was such a thing?  I am sure the hubs will love it; and as far as I am concerned, if it is good enough for Meb, it’s good enough for me!

 

 

I Had A Beyonce Moment

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”
William Feather

adventure

Today I had a Beyonce moment. No, not in the Queen Bee-Feminist-Diva sense.  Rather, in the Giant Metal Chicken sense. Let’s face it, one of these was more obtainable than the other… and I do have a slight fetish for giant metal animals.

It’s no secret that I am a big HUGE fan of the Bloggess. The women makes a living at being snarky… she is pretty much my hero.  Anyway, part of the reason I think she’s so hilarious is that I find her oddly relatable.  Back when I first read of her escapades with Beyonce, I immediately sent the link to my mother with a note that was something to the effect of “This is sooooo something we would do” because it was ABSOLUTELY something we would do.

Fast forward several years later, and my mom and I finally had our chance in Home Goods to live the Beyonce dream.

It started out innocently enough. It was my sister’s last day of summer vacation, and I promised her I’d take her out to enjoy it.  She couldn’t decide between shopping for clothes or new stuff for her room, so we decided to do both.  By the time we arrived at Home Goods (ie. the bargain hunter’s Mecca) we had already scored some sweet deals on new clothes next door at Kohls.  I splurged and spent $8 on a new sundress, which already put me in well the lead for best deal of the day.

Upon stepping through the automatic doors it was as if the Heavens themselves were illuminating a path to the back of the store… that or I was simply drawn to the giant, metal, SHINY object towering over the aisles…

photo-29A GIANT METAL GIRAFFE!!!!! WHAT COULD BE MORE AWESOME? 

There are no amount of photos that could do adequate justice to the magnificent creature that stood before me.  She was over 7 feet of shiny, metal, giraffe AWESOMENESS complete with long, beautiful EYELASHES!!!!!  The only thing that could have possibly been more awesome is if she were a giant llama, but still a 7+ foot metal giraffe?  Come on people!  I couldn’t just leave her there!

The stock guy could see my internal struggle. It was just too stunning to leave in the store, but how would I ever get it home? Then there was the issue of the hoodlums in my neighborhood who had already stolen my Halloween decorations.  Suddenly the lightbulb went on! My brother is getting married!!!!! I had been trying to think of something both unique and completely over the top to get him and his fiancee.  BINGO  What could be more unique and over the top than a 7 foot giraffe??? Obviously they would love her as much as I did.  She would be cherished and held in a place of esteem in their home.  Not to mention the terrific reaction it’d provoke when they came home to a giant giraffe on their deck.

It was a perfect plan… minus the figuring out how to get it there.  As if on cue, the stock guy egged us on “You know it comes apart”.  Apart?  As in, it would fit in the car?  SOLD!!!!!

So we were now the VERY proud owners of a larger than life metal giraffe who was not so willing to be taken down without a fight.  We got three of her legs off easily enough, but the fourth just wasn’t budging. I only wish I had a picture of what my mother, sister, and I must have looked like with our partly dismembered giraffe in the parking lot.  We certainly drew plenty of unabashed stares. Strangely, no one offered to help.  Ultimately, we found a store worker to aid us in popping off the last bolt and were merrily on our way (with a now completely dismembered giraffe).  Lucky for us, she’s a skilled yogi.

yoga

Once we had our cargo safely tucked away, we decided to bring her straight to my brother’s so we could surprise them when they got home from work.  We made a quick pit stop at my mom’s on the way and fashioned an uber cool sign for her to wear, just in case they didn’t immediately associate the random, giant giraffe appearing on their deck with being a wedding present.

photo 4-7

Thankfully, our Liza (that was my name pick after Liza Minnelli. It seemed fitting with all the lashes. Mom preferred Georgette and Christy wanted Gloria.) went back together much more easily than she came apart. She also matched their deck furniture perfectly, so it was clearly meant to be.  When we finally got her all set up with her sign and some extra colorful ribbon for good measure I got a text from the hubby asking “What did you end up doing today?”

I told him I got a wedding present for my brother and his fiancee… and sent him this picture:

photo 1-10Strangely, I didn’t get an immediate reply back. After some prompting, he asked how they liked it. (I truly appreciate my hubby’s ability to be so politic about these situations)  I told him it was a surprise. I think he may have been worried for them, but that’s only because he fails to appreciate giraffes the way my brother (and his fiance) and I do. The rest of our conversation went something like this:

photo 1-1

I’m lucky he loves me…

Ultimately, my brother and his bride LOVED their giraffe and were very surprised to have been greeted by her when they got home. Mostly, I think they were trying to figure out how on earth we got her there… which was a combination of ingenuity and determination.

I’m just thrilled they love her as much as I did. It was totally worth every penny (and the bleeding invoked by the disassembly process) to know they will smile when they see her. It was also well worth the money just for the amount of hilarity that ensued with my mom, sister, and I trying to get the giraffe in the car and to their house.

Anyone can buy a wedding gift on a registry, but those who are daring surprise their loved ones with giant metal giraffes.

My Training Goals

“There are no secrets to success.

It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

-Colin Powell

trainingsecret

 

What’s up peeps?! Today I bring to you yet another sick on the couch post, but fear not! I went to the Minute Clinic today and came home with three separate prescriptions. One of those scripts is for doxycycline, so I am pretty much covered for anything from a sinus infection to pneumonia to Lyme disease. Take that germs! Huzzah!

I figured I’d use my continued down time to update you all about my next step in training (you know how I like to be productive at all times).  As you all know, I have had some serious issues with my IT bands and knee pain recently.  That lead to several costly visits to the chiropractor (anyone else find it ironic that the Affordable Health Act has made health care anything but?… Thanks Obamacare for my insurance super crummy… not sure exactly who is benefitting from this legislation beyond insurance companies who are raking everyone now that insurance is mandatory)

Anyway… given that my copay alone is $50, the multiple visits a week start adding up pretty quickly. As much as I love my new chiropractor, it seemed sort of a waste to be spending over a hundred dollars a week on rehabbing an injury when I could have prevented the weakness and muscle imbalances by working with a personal trainer for significantly less cost. At least, that is how I have justified going back to personal training for myself. Truly though, I would MUCH rather pay money to avoid an injury than to fix one (Sorry Cassie! Maybe we can hang out socially instead of at your office).      

Before I stopped working out with a trainer I had ZERO issues with injury or knee pain. However, between stopping the weight training and not being allowed to do anything for weeks after surgery, I think my muscle groups got imbalanced. All the quad heavy swimming, biking, and running was no bueno for my poor knees. I am just the type of person who NEEDS strength training to keep my knee caps in place and avoid injury. I can’t get by without it. I know and accept that. Now it’s time to address it.

For those of you wondering, I am choosing to work with a trainer rather than on my own because 1) I know myself and I won’t do it consistently or do the parts I hate if left to my own devices; and 2) This is my health. My #1 goal is to state injury free, so I am happy to pay up if it means staying out of the doctor’s office. Plus, I know having someone else to push me will get me better results.

After my last trainer left, I spent a good amount of time feeling lost. It didn’t feel right training with anyone else because (despite our rocky start and differences) we had built a solid relationship. It took a long time for us to work out the kinks in our communication, but when we did we had a real bond. At the end of the day I knew he was going to kick my butt every single workout, and he knew I was going to give it 100% without complaint. Without realizing it, I had come to really rely on him to push me in the gym. I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself after he was gone.  

Then I became obsessed preoccupied with improving my cycling, which meant spending every spare second on my bike. So, basically, I went from lifting/cross training at least twice a week to being completely consumed by triathlon alone.  Enter my surgery and all the activity restrictions and the wheels essentially fell off the cart.  Looking back, it was the perfect recipe for disaster, but I so desperately wanted to get in a HIM (MOST EXPENSIVE RACE EVER!!! once you add up all the travel and medical bills anyway… totally worth it though)

There was also likely an element of denial.  After all, wouldn’t it be nice to believe that I don’t need regular strength training workouts crammed in between all the swimming, biking, and running?  Oh and wouldn’t it be nice not to pay that extra money to a trainer?  

Well, sadly, that’s just not how life works… Not for me anyway!  I DO need to work with a trainer because I want to stay injury free and be the healthiest version of myself possible.  That is a priority for me.  For as expensive a sport as triathlon is, and as expensive as healthcare is, I’m trying to think of it more as an investment than an expense.

In that same spirit, I have picked a trainer this time around who is as passionate and motivated about fitness as I am.  Together we are going to do great things… and possibly cause our male counterparts to groan at our neon workout clothes and unbridled enthusiasm.. but mostly we will kick a$$.

In an effort to start this relationship on the right foot, I already discussed some of my training goals with my new trainer.  In addition, I also told her I would come up with a more complete list. I figured, what better way to really commit than to share it publicly with all of you, so here it is:

MY TRAINING GOALS

Main/General Goals:

  1. Improve overall strength and endurance (General Conditioning)- Translates to improved endurance for races and effective injury prevention
  2. Work on balance and coordination- This will help with all areas of triathlon, but especially cycling
  3. Strengthen core- 6 weeks of no core post surgery translates to WEAK core muscles. Having a strong core is essential in general- so obviously in all three sports of triathlon as well.
  4. Strengthen glutes- To help with hill climbing on the bike and keep my hips from dipping with I run
  5. Balance muscle groups– Currently my quads are out working their opposing muscle groups and causing knee issues

Specific/Short Term Goals:

  1. Get back to doing unassisted chin ups
  2. Unassisted pull ups
  3. Military push ups, Diamond push ups, One handed push ups… & someday plyo push ups
  4. Unassisted dips
  5. Learn to Love Plyo (ie get better at it… or at least not dread it…)
  6. Dead lift, Squat, and Bench my body weight (Maybe not a true “short” term goal, but I have dead lifted my body weight before… once we do all these we can try my body weight for power cleans)

Personal Goals:

  1. Become as fit as possible- Beyond just generally improving, I’d like to strive to be as fit as I can.  It’s about always having a goal currently beyond reach to strive for.   
  2. Complete an Ironman or Ironman distance race
  3. Stay injury free
  4. Body building competition (Not figure or fitness… this is a someday/bucket list goal)
  5. Improve as a swimmer, cyclist, and runner
  6. Write a book on my fitness journey (Not directly relevant to personal training, but a good insight to me as a person… and it is technically a fitness related goal of mine)
  7. Learn more about proper nutrition and do a better job at it.

There you have it folks! I think that’s a good start. Now I am 100% accountable.  It should be a fun adventure!  As always, I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.