Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm a Triathlete!

If anyone had asked me last year if I would do a triathlon I would have actually I did laugh out loud and say, "No!" However I was very wrong. What can I say my friend Sara can be very convincing! See she did the Title 9 Women's Sprint Triathlon last year and literally the since the day she did she was saying, "You're doing it next year with me." most of the time I would just roll my eyes at her. But after MONTHS of her persistence I finally agreed to do it. At the same time I decided to use this as my challenge for my Team FD fundraiser. I was hoping I would get to my goal before the triathlon. That began the training process!

We trained for months however neither of had actually registered for the race. I think for me it was because as long as I wasn't registered then I didn't have to actually do it. However I started telling everyone that I was doing it so I think either way it was bound to happen it just wasn't as finalized yet. I finally registered on July 14th. Now mind you this is something that registration opens for in January! Sara wasn't having a great day so she opted to not jinx anything would register tomorrow. Well tomorrow turned into a week later at which point she was kindly told the triathlon was sold out and she was put on the wait list. 

OH MY GOD I AM DOING THIS ALL ALONE! was my first thought I started freaking out slightly a lot. On August 6th we found out that she was in fact not excepted and therefore I really was doing it alone. I had come to terms with that and started to really get myself ready!

Now it is race day! September 9th, 2012 Hopkinton, MA.
Logo belongs to Max Performance
I got into the actual park at about 6:30am however by the time we got to park, get the bike off the car and make sure I have all my bags we were just starting to walk over at 6:50am.

This was the first glimpse I had of any part of the tri as we walked across the dam from the parking lot.

I went through the check in at the transition area getting written all over my arms, hands and legs with sharpie! It was mostly my race number except on my calf where they write your age. Then I went to find a spot in my row to setup my transition area. I have to say I felt pretty prepared for this part, I knew right off the bat that I needed an adapter for the bike rack because since Sara wasn't doing it and I don't have a good bike I borrowed not only her bike but also most of the other gear from her. She told me I would need an adapter. As I was walking a volunteer asked if I needed an adapter I of course said yes and she came with me and got me immediately setup so I was good to go! 

A really cool thing this year was they gave you towel in your race packet that was the perfect size to setup the transition area. I was in the mind frame of minimal. When packing the night before I really thought about what I was actually going to use and that is what I brought. After I had everything setup I went over to the "fence" to talk to all my friends and family before I needed to head out.
I was pretty relaxed, everything was going well...to well. When it was time to get ready for the prerace meeting I discovered that my Garmin was not working. I had no idea what was wrong, it was just frozen so I walked over and handed it to my husband. There was no way I had time to deal with that. Guess I would be timing it with my Sportline watch. I got ready and started to walk out of transition. I didn't get far because I then found my friend Elizabeth who I had only just learned a few days before that she was doing the tri. Then of course we felt we needed to rush out cause we took up time chatting.

Tim the race director gave the prerace talk and then we got into our wave groups (by swim cap color) and started the long painful walk to the boat house where we would get into the water for the start. I say painful because the pavement was hard and bumpy and I wasn't wearing shoes. It was not a good idea to have hurting feet before I even started.

I was completely calm at this point because I knew I could do the swim so I was just chatting with my fellow newbies while the waves started and we waited our turn. As we were waiting Sara came running over to give me my Garmin. She and Lewis had been able to fix it. I was so EXCITED! Now I would have hopefully an accurate time and a map!
Then it was time for all us white caps to get into the water! We only had to wait a minute or two and then...
we were off. The swim seemed to take forever. Every time I looked up to make sure I was going the right way it seemed as though I wasn't passing any buoys. But I kept going, it didn't help that the water was murky cause I got hit and kicked a few times but I finally made it to the end and crossed that first finish mat.
Swim 1/4 mile (Garmin says 1/3 mile): 13:34

Then it was on to my first transition!

There is one thing I learned about the transition from the water to bike is that when setting up your area you should untie your sneakers. That is one thing that really slowed me up. I decided to wear my tie died LIVESTRONG shirt because let's face it without their cancer transitions program and LIVESTRONG at the Y program I would have never gotten to where I am today! I had to sport my support!! 

I was pretty well prepared for everything else thanks to Sara's advice and newbie night! I double checked that I had everything and got out to do the bike...which was my biggest fear. I felt more prepared thanks to the AKP foundation but I was still very nervous!

Transition 1: 4:36

I walked my bike out of the transition area to where we needed to mount our bike and then I was off. I will admit the start even though it was on a hill was not as difficult as I had thought. I was hopefully that was the case for the rest of the course as well.
I had the misfortune mistake of not doing the course before this. Although Sara and I did go drive the course so I would know a little and then I looked at it online with the topography chart so I knew the hardest hill was within the first two miles so as long as I could make it past mile 2 I would be ok. I'm not gonna lie I had to stop twice within those two miles but I did not get off my bike! I made it and continued on. I remembered to refuel at mile 5 so that way I wasn't totally exhausted for the run. There were however quite a few more hills after that and in total I ended up stopping 3 more times in the remaining 8 miles. Once we made it back into the park it was all up hill until right before it ended. As we were riding there were people who were running out for the 5k course. After the 6th person or maybe the 20th (who really knows) told me I was almost there and it was the last hill I decided they were all liars! The hills seemed to never end until that final left turn and then it was downhill. I had made it all the way through!!! Halleluiah!! I could not have been happier to see that dismount sign.
Utter relief on my face right there!

Bike 10 miles: 51:34
I knew I was home free at this point. Make no mistake I still had work to do but I only had 3.1 miles between me and that finish line!

Transition two was a lot easier and quicker. Put the bike back, take my helmet and camel pack off, grab my visor and go!

Transition 2: 1:27

I knew I needed some time for my legs to adjust from riding to running so I had already planned to walk the first five minutes. Well the start was also uphill and who wants to run uphill? Certainly not me! However I walked for longer than 5 minutes because my legs were in pain. They felt as though with one false move I would be having one of those monster muscle spasms! I got to about .75 of the first mile and decided to give a running interval a shot. It wasn't so bad. I continued to to run 30 seconds walk 1:30 intervals, unless it was down hill then the run was a little longer. I made sure to drink Gatorade at the first water stop and I also ate a small balance bar right before  the 1.1 mile mark so that I didn't loose any energy. By almost mile 2 I was feeling good again. But come on with only a little over a mile left who wouldn't feel good?. As I started my run back across the dam I knew I was almost there. I could see the beach and then I checked the time, wow I might actually make it before my goal of 2:10:00.

There were many people who were already done and leaving so I had lots of last minute encouragement as they passed. Then I got across the beach and was met by the first wave of my cheering section; my mom and her friend Roni. I ran from that point on until I crossed the finish line where Sara, her mom Janet, Lewis, my friend Meaghan and her husband Chris were all waiting for and cheering me on.

Run 5k: 45:38

I was so excited to have crossed that finish line and get my medal! I couldn't believe I had done it! I was greeted by everyone with congratulatory hugs and great jobs. I am pretty sure at some point I started crying but there is no evidence of that! 

 You gotta love their signs too! Sara's was three in one mainly reminding me that I wasn't done yet, until I was actually almost done, HA.

Then my friend Elizabeth found me so of course we had to take a picture together as triathletes with our medals.

After all was done I went over to check my official time and rank. 
I had to take a picture of my posted time with my watch because my official time was exactly (down to the second) the same as my Garmin time which had NEVER happened before, it is always off by seconds or minutes.

Final time: 1:56:47

I am so excited that I was able to complete the triathlon 13:13 faster than my goal! 

There are so many people and organizations that I need to thank I am not even sure where to start. I guess first would be Sara for her constant confidence in me and for pushing me to even do this. Then would be my husband for his constant love and supporting all my training and aspirations! My mom of course for her belief in me and her support. And many other family and friends who were always behind me 100%.

I have to send a huge thank you LIVESTRONG! Their program Cancer Transitions: Moving Beyond Treatment was what started it all. I learned everything I needed to know to start a healthy me and deal with everything that came after having cancer the "new normal". I was then able to continue that with their LIVESTRONG at the Y program! I support LIVESTRONG 100% and would be happy to help any way I can with any cancer survivor find LIVESTRONG programs near them.

In conjunction to LIVESTRONG I want to thank everyone at the Greendale YMCA who ran my LIVESTRONG at the Y program. You are phenomenal and gave / continue to give me great support. Special thanks to Jenn and Walter for everything during the program and beyond. And Walter for taking the time to check over my inept mountain bike and getting me new tires. Even though I ended up not using it in the race it helped me to train, so I truly appreciate it!

I would like to thank First Descents. I only just learned about this amazing organization this summer but the week I spent white water kayaking changed my out look on life. I realized there was so much I thought I couldn't do and it was because I never tried. I wish every young adult cancer survivor could experience this! I would also like to give a quick Thank you to Brad Reiss and his family for being my largest donor for my team FD fundraising. Your support is phenomenal! I would have sported some Team FD gear as well but I don't have any yet. But when I do you better believe I will be showing it off!

I would also like to thank the AKP foundation. I was able to go on a biking retreat with them in mid august and although it was challenging it also showed me that I had made lots of progress in my cycling abilities. It gave me renewed confidence that I would be able to bike the triathlon after having spent that weekend in Vermont! I have also been approved for a grant to help with a new bike. I am so excited and just goes to show that the future will hold even more unexpected. Thank you again for everything!

and of course I need to thank Max performance, the race directors and volunteers were all absolutely amazing! Everyone was overly helpful, everything was organized to the T. All the course were laid out with volunteers at every turn as well as police to help with high traffic areas. I felt safe the whole time and knew that there was relatively no chance I was going to get lost, miss a turn or veer off course at any point it was phenomenal! So a special thanks to all those involved!

Now who wants to do it with me next year? :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August Foodie Penpal Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean

Oh where to even begin! My Foodie Penpal this month was Emilie from Scarborough Food Fair. I was overly excited before my package even arrived when I found out the Emilie was actually living in Boston which is basically my neighbor! But she is originally from Missouri which I think is fantastic! Then my foodie package arrived and I really can't thank Emilie enough. Everything was exactly what I told her I liked and didn't like she took very good care of me. And of course thanks to Lindsay over at the lean green bean for creating and sustaining such a fantastic program!

So now on to the fun part revealing all my delicous goodies!
 One of the best things about the package was that Emilie not only sent me a little note but she included a note on everything she sent me! The first thing that I pulled out of the box was...
Kale chips! Not just any kale chips but ranch flavored too. I must say that this was a first for me I have never had kale chips so I of course had to open them immediately and try them. I am not a big fan of ranch in general but these were tasty. The down side was that my husband ended up stealing the bag and finishing them all up on me so I guess you could say he liked them too.

Next out came...
mango chips! Now don;t be fooled these are not what you would normally think of mango chips instead of being sweet they are more savory. I actually dove into these while watching TV that night they were yummy and a lot healthier than a normal couch snack.

I of course had to get into...
these cookies next. They were exactly what I love whole grain, dried fruit and sweet! Although I prefer soft cookies and these were crunchy the taste was still amazing. I had to make sure I put them right into the cookie jar so I didn't just sit and eat them all!

The next thing was something that I couldn't wait to try because it combined two of my favorite things, chocolate and banana!

I saved this little jem for a few days later as a pick me up right before a workout. It went beyond on my expectations, not only was it delicious but it gave me enough energy to do a swim and bike workout! YUM!

I had told Emilie how much I love chocolate but that I was also trying to stay on the healthy side. She found this...
it was great to fulfill that chocolate craving while it only being 100 calories. This was a fantastic treat!

I loved that Emilie sent me a few things that were not food related. One of them was a lip balm!
I was a little nervous that it was a smoked salt lip balm but it is actually wonderful. I carry it in my purse with me all the time now!

The other thing she sent me was a copy of her boyfriends CD.
Although I am not a huge fan of folk music the very next day on my way to work I popped the CD in the car and listened all way there and then on the way home as well. There were some things I liked so it was nice to be exposed to something new!

 I have to admit that I saved the best for last. I am a big fan of nut butters! and Emilie took a look at my blog and previous foodie penpal reveal posts and noticed that I liked Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter. So she sent me a challenge!
She sent me some of Justin's but also the Peanut Butter Co.'s dark chocolate dreams peanut butter. She asked me to see which one I liked better. I couldn't wait to try it. I like to have a whole wheat deli thin with peanut butter and banana for breakfast in the morning so I put them to the test. I put justin's on one half and peanut butter co. on the other. I am pleased to announce that the peanut butter co. won! I think it because I just LOVE peanut butter and adding chocolate to it just made it better.

Thanks Emilie for this great challenge as well as this fantastic package I couldn't have been happier!

Now on to how you all can become involved with the Foodie Penpals.  

In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for August, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!

*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I'll see if we get enough interest this month!