New Structure for the Blog!

Okay, so since I’m writing for both this blog and Project Neon, I decided I needed some structure for KatieHartMorse just like I do for Project Neon. :)

So…here’s what you can expect weekly…

Monday – Past Week Training Recap

Tuesday – Triathlon/Fitness Tips

Wednesday – Fuel – what I ate the past week

Thursday – Motivation – quotes, pics, music, etc. that pump me up, and hopefully you too! :)

Friday – Triathlon/Training/Fitness Favorites

Saturday/Sunday – race reports, family, fun, stuff about me!

With that here’s my recap of this past week’s training…

This week was the 2nd week out from Oceanside 70.3. I was feeling good. My energy was back, but still I have this daunting feeling that Ironman training is just around the corner, in fact two weeks from today, and so I wanted to make sure that I enjoy all that life has to offer that does not include structured Ironman training.

Monday – Swam for 35min – about 2000yds and hopped out. It was perfect. And then I did 1hr of strength. I have been doing a lot more strength lately, trying to do it 3x a week, because I like it, I like the way I feel, the way I look, etc. And it really does improve my training and keeps me injury free. So, I’m making it a mission to try to do it 3x a week.

Tuesday – I went for a 40min easy run, and then met up with my good friend Anabel, who just did IMCabo, and is doing IM Whistler with me and bunch of other girls! I love having this extra time to see friends who don’t live in SD.

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Wednesday – I swam for 40min – 2300yds, 1hr strength, and 2hrs hiking at Torrey Pines with my good friend, Cat! I loved catching up with her, and she’s helping me work on a logo for Project Neon! She’s amazing. If you haven’t already, you should check out her company Lucki Lime – it has all your fun run essentials. And then I met up with my friend Nicole for dinner. BUSY DAY!

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Thursday – I needed to recharge the batteries a bit, so I just went for a 35min run, and caught up on life.

Friday – My friend Jocelyn came into town. I did a 1hr bike trainer workout, and 1hr of strength, and then we went and hiked Torrey Pines for 2hrs! I LOVE Torrey, and I love taking friends who have never been there. It is the best for talking and catching up. We then went out to dinner and ended up meeting up with some friends. Perfect Friday.

Saturday – I did a bike trainer workout for 2hrs, caught up on some t.v watching…I seriously love Trophy Wife. Anyone else? And then chilled for the most part, caught up on blog reading, and did some work. Good solid, Saturday.

Sunday – I swam for 45min – 2600yds and ran 8 miles with Joce. We then grabbed sushi and some froyo to close out her last night in San Diego.

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It was a solid week – total active time – 13:30 hrs

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

It was a spectacular morning to race! When I woke up at 4:30am, had my banana with (Wild Squirrel) peanut butter, hopped in the shower (pre-race tradition), did my double french braids (pre-race tradition), I felt good, and yet honestly my legs didn’t feel as fresh as I wanted them to. I headed down to the race start, and it was cold, as usual, but I knew it was going to warm up and be a sunny day. There was little, to no wind, when the pro’s started the race, but by the time my wave started, the wind had picked up quite a bit.

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Transition closed at 6:30am, but my wave, 30-34, didn’t start until 7:30am. So, I stayed bundled up as long as possible, ate a Harmony Bar, then shoved everything into my “morning clothes bag” and hopped into my wetsuit, and shuffled over to the start. I say shuffled, because there is only carpet down for when you exit the water, not for entering, so we were all walking barefoot on the ground, which wasn’t nicely paved. #ouch

Tip: Wear cheap flip flops that you can just leave before entering the water for the start. It seriously is worth it.

I saw my friend, Courtney, right before the swim start, and we were excited to start the race together.

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Before I start the real report of this race, I want to preface my swim recap with the night before, I was telling my roommates, Keith and Jake (who were also racing), about how I ALWAYS buy a new pair of goggles before races. I learned this tip from reading a few pros blogs when I first started racing 5yrs ago, and it honestly was the best tip I ever received. Yet, for some reason, since I was taking this race a little lighter, I suppose, I kind of thought, “well my goggles worked on Wednesday, so I’m sure they’ll work just fine on race day”. So…here’s my race recap…

Swim: 37:47 – 1:47/100yd – 27th AG (30-34)

As I was swimming out to the swim start, which is an “in-water” swim start, my goggles kept filling up with water. I spit in them, rinsed, splashed my face, and put them back on. This usually does the trick at the pool, but this time, well, the gun went off, and they filled up again. Dang it! I stopped. Treaded water. And repeated that process, spit, rinse, splash face. Started swimming again, not too bad, not too bad, dang it, they are leaking….okay, just keep swimming, maybe it won’t fill up all the way, nope, stop tread water, repeat process, try again, I did that one other time, and then said to myself, “if you keep this up you are going to be out here for an hour, so suck it up and swim with salt water filled goggles” and so I did. After .2 miles of frustration, I swam 1 mile just dealing with burning eyes. It happens. Besides that, the swim was good, little to no chop, and I LOVE cold water swims as I’ve mentioned before, so the temperature was perfect. The problem is the water temp is warmer than the air temp at that time of day, so I was nervous for the freezing feeling I was going to have when I got out. So, my swim time, is what it is. And it was time to hop on the bike!

Tip: Always buy a NEW pair of goggles before a race :) No leaking, no fogging, and a happy swim!

T1: 4:19

There’s a fairly long run out of the water and to your bike, and there are no wetsuit strippers, so it’s definitely not the fastest T1, but I don’t think I lost too much time in transition. And you have to put your wetsuit and goggles into your “blue bag” so that you can receive it at the end of the race, since there are two different transition locations.

Bike: 3:16:50 – 17.1 mph – 36th AG (30-34)

Thank you Jaime Berry for capturing this pic of me on the bike! :)

Thank you Jaime Berry for capturing this pic of me on the bike! :)

When I got on the bike, I couldn’t feel my legs or my feet. I was frozen. I thought to myself, just pedal somewhat easy for the first bit, and let your body warm up, and then get after it. Well, 30min in, I still wasn’t warm. 1hr in, I still couldn’t feel my feet, and my legs felt like bricks. They were soooo stiff, it was as if I had just gotten out of an ice bath. I would stand up, every once in awhile, to try to get the blood moving more, but nothing was working. I seriously didn’t warm up until 2hrs in, and by that point, it was too late. My feet were still pretty cold, but at least they weren’t numb, and my legs felt better, but still felt pretty stiff. I just couldn’t get moving. On top of that, there were some pretty good cross-winds and headwinds during the race, and sadly never any tailwinds really. It was a SLOW day on the bike, apparently for most people. I just couldn’t believe it was this slow for me. Last time I did this race, I biked a 2:51, and this time, that would have been up there with some of the fastest times in the 30-34 age group, which was incredibly surprising. Overall though, the energy and positivity on the bike course was awesome! Everyone was so smiley and happy, and it really helped me to let go of how I was feeling, and just enjoy that I am able to do this! And I was having fun! :) I definitely would wear leg warmers and toe booties next time. My upper body felt pretty ok, manageable, but legs were dead. So, I focused on nutrition, and just getting to T2 to start the run!

Nutrition: 1 bottle of Osmo Active Hydration, 1 bottle of water, 1 Harmony Bar

Tip: Wear leg warmers, toe booties, and even arm warmers at the start of the race, and even a bike jersey if you would like. It doesn’t warm up too much, that you would regret having them on. 

T2: 1:26

This was a quick, take off helmet, rack bike, and throw on run shoes, and grab nutrition. And off I went!

Run: 1:52:59 – 8:37min/mile – 29th AG (30-34)

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I really just wanted to have a good run. I had gotten really slow over the last year, and I have been focusing on getting back to where I used to be. My goal was to run 8:30′s, and I did just that. My Garmin read that I ran 8:24min/miles and the run course showed to be a little long, so as far as personally being able to compare it to my run training this was important for me to see. I nailed the run for where I’m at right now. I hit my goal, and now it’s time to push even more, and take it up another notch. Since, Boise 70.3 I had been running 9:30′s and slower, and I kind of got stuck in this IM pace for ALL races. So, I’m working on getting all my different paces back for different distances. I need more than just one gear, and this was the start, at least for running. Biking and swimming, I’m working on too, just couldn’t seem to make it happen on this day. No big deal though, since running has been the focus lately. It’s what makes me happiest, and makes me feel the best. I seriously had a blast on the run! And am sooooo thankful my legs showed up after having a tough bike. Thank you legs! :) It also helped to have TONS of friends out on course cheering, whether they were also racing or on the sidelines. The energy that I got from you all was incredible. The positivity and excitement kept me going every mile of the run. Thank you all!

Nutrition: 1 bag of PowerBar Gel Blasts – Strawberry Banana, water, and 3 aid stations worth of coke in the last 5k.

Tip: Feed off the energy of all the people on this course! The aid stations, volunteers, and spectators keep you pumped up!

Total Time: 5:53:21 – 29th AG (30-34)

A big thank you to Mick, Cat, Sonja, and Jaime for the photos!!! And of course the cheers too! You all seriously helped me power through that run. I can’t express my gratitude enough. :) Congrats to everyone who raced on Saturday, and especially to my fellow Coeur Sports teammates. You all rocked, and I loved the energy and support out on the course. You all are amazing. :)

Definitely not my fastest day, but I had soooo much fun, and that’s what this is all about. I do this because I LOVE it. I love the challenge, I love the community, I love staying fit, and I love having fun. I look forward to continuing to improve and enjoy the fun, active, healthy lifestyle that this sport brings to my life. :)

Thank you to Coeur Sports, Osmo Nutrition, Wild Friends, and Oakley for their amazing support! Couldn’t do it without you all!

Cheers to high fives and two thumbs up for a great day of racing at Oceanside 70.3! :)

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High fives for Sonja!

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Two thumbs up for Cat and Mick!

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Cat, rocking her Lucki Lime tutu, cheering, and taking photos at the same time! #badass

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Cat’s husband Mick, rockstar supporter and photo taker! :)

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Until next time! Next up unofficially is St. George 70.3 in May and officially is Ironman Whistler end of July, but will hopefully throw in a few other races before IM Whistler too. :)

My First Ever Fun Run

My running journey started, when I finished up my last season as a college soccer player at DePauw University. It was second semester senior year, and I needed a goal to work towards, so I decided to sign up for a marathon. Yup, not a 5k, 10k, half marathon, etc. a full marathon, with no endurance running knowledge at all. So, I followed one of Hal Hilgdon’s free training place online (the novice version), and did the best I could, while also partying my brains out second semester senior year of college.

After graduating college, and after completing my first ever marathon, I really enjoyed all that running had to offer. It kept me fit, it made me feel better, I felt free, happy, and just gave me an extra zest for life. So, I then had a desire to work on my speed, after I had covered a long distance. I started signing up for 5ks and 10ks, but I never actually ran for “fun”. I always had a goal in mind, whether I was competing for a new PR, or training for a longer distance race a few months later.

This past, Saturday, I dressed up in full blown tutu outfits by Lucki Lime. If you have never run in a tutu, or a “fun run” outfit, this company is your go-to place to get your race day outfits. I’m seriously obsessed, and have plans to dress up in another outfit in the near future.

I get to the race, all dressed up in my fun run outfit, and I’m telling you I seriously had more fun, than I have ever had at a race. Letting go of any desire to actually race, and just having fun running and chatting, and sharing in the camaraderie that the day brought.

All dressed up and ready to run!

All dressed up and ready to run!

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With my friend and the founder of Lucki Lime, Cat, before the start of the race.

As the race got started, and we started running, I enjoyed the light-heartedness all around me. There were beginner runners everywhere, and it was inspiring. I remember lining up for my first race (St. Louis Marathon), and I seriously started tearing up. I was full of so much pride not just from my own training, but I was proud of everyone else who stood there with me. We were in this together. Today, was no different. I was so proud of everyone who came out to have fun and run! Enjoy all that comes with running. :)

Here are some photos as we ran along. Honestly, I have never done a race while carrying my phone, but I had a blast. I loved being able to take photos at the beginning, middle, and end, and instantly share them with friends and family by texting them, or on instagram, twitter, and facebook.

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Cat and I finishing!

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Running around Fiesta Island.

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Just chugging along, smiling, chatting, and HAPPY! :)

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Soooo happy! I’m not gonna lie, I felt pretty darn cute too in my tutu. :)

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how awesome are these socks? “Kick butt”

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Cat having a blast!

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With our Pot o’ Gold medals.

As, most of you know, this year, I have had a lot of learnings, and how I really want training/racing/triathlon/running to be all about fun. I do love to race, but I also LOVE having days like these. It is the perfect balance that gives me that fee. I want to be doing this because I love it, and I think it’s fun, and these are the moments, the days, where it gives me just the right balance that I need.

Check out Lucki Lime for your next fun run outfit!

A Balancing Act

Life this past week was a balancing act. A balance between doing what I should be doing, and doing what I want to be doing. But, truly, why can’t they be the same thing? Shouldn’t we be doing what we want to be doing? If you ask me, the answer is an obvious….YES!

So, I did do, what I wanted to be doing, because it is what I should be doing. :)

The beginning of the week started with some rest, because I was fighting a cold. Then, I hit my workouts hard. Then rested again, because my workouts wore me out. Then my best friend from college came to visit, and I spent every moment, focusing on spending time with her, catching up, and making memories.

I started out by letting my inner child out…

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I jumped off rocks for fun!

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Woohoo!

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There were lots of smiles :)

I got my butt kicked by a Sandstorm

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But at least I looked cute in my Coeur Team Kit and my Oakley Women’s Immerse sunglasses. :)

I got brunch with one of my old personal training clients from Chicago! I hadn’t seen Nikolina in 2 years, and it was sooooo much fun to catch up. Next time stay longer :)

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Nikolina and I at Honey’s, one of my fave brunch places.

Then Betsy came to town!!!!

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We started off with a lagoon loop run! Obviously :)

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Life really is a balancing act.

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Post run on the beach

We then hit up my absolute favorite café in all of San Diego….The Naked Café. Betsy and I ate brunch here 7 years ago, when we went on a 6 week road trip all around the U.S.

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We love this place!

We then made our way to Torrey Pines for some hiking!

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Besties <3

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Play time in the water!

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One of the best views in all of San Diego.

It was then girl’s night out. We met up with my friend Jené and Kelly at Bier Garden for some beers and dinner. And I got to wear out one of my new favorite StitchFix items, this tank. <3

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Ignore the evil eyes

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Always acting goofy

Since, Betsy is a foodie, it was time to introduce her to the famous Acai Bowl. So, brunch outside at Swami’s it was.

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One of the best meals, San Diego has to offer. Refreshing, filling, and delicious!

The last time I went perusing local shops was…????? It was so nice to just window shop, and/or purchase a few fun things. So, we strolled and just enjoyed some time post-brunch looking in stores.

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I bought this cute frame for my room. So…true!

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I love this!

And then after some fun strolling…we hit up the beach. Again, last time I just laid out and enjoyed the sun was in the BVI…it was time to do it at home! Enjoy all that San Diego has to offer!

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I love the beach!

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Jené joined us, and of course, we had to take the GoPro out for some action shots!

After a day in the sun, it was time to show Betsy our famous San Diegan sunsets, and of course celebrate with a little red wine. :)

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Sunset and wine. Yes please.

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Oh…forgot to mention….Miss Seal…she washed up on shore to do some Molting…which is shedding….and because of the latest storm, she somehow ended up being separated from her fellow seals, as they usually all molt together. Poor Seal. :(

Sunday morning, we went to brunch at Honey’s, and I indulged in an artichoke, chicken sausage omelette. YUM!

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Tasty!

After dropping Betsy off at the airport, I headed back to the beach, to top off the weekend of some fun in the sun! I couldn’t resist. Training was just going to have to wait til Monday.

 

 

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Although, I did get some beach running in, just a tad. :)

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In love with my new reversible bikini by Maaji Swimwear.

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My favorite purchases from the weekend.

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Last night’s sunset, reminded me of how in love with life I am.

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And this morning’s quote….was a great way to kick off this week!

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Cheers to last week, The Balancing Act. Ready to put in a hard week of training to continue my prep for Oceanside 70.3! Hope everyone had a great week!

What It Takes To Be Happy

I was at Book Club last Wednesday night, and somehow we got on the topic of happiness. My friend, Jill, started referring to a documentary “Happy” and I instantly was intrigued. She said it was on Netflix, and so a couple days later, I crawled in bed, and started watching it. What drew me lately to learning about “happiness” and “what makes people happy” is that I’ve gone through some adversities in life, like we all have, and yet I still ultimately feel happy, even if circumstances made me sad for a short period of time. But I became curious as to what the foundation was to living a happy life.

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After watching “Happy”, I started talking to everyone I know about the documentary, and how they have to watch it. It’s fascinating. And so late night, after the Super Bowl, a few of my friends stayed and watched it again with me. Then my friend Kelly, who I went on a long bike ride with this past weekend, she sent me the following Ted Talk, which is also about happiness:

According to recent research, 50% of our happiness is genetic. 40% is based on the bullet points below, and 10% is based on the superficial things like status, and appearance, wealth, etc. When watching this documentary last night, we were all slightly shocked by the 50% genetic part, but yet partly it made a lot of sense. What was interesting then was what was the 40% that could help us all improve our happiness.

The 40%…

1. Do physical Activity

- For some this was simply farming, doing Tai Chi, or yoga, and others it was running, surfing, rock climbing etc. But be active.

2. Flow

- This is when people “get into the zone”. This is usually while people are doing physical activity, but could be as simple as cooking in the kitchen, or cleaning the house, while others it might be during a long ride.

3. Adversity

- We all must face challenges and low points in order to appreciate happiness, and feel true happiness.

4. Basic Needs

- Ultimately what they found is once basic needs are met, no amount of money can make you any happier. So, if your homeless or in a destitute situation, or you don’t know when you are going to get your next meal, and money can give you out of it, then money does make you happy. But once your basic needs are met, then money can’t buy you any more happiness. They found that that was a salary of $50,000 (for U.S citizens) a few years ago, when the documentary and study was done. Recently there was an article published that states the current salary is $62,000.

5. Personal Growth

- When we work on ourselves, and set goals, this makes us happy. Also, seeking new experiences is critical to happiness.

6. Community

- This one was huge and often touched on in all other aspects of happiness. One must have a solid community/support network. It is sooo important to cultivate our relationships, laugh with one another, cooperate with one another, etc. Humans are social beings, and they found that when a group of people are put together and they have the choice to compete or cooperate, everyone ultimately chooses to cooperate and work together, and this makes people happy.

7. Compassion

- When we are compassionate to others, as well as giving, and we offer our help, this makes people happy.

Sam Berns’ Philosophy to living a happy life :

1. Be OK with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much that you CAN do.

2. Surround yourself with people who you want to be around

3. Keep moving forward

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This ultimately got me thinking about my own life, and how to live the happiest life that I can. I’m generally a VERY happy person. But, when I go through bumps in the road…what CAN I do to sustain a happy life vs. focusing on the negative. It’s also important to have things to look forward to, like a trip, or a party, or a sporting event. And when adversity hits – learning to accept those things that we cannot change. Also, some wise advice was passed onto me recently which was “when things are bad, don’t be preoccupied, be occupied”. It’s sooo true. I’m happier when I’m focusing on all of the things above, and filling my days with social gatherings, and physical activity, and helping others.

And truly all I want in life is for others to be happy, which is ultimately, why I want to learn so much about what makes people happy, because hopefully in someway I can help others be happy. :)

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In Need of a Change

After playing college soccer, and running four marathons (St. Louis 2x, Chicago, and Boston), I was instantly drawn toward Ironman. It started off as a “bucket list” item, but I ended up falling in love with the lifestyle, the challenges, etc. Yet, somehow I have fallen into the habit of only thinking of myself as an Ironman athlete, not necessarily a “triathlete”. After the LONGEST season ever last year, and doing two ironmans within two months, with a bad crash in between, I took a much needed 6 week break. Some days not being active at all, and some days mountain biking for 2hrs, or going for a run. After my break, and when training was about to start again, I realized that I’m just not ready for the LONG hours. But I definitely don’t want to do absolutely nothing. Am I signed up to do Oceanside 70.3? Yes. Am I signed up to do Ironman Canada in Whistler at the end of July? Yes. BUT. Honestly, what I want to focus on is short course right now. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of my speed, and right now the idea of sitting on my bike for 5-6hrs does not sound exciting, like at all.

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Am I burnt out from triathlon? No. Not at all. Am I ready for a change? Yes! It’s funny how sometimes we just have to change the way we look at something. I like having different focuses, and changing things up. I get bored, if I’m not changing, and honestly, right now, all I really want to do is speed stuff, and short stuff. It seems fun, and challenging in a different way. I like the way my muscles feel after an intense short workout. They are sore. Like actually sore. Not tired and fatigued. But, I mean truly sore. It’s a fun and different feeling, than what I’ve been used to the past three years.

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Ultimately, this is life, and we should LOVE what we are doing, every day. Yes, are there sometimes things we don’t want to do, but do them anyway? Of course. But seriously, if I don’t feel like riding my bike all day, then I’m not going to. Triathlon is a choice, and it should be fun! I want to keep it that way. I got started in it because I liked the challenge, and it was really fun to see my improvements each week. And I want to keep seeing improvements, but I don’t just want to see improvements with my ironman time. I want to see it with sprint, and olympic, and also, 10ks and half marathons. After Ironman Whistler, I plan on spending the second half of the year, having a little more play time, and doing a run focus. This is where my passion lies. I truly love to run, and I want to get fast. But most importantly, I’m over long stuff right now. It took me a while to accept it. I thought I just needed time, and I think I do. I’m sure I will do an Ironman again (I mean I have one in July), but for me, I think it might be an every other year kind of thing, after Whistler. And in between, focus on shorter stuff and speed. It gives me time to do other things as well. I’ve been hiking Torrey Pines, which usually I’m too tired to do. And going to the beach. And I want to mountain bike more, and go to yoga classes, and have time to drink wine with friends, and go out dancing, and not be too tired. I’ve written about balance before, and this is my balance. Sometimes focusing on one thing, and sometimes focusing on another.

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I honestly have soooo much respect for those people who do multiple ironmans every single year, year after year. It takes a special kind of person to do that. For me, I just like having flexibility and structure, all at once, ha! I’m constantly conflicted, and constantly changing my mind about flexibility and structure. Sometimes I want it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I want to do short stuff, sometimes I want to do long.

So, what am I trying to say? Do what makes you happy. And that can change from time to time, and that’s OK. :)

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Quote by Marissa Mayer

Ahoy Matey!

After two awesome weeks at my new job as a social media project manager at Internet Marketing Inc., I took off to Wisconsin for Christmas to hang with the fam. There was cooking decorating, and hanging by the fire, but most of all there was London my 18 month old niece. She is obsessed with Snowmen, and everywhere there was one, she would go up to it and say “snowman”. And then one time one of her parents asked her, “What does a snowman say?” And she said “ho ho ho”. We all thought it was the cutest thing ever. Every once in awhile, she would also respond with “Jingle Bells”. She’s smart and at 18 months knows nearly 100 words or more. Of course, since London loves snowmen, we had to make one with the massive snowfall we had!

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The neighbor girls came over and helped us, because my sister and I had kind of forgotten how to make big snowballs. ;)

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We went to the Pfister for lovely pre-dinner rendezvous.

Then the BIG Christmas present for us kids was Packer Game tickets from my dad. We LOVE the Packers, and we were soooo stoked to be going to the game vs. the Steelers. And Lambeau didn’t disappoint with the cold weather and a snowstorm during the game. It was perfect! Unfortunately we lost, but we had a blast.

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After a week in the frozen tundra, it was then off on the trip of a lifetime to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday! My dad LOVES to sail. He’s been sailing almost once a year for the past 10yrs, and he usually goes sailing in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). He took us as a family back in 2010, and well we wanted to do something special for him for his 60th. So, it was our turn to take him! This time we had a baby on board, which we all knew might be a little interesting, but London turned out to do perfect. She slept soundly. Didn’t get sick. And was a delight.

We flew in to St. Thomas, hopped on a ferry to take us to Road Town, Tortola. Got our sailboat ready with our captain, Harry, and his wife Finnola. They are good friends of ours, so it’s fun to have them on board, and well we kind of need them. Harry, obviously, captains the boat, and Finn, well she does all the cooking when we aren’t eating out! They are an amazing team. The best part, they LOVE to laugh, and have lots of good stories. From Road Town, Tortola, we headed to snorkel at the Indians, and then we spent our first night at Pirate’s Bight.

Trip looked like this – Road Town –> Indians –> Pirate’s Bight –> Soper’s Hole –> Jost Van Dyke – Soggy Dollar and Foxy’s –> Marina Cay –> Leverick Bay –> Cooper Island –> Road Town

We spent New Year’s at Foxy’s which is known as a hot spot for NYE around the world! Beyond that, there was an amazing surprise in store as well (at least for my brother). My brother is a HUGE fan of Bob Marley and the Wailers. I remember also listening to the album “legend” for the first time, and also thinking how amazing their music was. But, my brother is like an ultimate fan. So, as my dad and him are in line to find out about tickets for the NYE dinner Foxy’s puts on, my brother sees a poster saying concert tonight “featuring Bunny Wailer” – my brother’s mind exploded. I mean, he was practically in shock. Bunny hadn’t performed in at least a decade, and my brother was going to be able to see him perform! So, of course, we bought four tickets to the concert for my brother, his wife, my sister, and myself. The older folk were on babysitting duty. It really was a night of a lifetime, and one I’ll never forget, simply because my brother was on top of the world.

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My sister and I LOVED snorkeling!

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My brother and I hanging out on the sailboat.

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Swimming in the ocean blue.

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Family night out on NYE at Foxy’s!

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About to go hike in my bikini and run shoes! <3

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London and I playing in the water

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My brother playing with London <3

After two weeks of fam time, it was back to San Diego, and back to my new job! Sadly two days in, I came down with the flu :( And have been bed ridden since Wednesday. Almost on the mend though, and then going to ease back into training.

I did workout while I was home in Wisconsin, and swam a bit in the BVI. But, no real training since Ironman Arizona. To be honest, it’s been a nice break. I really put in A LOT of effort last year, and it paid off. I’ve started a new job this year, and I LOVE it, and that will be a big priority for me in 2014. I have thought a lot about my goals this year, now that I’m going into the 30-34 age group, as well as, the fact that I have a new job, and there’s a pretty rad guy that I care about, who lives in another country. So my goals this year are as follows:

1. HAVE FUN!

2. Improve – compete against myself – every race is different, conditions are different etc. so as long as I’m seeing improvement in training, I’m okay with that.

3. HAVE BALANCE – I LOVE triathlon, and I want to keep it that way, so if that means occasionally giving up a swim/bike/run to go to yoga or go hiking or mountain bike or travel, then I want to feel good about that. I want time to read, and go to the movies, and go shopping, or go out to brunch, etc. I NEED it. Sometimes, I like going so hard, I’m exhausted, and other times, I just want to do what I feel like. So…

Cheers to 2014!

Dominican Republic Trip 2 and First Week of Work

When my boss emailed to tell me that she had to push my start date back one week, my head immediately went to…go visit Arturo in the Dominican Republic again! And so I did :) He had to work a lot at the bike shop, as it’s the busiest time of the year though, but we had fun mountain biking on the weekends, and he was prepping to do his first triathlon, so we did some swimming and biking. No running, because he’s dealing with IT Band Syndrome unfortunately :( I taught him how to do flip turns in the pool, which was fun! Most of all it was nice just spending time with him. Going out to eat, watching movies, and just chatting. It was the perfect way to finish out my two month break from being employed.

There were mountain biking excursions…

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Stopping to pet the horses!

Tree climbing!

Tree climbing!

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As the sun was setting…

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Beautiful!

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Post ride hang out!

There was new food trying…

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Trying the tail of a fish…it actually tasted like a cracker. It was good.

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Trying Chivo…which is like a goat.

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Fish! I’ve seen fish served as a whole, but never tried it myself.

There was baseball game watching…GO AGUILAS!

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There was Christmas tree viewing…

The Coca-Cola Christmas Tree.

The Coca-Cola Christmas Tree.

Dog cuddling…

Luna is Arturo's puppy. She is sooo sweet. Love her!

Luna is Arturo’s puppy. She is sooo sweet. Love her!

Mosquito catching…

Mosquito hunting

Mosquito hunting

And dancing!…

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Fun night out trying to dance salsa, merengue, bachata, etc.

I got in late Sunday night after nearly 15hrs of travel, mostly due to delayed flights and such, almost missed my last plane back to SD from Atlanta, but I was soooo lucky, and there were too many people missing from the flight that they held it. A-mazing! I started my new job at Internet Marketing Inc. this past week. I am a social media project manager. I’m super stoked about my position. I’m finally doing something that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE! And, my team is amazing, full of smart and talented women, who are positive, energetic, hard working, fun, the list could go on. BUT, immediately what I thought of after this first week, was how am I going to get my workouts in! I have had Holiday Parties, and friend get togethers, and tons of errands to run, that finding time to work out was HARD! Thank goodness I’m starting this job in my off-season, so that I can get accustomed to everything, and just focus on work.

My boss, Carrie, had a team holiday get together at her house on Wednesday. It was nice to get to know the girl’s better, and just chat outside of work.

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Holiday dinner at my boss, Carrie's house, with the social media team!

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Playing It Safe

What’s the craziest adventure you’ve ever been on? Or the craziest thing you have ever done? Really sit and think about it. I love to live life to the fullest, but then there is a part of me that is realistic, that thinks about the consequences, or the future, which makes it difficult sometimes to live in the moment.

I remember in college, when all my friends were applying to study abroad. I had chosen a major (athletic training) that if I wanted to graduate in four years, I couldn’t study abroad. Rather than go to school for 4 1/2 yrs, I gave up the chance to go study in a foreign country. Why? Because I wanted to make sure I graduated with all my friends? Because I thought it looked bad if I went to college longer than 4yrs? To this day this is my biggest regret. The opportunity to live somewhere else, and explore a different culture, learn a new language…who gives up an opportunity like that? AND it was the second time I had given up an opportunity like this. In high school, I wanted to be an AFS student and study in Argentina, but I gave that up, what for? Because I didn’t want to miss out on spending time with my boyfriend at the time, and spending time with friends, etc. Seriously? What was I so afraid of?

Often times I’m too scared to take “risks”, even though my mom in high school considered me a risk taker, because I got my belly button pierced, or because senior year of high school I went toilet papering with friends, or because I got busted for drinking. I can count on one hand, the times I drank in high school. I was terrified of getting caught.

When my friends and I were discussing where we wanted to live after college, everyone talked about moving to Chicago. In the back of my mind, I truly wanted to move to San Diego, but without knowing anyone? I couldn’t. I also, wanted to spend some more time living with my college friends and making memories before our lives eventually went in different directions. We were all single, and we knew that wouldn’t last forever. So, Chicago it was. As each friend slowly moved away, or moved on, I started to feel stuck. What I loved about Chicago was my friends, and probably the good food too. ;) But, I never felt at home there. After 26yrs of playing it safe, I finally took a risk. A BIG RISK. And it has paid off!

I’ve always been one of those people who has dreamed of just packing up my things, taking off to Europe, and backpacking around for months, getting odd jobs to make some money, and staying at hostels. But, I constantly have this internal battle of adventure and reality. I recently read the book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and again this sparked something inside me, that side of me that craves adventure. I also prefer a few close friends, than a lot of friends, and the idea of not nurturing friendships and relationships, and never truly getting to know anyone scares me. So, San Diego was my opportunity to make a change, and go on an adventure.

Since moving out here, that adventure hasn’t seemed to stop. I feel like myself out here. Like everything I say and do is okay, and no one is going to judge me for it, or ask me “why?”. Instead they are just supportive. I will always have the side of me that thinks before I act, but I find myself more and more asking why not? Instead of why? I swear time goes by faster the older we get, and therefore, it makes me want to act now and do things now more than ever. Last year, there was a lot of chatter about going to Kona, and although I probably shouldn’t have gone, due to how much it was gonna cost, instead of saying why? I said, why not? And it was one of the BEST adventures I’ve been on. Cliff jumping, watching the best Ironman athletes in the world race, acai bowls, and meeting people who I never thought I’d meet, who have ended up becoming amazing friends. Every time Oakley asks if I can go somewhere, I jump at the chance, Scottsdale? YES! Palm Springs? YES! Hawaii? YES! Half Moon Bay? YES! MotoGP in Laguna Seca? YES! Snowbird? YES! When someone asks if I can do a modeling gig? YES!  And when I meet a guy who I have a connection with, I want to pursue it, see where it goes, not shy away because I’m scared, scared of it not working out, scared of being rejected, or even scared of it actually working out.. (I’m suddenly reminding myself of the movie Yes Man…ha!) The point is I don’t want to live my life waking up every day and just worry about my triathlon training or going to a job to make money. When I look back at my life, I want to have stories to tell, and memories to see when I close my eyes. I don’t want to pass up opportunities of love, life, and laughter. I don’t want to wonder what if?

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. - Hellen Keller

I’m thankful for being surrounded by friends and family who too believe in adventure, and never playing it safe. It inspires me and drives me to keep saying yes to adventures, when the opportunity arises, because one day the adventures will stop, and I don’t ever want to ask myself again, why didn’t I do that?

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.  - Oprah

So, when the next opportunity arises, don’t ask yourself why? Ask yourself why not?

10 Days Til Ironman Wisconsin!

Only 10 more days til I’m hanging out in Lake Monona waiting for the gun to go off. I’m excited, nervous, anxious, you name it!

Jay, me, and my bro out on the town in Vancouver the night I got in.

Jay, me, and my bro out on the town in Vancouver the night I got in.

The last two weeks have been a bit hectic, yet extremely fun, and have made training exciting, yet a bit stressful to try to fit it in. I recently was in Canada for a friends wedding. Their wedding weekend just happened to fall on the weekend Ironman Canada in Whistler was happening, and they live in Whistler and were getting married there. I was super excited when I found out about this coincidence because it meant I could go spectate, and cheer on my friends Tyler, Erin, and Gina. I ended up only seeing Tyler, as it is pretty chaotic spectating an Ironman, and well I really could only spectate the start, and the transition from swim to bike. Because then I was OFF for wedding festivities.

Okay, first I have to back up. This past Friday I was headed to the airport. My friend, Chris, kindly dropped me off, and when I got there, I realized I didn’t have my passport. FUUUUUUU######%%%%%%!!!!!! Who needs a passport to go to Canada anyway, I thought. I was WRONG. Long story short, the guy at United checking me in, kindly switched my flight to a later one (for FREE), so that I could go home get my passport and come back. They wouldn’t let me on the plane without it. So…Chris came back and picked me up from the airport, I drove home, got my passport, drove back, and then Chris took me back to the airport, this time, passport in hand. I’m one VERY lucky girl. Thank you Chris, and thank you United clerk.

I got to Vancouver late that night, and headed to the hotel, dropped off my luggage, and then headed straight to the bar to meet up with my brother, sister, sister-in-law, and the man of the weekend, Jay, and a bunch of other friends. Went to bed around 2am, woke up at 7am, and headed out on a run with my brother, sister-in-law, and our friend Luke. It was BEAUTIFUL. I am obsessed with Vancouver. It is my new favorite big city. I then took the opportunity to swim in (in my opinion) the BEST pool EVER. Kits Beach Pool. It’s 137m long (not sure why this particular distance), and full of salt water. It’s A-mazing. And it’s right on the ocean, so you have quite the view as well. It’s set up just like open water swimming. There are no lanes, or lane lines, just a guideline of stay to the right of the black line. There are two black lines, and in between is a “passing zone”. It was awesome!

Kits Beach Pool.

Kits Beach Pool.

 

About to hop in!

About to hop in!

 

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Morning run in Vancouver with my sister-in-law, Tara.

 

I continued running, and my bro, sister-in-law, and our friend Luke called it quits.

I continued running, and my bro, sister-in-law, and our friend Luke called it quits. It was HUMID and I was SWEATY.

I hurried back to the hotel, packed up my things, and we headed to brunch/lunch with the whole gang, before heading to the Vancouver Whitecaps vs. L.A Galaxy soccer game. Jay, my friend getting married, is the captain for the Vancouver Whitecaps, although he is currently injured, so instead of watching him, we got to watch the game with him. After the game, we hopped a shuttle that Jay and Ashleigh had set-up for all their guests to take up to Whistler. We got to Whistler around 11pm, and my sister and I made our way to the condo we had rented for the weekend.

The March to the field.

The March to the field.

The next morning was Ironman Canada and wedding day! I woke up early around 5:30am, and went for a run down to the race start to spectate. I watched for a couple hours, and then ran back to the condo to get ready for all the wedding festivities. This wedding was UNREAL. They had gotten permission to get married in a random part of the woods along a beautiful river. They had cleared out the brush, and created benches in between the trees. It was truly spectacular. After the wedding ceremony, we got shuttled up to the Olympic Park for dinner, and then got shuttled back down to the woods for the reception. The reception was ultimately a “Club in the Woods”. Literally. They had spotlights, and a band, and two D.J’s, and the party went from 8pm until 7am the next morning. I did not make it even close to 7am. But, I was having soooo much fun, that I probably could have easily stayed up all night. But, I was responsible took some friends home, and then headed home myself.

Ironman Canada swim start. It was just an unbelievably beautiful morning and venue.

Ironman Canada swim start. It was just an unbelievably beautiful morning and venue.

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Before the wedding ceremony with my siblings.

Dinner party time at Olympic Park.

Dinner party time at Olympic Park.

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Everyone changed out of their dress clothes and into their woodsy party clothes and hit up the “Club in the Woods” party!

Pic Frame. And yes, it was cold. Maybe not cold enough to warrant ski mittens...but it was low 50's...(and if you know me...you know I LOVE any reason to wear my ski mittens ;) )

Pic Frame. And yes, it was cold. Maybe not cold enough to warrant ski mittens…but it was low 50′s…(and if you know me…you know I LOVE any reason to wear my ski mittens ;) )

I caught the bouquet!!! And then had every wedding guest at the reception pretty much ask me who the lucky guy was...I said..."Line 'em up!" ;) ha!

I caught the bouquet!!! And then had every wedding guest at the reception pretty much ask me who the lucky guy was…I said…”Line ‘em up!” ;) ha!

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Jay and Ashleigh’s first dance!

I did my long run along the Ironman Canada run course, and it was stunningly beautiful. I WILL do this race at some point. I am obsessed with Whistler. I LOVED everything about the whole weekend. It was like a dream. My sister and I took the bus back to Vancouver on Tuesday, and my flight left later Tuesday evening. I got home around 1am on Tuesday (or rather Wednesday morning).

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It was WORTH IT! I am soooo glad I did not miss out on such an amazing weekend. It was a tough call, given that it was soooo close to Ironman, but I couldn’t miss out on seeing, Jay, who is like a second brother to me, get married.

My training may not feel very structured right now, and I’m definitely trying to catch up on sleep, but now I’m focused on Ironman Wisconsin, and I’m resting, recovering, and getting in my last few workouts before race day. I leave Tuesday to head back to Wisconsin. Only a little bit longer til it’s time to put my body to the test. The work is in…it’s just time to maintain…and let my body absorb all that fitness.

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Running down the finish shoot in 2011! Looking forward to this feeling again very soon!