Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My next TNT event!

I've taken the plunge again - signed up for another Team in Training event. For those of you who don't know, Team in Training is the fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They train you for a specific event, arrange for the travel and the race fee, and throw a couple of parties in celebration of your success. In return, you fundraise a minimum amount. They obviously help you with the fundraising part as they want you to be successful.

My mom is a 12-year of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (stage 4) and I got involved with TNT in 2009 after I finished up with school and licensure. Despite many eyebrow raises and doubts of friends and family, I successfully ran a 1/2 marathon in January 2010 (Rock N Roll Phoenix.) I then got suckered into triathlons and completed my first sprint triathlon in 2010. I've been involved with TNT ever since either through mentoring or just helping out.

So, here I am in a new city and it's time to do a new event. This time I'm getting down and dirty with a mud run in Conyers, GA outside of Atlanta on March 10, 2013.

Since my 1/2 marathon, I've been slacking in the running department. So I'm getting back in the swing of things. I walked a 5K this past weekend over the bridge between South Carolina and Georgia. I've also committed myself to the Couch to 5K program and signed up for a 5K in February to run.

I still love triathlons - so don't get too worried!! The local YMCA only has a 20 yard pool so my swimming skills are getting a bit rusty. And I haven't yet found any good places to ride my bike. BUT I'm back in the gym for weight lifting and spin class. Hey, it's the off season!!

I'm home sick today, so I think I'll spend my time in between blowing my nose to find some local races to focus on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


So with my move, I've been a bit more introspective and I've been finding some pretty consistent patterns in my life:
  • I hate to be bored - both at work and at home. But at the same time, while I'm busy, I am just looking forward to the moment I can just sit in front of TV and relax. And then when I'm sitting in front of TV, I'm bored so I start knitting, writing a blog, look up the surf on Tybee Island, or find activities to do around the area. Go figure. 
  • I am a SOCIAL person. You don't become a psychologist if you don't like people. Well, there may be some psychologists out there who isn't passionate about helping people, but not this girl. I like being around people, watching people, and figuring them out. But now that I do it for work, I've found that I really struggle with finding a good social balance in my life. All my friends know, I SUCK at keeping in touch by telephone. I simply have lost the will to talk on the phone after work. And it's often a struggle to push myself to social engagements but I always enjoy it when I do push myself.
  • I continue to struggle with my weight. I've joined Weight Watchers... again. I know everything that I need to do. I'm just going to keep trying to find a way to put all of that knowledge into practice. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
  • I need to be physically active. Swimming, biking/spinning, running, dancing, Pilates, Yoga, etc... put some sneakers or googles on me and I'm a happy person. Not that I've actually been physically active since I've been here in Savannah. I also have yet to go to the local YMCA or pull out my sneakers to go walking/running on the beach. I know right? What am I waiting for? More energy. Yet I know I'll have more energy if I go work out. The cycle we can get into sometimes
  • I have bad plane luck. There is always some hickup with every flight that I take. It's inevitable and I have learned to accept it. If I'm flying to visit you, then expect me to arrive the day AFTER I get on the plane. Yeah, so this one doesn't really fit with the others. It doesn't make it less true.
  • I am a positive thinker. I typically have a smile on my face and negative people really turn me off. I don't think I realized how integral a part this is to me until I moved out here. Savannah seems to attract positivity. I think it may be the proximity to the ocean. I feel like I'm with my people!
  • I am content by myself. Thank God, because I'm spending a lot of time by myself. I decided to go to the beach this afternoon just to sit for a moment. On the way back, I stopped by a restaurant and grabbed a beer while reading a book. I've grown very comfortable with doing things and going places by myself. On the other hand, I often wonder if this is the reason why I haven't been successful in a relationship?
Sorry, no picture with today's blog. I should have grabbed a pic today watching the wind surfers play in the windy surf today. Or the beautiful sunset on the intercoastal waterway. Or the little alligators you can feed at the restaurant. Jeez, I really missed out! I'll make sure to grab some soon!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Three weeks in Savannah

I've been delaying a new blog post because I didn't think that I had any pictures to share. But my mom made a comment about how long it's been since I've made a blog post and I peeked at my phone's camera, I figured I may have some pics to share. But low and behold, I had more pics than I thought! 'Cause blogs without pics are frankly just a bit boring.

So during my first week here in Savannah, I spent the week trying to set up the apartment. But first, I spent an afternoon with my favorite beer that's not available in Kentucky:

*GASP* A beer with lunch!
I grabbed this beer at Uncle Bubba's here on Wilmington Island. Why does that name sound so familiar, you ask? Because Bubba is Paula Deen's brother. I had a lovely discussion with the waitress who informed me that I was now a "local" and am eligible for a loyalty card. And then gave me some tips on where the cool "local" spots are. I'm getting the feeling that being "local" is status around here...

After the beer and some waves (yeah, I bought myself a bogey board,) I settled in at home to do some building... building IKEA furniture!!!

Step on of the chest of drawers
And here is the final version... sorry of the lighting. I'm no professional.
The final version
By the time I got to this, I was a pro!

But don't worry, I didn't spend all my time inside. I did get to manage to get to the beach and work on my tan and my bogey boarding skills almost daily. 
Pretty lighthouse on Tybee Island
First day on the beach
Three weeks into settling into my new apartment, things are going really well. I'm heading to Charleston, SC tomorrow to complete a three day orientation for work (never mind I've been working for the same company for 6 years now.) I've already started off really well at work and enjoy a lot of the people I work with. It's a nice environment and so far I haven't identified a back-stabbing untrustworthy co-worker. But I'm keeping my eyes open.

And my parents have arrived! They've settled into Hilton Head Island. They visited yesterday and helped me put up some pictures and helped find some great accessories for the apartment. It's really beginning to feel like home now, thanks to their help!!

I promise to be a little more diligent about taking pictures and updating the blog! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Holy crap, I've moved to Savannah!

I'm one of those people where it takes a while for things to really sit in. Today, I finally completed all my IKEA projects and unpacked all my boxes. A little clean up and my apartment is finally MY apartment. It's not a partially moved in place that resembled a hotel.

But it also means that I'm finally settled in and it's finally  hitting me that I'm now living in Savannah. I was petting Turtle this afternoon, thinking that I needed to take her to the hot veterinarian and realized that I would no longer be seeing him (or the pictures of his five sons and wife) anymore.

And then I got my first "regular" Friday email from Ashley (who likely never reads this blog) updating me on all the fun that I've been missing at work and stories from Lexington.

Having unpacked and finally having a moment to breath... it means that I actually have a moment to breath and think that I've made such a huge change in my life. I'm living in a new city where I know no one. OK, that's not exactly true. I know four people, one kid, and one dog. All in my apartment complex.

So  there's really nothing I can do now but enjoy it. I have two days to relax and then on Monday I drive up to Charleston to check in at the Mother Ship. Tuesday is my first day at my new work with my new coworkers.

If you hear a little fear, sadness, and nervousness in this blog, then you're astute. I guess you can say that it's normal considering that I've up and moved myself to a new city where I know no one.

Only... my parents arrive next week! They'll be in Hilton Head for two months vacationing - planned a year before I even knew that there was a job opening here in Savannah.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Running Around Savannah

I feel like the last week has been nothing but running around - first packing everything up and moving to Savannah and the past couple days here in Savannah. I drove to Savannah on Saturday and it was a relatively easy drive. It took Zoe (dog) 2 hours to relax enough to lie down as she's just a nervous nelly. But Turtle (cat) was pretty laid back.

Sunday was one of the most boring days I have ever experienced. I headed to the beach pretty early thinking I may have some trouble finding a parking place. I bought myself a small beach chair and a bogey board. Yes, I'm 5 years old. However, I'm the 5 year-old who is enjoying herself in the ocean everyday. I'm unabashedly being a kid about this!!

After 4 hours, my skin was beginning to burn so I headed home around 1:00 pm. And I had NOTHING to do. I've read about 5 books in the past week and finished 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls. So I headed on out to beautiful downtown Savannah. It was raining a bit but still checked out a few squares and a knitting store. Then headed to another knitting store where I met my new best friends: Glenda and Linda (?) - I'm so bad with names! They were super nice and their store was perfect! I have found my knitting home!

Monday was crazy busy... the ReloCubes showed up at 9:30, the mover (note the singular despite the fact that I paid for 2) came at 10:45, the washer and dryer were delivered at 12:15 and the cable guy set up my internet and TV at 2:45. I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking. I'm pretty much done with the kitchen and living room. But I still have soooo much more to do. Thus the procrastination.

Today I felt like a chicken with my head cut off. I headed to the DMV for a new Driver's License and the tag agency for a new license plate. I found out I was missing a whole bunch of documents for the license. And that I was missing my car registration. As in, I don't have it in my car. As in, what the hell?? So I came home, printed off a form, went to the bank to have it notarized, and sent if off to the Fayette County clerk's office so that I can get that registration in the next couple of weeks. I returned to the DMV office with all my documents... only to find out that I was missing my Social Security Card. I headed to the Social Security Administration office to find that their line was even longer than the DMV. So I headed to Office Depot to see if I couldn't print off some documents to make the DMV happen. Nope, just didn't work out. And I just wasn't willing to make another trip home.

Instead, I went shopping! I got my hair cut, found a new sofa (and a new friend, Nick, who's going to get me 25% off my new sofa!), picked up some new things for my apartment, and made a new friend at the liquor store. It just so happened that he was needing a new Driver's License as well. So I whipped out my DMV requirements check list and had a little chat with him. I also got my parking pass for the beach - non-stop bathing, bogey boarding, and pestering the seagulls!!!

People in Savannah are amazingly friendly. My neighbor, Jerry, was the first to come visit. He's a veteran from the National Guard (although was active duty for 6 years.) He goes to the VA in Charleston to see his therapist. Then Peggy came to introduce herself. She's been living here for 2 years and has two happy (but sweet!) pups who had a field day barking at Zoe at 6 am. And then there's Mary who stopped me in the driveway to ask for my boxes and gave me her card. Everyone says hello when they walk by you - even in the city!!

Now I'm procrastinating by writing this blog. Tomorrow will come soon enough. DMV will be my first stop and then I'll be back to set up my new IKEA furniture and put away the rest of my things.

Thanks for reading and don't feel shy about leaving a comment!! Just saying...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Great Sendoff from Lexington

The past week has been really focused on packing up and leaving Lexington. As I write this morning, I'm sitting in a very empty office - the diplomas on the walls are gone, the books packed up, and all personal items have disappeared into moving boxes. The only thing that remains is a small rug which I'm tempted to just leave behind...

Last Friday, my co-workers took me out to my favorite Italian restaurants - Belle Notte - the site of many work-related celebrations. And it was a great dinner. Between the wonderful glasses of Chateau Saint Michelle Riesling (yummy!), the tasty cake you see below, goodbye gifts, and a wonderful presentation on how Savannah is just not as great as Lexington. It was a clever attempt at reminding me and try and convince me to stay in Lexington. It did give me some second thoughts...again...

It tasted as good as it looked!
But alas, the plans are in place and changing my mind is very difficult at this point.

Saturday was spent packing. Oh, how I hate packing. I don't mind unpacking - watching my apartment take on a personality is so much fun - but seeing all of my personal items disappear... it's just sad. My apartment is just sad. And it is amazing how many muscles that are utilized in packing that never get used otherwise. I could barely move Saturday night. I had only one night for recovery as the slushy ride was planned the next day.

Slushy Ride, you ask? As it really does deserve capitals. Yes, the Slushy Ride. It's a bike ride that starts at our coach's home and goes out to Boyd's Orchard, around a 25 mile bike ride in all. I met the Team in Training crew near my home (cutting down the mileage a little) and headed out to Boyd's where they have... wait for it... slushies!!! Their peach slushy is the best thing for recovery from the hilly ride out there.

Boyd's orchard with the TNT crew
While I was huffing and puffing my way up and down the hills of Kentucky, there was a lot of nostalgia. I was thinking about how the beauty of the countryside of Kentucky, the hills which I learned to love, and the runs that I conquered along the route. I'm really going to miss this place.

Coming to Kentucky, I was finishing up my last year of school (internship) and beginning to look forward towards my career. Now, six years later, my career is strong and going well and I have a life outside of school. I have had so much support from the wonderful people at work and the great friends I've made through Team in Training. I have grown so much.

So the next chapter of my life begins soon. My apartment will be packed into the ReloCubes this evening. Zoe (dog,) Turtle (cat,) and I will be heading down to Savannah on Saturday to move into our new apartment. I'll be 15 minutes from the beach and 15 minutes from downtown Savannah. I have a second bedroom which I hope will be well utilized by all the friends I've made in Lexington. And all you old friends... yeah, you're invited, too!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New adventure in Savannah

So my big news lately is my sudden and somewhat unexpected move to Savannah, Georgia. I've been thinking about moving for a while now. Lexington has been a somewhat temporary home. I have thoroughly enjoyed living in Lexington. It has a great atmosphere, lots to do, and I have met the most wonderful people. I have to say that I really grew both professionally and personally while in Lexington. I finished up my Ph.D., started my career, and jumped into being in charge of the internship there. All while I trained and completed my first half marathon and triathlon. Looking back, I think I will always have very fond memories of Lexington.

I feel incredibly comfortable in Lexington. I have good friends. I have a hairdresser I like, a vet I trust, a kennel my animals love, and activities that keep me busy. So, what else could I possibly want?? Lexington has never felt like home. I'm not sure Savannah will be like home, but I know that Lexington isn't. I want to push myself again and try something new in a new place. And I want to be closer to my family.

I'm currently sitting in the airport at the Lexington airport on my way to Savannah for the first time. I've never been there!! My parents have vacationed in Hilton Head and I imagine that Savannah has a similar feel. Maybe not... I'll find out soon enough!!

I'll be looking for apartments to rent. It's a new adventure and I'm pretty darn excited. It's going to be hard to leave Lexington behind but I am looking forward to something new!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Have I mentioned I hate running?

I've been a swimmer for as long as I can remember. My mom had me in the pool at the local YMCA for Mom and Tots when I was still an infant. By the time I was a teenager, I was teaching that class. I swam competitively (although I wasn't the best) until I as about 14 or 15 years old when I fell out of love with swimming. I had gained a little weight and found boys.

A few years ago, when I started with Team in Training, I fell back in love with swimming. This morning, I voluntarily jumped into the outside pool at 5:45 am and had a great workout. I had some music playing in my SwiMP3 and watched the sun come up.

I've also had a long love affair with my bike. When I was a kid, my parents allowed me a lot of freedom on my bike. I would ride my bike up and down my road and when I was older, I would ride for an hour into town and then back again. It was a small town and little traffic. So when I bought myself a nice little road bike a couple years back, it took only a few months and I was feeling pretty comfortable on my bike. Now, I look forward to getting on my bike and exploring a little bit more of the Kentucky countryside.

But running... I've never liked running. I dreaded the day in gym in high school when we had to run the mile for the Presidential something-or-other. I don't remember ever owning sneakers for running in my childhood. When I began training for 1/2 marathon 3 years ago, I thought I was crazy. My family and friends thought I was crazy. But I trained for more than 4 months, running about 3 times a week. And I grew to really enjoy it. I got into a rhythm that I enjoyed. I was (am!) slow as molasses, but I could run 6 or 7 miles without too much difficulty.

Then I developed plantar fascitis. Not only did I stop running but I also had to cut back on the biking. I made trips to the podiatrist and the physical therapist. In the end, losing weight was the trick to improving my two feet. And now I'm back in the game.

So tomorrow, I'm getting up early to hit the road at 5:00 am. Running in the morning is the easiest - it is cool and dark. I can hide my slow ass in the darkness and get lost in the songs on my iPhone. While I don't necessarily dread getting out there and running, I certainly don't look forward to it. But I wonder if half the reason is because I don't run very quickly. It's my weakest sport and I hate feeling that weak.

So, when you wake up tomorrow and get ready for work, think of me. I've taken a couple steps towards improving my run time. Maybe I'll even like running again one day. Maybe I'll even get faster!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So now what?

I'd been working pretty hard towards the Irongirl Atlanta. It's been a couple weeks now and I've spent them thinking about what to do next.

I did decide to sign up for a local triathlon in just over a week. The Markey Race for Women's Cancer - the money goes to the local Cancer Center associated with the University of Kentucky. It's a sprint race - 400m, 13 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. I've volunteered at this race for the past two years - it's time to go for it myself.

However, I haven't run since the tri almost three weeks ago. I just don't like to run. I really enjoy swimming and have really fallen in love with cycling. I was able to enjoy running while I was training for the half marathon I did a few years ago. But with plantar fascists plaguing me and my hip that always hurts after running, it hasn't been much fun.

So... my focus this summer, I think, is going to be running. Yeah, I know... I just got through telling you how much I'm not loving it right now. It's clearly my weakest sport (and the slowest.) So it really is the one that I think I should focus on. I mean, I don't need to train for another half, but maybe get my mileage up to 4 miles and really focus on brick workouts. For those of you not fluent in tri-speak, a brick is when you pair two of the tri sports back-to-back. Like swim to bike. Or bike to run. It's the latter that people really struggle with (meaning me!)

I'm following a 12-week Olympic triathlon plan starting last week. There's an option of doing three run workouts a week, so I'm going to up the running to three times a week. I'll keep the other two sports to just twice a week. I mean, I love exercising, but it's not my life... well...

Speaking of triathlon taking over people's lives - there are a group of 5 people (and I use that term loosely and you'll understand why in a moment) who completed a 27 hour triathlon. Nope, you did not read that incorrectly. And no, that's not a mistake. TWENTY SEVEN HOURS!! All in the name of bringing attention to the 27 million victims of human trafficking. I watching them finish up Sunday morning. And then they all stuck around for a couple more hours to celebrate. Amazing!!

There was an amazing table set up there from a local boutique selling free trade stuff. I think I bought half the table. And took home a gift certificate for a Road ID (I LOVE their commercials.)

Last plug for the day - take a look at this project! It's a pretty snazzy GPS system for women that's under development. I'm a backer and I won't be charged until they meet their fundraising goal. It looks like a great investment!!

I'll keep you updated on my running escapades!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Irongirl Atlanta Race

Sunday - May 20, 2012

The morning began at 4:30 am. I think I immediately turned to Andrea and asked if we really had to go through with this. The look on her face told me that there was no more sleep in my future! It didn't take long to get dressed and jump in the car. We got to the race site a few minutes after 5:00 am and it took us about 15 minutes to walk from the parking lot up the transition area.

Last year's race was a real learning experience. This year, I bought some extra clothes that I didn't mind leaving behind in order to stay warm. It was so cold last year, that the last thing that I wanted to do is spend 2 hours in the cold again. While it wasn't that cold this year, the clothes still made it more bearable.

My start time was a whole lot earlier than last year, too! The swim was started in waves based on age. It is based on the age you will be for the year. So even though technically I was still 34 years and 364 days old, I raced in the 35 to 39 age group. Which pushed me from last year's number of 1200-something to 593. Which meant a whole lot few people in front of me. Honestly, I think it really changed the way that the whole race went for me.

One of the official photos of the swim start
The swim was out and back around some buoys. My  plan from the beginning was to head out the left of the field for (hopefully) less traffic and an easier swim. It really worked out well for me. I barely had to deal with all the kicking, slapping, and drowning that typically happens at the beginning of the swim.It was the best swim I have ever experienced in a triathlon - relaxed, easy, and enjoyable!!!! Although you can't really tell from the picture, I was really pleased with the swim.

I'm in the back right corner
The transition to the bike was smooth and quick as compared to last year!

My helmet was crooked - apparently for the entire race!

The bike portion was really the focus of my race. Last year, I swam too hard and had trouble moderating my heart rate. So, I ended up walking up a hill pretty early in the bike portion (around 3.5 miles) and then again around 9 miles into the race. This year, my main focus was to RIDE up those hills. I was up the first hill that had given me trouble before I even realized that this was one of the hills!!

As always, there were some people that kept passing me and then I would pass again a few minutes later. One of those was a fellow TouchChik. She rode by and I yelled out "go Tough Chik" and paused before I yelled out "I'm one, too!" is a bit of a smaller and more pathetic voice. I must have passed her at some point because she came up beside me a few minutes later and said "You ARE a Tough Chik." I answered "No, I really am... I just didn't wear the tri top!" We chatted a bit and then all of a sudden, there it was. The second hill.

It was still a doozy. One lady couldn't clip out fast enough and tipped over to the right onto the grass. There were several moments when I didn't think I could do it. Or I would do it but cause a heart attack or stroke. I was huffing and puffing when I finally made it over that second hill. And then there were a few tears. I HAD DONE IT!!! I had a huge smile on my face for the rest of the 9 miles on the bike!!!
See... still crooked!
Next came the run. While I had been running, I had not been practicing the transition from bike to run. BIG mistake. My legs were jello and I just couldn't get them moving right. I slowed down to a walk and ended up befriending a couple of other people walk/running.

A rare good picture of me running
I ran the last mile in to the finish line and was all smiles.

I quickly met up with Andrea and then the Tough Chik I chatted with on the bike course. Her name is Charity and this was her first triathlon!

Happy Irongirls!
This year's results:

Swim 536 m (0:16:05 min) 3:03/100/m 242/53 
T1 (0:04:32 min) 
Bike 19 mi (1:15:16 min) 15.1/mph 432/85 
T2 (0:03:00 min) 
Run 3 mi (0:39:39 min) 13:13/mile 912/167 
Finish (2:18:32 min) 

Compare this to last year's results:

Swim (0:14:23 min) 

T1 (0:06:54 min) 
Bike 19 mi (1:31516 min) 

T2 (0:03:56 min) 
Run 3 mi (0:47:53 min) 

Finish (2:44:57 min) 

I believe that the swim was a bit longer this year than last year as everyone's times went up. I also really tried not to go out hard but rather use it as a warm-up and to relax.


Needless to say, I'm really happy. Super happy. So excited about doing triathlons now!!! THIS is the reason people race. I get it now!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Atlanta Weekend Recap

What a great race weekend!!!

The weekend began on Friday morning when I picked up Andrea and we racked up the bikes on the back of my car and headed out of town. We had a rough start to the drive as the bikes weren't intially very secure on the bike rack. But we fiddled around and tied a few things down and then we were back on the road.

We met up with Ann Maria in Knoxville for a quick lunch before she headed to work. We got off the highway shortly after Knoxville and took a nice scenic route to get to Buford, GA (town near Lake Lanier and the triathlon.) It took FOREVER! Between the 45 minutes detour around a sinkhole on I75, the tractor trailer which we got stuck behind on the detour, and the motorcycles which seemed to go slower downhill than uphill through the national park, I was done with the drive by the time the thunderstorm hit. I think at that point, we still had about 3 more hours to drive! We finally made it to  Buford around 6 pm, unpacked, and headed to a really good local restaurant called Parma Tavern.  Mmmmmm.....

Saturday, we picked up the race packets and dropped off the bikes at the bike transition. I'm going to write a post all about the actual race, so I'm going to skimp on details about the race for another day. The check-in was very smooth. While we were waiting in line, Andrea ran into a blog-friend in line (SwimBikeMom, also known as Meredith.)

So, I'm relatively new to the blogging world. I don't have many friends yet who blog and I don't yet follow any one blog significantly enough where I would say that I *know* that person. Andrea has been blogging for far longer (and very successfully) and has been following SwimBikeMom for quite a long time, so meeting her in person was an opportunity that Andrea couldn't miss. More on this in a moment....

After the afternoon at Lake Lanier, we stopped in historic Buford for a lunch at a really cute restaurant t Aqua Terra (I think!) Their food was fantastic although the waitress was just a little strange. We headed back to the hotel and then drove a little bit into Atlanta to meet up with an old friend of Andrea's for dinner.

On the way to dinner, Andrea and I swung by my old house. I found it relatively easily. I was planning to head up the god-awful steep driveway but was stopped by two orange cones and a sign. There was a birthday party and the owners requested that everyone park at the bottom and walk up or wait for the shuttle :) For those of you who never visited me in Atlanta - yes, it really was that bad that a shuttle would be needed for the 50 yard driveway! So I snuck up the driveway next door and scared  Andrea a little bit. I still couldn't see much of the house but it was nice to just be back in the area.

Dinner was at Sage near Perimeter Mall with Andrea's friend (and her husband and adorable daughter.) It was good conversation and good food. A fantastic bread pudding for desert. Not the best pre-race nutrition but worth every bite!!!

There was more social hour the next day when we met up with other bloggers at Taco Maco after the race. That's when we met up with Meredith and more bloggers from the internet world. All were women (it was a woman's race, after all) and it was nice to be around a nice group of genuine women all with triathlons in common. All were connected to SwimBikeMom (again, her real name is Meredith - kinda funny how people's name changes over to their blog's name.) And lo and behold, two Tough Chiks aside from Andrea and myself were there. One (Charity) I ran into on the bike course. More on that later!!!

Andrea and I also popped over to the Mall of Georgia and did some shopping before having hibachi. I've been thinking about hibachi for weeks and Andrea treated me for my birthday. The restaurant was pretty quite so we were on one end of the table and two young (and good-looking men) were sitting on the other side. I had a tough time during dinner trying to figure out what to look at while we were eating. Right before we were done and getting ready to leave, a boy (around 10 to 12 years old) asked to have his picture taken when one of those yummy-looking men. We have no idea who the guy was (and too embarrassed to ask.) I figured out later that they probably interpreted my awkward avoidance of eye contact as some semblance of being star-struck. Nope, I'm really that just awkward sometimes :) Andrea and I stopped off for some local handmade ice cream as desert before falling asleep EARLY! At least, I did. I think Andrea listened to my snoring for a little bit before going to sleep herself.

The drive back to Lexington was relatively uneventful. We ran into some more thunderstorms, one of two of which really were severe with some crazy rain.It was my birthday, so I was serenaded by the typical family happy-birthday singing (which I love!!)

Race report (with pictures!) is soon to come!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Final Reflections before THE weekend

Andrea and I will be heading out to Atlanta tomorrow - the race is Sunday morning. I have to say, I'm still really excited about the weekend!!! Some time away, my first long trip with my new car, and going to face some obstacles head on!

Am I worried... I'll be honest. Yes. My back is acting up in spasms today and hopefully heat and ibuprofen in the next few days will get it race ready. There's also the little voice in the back of my head wondering if I've put enough time into training to conquer the hills.

But all that's ok. That's life and the show must go on, as they say!

Off to pack and get ready!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another boost in confidence

This morning ended up being an incredible morning for a bike ride. Sadly, Andrea was out of commission for today and I had a choice to go for a bike ride by myself (the first time EVER) or go swim instead. I settled for a ride by myself.

I headed out from my home into the country roads outside of Lexington. It was beautiful - sunny and coolish. The animals were out...I saw baby horses (yes, I know they're foals,) some turkey vultures, cows, alpaca, and all sorts of birds.

I also high underestimated the hilliness of the ride. BUT, it was likely the best thing that could have happened to me considering I'm only a few weeks away from the dreaded Atlanta hills. There were sooo many hills today that I know I have the conditioning to make it up any hill that comes my way!!

Now I'm off to celebrate the college graduation of a colleague's daughter -  a great day all in all!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The 5 am run

There is just something about getting up in the morning and running before most of the world is still asleep in bed. I love running in the morning dark and watching the sky slowly light up. I love startling the bunnies on the route who are wondering who this crazy person it! It feels like I'm in my own world and can focus on my thoughts, my running technique, the music playing in my ears. I've missed this as I stopped running for a couple of years because of the plantar fascitis. But I'm back.

Mind you, I'm not thinking about all of these wonderful things when that alarm clack goes off. All I want to do was turn around and sleep for another hour. Some days, that's exactly what I do. Luckily, that's not what happens every morning :)

I'm up to running 2.5 miles. I have only a few more weeks to go until the Irongirl triathlon. But when I consider that last year, I did not run at all in the months leading up to the triathlon, I know I'm in a much better place. I did run a "practice" 5K on Monday morning - hadn't planned on it but really wanted to do it. I finished just under 40  minutes!!

It got me thinking about what my times were last year. This morning I got on the website:
     Swim (800m):  14:23
     Bike (19m):     1:31.51
     Run (5K):        47:53

Chatting with Andrea last week on our bike ride on the Legacy Trail (nice new pic on your blog, by the way, Andrea!) we talked about our goals. And I need to revise them:

  1. to go easy on the swim - I know that this is strange as the swim is my best leg. But I want this as a warm-up and not increase my heart rate too much so that I have to start my bike leg with a recovery period. That zaps my strength every time!
  2. ride up the big hills OR fall off the bike trying - I believe that making it up those two hills is a mental issue. But, just in case those hills are too big for me to make it, I need to try or fall off trying. ONLY then, can I walk up the remainder of the hill.
  3. run the 5K - It would be ideal if I don't walk at all. But considering it'll be at the end of a 2 hour effort, it'll be ok if walk a couple of minutes.
Starting off this week with a swim and a bike ride. I went to spin class last week because of all of the wind. Today, the warmth is not our friend but I think  Andrea and I will be heading out anyway to get some more time on the roads. 

Have a great week! I'm heading to the Rolex for four days but I'm still planning on getting in my workouts. I'll just have to be creative... maybe run alongside the horses?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tri training coming along... slowly

Triathlon training is in full swing again! I'm back to my 5 am schedule - officially! I've now had two weeks of 5 am runs and swims, so I can say that it's back in the swing of things. Bike rides are always for the afternoons!

I love getting on the bike for the nice beautiful Kentucky rides. One of my most favorite things since getting involved with triathlons is the love I now have for the bike! The hills around here are great for getting back into shape, losing some more pounds, and getting ready for any hill coming my way. I'm talking to you, Atlanta Irongirl!!!

The Irongirl Atlanta is exactly 5 weeks from today! And I have to say, I think I'm going to rock it! I mean, I know I'll do better than last year simply because I've lost so much weight and I'll be able to run the last 5K instead of walking it. But I have a totally different mindset this year. Last year, I was still so new to triathlons and I had no idea what my limits were. This year, I realized that I still haven't hit my limits and I can keep pushing!

And I have a wonderful friend - Andrea - who keeps me motivated. We met for spin class today (20 mph winds today in Kentucky - for a bike ride really is not fun. See Nina hurt.) And she's planning on taking me for a bike ride down close to the Kentucky River so I can really know what a hill is - and that I can successfully overcome a hill. Or not. We'll see.

Oh, and I've already had my first fall of the season. Invariably, at the beginning of every bike season, I fall due to those damn clipless peddles. I clip out on the right and then lean to the left. Think of me falling in slow motion 'cause that's exactly what happened!! Andrea was kind enough to get a picture of that...

My nutrition is back on track after sliding a little bit. As we talk, I'm making a wonderful Kentucky Chili from the Weight Watcher's Slow Cooker cookbook. I think the only reason why it's considered Kentucky Chili is because of the bourbon thrown in there. I had some delicious buffalo burgers for dinner tonight on the cute little Weber grill I roll outside on the deck. It's a beautiful windy 80 degrees - perfect for grilling outside.

In totally unrelated news - I got some great news on Friday. For those of you who are not in psychology - I'm the Training Director for the predoctoral psychology internship at my work. You go on internship for one year in your final year of your Ph.D. program. It's accredited by the American Psychological Association. I had spent about 6 months preparing for the self-study (think 300 pages I wrote about the internship,) an evaluation from visiting APA members, and a whole lot of Storm und Drang. I called up APA on Friday to discover we have been accredited for SEVEN years!! It's the longest accreditation you can receive and it's so awesome to know that all the work and drama that happened has all paid off!!!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Much Needed Update

I have not forgotten about blogging, I swear!!

It has been a crazy few weeks with work travel, new purchases and doctors appointments. So let me do a quick update and then I can get back on blogging track.

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Chicago for the week for some training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. It was an awesome training and I learned a ton! Unfortunately, on the way back to Lexington, we got stuck in Chicago due to the horrible storms that hit Kentucky with tornadoes. While I was happy not to be flying in the bad weather, I was not happy being stuck in a hotel with a stomach bug. But, that's what happened. Over 30 hours of delays and I made it home to sleep for more than 12 hours.

But when I woke up from my 12 hour nap, my back was in pain. I knew that it was time for a new mattress, so I off I went and bought a new mattress. And no, it's not a Sleep Number? Why do people keep asking me that? It is a memory foam bed and so far I'm loving it!

Speaking of back pain, I've started to go to the chiropractor. So far, I'm not sure that it's really done anything to improve my shoulder, hip, or back. But it's only two weeks in and I'm giving it 3 months time to show improvement.

And then came the biggest purchase of my life so far:

It's a shiny new VW GTI with manual shifting and an overall fun feel.My old 11 year old VW has been replaced with a new model. I can't stop finding reasons to drive my  new car!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pilates versus Weight Training

I discovered Pilates Reformer classes in October and have been going twice a week over the past few months. I really enjoy Pilates Reformer class and I have SEEN the difference: I am more flexible and my core is significantly stronger. BUT... it costs a lot of money each month and I just haven't been able to do all the swimming, biking, running, AND Pilates. So... what do I do?

When I first started losing weight last year, I mainly attributed it to the spinning and weight lifting. I would spin at least twice to three times a week (or go bike riding) and weight lift at least twice. I'm leaning towards going back to this schedule to see if I can lose more weight with this again.

On the other hand, I feel that I have made so much more progress with my flexibility and core that I don't want to lose this! I know I'm going to go back to Pilates Reformer in the fall when the outside temps go down again. Until then, hopefully I can stretch daily and start doing the plank (AGH!) with weight training.

In other news, I have gone to a chiropractor! I return Wednesday to discuss THE PLAN. I'll be interested to hear what he thinks he can offer me and how to go about doing it. I remain skeptical but hopeful. I want pain relief in my hip, shoulder, and feet. It's go to help!!!

And in more "other news": I have booked more trips!! I am heading to Martha's Vineyard in October to watch my college roommate walk down the aisle (or sand) to get married. Then my fellow graduate student friend and travel buddy - who just happens to live in Hawai'i - is getting married on Maui. The hotels are booked, the transportation planned, and one flight (to Hawai'i - only $10 thanks to frequent flier miles) are complete. Now just the ticket to Boston and I'll be all set!

I'm currently waiting on zucchinis to soften up for my Zucchini Curry soup... sounds good, right? I have found two more sources of yummy recipes: VegEZ from Delicious TV (thank Janis) and The Eat-Clean Diet magazine. Both offer some great recipes that follow the same mentality: whole and unprocessed foods. On the list of recipes for today:

Curried Zucchini Soup (VegEZ): yummy! Just finished up!

Easy Chickpea Leek Soup (VegEZ): pretty easy but I'm not yet convinced about this one

Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Cashews (class): this one is so delicious and I still had some goat cheese left over to use up.

Grandmother's Favorite Oatmeal Cookies (Eat-Clean): I'm adding chocolate chips instead of raisins...we'll see but I'm hopeful!

It's a Date! Date Squares (Eat-Clean): I'm so excited about this recipe!! I'll have pics soon!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A yummy new recipe and a sad story

A little over a week ago, one of my patients died. For those of you who don't know, I work mostly with combat veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It's an awesome job working with wonderful people (both coworkers and patients.) And to protect the patient's confidentiality, I'm not going to go into much detail. It wasn't a complete surprise, but that doesn't matter. When you work closely with someone for a while and that person leaves your life, it's sad. And this is the first close patient of mine who has passed away. Sadly, I know it won't be the last. 

But as a result, I've been down in the dumps a little. I haven't worked out all week and thrown myself lots of small pity parties. But in the true clueless manner in which I do it, I wasn't really aware of why I was throwing the pity parties until about a week into it! Yes, the psychologist is sometimes clueless about her own emotional issues. But when I woke up in the middle of the night on Thursday with horrible stomach problems, I started to figure out that my emotional issues were becoming physical issues. It's my pattern.

I'm happy to say that I'm getting back into the swing of things. I went back to spinning this morning and scheduled to run and swim tomorrow morning. Oh, and Andrea - I hope you don't mind if I keep your awesome book of triathlon training book for one more week. I didn't get around to using it much this week :\

After the spin class, I hung around the YMCA for another hour speaking to a bunch of small vendors there offering there wares in somewhat a community outreach. As a result, I have learned about Moringa - supposedly the miracle plant (still skeptical but willing to learn) and I scheduled an initial appointment at a local chiropractor. I've been wanting to go the chiropractor for years and this ended up being timely and convenient! I'm headed there Wednesday afternoon so look for an update!

To give myself a little pat on the back: aside from the sweet potato soup that I made this afternoon, I also made some more quinoa with acorn squash and some brussel sprouts. How healthy am I?

For the recipe - this one comes from the lovely Janis who has been eating healthy for a while and is a wonderful guide. I had a bowl already and supposedly it tastes even better the next day. 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup

Makes about 2 1/2 quarts, or 6 - 8 servings
Amazingly good!
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 large cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tbsp.)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 6 1/4 cups)
4 cups chicken broth (homemade or low-salt)
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. thyme
2 medium-sized bay leaves
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (add more or less to taste)
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice (do not substitute concentrate)
2 cans black beans, drained
1 c. crushed tomatoes
1 c. evaporated milk
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat oil on medium high heat in large pot. Saute onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Add sweet potatoes, broth, and spices. Cover and turn heat to high, bringing to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are becoming tender, about 5 minutes. With potatomasher, mash potatoes briefly, crushing into smaller pieces but not pureeing--there should still be distinctive pieces of sweet potato in the soup, but crushing them will distribute the flavor throughout the dish.

Add remaining ingredients except evaporated milk. Cover and cook until potatoes are very tender, 5 - 10 more minutes. (At this point, soup can be frozen. When ready to serve, thaw and finish according to instructions.) Add evaporated milk. Cover and continue to simmer until flavors are blended, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The soup's flavor continues to improve the longer it sits and is better the next day.) Correct seasonings and garnish with cilantro if desired. Let cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A month in reflection

It's amazing that it's only been 4 weeks since I've started the Wholesome Chef classes. This is going to sound cheesy, but the last few weeks have really been life changing. My whole definition of what it means to eat healthy has completely changed. Four weeks ago, I thought eating healthy was low carb, high protein, and monitoring fats. My definition of health eating has completely changed. Some of the highlights:

  • changed from regular salt to sea salt
  • no refined sugar in the house - all healthier alternatives
  • no refined flour in the house - again, whole grain alternatives
  • reorganized the entire kitchen to make room for all the alternatives
  • bought enough tupperware to house all the yummy recipes to house all the food made with said alternatives
  • read and learned more about a whole-food diet
  • quit drinking coffee
  • make a green smoothie every morning
  • started this blog
  • cut my hair (a good 6 inches off) this week
  • created an organization of all my recipes so they are available on ipad and iphone for shopping
  • learned a whole lot more about Kroger and Whole Foods with multiple trips each weekend
  • ate kale, quinoa, swiss chard for the first time
  • voluntarily bought brussel sprouts (to make this week!)
  • ate 2 weeks of homemade food without almost any processed foods
Of course, I can't stop now! In order to keep and build upon all that I've learned, I have the following goals:
  • take one Wholesome Chef class a month
  • try one new recipe each week
  • buy a for Elmwood Farm share (fresh organic vegetables for 22 weeks)
  • keep learning
I imagine that I'll continue blogging about new recipes and new things that I have learned. But as with all things, I'll get a more balanced focus. So you'll start to hear more about my traithlon training, weight loss, as well as nutrition. 

A lot of people have told me that they have been trying the recipes on here which makes me super excited! I'm so glad that my journey has helped others find some good recipes. I know how difficult that can be.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wholesome Chef Class #4

Today was the last class in the series at the Wholesome Chef. The focus of the class was on a cleansing. I had no idea what the purpose of "cleaning" my body would be. But it's a simple enough of an idea: to "clean" the body of toxins and giving it a rest. Translated, this means eating no animal products and eating only simple foods which does not take the body much work to break down.

Paula provides a week's worth of recipes and gave us a whole packet of information about cleansing the body. All of these recipes and the plan are available on Paula's webpage as the Post-holiday detox. If you're dying for more healthy recipes and have liked the ones I've posted so far (and check out the asparagus soup below,) please go check out the detox. She's put a lot of work and effort into finding these recipes, so I don't feel comfortable sharing them for free. The soup is just a hint of what goodies there are in the holiday detox. Here are some of the other recipes:

Quinoa stuffed acorn squash (yum!)
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Southwestern Black Bean Salad
Green SuperBerry Smoothie
Butternut Squash Soup
Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

My goal is to make a new recipe each week so you can wait until I've made a few before decided. So far, Paula has offered only amazingly good recipes, so I'm not really worried that you will be disappointed. Since the class was January 18th, you'll get the recording of the class plus the eworkbook.

And now the Asparagus Soup (which I've already made!

Mmmm... just look at the color!
1.5 lbs asparagus
1 leek, white part, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 cups water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved
 1.5 T EVOO or butter
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops of lemon juice

Slice asparagus. (Tip: break off the hard end of the asparagus by hand - it will break off at a "natural" place.)

Heat oil in soup pot. Add leek and onion and saute over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add 1 cups stock and stew for 10 to 12 minutes. Add remaining stock and asparagus ans simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.

Puree with immersion or regular blender (be careful of regular blender - follow blender's direction on how to do this with hot soup.)

Add salt plus lemon juice. Service with  brown rice for a heartier soup.