Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Haircut Edition

Well it was long overdue. After wearing my hair like this for the last several weeks

Hello summer! Sunshine + sandy beach + good beach reading = perfection

I can finally go back to wearing it down again.

Totally loving my new haircut

I realized at the pool this morning it's a bit too short to all fit back into a ponytail, so I'll be rockin' pigtails during most of my workouts until it gets just a tad longer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Training Guilt

When people ask me what I blog about I tell them pretty much what you'd expect: running, health, fitness, triathlon training, etc.

But I tend to say, "I also write about trying to find balance between my life and my training."

I won't lie, lately I've sucked at the balance part.

I feel like for the past several months, I've been gung ho training at the expense of the rest of my life.

all I do is train

These days, I live out of my gym bag, constantly smell like chlorine and/or sweat, and haven't put one ounce of energy into my appearance or my hair in weeks. (and I wonder why I'm still single...)

I knew it was really bad when I got an email from my mom not that long ago telling me that maybe I should tone it down on the training front and focus a little more on my social life.

So I decided Memorial Day Weekend was the perfect time to do that.

My social calendar was packed to the brim this weekend. Between nights out with friends, days at the beach and BBQs, I put way more emphasis on the social part of my life than on my training.

Hello summer! Sunshine + sandy beach + good beach reading = perfection
Look, my gym bag even went with me to the beach

And last night, I felt guilty as hell about it.

I fit in a run and an open water swim this weekend, but it was less than what the plan called for and I tossed and turned all night thinking about all those workouts I didn't do plus how unhealthy I'd eaten all weekend and how I was just destroying all my previous hard work and training.

Don't even get me started on how stressed out I am about my friend's wedding this weekend. It's out of town. I have to travel and I will miss a boatload of my training because of it. That's obviously not the attitude I want to have about my friend's wedding.

Man at this point, I just can't wait until the Philadelphia triathlon is over so my training plan can go away and I can stop feeling guilty about choosing my friends over my workouts.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Endorphins Are the Best!

Guys, I am in an awesomely, freakin' fantastic mood this morning.

Even though it was hot and disgustingly humid on my run, I was so excited to be up and running in the morning again. I love early morning workouts more than anything, but I really struggle in the winter to drag my butt out of bed when it's cold and miserable out. So in the winter, I tend to favor evening workouts.

But it's practically summer and that means morning workouts are back and I am pumped! (What 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls don't sound fun to you?)

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Early morning running in San Diego last summer
I was so tan!

I knocked out just under 4 miles this morning per my training plan, and boy am I feeling the endorphins.

I was in such a good mood that when I got back home, I might have held a private dance party in my dining room while I was chugging water. Sorry I did not capture this in pictures for you, instead I will leave you with this picture of me and my friends dancing to the Cupid Shuffle in college. My dance moves are just as awesome now as they were back then!

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The good times continued on my commute. First, a train was literally pulling into the station as I got there, so I was able to get right on and get to work early. And second, my iPod was cranking some amazing country tunes.

And of course, I have softball to look forward to tonight and then a nice long Memorial Day weekend, that I plan to make as epic as possible with some awesome workouts, a day at the beach and other summer fun!

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Me and Jon at softball

Is there anyway I could just get a shot of endorphins every morning as soon as I wake up? Because I'm pretty sure life would be a million times more awesome if I could always be on this kind of epic runner's high.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Much Does A Triathlon Cost?

I've gotten a couple of questions from people about how much triathlons cost, so I thought I'd take the time to spell out just how much I've spent on this sport since I got into it last November.

For some background, I was starting basically from scratch. I've run for years, but I've never done much more than that, so I had a lot of very high initial start-up costs in terms of gear and equipment. Most of the things I bought, I will be able to use over and over again in future races, so that made me feel a little bit better about spending the money.

Triathlon transition

By nature I am an extremely frugal person. There's nothing I hate more than wasting money on unnecessary things, so I promise this list isn't full of splurge items for fun, but rather gear and equipment that I felt was necessary to get me through my training and races successfully.

Ready for the list? With costs? (I'm kind of afraid to see this all totaled up in one place!)

Here we go!

Registrations:

  • Sprint Tri Registration: $119
  • Oly Tri Registration: $211
Total: $330

Biking:

Biking during TriRock Annapolis
  • Bike: $668
  • Helmet: $20
  • Bike Pump: $38
  • Bike Shorts: $35 (They were on 50% off sale!)
  • Bike Tune Up and Pedals Upgrade: $52
Total: $813

Swimming:

Swim start at the TriRock Annapolis
  • Pool Membership: $191
  • Wetsuit: $75
  • Open Water Swim Clinic: $43
Total: $309

Other Miscellaneous Costs:

  • Tri Shorts: $70
  • GU/Fuel: $14
  • Hotel for Philly Tri: $80
Total: $164

Grand Total Spent on my First Tri Season: $1,616


Like I said, it's expensive, but many of these costs are one-time investments. I'm not going to need to go out and buy another bike any time soon. Same with the wetsuit. Other than paying entry fees, my next triathlon season, should be significantly cheaper than this one.

If all this seems overwhelming and way, way too expensive, Katy actually wrote a great post about how to do a triathlon for less than $10. While I don't think everything on her list is totally feasible (I live where it's cold, early season tris require wetsuits), it might give you some ideas as to where you could trim costs.

But even with cost savings, triathlons are by nature expensive sports, especially if you're looking to be competitive. If I hadn't gotten a promotion at work last year, there's almost no way I could have afforded to lay down this kind of money on a new sport. If you're looking to get into triathlons, you should be aware that there are some big costs that can go along with them.

For those of you who regularly compete in triathlons, how do you keep your costs down?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tri Training Weeks 13 and 14

In the excitement of completing my first tri last week, I completely forgot to recap the week leading up to the race. I figured the easiest thing to do would just be to recap the last two weeks together.

Week 13:

Week 13 was sort of a taper week for my first triathlon. Not that I know the first thing about tapering for a tri, so the week ended up being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of week. Plus with a day trip to NYC in the mix, I was doing my best just to get as many workouts as possible in.

Monday: Strength training

Emily and I had to switch things up and do our weekly lunch time strength workout out on Monday since I wasn't going to be in the office on Thursday.

Tuesday: Brick - 60 minute bike, 20 minute run

Last brick before the race!

Wednesday: FitBlogNYC

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Photo by Steven Meyer

Between waking up at 3:30 a.m. and not getting home until 9:30 p.m., there was just no time for workouts. Oh well, it happens.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: RACE!

I did it!!

It was awesome!

Sunday: 60 minutes of bike drills

The day after I finished my sprint, I was so worried about how I would fuel on the bike, so Coach Zach taught me how to ride one handed so I can get to my water bottle and GU. It was frustrating just doing drills to pick up what seemed like such a basic skill. After 20 minutes of riding I was starting to get the hang out it. And by the end of the ride, I could successfully pull the water bottle out of the cage, take a drink and put it away. I have to go pretty slow when I do it, but whatever, at least I got the hang of it.

Week 14:

The week after the race should have been a just a regular training week where I could hit the workouts hard. However, that wasn't the case. Between the start of softball season and a weekend out of town for a work trip, I ended up having a meltdown on Friday about how I was completely failing at my training. Coach Zach talked me off the ledge and assured me that I wasn't missing any of my key workouts and that I still had plenty of time training left before the Philadelphia triathlon. I still feel like I lost some valuable training time last week, but there's not much I can do about it now, but move forward and keep kicking butt.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4.5 mile run with Evan and the zombies.

Hands down the most fun workout of the week. It wasn't a super serious run, and it was with friends. It was the way all workouts should be.

Wednesday: Softball

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I love softball more than anything. It's my favorite part of the week in the summer, but it does eat up my entire Wednesday night and leaves me exhausted on Thursdays. I would never give up softball for anything in the world, so I just need to find a way to make it work with my training.

Thursday: Unplanned rest.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 60 minute run

I was in Philly for a conference for work this weekend, so I had to wake up super duper early to get my run in Saturday before the start of the conference. Luckily, I woke up to absolutely gorgeous weather in Philly and had one of the best runs I've had in ages. I did 6.5ish miles in an hour along Kelly Drive.

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One of the famous boathouses

I love running along Kelly Drive, it's mostly flat, right along the water and full of other runners and bikers. I ran while listening to the zombie app and just let my legs move at whatever pace was comfortable for them. It was one of those perfect runs that makes me fall totally in love with running and especially early morning runs.

Sunday: 90 minute bike

As soon as I got off the train in DC, I headed out on my bike to get in my last training session for the week. I met Coach Zach along Beach Drive, and I could immediately tell the ride was going to suck. My legs were dead weight. I felt like I was spinning and spinning and just not getting anywhere. I was seeing my pace on my Garmin and couldn't believe I was moving so slow for how hard I felt like I was working. Near the one-hour mark, I was at the turn to head back home and ready to throw in the towel. Coach was having none of it though. He told me he'd throw a rock at my helmet unless I finished the workout. (Nice guy, that coach.) I finished out the workout and was so, so glad to be done.


There are just about four weeks until my Olympic distance triath. I'm confident that I can do all the distances on their own, but I'm a little bit nervous about stringing them all together. Good thing I still have a few more weeks to figure that all out!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five For Friday

I'm borrowing Katy's Five For Friday theme to quickly bring you up to speed on what's been going on this week.

Life and Training:

1. Softball started on Wednesday. After months of being in hibernation, I finally got to bust out my glove in a friendly match. My batting was so-so. I think I went 1-3 with an RBI. My pitching, however was pretty solid. Through five innings, I only allowed one earned run. We won the game by a solid margin, which was a nice confidence boost heading in to the regular season.

2. As much as I am beyond thrilled that softball season is here, it's throwing a slight kink in my training schedule. When I had originally made my training plan, softball was slated to be on Thursdays. Our games got bumped to Wednesdays though and I'm still trying to adapt my schedule to make it work. This week of training has been rocky at best as I try to adapt.

3. I'm heading to Philly this weekend to attend a social media conference for work. I'm really looking forward to meeting lots of fun people and learning lots of good stuff, and I think I've even managed to figure out a way to squeeze in all my workouts while I'm gone.

4. With only four more weeks until my Olympic tri in Philly, I'm getting nervous about how much I'm having to adapt my training plan to fit around other things going on in my life. It absolutely kills me that I will not be able to get a bike ride or swim in this weekend because of my conference. I need all the time in the saddle that I can get, and I'm freaking out a little bit that I'm loosing a weekend to ride.

5. Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, which means lots of outdoor pools in the area will be opening. I think it would be fun to hit up some of them for some of my swim workouts. It'd be a nice change of pace to swim outside in the sun rather than in a stuffy indoor pool. I'll be keeping my eyes open for opportunities to get in as many swims as possible in outside pools.

In Pictures:


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Yea, those race numbers still aren't going anywhere

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My friend Ryan with his very, ummm special, Caps hat.

In Annapolis obviously went to Menchies!
My pre-triathlon treat!

Why yes that is a pigeon chilling in Penn Station.
Birds in train stations, totally normal right?

Duke, Georgetown and UVA? Really bro?
Georgetown, Duke and UVA? Really dude?


That's all I've got for today! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Run! It's the Zombie Apocalypse

Last night I met up with my friend Evan for a run around DC. I'm fairly certain we looked absolutely ridiculous on this run for a two reasons.

First, I was wearing my totally awesome Under Armour Terps running shirt that I am completely obsessed with.

In love with my new @underarmour Terps heat gear shirt. Wore it to lift today and it was awesome! #fitfluential

And Evan was wearing a pair of blue Duke shorts. Ew. Terps and Blue Devils don't get along, and we definitely got a few strange looks as we were running down the street.

The second reason we looked absolutely ridiculous is because we were running from zombies.


Yes, you read that right...zombies.

Evan downloaded the Zombies, Run app on to his phone, and we listened to it while we were running.

zombies run

The premise of the app is that there was a crash of some sorts, and now zombies are roaming free. As a runner, you are tasked with accomplishing missions to help keep the few remaining people alive.

I was cracking up listening to the narrator talk in a thick accent about what we needed to do to protect ourselves from the zombie apocalypse. It was our job to pick up things like batteries, food, ammo and other stuff necessary for survival and bring them back to the bunker.

zombies run missions

The app, though ridiculously overpriced ($8 for an app...really?!?!), made our run a lot of fun.

There were times when we had to sprint because the zombies were chasing us and trying to steal our supplies. Evan is freakin' fast and would take off at some ridiculous pace. When he realized I wasn't keeping up with him, he'd look over his shoulder and yell, "Ruuuunnnnn!"

I'm pretty sure that's exactly what happens in all the zombie movies right before the slow person gets her brains eaten.


To Evan's credit, he didn't totally leave me to fend off the zombies myself, but my slow pace wasn't helping us.

Apparently in a zombie apocalypse, you don't want me on your team. Or maybe you do because I'll be the slow one who gets picked off so you survive.

Either way, I was zombie dinner a lot last night and caused us to lose a lot of the supplies we'd picked up.

The other part of the app that was pretty cool is that when the narrator wasn't telling you a story or explaining a mission, he'd play you some music from your iTunes library to pump you up. So while on our supply-finding missions, we got to listen a solid mix of country tunes and a Katy Perry song.

zombies run music

The app also tracked our pace and distance. Each of the zombie sprints was about a minute long, and thanks to the fabulous humidity, I was gassed after each of them. It definitely made for a killer workout and a fun way to sneak in some speed work.

The app also has some more game-play features for when you're not running. You can use all those supplies you collected to help care for sick people in the small civilization trying to stay alive, you can provide soldiers with ammo to fend off the zombies or you can fortify your buildings.

We had a blast playing with this app, and I'm actually kicking around the idea of downloading it myself, even though I don't have a single non-free app on my phone.

Luckily Evan and I were able to knock out about 4.5 miles before the real zombie apocalypse started in DC.

DC clouds

Or maybe it was just thunderstorms rolling through, but zombie apocalypse just sounds more fun.

(Special thanks to @newmediajim for the awesome shot of clouds rolling in over the White House.)

Zombies, Run gets a solid 4 out of 5 in my book. The docked point is because of the price.

Have you ever tried this app or any others like it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FitBlogNYC: An Epic Day in the City

So now that my first triathlon is behind me, I have a million fun things to catch you up on from last week.

We'll start first with FitBlogNYC.

Remember last Wednesday when I said I was on a train at some ungodly hour of the morning heading to New York?

View out my train window. It's dark o'clock in the morning  #fitblognyc
So ungodly early that it was this dark through many of the stops

Well, I was going to spend the day at a fun "Meet and Tweet" event sponsored by Fitness Magazine. I got the opportunity to attend through FitFluential (disclaimer, I paid for my own train ticket).

I arrived in NYC just after 8 a.m. for the start of the day's fun.

#fitblognyc Whooo

The event was a chance to hang out with some of my favorite bloggers and to learn about a variety of health topics from guest speakers and staff at Fitness Magazine.

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Miz, Kelly, Julie and Tina on their panel
Photo by Steven Meyer

I had a blast catching up with some of my favorite blog ladies, like Ashley, Theodora and Gia, who I had seen last after the Rock N Roll USA marathon in March.

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Bloggers doing what we do best: Taking pictures and tweeting
Photo by Steven Meyer

I also got to meet tons of other bloggers in person, like Ali, who is just as sweet in person as she is on her blog. It's always nice to be able to put a face to a blog name/Twitter handle.

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Photo by Steven Meyer

The day was full of informative panels, socializing and hanging out with fun people like Mia Hamm.

Me and Mia Hamm at #fitblognyc
Could I be cheesin' anymore hardcore?

Oh and swag. The day was also full of lots and lots of swag.

So much #fitblognyc swag.

Upon arriving we were giving name tags and small swag bag with a "passport" inside.

We had a chance to mingle with the event sponsors and get stamps on our passports, which earned us an even bigger swag bag at the end of the event.

I am still sorting through all the swag I got, but one thing I've used already is the awesome pair of Oakley sunglasses that we got.

The sunglasses were from the performance line -- meaning they were made for fitness with sweat resistant grips around the nose and by the ears to prevent them from sliding, but they are also functional enough to be worn as every day sunglasses.

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Learning about the shades
Photo by Steven Meyer

As someone who has just recently taken up biking for triathlons, I had no appropriate sunglasses to wear. I would literally wear my big beach sunglasses under my bike helmet. It looked really goofy.

So in my tri on Saturday I used the Oakley glasses and they were 100% amazing. They didn't slide once on the run or the bike and they did a great job of keeping the sun from blinding me.

I did it!!

Oh and they looked super cute too.

A huge thanks to Oakley for hooking all the FitBlogNYC attendees up with these amazing sunglasses!

My day in NYC was a long one. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to catch my train and didn't get back home until close to 9:30 p.m., but it was so worth it. I love events like this that bring bloggers together for an excuse to hang out and learn something in the process.

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Photo by Steven Meyer

Thanks to Fitness Magazine and FitFluential for a fun-filled day!

Oh and thanks for the man-candy too.

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Photo by Steven Meyer

Monday, May 14, 2012

TriRock Annapolis Race Recap

Well I did it! I survived my very first triathlon!

I did it!!

Zach and I headed out to Annapolis Friday evening for TriRock Annapolis packet pick-up and to scope out the course. We got a glimpse of where the swim would start and end. We did a quick walk through of the transition area and found the bike out and run out areas before heading to our friend's place for the evening.

UntitledBike start!Run start

Our friend Mike graciously let us crash at his apartment in Annapolis so we wouldn't have to drive all the way from DC on race morning. After grabbing dinner, asking Zach a million questions about race logistics, and putting Garmin on the charger, I promptly passed out on the sofa.

Being the night before a race, I didn't sleep great, but I slept better than I thought I would and when the alarm went off, I dragged myself out of bed to begin race prep.

Pre-Race:

We got to the race start with a decent amount of time to spare.

There was quite a line to get into the transition area, but it moved along as volunteers checked people's bike tags and numbers.

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Line to get into transition

My spot in transition was steps away from the swim finish, on an end row, making it super easy to remember where my stuff was during the race.

After I got my bike racked and laid out all my gear, I was able to spend a few minutes chatting with my Aunt Marybeth and my cousin Laura who came out to watch me in the race. They had made a fantastic sign and I was so thrilled to have them there!

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After that, the waiting game began.

I was in wave 12, the second-to-last wave to go and with seven minutes in between waves, I had a long time until my start. Luckily the race let people in waves 9-13 stay in transition until the other waves had gone to help alleviate congestion at the start.

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This might be my favorite picture from the race. 
I'm just pulling my hair back into a ponytail, but I look like I'm about to have a panic attack/meltdown

So I hung out and chatted with some of the other girls whose bikes were racked next to mine. I found out most people were as nervous as I was since this was their first race too. That was definitely a comforting fact. Talking with them passed the time and soon enough, our wave was lining up to start the swim. (P.S. Hi ladies if any of you are reading today!!!)

Swim: 11:39:34

The swim was an in-water start, so everyone jumped off the docks and into the water before swimming over to the start buoys.

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When I first hit the water I was cold, but I dunked my head in right away to try to get acclimated. I waded over to the start, trying to keep my heart rate low. I wasn't sure where I should start on the swim. I didn't want to start right at the front, but I was trying to get to one of the sides so I'd at least have room to move when we went. Unfortunately, I never made it and ended up in the middle of the pack as the swim started.

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Immediately I realized I should have started at the front of the pack. I was definitely one of the stronger swimmers in our group, and I was having a really, really hard time getting around the people in front of me. I eventually found some open water and settled into a really nice groove. My heart rate was surprisingly low compared to my other open water swims and I was just cruising along. The swim was hands down my favorite leg of the course.

As I made the last turn I started catching up to people from the wave in front of me.

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Catching up to the blue caps

Now remember, there were seven minutes between waves, so those people were definitely having a rough go of it in the water. I had to slow up quite a few times to get around people toward the end, which was frustrating. The one other frustrating part is that there were only four ladders to get out of the water and of course all of them were being used when I finished. So I had to wait a few seconds before I could get out of the water.

T1: 3:13.7

I came running out of the water at a pretty good clip. Ripped off my cap and googles and unzipped my wetsuit. I got the wetsuit off pretty quickly, and went to work drying off my feet and getting into my shoes.

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I probably wasted too much time fiddling with Garmin, but then with lots of cheers from Laura and Marybeth I was off and running to bike out.

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Bike: 55:06.99

The start of the bike was a little rocky. I was trying to go quickly and I had a hard time getting my feet into the toe clips and actually getting going. After a frustrating couple of minutes, I was situated on the bike. I was trying to control my breathing and just relax through the start of the bike.

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This was definitely the leg I was most worried about and I wanted to enjoy it while still pushing.

The course was shaped like a lollipop. You rode out, did two loops and then rode back in. Of course, in those two loops there were some monster hills.

trirock bike elevation

I tried to crank hard on the uphills without burning myself out and then fly on the downhills. I was doing an OK job, passing lots of people on the uphills, but then getting passed a decent amount on the downhills.

I tried not to worry about the number of times I was being passed. I know the bike is where I have the most room for improvement, and on a hilly course, I knew I wasn't going to rock it. I wish I hadn't messed up my Garmin multisport function because I would have loved to see the comparison in my times on the climbs versus my times on the downhills. I'm not sure what I did, but all I have is my average speed being 13.1 mph.

As I headed back to bike dismount, I could hear Laura and Marybeth cheering super loudly for me.

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I stopped just before the dismount line and sprinted into T2.

T2: 1:26.33

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I had a bit of a ways to run through transition to get back to where my spot was and I had to dodge a few people who had already finished the race.

I tossed my bike into the rack, unclipped my helmet, grabbed my water bottle and race number and took off.

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Apparently I was so in the zone I didn't even see Zach standing super close to me taking these pictures.

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Run: 27:54.8

Oh I was so happy to be on the run because it meant the race was almost over. Yes my legs felt like complete and utter crap, but I knew that feeling would wear off eventually.

I passed my aunt and cousin again and then a little while later saw my friends Tracy and Marianne. It was so nice having so many people out there cheering for me. Each cheer gave me a little boost of energy.

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The run course started on an uphill, and though my legs were tired, I was passing people left and right. I spotted Heidi right at the top of the hill. She was out being an awesome spectator! Minutes later I spotted my other friend Brooke. One of the perks of local races is that you randomly see a lot of your friends spectating.

My legs continued to feel like hell for a decent part of the run. Plus at this point I was tired, and it was hot out. There wasn't a ton of shade on the course so I felt like I was baking. I was sipping plenty of Gatorade and was so glad I decided to carry it with me on the run.

But even though I felt crappy I was still passing people, which made me feel good.

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When I hit the downhill at the end of the course, I knew I had the race in the bag. I let things go and just flew down the hill. I rode that momentum around the last turn and straight into the finish.

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Final Time: 1:39:21

Thoughts:

In the last two days I have had so many mixed emotions about the race that I'm not sure how to process them all.

Swim bike run rock!

When I first crossed the finish line, I told Zach that I had a decent time, but I didn't think triathlons were for me. I enjoyed the experience but felt meh about the whole thing. In fact, I said I'd rather run a marathon because it's more fun, and all the logistics surrounding triathlons are super stressful compared to a road race. (I cannot be held accountable for what I say immediately after finishing a race.)

But then I saw my results. I beat my goal time of 1:40 and found out I placed 7th out of all beginner women ages 25-34. That's not too shabby.

And then I started thinking about all the ways I could have improved or done better.

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Like not wasting time in transition fiddling with Garmin

And then I realized that I actually did have a fun time during the whole experience (and for some reason realllly loved the swim), and that I actually wanted to take the time to get better.

And so yes, I do see more triathlons in my future, starting with the Philadelphia Olympic Distance Tri in June.

A huge thank you to my cousin and aunt for coming out, cheering and taking a million pictures. And a big thank you to Tracy, Marianne and all my other friends I saw on the course. Seeing you guys made the race so much more fun.

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Tracy, me, Marianne

Probably the biggest thank you of all goes to my training partner/coach Zach, who pretty much taught me everything I know about biking and talked me down from many panic attacks throughout training.

I don't think I could have picked a better tri for my first one. TriRock Annapolis was beginner friendly and just a ton of fun from start to finish.