It's official! I am now an official runner in the 2017 Lake Hinson 24 Hour Ultra race that will be held September 30-October 1st, 2017. After Ironman, the question I had for myself was, "What's next?" My first thought was another Ironman but this wasn't something I was exactly jumping to start training for again. Ironman was a long and hard six months of training. In the last 6 weeks I almost quit because I was feeling burnt out with the early morning and late night workouts. Looking back, some of those training sessions were some of my best memories in the whole process. Once I decided that signing up for another Ironman (at least immediately) wasn't what I wanted to do, I began looking for other challenges. Spartan race? No. 5k with obstacles? Naa, doesn't seem challenging enough. The problem was that once I did Ironman, nothing seemed to be enough of a challenge. Some people suggested that I try to drop time of my 5k or marathon. I definitely have room for improvement there, but that doesn't sound like the least bit fun. As I scrolled through Facebook, I kept seeing where some friends were signing up for a 24 hour race and I kept scrolling. A few days later it kept coming up in my feed so I thought maybe it deserved another look. I went to the website and here is what I found....
The cost was only $35.00 and Richmond County Animal Advocates was listed as the beneficiary of this race. Seemed like a no brainer. The only problem was that I waited too long and registration was closed by the time I made the decision to pull the trigger on this crazy idea. "No problem!" my friend Tim said. "Contact the director and he will put you on the waiting list." Sure enough, I was number one on the waiting list. I just had to wait until 50 people dropped out and then registration would be offered to me. Last week, I got the email:
"Well then....." was my first thought. "So this is really happening" was my next thought. Honestly, I waited a few days before I actually signed up. My original goal for this race was to run/walk 100k (62 miles) in 24 hours. Since then, my goal is shifted slightly. My goal for this race is to complete 50 miles. If I complete more than that, wonderful. So training continues.... I'm excited about late night training with my friend Kristie, who is also on the waiting list. I am a night runner by nature, and my friends are used to my late night Facebook posts at 10pm saying "getting ready for a run!" Which are usually met by "That's crazy! Go to bed! Why don't you run in the morning with everyone else? Aren't you afraid of the people who are out late at night?" So let's break this down and answer some of the questions I most frequently get about my late night running habits....
Easy answer: I am not a morning person. I never have been. If my alarm is set for anything before 8am, I'm not in a great mood. As a kid, I was not a morning person. I've been told that if I just make myself get up at the same time every day my body will adjust. NOT TRUE! I've tried this (remember Ironman training and 4am workouts?) Yeah, I'm just simply not built for mornings. However, I thrive at night when others are getting ready for bed.
I have always been a loner when it comes to exercise. I very rarely workout with other people. I think some of it is that I don't run the same pace as most people (I'm slow and steady) Groups are either too fast or too slow and I haven't quite found the "just right" pace group. When I do occasionally run with those people, they are morning runners, and that's just not my thing. So there I am, at 9:45pm running the streets alone, at my own pace. I often enjoy this time alone to get in my head and workout things that are bothering me. It's not always easy to do that in a crowd. I find peace in running/cycling alone.
There are a few reasons why. One: I'm not a morning person. Plain and simple! The second reason, and maybe even more importantly, is because of harassment. Anyone who runs knows what I am talking about. The sun is out, and you're running down the road and passing cars feel that their opinion of your body is somehow your business. I have heard it all, trust me. I live by the philosophy "What you think about me is none of my business." I often listen to music when I run so that when people yell something out of their car window I can't quite make out what it is. I just smile and think they probably said, 'You're amazing! You're such a badass for running in the rain! How do you run when it's 100 degrees?" But, I know what is said is not ALWAYS positive, and it is rarely something I want to hear, so ignorance is bliss. My music is not loud enough to drown out everything, but it's loud enough to muffle what is being said. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that you can't get a sunburn at night! Yep! UV levels running at night are ZERO, and when you're as pale as I am, you burn! But no one has ever been burned by the light of the moon.
Haha, not really! In many cases, the people I come across at 11:30pm are the same people my friends come across at 5:15am. If anything, drivers are more alert at night than they are at 5:15am when they are fighting off fatigue and their first cup of coffee hasn't kicked in yet. People who are walking late at night are often surprised to see someone running that late and can't figure out what to make of it. A few nights ago I was running up Cotanche Street and someone saw me and all he could thing to do was smile and give me a thumbs up. Harmless.... I often think that someone who wants to cause harm isn't likely to go after a runner because most people don't enjoy running for fun, and it seems like too much work. Make yourself appear to be too much work for the pay off and you're good.
So there you have it. This is why I do what I do and why I do what I do when I do. (Read that a few times and it makes sense!) For Hinson Lake, I plan to do most of my running at night, just like I train! I'm looking forward to the challenge this brings and look forward to the possibility of meeting some really cool people along the way.
Say hello to one of my favorite meals! I am a huge fan of Pinterest (click here to follow me) and last year I started working on a collection of vegan foods. I like experimenting in the kitchen and this recipe seemed like something worth trying, especially with my love for basil. This year, I have several basil plants growing in my garden so it seemed like a perfect time to cook this up again. It makes a lot, but that's okay because I recently started dating a man who is more than happy to try my cooking! (He loved this by the way!) The best thing about this recipe is that it is LOADED with spinach (hello IRON and other vitamins) but you really can't even taste it. If you like basil, this is for you!
Here is a quick list of all the ingredients you will need to make magic happen. It is color coded by what you need for each section of cooking!
1/2 cup raw cashews
6 cups loosely packed spinach leaves (6 oz.)
1 small bunch basil (0.75 oz.) thick stems removed
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
8 oz pasta (I recommend shells)
1/2 cup of left over pasta water
1/2 of an onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp of olive oil
Start by making the pesto first. You will need the first set of ingredients... That would be the ones above in RED.
Add the cashews to your food processor and pulse a few times until crumbled. I personally use my Ninja Blender because my food processor is too small for all the things that are about to get blended.
Add the spinach, basil, nondairy milk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and continue to pulse, stopping to stir and scrape the sides if needed, until the spinach and basil are finely chopped.
Add more lemon juice to taste if desired, and set aside.
This particular time, I just poured it into mason jar and put in the fridge because we were planning to eat together the following evening.
Next, get your water boiling and pour in about 8 oz of pasta. I'm terrible at estimating 8 oz, so just use what you want... Using more isn't going to hurt anything. I like to use shells because it is able to hold onto the pesto! Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it (don't rinse!) and reserve a 1/2 cup of the water to use at the end of this recipe.
While the water is boiling and the pasta is doing it's thing you will start working on your ingredients in blue. Heat up a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Chop up 1/2 of an onion (any kind you like) and drop it in the skillet and sprinkle it with salt. Stir it up occasionally until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Then, mince up a couple cloves of garlic (or be lazy like me and crush it through a garlic press. Click here to see the one I use!) Let that cook for about 60 seconds.
Add the cooked pasta, reserved water, and pesto sauce and fold it all together. Reduce the heat and stir it up until the sauce starts to thicken. Serve it warm, but honestly, I will eat this stuff cold the next day! It holds together well for about 3 days in the refrigerator, but I seriously doubt it will even last that long because it is so darn delicious.
If you have any questions about this recipe, please post in the comment section below! Cheers to good health!
***Disclaimer*** No animals were harmed in the making of this meal. It contains NO animal products what-so-ever!
This year, one of my goals is eliminating dairy. Last year I found some really cool recipes to try, and I want to introduce you to one of my absolute favorites!
I have made it a couple times and have had several people try it and everyone likes it. The first person who tried it kept asking me what kind of cheese was in it, to which I just started talking about everything else that was in it (because there wasn't any cheese) and avoided spilling the secret. If I don't know what all is in something, I will avoid trying things. This dip is that kind of stuff that you just have to let people try it and then tell them later what is in it. Or in this case, what is NOT in it. As a side note, this dip gets better with age! On the first day, I personally can taste the cashews (maybe because I know they are in there) but the next day the dip is golden! The day after that? Even better. Click HERE for the recipe. No cholesterol, high in fiber, high in vitamins!! Win-win-win! Thank you Pinterest for this awesome find!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, it's not Christmas.. It's summer vacation! The time when all teachers yell, "Hey, Parents! TAG!!! YOU'RE IT!!!!!" Ahh, the feeling of relief as the students board the buses and take off down the road. Nothing can match the feeling of knowing you did everything you could for those kids and your mind and body hit that wall. Oh yeah, and now you have to pack up your whole classroom! This is why teachers need two months off. We need to recover from all the BS we put up with for ten months. So now it's time to start working on my TO-DO list for the summer.
Ironman Raleigh 70.3
Allow me to backtrack for a moment... June 2-4
Volunteering at this race is my favorite thing to do all year. I started by going to the Athlete Briefing before my volunteer shift so that I could answer all the questions athletes would be asking when they came by to pick up their packet. Yea, I'm THAT volunteer! Having done the race before, I know the stress that goes into that weekend and if I can help make someone's race experience one to remember, then I have done my job. The thing I enjoyed the most was talking athletes through the packet pickup line and then seeing them at the aid station on Sunday, and then some I even saw cross the finish line. After this experience, I thought about how cool it would be to work for Ironman. If I didn't have pets, I would seriously consider applying to work for Ironman. I sure could travel to some great places! Maybe one day I can be a professional volunteer.
1. Sign up for a marathon/50k for the summer. This will give my pre-training a purpose. Although, really, everything I'm doing even now is all pre-training for the 100k. Hard to believe the race is in 108 days! When I need motivation, I watch the video of myself crossing the finish line at Ironman Maryland and it brings tears to my eyes. I remind myself that I am worth it and that I am capable of the training that it takes.
2. Keep my blog updated. Good Grief, I have been a huge slacker in this area of life. I don't know why I keep forgetting to update things. The crazy thing is that my statistics for web traffic are still high even when I don't post for two months. This is motivation for exactly why I should be updating more often. You never know who's watching. My goal will be to update two days each week. Perhaps a little more frequently at first until I get everything caught up!
3. Become a morning person. Who am I kidding? I am a night runner. Mornings just are not for me. My friend Kristie and I are looking to plan some late night runs this summer in preparation for the 100k in October. This reminds me of our 4am bike rides in the middle of nowhere, being chased by barking dogs that we couldn't even see. I guess we may need to run with a phone in case something crazy happens. I can only imagine a driver seeing us running at 2am wondering what the hell is wrong with us.
4. Get a grip on nutrition. This is something I have been working on for the last two years. It started by eliminating meat from my diet. Then it turned to eliminating milk which I am proud to say that I have not drank a glass of milk in well over a year. I have trouble with saying no to whipped cream at Starbucks, but 90% of the time I tell them no thanks, which is always a miniature win in my head. The next step is turning down cream and flavored creamers in my coffee. I find this to be the most challenging thing right now. Also, cheese can be a challenge to turn down, especially since I love a good cheese quesadilla. Fortunately, my mentality is "solve your problem" so I pre-ordered Julie Piatt's book called This Cheese is Nuts which is a book on how to make vegan cheese. It arrived today and I am looking to start the cooking this week! I will be sure to post pictures of this process! Who knew you could make cheese with cashews as a base? (I did, but I'm just saying!!)
That seems like a good list to start with! As I mentioned before, my goal is to update twice a week for the summer. It's possible the first week or two will be three times a week until I am caught up with all my drafts. I can't wait to share what I have been doing, along with all the progress I have made as I crush this new set of goals!
There really is no excuse for not blogging in many months. I can't say that it's because I have had a crazy hard training schedule because I haven't. In fact, if anything, I feel a little bit like I lack direction. I was supposed to train for another half Ironman distance event that would have been last weekend, but I realized too late that I hadn't yet started a training plan and I was overwhelmed from the very beginning. I tried to get into it but then thought, "I'm just tired and not ready to commit to this." So I began to think about what I wanted. What I decided was that I needed a challenge of something I have never attempted before. That would get me excited! In the end, I have decided to run a 24 hour race at the end of September. The goal is to complete 100k (62 miles) in 24 hours. So, you could say I have set a pretty big goal!
My training has yet to really get started, so I have been base building in the meantime. I was inspired by my favorite vlogger, Monica Church, when she started climbing stairs while she trained for the Big Climb Seattle, where she raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Many of her followers were inspired to run stairs, myself included! This helped to jump start my training and get me excited about working out!
Life has been a little up and down lately and I have a lot of things to consider for the future. Many of my plans I can't exactly make public just yet, but I promise that I will surprise you with what I have planned for the year ahead. In the meantime, here is a new tattoo that I got to help inspire myself to work hard and to remember that even though I have fought many battles, I am a warrior, and nothing can get me down!
Some goals I can make public:
1. Apply for a passport
2. Race a marathon in Africa (The Big Five Marathon in Entabeni Game Reserve - South Africa) This is a goal for the summer of 2019
3. 100k in September
4. Grow my Norwex business!
Highlights so far this year
North Carolina has this funny way of confusing its residents into believing that there is no such thing as four distinct seasons in a year. We move a little faster than that, so instead, we often experience all four seasons in a week... Sometimes even in just one day. In the last week, we have experienced bitter cold, ice, and snowy conditions and then four days later it was 70 degrees. I often feel like living in North Carolina is like living in a dream. Just when you think you are having a dream about ice skating on the street and building a snowman, you suddenly wake up and you’re wearing shorts and a tank top. We did not have school on Monday and Tuesday of this past week because of snow and ice on the roads. In typical southern fashion, the roads were basically left to melt on their own. The city sprayed salt brine on the roads, knowing that an inch of rain was forecasted ahead of the snow and ice. So basically, they sprayed the road with tax payer money and mother-nature washed it away. The real solution is to drop rock salt and sand and then as drivers move it spreads out the salt and sand and creates roads that are much less hazardous. It’s frustrating in many ways because the excuse is, “Well we don’t have winter weather very often, so we just don’t know how to deal with it.” I call BS here, because in the twenty-two years I have lived in North Carolina, I can recall maybe two years that we did not have any winter weather, so this is hardly a unique situation. Years ago, they discovered that salt brine worked one time so they insist on using it every time and it rarely if ever works. Heaven forbid they take some advice from northern states that deal with this more frequently. But, in the end there is no sense in even venting about this because nothing will ever change.
This year, one of the things I am enjoying each night is taking the dogs for their mile-long walk. It didn’t take long to get them into a routine that every night we go for a walk before bed. The only thing not consistent is WHEN we go. After working all day, I come home and unpack, try to unwind, then it’s off to a workout, then I come home, try to eat something, then get the dogs out, pack my lunch, shower, and go to bed. Sometimes they get walked at 7pm, 9pm, even 10pm. I have always been a creature of the night, so 10pm walks (or later on the weekend) are nothing new. With getting back into triathlon training, my schedule is often all over the place so I just fit things in when and where I can. I will sometimes take work home from school, knowing there is little chance I will get to it. I often trade grading papers for time with my pups. The papers can wait until I take them back to school the next day. Life is short. Get outside!
On Wednesday, I left school at 3:00 and headed to the gym. This week more classes are getting underway in the pool so I knew I would have to be there early or else I risked not getting a lane to swim in. Also, I had to be back to school around 5, as the Ellen Show was at our school to do a live feed when the show was taping. Allow me to explain… I have a coworker, Michael Bonner, who has taught his 2nd grade students how to write rap songs about what they are learning in school. They have learned how to record and edit their videos. Mr. Bonner uploaded one of their videos to YouTube and from there it was shared with thousands of people. A local TV station picked it up as a story, and from there it gained the attention of the Ellen Show. They flew Mr. Bonner out to Los Angeles this week and interviewed him on the show. While they talked to him, they went to a live shot of us at school cheering and waving. The kids got to perform their rap for the audience and the crowd went wild! Ellen also gave Mr. Bonner equipment for the class to keep making more videos. They received TVs, drones, iPads, and Beats headphones (which have phenomenal sound by the way…. I’m wearing them now while I write) She also presented a check in the amount of $25,000 to the school. Not only that, but she created a GoFundMe.com page for the school, and at the present moment, it has raised just over $44,000 for the school. This spotlight on our school will make a difference for these students for many years to come.
So back to the workout… What I attempted was the same workout I tried last Friday night, only this time I did much better. It is amazing how quickly you can come back into a sport after not working out for almost three months. My last swim was a warmup swim at Ironman Maryland on October 1st. The first swim back was a reality check. I kept thinking, “I was able to swim 2.4 miles nonstop a few months ago, and today I can barely swim 300 yards without feeling like death!” This workout was better, but I knew I still had a lot of room for improvement. I finished the workout at 1650 yards. A mile is 1760 yards, so I know that I can do that in an upcoming workout. A half ironman distance is 2112 yards, so I feel like it won’t be long before I could knock that out. I reflect on how just a few months ago, I was swimming sometimes two hours at a time to train. That’s so crazy….
On Thursday night, I went out for a three-mile run and felt like I am finally making improvements in that area again. A couple weeks ago, I felt like I was falling apart and slowing down. Sometimes it just takes getting back out there a few times to start feeling like you’re getting it back. I have been running basically the same course at night and I have made a lot of progress running up 14th street by East Carolina University. That hill used to be a bear to climb, but now I find myself saying, “What hill??” Signing up for a race is another way of getting motivated, so Demetrius and I are going to sign up for a race in February. My goal is to be able to keep up with him so I will need to start doing some speed training for that to happen. I might also have to ask him to slow down just a few seconds per mile! He has made significant improvements in a short amount of time and I am so proud of him!
Friday afternoon I was back in the pool again. I left school at 2:50 and I was at the gym at 3:02! Knowing that classes would start at 4:30, I was pressed for time to get in my workout with few people bothering me. I did the same workout from Wednesday, only I skipped the sprint set. I could tell that the training is starting to catch up to my legs and it was at this point where my feet and lower legs were getting to the point of fatigue, and that is the time where my legs cramp in the pool which is extremely painful. I have been trying to find products, supplements, and stretching exercises to limit the cramping, but I have not found anything yet that can help me. In just a few weeks I will be receiving my athlete box from Base Performance and I am sure there will be something in there that will help me!
The weather this weekend will be chilly (highs in the 40s) but the upcoming week is forecasted to be back in the upper 60s and even 70s again. There is an expression commonly heard in North Carolina: “Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute!” So who knows what the week will hold. For now, it’s time to drive back home to pick up the dogs and hit the park. You never know when the weather will change, so take advantage of the moments while you can. Get outside and enjoy the sun and wind.
“One day you won’t be able to do this. Today is NOT that day.”
This week marks the beginning of training. For what, you ask? My friend Kristie and I are training for a Half Ironman distance triathlon. It's in 16 weeks, and I lost track of time. My plan was to do a 20-week plan, but somehow the time got away from me, so on Monday I was counting the weeks and got a nice little surprise. I would be starting on week 5 of my training plan!
On Wednesday, I found myself meeting Kristie at the pool. I haven't swam since Ironman in October, so I had NO idea what this swim was going to look like. As predicted, it was terrible. I swam a total of 1300 yards and my legs cramped up so bad I had to stop. I have always suffered from leg cramps, mostly in my right leg due to a foot surgery from almost 10 years ago. With shortened ligaments and tendons, the lack of flexibility has a significant impact on my foot, causing it to cramp for seemingly no reason.
I left the pool, feeling somewhat defeated. I thought about how three months ago I could swim 2.4 miles with no problem. I had just finished only 3/4 of a mile and it about killed me. At the same time, I thought about how if I could do that before, I could certainly do it again. Ironman training taught me that nothing is impossible and that the only limits you have are the ones you create for yourself. Ironman teaches you that you are stronger than you once thought and that if you work hard, anything is possible. Now that I think of it, my Ironman swim cap says "IRONMAN Anything Is Possible." So true...
On Thursday, I went out for a run. The plan was to run 4 miles from the same place I always start my runs. While I was driving to Elm Street, I called my mom to ask her what I needed to do to winterproof the house before the “snow storm” that was predicted. I looked ahead and saw red flashing lights ahead. “DAMNIT!!! A train!!!!” Greenville is known for the ridiculous amount of train traffic that constantly disrupts the city. As I waited, I put my car in park. Something told me this was going to be a long wait. Then, I noticed the train started to slow down….slower….slower….and….stop. “Are you kidding me????” I started thinking about where I could go if I turned around. The train was so long that I knew it would be blocking many other roads. After a couple minutes, I decided that I would just park at the business that was right next to me and I would just run from there. I contemplated seeing if I could climb up the steps of one of the tankers and then jump to the other side of the road. I thought about crawling under a tanker too. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I would likely end up on the news for getting hurt or something. So instead, I just ran through traffic and took off away from the train. I ran the fastest mile I have ran in some time! I felt like a badass for improvising my run. Nothing was going to stop me. Not even a train! As I ran, I heard “BOOM!!!!” and thought, “Ohhhh, that can’t be good!” I’m not sure exactly what was going on with the train and why it had to stop, or what sounded like an explosion, but those miles weren’t just going to run themselves! I turned around at Arlington Blvd and turned back towards the train. Eventually it started moving and by the time I made it back to the railroad crossing, it was gone and I continued my run. It ended up being kind of nice having to run somewhere different. Variety is the spice of life, after all….Right?
Tonight, I headed back to the pool. I had to make up for that terrible swim from Wednesday! The pool was not busy at all, as most people are probably getting their bread and milk from the grocery store before the whole state closes for the weekend. I love swimming on Friday nights because it’s usually the least busy night of the whole week. I get to enjoy a lane to myself and I don’t feel rushed that someone is waiting for my lane. I am not a fast swimmer, and I am even slower than normal now that I am getting back into training again. By the end of the workout, I comfortably completed 1500 yards. No cramps, just success! I finally felt like, “Yeah, I got this!!” It is amazing to see how much progress can be made in a short amount of time. I finally feel like I can announce that I am officially training for my next Half Ironman distance triathlon! After doing Ironman Maryland, a half seems like a piece of cake. I will have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and then run 13.1. I remember when that seemed like a daunting task. Now? I have confidence that I can do that with no problem.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember my blogs about Speedo man? He has returned to the pool as well. If he doesn’t wear the thong speedo, I think we will be okay. Yep, that’s right I said it. Enjoy that visual if you can. For me, I nearly choke on water when I see it. I mean…. “Bless his heart!”
As 2016 begins to wind down, it’s time to make sure that goals for the upcoming year are ready to go. I follow a vlogger on YouTube by the name of Monica Church, and she posted a vlog in the last month or so where she made a To-Do list and put each item on a sticky note and then put it on the wall. The goal was that by the end of the week all the sticky notes would be off the wall. This got me thinking about how I can organize my goals for the upcoming year.
A few days ago, I came across an idea on Pinterest. The idea was to cover a wall with corkboard so that I could attach my goals to the board, making it so my goals are front and center all the time. After visiting the craft store and amazon.com, I realized that this project might be a little expensive on the budget that I am working with. So, I would have to come up with a new plan. That’s when I started to think of using a whiteboard. Buying a large whiteboard was going to be WAY more expensive than corkboard and would be difficult to figure out how to hang it without it crashing to the floor. So, I kept looking for options. Then I saw a great pin using whiteboard paint. There seemed to have mixed reviews on different brands of paint, and the application looked like it could be a little daunting, but I was willing to take a chance. Now being a homeowner, I love that I don’t have to ask permission to paint something or just try something crazy. If it doesn’t work, then who cares? I can just try again!
I went to Michaels Craft Store and bought a can of Rust-oleum Whiteboard paint and got right to work. It retails for $29.99 but since it was not on sale I could use a 50% coupon with it and got it for just over $16 with tax. After measuring a ridiculously large space for this project, I taped it off with ScotchBlue tape (which was a disaster, if you look at the lines up close. Next time I’m going back to Frog Tape.) After reading the directions a few times, I mixed part A and part B and started to paint the wall. Once the two parts of paint are mixed, you must apply to paint very quickly (the can says 1 hour, but other reviews say you need to finish the project within 2 hours.
The paint goes on like milk. It’s very thin and drips all over the floor. I waited 20 minutes to paint the second coat. The wall was not dry at all and I hesitated to paint over a wall that was not dry, but I did as the can said anyway. After the second coat, it still looked like crap. Painting over a dark wall, I expected some resistance from the paint. At this point I remembered that I had a ceiling fan, so I turned that on and walked away for another 20 minutes. I came back, repainted a third time, fourth time, and finally a fifth time. The can of paint covers 50 square feet, and I’m guessing that based on my 5x6 foot square, it probably covers a maximum of 4 coats if you are using the maximum area. It takes three days to cure, but I’m planning to give it at least four days just in case.
I am excited to start using to board to track goals and progress with health, exercise, and racing goals. When I got my acceptance letter to join the Base Performance Racing Team in 2017, I knew that I would have to step up my training. My whiteboard wall will be ready to start write on by New Year’s Day! The next thing I want to do it attach a wooden boarder around it to make it look a little neater. Plus, since the ScotchBlue tape let me down, I need to do something to clean up the edges. The plan at SOME point (Spring break probably) will be to repaint the workout room anyway.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is one place in life where I am doing everything I can to keep myself from failing. Set big goals and set some small goals to make sure that you are staying on track. That is the main thing that I have learned in my many years of failing at things that I want to accomplish. If you have any questions about my whiteboard (planning, painting, or how to implement it) please comment below in the comment section. I am hope that this inspires you to take chances on yourself. If I have learned one thing in the last couple years, it is that sometimes you have to leap before you look!
It’s that time of year again where we sit back and reflect on the year that has passed. What can we be proud of? What can we improve on? What were some things that set us back? But more importantly, what were some things that pushed us forward? Taking it a step further: What can we learn from this year to push ourselves more next year?
On Christmas Day, I took Haro to William B Umstead State Park in Raleigh and as we walked 5 miles on Loblolly Trail, I started making a mental list of all the things I want to accomplish in 2017. I am not one to walk with my phone very often because I like trail walking as a way of getting away from the noise from the outside world. I don’t want my phone buzzing in my pocket or people calling me to take me away from my inner peace. The way I see it, your message will be on my phone when I get back to the car! For those saying, “But what if it’s an emergency??” Well, my answer to that is that even if it is, I’m in the middle of the woods and still can’t help you! I think many people are tied to their phone and have rarely experienced the beauty of simply unplugging. Anyway…. I’m getting away from my point here. GOALS! That’s what this is about!
I divided my goals into a few different categories so that I could make sure that I was tending to every angle of my life, minus relationships. As for that, there is nothing you can do to push things along faster and nothing you can do to really create or destroy relationships (unless you're a jerk) and friendships. They will be what they will be and there is little you can do to impact that part of life. Be a good person and put good into the world and you will be rewarded with meaningful relationships with others. Besides, I am incredibly happy with my friendships and relationship with Demetrius, so there isn’t anything I am to change here. This is one part of my life I am very proud of :-)
Besides being involved with my local animal shelter, I want to try to do more this year. A few years ago, inspired by my dad, I started donating blood. To this day, I have donated “11 units” of blood. In 2015, I donated three times, and in 2016 I donated three times. My goal for 2017 is to donate six times, which is the maximum number of times you can donate in a year. Donating blood is something that takes 30-45 minutes of your time every two months and can save three lives at once. I was also encouraged the last time I went, when the lady taking my blood told me that donating blood regularly helps to flush out fat in your blood. She showed me a vial they had taken earlier in the day and you could clearly see the fat floating at the top. It was incredible! She said, “So you see, the donor gets something positive out of the experience too!” It's also a great way for me to keep up with my hemoglobin numbers. Yes, I am a health nerd!
I am working a water goal for at least January. In February I may back it off a little bit, but I know that increasing my water consumption helps me to drop weight. I am working towards dropping about 25 pounds in 2017 (2 pounds a month, totally doable) and one way I am working on that is by drinking 100oz of water every day. In the last three days, I have lost just over 4 pounds, so this is definitely working. It has worked in the past so I just have to stick with it. Also, this helps to make donating blood easier which is part of my community service goal.
In 2017 I will work towards eliminating most, if not all dairy from my diet. In mid-March I will be two years meat free! Consuming dairy products can still wreak havoc on your body, so that is why I plan to take even more of it out of my diet. I no longer drink dairy milk (and enjoy confusing baristas when I ask for motherless milk) but kicking the habit of whipped cream on a soy latte is still hard to kick. Baby steps… I got this!
One of my goals is that I want to cover at least 700 miles by foot in 2017. Walking/running/hiking it all goes into the same 700-mile bank. Why 700? I’m not sure where the number exactly came from. I decided in early December to try to hit the 504-mile mark in running and then that quickly got derailed when I got sick. I’m giving myself an extra 7 days in January to meet the goal and then start working on 700. What I realized over 2016 is that I set HUGE goals but don’t check in from time to time to see progress. I don’t set monthly goals to make sure that I am staying on track. So, 2017 will be about checking in more often. I figure if I average about 15 miles a week that will get me close to my goal. Some weeks I will hit more, some weeks I will hit a little less. It all works out IF I pay attention all year long and don’t get behind.
There are so many options for exercise goals that I need to focus on just a few. Duathlon National Championships are in Cary, NC again in 2017 and will likely move to the west coast in 2018 and 2019. I was not happy with my overall time/place this year so this might be another opportunity to try again. I also have my eye on a Half Ironman distance triathlon in April. Being a part of the Base Performance Race Team, I have committed to doing at least one half iron distance race in 2017. I would like to do a few more sprint distance races too. The goal here would be to place in my age group in at least one triathlon this year. I move up to the 35-39 age group category, so we shall see how that treats me!
Now it's your turn...
I encourage everyone to set goals for the upcoming year. Don’t be afraid to set goals that seem too high to reach. That is exactly how you push yourself to the limits. When I set my eyes on Ironman, I first thought maybe I was crazy. Then at one point I realized that I could finish what I started. Had I never set that goal, I never would have even tried. Ironman is not for everyone, but everyone has a goal that seems impossible to achieve. THAT is the one you MUST pick for next year. What’s stopping you? Feel free to comment below on what you plan to do for the upcoming year!
So here we are, coming into the end of the year and there are many positive things to look back on. 2016 was a year of changes and taking chances. I learned over the year that sometimes you just should leap before you look.
At the end of 2015, I decided that I wanted to buy a house instead of look for yet another apartment. My rent was going to be almost $1000 a month, and with no one to share the rent with, it was time to make a decision. I moved to Greenville in 2010 with the plan of going back to school to be a teacher. I didn’t know if I would stay after I finished school, or move somewhere else to teach. I ended up falling in love with the little city and wanted to stay. After five years, I decided that this was the place where I wanted to put down some roots. After figuring out what I could afford, I searched the market with a realtor named Scott, who happens to be a friend of mine. Greenville certainly had some interesting properties that were in my price range and I was getting a little worried about my options. Alas, he messaged me one day in January about a house that he thought might be perfect. The problem, was that I got the message a little late and the next day the house was being shown to another potential buyer. Long story short, we both made an offer on the house that day and mine ended up being the one the seller went with. I was so excited to finally have a place to call my own. I started to feel like a grown up!
A year later I am deleting what I wrote here. It's not worth remembering.
March was a little bit of a rough month. My car, Ol’ Yeller, decided that she just couldn’t keep up any longer. We tried so many things to fix her, but she ended up becoming an organ donor at a local junk yard. It broke my heart, but we had to move on. I bought my dad’s old car and have had it ever since. It might not be bright yellow, and now I blend in with traffic, but it’s reliable and that’s all I really need!
In April I turned 34. My first thought was “This is my last year in this age group!” Yeah, you might be a triathlete if… April also marked the one year anniversary of becoming vegetarian. I gave up meat a year ago, (techically I gave it up in March, but I officially make the committment in April) and next year I worked towards eliminating more dairy from my diet. I get better every day! I have been reading more about animal agriculture and have learned that continuing in consume dairy is still hurting animals. I have made so much progress in my diet and I am proud of how far I have come in just one year.
In May, I competed in the Duathlon National Championships and earned a spot on the USA World Team. I was proud of this accomplishment, however, I declined making the trip with the team to Switzerland because the cost was going to be so much. It was more just an honor to make the team! I knew with Ironman Maryland coming up in October that I wouldn’t have the funds to entertain the idea of traveling to the other side of the world for a competition. In my personal life, I accepted a job at a new school and would be leaving the school I had been working at for the last four years. I knew I needed a change and I was excited to move to a school that is a mile and a half from my house.
June was bitter sweet. I was leaving Pactolus and moving on with my career. It was hard to leave so many coworkers, but many of them were leaving as well so even if I stayed, I wouldn’t see them anymore anyway. Demetrius helped me pack up my room one box at a time and move all my stuff into my shed for summer storage. You never realize how much stuff you have until you put it into boxes! I left a bunch of stuff for whoever was going to move into my room because I didn’t want to make another trip back and forth from school to the house. I hope that teacher enjoyed all the stuff I left behind… I volunteered at Ironman 70.3 in Raleigh and enjoyed helping new athletes get across the finish line. I first worked at packet pickup where I quickly became the “go-to” person at the registration table since I was the only volunteer who had completed in the race before. I absolutely loved the work and I can’t wait to volunteer again in 2017!
July was full of many long bike rides. I had a couple rides that started as early as 4am to avoid some of the heat of the day. I learned that I am a heavy salt sweater and discovered Base Salt. This stuff helped to maintain fluid balance in my body and kept my hands from swelling and my feet from cramping. (This would end up paying off in October, but I will get to that later) July was full of multiple workouts each day, just as many showers, and lots of stretching and working on my diet. Ironman would be here before I knew it and I had to stay focused.
August was full of more workouts long before the sun came up. I also had to start thinking about school starting up again. I was excited to start working at a new school, but I was also disappointed that summer break was coming to an end and I would have to start mentally preparing for what was ahead. I knew that I would be challenged at this school, and I looked forward to how this would shape me as a professional. I also was having to brainstorm how to keep my training going strong. The first couple weeks of school were tough because I would be so tired at the end of the day and then I would get frustrated that I still had to work out. This frustration leaked into September and things started to get rough in Ironman land…
September was full of highs and lows. My settlement check from the bike accident last April finally came through and I was excited to be able to pay off Justus’ balance at the vet. But then I started to question everything about Ironman. “Did I still want to do this? What was I thinking? Can I just quit now?” I logged into Facebook and posted on the Ironman Maryland group page and told my fellow triathletes what I was going through and that I considered giving up. They told me to remember why I signed up in the first place and to not think about quitting when I was just weeks away from fulfilling this dream. They posted videos that inspired me to keep going. Some of the videos I found myself watching every day to stay motivated. I was excited to meet the people who I had been talking to for the last year and they were not about to let me throw in the towel. I am so glad to have had their support because I can’t imagine what it would be like now to know that I got so close and then walked away.
Towards the middle of September, my friend Kristie and I went down to New Bern to ride 100 miles on the bike. An organized ride was going on there and we opted to use it as a safe course. The idea was to take nothing from thr course and just ride the same route. We met lots of people and had a good time. When we were done, we logged just over 103 miles.
October was Ironman month and it was an experience that I will look back on with NO regrets. I am disappointed that the swim was cancelled but I was also thankful that I was not put into unsafe water when swimming is my weakest event. I won’t go into details here about Ironman since it had its own LONG post! But I am truly grateful for the experience. I was so happy to have my dad, brother, and Demetrius there with me at the finish line. I never knew I could feel so many emotions in one day. I look forward to trying this race again one day… Perhaps in 2018 when I can save up some more money! The night I finished Ironman, I was already thinking, “When can I do that again!?” In mid-October I ran in a 5 mile race in Durham. The course was beautiful and I look forward to running this race again next year. The finisher medal was the most incredible medal I have seen! I mean, who doesn’t love gold glitter?
In November I got word that I made the 2017 Base Performance Race Team! I'm super excited to represent the Base brand next year!
And then that brings us to December. My workouts have been sporadic but I am working towards consistency in running. I have Haro training again to be my night time running partner. Haro runs with me when I need to run through some sketchy parts of town. Many people, especially at night, think she looks aggressive and wont mess with her, so in turn they don’t mess with me either. No one is particularly afraid of Bud, so he just runs with me in the neighborhood. Haro on the other hand causes people to cross the street when they see us and that doesn’t bother me one bit.
I think it is important to look back on the year and reflect on the positive things. Last year was a tough year and I make a conscious decision that 2016 would be different and it definitely has lived up to my expectations. This doesn’t mean that the year was without its problems, but I decided this year I would focus on the good things that happened. I made a 2016 Memories jar where I would write down all the good things that happened during the year. The idea is that on New Year’s Eve, you go through the jar and open each little piece of paper and read something positive that happened during the year. In two weeks I get to start going through the jar! I’m sure each memory will bring a smile to my face!
And now, I must start thinking of 2017 goals...
My name is Jamie and I am an Ironman athlete! I completed my first super sprint triathlon in 2008. I am proud to be a member of the Base Performance Race Team in 2017!
My Support Team
Support the habit!
50K - 6:54:59
Half Marathon 2:10:58
10 Miler - 1:45:42
10K - 1:00:24
8K - 47:21
5 Miler - 52:41
5K - 27:27
1 mile - 8:33
103.48 miles - 6:42:11
2.42 miles - 1:47
Note: some distances have only been raced once! I know I could crush a couple of these now!