I Swam, Biked & Ran At Iron Girl Webster

I swam then I biked then I ran.

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All in a row.

All by choice.

And you know what?

It was fuuunnnn!!

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The Iron Girl Webster Sprint Tri was a BLAST from Start to Finish.

Okay there was some slight cursing during the bike (I’ll get to that later), but for the most part I was alll smiles!

The triathlon ended up spanning over three days rather than just Race Day! On Friday, I shared my triathlon prep post and on Saturday I had the honor of participating in the Iron Girl Expo with Got Chocolate Milk. I never thought I would be asked to participate in a Q&A panel at a triathlon expo or co-host a shakeout run, but both were a blast!

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With a 4am wake-up call on race day, I tried to spend the night before relaxing in bed, enjoying my Zensah compression shorts and socks and just calming the pre-race jitters.

Can I stress how quickly 4am seems to come? :P

I leaped out of bed since I knew we were on a tight schedule to make sure we made it out West on time.

We were on the road by 4:49am and in the parking lot for the race at 5:52am. Booya! Yay for no traffic on the Mass Pike.

The weather was in the low 60s with clear skies. Perfect racing conditions.

The parking lot was just over a mile from the Start so the race provided port-o-potties at the parking lot (HUGE WIN!) and shuttles to the Start. They were moving regularly and had amole busses available (ANOTHER WIN).

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Finish shoot I would see a few hours later

I headed straight to the transition area to be numbered up and to set up my gear.

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This race was my third triathlon (all Sprint) so I looked at my transition set up from previous races as an example. I laid everything out then stood back and made sure the things I needed first would be in front – aka bike gear, snacks in the middle and run gear farthest back.

As I mentioned this would be my first tri using the bike shoes so it would be a learning experience either way. :)

Transition closed at 6:30 so I gave the layout one last glance over, grabbed my goggles/swim cap and headed out to meet the Got Chocolate Milk ladies.

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The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. The beach was full of ladies and their support crews. I took a quick dip in the water to see how the tri kit would feel while swimming. Remember I haven’t swum in the tri kit yet so again new experience for me. :P

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I love chatting with people before a race. It pushes the pre-race jitters out of my mind since I am busy focusing on the other person or people. So things like this amazing group photo get me motivated and ready to jump in the water.

Only thing was the picture was at 6:45am and my wave wasn’t starting until 7:30! :P

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But, I took my opportunity to get last-minute advice and inspiration from Chrisann, a Got Chocolate Milk Captain and Iron(wo)man! Biggest piece of advice: Have Fun! I can definitely do that.

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The wife and I moved closer to the Start Area on the beach so we could hear the National Anthem and start cheering on the earlier waves.

The Iron Girl Webster race manager, Sarah Frey, came over to chat with me while on the beach. I have to say it was a really nice gesture and a pleasure. I had nothing but positive things to say up to that point about the race. The IRONMAN group knows how to run an event properly. Volunteers were nice, helpful and everyone seemed happy!

It was also cool to hear more about her background in triathlons, etc. What can I say I love hearing people share their journeys!

Before I knew it was time for me to line up. I gave the wife a kiss for good luck and headed to the Start Line. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach, but I tried my hardest to keep the positive thoughts going. I also had to remind myself that I chose to be there. ;)

***

Swim – 1/3 mile

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We started the swim in the water. I moved myself closer to the front of the group to hopefully avoid some of the extra kicking and punching that can happen when a group of people start swimming at the same time.

There were 5 minutes between each wave, but I swear it was really 30 minutes. It felt like a lifetime between getting in the water and the 10 second countdown.

But then we were off.

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 Can you see me? ;)

I could definitely tell a difference racing without a wetsuit compared to with a wetsuit since it gives you a little extra buoyancy. But I felt strong. I have been working on sighting – keeping a target in your sights while swimming – and it was paying off. I was definitely swimming in a straighter line than the two triathlons last year.

As we took the first of two left turns in the water, I swam straight into the wave before us. I stopped for a moment to get gauge the situation before swimming a tad to the left to get out of the mass of orange or red cap swimmers. Thankfully that gave me a nice lane to get back into a rhythm.

I was trying to swim using more of my arms than my legs. Sarah Reinertsen told me in her Ironman she exhausted her arms as much as possible since you don’t really need them the rest of the race. I tried to take that to heart.

With the second left turn done, it was straight to the Swim Finish on the beach. I kept my eyes on the Swim Finish Arch whenever I needed to re-sight.

I kept swimming until my fingers grazed the bottom of the Lake then I stood up to run out of the water.

Crossed the Swim mat and officially entered transition.

I was 1/3 of the way there! ;)

There were some small rocks and gravel during the run/jog from the water to my stuff.

Total Time: 10:55
Pace: 2:03/100 yds
Overall Place: 55/583
Division: 10/83

***

Transition 1

After hobbling/jogging over the rocks/dirt/asphalt to get to my bike. Step 1 was to put on my shirt with my number on it. I didn’t want to forget that. Second was putting on my helmet. I should’ve taken the time to readjust my ponytail a little more for comfort but I was caught up in the moment.

So folks take the time to get comfortable in your gear – it’s what transition is for. ;)

I wiped off my feet with my towel, put on my socks/bike shoes, adjust my Sparkle Athletic skirt,  grabbed my bike and I was out the gate. I took a quick swig of water, but should’ve eaten my mini Luna bar then. My mistake! I need to remember to fuel before the bike.

It was odd running to the “mount” spot in my bike shoes, but thankfully it wasn’t too far.

Time: 2:56
Overall Place: 100/583
Division: 10/83

***

Bike – 12 miles

Friends, I recommend looking at the course map before the race. :P I had NO idea there was such a HUGE hill and other rolling hills during the bike course.

We headed out of transition for the 12 mile loop. This was my first race in bike shoes so I was really hoping to see an improvement from my previous races where I wore sneakers.

I felt like the motion was more fluid. I am still not comfortable on the bike enough to take my hands off the handlebars so I didn’t bother putting water bottles on my bike (yes something I am working on), but I should’ve checked whether they allowed camelbacks or not and should’ve brought it either way. I originally thought it’s 12 miles I can make it, but I definitely needed it. Another learning experience.

Mile 1: 3:39
Mile 2: 3:57
Mile 3: 3:51
Mile 4: 3:48
Mile 5: 6:20
Mile 6: 3:07

Sooo do we have any idea which mile the largest of the hills was located? ;)

There were many women walking their bikes up the hill, but I made a deal with myself that no matter how long it took me to get up it – I would ride the entire way up. I grunted, I swore, I breathed heavily, but I did it!

And it felt AWESOME! Tiring, but awesome.

Mile 7: 3:36
Mile 8: 4:15
Mile 9: 3:16
Mile 10: 3:28
Mile 11: 3:21
Mile 12: 3:33

Rolling hills for most of the course gave me a LOT of practice on shifting gears, which I needed.

I also need to work on not being so scared when going fast on the downhills. I always imagine me flipping over my handlebars and crashing so I slam on the brakes. I need to get a little more confidence, which I assume and hope will come over time.

At least while ladies were passing me on the bike, they had my Sparkle Athletic skirt to compliment me on. ;)

I did come off the bike feeling excited. I really felt stronger and more knowledgable than I did a year ago. I need to keep reminding myself that I am newest to biking and every chance I am on the bike is a learning experience.

I was proud of my shifting and staying in my own race rather than getting upset when folks passed me … which happens a lot.

Total Time: 47:35
Pace: 15.1 MPH
Overall Place: 172/583 (can we tell it’s my weakest area)
Division: 24/83

***

Transition 2

Well you know a transition won’t go as well when you go into the wrong lane. Yup, took my bike down the wrong row before realizing it and hauling booty to the correct one. Oops!

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Gotta thank the wife for catching this action shot a I changed from bike shoes to sneakers. I was shaking so much that I was having trouble tying my shoes, which slowed me down. But I stopped took a deep breath and tried again – success! I chugged some water and headed out. Again this is where I should’ve had another mini luna bar, but I was sooo excited to get to the run part (my fav) I skipped it. Another life lesson.

Time: 2:12
Overall Place: 262/583
Division: 44/83

***

Run – 3 Miles

Hello old friend. As someone that hated running for most of my life I never thought I would get excited for the run portion of a triathlon. But it really is my happy place and comfort zone.

The run was an out and back (which we passed when coming in on the bike) so there were a TON of people to high five and cheer on. I was having a blast.

I LOVE cheering people on so this was 3 miles of it. The course had some inclines, but nothing terribly challenging.

My legs felt a little heavy right off the bike, but quickly got acclimated.

I can only simply say the run was like a party. It was such a great energy and excitement knowing we were 2/3 of the way done. You know I was secretly wishing the run portion was longer ;) but I didn’t let on to anyone else about that. Ha.

I wish I had my phone because the run portion was weird to be mid-run selfie-less. Priorities right?

There were volunteers clearly directing us where to go and offering up water/Nuun in a water stop that you saw on the way out and back on the run. So two stops for the price of one.

There was an incline during Mile 2, but it came with a down hill.

The run was through a little neighborhood so you could see the water in between the houses.

I just couldn’t stop smiling.

As we took the final right down the Stretch. You had the bikes coming in on your left, you had runners coming towards you on the right as they headed out on the run. It was awesomely motivating commotion!

Then there it was … the Finish Line shoot. As you came down the shoot you could hear the announcer say: Dani Holmes-Kirk … you are an Iron Girl!

It was freakin’ cool. I mean I will never hear you are an Ironman so this was the closest I will get and it was awesome.

Total Time: 23:16
Pace: 7:46 min/mile
Overall Place: 47/583
Division: 7/83

***

After receiving my medal from an adorable young lady, I immediately headed to refuel with some Chocolate Milk.

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Oh it was heaven in a little Nestle Nesquick bottle. I needed the carbs and the proteins so these tired muscles could recover!

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Since the Chocolate Milk booth was RIGHT at the Finish Line, I could refuel and continue to cheer on the Finishers.

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I had actually heard Chrisann’s name announced when I was heading out on the run. She did amazing.

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I want to thank Natalie from Got Chocolate Milk for all her help over the weekend. :)

Right next to the Chocolate Milk tent was the post-race spread for the athletes. Mmmm mini cinnamon rolls. I had two and enjoyed every bite!

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Photo Courtesy Iron Girl Webster

***

Overall, I am really happy with how the day turned out. I tried new things out: tri kit, bike shoes, wearing a Sparkle Athletic skirt for bike/run and focusing on staying in my own race.

I also learned things I need to work on: proper fueling/hydrating, the bike – just all of the bike, and transitions.

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Oh and the biggest thing, not getting caught up in rankings. Not one of my close friends or family asked where I placed. They just wanted to make sure I finished and I had fun doing it. Why I put this pressure on myself? I don’t know, but I am working on it.

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I also want to thank Chrisann and her Iron Maidens for welcoming me with open arms into their group for the weekend. Talk about one inspiring and motivating group of women!

I owe an extra WOO to Chrisann who went back on the course to run in with the final participant.

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I was cheering them on and caught this action shot after I started walking back to my car. Marge, pictured above finishing her first triathlon, battled bike malfunctions, but kept moving forward which meant dragging her bike 30-40 minutes until she found the on-road bike mechanics. How about THAT for heart?

***
Iron Girl did a GREAT job putting this race on. I will recommend it to any lady I meet looking for a good, welcoming, supportive and fun triathlon.

But with no adult beverages onsite, I did have to wait to cheers until I got home. ;)

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Did you participate in Iron Girl Webster? What did you think of that hill on the bike course?

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2014 Road Races

Here is how the 2014 race schedule is shaping up so far:

January 1 – 1st Run 5k – 23:43 (7:39 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 9 – Disney Family Fun Run 5k – 32:05 (10:21 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 10 – Walt Disney World 10k – 1:05:40 (10:35 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 11 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon – 2:22:31 (10:53 min/mile pace) – RECAP

January 12 – Walt Disney World Marathon – 4:45:57 (10:55 min/mile pace) – RECAP

***

February 2 – Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon – 1:55:43 (8:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

February 14 – Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k *Virtual* – 26:18 (8:29 min/mile pace)

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March 1 – Black Cat 20-Miler – 2:57:59 (8:54 min/mile pace) – RECAP

March 16 – Craicfest 5k – 24:17 (7:49 min/mile pace) – RECAP

***

April 19 – BAA 5k – 25:08 (8:06 min/mile pace) – RECAP

April 21 – 118th Boston Marathon - 5:31:18 (12:39 min/mile pace) – RECAP

April 26 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon - 4:42:12 (10:46 min/mile pace) – RECAP

***

May 11 – M.O.M.’s Run 5k - 24:14 (7:48 min/mile pace) – RECAP

May 13 – Strides Against Stroke 5k *Virtual* – 26:16 (8:28 min/mile pace)

May 18 – 18th Annual Mystic River Herring Run & Paddle 5k - 24:39 (7:57 min/mile pace) – RECAP

May 25 – Boston’s Run To Remember Half Marathon – 1:50:58 (8:28 min/mile pace) – RECAP

May 29 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #1 - 23:29 (7:34 min/mile pace) – RECAP

***

June 1 - Freedom Run 5k - 23:55 (7:43 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 7 – Runner’s World 5k - 28:28 (9:11 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 7 – Runner’s World 10k - 58:49 (9:29 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 8 – Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon - 2:08:52 (9:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 21 – Rock and Run Boston (Obstacle 5k) - 45:32 (14:38 min/mile pace) – RECAP

June 22 - BAA 10k - 51:37 (8:19 min/mile pace) – RECAP

***

July 3 – Finish At The 50 (10k for me) - 53:01 (8:32 min/mile pace) – RECAP

July 13 – Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon – 1:57:44 (8:59 min/mile pace) - RECAP

July 17 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #3 - 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) – RECAP

July 20 – Iron GirlWebster Sprint Triathlon – 1:26:54 – RECAP

***

August 10 – The Sharon Triathlon (Sprint) – Starts at 8:00 a.m. ET

August 14 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #4 – Starts at 6:30 (Women’s Only 5k) & 7 (Co-ed 5k)

August 17 – Falmouth Road Race – Starts at 9:00 a.m. ET

August 24 – Race To The Row 5k – Starts at 9:30 a.m. ET

***

September 4 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #5 – Starts at 6 (Women’s Only 5k) & 6:30 (Co-ed 5k)

September 7 – Pumpkinman Half Ironman – Starts at TBD

September 18 - Boston 5k Summer Series Race #6 – Starts at 6 (Women’s Only 5k) & 6:15 (Co-ed 5k)

September 27 – ZOOMA Women’s Half Marathon (Cape Cod) – Starts at TBD

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October 12 - BAA Half Marathon - Starts at 8:30 a.m. ET

October 18 – Runner’s World 5k – Starts at 8:00 a.m. ET

October 18- Runner’s World 10k – Starts at 9:30 a.m. ET

October 19 – Runner’s World Half Marathon – Starts at 8:00 a.m. ET

***

November 15 – Spartan Sprint Fenway Park – Starts TBD

 

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Racecancer’s Boston 5k Summer Series: Race #3

I love a race series especially one that takes place along the gorgeous and historic Charles River in Boston.

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How did I get so lucky to call this my running path?

Thursday July 17th marked the third installment of Racecancer‘s Boston Summer 5k Series.

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I competed in Race 1 on May 29, but missed Race 2 on June 12 due to injury.

When I woke up on July 17, I wasn’t feeling it. I was just having one of those days when I wasn’t in the mood to race. I think it happens to all of us at one time or another.

But, I knew I would feel better if I went, saw friends and just hit the pavement.

I arrived early for the race since I misread my calendar as to what time it started. Oops! I took the extra time to get some pre-run walking and stretching in.

I was deciding whether I would run both 5ks offered – the women’s only 5k was kicking off at 7 and the co-ed 5k would follow at 7:30. I was going to wait and decide after race #1.

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The women lined up just before 7 for pre-race announcements.

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Not sure why I look so tall compared to everyone else. Hmm… For the record I am 5-8.

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Also for the record, I was NOT posing in this photo. It just looks that way. ;)

Do you guys like my Race Ragz blog shirt? It was only the second time I wore it in a race.

As the pre-race jitters sunk in (like they do for every single race I participate in), I tried to block them out and turn it into fuel.

I had no expectations for the race time-wise and was just going to get out there and enjoy the atmosphere.

The course is basically the same for every race so I wouldn’t have any surprises during the 3.1 miles.

After a 10 second countdown, we were OFF!

Ladies zoomed past me and I was okay with that. I wasn’t going to PR and I needed to stay in my own game.

We crossed over the Eliot St bridge just before Mile 1 and I had to snap a pic.

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How beautiful is that?

Mile 1: 7:48

It was hot and humid. I don’t normally run in sleeves so I had to keep tucking my sleeves back under the strap of my sports bra. Having wardrobe malfunctions or annoyances while running is never fun.

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And of course a halfway point selfie for everyone’s enjoyment. ;) This was actually the second attempt at the selfie as the first was horrendous. Yes my mid-run selfies are not always perfect on the first try. :P

I want to thank the race for having two water stops during the 5k loop. They were both needed and appreciated.

Mile 2: 7:59

Since I was once again running without music, I needed something to occupy my mind for the final mile so I took in the people around me. I was trying to remember if any were around me during the first race in the series. I also had a blast watching this young girl – maybe around 10 or so – running with her mom. She kept looking over her shoulder to see if any of us were about to pass her.

I loved her fire and tenacity. Part of me wanted to step it up a notch to see what she would do, but I really wanted her to have that moment with her mom. So I hung back.

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I also want to thank the race for providing free race photos to participants. It is such a rare thing these days. This photo was about 1/2 a mile from the Finish.

I gave it all I could for the final 1/2 mile, but between heat and my overall tiredness it felt like I was moving in place or I was on a treadmill. Has anyone else felt that during a run? I looked down just to confirm I was in fact moving forward.

As I neared the Finish Line, I looked to my right and saw a couple having a picnic – on the ground – among the geese. Ummm not my idea of a romantic date – umm hi goose poop – but they looked like they were having a phenomenal time.

Mile 3: 7:56

#2

I crossed the Finish Line and went directly to the water jugs.

Let me tell you how much I did NOT feel like I was running sub 8′s. Prior to my watch buzzing at Mile 1, I really expected to see a 9:30-ish pace. I just felt heavy and hot the entire race.

So while I am excited to see the final time, I really felt off the entire run. I don’t think I could’ve done anything different. I was properly hydrated. I had plenty of fuel prior to the race. I was stretched. I think the heat/humidity was just there. Hi Summer! ;)

Once the first race was over, I was chatting with my friend George and seriously considering running the second 5k slowly. A cool down if you will. But as the time passed prior to the second race, the achiness in my left hammy was increasing. So I listened to my body and headed home.

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Start to Coed 5k

With my weekly weigh-in the next morning I opted out of the post-race party at Miller’s Boston Ale House sponsored by Long Trail Brewing. But man I could’ve used a beer after that race.

That night I looked at the race results for the women’s only race and I was nowhere to be found. Hmm… I know from my mid-run selfie that I was in fact in there. After a quick tweet to the race organizers, I was told some people were missing from the electronic results, but were still on the manual list. It didn’t take them long to fix the mistake. Thanks!

My 24:19 (7:50 min/mile pace) placed me 33rd overall out of 108 and 11th out of 35 in my division.

I am looking forward to hopefully being a little healthier for Race #4 of the series on Thursday, August 14 sponsored by Clown Shoes. Want to join me? You can still register here.

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***

Have you ever participated in a women’s only 5k?

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22
Jul 2014
AUTHOR Dani
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Monday Musings: Tori’s Birthday & Iron Girl Triathlon Weekend

The weekend started off just the way I wanted it to … with a happy result on the scale.

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Despite being in the negative with my Weight Watchers Points, I still shed 1.6 lbs. Woo!

Now I have been consistently going to the Friday 8am WW meeting since my temp job ended, but Friday I had to skip. Now know I had a good reason AND I had promised to go on Saturday at 8am instead.

Why did I have to meet my meeting?

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For a nice long bike ride with my friend Darcie. I’m so glad Darcie and I could connect for another long bike ride. Since the ride began in the city, I had a lot of clipping practice (clipping my bike shoe in and out of the pedals) as well as biking with traffic (cars, changing lanes, etc). We also tackled some big hills, which at the time I didn’t know how handy that would be for later in the weekend.

I am still pretty new to biking outside so I was proud of my improvement … and fell off the bike for a second time. Again it happened while at a complete stop. The first fall was into mulch and this time into grass. So at least both falls had some cushion. ;)

It’s crazy how long a long bik ride takes when you count travel time to the ride start, actual ride time, breaks while riding and then traveling home. I left at 7:15am and returned home just after Noon.

Once the bike ride was out of the way, I could focus on the real highlight of Friday … the wife’s birthday!

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She turned 34 on Friday. We started the celebration early with a trip to Legoland Discovery Center Boston (which is actually located at Assembly Row in Somerville) on Wednesday night. There is an adult night once a month and July’s ended up during Tori’s Birthday week. Hello Birthday Gods! It was a BLAST. I will be sharing more details and pictures of the event in another blog post.

On her birthday itself, we met for a nice dinner at Pizzeria Regina at Station Landing in Medford before she used her new birthday gift cards at the Lego Store.

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Not sure her smile could get any wider. And yes I was the mastermind behind the Birthday Message. It is pretty much the peak of my Lego skills.

We headed home after the Lego purchase to share a bottle of our favorite wine – Door County Peninsula Winery Sunset Splash – and watched Spaceballs.

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It was a great low-key night.

***

I woke up Saturday and decided to walk to and from the Weight Watchers meeting. It was fun to sit in on a new group, especially since I would be subbing in as Leader for the very group next week. It should definitely be a fun time. Plus, my friend Heather is the Leader so I love checking out her meetings.

After walking home, I made sure to clean my bike up since I would be racking it that day – the day before the race rather than the day of. This would be the first time I would leave Roxie alone at a race set-up so I was nervous. But I knew Iron Girl would have the space secured.

The Iron Girl Webster Sprint Tri that I would be competing in with Got Chocolate Milk was just over an hour away from the Boston area so we started the trek West early. Thank goodness we did as there was bumper-to-bumper traffic all over the Mass Pike. But, my neurotic need to leave the house early paid off as we arrived at the Expo just in time. Phew! The last thing you want to do it be late to an Expo that you are speaking at.

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That’s right. I had the pleasure of taking part in a Q&A Panel with Chocolate Milk Captain Chrisann Dalton. She is one amazingly energetic, compassionate and fierce human and athlete. She completed Iron Man Kona last year with Hines Ward. Yeah, bad ass lady! :)

Following the panel, which was super fun, we hosted a mile Shake Out run. It was great to see so many ladies coming out to stretch, shake out the nerves and refuel with some low-fat chocolate milk with us.

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I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. Many of these women were coming out for their first triathlon and hearing the excitement in their voices got me even MORE pumped up for the following day.

Once the Shake Out run was over, it was time to quickly rack my bike at the race site, which was less than a mile from the Expo, before making the trek back home.

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I wish we could’ve stayed out in Webster, but we needed to take care of the pups. So our afternoon/evening was light with a quick lunch at a mall’s food court (salad wrap from D’Angelos for me) and some wheat pasta/sauce for dinner.

At the Expo we learned that the water would be too warm to wear our wetsuits. I slightly freaked out as I hadn’t raced in just my tri kit yet, but I was ready to give it a whirl. But first I needed to get more comfortable in it. So yes I put it on and wore it around the house for awhile. Just to get the feel.

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It was hard to NOT be self-conscious in it as it is designed to be fitted, but I was trying to push those negative thoughts out of my head.

With a glass of red wine, my Zensah compression shorts and socks on, and some Netflix, I spent Saturday night relaxing and making sure I turned in early because…

***

… the alarm went off Sunday morning at 4am. Yes folks you read that right. The race began at 7am and we had about an hour drive ahead of us. So out the door by 4:45 was the game plan. Since it was so early in the morning, we thankfully hit little to no traffic and pulled into the parking lot at 5:52. Woo! We hopped on the shuttle and made our way to the Start area so I could get my stuff set up in transition.

I will share more details about the race itself in a separate recap post, but here are some pics to enjoy in the meantime.

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The race was a great experience. There are plenty of things I need to improve on, but I am taking away how strong I felt, how much fun I had high-fiving and cheering on the other ladies during the race and the amazing feeling I had crossing that Finish Line.

After the race, we had to walk my bike the mile back to the car, which was a nice little cool down. But, when I got to the car it was only about 10:30am. Ha! I really thought it was 2pm by then. I guess that is what happens when one gets up at 4am.

We hit a Dunkins before getting back on the high way home.

How did the rest of Sunday go?

Lazy. 100% lazy.

I wore compression. I snuggled puppies. I lounged. I stretched. I watched Netflix. I celebrated with a delicious beer. I read comments from other Iron Girl Finishers. I smiled.

And it was awesome!!

***

Every Monday I say how I wish the weekends were longer, but it is true. The adventures are amazing and I wouldn’t change anything I need to go through to make them happen.

So now I turn back to my training plan and write out the next week. No racing this week so all practice all the time.

***

How did you celebrate your weekend?

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Face It Friday: In The Negative & I Still Lost 7/18/14

My Weight Watchers week begins on Friday. By Sunday I was deeply in the negative.

You may ask how? I was so active that weekend.

Well I was out-of-town visiting a friend and stupidly bought a bag of Baked Cheetos, which I proceeded to eat during the two days in the car. That bag rang me 24 PPV alone.

Additionally, I enjoyed some delicious beer and birthday cake/ice cream for my niece.

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Now I can admit I didn’t track Saturday or Sunday. I knew it was bad and didn’t want to see how negative it was.

Then I looked in the mirror and told myself what I told my members: “Even if you don’t write it down, the Points still count.”

So I dragged out my iPhone from next to me ;) and did my best at estimating. On Monday morning, I was -28 PPV. Yeah that meant I used all 49 WPs and any APs I had earned. Ouch!

But seeing the number made me get up and move more.

I didn’t care if I made it back to the positive I just wanted to lower that negative number as best I could.

And you know what happened?

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I LOST 1.6 lbs!!

Woo! I really focused on sticking to my DPT (Daily Points Target) and Good Health Guidelines during the week days.

Plus, I made the rule when I refocused on June 13 to keep alcoholic beverages to the weekend … aka DrinkEnd! :) There are obvious special exceptions like the race on July 3rd. But it has helped me to enjoy them more when I do have them.

Now I wasn’t perfect during the week. I had a mini chip binge on Wednesday night – to the tune of 11 pts. But I tracked it and moved on. I also know it happened because I stayed up too late watching TV so I could pinpoint the issue.

I had no idea what the scale would do this morning, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Tracking really does work. Instead of just throwing my hands up on Monday and saying well this week is a bust. Tracking allowed me to refocus and come up with a new plan for Monday-Thursday.

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So when you hear yourself say:

I don’t even WANT to know how many Points that was!

Run to your computer, phone or Pocket Guide and look it up or guesstimate. Putting something in the tracker is better than nothing.

***

Since June 13, I have successfully shed 13.4 of the 15.8 lbs gained during my temp assignment. Yahoo!! What a great feeling getting back to the balance I know that works for me.

***

I had to skip my meeting this morning because I went on my longest bike ride to date, BUT I will be attending the 8am meeting tomorrow to make up for it. :)

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The bike ride was exhilarating as I pushed new paces, rocked some hills and even managed to fall of the bike for the second time while stopped. Ha.

***

Have you ever ended up in the negative during a Weight Watchers week? How did the scale treat ya?

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18
Jul 2014
AUTHOR Dani
COMMENTS 10 Comments

Iron Girl Webster Race Prep w/ Got Chocolate Milk Expo Fun

It’s almost time for…

IRON GIRL WEBSTER

YAY!

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I cannot wait for this medal to me miiinneee!!

On Sunday (July 20) I will be taking on my first triathlon of the season and my third triathlon overall (all Sprint Tris). The Iron Girl Webster race, which I will be completing on behalf of Got Chocolate Milk, consists of a

1/3 mile swim … 12 mile bike … 3 mile run

But before I can even make it to Sunday, there is some race prep that has to go down.

Where to begin?

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Step One: Lay out everything I need for Race Day

I find it helpful to lay my gear out by category.

Category 1: Outfit.

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Choice for Iron Girl Webster? My Got Chocolate Milk Tri Kit, my Garmin watch and a Sparkle Athletic Skirt.

Not pictured Zensah sports bra.

This will be my base for the day, except I will NOT be wearing the Sparkle Athletic skirt in the water. ;)

Category 2: Transition Area.

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I love to use my Asics towel as my base. On top of that base goes all accessories, fuel and “just in case” stuff. I like to keep a water bottle, a handheld water bottle (if I want it for the run), a KIND bar, my ENERGYBits and sunglasses.

Category 3: The Swim.

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So apparently I cut off the most important part of the swim attire – goggles. Ha. So my swim gear includes goggles, swim cap (usually one issued by the race itself), wetsuit and a towel to clear off my feet to transition to the bike.

Do you like the sweet Nestle towel I have? I got it when the Nesquik Bunny visited me back in March. :)

Category 4: The Bike.

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Once I maneuver the wetsuit off – hopefully without falling :P – and the feet are dry, it is time to secure my Sparkly Soul headband before putting on my helmet. You can get penalized if you are moving with the bike and not having your helmet on so I make sure it is one of the first thing I put on for the bike.

This will be my first time using Bike Shoes so once the helmet is on, I will put on my Zensah compression sleeves, attach my race belt which will already have my number on it and slip into the shoes.

Category 5: The Run.

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The final transition should be the easiest. Bike shoes and helmet off … visor and sneakers on.

Once I give everything a once over – adding the race bib and bike number – it all goes into my big IKEA bag (yup classy) and it sits by the front door. This way I won’t forget anything.

But since it is Friday and I have everything in order I can pick up last-minute times at…

Step Two: The Expo

On Saturday (June 19), I will be heading to Webster to attend the Iron Girl Expo – pick up my bib, purchase anything I might be missing and to hopefully see friends and readers. Oh and I won’t just be attending, I will be co-hosting some things.

Whhaaa??

I know.

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My Got Chocolate Milk teammate Chrisann and I will be co-hosting:

** Q&A Panel at 12:30pm

…to answer any last-minute questions participants may have, while sharing some of our stories as well. Oh and of course I will be sharing how much low-fat Chocolate Milk plays into my training. :)

** Shake Out Run at 1:30pm

…to shake out the legs, but also the nerves. It is will light and easy and topped off with some low-fat Chocolate Milk. Yay!

** Booth Time til 3:00pm

…Chrisann and I will be at the Got Chocolate Milk booth following the Shake Out Run to meet participants. Please come by and say hi!! Let’s take a selfie!

After the Expo I will be heading home to…

Step Three: Refuel, Recharge and Rest

Saturday Night will be a nice lowkey time spent at home with my foam roller, compression shorts and socks and a little pasta. Oh don’t forget the water too. Staying hydrated is important.

Plus the alarm clock will be going off super early on Sunday so I need my beauty rest. :0)

Step Four: Race Day

HAVE FUN!! In case one forgets, these races are supposed to be joyful and exciting. So I will be turning the butterflies into fuel and remembering what Tedy Bruschi told us:

The Start Line is the Finish Line and the race is the party!

***

Now many folks might be wondering how to refuel after the race itself.

Here are the top five tips from Got Chocolate Milk and I:

  1. Ice muscles. Cooling down muscles post-exercise in short bursts (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off) could reduce inflammation, muscle soreness and speed the path to recovery.
  2. Compression. To get back to your training schedule and regain energy quickly, try wearing compression garments, which can help decrease the time it takes for muscles to recover between intense bouts of exercise.
  3. Active Recovery. Gentle movement improves circulation, which promotes nutrient and waste product transport through the body to help muscles repair faster. Try a light jog at the scenic Midstate Trail or explore Lake Chaubunagungamaug.
  4. Lowfat Chocolate Milk. Looking for a convenient post workout snack? 20+ studies support the benefits of lowfat chocolate milk for post-exercise recovery and research shows it has the right mix of protein and carbs to help athletes recover quickly so they can start preparing for their next challenge.
  5. Roll it out. Much of the soreness that goes along with exercise occurs when muscles become knotted; rolling out muscles with foam rollers can help remove these knots and promote recovery.

***

What’s left?

Goals.

Number 1: Have Fun!

Number 2: Finish!

Number 3: Learn! I am using this as a test for the Pumpkinman Half Ironman I am doing in September. I will need to remember what worked and what didn’t so I can alter the plan before The Sharon Tri on August 10.

***

Are you participating in Iron Girl Webster? Will I see you Saturday at the Q&A or Shake Out Run?

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Replacing “Before & After” with “Then & Now”

Transformation Tuesday is a big craze where folks share their Before and After photos for weight loss, fitness accomplishments, etc.

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Before and After photos have been around for ages. We all know what they are I assume.

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This was in September 2011 and should’ve been titled Before and During

I couldn’t wait to share my own Before and After photos once I hit Goal with Weight Watchers. I would finally reach my after and blast those comparison pictures wherever I could.

The dreaded Before. I look back on those before pictures with disgust at how big I got. I can remember how pained I was. Smiles forced.

Being able to post that hatred next to a beaming After photo pushed me through tough patches both mentally and physically.

But as I reached that forsaken After in January 2012, it didn’t feel as euphoric as I wanted.

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I was ready for more. The After wasn’t truly the end… to me at least.

New Afters were swirling through my head:

* Run a sub 4-hour marathon

* Try a triathlon

* Tackle my fear of obstacle races

* Improve my pace

* Run farther

* Race around the world … okay that is more race in places around the world ;) I’m not that much of a distance runner yet

How could I use the phrase “Before and After” when I wanted to
stop hating my Before and what I defined as “After” kept changing?

For months this little thought has been growing and cultivating in the back of my mind. What could I use instead? Sharing my story helps keep me motivated, while inspiring others to chase their dreams. But I can’t handle the Before and After title.

Here’s my idea:

Let’s replace Before and After with Then and Now.

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Then and Now offers a more open-ended comparison between two different phases in my life. It takes any negative connotation I may imply by shunning the Before and celebrating the After. I can continue to work to love the former me even when comparing it to the current me, which I am still working to embrace – faults and all.

Then and Now allows me to spread my wings and continue pushing my own envelope and expanding that comfort zone.

Will you join me in the movement? Let’s celebrate the Then and Now!

before-after2

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2015 Race Schedule

With 2014 still in full swing, I can’t believe I am already looking at my 2015 race schedule. Here’s what I have thus far:

Run Disney Rebel Challenge

January 16 – Star Wars 5k – Starts at 5:30 a.m. PT

January 17 – Star Wars 10k – Starts at 5:30 a.m. PT

January 18 – Star Wars Half Marathon – Starts at 5:30 a.m. PT

***

Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge

February 20 – Princess 5k – Starts at 6:15 a.m. ET

February 21 – Enchanted 10k – Starts at 5:30 a.m. ET

February 22 – Princess Half Marathon – Starts at 5:30 a.m. ET

***

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17
Jul 2014
AUTHOR Dani
COMMENTS 1 Comment

RACE RECAP: 2014 Old Port Half Marathon

FUN RUN with the BFF = 2014 Old Port Half Marathon

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Buoys as division prizes … so cool!

I was pumped when my BFF Sarah’s dad bought her an entry into the Old Port Half for her bday present. Since Sarah and her family live in Portland, we would be making it a little weekend trip.

First stop on Saturday, June 12 was the Expo. The Expo may’ve been small, but it would outside on a pier with beer for purchase and live music. Hey-o!

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I want to thank Old Port Half Race Director Erik Boucher for having me at the race. I do want to share that I was given complimentary race entry and swag, but all of my thoughts are honest and 100% mine!

After a quick Expo trip, we had a lovely afternoon birthday BBQ for my niece Joanna’s 2nd birthday.

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Since we had a 5am wake-up call, we all turned in early.

After some grumbling after the early wake-up call, I dragged myself off the guest futon and happily got ready for the race. I brought some instant oatmeal to have prior to the race. It is nice to have a kitchen at your disposal when prepping for a race while on the road. Plus, Sarah lives pretty close to downtown so we didn’t have to leave the house until just after 6am.

There was ample parking available around the city. Okay, we just parked in any lot we found and hoped for the best. ;) We asked a cop to double check that we were okay and he basically said we are parking at our own risk. Eh, we took the chance.

We immediately headed to the lengthy port-o-potty lines. While in line, I brought up the article from the Boston Globe where Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray shared his race pet peeves. One included folks forming one line to cover multiple port-o-potties rather than one line per port-o-potty. Shortly after I brought this up in a line that seemed to be growing rather than moving, someone made an announcement over the loudspeaker to form one line per port-o-potty. Hallelujah! The lines immediately started moving more.

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Wife & I proud to #SportTheFort for Slumbrew!

But we were already cutting it close to the race start. We had about 15 minutes before the Start and still had to drop my bag at the Blue Trailer Mobile Lockers. Thankfully Molly was running a smooth ship and the line moved swiftly. I got my key, locked up my gear and Sarah and I headed to the Start corral.

I sent Tori ahead so she could be in place and get settled before the race started. Since Sarah and I were doing it for fun, I wasn’t worried about getting to the right corral.

I will commend Old Port for trying to keep a lane free to the right side of the Start Corral for folks to shimmy up to their correct pace group.

Oh when we came to the back of the Corral, we spotted additional port-o-potties. Would’ve been helpful to know about those earlier. :P

We did our best to sashay our way up to the 8:30-ish corral, but we got stopped around the 9 min/mile pace corral.

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While in line, we went over our game plan again of having fun, taking pictures and keeping the run around a 9 min/mile pace. Our only time goal was to finish in sub-2. The rest of the goals were for fun. ;)

The Start corral was full of spectators and the folks running the 5k option which would be kicking off at 7:30. They were actually taking a shuttle to their Start Line. Cool idea.

The race started out on the main street of Commercial Street. With parts of the street still open to traffic, we were actually running in a roped off area in the middle of the street. It was a narrow shoot so there wasn’t a whole lot of bobbing/weaving we could do without possibly rolling an ankle on the old streets. We did the best we could, but again didn’t want to waste energy as there was a large hill happening around Mile 3.

Mile 1: 8:52
Mile 2: 8:05

Can you tell we got into a better groove around Mile 2? ;)

After Mile 2, the ever-loving hill began. It weaved, it climbed and it just kept going.

Mile 3: 9:05

I know the hill takes a little more toll on the injured left hammy so I made sure to stay smart and strong. I slowed it down and didn’t get antsy when folks passed me. I had to run my own race.

Just after hitting the 5k mark, we saw race volunteers waving frantically and yelling “You are going the wrong way!”

Ummm what? Apparently the folks in front of us were being led in the wrong direction.

We were among the first 15 people to be directed the correct way on the course. As we turned right and had the cool feeling of being in the “front of the pack” on the race, we grumbled that those folks probably wouldn’t have to run all 13.1 miles. In reality, I would’ve been angry if my race wasn’t accurately 13.1.

***

Before I continue with the race recap, I want to share what race director Erik posted on the mix-up.

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Thank you Erik for being honest and owning up to the mistake.

***

We celebrated being on the correct course with a downhill. :)

During the downhill, I was trying to fix my bun when I lost the hair elastic. Ahhh! Sparkly Soul headband to the rescue. Phew. I was about to start asking surrounding runners for help.

Mile 4: 8:47

Once the hill ended, we took a sharp left and returned to Commercial St. We were heading back towards the Start Area before heading out on the second loop of the race.

I was getting a ton of cheers for my gun metal Sparkle Athletic skirt. The girls around me were jealous of my cheers. I explained to them how awesome the Sparkle Athletic skirts are. It is an instant crowd pleaser.

Mile 5: 8:33

As we passed the Start area, we waved to the car that was still there (woo!) and headed up yet another hill. Sarah had told me that the hill at Mile 3 and an incline at Mile 11 would be it.

Well apparently she thought the course would be down by the water during Mile 6 rather than taking the hill side. Oh joy! ;) I tried to just put my head down and barrel up the hill.

Luckily the hill began by passing the Shipyard Brewery so I just kept thinking about the Shipyard beer we would enjoy at the end of the race.

Mile 6: 8:57

Best friends can be in sync about many things including bathroom breaks. Since we weren’t trying to PR, we took a much-needed port-o-potty break during Mile 6. One great way to celebrate climbing to the top of the hill. ;)

Everything was better after the bathroom break.

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Beautiful, right?

My Garmin was pretty spot on the whole race so I made sure we took a mid-run selfie at the halfway mark.

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We didn’t even plan to have such similar outfits, but it worked for us. ;)

My left hamstring was feeling a little tight, but nothing that I haven’t gotten used to since the pain started in May. (Yes I am working on the problem ;))

Mile 7: 9:40 (bathroom break can really slow the pace :P)

During Mile 7, we took a left turn onto the running/bike trail that surrounds Back Cove. We would be spending the next 3-ish miles running along this lovely spot of Portland.

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Somehow turned on the black-white filter on my phone

This is definitely the top running in Portland as we had a ton of folks out for a fun Saturday morning run pass us while we were running.

Mile 8: 8:42

I want to commend the race for having 10 water stops throughout the course, including a handful of misting tents.

While out on the trail along the Cove, the sun really starting beat down on us. There wasn’t a ton of shade available so we made sure to take in water and gatorade whenever available.

Mile 9: 9:03

I’ve been focusing on walking through the water stops during my races. I’ve heard taking that 10-15 seconds is wicked helpful for the legs during a race.

Sarah and I were having a good time catching up and planning for her and her daughter to come see my Half Ironman in September. :)

Mile 10: 9:20

During the Mile 10 water stop, I had to peel off my KT Tape as it was rolling off. I rarely have that happen, but I guess I was sweating that much?

Mile 11 took place over Tukey’s Bridge. It was an incline, but not nearly as steep as the previous two hills.

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Mile 11: 9:20

Once over the bridge, we took a right on Sewage Plant Rd. You can only imagine what kind of facility is on that street and the smell that it let out. Gross! If nothing else, that smell made us run faster.

After a quick turn around point, we headed straight down Eastern Prom trail to the Finish.

We just kept saying “Beer! Beer! Beer!”

Not sure the people around us were as excited as we were. ;)

Mile 12: 8:55

The final mile offered a beatiful view of a dog park as well as some little up and down inclines. Thanks Portland. How sweet of you!

Mile 13: 8:28

The last mile gave us time to decide what we would do when we hit the Finish Line – holding hands and doing the SNL Superstar move it is!

Finish Time: 1:57:44 (8:58 min/mile pace)

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Success! Half Marathon #19 was in the books!

We had a great time and felt awesome at the Finish.

We scooped up our medals and headed for the food. I got a nice bottle of free water, a KIND bar and a hot piece of pizza from Portland Pie Company. I applaud Portland Pie for offering a Gluten-Free option for Finishers. They also had cookies and swedish fish for refuel.

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We recovered our stuff from Blue Trailer lockers before stalking the Shipyard Beer Garden.

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Each Finisher was given two complimentary Shipyard beers. Since the line was ridiculously long that wrapped around the Beer Garden, we grabbed both of our beers at once to be safe.

I felt bad that they ran out of Blueberry beer before my wife finished. :/ It is her favorite.

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Sarah and I settled in to stretch and enjoy our beverages, while we waited for Tori to finish and her husband to meet up with us.

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The weather was great to sit out and enjoy the 90s cover band. I’m not sure if the band was amazing or if they were just playing every song we love. I think a little of both. :)

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We finally met up with Sarah’s husband Brandon and Joanna when we found out that babies weren’t allowed in the Beer Garden … but dogs were. Didn’t make sense to us. But we found a barricade so we could still hang out with them while we enjoyed our beer.

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Joanna was rocking Sarah’s medal. While chatting, Joanna decided to break into the beer garden – a gutsy 2 year old – to start double fisting.

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Down that water baby!

She is a rebel with a cause. To distract her from the doggies in the beer garden, Brandon and Joanna went to cheer Tori into the Finish! She did awesome finishing in 3:00:11. Amazing job. I was so proud of her especially since I know she hadn’t been training for the hills.

We enjoyed some more pizza, while Tori had her celebratory beer.

It is hilarious that we were calling it a day shortly after 11am. We needed some low-fat chocolate milk and Dunkin Donuts coffee.

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BYOCM – Bring Your Own Chocolate Milk

Overall, the race was amazing. I had a blast with my BFF and fellow very supported throughout the race. Besides the snafu with misdirection and not alerting folks earlier about the additional port-o-potties, Erik and crew did a great job.

Special thanks to all the volunteers and police officers out on the course.

Plus, it was one sweet sweet medal.

***

Did you run the Old Port Half or 5k?

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I’m IN for the #GlassSlipperChallenge!

run all the races

Wahoo!

The Coast 2 Coast Medal will be mine in 2015!

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***

That’s right folks.Thanks to my lovely wife I am registered for the Princess 5k and Glass Slipper Challenge during Princess Weekend at Disney World February 19-22, 2015!

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I am beyond excited! The Glass Slipper Challenge first occurred earlier this year so we will be part of the 2nd time. :) Oh yes I meant to write “we.” The wife signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge too. :)

The Princess 5k takes place Friday, February 19, while the Enchanted 10k is February 20 and the Princess Half is on Sunday, February 21.

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It will be a blast experiencing a new race weekend at Disney. The only race weekend we have taken part in is the Marathon Weekend in 2013 and 2014.

***

On June 10th, the wife and I signed up for the Run Disney Rebel Challenge. Annnddd I may have fallen on the keyboard a second time and added the 5k to the mix as well.

For those that don’t know, the Rebel Challenge is happening in Disneyland January 15-18 and is a Star Wars themed race weekend.

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The inaugural Rebel Challenge is a 10k on the Saturday and Half Marathon on the Sunday. The 5k which I will also be doing will be Friday morning. So I am a marathon short of the Dopey Challenge. ;)

I am wicked excited. This will be our first trip to Disneyland. My wife is a HUGE Star Wars fan so it was an easy thing to get her to sign up for.

***

Since the trigger is pulled the only thing left to worry about are the 6 costumes – my favorite part of the Disney races.

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Here are the four costumes I used during the Dopey Challenge in January.

***

Now I will have two coasts, six races, six costumes and nine medals!!

Are you signed up for the Disney Princess Weekend too?

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