Monday Musings: Weekend of Workouts & Wedding Wonder

Weekends this summer have been full of workouts, laughs, love, friends and family ...but not a ton of rest! So you can imagine this past weekend was right along those same lines. ;) My wife actually got up early on Sunday to get her 4 mile run in before we walked over to my 5k race and she quipped later that day: "Wow, I don't know how you do this getting up early to workout thing all the time."

It made me smile to myself. Now she appreciates the early mornings I put in so that we can have more time to spend together. :)

Sunday marked just two weeks until the Pumpkinman Half Ironman. Wow September 7 will be here before I know it. This weekend I needed to really buckle down and focus.

The workouts started bright and early Friday after a great weigh-in. Did you hear I am happily back in the 150s?

My goal on Friday was to get 4 hours in on the bike, but that didn't happen. Between a Recycle Studio Spin workout and a bike tide out to Bedford from Somerville - I spent about 3 hours in the saddle.



But I still haven't gotten 56 miles in on the bike and I need to do that before the race just to show myself I can do it. So guess what is on the docket for this upcoming week?

The bike is so mental for me. My body knows it can do it, but the mind gets nervous and overwhelmed. Time to shut the brain down.

The rest of the Friday called for relaxation and blogging. Isn't that what all the cool kids do on a Friday night? :)

I had an early morning on Saturday. I wanted to hit up the 8am Weight Watchers meeting and claim my Ace Your Summer Challenge bling for having attended 10 of the last 11 weeks of meetings. Woo!

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It is such a nice and welcoming group. I am happy to attend their meetings and occasionally sub before I return to long run Saturdays this Fall.

I was smiling from ear to ear as members of the group talked about the fun they had attending the Nike Run & Walk Club that I have been helping to host. They talked about feeling welcome without thought of pace or fitness level. Exactly the kind of group I have been trying to create. :)

Full of motivation and inspiration, I headed to the pool to get my 1.2 mile time trial swim done.

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During the entire swim I felt strong and like I could keep swimming for days. :) I guess that training is paying off. :P It was a great morning in the pool full of entertainment from the kids' swim classes going on on the opposite side of the pool from me.

Once I was out of the pool, I had to race home, quickly change and head to my cousin's wedding dress appointment. How cute are the cards our friend Lauren made to judge the dresses?

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They are so my cousin. :)

Since I never did the wedding dress shopping thing myself (maybe some day), it was a complete learning experience. It really is a live version of Say Yes To The Dress. My cousin found a style she liked, but didn't say yes to a dress at the first location.

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My cousin & I working the duck lips

She inevitably found her dress at appointment #2 of the day, which I wasn't able to make.

While my Saturday afternoons were canceled last minute, I wouldn't waste the time by getting in my BRICK workout with my #1 supporter the wife by my side.

She humored me while I blabbered on about nothing for two hours on the bike trainer and then jumped on her bike while I knocked out a quick 5k (26:34) to shake the legs out.



She also listened to me curse out the wind for blowing in my face for the entire run. Not sure I could've said: "Are you serious wind?" any more than I did. Haha.

We decided to cook in on Saturday night and enjoy a lovely meal outside in the backyard, while the pups played.

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Please note: it is the wife who is drinking Pumpkin beer in August. #TheShame 

The wife made Skinnytaste's Weeknight Skillet Sazon Chicken Tenders and it was delicious!! We paired it with our once a month treat of yellow rice (yum) and steamed broccoli.

After a fantastic dinner outside, we finally watched Muppets Most Wanted. It was cute but not nearly as good as the Muppet Movie from 2011.

Now while the wife got up early on Sunday to run I slept in until 7:15am - woah! Late I know. ;) But it was great to lounge around and snuggle some pups until she came home.

The Race To The Row 5k I was running on Sunday didn't start until 9:30am AND was located across the street from my house which meant a late departure time. Boy I wish all of my races were that close.

It was a fun morning with lots of friends. I will post a recap of that race shortly.


I wasn't sure how my body would handle the race since I had done a 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run the day before.

But as you can see it was pretty speedy. I ended up 79th overall and 10th in my division. Woo! I never reach the top 10 in my division so that was exciting.

Following the race I had a couple of hours of downtime before we headed to a wedding celebration for my friend Nicole and her partner Melsen. It was a lovely afternoon in Brookline with friends.

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They had a great spread and a make your own burritos area, which totally was up the wife's alley. I ate most of the large salad they had available. :P

Our crew has gotten older and maybe more mature? Okay not at all more mature, but it was fun to come together to celebrate love and friendship.

With a busy weekend in the books, it was great to come home and just vet out for the rest of the evening.

I went to bed Sunday night with a happy heart, a complete Weight Watchers food tracker and renewed energy for the week ahead.


Since we know I am - for now - just enjoying adult beverages on the weekend, here are a couple of the local brews I tried:

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Berkshire Brewing Company

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Tap Brewing Company (Haverhill, MA)

Both were full of hoppy goodness...


Two other notes for this week:

1) I have a $10 off discount code for the Max Performance Buzzards Bay Sprint Triathlon on September 14.


Use code: WOMSBUZZ14 (code expires Friday, August 29)

2) I am holding a giveaway for a free entry into the inaugural South Shore Half Marathon in Norwell, MA on November 2.

south shore

Feel free to enter here.


How did you stay active this weekend?

How To Prep For A Triathlon Transition

Signing up for the triathlon and training for it seemed like the easy part once I started thinking about how much STUFF is needed for Race Day and the transition area.

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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My Got Chocolate Milk Tri Kit, my Garmin watch and aSparkle 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. ;)

Now not everyone will have a tri kit and that is A-okay! I didn't have one for the first year of racing in triathlons and only have one now thanks to Team Chocolate Milk! ;)

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.

With the helmet on, I will put on myZensah compression sleeves, attach my race belt which will already have my number on it and slip into the shoes.

NOW if you do not want to wear the race belt - again A-okay - you can also throw on a shirt or singlet during transition, which will already have the number pinned to it. This is your call and what you are more comfortable with.

I actually like to throw a singlet or tank on over my tri kit because well the tri kit isn't very flattering especially when went. :P

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. I put everything in the bag by category, which makes setting up transition on race day a breeze.

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I personally like bike gear closest to front of towel, food/energy/fuel in the middle and run farthest away. Play around with the set up of your transition area to see what works for you.

My bike helmet isn't in the transition picture since I keep it on the handlebars with my Garmin, which is already cued up to MultiSport. :)

It has taken me a few tries tris (see what I did there) to get it right, but now I have a good system. It is always up for tweaking, but I am getting into the groove.


I hope some of these tips can help you prep for your next triathlon.

Friday Five: ASICS Triathlon Edition


The new ASICS ad campaign speaks to me. It's something that I've been working on for years: to end the comparison game and focus on bettering YOUR best.

Well it looks like ASICS agreed. They sent me a note stating how they thought I embodied the "Better Your Best" mantra and liked my passion for training that I've shared through my blog.

I was speechless. But it got better!

They would be sending me the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon Survival Kit designed by elite athlete Andy Potts. The Survival Kit was a collection of ASICS gear Potts felt would help triathletes perform at their best.

Ahhh I jumped at the opportunity and now I can share with YOU what that kit included.

(Note: I did receive the gear free of charge, but as always all thoughts are my own! Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!)

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While I am new-ish to triathlons (three sprints under my belt so far), I still know what gear I like and what I don't. So let's get right to it.


1) Sneakers: Gel-Hyper Speed 6 ($85 value) to be exact

I have been running in ASICS sneakers since I first started running in 2005. The GT-2000 series has gotten me through countless miles and races. So I was open to trying this racer flat.

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 It was DEFINITELY an adjustment from the more supportive GT-2000s that I wear, but I could see the benefit in the racing flats for the Sprint or Olympic distance triathlons. The lightweight seamless construction reduces irritation and friction while running, but the shoe also offers a Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System, which I appreciate for impact.


Personally I wouldn't be comfortable running farther than a 10k in them, but that is for my own personal preference. These have already become a staple for meduring speed workouts.

Plus, I adore the color combo. Priorities, right?

2) Backpack: Kayano Backpack ($75 value)

First and foremost I love that the Kayano Backpack offers a chest strap. I really dislike having to hold my straps up while walking to the gym or heading to a race. The Kayano has padded straps, as well as a padded laptop pocket that zips open flat for travel ease.


There is also a stashable water-resistant bag cover, which is great for transition areas they may get a little wet on a rainy race day.

But I really appreciate the bag having two water bottle holders (one on each side), which comfortably fit a water bottle in each. I hate when the water bottle pocket isn't deep enough and my water bottle goes flying while I am in transit. So thanks ASICS for making the pockets deep enough.

The backpack has ample space within the two main compartments to handle your gear for all three parts of the triathlon.

3) Accessories: Dawn-2-Dusk Cap ($20 value), Long Haul Handheld Water Bottle ($18 value), and Kayano Single Tab Socks ($14 value)

An athlete is only as good as their accessories. Ummm??

I'm not sure if that is a thing, but we will go with it.

The versatility of this cap takes you from dawn (with lightweight, quick-dry functionality) to dusk, effortlessly transitioning into a high visibility reflective cap.

The 20oz water bottle features an adjustable Airmesh handle, which keeps sweating to a minimum. The easy to open zip pocket keeps your valuables in reach. I did find the grip comfortable, but personally I am not into the hand held water devices ... listening to the water sludge around just makes me have to pee. ;)

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Last but not lease would be the sock featuring PROfit™ Technology for a comfortable fit, while providing a dry and stay-put sock. The worst feeling is having your socks slide down mid-race so thanks ASICS for helping avoid that hassle. 

4) Long-sleeved training top: Thermopolis LT 1/2 Zip (on sale $39)

While I appreciate a long-sleeved zip, this wasn't the time of year to be testing it out. Ha. It is hot hot hot out there so I do not need any extra warmth. I will look forward to breaking this out come September or so.

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The PR Thermal fabric allows for breathability and it has the ability to insulate your body and keep you at an ideal temperature. 

It will be joining my weekend comfy clothes rotation this Fall as well because I am in love with the neck. ;)

5) Top/Shorts: Performance Fun Starburst Tank (on sale $22) and Speed Short (on sale $35)

Now I think we all know I am NOT a shorts person, but as always I wanted to give them a try. And they were just not for me. A little too short. But for those that like shorts, you will love the lightweight, breathable fabric, the flatlock seams which help reduce chafing and the reflective elements on the sides of the shorts.

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Now I think I ordered the top a size too big. It was loose fitting in the chest area, which wouldn't fly for a run. But I loved the style in the back!! It was lightweight and airy. Plus, it has such a fun pattern and it pairs well with the sneakers. ;)


Overall, I loved the first four parts of the Survival Kit, but wish there was a capri option for the bottoms (personal preference).

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But now that I've shared my thoughts with you, it's time for me to suit up and get back to training.

Now off to find the training plan! :P

Three Things Thursday: Zensah Edition

I've done countless posts about Zensah compression socks and sleeves. (Read here if you missed one) Since everyone knows/hears about compression socks and sleeves, I thought I'd use Three Things Thursday to open your minds to other products Zensah has to offer in the world of compression.

(Please note: I loved Zensah so much I was honored to be chosen last year as a Zensah blogger! This does not however sway or impact my reviews of their products! Ain't nobody got time for fake reviews!!!)


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The three Zensah products I'm bringing to you today are: Sports Bra, Shorts and Arm Warmers.

Let's get this compression party started ...


1) Limitless Compression Arm Warmers (value $34.99)

The latest addition to the Zensah arsenal are arm warmers. I wasn't sure what to think when I first heard about them. I mean I have seen friends running in arm warmers before, but hadn't tried it myself.

The description on the website explained it clearly:

Whether using the Zensah Limitless Compression Arm Warmers during an early morning run, or while working out, the arm warmers provide athletes with improved circulation for faster muscle recovery.

And who doesn't want faster muscle recovery? I knew they were worth a shot.

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I was trying to find the perfect opportunity to test them out and Boston weather gods must've heard me. We had a gorgeous, yet slightly chilly day this past weekend where I could actually rock a tank top. Destiny!

So I took the arm warmers out for a spin and they were really great. I didn't feel any swelling in my arms or hands. The sleeves stayed in place thanks to the comfortable elastic at the top. No pinching, which is always appreciated.

And you know my love of thumb holes.

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Zensah didn't disappoint there.

The arm warmers even have a small mesh pocket where you can store fuel, a house key or even your phone.

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My ENERGYBits are nice and snug!

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Now many of you might be thinking that having a phone on your arm without a strap might bog you down. I didn't find it a problem at all. It stayed in place and didn't pull the arm warmer down at all while running.

I'm excited to test these out more over the next few months. As the weather gets a tad warmer my hands tend to heat up first so I tested it and the thumbholes can be rolled up to the wrist if needed without causing a ton of discomfort.

The arm warmers currently come in four different colors: black, white, neon pink and neon yellow.

Key Features:

  • Essential transition piece for cooler weather
  • Moisture wicking and antimicrobial proprietary fabric
  • Mesh side pocket ideal for carrying iPhone, gels, or keys
  • Thumbholes for added hand warmth
  • Silver ions for thermal regulation
  • Compression improves circulation for faster recovery
  • Sun Protection
  • Made of 87% Nylon, 13% Spandex


2) High Compression Shorts (value $63.99)

I think we all know that running and training is always a learning process. Am I right?

There are always techniques and products we learn about from our peers.

Well, I encountered IT band problems in 2011. I knew to foam roll and went to physical therapy to work on the problem. It would creep back at times as it does.

But one day I was running with friend when she told me about compression shorts. I had no idea. I knew about socks/sleeves and was already addicted to those. But knew nothing about these compression shorts.

So I took myself to the Zensah website to learn more:

Run, bike, and recover faster with the Zensah High Compression Shorts, The compression shorts provide support to the upper leg, while allowing for unrestricted mobility in the lower leg.

Huh? So these little shorts sound like they could help the nagging pain in my hip and IT area.

Can you guess what happened next?

I tried them ... and they worked!

Shocking I know.

I now wear compression shorts the night before a big run and the afternoon/evening after.

My hip and upper leg couldn't be happier. They are thin enough that I will in fact wear them under work pants or a dress. Take that business casual.


At first I thought it was just another fad or something folks bought just because they sound cool, but I see the light. These shorts are heaven to my legs especially after dealing with Heartbreak Hill on a weekly basis!

Key Features:

  • 3D compression for extra support in the quadriceps
  • Moisture wicking
  • Keeps upper legs warm and loose
  • Made of 85% Polyamide, 15% Elastane


3) Seamless Running Sports Bra (value $35.99)


Sports bras are one of the most integral pieces of clothing when it comes to exercise.

Fellas you agree? Mansiere? Bro?

The #1 annoyance can be chafing. Ain't nobody got time for that! (yes I used that reference twice in one blog post - sue me! No wait don't!)

With a seamless construction and Zensah fabric, the Zensah Sports Bra prevents chafing. This high-performance running sports bra offers superior comfort and support, as well as giving you the option to add color to your workout.

I like comfort. I like support. I like color.

Seems like a winning combo to me.

And they ARE super comfortable. My addiction has grown and I now own this bra in five different colors and waiting for pay day to increase the collection.

The Zensah Running Sports Bra features moisture wicking technology that keeps you dry, even after the toughest workouts. The racerback allows for free movement. Zensah has the best sports bra on the market for runners, athletes, and any active woman. The 15 different color choices make it the most colorful running sports bra.

The sports bra does fit all body types, but know it only goes up to a L/XL so you would have to refer to the sizing chart before purchasing. My lovely lady lumps have shrunk - thanks weight loss - so I usually wear the M/L.

Key Features:

  • Seamless design = no chafing
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Superior Comfort from the proprietary Zensah fabric in each Running Bra
  • Thermal Regulating
  • Moisture Wicking to prevent the running bra from becoming heavy with perspiration
  • Made of 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex


Have you checked out any of these Zensah products?

Truth Tuesday: Can I Do It?

Monday night is Spin night. I attend the 7:30pm class at the BSC (Boston Sports Club) near my house (Wellington Circle location) with my friends Lindsey and Beth. I look forward to it each week. The instructor Kim is amazing and has become a friend. Plus, she plays Willow Smith's Whip My Hair Back And Forth whenever I request it. I love that song and make sure to wear the hair in a ponytail rather than a bun for those classes.

Yesterday was Monday, which means last night was Monday night ... and Spin.

I counted down the hours til Spin all day long.

I clipped into the bike at 7:30pm and was ready to rock. Class started and the legs felt dead. You know you have those days, right?

Well it got into my head. As we are pushing through some jumps on a hill (thanks Kim! :P), I sat down from a jump, cranked the resistance up, put my head down and just pushed my legs as steady as I could.

The mind was wondering so I needed to work through what was happening.

As the legs felt heavy, this question popped into my head:

Can I Do It?


You may be wondering: was it the royal it or something specific?

In that moment in time, it was that little Half Ironman in September I signed up for - The Pumpkinman Half Ironman on September 7.

If I was having trouble focusing and pushing through a Spin class, how could I expect myself to get through that athletic feat.

It sets off a domino effect of questions:

*Why did you sign up for it?

*Why did you think you were strong enough to even consider attempting it?

*How could you waste so much hard earned money?

*Why does it feel like your friends have such an easier time with the training than you?

*If you are having a hard time waking up for runs now, how will you feel when the workouts double?

*Do you really expect to complete the feat?

*Just... why?

So this inner turmoil/debate is happening in my head during Spin class, the sweat from the intense intervals is mixing with tears. Was I seriously crying in Spin class? Why yes yes I was.

Cool kid award can be sent right here!

Now I wish this inner turmoil could just go away! Clearly me writing about it is my way to try and work through it. Since hey it rears its ugly head every time I sign up for my next big fitness goal.

But I own the fact that I am working on this and that it won't go away over night. It has been around for as long as I can remember.

That bugger named


When this little voice creeps in I just wanna yell: you're wrong!


It is a liar. I know I am nervous and anxious about tackling something so outside my comfort zone, but here's the thing - my comfort zone keeps expanding! I HAVE to keep looking outward or I will get stuck and complacent.

It's like the "old me" mindset is battling the "new me" mindset.

My $$$ is on the latter.

But in the meantime, I have to recognize the voice, allow the self doubt, but not let it take down my spirit or my drive.

There must be something in my subconscious that knows I will tackle any hurdle since I hit the "submit" button on the entry. :P

It is the same little voice that:

*pushed me through the door at Weight Watchers in November 2009

*understand I was worth happiness

*told me I needed to start this little slice of the internet

*I needed to share my story

*I could poke through the balloon that was my original comfort zone and keep expanding it

*moved my hand to sign up for 4 marathons (almost 5), half marathons, Dopey Challenge and my first triathlon

The little voice is there and getting louder. I just need to recognize that it is a process and I will have times where the little voice freaks out and the tears flow in the middle of a Spin class.

But in the end, the little voice won't lead me astray. It will lead me to the Finish Line ... and beyond!


My New Race Ragz Shirt & A #Giveaway!

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do you love hearing people cheer your name during a race?

Would you love a way to let folks know your blog name or about a charity you are working for?

Just want a personalized t-shirt to rock?

Well, I'm ready to help.

Say hello to My Race Ragz!


I made my first purchase with Race Ragz in late 2011 for a half marathon I was doing in January 2012. I ran the F^3 Half Marathon in Chicago in honor of the Dempster Foundation.


I had a great time designing the shirt through their website. I raised over $3000 for the Dempster Foundation before that race so I made sure to honor my top donors on the back as well as the person I was running for - Mile 13 for Riley. :)

Can you all see I've been using/loving the "Finish What You Started" mantra for awhile now?

So when I was offered the chance to design another shirt with Race Ragz through the Sweatpink community, I jumped on the chance (value $32).

For this shirt, I wanted to showcase my blog.


The process was simple as I:

*headed to

*clicked on the create button

*selected the type of shirt (I chose the women's endurance race tee in XL. I heard from another blogger that they ran small)

*chose "customized shirt"

*designed the shirt by uploading graphics and adding text to both the front and back of the tee

The whole process took about 10 minutes since I already had my logo ready to go. Obviously, the activity could take longer if you are playing around with different graphics and text, but that is the fun part. Right? You want it just right!

So you want to see the finished product in action? Here it is.

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The shirt is the tech material so I can't wait to show it off at the gym and during my races ... as soon as the weather warms up of course. I am glad I went a size bigger so it is nice and loose - just the way I like it.

Delivery took 4-5 days, which included a weekend. The turnaround time and quality is top notch.

Now if you aren't feeling overly crafty or getting overwhelmed with the possibilities, Race Ragz has designs on the site that you can choose to put on a shirt.


Let's get to the part you are waiting for ... the giveaway!! Race Ragz is giving YOU the chance to design YOUR own shirt! Woo!

So here’s how to enter:

The giveaway will run from Sunday March 2 (6pm ET) through Friday March 7 (6pm ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

I Said I'd Do What?

What did I get my big mouth into? Recently I seem to ask myself that question on a now routine basis.

What do I mean?

For me this really relates to my fitness journey. Let's take a look shall we?

August 2012 Feat: I decide I want to run The Boston Marathon in 2013 with a charity team close to my heart: Tedy's Team (which raises $$ and awareness for the fight against Strokes).

Result: I raise over $5,000 for the American Stroke Association, I complete the Boston Marathon in 4:04:08 and my family and I make it safely without being hit by the explosions.

(Note: I will be running the 2014 Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team and I am psyched. You can Donate Here!)

December 2012 Feat: I ponder becoming a certified Spin Instructor, somehow trip over the online sign up site and book a certification class for March 2013.

Result: I nervously drive to Manchester, NH, take an all-day class, take the online test the next day, pass and get my certification!

(Note: I haven't found a way to make this dream a reality yet, but I am still trying!)

March 2013 Feat: I'm surfing Facebook, an ad for the Boston Triathlon (Sprint) catches my eye, I click the link to their website, I continue to click through, my credit card shows up in my hand and I register for my first triathlon for August 2013.

Result: On August 4, 2013, I load up my gear and my spectators, meet friends at the event, step wwwaaayyy out of my comfort zone and enjoy every step of the ride while completing my first Sprint triathlon in 1:24:58.6.

April 2013 Feat: After running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January 2013, I knew I had wanted to tackle the Goofy Challenge (Half Marathon followed next day by Full Marathon) for its 10th anniversary in 2015. But then a new challenge caught my eye ... the Dopey Challenge. The Dopey Challenge is 4 races in 4 days totaling 48.6 miles (5k, 10k, Half Marathon & Full Marathon). Again my credit card showed up in my hand and I was registered.

Result: Time will tell as this comes to light January 9-12, 2014!!


So what else did I say I would do?

Oohhh this next fitness feat started in June 2013 while I was attending Fitbloggin in Portland, Oregon. During a session entitled "Stop Keeping up with the Joneses," we were asked to introduce ourselves.

What I’d love to do as a way to get started, is to have everyone introduce yourself. We’re not a huge group, so just your name and your blog. I’d like you guys to say one weight loss or fitness goal that you’ve seen someone else do that you really wish you could do.

And in that room with my dear friend Sue (aka MrsFatAss) next to me I uttered:

Dani, Weight Off My Shoulders: There’s so many! I’d like to do a half ironman.

Yes thanks to live blogging at the session there is documented proof of what I said. :P

Once the session was over, I turned to Sue and said: "Why did I say that? Now I actually have to do it." Fear. Immediate fear.

But also something deep down in my heart was excited at the possibility. I, Dani, the ex-230 lb wallflower could possibly tackle a Half Ironman.

Now at this time, I hadn't even done one triathlon let alone thinking about a Half Ironman, which is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.2 mile run ... all in a row!

The seed has been planted.

Once the first sprint triathlon was completed, the water was planted on the seed.

After the second sprint triathlon where I somehow placed 3rd in my division, the plant started to grow!

While vying for another Got Chocolate Milk Team Refuel sponsorship, I said how I would use the $500 prize to sign up for my first Half Ironman.

Which brings us to the present - October 2013.

I had a friend as well as one of my Weight Watchers members take part in the Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival in September 2013. The Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival is a Sprint Triathlon on the Saturday and a Half Ironman on the Sunday. Some people even take part in both. Say whhaaa?? I know.

They did nothing, but RAVE about the race, the swag, the organization and the scenery. It takes place in Southern Maine in the Fall. Hello? How could that not be beautiful.


On a whim, I reached out to the Pumpkinman social media team about partnering up for my first Half Ironman ...

... and they were all for it! YAY!!

So on Halloween, October 31, I officially registered for the Pumpkinman Half Ironman on September 7, 2014!! Ahhhh!

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No going back now, right?


Especially since I have my official Got Chocolate Milk Team Refuel tri-kit to rock.


So now it is out there, official and will be my sole focus after finishing the 2014 Boston Marathon. Thankfully I now have a great triathlon training book recommended to me by NYCRunningMama so I will be starting to get a good base during the winter months.


It's never to early to start training, right?


Do you ever get yourself into a crazy commitment by opening your mouth? ;)

Women's Triathlon Recap

FORGIVE ME BLOG READERS FOR I HAVE SINNED. I allowed too much time to pass before posting this recap. Almost a month.



I need to start by thanking the Hartford Marathon Foundation for offering me a complimentary entry into the Women's Sprint Triathlon in Farmington, Connecticut on September 8th. But as you all know I do not let a complimentary entry sway my thoughts on a race!

It was pretty clear after finishing my first triathlon - Boston Sprint Tri on August 4th - that I was hooked. So I was happy to get another triathlon in before the season came to a close.

Now I registered and got all excited and THEN realized the race would be a good 2.5 hour drive from Boston ... on the day of the race.

The race began at 7:30am.

I will let you take a moment to do the math.

Got it?

If not, that meant a nice 3:30am wakeup that morning.


Not. :P

Okay it wasn't the ideal pre-race conditions, but we had no other choice. We couldn't leave the pups the night before so day of travel was our only option.

The alarm went off at 3:30am, I leaped out of bed and immediately the pre-race jitters set in.

Thankfully I am a tad OCD and everything was already packed and ready to go the night before to help make the morning a smooth transition.

We hit Dunkin Donuts for some much-needed caffeine and we were on the road.

Shockingly we hit zero traffic. ;)

We arrived at the Winding Trails in Farmington, CT with plenty of time to pick up my packet, get numbered and set up my transition station.

My transition area worked so well at Boston Triathlon that I decided to duplicate it at the Women's Triathlon.

The transition area was set up by bib #s, but in each lane you could put your bike wherever you wanted. So I just picked one as close to the front as I could, but I pretty much ended up smack in the middle of my lane.

I did a once over and headed out of the transition area to hang with the wife until it was time to suit up.

It was amazing to walk around and see a race entirely made up of women. It felt great, comforting and welcoming.

There were women of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities taking part. For many, it was their first triathlon. There were women wearing just bathing suits, women whose bikes had baskets/bells/kickstands and some who were clear Ironman finishers. It was a wide variety, but everyone was cheering each other on.

I also throughly enjoyed that during all the announcements when they talked about spectators they mentioned wives of competitors. Yay for being super supportive of the lesbian racers. It just made me smile. :)

Before I knew it it was time to head back to the transition area to pick up the wetsuit and head to the beach.

While standing on the beach, a blog reader came over to introduce herself and say hi. It was such an awesome feeling. I love meeting people who actually read these posts. :)

I decided to take a quick dip into the water before heading to the Start area.

And it was time.

The nerves were high. I was so busy doing Dopey Challenge training that I hadn't been on the bike in over a month or in the pool all that much so I had no idea what to expect. I just wanted to go out there and give it my all.


Swim - 1/2 Mile

For this race we started IN the water. I was in the first corral of ladies in the water. I tried to put myself farther up in the pack since I learned at the last tri that I needed to do that. I was a stronger swimmer than I gave myself credit for.

The gun went off and we were in.

But from the get go something was wrong. I couldn't breathe. It felt as if someone was trying to choke me. I tried to loosen the neck area of the wetsuit slightly to see if that would help, but I couldn't get in a groove.

I felt as if I was swimming in place. I had no idea what was going on so I just kept trying to move forward.

I ended up breathing almost every single stroke, but I figured I would do anything to try and get to the Finish.

Thankfully we were in a calm pond which I can say helped.

I got to the halfway mark and wondered how the heck I would make it the rest of the way. I just thought about my wife on the beach and swam towards her.

I could tell my sighting had gotten much better from the first triathlon to this one. My wife said I was the only swimmer in my group that came straight towards the Finish Line after the halfway point. Woo! I think I was probably the 10 or 12th swimmer out of the water so I guess I was moving faster than I thought.

After coming out of the water, we had to run all the way up the beach, along the outside length of the transition area and THEN entered the transition area. It was a long way to run barefoot, but I did the best I could to get that wetsuit down to my waist as quickly as possible.

There were a good number of volunteers (lifeguards) out in kayaks on the water which put me at ease in case I really couldn't breathe at any point.

Total Time: 17:42 Overall Place: 44/442


Transition 1

Time: 2:07

Since I was still trying to catch my breath, I took my time during the transition. I was worrying about that so much that I fell right over while taking off the wetsuit. Yes I need to focus on one thing at a time. :P

I was able to grab some Gatorade, some pieces of KIND Bar, switch into my Team Refuel singlet and lace up my sneakers. I also made sure to really dry my feet off before putting my socks on since I ended up with very wet feet last time. ;)

(See how we learn something from each race!)

I slapped my helmet on and I was headed out of the transition area.

Yes this should've been faster, but I was just happy that my breathing had started to return to normal.


Bike - 12 miles

Now for some reason I thought this was going to be a flat course. Not sure where I got that impression but boy was I WRONG!!! Holy hill Batman. I am a weak biker anyway, but throw in hills and I wasn't sure what I was doing.

I definitely know I will be getting some clips for my bike so I can wear my Spin shoes before my next race because I was losing some force having my sneakers on.

All I could do was push forward though. I had the cyclometer on my bike and my goal was to try and stay between 17-19 mph the best I could.

I pushed faster than I had before and tried to use the downhills to my benefit. The roads were open to traffic so we had to stay as close to the right of the road as we could.

I was actually able to pass some people, but was definitely passed my more. :)

It was one amazing experience coming back towards the transition area as both sides of the course were lined with spectators. The cheering was loud and the faces made my smile grow. I felt like a freakin' rock star. All these people were cheering for lil old me. It was awesome!

Plus just as I was about to dismount the bike, I caught a glimpse of the wife - just what I needed to see since I hadn't seen her when I left the water earlier.

I know that the bike is the portion I need to work on the most, but I was pretty pleased with how I handled my first hilly bike course.

I didn't really see too many volunteers out on the course itself for some stretches, but they were there at key turns and when we exited and entered the lanes near the transition area.

Total Time: 40:09 Overall Place: 88/442 (can we tell it’s my weakest area)


Transition 2

Time: 1:07

Much more respectable transition time the second time around. But really all I had to do here was ditch the bike/bike helmet, throw on my visor/sunglasses and put on my race belt with bib.


Run - 5k

As I left the transition area, I ran by the wife and said "I can't breathe." Not sure what was going on with me that day, but as I headed out for the run - I once again just tried to focus on my breathing.

Since triathlons don't allow headphones, it was really easy to tune into my breathing and correct it.

I had just a 5k between me and the end of my second triathlon.

Now again I somehow was under the impression that this would be a flat easy run.


As I rounded the second turn, there was a large trail incline in front of me.

It is at that point, that I realized I was in for a rough terrain trail 5k rather than an easy run.

I stopped to retie my sneakers, buckled down and focused on trying to pass any runners I could pass in front of me.

I got my breathing under control and just tried to enjoy the scenery around me. We were in one glorious forest.

Every volunteer I passed, I said "I was lied to about this being a flat course" and all they could do was laugh.

Thankfully my GPS was pretty spot on and before I knew it we were less than 1/2 a mile to the Finish.

I tried to speed the body up as best I could.

With a few hundred yards to go we emerged from the trees and there was the Finish Line.

I gave it the rest I had and it was over. The 5k was done.

Water stops were well covered, but other than that it was really just the runners on the trail. Not sure what I would've done had I gone down with a cramp or injury while in the woods since I didn't know where the next water stop or volunteer would be.

Total Time: 24:45 Overall Place: 15/442



I completed the course in 1:25:48 and couldn't have been happier.

As soon as I crossed the Finish Line, they announced my name (Ahhh I love when races do this) and was given a gorgeous wooden medal.

Cool, right?

I found the wife and she presented me with an actual cycling jersey for me to use next year during training rides.

Can I pull it off?

We then headed over to refuel with some chocolate milk. It was like they knew I was coming! ;)

After my chocolate milk and water, it was obviously time to grab a celebratory beer courtesy of Old Burnside Brewing Company! I love when races are sponsored by local craft breweries. Drink local friends! :)

As I walked away from the beer area, I noticed a massage tent with no wait. YES!! Whenever these are at races by the time I finish there is a huge line so I had to jump on this opportunity.

It was GREAT to get stretched out by a professional! I wish I could have this treatment after every workout.

Thank you Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers for providing this service!

Before I go any further I want to thank my wife for being my #1 supporter, calming me down along the course, getting up at 3:30am, driving hours to the race and being an overall wonderful sport in this crazy racing world I am in. :) I couldn't do this without her.

We had planned on meeting up with my friend Martinus from for lunch so we headed back to the transition area to get my stuff and headed back to the car.

I wouldn't find out until hours later that I had actually placed in my division. Whaaa??? I KNOW!!

I had finished 31st overall out of 442 and 3rd in my division.

How cool is that? I was shocked and amazed. Since I had left, I missed receiving my prize. A prize? Yay!

So I actually sent $8 to the Hartford Marathon Foundation and they sent me the prize. An amazing hand-painted marvel.

Overall, I was extremely happy with how the race turned out. Do I know exactly what happened with my breathing during the swimming portion? No, but that is something I will work through on my training in case it happens again.

I really loved the Women's Triathlon atmosphere and would highly recommend this race to any of my friends.

I hope to return next year to take on those rolling hills of Connecticut again! :)


So when can I do my next triathlon? ;)

Weekly Workout Wind Up (9/5-11/13)

In a rare (and much needed ) turn of events, I had two rest days this week. I think my body was appreciative of the extra downtime. There are many people that say you can overtrain and I am really trying to avoid that. So I think this week happens to be a lower mileage week in the #DopeyChallenge training and it is coming at the right time. I am really hoping that after this week, I can start adding the variety back in to my workouts that I had earlier in the summer. But between work, blogging and life I haven't had time to add the variety recently.

Hi Excuses! My name is Dani.

But as my schedule changes at work, I need to get creative to add in the runs I need plus some other fun stuff.

I will make it work!!

Plus, I think I am going to get a bike trainer for the fall/winter since we all know the bike is my weakest part of the triathlon so I need to work extra hard at it this offseason.


Thursday, September 5: REST DAY


Friday, September 6: 8-Mile Run


Saturday, September 7: 6.3-Mile Run


Sunday, September 8: Women's Sprint Triathlon (1/2 Mile Swim, 12 Mile Bike, 5k Run)


Monday, September 9: 4-Mile Run and 50-Min Spin



Tuesday, September 10: REST DAY


Wednesday, September 11: 4-Mile Run



Bring on the Rock 'n' Roll Philly Half on Sunday! :)