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Couch to 5k Group Run

Couch to 5k Group Run

My first YouTube video! I plan on vlogging my marathon training, which starts next week. Today’s video follows my local Couch to 5k program’s last group run.

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – Finish Line Feels

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – Finish Line Feels

I rounded a corner and there was my coach Sonja. I was the last of her athletes to finish and she was there waiting for me. I ran up to her gave her a big hug and headed off towards the finish line and the […]

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – The Run

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – The Run

I waddled through a maze of lines, hobbling in my cycling shoes and half blind in my right eye. My right eye was so messed up from the sunscreen that had gotten in it, that it was like looking through milk. I couldn’t see anything clearly out of that eye and was really worried that I had scratched my cornea (haha race day brain blowing things way out of proportion!). I made my way to the transition tent, again calling out my number, was handed my bag and went inside the tent to change. I asked a nice volunteer to get me some water so I could rinse my eye out and changed as quickly as I could.

My eye still burning and blurry, I headed out of the tent and onto the run course. There I saw my mom and pointed to my eye, saying I hurt it. I needed to unload on someone. Apparently she didn’t hear me correctly and told everyone in my family that I had two black eyes. Haha! They didn’t find out what really happen until my second loop. Ooops!

About 3 miles in, I found a paramedic at one of the aid stations and stopped him. I had been worrying about my eye and wanted someone to check it out. He looked at it and told me I was fine, it was just red. I continued rinsing it at every aid station and by the end of the first loop I had regained most of my vision. It took 2 days for the irritation to go away and for me to fully regain my vision, what little vision I have anyway.

With that off of my mind, I focused on the run. I calculated my pace and knew I needed about a 14 minute mile average to finish under 16 hours, which was my goal. I kept plucking away at the miles, 12 minutes here 13 there. Making steady pace.

 

The early part of my run. I was struggling to get down a big bottle of hydration and pre-occupied with my eye issues.

On the third and final loop my hydration issues caught up to me. I no longer wanted to eat my gels, I didn’t want the rest of my NBS, my stomach was starting to feel queasy, I had a god awful case of blisters on my left foot (I could feel the liquid squishing from one side of the huge blister to the next with each step) and my left hamstring decided now was a great time to start cramping up. I made my gait smaller, if that was even possible and trudged on into the night. Anytime my heart rate went over a certain threshold, I’d have to hold back the urge to vomit. I desperately wanted some chicken broth and finally got some about halfway through my last loop. The broth did help my stomach a bit, I’ll definitely pack some Tums next time.

It was dark and silly me had forgotten to pack a headlamp. The run in Santa Rosa is actually quite nice on a pretty flat trail, covered in trees that run along a little stream, but at night it was nearly pitch black. I stumbled along for a bit and then decided to bring out my cell phone to use for light. I knew we weren’t supposed to use them, but hoped an official would take pity on me and not bust me if they saw me. I unzipped my aero top, stuffing it in the secret pocket of my Coeur bra with just the flashlight part sticking out and moved forward through the dark lit up like Ironman. Fitting that I’d finish my Ironman race with an Ironman type light coming from my chest. #nerd

My run devolved into a fast walk with 5 miles to go and I made a run buddy. I gave up on my sub 16, knowing I’d finish just a few minutes over 16 hours, which was okay with me. We finished the last 5 miles together, sharing our misery (we were both in a decent amount of pain and really just wanted it to be done). With a half a mile to go, we made it out of the trail and onto the street. I decided I could run the last bit and took off towards the light of the finish line.

Continued on Finish Line Feels 

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – The Bike

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – The Bike

I busted out of the tent and ran (aka hobbled because really who can run in cycling shoes?) to my bike. I checked my nutrition one last time, stuffed my phone in my back pocket and grabbed my bike. As I grabbed my bike, the […]

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – The Swim

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – The Swim

The bus pulled up into the transition parking lot and out I went. The fact that I had done the half a few months earlier at this same location, with basically the same check-in and race morning protocols really helped my nerves. This was all […]

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – Pre-Race & Check-in

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report – Pre-Race & Check-in

I arrived in Santa Rosa on Thursday, got through Athlete check-in, which if you’ve never done it before can be an experience, long lines with a hurry up and wait kinda atmosphere. This was my third Ironman branded event and I could not believe how fast it went. I was in and out of that tent in less than 5 minutes. My last check-in, which happened to be for the half Ironman Santa Rosa had taken well over 30 minutes! So pro-tip for first timers, check in early, two days before your event and you won’t have any lines or crowds to battle.

The merch tent was also fully stocked, so I made my way in and bought myself a finisher’s jacket, mug and more stickers, because I can never have enough stickers. I hesitated buying the jacket, what if I didn’t finish? I told myself I would and if I didn’t I could burn it (or maybe sell it).


After the athlete meeting, I met up with fellow Coeur teammates Briana and Karen Aydelott for a quick chat and picture. Quick side note if you haven’t met Karen or heard her story, you really should. She is an amazing lady and athlete. I hope to have a fraction of her will and determination when I grow up. Truly inspiring!

Friday I headed to the lake to check my bike and gear bags in. I got the lake fairly early, the racks were all still mostly empty and was able to check my bike in pretty quickly. Which was good, because it was hot and my friends were melting in the sun.

  
Upon check-in they take a picture of your bike. I was unaware of this and found it pretty amusing, especially because I pretty much had the cheapest bike on the field. If someone had stolen my bike it would have been pretty comical. It’s a $300 Vilano, aluminum, bottom line gears, shifters and brakes, clip on aero bars and two sizes too big for me. My watch costs more than this thing! Definitely not the best bike and probably not the best to use for such a long distance, but hey I got it done! Next year I will absolutely upgrade. With my wedding and the already high costs of Ironman itself, upgrades just weren’t in the cards this year.

After getting my bike racked and my bags lined up, I headed down the ramp to inspect the lake. It was warm, uh-oh. I asked a volunteer what the temp was and it was well over 76.1, NOT wetsuit legal. I was told that it may dip back down below to wetsuit legal temps by morning and that it would be a race day decision. That kinda spiked my nerves a bit. I am a decent swimmer, not super fast, but very comfortable in the water. My wetsuit adds speed and a tiny bit of confidence to my swim. I mean, it’s pretty hard to sink in a full body floaty!  But there was nothing I could do, so I put it out of my mind. Whatever happened, would happen. There was nothing I could do, so I might as well not worry about it.

The rest of Friday was spent eating, resting and trying to keep my mind off the race. Which meant Scrabble and movies! I downed my NBS pre-load the night before, which by the way, is very nasty tasting. It works wonderfully, so definitely no digs on the product, but it is not something I’d like to sip by the side of the pool. I put my race day tattoos on, I like to look like a walking billboard during races, and I’m slow so my sponsors and teams definitely get a LOT of exposure.

Considering the nerves I had to deal with, I slept a decent amount. I brought some noise cancelling headphones and popped on a wave soundtrack on my phone and left it on a loop. I deal with anxiety often and races only add to that. The wave music is something I utilize at home to get to sleep and it worked like a charm this time. I got about 4 hours of sleep. That doesn’t sound like something to brag about, but it really was a pretty good amount for a pre-race sleep for me.


Saturday morning, I munched my oatmeal and banana and had my friends loaded me up in the car and drop me off at the athlete buses. I walked up to the bus line and was immediately directed onto a bus. So fast! I’d soon be in the water! I met a lady named Deb on the bus who was doing 50 Ironmans for her 50th birthday, not all of them branded, but still! I couldn’t believe it. Here I was just trying to survive one and she’s on number 27 of her 50! That kinda put things in perspective for me. There are so many cool stories to hear if you take the time to talk to the athletes of Ironman. Make friends in transition, waiting for the swim or on the run, everyone has something interesting to say.

Talking to my new friend Deb made the time fly and soon the lake and transition flood lights came into view. I was minutes away from doing my first Ironman!

 

Continued on Ironman Santa Rosa – The Swim

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report

Ironman Santa Rosa 2017 Race Report

Saturday July 29, 2017, I successfully completed my first full Ironman. The following is my Ironman Santa Rosa race report. Each leg of the race has been given it’s own post to avoid a wall of text. Thank you for following me on my journey. […]

Tri For Fun #1 Race Report

Tri For Fun #1 Race Report

Back in February, I signed up for a 3 part sprint tri race series for the summer with my fiance. A race a month in June, July & August. The biggest determining factor for me registering for these races was, the fact that all three […]

Summer Gardening

Summer Gardening

If you know me, or recently read my 15 Things About Me post, you’ll know that I love to dig in the dirt. I like green things and happily live my life with a small amount of dirt under my fingernails.

 

I plant a garden every summer, in addition to my permanent landscaping. Normally my garden is started from small starter plants bought at the local nursery, but this year I wanted to start everything from seed. I’ve recently become obsessed with the idea of starting and maintaining a huge garden thanks to this book, Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre and wanted to try my hand at seed. So, I got some seeds at a local Lowe’s and started my tiny garden in early April. A little late for Central California, but still early enough to get most of what I wanted going. **Side note, there are a ton of seed shops online that have heirloom and organic stock of much higher quality than can be found in store, but I didn’t quite plan my garden out early enough for that. Next time!

 

   

Normally my garden is in the flower beds I designed a few years ago, but we are working on getting the landscaping developed and matured in our current home, so that we can sell the house within the next few years. So I opted for small planter beds in movable bins. I went with two 20″ x 20″ grow boxes and a small barrel planter that I’ve had on my patio for a few years. The barrel planters can be found at Costco, as well as online and make great planters as well as cool little ponds.

 

My seed started garden began with three varieties of tomatoes, kale, chard, arugula, spinach, carrots, basil, bell peppers, jalapenos, and radishes. The leafy greens are all planted in my barrel planter, close to the backdoor for easy picking come smoothie time (I make a green smoothie every day). Everything else fits in the 20″ grow boxes.

  

 

The tomato plants now tower above the rest at over 2 feet tall, already needing to be caged and are loaded with blooms. The peppers are taking awhile longer to flower, but are making steady progress. The radishes came and went super fast. They were ready to harvest within 21 days. I have since planted spinach and marigold in the empty spots left by the radish crop. The carrots seem to be coming along nicely, but I must admit, I’ve never harvested carrots before and am not sure how to tell when they are ready. I suppose this year will be a test year of sorts.

 

 

As far as special fertilizers or treatments, I don’t do much. My big “secret” is that I water my plants with pond water every few days. I have a small pond in a barrel with some goldfish (well actually one right now, his friends died this winter, they committed suicide and jumped out), snails, anacharis and lily pads. Using the pond water to water my plants, helps remove the nitrates from my pond and gives my plants added nutrients. I also take care to trim back my tomato plants and grape vines, so that they don’t get overly stringy and can focus on moving nutrients to the fruit.

 

In addition to my seed started garden, I have edible perennials as well. I have two large grape vines chock full of grapes waiting to ripen, a small blackberry bush on it’s first season, a lemon tree, lime tree, mandarin and apricot. My yard may be small, but I’ve managed to fit quite a bit in it. I can’t wait to see what I can do with a larger space! Gardening is a worthwhile skill for anyone to master and an easy affordable way to get high quality produce into your diet.

  

My morning routine now includes a short garden inspection/watering every morning. I love nature and being surrounded by edible greens is quite calming. It makes for a perfect start to my day. I’ll post a harvest update later this season to see just how much I am able to get out of such a small space. Do you like to garden? Let me know in the comments below!

15 Things About Me

15 Things About Me

Here’s a fun little Instagram tag I completed recently. 15 random things you may not know about me. 1. I am a California girl born and raised. 2. I will be getting married this September to my fiance, whom I have been with for 9 […]