Fall and October Goals

Let’s be clear. I don’t function in life without goals. I’m Type A through and through. Since I’m not training for anything big right now, I don’t really have any immediate goals to accomplish. However, with a new job and a new career path on the horizon I definitely have some professional goals I’m currently working on. Normally I set my goals at the beginning of a new year. Here’s a list of my 2013 goals:

1. Become an Ironman! Check!

2. Learn to piss on my bicycle! Fail! Perhaps in 2014…

3. Increase my bike fitness and finally achieve the perfect VI so I can get an A from my coach! I definitely saw a lot of improvement in my VI (aka riding steady), but my power just plain sucked compared to 2012.

4. Focus on doing at least 10-15 minutes a day dedicated to mobility, soft tissue work, and core strength. Uh yea, partial fail. Definitely a focus this Fall.

5. Continue learning and seeking out knowledge and advice from the leading health and fitness professionals so I can continue helping my clients and athletes reach their health and athletic goals. Always on going! 🙂

6. Continue working on achieving a healthy body composition through proper nutrition and training. Always on going too!

Since there is a little over three months left in 2013 I still have time to reach my 2013 goals. Well, maybe not the whole pee on my bike thing since it’s a bit cold for that now…

Here are my Fall Goals:

  • Learn and do well at my new job! I’m excited to begin my new job because it’s a first step in my future career. I am finally leaving the behind the lab rat life and moving into the office world. I’m excited to be able to use my public health education and learn new skills such as project management and grant-writing and management.
  • Get more involved with my local community! I recently joined the Junior League of Portland for multiple reasons with the main one being getting more involved and volunteering in my local community. The Junior League also is great for networking and leadership development skills. Also, a majority of the most powerful women (i.e. political figures, CEOs of companies, etc.) are Junior League members. Just saying… I’m also currently looking for an opportunity in the Greater Portland area to volunteer in the HIV/AIDS and/or access to clean water and sanitation fields since they are my passions in public health.
  • Learn French! I want to work in the global public health field which requires me to be fluent (or close to fluent) in a second language. I took a years worth of Spanish in college so I have some basic understanding of the language. I read it way better than speak it! Languages are not my forte. Probably because I had some speech issues as a child, which is why I was always drawn towards science and math. However, I need to overcome my fears and challenges to become bilingual. Not only is it a necessity in my future career path, but it has become almost necessity in everyday life due to rapid globalization. I chose french because it is spoken in Western Africa and Africa is calling my name. This Fall I’m focusing on learning French through the Instant Immersion program I picked up at the bookstore (similar to Rosetta Stone but at the fraction of the cost) and the website Duolingo (which is totally awesome and free!). In the spring I’m going to take lessons at The Language Exchange in Portland.
  • Run two Half-Marathons! My run season was pretty pathetic this year due to my knee/IT-band/hip issues. I’m slowly beginning to build up my running fitness with a lot of zone 2 runs. I’m sooooo slow it’s not even funny, but I know it will be worth it in the end. I’ve decided to run the All Women & One Lucky Guy Half Marathon on November 3rd and the Jingle Bell Half Marathon on December 14th.

Now, in order to reach my “big” goals of the Fall I’m going to break them into smaller monthly goals. So, here are my October goals:

  • Continue building my running fitness with zone 2 running. About half way through the month I’ll begin adding more speed and Half marathon specific runs to my training plan. The November half is not an “A” race and thus my time goals are not anywhere close to setting a new PR.
  • Work on core strength and improve my overall mobility and stability. I enjoy trying new things so I plan on trying out BarSculpt at Pure Movement, hit up some yoga classes and also some boot camp-like classes at some of my favorite studios.
  • Devote at least 30 minutes each day to work on my french learning skills.
  • Clean up my eating and focus on making a majority of my meals at home. With the new Fall weather I can break out my crock pot and make lots of yummy soups and stews! Yay!
  • Find a place to volunteer at and make contact once I figure out my new work schedule.
  • Write and update my blog on a regular basis! I’ve been slacking lately, but I have some really awesome ideas for posts. They just haven’t happened yet. I wish I come just connect my brain to my computer and write posts as I think about them (which happens a lot during my training sessions).
  • Grow my coaching and personal training business. Hint hint: I’m accepting new athletes and clients!

    Anyway, that’s what my Fall season entails. What are your Fall goals?

    ~ Happy Training!

Hello Again!


Remember me?

I use to blog here…

Yup, I’m back!

Last week I put out a couple of book review posts, but haven’t really mentioned what I have been up to in the past couple of months. Well, September is my favorite month of the year! However, the weather in Maine this year as been a bit hit or miss. This past week I was hit with a cold plus allergies since Mother Nature can’t make up her mind whether she wants to be 90 degrees and sunny or 50 degrees and pouring rain! It’s been a bit of a snot fest…

Anyway, I have big news!!! I got a new job! Finally. It’s been a long and frustrating process. I came close for a couple of jobs that I would have loved but no cigar. However, I tend to think that everything happens for a reason and my new job is going to be awesome and a good first step in my future career path. I’m so excited to start a week from today. 🙂


What have I been up to lately? Here’s the short list:

I’ve watched a lot of this on Netflix lately while drinking tea…

I totally love Gossip Girl so don't judge me...

I totally love Gossip Girl so don’t judge me… (Source)

My new favorite show... I want to be Olivia Pope when I grow up!

My new favorite show… I want to be Olivia Pope when I grow up! (Source)

I’ve done a fair amount of running lately. All my running has been zone 2 easy runs to build my baseline running fitness back up again since I really wasn’t able to do much running all year-long due to my knee/hip issues.

I’ve played and hiked with my dog, Reagan, a lot lately. She has also joined me on a majority of my shorter runs.

Playing fetch in the backyard

Playing fetch in the backyard

View from a top Pleasant Mountain

View from a top Pleasant Mountain

I’ve shopped for new clothes for my new job since I actually have to dress up and look presentable now. Not that I looked like a homeless bum at my lab job (well, that may be debatable because I often wore my winter hat while at work since it was cold), but when you work in the lab you learn not to wear nice clothes because chemical spills and your cashmere sweater are not friends. Trust me on this one!

New shoes, new nail colors, new jewerly, and just about new color blazer from J. Crew

New shoes, new nail colors, new jewelry, and just about every color blazer from J. Crew


I’ve also been doing a great deal of reading lately.In the past few weeks I have probably finished close to 10 books. I recently finished (finally!) an autobiography of Lance Armstrong that I started 2 years ago. I won’t be doing a book review on it since Lance isn’t worth my time. All throughout the book when it was telling his Tour de France victory stories all I could repeat in my head was “DOPER.” I mostly just wanted to get the book off my “to read” bile. I’m currently reading Maryn McKenna’s Beating Back the Devil, which is about the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. The EIS is an elite group of medical and public health professionals that on a drop of a pin must jet off to where ever there is an epidemic breakout of disease. I plan on applying to the EIS after I earn my PhD in the future.


So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Nothing super exciting, just nice and relaxing for a change of pace. Half marathon training is going to begin shortly! 🙂 Until then…

~ Happy Training!



Summer Reading



The Tower of Books

There’s no denying it, but I LOVE to read. My bookshelf is over flowing with books. Most I’ve read, but some I have not (yet). I have a bad habit of starting a book, but when a new, more interesting book is released then I jump ship and begin the new one. So I have a huge stack of half-read books sitting on my table next to my bed just begging me to finish their half-read stories.

I’ve decided I’m growing to tackle that ever-growing book stack, mostly because I’m afraid it may tumble over on me while I’m sleeping. Somehow death by book does not sounds like a fun way to go. So without further ado here is my summer reading list…

Summer 2013 Reading List

1. The Time Between by Karen White – I actually finished this book late last night. I read the entire book within 24 hours and it was just released this past week. I discovered Karen White a couple of years ago randomly at Borders. Her book The Lost Hours caught my attention because it was about horses. Anything about horses tends to get my attention. I purchased it, read it, and fell in love with her writing style. She is a Southern writer and writes about the South. I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought that I should have been a Southern girl. There is something about Charleston, South Carolina that just appeals to me. I’ve ever been there, but hopefully I’ll make the trip there soon. White’s stories are easy to read and fun. A perfect beach read in my opinion.

2. The Color of Light by Karen White – I just picked this up this week too because I haven’t read this one by White yet. By time this blog post posts on Monday I will probably have finished this book too. Love her writing!

3. The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Dr. Philip Maffetone – I started this book this past week but got interrupted by Karen White’s new book and thus put this book on hiatus momentarily. Maffetone is an internationally recognized researcher, clinician, coach, and author in the fields of endurance training, nutrition, and biofeedback. He was six-time Ironman winner Mark Allen’s coach for a long time. I’m interested in his philosophy of training and I plan on implementing some of his theories in my own training this coming Fall.

4. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney – I’m a huge fan of podcasts, especially Vinnie Tortorich and The Fit, Fat, Fast Podcast. Both podcasts discuss living no sugar no grains (NSNG) lifestyles. The lifestyle intrigues me and I’ve been spending a lot of time recently researching the topic and will most likely making the change to my diet after Ironman Lake Placid. The Fit, Fat, Fast Podcast highly suggested this book and I look forward to diving into the research behind low-carbohydrate diets this summer.

5. Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes – This book came highly suggested by Vinnie Tortorich on his podcast. I started reading it and then got distracted by a couple of the above books. So far I have loved this book! It is easy to read, but yet contains a ton of scientific research. I’ve been suggesting this book to a couple of my clients because it is an eye-opener book.

6. Fit Soul, Fit Body by Mark Allen and Brant Secunda – I picked my signed copy of the book last year at the New England Triathlon Expo in Boston. Allen was the guest speaker. I read the first chapter and then put the book down for a while. I look forward to picking it up again this summer.

7. The Healing of America by T.R. Reid – This was actually a book that I read excerpts from for one of my public health classes. The book discussed various health care systems worldwide and what we can do here in America to make health care more affordable and better. I look forward to reading the book from cover to cover instead of specific chapters.

8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – As a science geek you’re surprised I haven’t read this yet. It’s been on my list to read for a while now. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Henrietta Lacks is the source of the laboratory cell line used in hundreds of laboratories across the global for years called HeLa cells. They are actually considered a “lab weed” now because they often contaminate other cell lines. I’ve worked with cancer cell lines before and cell culture is an amazing tool used in research today and we can thank Henrietta Lacks for it. However, she and Henrietta’s family knew nothing about her “immorality” until 20 years after her death.

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – I’m a huge fan of the classics and have been making an effort over the years to read a majority of the most popular ones. This one I picked up when I was in Montana in 2011 and just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

10. 1984 by George Orwell – Another classic. I started the book a couple of years ago and I guess got distracted again. I loved Animal Farm so I’ve decided that I need to read his other most known work.

11. Lance by John Wilcockson – I started reading this over a year ago. Got half way through it and just stopped. I’m not much of a Lance fan anymore. I wonder why? However, I still would like to finish reading the book. He definitely lived an interesting life; however, now I know how things end. Thanks Lance for giving away the ending.

12. How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins – Part of being a personal trainer and coach is knowing how to sell yourself. Some people view people who sell themselves as not being humble. Well, if you want to make a living in this industry you have to be able to market yourself and tell people how much of a badass you are. I don’t have any sales background and it doesn’t come easy to me. My boss at the gym suggested I pick up this book and read it. I probably should have read it back in January, but this summer sounds like a good time too…

13. The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith – I picked this book up during Border’s going out of business sale. I had the intentions of doing my internship for my masters in Africa, but unfortunately I couldn’t make that a reality. However, I am completely fascinated with Africa and hope to travel there soon. One of my main interests in public health is HIV/AIDS and global health. I have read about a quarter of the book, but it’s well over 700 pages long. Lots of history! It’s kind of a dry read, which is why I took a break from it. But I do love history. Hopefully, I’ll make progress in the book this summer.

14. GRE and Word Smart GRE – Yup, I’m studying to take the GREs again. I’m not 100% sure what my future plan entails. I just had an interview for a public health position that I would absolutely love and I’m crossing my fingers that I get the position! However, I am considering the option of going back to school if I can’t find a public health job soon. I took the GREs 5 years ago and now my scores are too old and thus have to re-take them. Yuck!

I have a feeling that I will probably find some other books to read in there somewhere (like Vinnie Tortorich’s book when that comes out!) and will probably not get to some of the above books. However, I really need to get through that stack before it becomes the leaning tower of books! Yikes!

What are you reading? Any good recommendations for summer reading?

~ Happy Training!

USAT Triathlon Coaching Level I Clinic

Ok, so this post is a little late. Like 6 weeks late. But, on the good news… I’m officially a certified USAT Level I Triathlon Coach! Yay!

It's Official!

It’s Official!

Back in April Jen and I took a road trip down to Short Hills, New Jersey for the two-day clinic. I’ll be completely honest, I was dreading the New Jersey location. I was thinking it was going to be in a super sketchy part of NJ and all the people living there were going to be right out of Jersey Shore. My worst nightmare! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Short Hills is an absolutely gorgeous part of NJ! The streets were lined with sidewalks and trees. The houses were cute and nice. And holy heck the town was hilly! I always thought that NJ was pretty flat, but I guess not. Hence the town name of Short Hills. However, those hills were anything but short!

Day one of the clinic included lectures by all three of our presenters: Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems, John Petrush of Bay Shore Swim, and Shelly O’Brien of Icon One Multisport. The morning started off with two lectures on exercise physiology and nutrition by Jesse. I was super pumped when I first saw that Jesse was going to be a presenter at our clinic. He is one of the top coaches in the country and is someone who I highly look up too. I must admit that I was a wee bit disappointed with his lectures. Not because they were boring or bad, but because both topics were review for me.

Jesse Kropelnicki

Jesse Kropelnicki

After lunch Joe came in and discussed strength training and cycling skills and training with us. Joe is from Long Island and was your stereotypical Long Islander. He was very interesting to listen to. He was funny, but also very opinionated. His lectures were good. However, I disagreed with him on his view of strength training. He told us up front that we were completely welcomed to disagree with him on the topic since strength training for triathletes is still a rather controversial topic. His view was that “if it ain’t broke than don’t fix it.” He generally prefers not doing traditional strength training with his athletes unless they are injured. His approach with strength training is to do it within the swim, bike, run realm. For example, run or bike hill repeats to build leg strength. I can see where he is coming from. I agree that some strength building within each discipline is important, such as running hill repeats. However, I believe that traditional strength training should be part of an triathlete (or any endurance athlete)’s training plan. I don’t mean they need to do traditional body building style training. That would actually not be a favorable way to train. Can you see Arnold doing an Ironman? That poor carbon fiber bike doesn’t have a chance…

Joe Petrush

Joe Petrush

I much prefer functional training with bodyweight and TRX. Anyway, now that I have left on my tangent I will get back on track! The last lecture of the day was on swim skills and training by Shelly. Shelly is an amazing person to listen to and just a wealth of information. She was by far my favorite person to listen to (which is a good thing because she did all the lectures on the second day). Shelly made each lecture more interactive, which was awesome because sitting in a chair for 10+ hours a day is not my thing. I couldn’t sit for much of the time and kept shifting about in my chair. Secretly, I think all that sitting played a role in my IT-band/Knee/Hip issues.

After the first day Jen and I headed back to our hotel. I headed out for a quick 50 minute run. It was a bit drizzly out, but quite humid. The main roads in the area were busy and we found out quickly that New Jersey drivers were crazy so I headed out to run around the neighborhoods. The neighborhoods were cute and situated on some massively steep hills. Holy cow was my pace slow, but it was fun to run, essentially, hill repeats. After my run we hit up the Cheesecake Factory. It was my first time! Yum yum yum! I had the salmon with mashed potatoes and asparagus. And of course, Jen and I split some Cheesecake, cause ya know it was my first time and all…

Shelly O'Brien

Shelly O’Brien

The second day was another very long day of sitting. On the second day we discussed running, sports psychology and mental training, and how to build training plans. Unfortunately, most of the time Shelly ran out of time during each lecture because she just had so much to tell us. She gave us a bunch of awesome drill ideas for running and swimming. Some of which I have been trying on my own since then and also have incorporated some of them into my own clients training plans.

Everyone at the clinic came from various backgrounds and reasons why they were attending. Some were already experienced coaches and some are complete newbies. We had a few sports doctors and physical therapists too. It was fun to talk to different people and hear their thoughts on the sport and training. USAT recently changed their criteria to get into the clinic. It used to be the first 40 people to register would get into the clinic. Now you have to apply. Over 70 people applied for our clinic and they accepted 40 of us. I’m glad I made the cut!

Here are some interesting tidbits I learned while at the clinic from the various presenters:

  • There is generally a 4-16 beat difference in heart rate between running and biking (average is about 10 beats)
  • It usually takes about 20-30 minutes for the heart rate to settle down after the swim
  • Heart rate is important for training and power meters are important for racing
  • Train movements not muscles (aka functional training!)
  • When working with youth athletes (under age 10) work anaerobic first then aerobic capacity
  • Develop speed and endurance together
  • Develop various skill sets in each sport (i.e. drills)
  • There is no such thing as a good bike and a bad run in triathlon, especially long course!

My favorite is the last bullet point. It is the one that I have been learning over the past year with my coach. If you go out too fast and hard on the bike and burn all your matches then your legs and body are toast for the run. Words of wisdom right there kids!

Crossing the GW Bridge in NYC

Crossing the GW Bridge in NYC

~ Happy Training!

PS – If you’re looking for a triathlon coach then I hope you will consider me! 🙂

2012: A Year in Review Part II

In case you missed yesterday’s part I then click HERE to read.

As I said yesterday, 2012 was a big growing year for me physically, mentally, emotionally, and professionally. As you all know by now that I love school and I love to learn. However, I think that many important lessons in life are not taught in textbooks and lectures, but through real world experiences. I have a tendency to learn the hard way. We all make mistakes in life. No one is perfect. Or perhaps, our imperfections are what make us perfect?

However, you want to look at it… it doesn’t really matter. I certainly learned some tough life lessons this year, but also a great deal about myself that I will bring into the new year and beyond. I like to think of my life as a fine wine… it gets better with age. Each year, each experience, each moment I grow as a person. Never stop growing and learning.

Here are some of the important life lessons that I learned throughout the year…

In Triathlon, sports, and fitness:

  1. Recovery is key! I’ve always been under the impression that we make physiological gains during our workouts, which is false. Our bodies make physiological gains from exercise during the recovery period after workouts. Recovery is the time that our bodies, more specifically muscles, repair damaged tissues and build new tissues. Recovery can come in many forms, ice baths, compression tights, fancy pneumatic compression devices (NormaTec), rest, etc. However, the most important aspect of recovery is nutrition. Consuming a protein-emphasized drink/food within 30 minutes or so after a workout is important to repair and build tissues damaged from exercise.
  2. Powermeters can be your greatest enemy friend! I will fully admit that I have a love/hate relationship with my powermeter. However, out of everything that I have purchased for my triathlon lifestyle (besides working with a coach and personal trainer) I would say that my powermeter was my best investment. It is the best way to monitor and pace myself during training and especially during races. Speed and heart rate can greatly vary due to physiological stress, temperature, terrain, etc.; however, the powermeter doesn’t lie! I’m still working on my perfect VI, which is why I have the hate relationship with it, but it shows me that I have a lot of work to do on the bike to make myself a stronger cyclist.
  3. Fancy gidgets, gadgets and race wheels may make you look badass and slightly faster, but the only way to truly become a faster and stronger athlete is working hard and creating a stronger and more efficient engine (aka, your body)! This past year I made the expensive investment in hiring a triathlon coach and personal trainer to help me strengthen my weaknesses and create an individualized plan that would help me reach my growing list of goals. I know every triathlete really wants the fancy Zipps wheels, but seriously, if you’re carrying around an extra 10-20lbs then those $3000+ wheels are really worthless. Invest the money in hiring a personal trainer, coach or nutritionist to reduce extra body fat, put on more lean muscle mass, and create a more efficient metabolism. Not only will it make you a better athlete, but you will overall be healthier. Last year I was able to lose close to 20 extra pounds that I was carrying around and it certainly made a HUGE difference in my performance this year. It’s worth the investment… trust me!
  4. Learning to pee on your bike is tough. I have still yet to master it and it will be one of my main goals in 2013. However, I have mastered the whole piss and run thing. Yes, I know this is gross…
  5. Strength training is a necessary thing! This goes hand-in-hand with number 3 on this list. Most triathletes tend to skip the strength/resistance training part of training. Certainly the swim/bike/run components are the most important, but having a strong body is very important too. A strong core is extremely important. You didn’t have to lift super heavy. If you focus 2-3x a week for 15-20 minutes on simple bodyweight exercises then you will develop a strong core, which helps in preventing injuries and also building lean muscle mass! Don’t skip! I did a lot of strength training this past year up till late spring and then didn’t do much during the competition season. Big mistake! I think if I had kept up with my strength training at least 2x a week then I probably would not have been injured as long or even at all this past fall. As a fitness professional now, I see the value of strength training in any good training plan. Take it from me… DO IT!

In Life:

  1. Don’t settle! I was actually talking about this with my boss at the gym on Saturday. He told me not to settle in life, whether it’s in a relationship or life in general. I’m not the person to just settle for mediocrity. I’ve always been an extremely ambitious and goal-driven person. I can also be very confident and sometimes it comes across like I’m a bit cocky. I’m fully aware of it, but as my boss told me that it’s one of my good traits. To get anywhere in life, especially in the fitness industry, you need to be confident. He also said that a lot of men (and women) are intimated by a strong and confident woman, but for those who are, don’t worry about it because they aren’t worth it. He said don’t settle for someone who isn’t your equal or someone who will only hinder your true potential in life. Don’t settle for a job that leaves you dissatisfied at the end of the day. If you have dreams then go for it. Don’t settle for mediocre. Reach for greatest.
  2. Ignore criticism. This one is still a major work in progress. I understood that when I started my blog that I was putting my thoughts and feelings out to the world for judgement. I’ve always been a bit sensitive to what people think of me (but I hide that fact) so I knew this would be a huge risk. However, I really enjoy writing and I actually do have a few people who follow my blog (Thank you!) so I think it’s a worthwhile investment for me in the end. However, I have learned in life that people will either love you, hate you, or just plain don’t care. Often times it isn’t you. Usually it’s that person who has the issue. I have gotten some criticism and judgements from some people, mostly from my father, that have bothered me. In the past I would just let it get me down, but the past couple of years at me realize that I’m better than that and I need to be confident in myself. We live in a society today where just about everyone is judged. It seems to be human nature to judge people and be constantly comparing ourselves to someone else. You know the phrase… keeping up with the Joneses. I have certainly judged people in the past, but I’ve been consciously trying not to judge people and accept them for who they are. Most of the time people have more going on than other people realize.
  3. Body image issues suck! Very few people (I mean like I could count the number of people on a single hand) know that I have body image issues. It’s not something that I talk about often because it brings up old wounds and also I don’t want people to judge me… but I used to have an eating disorder. From about age 16-21 I struggled with an eating disorder. Very few people know about it because I hid it well. It’s not something I like to talk about. However, my 2nd year of college I realized that enough was enough and I finally got help at school. And then, after my mom died I gained a bunch of weight because I used food to deal with the pain and my metabolism was so messed up from years of starving myself that I put on a bunch of weight. Earlier this year I changed up my nutrition and started eating more food at the correct times and also focused on a lot of strength training. The extra weight that I put on fell off rather easily and quickly. However, people (who I know were just be nice and awesome) would say things like you look great or you’re so skinny now. Those little comments would actually affect me negatively because of my past issues. Coupled with the fact that body composition does matter in the endurance world, I started to fall back in my old patterns with food. I recognized this relapse pretty quickly and have been working on not falling in those patterns. I will continue to work on improving my body composition this coming year, but I will do it the healthy way. It’s very tough. Eating disorders are very prevalent in endurance sports and just like in outside world, it’s a rather taboo subject. Be aware of them and if you see someone struggling with food/body image issues then reach out. They will probably deny it, but it’s worth the effort to care.
  4. Be a life long learner! Never stop learning! Whether its reading a new book, taking a college course, or simply sitting down and talking to someone… never stop learning new things and broadening your horizons.

With that being said… I will leave you with a great analog my boss gave me on Saturday. Life is like a bucket of crabs. There will always be a couple of crabs that will try to claw their way to the top of the bucket to get out. However, just as that crab is about to make it out, all the other crabs will grab his leg and pull him back down. Now, who do you want to be? I want to be the person carrying the bucket of crabs.


Choose to be the person who carries the bucket of crabs in 2013. Happy New Year!

~ Like always… Happy Training!

2012: A Year in Review Part I

Well folks, that time has come once again… 2012 is almost over! I’m so over 2012 and ready to ring in the new year!

I’ve reflected on 2012 about a million times by now and I’m sure that you’re all annoyed with me, but one last time! 2012 was a huge growing year for me. Perhaps because I hit that magic number of 25 and suddenly realized that I’m in my mid-20s and a “real” adult. For a long time I was rather unsure of what path I wanted to take in life. Throughout my undergrad years I really thought that medical school and becoming a physician was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, the summer I was supposed to apply to med schools I panicked and realized that I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I decided I would take a year off from school and try to figure that out. I finished undergrad a semester early in December and during the beginning of one of the worst economic recessions in the more recent years. That coupled with the fact that my mother was just diagnosed with a very rare and terminal disease left me a bit unsure of my future. My mother passed in late March right around the time I got my first “big girl” job. I worked at the large biotech company for 9 months as a temp and finally landed my current full-time job at the small biotech company I work for and have been there for the past 3 years. During those 3 years I started my course work for my Master’s in Public Health with the idea that I would go on to Physician Assistant school to become a PA. Throughout my coursework I became more interested in the obesity crisis plus I started to get more involved with the sport of triathlon. I have some issues with the modern medical system in the United States. I won’t get into details about it because I could easily go on for days on the topic, but in a nutshell, I don’t like how the system treats the disease by handing out pills when we really should focus more of preventing the problem from the start. Enter… the public health field which is more focused on preventative care.

To be completely honest, I get slightly annoyed when people ask me what public health is. It is a very valid question though. The field of public health is extremely broad and really one could do so much with a degree in public health. My interests lie in physical activity, nutrition, and chronic disease prevention. I only came to this realization this past year. That’s the reason that I pursued my certification in personal training. Personal training allows me to help people reach their health goals through exercise and nutrition. I realized as a personal trainer that I can help someone with nutrition needs, but not to the full extend that I wish to do. So, that’s why I want to eventually pursue more education (okay, maybe I just really like school) to become a registered dietitian. 2012 has been a great year in figuring out where my future career path will go. Now, that I rambled on about some things let’s look at 2012 by the months!


January 1st began my first day of training with a coach and an individualized plan to help me meet my goals. Previously I had trained with a wonderful group of women (and if you live in the Southern Maine region I highly suggest you check them out!), but with my goal of my first Ironman in 2013 and my big dream of someday qualifying for Kona, then I knew that I needed to work with a coach to develop an individualized plan based on my strength and weakness, my busy life with work and school, and also my race schedule and goals in mind. It was one of the best decisions I made all year. Certainly, it wasn’t a cheap investment, but it was extremely worthwhile and I made huge improvements in my training and performances throughout the year. January was also the time that I started to get really interested in nutrition and finding the best diet for me. One of the highlights in January was my heart rate test on the bike. You can read about it here!

I also did a lot of winter running and had to break these bad boys out a couple of times!

I also did a lot of winter running and had to break these bad boys out a couple of times!


I began the month with a nasty cold, which completely and utterly affected my 10-miler race early in the month. I have this stupid tendency to race while sick so I ran the Mid-Winter Classic sick. The first 4-5 miles I felt pretty good and was on target to meet my goal. Then half-way through it just went downhill – and downhill fast! I came really close to DNFing the race. It was not a fun experience and it only got worst later in the day when my clutch in my car went and I had to put over $2000 into fixing my car! February was not really a great month to say the lest.

I spent a lot of time creating puddles of sweat on the floor...

I spent a lot of time creating puddles of sweat on the floor…


March was a very tough month for my personally. The end of the month marked the 3 year anniversary of my mother’s passing and it affected more than I thought. I was also having some personal problems with a close friend so March was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. However, I did have a huge 5k PR in March! I also got Azul, my new triathlon bike! That was by far the best part of the month! Who doesn’t want a fancy new bicycle! Happy birthday to me! 🙂

Ready for REV3

Ready for REV3


April was a month of a lot of running breakthroughs for me. I’ve always hated running. I was always under the impression that I just wasn’t meant to be a runner. Either you are a runner or you’re not. However, with some A LOT of encouragement from my coach I finally had that breakthrough run I needed. My inner running goddess broke through that barrier and my running potential was unleashed! Yay! I had a HUGE half-marathon PR, mostly because my first half-marathon I ran sick.

Race the Runways Race Report


I finally got my powermeter for Azul in May! One of the best decisions I made all year. Of course, the first one I received from SRAM was dysfunctional, but because SRAM has one of the best customer service experiences ever, I got my new and functional powermeter within a few days! Later in the month I did my first tri of the season. It didn’t go as well as I hoped. I made a lot of stupid rookie mistakes that I later kicked myself in the butt for. Oh well, the race was really for shaking out the cobwebs for the big half-Ironman in NH a few short weeks later.

Powermeter = LOVE!

Powermeter = LOVE!


June started out with a bang! I had my first Half-Ironman of the year – Ironman 70.3 Mooseman in New Hampshire. I wasn’t going to do this race originally, but the other Half I was going to do sold-out before I could register. I got sent into a panic over it and my coach suggested Mooseman. I was extremely nervous about the race because it’s one of the toughest courses in North America. The weather was sucky and that’s a understandment! Luckily it didn’t rain on race day! I had a decent race. I finished mid-pack in my very competitive age group (several of the podium finishers in my AG finished in the top 10 overall females for the day!) and I was pretty pleased with that result. I finished within a minute of my previous Half time from a MUCH easier course so even though I didn’t officially PR, I felt like it was a PR. At the end of the month I headed out to Ironman Lake Placid training camp with my fellow TriMoxie teammates and also athletes from Personal Best Multisport Coaching. It was one of my favorite experiences of the year. Not only did I get to meet some amazing people/athletes, but also got to interact with some great coaches and really decided if Lake Placid was going to happen or not in 2013. Camp was fun and a great learning experience. I learned some important lessons about Ironman training!

One important lesson = Be ready for thunderstorms with Hail in LP!

One important lesson = Be ready for thunderstorms with Hail in LP!


I started July off with a lovely summer cold, aka snotfest! However, I recovered and was able to race a local sprint tri in Norway. I ended up winning my AG and coming in 12th OA female for the day, even with a horrible run! I also rode the REV3 Half bike course for the first time as a recovery ride. However, I guess a 65-mile bike ride even at a slow aerobic pace is not considered a recovery ride. Sorry Mary! 🙂 The best part of July was volunteering at IMLP and cheering on all my friends and other local Maine/NH/MA athletes as they competed at IMLP and then signing up myself for the 2013 IMLP the next day! Although, I didn’t quite enjoy paying the almost $700 race fee!

1st AG W25-29

1st AG W25-29

Officially registered for 2013!

Officially registered for 2013!


August was a great race month for me. I ran my first 10k and first Beach to Beacon race. The race was executed exactly how my coach planned (which I totally didn’t believe her when she first gave me my pace goals) and I felt great overall despite the hot and humid weather conditions that left a lot of fellow runners on the sideline with heat exhaustion. At the end of the month, I raced my “A” race of the season – the REV3 Maine Half. I had a good race and finished 8th in my age group and finished top third-ish overall females. I’m slowly climbing myself towards the top of my age group, but I know that I have A LOT of work and improvements that I need to make over the years if I ever want to have a go at Kona and/or Vegas in the future. REV3 was my first real race – meaning that the goal of this race was to race for time and place and not just to finish. I think I did a pretty good job of that at this race; however, the race did show me where my weaknesses are in racing that I will focus on improving in 2013.

Beach to Beacon Finishline Sprint!

Beach to Beacon Finishline Sprint!

REV3 Maine Run

REV3 Maine Run


I entered the off-season in September. My plantar fasciitis and right hip problems came back after REV3. Honestly, I knew it was starting to come back before the race, but I continued to truck on my training and hoping that my body could hold out long enough to have a strong race. My original plan for September and the Fall months was to focus on running. Obviously, that didn’t happen with rehabbing my injuries. I spent a great deal of time focusing on strength training and yoga. September was a bit of a weird month for me. If you have been reading my blog for a while and/or know me in real life then you know that Bike Shop Boy was a big part of my life. However, somethings happened between us and we have gone our separate ways. I was really upset at the beginning because he was really a huge support system for me in my training and life; however, in retrospect, our parting was really a blessing in disguise. Of course, I truly wish him the very best in life.

Getting custom orthotics...

Getting custom orthotics…


Most of October was spent focusing on school finishing up my last class for my MPH and also writing my thesis paper. My advisor at school had warned me that working a full-time job and a part-time job and then taking 9 credits would probably be a bad idea. Of course, I have this little tendency to try to do everything at once and also do it well so I went about doing all 3 things. In the end, she was totally right that it was extremely tough, but I got an A in my last class and also on my thesis! Training wise I was still focusing on strength and yoga. I did get out for a couple of short bike rides and oh yeah, the Dempsey Challenge. That was a rather wet and cold 50-mile ride. I was suppose to ride the 100-miler, but due to the fact that my feet were completely frozen (despite the fact that I had worn heavy socks, plastic bags, and a set of toe covers and full booties!) my feet still got wet and cold. I also got a tattoo! 🙂

From the first class. I'm the second one in in the white shirt. Nothing fancy here...

From the first class. I’m the second one in in the white shirt. Nothing fancy here…

Hmm... looks like I need a pedicure...

Hmm… looks like I need a pedicure…


I began my new job as a personal trainer (and my third job!) on the 1st. I quickly worked up to having 7 clients at a time. When I began I wasn’t certified; however, I had been studying all year knowing that I did want to pursue becoming a personal trainer. When a trainer position opened at my gym I jumped on it and was quickly hired. I signed up to take my test and passed on the first time (which is rare for most people)! I also was focusing on finishing my thesis paper and working on my epidemiology project for my internship. November was a very busy and stressful month and unfortunately I know my own training suffered some.




Biggest accomplishment – I finished grad school summa cum laude and now have a MPH! One of the highlights of December was meeting Craig Alexander, aka “Crowie,” in Boston at his book signing. I’ve also been gearing up for some major changes in the new year, which you’ll all hear about in a couple of weeks!


So, that’s enough for today. Part Two will come tomorrow with some of the biggest highlights of my race season and also some of the biggest life lessons I learned throughout the year.

~ Happy Training!

How Bad Do You Want It

Recently I gave my two bosses at the gym my wish list of equipment I would like, especially for the expansion next year and the athletic conditioning area that will be built, and one of them made a comment that I wasn’t shy in asking for what I want. I’m very much the goal-setting and ambitious type. When I want something I go out there and make it happen through hard work. I know so many people who will constantly “talk the talk,” but they never follow through and “walk the walk.” I honestly find those type of people annoying. There are days I just want to smack them over the heads and yell “just do it all ready!”

Motivation is important in life, especially in the health and fitness world. I wrote a post about a month ago about the lack of motivation I witnessed in a boot camp class at the gym I went to previously. You have to be motivated to reach your health and wellness goals, whether it is a weight lost goal or a sports/performance goal. I always suggest to my clients during our first meeting to sit down and write a goal and why you want to reach it. Why is it important to you? Often times people have some deep meaning to their goals. I tell them that it’s not going to be easy. If you want to lose 20 lbs then you are going to have to work for it. It’s going to require some lifestyle changes and probably some blood, sweat, and tears. When you think you can’t do that last push-up then think about that goal and why you are doing this. Push yourself to do that last push-up. You will not regret it.

The mental aspect of fitness and athletic performance is an area of training that we don’t often think about. The human body is an amazing thing and is capable of much more than we believe it can do. The best athletes in any sport are the ones that can overcome the pain and mental barriers and push themselves to new limits. Most of the time we stop doing something because our brain is telling us to stop, but in reality we can do much more. We need to train our brains to become mentally stronger and be able to work through the pain. I think Ironman is a great example of this. How many times have you seen people push themselves past that pain just to cross that finish line and hear “You are an Ironman” only to collapse into a heap and be carted off to the med tent? What about Chrissie Wellington’s amazing feat at Kona in 2011 when she came from behind after a huge bike crash the previous week to win again? I think that is why I am so drawn to triathlons and Ironman in general. I want to put myself through a world of pain to see how far physically and mentally I can go. It’s not going to be easy, but I am going to put all my blood, sweat, and tears into and come July 28th I will see what I am capable of accomplishing.

I recently came across these couple of videos that I really liked. It reminded me that if I really want something then I need to work for it. I have a lot of goals. Many of them are very lofty and might never happen. But, they will certainly never happen if I don’t try to make them happen. If you want something bad enough you will work your ass off for it. No excuses.

My message today is find that why. Why do you want it? How bad do you want it? What are you willing to give up for it? Once you find that why, work for it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It will be worth it at the end of the day. I promise.

So what is my why? My mother passed away 3.5 years ago from an extremely rare and horrific disease at the age of 52. It came out of no where. That event put things into perspective for me. It made me start to question what I truly wanted to do in life. My original plan in life was medical school, but I decided against it because I didn’t want to be $200,000 in debt for the rest of my life. It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized my dreams and what I wanted to do in my life that would get me out of bed every morning and go to bed every night satisfied. I want a career where I make a difference in someone’s life. I want a career that makes people realize that they are truly capable and deserving of reaching their dreams and that those dreams are worth fighting for. Most of all, I want a career that when it is my time to leave this planet I am satisfied that I left it making a difference and a better, healthier place. My why is that my mother wasn’t able to live long enough to continue making an impact on this planet so I want to make sure that I am living each day to my fullest potential. Every time I start to reach that dark place I begin to think of my why and begin to claw my way out. That is why I will work for it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I want it bad enough.

How bad do you want it?


~ Happy Training! 

6 Feet Deep…

“In my grave
Lying cold in my grave
The reason –
My reason
Take my head off this terror
The fearing won’t come back
I can’t see
My mind’s all wiped clean”

~ “Rhyme & Reason,” DMB

I’m in a rut. It began a little before Rev3 and the hole has since grown and at this point I don’t know how to get out. The hole is now 6 feet deep and the dirt is slowly piling up on me. I can see the blue sky above me and hear the giggles of happy people around me. The dirt is in my nailbeds as a claw to get out, but it just keeps coming. Slowly suffocating…

Growing up as a child I was always very shy and quiet. My teachers always told my parents and I at my conferences that I needed to talk more and express my opinions. All through school I was scared to express my feelings and thoughts verbally because I was afraid of what my peers would think. I chose to write. I enjoy writing. I find I can express myself better in the written form. I think part of it stems from the fact that while in elementary school I saw a speech pathologist on a weekly basis because I had speech problems. I have always been embarrassed by that because I know they still exist even today.

Finally in college I began to find my “voice.” I began to speak out more and step on of the shy little girl shell. I realized that I could be that empowering woman who didn’t give two shits what people think. But this past year I have slowly fallen back into that shy, scared little girl who has been hiding under her “blankie” for protection.

Writing this blog has allowed me to begin to express my thoughts again. I knew when I started one that I was putting myself out there for ridicule. I write mainly for myself. Sure, I could write in a journal and keep it private, but what I love about blogging is that you can express feelings and emotions and have someone a world away tell you “hey, I’m going through the same thing” and you realize that you’re not alone in this world.

Life has a cruel sense of humor at times. I’ve had a good life so far. I have food to eat, clothes on my back, a job, a family, and a good education. Billions of people around the world don’t have many of those things. But there are a lot of things I question. Many of which are petty and selfish, like why I have to get plantar fasciitis and not be able to run…

This year has been a bit of a roller coaster for me. Running has been my savior for this as strange as that may sound. I’ve always hated running, but this year I fell head-over-heels with it. I have realized recently that the reason I love running is that it’s my escape from reality. I can just throw my shoes on and run out the door. Sure, running is still very painful for me. It use to make me stop and hate it. Now, I run through that pain. It makes me feel alive. It makes me realize that I can deal with all the pain and frustration in my life.

With my injury at the moment I can’t run and it is killing me. I have so much frustration that I need and want to vent, but I can’t. I just want to let loose and feel the pain. I want the pain. I desire the pain. I want to experience that moment when I realize that the pain is my body telling me I am alive and I am capable of anything…

This weekend the dirt began piling up on me much faster. For the past almost two years a chapter in my life was being written. It was non-fictional, but had the makings of a beautiful fictional novel. I could see the happy ending. Unfortunately, the chapter has ended tragically and I am very much upset over the ending. You can’t control non-fiction. It’s a true life story. Sometimes the story doesn’t end the way you want it even though you’ve tried over and over again to yell at the characters to knock some sense into them. I love to read. There is not much else better in the world then curling up with a good book in bed and getting lost in the story. But, I think that’s the problem I have. I got lost in my story. All night I have been tossing and turning and “re-reading” parts of the chapter to find out where the story went wrong. I honest to God believed that the story was going to potentially have many more lifelong chapters, but the pen has stopped.

I have writers block. How do I get over this and move on and write new chapters? Is the story really over or does it just need a break?

I’m lying in my self-dug hole with the pages of my chapter gripped tightly in my hands. I can feel the blood and tears flow down my hands. Slowly, the characters are throwing fistfuls of dirt on top of me. The dirt is getting heavy. I’m just waiting for a new character in my life to sweep in and extend a hand to help dig me out.

Who will it be?


The pen is hovering over the blank pages…

100th Post!

Today marks my 100th post! I think I’m suppose to celebrate or do some sort of blog give-away… is that how it works in the blogging world? I really have no clue what is the “cool” thing to do. I just learned what “IMHO” means recently. It means “in my honest opinion” in case you’re wondering! But I guess it is a small milestone in my little world.

I started a blog last fall for several reasons, none of which I never really mentioned before. I enjoy writing. I know I’m not the best writer (although if you look at both my MCAT and GRE scores I’m at the top percentile for my writing abilities… just don’t look at my pitiful verbal scores…). I was a long time reader of several triathlon-focused blogs before I began my own. There were so many times that I read something and thought “OMG, I thought I was the ONLY person who said/thought/did that!” Reading other people’s thoughts helped me realized that as much as non-triathlon people think I’m crazy, I’m really not. Pissing yourself during a race is completely normal…. 

And to be totally cliche, part of the reason I wanted to start a blog was to help and/or inspire other people. Now, I know I’m not an amazing athlete and I certainly haven’t come back from the dead to do something stellar. I’m just an average girl with average intelligence and average athletic abilities who has big dreams. Someday I want to qualify and compete at Kona. I know that dream may never ever happen and I’m completely okay with that. And for someone to claim that I think I’m a stellar athlete is just plain silly. I’ve certainly come along way in my journey so far (with so much more to go), but, I know I will always be average.

Another reason that I started a blog was eventually I want to get into coaching and this is a way to put my name out there. Perhaps no one will ever want to hire me. I’m not an amazing athlete (like a lot of coaches), but the one thing that I can tell people is that I understand physiology and the principles of coaching (or I will once I take the triathlon level I coaching seminar hopefully next year).

I came across this quote from a friend’s Facebook page and it really hit home with me:

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” -Unknown

This year has been a big year for me in terms of athletics, educational/professional, and personal. I hit a rough patch around March when I began questioning a lot of things in my life and what I really wanted to do in life. A lot of it had to do with hitting the big 2-5 and the anniversary of my mother’s death. I also realized that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life. Since then I have been putting my “ducks in a line” to get where I ultimately want to be. I’m excited about what the future as in store for me in the next couple of years. I will be done officially with my MPH in December (as long as I don’t pull my hair out for taking 7 very demanding credits this semester and working two jobs. HELLO no free time!) and I’m currently applying for another graduate program in the area that I want to work (because obviously one masters degree isn’t enough!). If all goes as planned then I’ll be making some changes… 🙂


~ Happy Training!