Four Years…


Four years and it doesn’t get any easier…

Yesterday was the four-year anniversary of my mother’s passing. March 24th will always be a tough day, but it’s also a day of remembrance and celebration of a great woman’s life. Perhaps I’m bias, but my mother was an amazing woman whose life was tragically cut short by a horrific disease. I’d be lying if I said that it gets easier with time, but it doesn’t. Losing a parent is never easy, especially at a young age. There was so much more that I wanted to learn from her and experiences to share.

I was lucky that I was close with my mother. For most of my life she was a stay-at-home mom and then as my sisters and I got older she began to work from home as a stitcher. She worked from dawn to dusk in what we dubbed as her “sweat shop.” Some of the things that she sewed were not her favorite, but she did it so she could afford my expensive lifestyle, aka my horses. She was the one that would wake up early in the mornings to walk down to the barn to feed and clean the horses stalls and often did evening feeds when I was busy with school work. She spent many years and thousands of dollars to cart me and my horses’ butts around New England to compete every weekend. Those are the days that I’ll never forget. Those are the days that I miss.

Honestly, what truly makes me sad is what my mother will miss as my sisters and I get older. She wasn’t there to attend any of our college graduations. She won’t be there as we shop for our wedding dresses or see us walk down the aisle. She won’t be there as we start families or give us parenting advice.

It sucks. There is no other way to describe it. I miss her everyday. But, life goes on. We must put our best foot forward everyday and live life to the fullest. We are placed on earth for a short time and I believe that it’s our responsibility to do something meaningful with our time and hopefully leave this planet a better place.

In the past few weeks some exciting news has been released about Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the disease that robbed my mother of her life. Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a rare and fatal brain disorder. It occurs about one in a million persons worldwide and is 100% fatal. In the United States there is about 300 new cases each year. My mother was one of them in 2009. There are three types of CJD: sporadic CJD, familial CJD, and acquired CJD. CJD is caused by prions, which are an infectious agent composed of misfolded proteins. Recently, some great news came out of Case Western University, the hub of CJD research within the United States. Studies has indicated that prions might play an important role in iron metabolism in the brain. The researchers also have developed a new more accurate test for CJD through a spinal tap. This is a huge breakthrough. I know when my mother was diagnosed, it was done mainly through the process of elimination. One of the main problems we had with my mother was that her first MRI and tests all came back normal, but her second set of tests a few weeks later were positive. Of course, the blood and CSF samples from my mother that we sent to Case Western for testing didn’t come back until after she passed. For more information on CJD then please check out the CJD Foundation website:

My mother, my sister and I (1989)

My mother, my sister and I (1989)

My mom and my horse Duke in Acadia National Park

My mom and my horse Duke in Acadia National Park

My High School graduation with my parents (2005)

My High School graduation with my parents (2005)




I hope I’ve made you proud dear Mum
For there will never be another.
Cause there is no love greater,
Than a child has for their Mother.


RIP Mom <3








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!

Veteran’s Day: Freedom Isn’t Free

Yesterday was officially Veteran’s Day in the United States, although most workplaces are observing it today. It is a day to celebrate and remember the brave men and women who have served the great country of the United States over the years. I don’t often like to talk politics in my blog or on Facebook. However, I will say that I am not pleased with the overall election outcome and the direction our country is heading. However, I THANK every single serviceman for protecting our freedom of choice and the ability to vote.

I come from a family that strongly values the service of our brave men and women in uniform. Both my grandfathers served during WWII. I had several uncles that served during Vietnam and cousins that served in the Navy during the 90s. I have also met countless men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Personally, I believe there is no greater honor than to serve our country.

My Pepere (we’re French-Canadian) served in the Army during WWII. He served in the 4th Infantry Division and landed on Utah Beach during the Normandy Invasion. From Normandy his infantry moved north to help the French liberate Paris from German troops. From September through November, the 4th Infantry made a slow journey through Belgium to Germany. On November 6th the 4th Infantry entered the longest battle on German grounds during WWII, the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. The Battle of Hurtgen Forest brought death, injury, and captivity to more than 250,000 soldiers from both sides. It was during the Battle of Hurtgen Forest that my Pepere was shot by the Germans and later had his leg amputated. He received the Purple Heart.

My Grampy on the other hand served in the Navy during WWII. He was a Gunner’s Mate 2/c USNR on the LST 314 when it was torpedoed in the English Channel three days after D-Day during the invasion of Normandy. From what I’ve been told (my Grampy didn’t like talking about his Navy years much) he had switched duty with a fellow shipmate and was on deck during the torpedo attack and that was the reason he survived while a majority of his shipmates were killed in action. He received the Purple Heart and has a Presidential Citation. While in action he contracted Meningitis and was hospitalized in England. As I have been told, he was one of the last people in the war to be treated with a Sulfa drug. Penicillin began being widely used towards the end of the war. I was also told that when he was discharged from the Navy after the war he was given a sack of potatoes and had to find his own way home to Maine.

LST-314 unloading British troops in Italy

Both my Grandfathers died when I was too young to hear their stories and really cherish and appreciate their service to the United States and protecting our freedoms. Unfortunately too many Americans forget the sacrifices our brave men and women make on a daily basis. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the men and women of the United State’s National Guard had to take leave of absences from their jobs, missed birthdays and graduations of their children, and many were deployed on multiple occasions. Some of them came home to lost jobs and homes due to a failing economy. Some came home with missing limbs, organs and lost brothers and sisters in combat. Many deal with the aftermath of being in a combat zone suffering from TBI and PTSD.

Today I am sending you two messages:

1. Support our troops. The War is officially over and I don’t care if you ever agreed with the War or not, but I’m asking you to support the men and women who are still deployed overseas and those who served in the past to protect our freedoms at home. Remember those who did not make it home to their families. They made the ultimate sacrifice. From all the wars that the US has been involved in over the years, over 1.3 million men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our freedoms. Another 1.5 million have been injured and over 38,000 are still missing. Take a moment and remember those brave men and women and thank them. They have given up a lot for us to do what we do on a daily basis.

2. Spend time listening to the stories of our elders. Depending upon your age, there is a good chance your grandparents or parents served in the arm forces during WWII or stepped up to work in a factory while the men were serving overseas. This generation of men and women were dubbed by Tom Brokaw as “The Greatest Generation” and I wholeheartedly agree with Brokaw. These men and women grew up during the Great Depression and then went on the fight during WWII or provided their hands to produce materials for the war effort on the home front. I have heard people complain about not being able to afford rent or to pay back their student loans because they don’t have a high paying job, but yet they have a smartphone and a big screen HD tv. I tend to avoid Walmart because I get sicken by being in line behind a young mother playing Angry Birds on her Iphone while paying for “food” with her FoodStamps. People claim to suffer during this recession, but half of them don’t know what it is like to try to feed a family of 8 children and two parents with a couple of loaves of bread and milk like many of our great-grandparents and grandparents had to during the Great Depression. I am lucky that I am not suffering. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a job, food in my stomach, and an education. I thank my grandparents and my parents for teaching me that you have to believe in and work for what you have. Nothing is handed to you. People often forget that history repeats itself. Listen to your grandparents’ and parents’ stories. Not only will you learn about history from a first hand perspective, but you can also learn some important life lessons.

So, with that being said. Thank a veteran today. You are here because they put their lives in dangers way to bring you freedom. Thanks to their brave and heroic efforts over the centuries we have the right of choice and the ability to life our lives as we see fit. Go out and live a life of meaning. Many men and women don’t have that opportunity because they gave their life for your freedom.


What Motivates YOU!?

Yesterday at the gym I was doing my dynamic warmup when a bootcamp class came over to the area I was working in to do some plyometric work. Just about everyone in the group was whining about how hard burpees and squat jumps were. Every other word out of their mouth was f-this and f-that. Wah, wah, wah! I came extremely close to asking them if they wanted a little CHEESE with their WHINE because a) I was annoyed by the lack of class they were showing with their language and b) their lack of motivation and effort. Do you think exercise is supposed to be EASY? It’s called WORKing out for a reason! If exercising and eating healthy was easy then we wouldn’t have the obesity crisis we have in this country. It never seizes to amaze me how many people will sit there half-ass a workout and whine the entire time when they would benefit more from shutting up and just doing the work. And then they wonder why they aren’t seeing any differences or making any progress?!

Thank you “People I Want to Punch in the Throat” for this one!

Back in September I read a great post from Mary Eggers entitled “Because I can.” In the post she says:

“Holding plank position in class, the woman next to me asked me “Gosh, I NEVER hear you complain in this class. Why don’t you ever complain.” I looked at her.

“Because I choose to be here.” I said.

As I walk through the gym I notice all the other people having these roaring laughing conversations with their personal trainers. In all honesty when I am working with Steve I don’t think I could have a roaring laughing conversation if I was paid to. I am totally unable to. I am working too hard. I am focused. If you have ever seen me in the gym you know I have the highest sweat rate of anyone in the damn world. Not only do I fuel as my fueling plan calls for I seriously consider adding extra sodium. Even when I am standing still.

When I am holding myself up on a pullup machine and curling a dumbbell somehow as I am suspended in mid air all I can do is stare at the tennis court where it says Player 23, and listen to him remind me to breathe, remind me to keep my elbow in, and tell me not to fall the hell off the pull up machine! Or I am shuffling side to side grabbing basketballs that he’s rolling just out of my range and throwing them back at him while he yells to throw the ball….. higher higher.

You will never hear me complain. I might roll my eyes and I might give Steve the finger behind his back (I haven’t yet but I have come close), but I am here because I choose to be here.” – Mary Eggers

This is exactly how I view my workouts. When I go to the gym or a class, I’m not there for social time. I’m there for a good ass-kicking because I know that it will make me a stronger athlete at the end. I CHOOSE to be there. You will never see or hear me complain. Sure, I might say “that hurts” or “are you trying to kill me?” but I quickly shut up and do the work.

Whining doesn’t get you anywhere. It is certainly not going to make you lose 5 pounds or get that 6-pack you so desperately want so you look good in a bikini or PR in your next 5k race. It’s a little blood, sweat, and tears that will do that! Gyms are a funny environment. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love to see people in the gym working out, but if you look around how many of them are truly working out, there isn’t many. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen people walking on a treadmill talking to someone of their cell phone. However, for every person at the gym, there are probably at least a dozen sitting at home wishing they had the motivation and discipline to hit the gym. So I applaud anyone who gets up and moving.

I LOVE the quote above because it is so true. We only begin living when we are outside of our comfort zones. As far as exercise goes, our bodies are built to adapt. We quickly adapt to our current workouts that we do and that is why you need variety in your workouts. In order for me to become the best athlete I can be I need to push myself outside my comfort zone. I will be that annoying girl who throws medicine balls against the floor, skips around people doing deadlifts, and does chin-ups until I fall off the bar, but you will never hear me complain about it because I choose to do that. I choose to work my body until it screams for no more.

There are times in my life, whether in sport or life in general, when I just plain fail or get rejected. It happens. As much as it sucks, IT is what motivates me to push myself harder. People often like to say “good things happen to those who wait.” I hate that saying. Good things happen to people who work hard. No one in life is just going to hand you anything. Sure, some people are luckier than others, but for the most part, people work for what they have. I know I’m not a naturally talented athlete. I’m mediocre. Just because I’m mediocre doesn’t mean I’m not going to push my body to its limits. What sets me a part from many people is my ambition, dedication, and determination. Some people don’t like those qualities about me and hey, someday I don’t like them either. But at the end of the day it is who I am.

I do what I do because I can. I am lucky that I live in a world where I can afford expensive triathlon equipment. I am lucky that my body is healthy. I am lucky that I have healthy food that is available to me. I am lucky that if I am injured that I can seek out the best medical care that I can get. So many people can’t because they have limitations. Some people have legitimate reasons, but most people make excuses. Put those excuses out of your mind and find something that motivates you. No one said living a life worth living is going to be easy. Take chances and make changes. Put yourself out there for failure and rejection. It will only make you stronger in the end. Be ambitious. Make goals. Find your strength. And remember, stop whining and just do it.

My favorite quote!


What’s your motivation?

Going to Church…

During the winter months I spend a lot of time on the trainer. It’s the only time I allow myself to watch really crappy reality TV shows. One of my favorite shows is The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s a hott mess, but I enjoy it. One of the guys in the show is a cyclist (and apparently rode in the tour, but I guess it’s debatable if it’s true or not). He once made a comment that riding his bicycle was like “going to church.” I liked that phrase and I totally get it.

Yesterday I went to “church.” It was my third time on my bike since Rev3 at the end of August. It was also my first time on my road bike since probably June. I almost fell in my driveway getting on it because I apparently left it in the hardest gear. Why? I have no clue. It was a chilly morning, but for once, it was not raining! I’m riding a Century next weekend so I figured that I should probably ride my bike once or twice so I don’t die halfway through the ride. Although, my only goal for that ride is to eat about 10 pounds of gummie bears. And if those gummie bears fuel me through those 100 miles then I might implement that as my Ironman fueling plan… 😉

Anyway, it was nice to ride without having to think about power, speed, intervals, cadence, etc. It was nice to just ride. I have always LOVED riding my bike. But, honestly, I was falling out of love riding this summer. Part of it was due to the fact that I felt I lost a lot of my bike fitness and all my bike splits in my races just plain sucked. I wasn’t where I needed or felt where I should be. It will be one of my main focuses this coming year…

One of the reasons I love riding my bike is that it’s really the only time I can actually forget about life’s stresses and just be. Hence, why I love the phrase “going to church.” People go to church to figure stuff out. I ride my bike. This past week I read the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. My boss suggested that I read it. I purchased it back in March, read the first chapter and put it down because I thought it was a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo. I picked it back up this week and gave it a second chance. I like to believe that everything and everyone deserves a second chance in life. I still think the book is a bit of spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but there were some things in the book that really hit home with me.

The book is about living in the now. The present. It is a problem that I know I have. I live too much in the past and future. It especially happens while I’m racing. I need to work on overcoming that barrier because I know that it holds me back from my true potential. I’ve made some good progress this year with the mental aspect of racing, but I still have a long way to go.

One of section of the book was talking about the origin of fear. I found this quote interesting:

“This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. And if you are identified with your mind and have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the Now, that anxiety gap will be your constant companion.” (pg 43)

Ever since my mom passed away over three years ago I have had some issues with anxiety. It’s not terribly bad and I just deal with it on my own. Most of the time I have no problems at all, but every so often when I’m under a great deal of stress I have anxiety attacks. A lot of it has to do with the fear of unknown. I’m very much the type of person that has to plan and know exactly what is going to happen. I don’t deal well with change. I know that change is part of life and you must accept it, but it’s hard for me. Racing is all about the unknown, especially in long course. You have a plan and you try the best that you can to stick to that plan, but sometimes shit happens and you have to come up with a second plan. This happens in life too.

“Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is ‘borrowed’ from the Now.” (pg 50) 

Reality happens in the present. We live in the present. I can’t dwell in my past. I have a tendency to relive events in my head and try to “rewrite” history in my mind. I know that I can’t change the past and I know I shouldn’t even try. The past is what makes us “us” and it is how we learn to better our selves in the future. Accept the past and move on and live in the present. Just because I had a bad workout or race previously doesn’t mean the current one will be the same. Live one day at a time and make the best of it.

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there,’ or being in the present but wanting to be in the future.” (pg 84)

Oh, this one is very true for me! I’m ambitious and a dreamer. At this point in life I have finally figured out what I want to do in the future. It has caused some stress in my life because I know that I still have more education and experience to gain before I can finally embark on my dream. I’m impatient. When I want something I want it now. I know that I need to live in the now in order to reach my future dream.

Now, what does this have to do with “going to church” and riding my bike? Everything. It is during this time that I truly live in the Now. It is nothing but me and my bike. I am lost in my leg muscles working like pistons. My breath is hot with effort and the sweat is slowly beading up on my forehead. At this moment I am working and truly in my happy place. I am in the Now with no thoughts of the past and future. Nothing but me and the road ahead.

I decided to partake on a tough 50 mile route that brought me over Douglass Mountain in Sebago. I had ridden the same route back in May before Mooseman and I decided that it was only fitting to do so again today. Solo. It was a chilly morning and a slow ride due to my severe lack of bike fitness. However, it was a beautiful ride. The Fall colors were in full swing. Fall is a time of change. We must accept that those warm summer nights that we loved have past and the cold winter mornings will begin soon. It reminded me that I must let go of the past and just enjoy the change. It’s a part of life. And that ride was exactly what I needed

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…

Race Report: The Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler

The title should really read the “Mid-Winter Class 10-Miler: The Almost DNF”

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I needed to get over my disappointment from the race. I had a goal for the race and I was positive that I could meet and exceed it. However, I failed. I failed hardcore. It came pretty close to a DNF. The DNF that no endurance athlete ever wants behind their name.
From a young age I was taught that failure was not an option. My parents, mainly my father, always made sure that we didn’t fail and if we did then there were consequences. So failure has never been an option for me and when it does occur then I beat myself up about it. I failed on Sunday and I succeeded to beat myself up about it for the rest of the day. I’m beginning to believe that my dislike of running stems from my belief that failure is not option. I hate failure; therefore, I hate running because I feel like I’m always failing. However, lately I have been running so much better and, dare I say, I actually might enjoy running?!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was sick pretty much all last week with a sinus infection. My head was foggy and I felt like it wanted to explode. I worked a few half days and went home to sleep. I also got 4 days off completely from working out. I also lost my appetite, which usually occurs when I’m sick. Eating anything usually makes me nausea and I can only get a few bites in before I either want to puke it up or it just isn’t appetizing anymore. By Friday I was feeling better so I definitely planed on running the race. On Saturday I went to packet pick-up at Maine Running Company and also got a new pair of kicks at a sweet price! Thanks to a kick ass friend (who ran 23 miles last Thursday for his birthday and then a super fast 63 minute 10-miler)!
I woke up on Sunday and had my regular breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter and banana. I went to go start my car (which is a standard) and my clutch wouldn’t go in. I tried twice and then started panicking! How the hell am I going to get to my race if my car wouldn’t start? I tried a third time and mu clutch went in and I was able to start my car. I got the the race start and go ready, did a warm-up, peed about 10 times, had some water and a gel. We lined up and the gun went off. The first mile was fast, mostly down hill. The next few miles had some hills but I felt good and settled into my goal pace.
The first 5 miles of my race went very well. I was running good and I felt good. I had a gel and a little water at the mile 5 water station and then continued past the Spurwink Church and started cruising up the hill towards Crescent Beach on Rt 77. Then it hit me. I felt lightheaded and dizzy. And then the tunnel vision started to occur and I knew it was an “oh crap” moment. I thought for sure I was going to eat pavement. I remember thinking that if I was going to pass out then I hope I don’t land on my teeth because I don’t want to get dentures. Weird thought, I know. And as a side note I have a tendency to pass out on occasion from no apparent reason so I’m well verse in knowing when my body is going to pass out and mile 5.5 was one of those. During my freshmen year of college I was sitting at my desk eating a bowl of cereal when the next thing I know my roommate is pulling me out of my trashcan and asking me if I’m okay. I just passed out for no reason. She was very worried about me so she bought me to the ER to get checked out. The doctors did a blood sugar test, a EKG, and a urine and blood test. Everything came back perfectly normal. The doctor told me “well, it’s not uncommon for young women like yourself just to randomly pass out.” In other words, they didn’t have a friggen clue why I passed out. Awesome.
Anyway, back to the race. So I felt like crap starting around mile 5.5. There was even the ambulance parked on the hill leading up to Crescent Beach. That was the moment when I considered DNFing. I walked for a little while to take my breathe and gather my thoughts again. I felt a little better so I started jogging again. Then I few minutes later I would feel like crap again and walk. This happened for the rest of the race. Between miles 7-9 I got going pretty good for awhile then the cold wind picked up and I started having trouble breathing. Fantastic! Let’s just have an asthma attack too! But, the end was near. I saw my running coach about 200 yards from the finish and I told her I was going to pass out because I knew I was going down if I stopped. She finished the last bit of the race with me and held me up at the finish. She bought me inside and gave me water and some food. I started feeling better afterwards, but my head was pretty cloudy and my nose was running. Great. I probably just made my cold worst. Once I felt better I got changed into warm, dry clothes and got in my car.
My car started but it was acting funny. The engine would rev up every once in awhile if you added more pressure to the gas. I decided to make a pit stop at Panera Bread to grab some food. I got my food and got back into my car to head home. It didn’t start. And it didn’t start during the other 10 times I tried. So I do what every girl does and calls her father. “Wah, my car won’t start! Help me!” My car was making funny noises while braking occasionally so my father drove my car around the block a few times Saturday night. While he was getting out on my car he must have pushed my car mat up underneath my clutch. It was the reason my clutch wouldn’t push in in the morning. I realized that before I left in the morning and fixed it. However, it’s the reason my car wouldn’t start! Grr… so my father came and saved the day (or so I thought). He got in started and I had him drive it home. I followed him and my car was a smokin’. Awesome, my father just killed my clutch. He called me and told me to pick him up at our mechanic.
Well, I guess I need a new clutch, new timing belt and possibly some front brake work. My car is 10 years old and has almost 140,000 miles on it. It’s been a great car and it’s the original clutch, which is pretty impressive! But, the question is, is my car worth fixing. Our mechanic, whom we have used for years, is going to take a look at it and let us know if I will be paying close to $2000 in repairs or buying a new car. And my visions of a new tri bike and powermeter are slowing disappearing…. Ugh, NOT my day!
I laid on the couch for awhile on Sunday and had a pity party. I was super disappointed with my performance in my race. I was running so well and then I got sick. I talking with a friend and he reminded me that I had a bad race. It happens. My important races are in the summer. He’s right. I had a bad day and I had a lot of things stacked against me.
So what happened? My day before race day and race day nutrition was fine. It was my nutrition earlier in the week when I was sick. I didn’t eat much at all so the energy storage just wasn’t there. I actually weighed myself the morning of the race and I weighed about 3 pounds lighter than when I last weighed myself on that Monday before. As much as I loved seeing the new weight I knew it wasn’t a good sign. Another reason was I didn’t sleep much either so my body was tired. And obviously I was still sick.
So lessons learned from Sunday:
1. Don’t run races sick (someday I will learn this! See previous post about my half marathon experience)
2. Don’t let your father drive your car because he’ll burn out your clutch!
In other news, I had a great run tonight in my new shoes! I’ve finally got my appetite back and have made some yummy meals that I’ll share soon!