I am Queen of Excuses

I had a pretty bad week of training last week and even the weekend before. I skipped my Friday workout because I was headed to a triathlon, Saturday was the triathlon, and then Sunday I felt justified in being a slug. I was on a different schedule than normal and it really threw off my groove, plus home stressors just ate away my willpower. I just kept making excuses about how I felt tired and didn’t feel up to the workout planned. Basically, I was being a whiny pansy.

So. Where to from there?

Well, I realized I needed to get back on the train so I committed to solid workouts during some unexpected free time I had at the end of the week and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with an out-of-the box workout on Sunday with an open water swim (and learned that I am apparently slightly scared of what might be swimming around/under me if I can’t see it) and park bike ride.

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This week I’m committed to getting the work in as prescribed. It helps that I’m back on a more predictable schedule again, but I also know that I can’t give up just because I had a couple of bad days, or even a bad week.

In fact, I had a really excellent swim workout today where I surprised and impressed myself with not only how fast I could swim but also how easy and powerful I felt in the water – I guess all those laps and scary open water swims are paying off!

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This week Training Peaks reminded me, “He conquers who endures.” Yup, I’m going to endure.

Tri the Parks Blalock Lakes, Take Two

Blalock Lakes was my very first tri (typing that makes it sound like I’ve done sooo many, ha!) so I  knew I really wanted to do it again, plus I wanted to try signing up for an entire series. I missed the first race of the series because it was back in April, but I was so excited to do Blalock Lakes again, especially now that I’ve actually been doing some training.

I planned to drive to Newnan after work so I packed everything in my car so I could leave from there. It’s a good thing I did because my shift ran long and I just made the packet pickup with a few minutes to spare.

I’d also planned on camping but it turned out that the park had actual gates and closed them between 10 pm and 7 am, which was a problem because I wanted to be at the start at 7. So instead I ended up driving back to Newnan and getting a hotel room for the night. Again, I lucked out because the hotel sold out a short while later.

I set my alarm for the next morning but I woke up before it and only a little after my weekday alarm usually goes off so I laid on bed for a bit reading Facebook before deciding to get up. I wanted to get some Starbucks but forgot my wallet in the hotel room so I had to turn around to get it and decided just to go to the start because I was getting antsy that I was getting close to when I wanted to be at the start.

At the start, I realized my number wasn’t actually 89, like I’d thought, but 68. My number was on my helmet upside down. And I’d put all my stuff on the wrong rack.  Whoops. I met 89 and she was super nice about it. I moved my stuff to the correct rack and it was more crowded because two women had huge tri bags right next to their bikes. As a result, all my bike photos from the race were filed under number 89 and not 68. I thought about using a market to draw a line under the bottom of my number, but I didn’t think it would actually do much good, and anyway, I didn’t have a marker.

I signed up as an age grouper because there wasn’t an option for novice online. I was pretty nervous about the wave start so I got in the water and swam a bit to warm up. The water was murky and I forgot to breathe out while swimming.

We watched the guys go and I put myself in the second rank of women. There was some panicking on my part as people swam way too close to me so I pulled off and swam slowly until they’d gotten more spaced out ahead of me. As a result, my swim time was a bit higher than it could have been since I sat there and treaded water until I felt like I had enough space. I didn’t really get a good rhythm down after panicking so I defaulted to two strokes and breathing only on my left side because that’s apparently my favorite side to breathe on. Again the swim seemed like it took forever but it was only about 15 minutes. I know I need some more work on OWS and some more courage to deal with the thrashing water.

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I make the best ugly faces coming out of the swim

I rushed into transition and found my bike and then rushed back out. I felt pretty good on the bike. The course was all right turns and reasonably hilly. I got passed a lot in the first half of the course and I really started to wonder what was wrong with me and how was I such a weakling until I started passing the people who’d passed me. I guess they got more tired as the course was on. I’m still figuring out all my gears and what gear is best for the given situation and that day I discovered all the other gears on my bike, which made a HUGE difference in speed! I really loved the course, it was very quiet and Blalock Lakes is gorgeous.

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Finally I was back and hurried to my rack and changed my shoes. I got a huge blister from no socks last time so I made sure I packed them this time. It was kind of annoying to put them on and I think my left sock was higher than my right sock, but it beat getting another blister for sure. The run was pretty hilly and I was getting tired so I tried to think of all the positive things I could. One of my coworkers had joked I was like The Little Engine That Could so I repeated that to myself for a while. I took water at mile 1 but by mile 2 I wasn’t feeling so great and a little while later I started getting the heaves and had to walk until I could calm my roiling stomach. I never figured out what caused that but I decided it was maybe the Java Monster I’d had for breakfast since I didn’t get my normal Starbucks, or maybe just because it was 80 degrees with 80% humidity.

A spectator had brought a vuvuzela and was blowing it near the finish line. While annoying, it was great to hear it because I knew I was almost done. I finished, got my water bottle, and guzzled as much of it as I could stand while I ate most of an orange in slices. I checked the results posted but they only had me through T2 so I decided to run back to my hotel and shower and come back to see the final results.

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I don’t know why my right hand looks like a lobster claw

Swim: 15:23

T1: 01:18

Bike: 54:19

T2: 01:26

Run: 28:47

Total: 1:41

I had to look up my time from four years ago because I thought it was 1:41 and while I wasn’t going to be upset at getting almost the same time four years apart on the same course, I was going to be a little annoyed with myself. I know, it’s only been like two weeks of training but still. Good news though, my time four years ago was apparently 1:47, so I still beat my time even with walking and letting everyone on the swim pass me.

I registered as an age grouper so I didn’t place, but I would have taken first if I’d registered as a novice. However, novices aren’t eligible for end of series awards and I wanted to try for that. Plus, this was technically my third open water swim so I’m getting to a point where I don’t think I need to register as a novice anymore. I’m still debating on the rest of the season; there’s a few races where I think I need the novice tag for confidence but I’m going to work on getting used to swimming in a pack like a bunch of salmon.

Like always, I learned a lot and had a good time. Plus, it makes for a good excuse to have pizza for dinner!

Summer Dinners For When It’s Too Hot in the Kitchen

When the summer heat is just too much to even think about having a hot meal (is it really only June here?) I have a few recipes I go to for dinner that are filling and won’t make me feel even hotter than I already am.

Cubed, hacked caprese salad from Smitten Kitchen. I have been a follower of Smitten Kitchen for years now and I love her food. This recipe is absolutely perfect for summer weather and has all the classic bits of a caprese salad – mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, balsamic – but also delicious extras like cannellini beans. I usually just eat this with a spoon and sometimes also throw in a cubed avocado.

Okroshka. This is a Russian soup served chilled, like gazpacho. I like it because it has meat which makes P happy, and lots of veggies which makes me happy. I don’t like the yolks of hardboiled eggs so I just leave those out. It’s also great because you can make it in the morning and leave it alone all day and eat whenever.


Watermelon gazpacho. I feel like gazpacho is a summer staple and so is watermelon so this is just a perfect union of the two. Not to mention that this is the perfect weeknight dinner because it’s just throwing a bunch of ingredients in a blender and that’s it. It dirties almost nothing and is ready in the time it takes you to blend it together. I used a quarter of a watermelon for two adults, so a full-size watermelon would probably be good enough for a family of four. 

Shrimp ceviche. I am 85% certain that my husband first fell in love with me because of my shrimp ceviche. I always add extra avocado and serve it with corn tortilla chips and it’s my signature dish for parties and tailgates. It goes with everything and I never have any left to take home, much to P’s disappointment.

Ironman Buys Rock N Roll Race Series

A couple of days ago Ironman bought Competitor Group, the folks who put on the Rock N Roll races. A short while ago Ironman also bought races in California and North Carolina, rebranded them, and upped their entry fees. Before I started triathlon, I didn’t know that Ironman was a brand, I thought it was just the name of the distance and while the 140.6 is called the iron distance, the M-Dot is their brand symbol. How genius is that? You’ve gotten a bunch of people to pay you money for a massive sufferfest and to tattoo your brand on them forever?

Ironman is awesome at branding and putting on big events. The Rock N Roll series is pretty similar, my first marathon was the Seattle Rock N Roll and it was a blast, so I completely understand the appeal and why people go back for more. But the down side is that costs money. Ironman’s race fees are insane, which discourages people from trying the distances. It’s pretty smart of them to acquire the running series to help boost their profit, but I’m worried that the races they just bought might also up their fees and that Ironman may disband some of their less-profitable but still-fun races just as they did with the triathlon series.

Pre-race Rituals

I am really particular about doing things a certain way and having everything just so. I’m not a completely annoying person about it (I think anyway), I make messes, my clothes end up on the floor and sometimes I take a few days to fold and put my laundry away. But having some particular pre-race rituals really helps me to get my mind and my equipment ready. 

– I lay everything out the night before. I know this is sort of trendy but it (usually) helps me to make sure I have everything I need. I didn’t lay out my goggles at the Tall Pines tri and I forgot them. I lay everything out now. 


– I lube everything up the day before or two days before if I won’t use it. The bike chain, the cleats, everything. I also air up my tires and pack my pump still. 

– I make sure I get there about an hour before the start. This is my happy spot because I can get in, layout my transition area, get marked, and do a little warm up before it’s time for the start. 

– I drink a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. This is my normal routine and I try to keep things the same. I don’t usually eat before a morning workout but I might eat some Cliff blocks or something easy to digest like a banana. I really just don’t want to do anything new or different. 

– Last thing I do is try to go to bed on time or even a bit early since I can have trouble sleeping in a new place. I’ve sort of trained myself to sleep in varying environments with the use of soft ear plugs, a sleep mask, and some lavender essential oil and maybe some melatonin. It really helped when I was TDY and sleeping in large open bays with hundreds of other women all in different schedules and with alarms.