Having Fun!


Hello blog readers! It’s been since Thanksgiving since I checked in here so I figured it was time to post a quick update.

This time last year I was in, what was likely, the best shape of my life. I was hitting paces I never thought possible, power numbers on my bike that I’d never seen before and actually feeling pretty good in the water. I went into Ironman Cabo in March excited, fit, ready…and in pain! Post Ironman was allllll about recovery. I had been training and racing on a bum foot for nearly 8 months and it was time to figure out a game plan. Post surgery in April, I still spent much of the spring and early summer thinking I’d be back to racing before long, holding on to all the fitness I’d built in 2012 and over the winter into 2013, and with a late season race schedule looming. However, when I was still in pain by August, I decided it was time to put thoughts of racing on the back burner and focus all of my attention at getting my foot back to normal.

Well it worked! So after November, I’ve been somewhat scott-free on the pain front and it’s been awesome. I definitely still have my occasional (and not unusual for me) “foot stuff” that randomly hurts here and there, but I think small amounts of periodic pain for people who run is pretty common. That said, I’ve been asked over and over…”so, what’s next?” “What are you training for?” “What’s your first race gonna be this year?”

The most honest answer I can come up with is “I have no idea”…because I truly don’t. I spent the last several years of my life training pretty darn hard, sacraficing things I may have otherwise wanted to do, and rearranging / coordinating my life around my training and racing. I’m thankful I have a family and friends who were (well, are) so incredibly understanding of the rearranging so I could fit in my training. And I loved it! I loved being in “tip top” shape and the competition of the sport! I loved racing. I loved the lifestyle it took to race hard and the good races are such fond memories, while the bad races are some of the best learning experiences in my life. I’ve built so many awesome memories racing and have traveled to so many places that I NEVER would have traveled otherwise without doing so to race. It was an awesome 5 years of my life.

But being injured and being forced to step back from that lifestyle for a while has taught me a lot about myself and put my life in a wonderful prospective. Yes, I will still race, I still love to workout and be fit, I still love some of the people I’ve met through triathlon and look forward to lifetime of friendships with them…but I also love my life outside of triathlon which has been a little on the “back burner” for a few years. I have always made it a point to participate and attend all functions and events with my friends / family even when I have been amidst intense training, but I have also realized this year that at times, I was maybe not truly “present” at those events because my next workout, my next race, my past workout, etc was always in the back of my mind. The energy it took to rearrange my life around my workout schedule or race calendar started to take some of the fun out of it. It’s just inevitable that when you’re racing and training hard (especially when you decide to do longer distance racing), you have to focus a lot (most all?) of your mental and physcial energy on it, or else you will not be able to achieve what you’re looking to do.

So the goal of 2014 is to have fun! Have fun doing whatever tickles my fancy at any given point in time. I’ve done so many new, different, challenging, truly FUN workouts this year outside of swim, bike and run that I feel so refreshed. I’ve incorporated a lot more strength into my routine and have enjoyed doing “what feels good” each day. Now this doesn’t mean I do a 20 min run and call it a day, but it also doesn’t mean if my body / mind are telling me to slow down on a day I planned to run tempo, I don’t. It has been nice to listen to my body and push when it tells me it’s ok, and back it down when it tells me I’m overcooked. I’d say I’m running 2-3 times a week, sometimes easy, and sometimes hard, sometimes far, sometimes not; I’m swimming 2-3 times a week with my sister and loving every swim set (for the first time ever!), I’m doing athletic conditioning when it feels right, yoga when things are tight, riding on the weekends and occasionally on my trainer, t-runs when they feel good or I have company, or taking random classes at the Y when I feel like it. I’ve spent a lot of time working out with my sister which has been great QT together. It has brought the fun back into being fit again and it is what is working for me right now. I plan to do a few random races here and there, probably shorter local races, and I am hoping I can toe the line with the same mentality as my 2014 mantra – HAVE FUN! I’m 100% certain there will be a time in my life again that I have the urge to do another sub-xyz marathon, sub xyz-hour Ironman or whatever other crazy endeavor that comes across my plate, but for right now, I’m enjoying my current fitness level, my life outside of swim, bike, run, rinse, repeat, my job, my friends, getting ready for my sisters wedding, and whatever else fun that pops up in between!

I hope to see many of you back out on the race course this year and look forward to being the girl who’s less focused on my run split and more focused on high-fiving the volunteers as I run by. It’s yet to be determined if I can actually participate in a race with that mentality, but that’s the goal for now 🙂

Happy Sunday ya’ll!

Thankful and a “race”!


Each year around this time I think everyone (should) take a minute or two to sit back and reflect on what they are thankful for. This year is no different than any prior year – I am thankful for my mom and dad, my selfless sister, my extended family, my amazing friends, my happy dogs, my secure job, my overall health and all of the opportunities I have in life! I’m pretty sure I’ve written that exact sentence at some point before. But this year though I’m feeling even more thankful…to be out of pain!

The Turkey Trot, though not a “race” of any importance, has always served as a good measure of fitness for me since I started running. It was the very first organized run I ever did in 2002 when I moved to Charlotte and it inspired me to sign up for my first half marathon the following April and not long after, my first marathon. I was truly hooked on running from that day on. It has been cool to see myself get slightly faster every year, particularily since I started dedicated “training” in 2008. Last year though, I very clearly remember contemplating not starting the Turkey Trot because my heel was hurting so badly before the race. I had just come back from New Zealand / Australia and all of the walking we did down there really did a number on my foot.

About 2-3 months ago, I was convinced that I would never run without pain again, that I would deal with this forever, never get my fitness back and never run long distance again. It was pretty darn depressing! About a month ago though, it hit me one random day that my foot didn’t really hurt. And the next day, it didn’t hurt either. And then after a 3 mile run, it didn’t hurt then. And after athletic conditioning (i.e. jumping), it didn’t hurt again. And the next day, it didn’t either. After about 2-3 weeks of “waiting” for it to hurt, I started to realize that my foot might actually be getting better! I am still in somewhat disbelief and am waiting for the morning when I hobble out of bed or can hardly walk after a run, but so far, I seem to be in the clear!

I feel like I’ve been released from prison, literally.

Seeing that my foot has been feeling better and given the tradition of the Turkey Trot with my family, I decided ~2 weeks ago that I would give it a go. I was “excited” about an opportunity to test my “alternate” forms of fitness over the past 8 months and see how they may or may not translate into running fitness. Candidly though, I was also kinda nervous.

Who gets nervous for the Turkey Trot??!!

The reality that my fitness and weight aren’t really where they were a year ago (post Worlds and 4 months from Ironman Cabo) is obvious, but I truly wasn’t sure how bad it would be and I’ve been kinda scared / avoiding finding out. I have just been working out for enjoyment and avoiding anything to do with paces, test set, watts, etc. But there’s no avoiding the Turkey Trot and it was time to test my alternate forms of working out. 🙂

There is no need to provide a long drawn out race report for a ~5 mile run, but I’ll say I ran 35:05 (7:11 pace) this year vs. my 8k PR of 33:57 (6:48 pace). I am pleasantly surprised that I still have a little bit of running speed left (all relative), though I know how much work I’d have to do to get back to where I was. What I’m most happy about though, is that I haven’t lost my ability to suffer, which is really what running / triathlon is all about.

“It never gets easier, you just get faster”. Very, very true.

I wanted to slow down the entire time. I didn’t “need” to be running quite so hard – or hard at all – but I’m not wired that way and Thursday reminded me of that. I will admit that a small piece of my competative / train day in and day out / work work work / race race race spirit has died a little with my foot injury, but I now realize a big piece of that spirit is very much still alive. What that means going forward, I really don’t know. I am not allowing myself to think about any races through the end of 2013. 2014 is a new year, a new beginning, and hopefully a fresh start with a healthy foot. I’ll be slowly slowly ramping up running miles for the next 4-5 weeks to see how my foot does with it, but right now I’m continuing to enjoy alternate forms of workouts and a life outside of swim, bike run, rinse, repeat! It it feels good come January, I may have a race season to plan. 🙂

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family, friends and loved ones and has as much to be thankful for as I do!

My Lemonade Recipe Doesn’t Call for Quite So Many Lemons


This week has been a doozie. I feel like the hits just keep on coming.  I’m down, and am trying to stand up, but keep getting knocked down when I do.

“There are times in our lives when we are on narrow roads.  At those times, we are fools if we try to maintain our usual speed.” ~ Unknown

It started back on July 19th.  We got a call from my cousin that her dad, Jim, had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He’s 58 and was scheduled to retire on August 15th after 25+ years of working for the NY Railroad.  Instead of gearing up to spend the rest of his life enjoying his hard work with his wonderful wife Kathy, they began preparations to fight the horrific disease that is cancer.

Fast forward less than one month.

I wake up on Tuesday morning, sit down at the computer with my breakfast as I always do, and log in to Facebook.  The first thing I see is my coach, Leigh Ann, has posted a picture of her father stating “her heart is broken into a million pieces”.  Obviously this is not good.  I reach out to Leigh Ann to discover her father has suffered a massive brain aneurysm and is on life support.  She spent the whole weekend prior (2 days before) in Atlanta with him celebrating his 70th birthday and now she drives in the middle of the night to sit by his bedside as he breaths through a machine and the family is left to “make decisions”.  I am speechless.

Since I am up early, I decide to get some stuff together for a group swim I am hosting this weekend.  I have ordered shirts, water bottles, and visors for each of my athletes so I prepare to get them together.  I head to my car to retrieve the visors which I had shipped to work the week prior and had not brought in the house yet.  I discover there are no visors.  Not only are there no visors, there is no Garmin, no yoga mat, no jumper cables, no CD’s, no phone chargers or iPod plug ins. I have been robbed in my own driveway, while I slept not 15 feet from my car in my cozy big bed. Talk about feeling violated.  Everything is replaceable, life goes on, you can’t sit around and mope about something that you cannot change, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be annoyed about it for a little.  So that’s where I am with that.  I was beyond excited to hand out nice little CK Multisport packages including the visors this weekend, but looks like those will have to wait.  In the grand scheme of this week, the robbery is nothing – it’s not a life or death situation and all material things can be replaced, even if it sucks spending hundreds of dollars on stuff you already owned.

As the day turned to Thursday, Leigh Ann’s father went peacefully in his sleep.  I am thankful for her and her family that it was quick and it did not prolong, but that doesn’t ignore the fact that it is unfair and tragic that he had to go at all. Dealing with loss is difficult enough and unexpected loss is that much harder.  Words cannot express how it feels to see a friend go through this.  I did not know her dad, but that isn’t the point. My heart still hurts for her.  If you know Leigh-Ann and would like to make a donation in her dad’s honor to the Wounded Worrier Project, please contact me.

I was “not right” after hearing the news of Leigh Ann’s dad…and the second blow at 3pm rocked my world.  We received news that the doctors said there is nothing more they can do for Jim.  His cancer continues to grow despite chemo and other attempts to shrink it.  He will be sent home in the hands of Hospice tomorrow.  We have never dealt with this so close to home and we’re not prepared to do so quite so soon…or ever for that matter.

This year has been riddled with news of tragic deaths and cancer.  And last year.  And the year before.  Apparently that is the new norm in our society and particularly the older you get, but I am having a hard time accepting it.  It seems every other week I hear of someone, someone’s mom, dad, cousin, brother, dog, friend, sister, neighbor, you name it, who is fighting some form of cancer.  Death is a part of life, I realize that; however, the unfairness of the circumstances that determine when it is “someone’s time” anger me to the core.  It is not supposed to be Jim’s time.  It was not supposed to be Mr. Goodwin’s time.  They have so much living left to do.

I’ll end with a quote I read a while back. It seems fitting for this unforgiving situation.

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.” ~ Virginia Satir

I thank you all for keeping my family and Leigh Ann’s in your thoughts during these difficult times.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Iron Sister Sherpa’s


The 4-day week went by in a flash and here we are with the weekend upon us again.  This week wasn’t terribly crazy  which was a breath of fresh air.  Work is certainly busy we we preparing for our next quarterly meeting in 2 weeks and given the huge size of my portfolio, I decided to start preparing super early in order to aim to eliminate stress as the meeting approaches.  Thankfully, our clients have cooperated and it has been generally quiet on the new business front…for now.   I’m over halfway through my portfolio review and I still have 9 working days before the meeting…that’s HUGE!

Keeping the trend with my Memorial Day Sleep-A-Thon, I was able to leave work a little early today.  I planned to swim after work but decided to come home and chill out for a bit as I was feeling sleepy from a later than normal bed time and a 5:45 yoga alarm.  I laid down for a little at 4:15 and rolled over at 8:30?!?  Dawn said maybe I have Lymes Disease!  I know I work hard and train hard, but I’m starting to worry!?  So much for my swim 😦

Training wise this week couldn’t have been better!  I spent a lot of time heat-acclimating in preparation for the potential heat at Eagleman.  I made my way to two hot vinyasa classes, spent 30 minutes in the steam room and did my last 9 mile run on Thursday at 1pm in the 85+ degree temps.  The rest of my time has been spent trying to stay hydrated!  I truly feel great and ready to race.

Speaking of my races, I read an article today and I must say it brought a tear to my eye; it made me realize how lucky I am to have my sister in my life.  I sent it to her and she replied back with this, which were my exact thoughts while I read the article.

It’s all worth it. On race day, I’m the proudest girlfriend sister out there. In the 11 hours he’s she’s swimming, cycling and running, I’m dashing about, yelling a lot of things.  I probably embarrass him her at times. I don’t really care. That’s my man sister out there!

When he she turns in a blazing-fast bike split, I’m Snoopy-dancing in transition. When he she cramps up and sees his her dreams of a PR dashed, I cry. When he she crosses the finish line, we both look at each other and smile. He’s She’s the one who raced, but it’s my day, too. We’re a team, and a damn good one at that.

Being an IronSherpa is more than just attending a race and cheering when your athlete goes by. It’s an expression of love.  It’s months of sacrifice and patience and support. It’s smiling so hard your cheeks hurt when you talk about just how proud you are of your partner sister.  It’s the post-race glow, after the ice baths have been taken and the pizzas eaten, snuggling hanging with your Ironman on a hotel room bed as you wind down from a day of excitement.”  

She truly is the most supportive Iron Sherpa I could ask for and anyone who knows her  knows that is true.  I believe she will be Sherpa’ing me next year as I tackle my next Ironman, just as she has for every other big race I’ve ever done!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  I’m looking forward to all that’s on tap and even more so a HUGE weekend of recovery next week!  T-9 days till Eagleman 70.3!

On the go


Seems it is becoming a trend that I have time to provide updates about once or twice a week lately.  Which I hate but just have to accept.

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind as it is Sunday night and again I don’t think I’ve stopped moving, really, since last weekend.  After an early dismissal from work on Friday, my teammate Hannah and her husband Trey and I ventured to Winston Salem for our cycling teams pictures and our Sponsor dinner.  It was so great to see all of my teammates again and it was nice to be with our Sponsors who make our team possible.  Most of the team was staying in Winston that night to get up and ride the next day, but after the events of last weekend and being out of town, I just needed to be home in  my own bed.

We got home about 11 and I think I was asleep by 11:05.  I threw my clothes all over my closet, got in my jammies, and hit the sheets in some serious record time.  I usually spend 10-15 minutes when I get in bad at night catching up on stuff on my phone and I didn’t even look at my phone.  I was out cold.  I finally emerged at about 9 but was honestly still feeling a bit groggy.  It was pretty chilly out and I knew I wanted to do a slightly later morning run so I opted to hop back in bed.  THREE hours later, I emerged again at noon.  In shock that I was able to sleep so long, I hopped out of bed feeling like a dingy for wasting my favorite part of the weekend.  I clearly needed the rest though.

I decided to do a 2 hour run today.  I haven’t run over about 1:40 minutes since Boston last year, which ironically happened to have been exactly one year prior to the date.  I have two 70.3’s on the horizon and think a few 15/16 milers will be good for me mentally.  The weather was gorgeous and I was excited to run!  I will say, I’ve had better runs, but I did it and that’s what counts.  I did 2 miles easy, 1 mile at race pace, for the whole run.  I did take a lot of “breaks” for water, stopped to take my gel, stopped once to stretch, but ultimately I got the distance done.  All easy miles were right around 7:55, all “race pace” (70.3) miles were right around 7:25.  I’m not going into White Lake in a few weeks trying to run much faster than 1:40 because I just don’t think I’m there and I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.  I hope to be though by the time Eagleman rolls around.  With 15 miles under my legs, I took a quick ice bath, drank some recovery and showered up.

It has been about 2 weeks since I’d see little Brax so I needed some QT with him.  They had been to a birthday party that afternoon and Brax partied right through his nap.  By the time I got there, he was ready to sleep but there was a lot of action with the Masters and a bunch of people at Em and Scotts, so he wasn’t able to sleep so good.  He ended up being the most fussy I’d see him, but he was actually still very manageable.  I spent a long while around 7 with just me and him up in his room feeding him, rocking him to sleep, him waking up, rocking him back to sleep, etc.  They say “a sleeping baby is a sleepy baby” and it’s so true.  He was just plain overtired poor little guy.  Emily and I left him with Scott and grabbed a quick bit and it’s always good to sit and chat.  Was glad I got up there to see him.  Almost 3 months old!

Sunday started with an open water swim with my buddy Jim at my friends house at Lake Norman.  Their set up is perfect for open water swimming with the beach and the cove that they live in.  After today’s swim, I realize just how much I need to get up there more often.  The water was a tiny bit chilly to start but absolutely beautiful after we got going.   We got in about 2500 meters and our pace was pretty decent, but I must say, my sighting leaves something to be desired.

We did a pretty easy 25 mile ride after around Jetton Park and looked at the houses, chatted and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  I needed to ride longer but had to get wrapped up; my Dad’s sister and my Aunt and Uncle were both in town from NY and were at Dawn’s house for Easter with my cousin.  All in all, a great weekend of training; I was happy with how my legs felt on today’s ride despite a longer than normal run yesterday.

This week is looking pretty crazy, now that its finally here.  I’ll be doing the Wednesday night time trial at Charlotte Motor Speedway (or Lowe’s, or whatever its called this week) on Wednesday night.  10 miles, balls to the wall.  That should be interesting.

Saturday marks my first triathlon of the season – Belews Lake in Greensboro.  I’m everything I probably should be for my first race: nervous, anxious, scared, but most of all, excited.  It’s my first race in the “open” division and I think I’ve spent long enough mentally preparing myself to be the last one out of the water that if/when it actually happens, I’ll be okay with it.  Someone has to be last, right?  🙂  What I will not be is last on my bike.  I plan to launch my rocket into overdrive and ride my little tail off.  I will see how that bodes for my legs to run, but there’s no better way to test your limits a little then at a local race that, in the grand scheme of things, really “means nothing”.  I have bigger races on the horizon that I’m going to try to determine “how hard is too hard” over the next couple weeks.

One would think an all out time trial and a 2+ hour triathlon would cap off ones weekend of racing, but nope.  The fun continues on Sunday at 4:55pm with an all out 40 min crit race in NODA.  Its the first year of the event and I really want to participate since it’s a local event.  How my legs will feel is BEYOND me, but there’s only one way to find out!

So here’s to a fun weekend of lots of suffering on the horizon for me!  I hope everyone had a Happy Easter today with their family’s, friends or loved ones and I hope everyone is training hard!  See ya’ll on the race course.

All Over the Place


Yes, a very appropriate title for this post. I have been exactly that…all over the place! I left off Wednesday having done a power test and working my tail off. The rest of the week proved to be much of the same work stress but I was able to get in my last long run pre-half marathon on Thursday. I did 11 before work with my sister in tow on her bike for fuel and company. I felt very strong and was able to hit my race pace intervals somewhat easily; I feel ready to race at Wrightsville next weekend. I’m not 100% sure of my exact goal but think I have sub 1:35 in me…I just don’t know how “sub” 1:35 that will be. I’ve run Wrightsville the past 2 years – I raced the full marathon it in 2010 and qualified for Boston and paced my sister last year on the half and I’m excited by now to know the course. I’m hoping for a good race!

After knocking out my last long run Thursday, I was in need of a swim Friday morning. Mission failure. Got in the water and could tell in the first 100 yards I just didn’t have it in me. I graciously accepted this fact and swam a whopping 1000 yards before calling it a day. 1000 is better than 0 I suppose. I ended my week with yoga on Friday night and I can’t think of a better ending to a long stressful week. My hips thanked me afterwards, as did my mind.

Saturday began bright and early with the Corporate Cup! Dawn has been training for the past few months for this race and I wanted to run most of the race with her for support. Given I’m 1-week from my first big “a-race” of the season, I didn’t think running the whole 13.1 with her was appropriate. I saw her off at the start and then drove out to mile 4. It was fun being out there cheering as the front people came through and I saw lots of familiar faces looking very strong! By about mile 8, Dawn was starting to have some knee pain but she continued to run. By mile 10 it was pretty bad and we did a little bit of walking (not much) but she kept on pushing. She feels like she “failed” because she had to walk a few times due to her knee pain, but I am still proud of her for finishing. A LOT of people would have quit.

My friends were in town from Atlanta Saturday so I showered up right after the race and headed to Huntersville where they were staying. We pretty much hung out all day drinking mimosas and playing with Brax and little sweet Sydney! I haven’t seen Syd in probably 3 months and she’s gotten SO big and has developed such a fun-loving personality!

Sydney at 7-months old.

Saturday ended with a baby shower for another good friend of mine, Jordan, who is due with her first little girl in April. Yes, my life is surrounded by babies, if you were wondering. It’s bittersweet. Most importantly, it’s exciting and I’m beyond happy for every single one of them. No doubt about that. I do miss the “old times” though. I’m not sure I’ve seen my good friends in about a year where we haven’t spent 95% of the time talking about first, pregnancy, and now, babies. Given I’m not yet at either of those stages in my life despite my desire to be, it’s definitely an adjustment that takes some getting used to. 🙂 But love those little nuggets to pieces!

Changing gears, I’ve officially decided I’m allergic to white wine. Not only did I get sick after dinner with my parents at Luce after drinking white wine a few weeks ago, I was sick most of the night last night after having 2 glasses at the shower (without even thinking). Its the only “control” in both of the nights I have been sick so it will be eliminated from my life starting today. It’s sad because I love a good glass of Pinot Grigio when the weather is warm but I’ll have to find a replacement drink to crave.

Because of my middle of the night sickness, I decided to sleep in and skip the 8am ride I had originally planned to do. I didn’t get out of bed till 10am, took my dogs for a nice long walk, did a ton of much needed yard work and took an hour long nap before I even thought about riding. Given the clocks pushed back last night, I knew I’d have plenty of daylight even if I started at 2 or 3. I ventured out about 2:45 from my house and knocked out the Spencer / Crammer loop! It was a beautiful day to be on my bike, with no ones pace to ride but my own and no ones thoughts but my own. I spent much of this ride “rehearsing” my discussion with my “big” boss on Tuesday and I feel confident going into the meeting. I got home a little after 6 and did a quick 3 mile t-run- my first one of the season – which ended up feeling okay after the first mile. All in all, a great workout today.

It’s 8pm and I think I’m sitting doing nothing for the first time all weekend. Tomorrow starts with some amazing yoga and a little recovery swim at lunch time. T-3 days until our meeting and T-2 days until I meet with my boss. Back in a flash!

Jersey Boys!


This past Saturday night was finally time to celebrate Christmas with my parents. Dawn and I struggle every year to figure out what to get for the two parents who seem to have it all, and who do so much for us! Each year it seems to get harder and harder to think of a GREAT gift for them.

This year we decided to do a family night out in Charlotte. We got 4 tickets to Jersey Boys playing at the Blumenthal and a fancy dinner at Luce! It turned out to be perfect!

The Eagens' girls at Luce

Our dinner was fabulous! We ate too much yummy authentic Italian food, drank great wine and enjoyed each others company….even if Dad did need the “flashlight app”on my iPhone to see the menu in the dark ambiance 🙂

The show was a blast, actually very funny and kept my attention from start to finish. If you know me, you know that says a lot. I didn’t know much about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons before the show nor did I ever really feel like I cared to know, but now that I do, I realize just how interesting their story was. If you are in Charlotte and are looking for a good night out, I highly recommend an evening seeing the show. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s so worth it.

My family...can you tell we're all related?

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad. We love you.