Monthly Archives: August 2015

New Limits in an Epic Year

Well, hello there again, strangers. Today marks the first day of school for many parents, and I find myself here with a mimosa glass of cold water, finally able to sit down, guilt-free mind you, and write a post! The first day of school is normally bitter sweet for me, as is the last day of school. I LOVE having my kids home during the summer and school breaks, but there is something to be said about having uninterrupted hours to do the stuff I need to do to make this house clean and run like a well-oiled machine without finding the room I just de-cluttered all re-cluttered within five minutes because the kids are home. I don’t know what it is, but they’re just messy. Truth be told, I’d much rather have a messy, loud house full of kids, their friends, and their clutter, than a clean, quiet one, so I am a little sad about school starting.

I thought the best way to catch y’all up is to make a list, because I LOVE lists. I especially love to cross stuff off lists and am one of those who will write something down that I’ve already done simply so I can cross it off. I never said I was good at time management….

So here goes. Here’s a list of things I’ve been doing, in no particular order of importance.

**Ironman Florida is ELEVEN weeks away. I have to admit, when I saw that on the calendar just a minute ago, the word, “Holyfuckingshit” just flew out of my mouth. Sorry, mom. In reality, I have less than 11 weeks left. Gulp. Training has been kicking butt. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy. I’ve had good swims, bad swims, good bike rides, awful bike rides, awesome runs, bad horrible sweaty runs. That’s the name of the game, but I can say that I’ve done my training and I’m feeling really good about it. I’ve pushed myself to new limits I never thought I could do (and still walk – it might be weird looking, but I’m walking). I’m loving it and can totally see why people get addicted to endurance sports.

**I started a company. Yes, I’ve hinted about this, but finally, FINALLY, I got my ducks in order and launched Epic Running Company, LLC.


This is something I never thought I would or could do. But it materialized just this year when I asked myself, “Self, why the hell not??!” My focus is a middle school running program I started, but I’m also interested in helping adults reach their running goals. I currently have one client, and he’s currently kicking butt in his marathon training. I love watching people push themselves past something they never thought they could do.  The program at the school will be starting on September 15th, and I’m so excited, I am giddy just thinking about it!

**I rode 80.55 miles on my bike in 4 hours and 19 minutes.  That’s an average of 18.7 mph, y’all, and for me, that ain’t no joking around. That’s a limit I never thought I’d cross. Granted, I had intervals during the ride, and they certainly made me feel every single cell in my legs as they screamed for me to slow down, but I didn’t slow down and it made up for me wanting to throw my bike into the Cape Fear River the prior week during a very challenging century ride. Two weekends, two completely different rides. That’s training.

**Athletes talk about things like we are babies/infants. We talk about pee, the color of it, if we got to go poo before a long workout, how much we eat, WHAT we eat, what we drink, how much we drink, how much, salt, sugar, everything we consume, what we wear, all that sort of stuff. I would hesitate to bring this up, but hey, THIS is the bread and butter of athlete-speak, right? So here goes. Yesterday, near the end of my ride, I experimented with peeing in my bike shorts. Other people do it and it seems like such a handy time-saver. I wanted to give it a try and see if it’s something I could do during the race. I found that yes, yes, I could do this if I really needed to NEAR THE END OF A RIDE, and I’m not to the point of being able to pee ON the bike (I just sat on the ground and let it go as I ate my Uncrustable), and I’m not sure, after 40 or so years of training myself NOT to go on myself, that I could even pee while riding my bike (without falling over) if I wanted to. Anyway, here’s what I liked and didn’t like.

I like that I didn’t have to walk into the spidery, web-filled, mosquito-infested woods to pee, possibly baring myself to an innocent person “looking for morel mushrooms” or something equally treasure-like only to find a biker’s butt. “Hey mom, you’ll NEVER guess what I found in the woods today.” Peeing in your shorts completely eliminates uncomfortable run-ins like that. Also, you don’t have to wait in line to pee. Bonus. Go in your shorts and then “accidentally” spill your water, conveniently rinsing it off. You get some relief, AND you cool yourself down. What I didn’t like about it is that there was pee in my shorts.

Yup. Even though they're black pants, there's pee.

It collected like I was wearing a wetsuit. I didn’t like that and was baffled about how spandex can be waterproof (although we know I’m not talking about water).  So anyway, I might try it again, but am concerned with how the runoff is handled. I assume we all know where it goes, since most of us are familiar with gravity, but I won’t know until I try. I’ll be sure I’m riding solo, so if you’re one of my biker buddies, don’t worry.

**Sweating. I’ve never sweat so much and have reached new limits in how many pairs of shoes I can soak through during a long run (right now, it would be two in 14 miles but I really needed 3). Seriously, I’ve never done so much working out in humid, gross, disgusting coastal North Carolina. I can usually find a loophole in running or doing something that causes the entire liquid portion IN my body to come OUT as sweat. But there’s no loopholes in Ironman training, that’s for sure.


**I can change a flat tire on my bike in less than 10 minutes. I’ve had LOTS of practice – 7 flats since the season started for me in May. This has caused a new level of stress during the ride, probably for the people I’m with as much or more than myself, and I’ve developed situational Tourette’s Syndrome that features the “F” word.

This was me. Or a nice version of me the last flat I had.

I’m not proud, but I’ve decided I’m over it and it’s almost funny. I now have new tires, new rim tape, and new tools, since the old ones broke and were “gently tossed” into a ditch in Pender County when I had a flat and it took 4 of us 20 minutes to just get the tire off the rim. That was fun. But now I am confident that if I get a flat during the race, I can change it quickly and be on my way. That’s a skill every biker should have.

My favorite quote.

My favorite quote.

**I’ve truly embraced this quote: “If you want something you’ve never had, then you have to do something you’ve never done.” I live and breathe this quote. I’ve cried, I’ve bled, I’ve thrown stuff, I’ve sworn, I’ve been so tired, I forgot what I was saying in the middle of my sentence, but I’ve kept going. I know it’s only going to get harder, but the beautiful thing is that we can adapt. We change to accommodate the difficulty that will come. It’s going to get really hard with school, two kids in two sports, husband training for a marathon, and my training, coaching, and a house to run, but this is what life is, isn’t it? Isn’t THIS what we’re supposed to be doing? Having fun and making memories along the way, doing things we never thought we could?

I smile thinking about this year, the things I’ve been able to do, the experiences I’ve had with my family, and it really is going to be the Epic-est year.

I’ve embraced uncomfortable-ness like never before.  And there’s absolutely nothing that will make me stop.



Categories: anything is possible, being epic, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Well Hello There

I can’t believe time has gotten away from me so much that I haven’t posted in a month. I was on vacation in Missouri the last time I was here. With training and my kids at home and plenty of fun/work to be had, I figured the one thing that could be left off the list is my blogging. So I didn’t blog. I’ve read a lot of your blogs, not even taking the time to “Like” them, so I am sorry if I seemed to have dropped off the radar, if anyone pays attention to those things.  Instead of trying to catch up on the last month, which would only leave us all breathless and a little overwhelmed and my fingers worn down to nubs, I figured I could just recap a little of my vacation and tell you that my training has been going really well.

Ironman Florida is only 13 weeks from this coming weekend, which is a frightening thought, but my workouts have increased so that the extra load is almost unnoticeable and very doable. (Next weekend’s workouts have been posted since I started this post and I take it back.) I’m at that point in training when riding my bike for 3 hours is considered an easy, short ride. Sort of like when you’re in marathon training and 13 miles seems easy and short.  The beauty of it is, is that I am having a great time and enjoy the time I am training.

The last time I posted, we were finishing our week with my parents near Branson, Missouri. We had a great time, but the weather certainly didn’t cooperate and we spent a lot of time dodging rain and storms instead of playing on Table Rock Lake. My parents love to cook, and it’s GOOD, so we ate like kings while there. Bonus. We left one early morning and headed up to Ames, Iowa, so I could meet the now-THREE time Ironman, Kecia from Push My Limits. I wish I hadn’t been so worn out from the 8 hour drive, but I was so great to meet someone I had only known through blogging.


Kickass Kecia and Moi meeting in Ames

Kickass Kecia and Moi meeting in Ames

After that, it was crazy ironic that also in Ames were my best friend from high school (and one of the few people I frequently correspond with), and two other friends from high school. I met up with them and we laughed as we talked about old times way back in school. It made me thankful I wasn’t in high school anymore (boy, we thought we knew everything, as teenagers do), but wishing for those days when responsibilities were low and fun was to be had at any moment.

My BFF Sonia, Cory, Adrienne, and Moi

My BFF Sonia, Cory, Adrienne, and Moi

We stayed in Des Moines that night, and I was able to talk to my friend, Sonia, at El Bait Shop, a cool little bar in downtown Des Moines, a little more before fatigue from travel got the best of me.

The next morning, we headed to Field of Dreams. The weather was perfect and everyone was in a good mood. When we got there, we looked around, bought some stuff at the gift shop, and headed to the field to play catch. Of course, my son had to ask my husband, “Dad, wanna have a catch?” as Ray asks his dad at the end of the movie, inevitably causing us to break out in tears. As my husband says, “I’m a weepy old bag.” It was a grand moment, to be at THE field of dreams and play baseball with my husband and kids. I don’t know how long we were there, but it was perfect.

Field of Dreams movie set in Dyersville, Iowa

Field of Dreams movie location in Dyersville, Iowa

We packed up our gloves and headed towards my alma mater, The University of Northern Iowa. We headed to the gift store to get some UNI clothing and look for a replacement for the stuffed panther I got 22 years ago and sleep with him tucked into my arm still to this day. No success on the panther, but I did find some good deals on UNI clothes – score! We walked around the entire campus, and I showed my boys where I had classes, and answered their burning question of “Did you kiss someone at the campanile at midnight?” since I had told them that was the homecoming tradition. I also had to explain what homecoming was since it’s not a big deal where we live like it is in Iowa. We headed towards downtown Cedar Falls, which was absolutely cute and beautiful and had really come into its own since I had left back in 1996.

The campanile at UNI

The campanile at UNI

After not exercising for two days, it was time for me to get a long run in. The morning we left Cedar Falls, I went for a 10 mile run that ended up being an 11 mile run because I got turned around (lost). Thankfully, I checked my bearings with some very nice ladies at a flower shop to be sure I was going in the right direction only to find that I was not going in the right direction. They sent me down a road that wasn’t safe for runners, so I ended up going the LONG way back, but it was a beautiful, cool morning filled with the sounds of wrens and robins calling each other, something that I have missed a lot since moving away from Iowa four years ago.

When we got on the road, it was about four hours until we got to our last destination, Sioux City, before heading back home. “Operation Surprise” was in full effect as we neared. My kids spent the earliest years and pre-school days there with some of the best friends we have ever had. The parents knew we were coming, but the kids did not. Heh, heh. I love surprises. When we walked into the back yard full of kids who didn’t know of our impending arrival, the looks on their faces was priceless. What was funny is how much all the kids have changed in the years since we have seen them. Sort of sad too, since I’ve missed it and I miss them desperately, but it was just good to see them all. We drove around to see our old neighbor, house, the places we used to hang out, and some of the new things that have come to town. It was a lot of fun, but honestly, I didn’t miss it as I thought I would. In fact, I only missed the people there, and nothing about the place made me feel sad to be gone. It’s quite evident that I am totally in love with Wilmington and North Carolina.

My best friends from when we lived in Iowa.

My best friends from when we lived in Iowa, the ones who taught me about adult friendship.

Over the next three days, we caught up on each other’s lives, let the kids reconnect, which took all but twenty seconds, and had the best time hanging out. We played cards, we sat in the driveway around a fire, we drank too much beer, we ate too much food, and we watched as the kids ran and ran around just being kids. During this time, I tried to get some exercise in, but I decided my friends were too important to cut our nights short so I could get to bed at a decent hour so I could get up before the scorching hot sun came out in the morning. I got in a few runs, but they were not good. Oh well, I knew I was going to hit training hard when I got home and I knew I wouldn’t regret letting it slide while visiting our friends.

The kids ran around and had so much fun the three days we visited.

The kids ran around and had so much fun the three days we visited.

When it was time to go, I was ready to head home. We had one more stop though, dinner with my cousin who lived near the airport we were departing from in Kansas City. It was so good to see her and her family, to reconnect and see her kids, and talk about our grandmother, who we used to visit together for a week during the summer as kids.

Two weeks after we left Wilmington, we came back home to Wilmington after a very EPIC trip. We flew 1800 miles and drove 1800 miles in our rental car, we swam, we talked, we ate, we drank, we saw so many places and people, some for the last time, and we thoroughly enjoyed our two week trip in the summer of 2015. It was tiring and expensive, but it was so worth it.

Have you ever had a huge, epic summer trip as an adult or kid?





Categories: being epic, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, running, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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