Where I've Been and Hope To Be

Where I've Been and Hope To Be

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Toddler Has an Eating Disorder

Ok, not really, my kid doesn't have an eating disorder, but he does have "I want what I'm not supposed to have" disease which he very clearly inherited from his mama.  This evening as I am running around trying to get big kid homework squeezed in before baseball practice drop off Lil Buddy needed a snack to get him through to dinner.  I put some dry cereal in a little bowl and off he went to munch on his cinnamon toast crunch (yep, only the healthiest snacks in our house!)  I turned around for a second (after I got him off the dining room table) and there he was with not one, but two full containers of cereal sitting on the kitchen floor like a drunk after the bars close.  Or like me at midnight.  Don't judge.  It's the same cereal as in his bowl, but he wants the cereal from the container on the shelf.

Sure, he's not the first kid to do this and I'm not actually worried about it at all.  But it begs the question, why do we always want what we aren't supposed to have?  How do we learn so early that the forbidden tastes better than the food we are supposed to eat?  I would much rather sneak food standing in the kitchen than portion it out on a plate.  It just more fun that way.  And of course this leads to terrible eating habits, unnecessary snacking, and a total inability to track your food intake.

It's pumpkin everything season again and I might lose my mind trying to resist all of the baked pumpkin goodies.  I keep telling myself that pumpkin in moderation is ok.  But I don't have a moderation button.  So I have scoped out the pumpkin cream cheese muffin at Starbucks and the pumpkin crois buns at Au Bon Pain and compared calories, appearance, and desire for them to get in my belly.  So far I haven't indulged because one leads to two leads to me sitting in the dark corner in the kitchen.  It's a scary time for me I tell ya.

But hey.  If I do find myself in the kitchen on the floor it looks like I'm going to have really adorable company.

Friday, September 12, 2014

August Recap

August is long gone and with it the summer fun.  Kids are back and school and home life is starting to settle into a routine.  Sort of.  Nothing is ever really normal at our house.

Run 16.86 miles.  Less than half of last month.  What was initially suspected to be a stress fracture turned out to be really bad plantar fasciitis, but either way had be sidelined from running most of the month.  Thankfully, September is looking up in this department.

Bike  299.7 miles.  Had I known I was that close to 300 I would have pedaled just a bit farther somewhere in the month.  Wow!  You can tell things are gearing up for Seagull Century on September 27.

Swim  9.6 miles.  Down from last month as well.  I've been having a hard time finding swimming motivation lately.  Its been easy to find excuses to skip swim practice.  I'm not sure why because I enjoy it tremendously when I get there and get going, but my motivation to head to the pool has been sorely lacking.

Races Tri the Wildwoods Sprint Triathlon.

Current Reads I am reading 3 books at one time.  It's really not going well.  I'm usually firmly committed to one book at a time.  But I have two going on the iPad and one hardcover from the library.  I'm all over the place.  They are The Hurt Artist, The Book of Life, and Roosevelt's Beast.  One about triathlon, one about witches and vampires, and one historical fiction.  All my faves!

Current Obsession Races.  All I think about are races.  The ones I am going to do this fall, which to choose for next year, the ones friends and teammates have targeted.  I just want to race, race, race.

Current Song Wild wild wildkratts, wild wild wildkratts.  This is pathetic because it's the same as last month.  I was singing it in my head just today in court.  It was pretty incongruous given the seriousness of the case I was handling.  Made me feel like I was in the twilight zone.

Current Need More hours in the day.  This is a pretty regular need.  Hubby's football season has started again and it means I'm short on help at home.  Plus Big T's travel baseball team is on the go and that has us hanging out at baseball fields 3-4 times a week.  We are so incredibly busy.  Despite that, I'm still hitting most of my workouts, I just had to resign myself to doing them either before or after work.

Current Triumph 19.2 miles per hour on the bike at Nation's Tri.  So what if that was September and not August.  It was awesome.

Current Bane of My Existence Feeling like I have multiple personalities.  There's mom Jen, wife Jen, attorney Jen, triathlete Jen, and who knows who else rattling around in my head these days.  It's hard to keep them fluid and working together.  I feel like I am compartmentalized instead of one person doing different things with different interests.  Makes me feel really scatterbrained.

Current Goal Finish the full 100 miles at the Seagull Century at the end of the month and still be able to walk.

Current Excitement Getting back into running.  I will write more about this in a separate post, but I'm glad to not feel like a wounded animal anymore and that my half marathon plans later this year should still be able to happen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cleaner Eating - The End and the Beginning

So, in order to wrap up my thoughts about the eating portion of my endeavors, I visited a sports nutritionist.  She reviewed my goals and training workouts as well as racing fuel.  We discussed my desire to lose weight while continuing to fuel properly for training.  Even though I am smaller then when I got pregnant, I'm still up about 12-15 pounds.  I know muscle weighs more than fat and that the number on the scale doesn't really matter, but whether you weigh 100, 200, or 300 pounds, that weight is weight that needs to be transported forward on the swim, bike, and run.  The less of it I have, the less force required to move it forward.  So I would simply like less mass to haul around.

She encouraged me to log my food each day which I despise.  The app My Fitness Pal makes it fairly easy, but its just one more thing I have to add to my daily to do list.  Nonetheless, I logged all of my food on day one.  I thought I had made some pretty solid choices and didn't eat just to eat.  However, when all was said and done, I had consumed over 3000 calories for the day.  No wonder I haven't been losing any weight.  Despite my workouts, on a standard workout day, I still shouldn't be consuming any more than 1900-2100 calories in a day if I want to lose some weight.  So 3000 is simply not going to cut it.

We also broke down my eating plan by meal where she gave me guidance on better food choices and ideas about how to consider the number of protein and carbs per meal and per snack to make sure the individual meals are properly balanced.  I had been eating a lot of protein at lunch with hardly any carbs.  And I wasn't considering fruit in the carbohydrate category - so even though they are incredibly healthy and great food choices, a ton of fruit along with brown rice at the same meal just throws things out of balance.

I continued to log my food for another week and we met again.  I had lost 5 pounds in that week.  And I didn't feel deprived or like I was on a diet most of the time, it just took adjusting my menu planning and being more strategic throughout the day.  It also required me to plan better for daytime snacks that are portable and easily stored in my work bag while I'm stuck at work away from the office or home kitchen.  Lowfat chocolate milk has become the big morning snack winner since it is sold in the courthouse vending machine if I forget to bring my own.

Nonetheless, once our final appointment had passed, I made it two whole days before I blew my eating at dinner and didn't bother finishing my log for the day.  I told myself it was one day and I'd get back on track the next day.  And I did.  Again, until dinner time.  Not only did I over eat, I tacked a cheesecake brownie on the end and again did not finish my daily food log.  Clearly, all the knowledge in the world doesn't automatically provide discipline and willpower.

So I emailed the nutritionist who reminded me that I'm in the beginning stages of changing a long habit of bad eating.  I needed to give myself a little slack for messing up, but also need to identify what derails me at the end of the day and find strategies to keep this from happening.  So what strategies work for you?  A food logging buddy?  A contest with money on the line?  Chains of steel on the kitchen door at 7 pm?

I'd love to hear any and all suggestions about how to control the evening eating hours.  They are always the worst for me.  The time when I am most likely to graze and indulge on crap when I'm not even hungry.  Send me your ideas!!  Because starting a public blog of my daily food consumption is boring for you and for me.  No one wants to read that.  I did make my food diary on My Fitness Pal public, so friend me and check out what I'm eating.  Maybe if I think people are looking I'll be good? What a sad state of affairs this is.

One last awesome dinner suggestion for you.  Found this recipe for Tex-Mex Baked Spaghetti Squash on My Fitness Pal.

It was delicious (only one kid agreed with me.  The other hated it).  The spaghetti squash can be an annoying task to shred, but the recipe needed no tweaking or special culinary skills.  Just my kind of cooking!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Race Report: Nation's Triathlon

I am woefully behind in blogging.  So many posts pending in my head that simply haven't been written.  So I'm starting today with most recent and I'll work my way back over the next couple.

Many months ago I registered for the Nations Sprint Triathlon when the event organizers announced they would be offering the sprint distance for the first time this year.  I wanted to do this particular race because the swim is in the Potomac River and I wanted to face that fear head on.  As I've mentioned in the past, the race course is the exact part of the river that I can see on my daily metro commute.  So for months I've been staring the river down getting ready to take it on and make it my own.

However, over the last month or so, I've been dealing with some pretty severe plantar fasciitis that is unrelenting.  The podiatrist gave me a 3 week running ban along with prescribed physical therapy.  I'm only now easing back in to light running on an anti gravity treadmill, so I changed my registration from the sprint triathlon to the olympic aquabike.

The Nation's sprint distance was 750 meter swim, 16.6 mile bike, and 5K run.  The olympic aquabike is 1600 meter swim and 24.8 mile bike.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to test out the longer distance for next year without the pressure of adding a run on the end.  If nothing else, it would be a good training day.

This race required packet pickup and bike racking a day in advance of the race.  So I took Lil Buddy with me to packet pickup on Friday and then headed downtown to rack my bike on Saturday.

It was blisteringly hot on Saturday and there was no available parking close by to the transition area.  By the time I got my bike to my bike rack, walked down to the swim course to check it out, and walked back to my car, I was drenched with sweat and miserably uncomfortable.  The only saving grace was a gorgeous shot of the Jefferson Memorial and that a massive storm was in the forecast and temps for race day were expected to be considerably lower.

I went home, got my gear packed, and tried to go to bed early.  Despite the fact that I knew I wasn't really racing a full triathlon the next day, I still had trouble sleeping and spent a significant amount of time thinking through the two legs of the race I was scheduled to complete and making sure I had packed everything I needed.

The alarm went off at 4:30 am and I started moving around getting ready for the race.  As I logged on to my email I saw a note from a teammate that thanks to the storm overnight, there had been a sewage spill into the Potomac River and the swim portion of the event was cancelled.  So from triathlon I had gone to aquabike and now to....bike.  So anticlimatic.  I briefly considered just getting back in bed and skipping the entire thing, but then decided that I had paid too much money and had to go down to retrieve my bike anyway, so what the hell.  I'll just ride it like I stole it.

Got some great nighttime memorial/monument shots walking from the car to transition.  When you visit DC you simply must tour them at night.  These are about 5:30 am.

Unfortunately, the rest of the morning leading up to the race start remained anticlimatic.  Saw my teammates, got my area organized, and went off to my wave corral.  And waited.  And waited.  The first wave went off at 7:15.  My wave didn't go until somewhere between 8:30 and 8:45.  It was a long and boring wait.  Chilly too - temps had dropped overnight and were somewhere around 65.  Gorgeous weather, but boooorrrring.

Finally it was my turn to go.  Our wave was really small - not too many aquabikers, ahem, bikers, and it turned out we were almost all injured and prevented from running.  I started to size the other women up and my competitive juices got flowing.  And like that we were off.  They had us stage at the swim exit area and pretend like we had just gotten out of the water.  We had to run barefoot from the swim exit, up the shoot to transition, and then put on our shocks, cycling shoes, helmet, etc.  My foot throbbed as I made my way along the grassy chute and into transition.  But then I threw my shoes and helmet on and was out of there as quickly as possible.  It felt like one of my faster transitions, but it also helped that I wasn't tired from the swim.

After that it was 24.8 miles of an all out bike sprint.  With no run to fear or look forward to, I left it all on the bike.  I went at a full sprint for the entire thing slowing only for sharp turns or bottlenecks with slower riders.  I felt confident and strong the entire time.  And I enjoyed almost every minute of the ride.  In the end, the results showed it.  My Garmin showed a final distance of 22.13 miles at a pace of 17.1 miles per hour.  The official race results show a final distance of 24.8 miles at a pace of 19.2 miles per hour.  I'll take it either way.  My fastest race pace before this was 16.1 and was only over 10 miles.  This is much much faster for much much longer.  I felt like I was flying and it was awesome.  Unfortunately, was still only 7/12 "aqua"bike women.  Would have been 5th if I had been faster in that initial transition.  The barefoot run was just too slow.

While I had a great ride and redeemed myself from my last race by finishing with zero regrets for my performance, I would not choose this race again in the future.  I sent questions to the event organizers through their website numerous times and received zero responses.  At packet pickup absolutely no one could tell me where the final finish line was for aquabikers.  When I arrived to rack my bike no one could tell me where to rack it (they had us all the way in the back like bastard step children).  There was very limited safety information provided in the written materials for new participants regarding cycling safety which led to some really scary stuff out there on a very crowded course.  It's a race full of first timers - which is great - but without the proper information being provided there were quite a few unsafe cycling conditions that could have been avoided.

The other unintended upside is that I got some fantastic touristy photos before the race.

It's always fun to take a moment and enjoy the local sites that I, too often, take for granted while buzzing around the city.  And, as usual, I had great support and conversations with fellow Team Tri360 teammates.  We always have a good time racing together and this was no exception.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cleaner Eating - Part 2

It was my intention to post this second post regarding eating much closer to Part 1, but, as is often the case, life got in the way.  And when life gets in the way of one thing it is often getting in the way of many.  As a result, I've fallen off the food wagon a bit over the last couple of weeks.  While not going on an all out binge, it has meant a snack here, some pizza there, and quick grabs of food that aren't always the smartest choices in an effort to keep moving moving moving.

That being said, I've also been able to reign things in over the last couple of days and get back on track.  The meals that have been the most successful - both for healthy eating and family satisfaction - have come from The Feed Zone Cookbook.  The book was written by a doctor and a chef who have created meals that both fuel athletes, but also taste delicious.  I have to confess, I am spoiled by being married to a retired chef, so he is able to create just about anything we desire.  But classically trained chefs usually prepare meals for taste first, dietary needs second, and Hubby's former methods of cooking contained plenty of deeeeeelicious butter and cream.  These recipes have given him fresh ideas on more waistline friendly food and livened up our dinner table.

The proof of this became even more evident three nights ago.  We had a relatively busy night in store with Big N attending karate class, Hubby at football practice, and me left to use my meager culinary skills to feed the family.  The plan for the kids was hot dogs and chips.  A total phone-it-in dinner.  I was going to find something remotely good for me out of the leftovers in the fridge.  Hot dogs have long been a kid favorite and usually they are met with cheers and requests for second and third helpings.  This week, however, the boys choked them down and then asked if they could have something different.  One asked for cottage cheese.  Another asked for something I can't remember, but what was clear was the hot dog luster was lost.  Taste buds can be trained.  These kids don't want crap anymore after being exposed to yummy whole foods.

So what kinds of foods are in this book?  Here are some samples that we've made along with photos that I take right before I devour my plate.  You are lucky there are photos at all.  In fact, in some instances I got the photo on the second try because the first time we ate it all too quickly.
Peach crisp I actually made myself!

Turkey lettuce wraps

Buffalo and Sweet Potato Tacos (we used ground beef)

Corn Cakes with Crisp Chicken
(this is hands down the overall favorite)

Our only complaint about this book: there are not always enough step by step directions for someone who does not already have some basic, if not advanced, culinary skills.  Hubby has had to take his knowledge of the way things cook (like what happens to yogurt when it gets hot) and tweak the instructions a bit.  I tried a recipe that called for cooked sweet potato and the recipe didn't work at all because I WAY overcooked the sweet potato.  Unfortunately, I didn't know that was a thing and there was no mention of how or how long to cook the sweet potato before incorporating it into the recipe.  That being said, we are big fans of the ingredients and the taste of these recipes and we will just keep making adjustments as necessary.  I really hope they come out with a second book of dinner entrees.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Race Report: Tri the Wildwoods Sprint Triathlon

It's probably a good thing that I didn't hammer this race report out in the days that immediately followed the race.  Because now that I have had time to reflect, I feel completely different about this race than I did earlier in the week.

I registered for this race months ago because some friends were doing it.  AFTER I paid I took a look at the course information (note: check out the course before registration) and realized that it had an ocean swim and a beach run.  What the what???  This led to my dramatic and tearful ocean training while on vacation.

Race morning was beautiful with reasonable temps and a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean.  We arrived in plenty of time to rack my bike near the bike exit and get everything organized in transition. We even had enough time for Hubby to walk back to the car and retrieve the bike pump that we left in the trunk so I could inflate my tires.  I was never feeling rushed or anxious but really excited to get racing.

I was still apprehensive about the ocean swim, but adrenaline and energy took over and my fear of the ocean was gone.  What was not gone was the strength and fortitude needed to fight my way out and through the waves to the first buoy.  The race started about 30 minutes late and I was getting really hot in my wetsuit.  The bodies in the waiting area were tight but everyone stayed calm and the time trial start went off without a hitch.

photo credit Delmo Sports

After what felt like a really long run down the sand, I dove into the ocean and started doing dolphins to get out past the breakers.  There was a fairly large sandbar and the water was incredibly shallow.  I alternated between running through the water and trying to swim.  Neither seemed particularly effective.  Finally I just threw myself in and went for it.  It took FOREVER to get out to that first buoy.  Bodies were everywhere flailing around and getting off course.  I spent as much energy navigating the lost swimmers as I did fighting the waves.  But once I made the left turn to swim with the current I was flying.  I rode the current and passed a ton of people.  I felt calm and strong as I swam toward the final turn buoy and headed toward shore.  For whatever reason, it was harder to swim to shore than I was expecting.  I couldn't seem to catch a wave to ride in.  But when I finally made it in I started toward transition and was taking off my wetsuit as I ran up the beach.  Final swim time for 400 meter ocean swim: 15:04.8.  Even though that's slow for me for a 400, for an ocean swim I was really pleased.

The distance from the swim finish to transition registered on my Garmin as .25 of a mile.  A fairly long barefoot run through some very soft sand.  And now that I had my wetsuit stripped down to my waist, the top, including the full sleeves, was flopping around and making the already difficult run incredibly awkward.  Something to think about in the future: sleeveless wetsuit v. no wetsuit v. keeping the top up until I'm in transition.  I'll marinate on all of that for now.

Transition.  The area where you leave your bike and run gear.  Home base.  Your little sliver of space that is set up your way.  The way you feel comfortable and organized.  There are rules and etiquette to properly racking your bike and setting up your transition area.  Rules that were ignored at this race.  Photo number 1 is how a bike rack in transition should look for the most part.  Photo number 2 is what I came back to after the swim.  My wheel is the one off to the left properly hanging from my rack.

In addition to the bikes just thrown on the ground in front of my transition area, what is not pictured is all of those competitors bags, towels, running gear, etc.  Because I took that picture after the race was over and much of their stuff had been removed.  It was a free for all with stuff everywhere.  I had to straddle the bikes on the ground to put on my cycling shoes and get ready to go out on the bike.  It wasn't the end of the world, but it was far from ideal and mentally I was not prepared for that disaster area.  My transition time was an excruciatingly long 5:56.9.  As I explained to Hubby, it felt like I was in there long enough to cook a gourmet breakfast AND eat it.  But off on the bike I went.

Almost immediately I knew I was going to have an awesome bike leg of the race.  My legs felt primed and ready to rock and roll.  My coach had previewed the bike course and scoped out the one hill.  He had already prepped us on where to let off the gas and where to give it 100% to maximize speed and passing other racers.  It worked flawlessly.  I rocked and rolled and passed a ton of people -  particularly in the spots Coach had said they would slow down if they didn't know what they were doing.  Let me tell you...this man is triathlon genius.  I wish I had kept count of how many people I passed, particularly while going uphill.  I felt unstoppable and enjoyed the hell out of that ride.  Bike time for the 10 miles was 36:05.4 which averages to 16.7 miles an hour, my fastest race pace yet.  (And that was before we realized the next day that my seat needed to be raised and I was gearing incorrectly.  Watch out world - I'm only going to get faster from here.)

Back into transition to get ready for the run.  This time things went a lot smoother, in large part because the pile of bikes was missing as they were out on the race course being ridden.  I made sure I had everything I needed after changing shoes and was off.  Transition 2 time 2:14.0.  Still unacceptably slow, but improved from T1.

And that's it!  The race is over!  It was fantastic, amazing....wait....the run?  Oh yeah.  I was hoping you wouldn't notice if I left it out.  Let me be honest.  I dislike the run.  Strongly dislike.  And my foot had been bothering me for a couple of weeks aggravated all the more by the barefoot sand running earlier.  But I headed out, through the very soft sand again, to get to the packed sand that would be the course for the first 1.5 miles of the run leg of the race.

Hubby and Big T were waiting down on the sand to cheer me on and high five as I got started.  Hubs snapped this picture just as I was saying something.  Probably something along the lines of "is it over yet?"  But onward I trudged.  And one by one, the women that I had flown by on the bike picked me off as they ran down the beach.  Once again I got to see the backs of their racing kits, but instead of getting closer and then going behind me, they were getting smaller and smaller in the distance in front of me.  This is the most difficult and demoralizing part of the whole triathlon for me.  I remember it clearly happening at Kinetic as well.  To have made all of that progress on the bike only to lose it and then some on the run just makes it really hard to keep a good attitude as my body is screaming at me to stop.

So what did I do?  I stopped.  Regretfully, as the first 1.5 miles were done and it was time to cross over the soft sand and up the ramp to the boardwalk I did what I haven't done in a 5K in years.  I felt sorry for myself and started to walk.  My attitude at this point was terrible and I just kind of threw in the towel.  Once I was up on the boardwalk I thought the wood surface would lend a little spring to my step, but I was wrong.  Instead my mental game got even worse noticing every pizza and ice cream joint on the strip.  The run took us through the not yet open carnival rides at Morey's Pier and the contrast between the race and the rides was just odd.  Mile 3 felt like the longest mile of my life.

Finally I could see the finish arch and new it was time to just turn on the power and give it everything I had.  Unfortunately, the finish was back in the damn soft sand!!  Enough with the sand!!  Trying to sprint through the sand was insane and next to impossible.  Hubby got a series of pictures at the end that show my feet barely leaving the ground.  I'm still not sure how I was making any forward progress.

Final run time 37:20.5.  Slower than I would have liked, but I'll take it all things considered.

Overall, the reason I'm glad I waited to write about this race is the time passing allowed me to remember the good parts and not just the run.  Unfortunately for me, the run is always the last leg.  And since its my most challenging, it provides the opportunity to have the end leave a bad taste in my mouth despite a successful swim and/or bike.  And that's exactly what happened this past weekend.  I finished feeling awful and only remembered the awful parts.

But a lot of good came out of this race.  I quickly acknowledged that I didn't give 100% the whole time.  I didn't finish with Zero Regrets.  I didn't give my best efforts.  And more uncomfortable than the run was the realization that I didn't leave it all out there.  Having race regrets felt worse than the worst run ever.  So that lesson was learned and I'm not likely to repeat it.

As I was typing this Hubby looked over my shoulder and said "Hey, you are really starting to look like an athlete in that picture."  While he might not always be the most tactful guy on the block, he has the best of intentions.  Good stuff after all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Jersey Race Weekend Recap

Sometimes the traveling and fun associated with racing is deserving of a post completely separate from the race recap.  This past weekend was one of those trips.  My mother-in-law graciously agreed to fly into town and take care of Lil Buddy and Big N for the long weekend while Hubby, Big T, and I traveled to New Jersey for the Tri the Wildwoods sprint triathlon.  Friends and teammates Sara and Dave have a place in Cape May and agreed to let our unruly selves stay with them along with other friends and teammates Mindy and Don.

We headed up to NJ on Thursday via the scenic Lewes/Cape May Ferry.  The last time I was on the ferry was when we took the boys to Cape May 4 years ago.  I couldn't resist doing a couple of side by side photos to compare the 4 year difference.  Everyone is bigger.  Including Hubby's muscles!  Hehe.

It was such a nice treat to stay with others that were racing.  I was able to get into the race mentally by talking with them and it helped to alleviate some of my standard pre-race jitters.  Friday the group of 5 racers headed down to the beach for some open water swim practice in the ocean.  It wasn't that long ago that I was stumbling from the NC ocean in tears convinced that I would never be able to conquer the ocean.  With the help of supportive friends, a fantastic coach (thanks Dave!!) and a wetsuit, I had a great swim in the ocean with little to no fear of the waves and current.  Dare I say it was even.....FUN!

After the swim we primed our legs with a quick 20 minute bike along the bay.  Then we headed back home for a massive breakfast that Hubby cooked up while we rode.  Unfortunately, all was not rainbows and unicorns for me.

I've had some discomfort since a root canal that I endured about 2 weeks ago, but really thought nothing of it.  Until we were settling in on Thursday night.  The pain was getting pretty intense and I was self diagnosing and hoping for it to magically go away before Saturday's race.  No dice.  By Friday morning breakfast the pain was unbearable.  It appears to have been a nasty infection because I called the dentist and started taking another round of antibiotics at an accelerated pace.  The pain has subsided and become manageable.  But it really did screw with me mentally leading up to the race.

Friday afternoon included packet pickup, with personalized bib numbers, and some sunbathing at the beach.  Then we were early to bed for a 4 am wake up.

4 am came quickly but everyone was up and getting race ready without complaint.  Even Big T put on a smile as we dragged him out in the dark to head up to rack our bikes in transition.

I will save the details of the race for the formal race report, but let's just say that it had it's highs and lows.  A wonderful feature of this early morning beach start was the treat of walking down to the beach for a swim warm up while watching a truly spectacular sunrise.  Was an absolutely lovely start to the day.

photo credit Delmo Sports

After the race we all hung out on the beach while waiting for the official results and awards.  Dave took 2nd in his age group and 6th overall.  Mindy took 2nd in her age group as well.  And the rest of us all placed in the top 10 of our respective categories.  Not too shabby for the kids from Virginia.  It was so much fun to eat and hang on the beach for the morning before heading back for some relaxation on our beach.

Sunday brought us a recovery ride around the quiet beach town and some awesome photos with the ferry in the background.

Let me tell you.  I am so grateful for this trip and these people and Team Tri360 generally.  They helped me figure out that my bike seat was too low.  They explained how I should be using the gears on my bike to maximize power.  Don figured out my rear brake was rubbing and slowing me down.  All of this assistance guaranteed to lead to future SPEED!  It's nice to train and race with people that want to see me succeed as much as they want to succeed themselves.  The friendship and support is amazing and I'm so lucky to have it.  It was also a great weekend with Hubby and Big T.  They fished and played in the water on paddle boards and took a ton of awesome race photos for all of the racers.  Despite my dental nightmare, I loved every minute of this weekend and can't wait for a repeat opportunity.