Our New Normal: Coronavirus


A woke up this morning and for a few moments I forgot about the news. For those brief couple of seconds I tried to remember what day it was and if I was already late for the gym.

You know, those normal thoughts I used to have every morning.

But then I remembered.

I remembered our current reality. And every time it hits you, it turns your gut.

Sickness. Threat. Panic. Fear. This is coronavirus. This is our world right now.

So much is unknown. Things are moving and changing so quickly. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and scary, because no one knows how this thing will end. Or when it will end for that matter. We are now heading into quarantine week six. It’s hard to comprehend that we’ve been doing this for so long already.

My feelings are in a constant game of tug-of-war. One minute I’ve assured myself that all will be fine. I utter the cliché, “This too shall pass.” And I nod and feel OK. Then the next minute I’m panicked and on edge, frantically texting my parents and spiraling into a puddle of worry and guilt. When the uneasiness hits you, it almost doesn’t feel real.

Will we be alright? Is my family safe?

And with those questions comes a flood of others about unemployment, finances, safety and the very real fear of a second (or even third) wave.  

I want to take everyone I love and lock them away in a house and board up all the windows. I want to protect them and keep them safe from a reality that sometimes feels like the plot of a movie.

It’s now spring, one of my favorite times of the year. I love feeling the cold melt into warmth. Everything starts to come alive again, including myself. I should be feeling better, the frost of seasonal depression starting to drip off. But I think about the next several months and wonder what on earth will happen. And suddenly the sting of the spring sunshine feels more like a blade. The confusion of this whole thing always feels freshly shocking.

It’s not supposed to be like this…

I miss so much about my own normalcy. Going to church, the gym, happy hour, work. Dinners with family, nights out with friends. The anticipation and excitement of planning an upcoming trip.

I miss not feeling an overarching nervousness hanging over everything.

And yet, I know how lucky I am. So many people are sacrificing. So many people have already experienced loss: Loss of life. Loss of income or a job. Loss of celebrating life events and dreams. Loss of normalcy.

I know working from home is a luxury right now. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do it and I understand that. But it gets lonely. I feel isolated. Once a week I feel the waves of anxiety and despair wash over me as it sinks in that I have to spend another full week cooped up in my house.  

Yet I know doctors and nurses feel those same waves of anxiety every day. Grocery store and pharmacy workers feel scared, yet they still go into work to help our world run as it should. And then I think of my situation and the guilt hits me hard.    

Right now it feels like we’re all holding our breath – and we don’t know for how long.

And I get angry too. I don’t want to put my life on hold. I don’t want to lose anyone to this cruel, invisible enemy. Anger fuels my questions – why is this happening? Are we supposed to do this forever? Why won’t this just end?!

My heartaches for seniors in high school and college. For brides and grooms who were looking forward to spring and summer weddings.  For hopeful parents who had to put their dream of having a child on hold. For new parents welcoming a baby into this world in its current state. For cancer patients who still desperately need treatment and are scared.

And yet again I know how lucky I am. I hope and pray that there will be minimal loss of life, minimal financial impact and that my family will be unharmed. I have no choice but to trust in our government and to count on and support our front line healthcare and essential workers. I can follow directions and do what I’m supposed to do. I will focus on what I can control.

I will look for and focus on those who are helping others. And I hope I can be one of those helpers too.

30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years 


I’ve never liked my birthday very much.

And it’s not because it means that I turn another year older, it’s more about the time of year.

It’s way too close to Christmas and as a child that sucked. Now as an adult, I feel like my birthday is just one more thing to tack onto the holidays for everyone else. Aren’t we all busy enough already?

So no, you’ll never find me announcing “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH” or planning my own party.

But the one thing I have always liked about my birthday is that it’s close to the New Year. Every December 16th I turn a year older and less than two weeks later the year changes with me. And since I was born right on the cusp of 1989 and 1990 – my age has always reflected the last digit of the year.

So while I turn another year older and flip over the calendar to 2020, I think it’s only fitting to reflect on the past 30 years. (Whoa that’s weird to say.) I’m entering a new decade and so is the world. That’s pretty cool right?!

And I know, I know. Aren’t there enough of these lists floating around the internet? Probably. But this is my list and I’m the one turning 30 today 🙂


Here are 30 things I’ve learned at 30:

  1. You don’t have to hang out with anyone who is negative or makes you feel anxious or upset. Don’t tolerate crappy people or situations that stress you out. You’re under no obligation to be around people who steal your joy or make you feel bad about yourself.

  2. Relationships are the foundation of happiness. Your friends are your sounding board, your console and your support system. You can try to convince yourself that you don’t need friends, or even new friends at that – but you do. Guard your friends, protect them fiercely and chose them wisely.

  3. It’s true what they say – when you meet the person you’re going to marry, you’ll know it. It might not be a giant, flashing “love at first sight” moment like in the movies, but it will be there nonetheless. A tiny inkling. A feeling that you can’t shake. A small nudge on your heart that whispers “This one’s a good one. Pick him.”

  4. Don’t let the internet or anything else rush you. Careers, marriage, babies — these things should be on your own schedule. (And don’t bully yourself about these things either.) There is no set timeline for your life, no matter what you read or what people tell you. Don’t be in a rush to get through your life.

  5. Being happy for someone else and cheering for their dreams won’t stop you from achieving yours. Someone else’s success does not mean you have failed. True friends cheer each other on.

  6. Make learning a priority. Formal education and higher education isn’t for everyone, but continuous learning should still be important. How sad would it be to never learn anything outside of your own little world? How boring would life be if you were never challenged by learning something new?

  7. Anything that you can do to make your life easier tomorrow, do today. This is true when it comes to grocery shopping and meal prepping, packing your gym bag, making a phone call or finishing up a project at work. Keep moving forward.  

  8. Never stop reading. Audio books have made it so incredibly easy to read and learn new things. Always be able to answer the question “What are you reading lately?”

  9. Working out and being active will do wonders for your mental health. Don’t let your depression or anxiety get so bad that you can’t work out anymore. Be proactive. Working out is my meditation and prayer time. I need it to feel calm and like my truest self. Lord knows how much happier I am after a work out!

  10. Speaking of working out – the main benefit of exercise is to feel good. I spent so many years working out to look good, but the most important thing I’ve learned is that you should do it to feel good from the inside out. It brightens your mood, helps you sleep better and gives you energy. I crave that constant buzz of endorphins pumping through my body. Once I understood this concept it was a game changer. It’s how I’ve consistently worked out 5 to 6 days a week for over 7 years now.

  11. Get a pet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, cat, fish or ferret. Take care of something smaller than you. It teaches you responsibility, it helps build your family and it will bring you unlimited happiness.

  12. A great wedding doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s actually rather simple: Marry your best friend, invite your favorite family and friends, play good music and serve free booze.

  13. International travel should change your life. Make it a priority. Few things besides international travel will help put things in perspective for you. See how big the world is and experience it from a different culture and view.

  14. The middle of the night is not the time or place to solve your most complex life problems. Go back to sleep. Thinking about your student loans or that annoying work email at 3 a.m. will do nothing but enhance your stress and worry. Chances are you’ll have a more realistic feel for the issue in the morning.

  15. Jealously is a liar and comparison is a losing game. Both will steal your current joy and rob you of the good in your life. Rise above the negative thoughts trying to distract you from what you currently have.

  16. Catch more sunrises. There’s magic in watching the world turn from dark to light. The moment right before the sunrises is my absolute favorite time of the day. Everything is blue and faint and doesn’t really seem real. Then suddenly the sky is overtaken with bright color. It makes me feel so damn lucky and grateful. It’s a daily reminder that we get another chance to live our lives with purpose. Don’t waste it!

  17. Spend less time on your phone. Scrolling mindlessly makes me feel yucky. Plus there’s enough evidence out there that tells us that social media is bad for our mental health. Spend less time comparing your life to what you see on the internet. And spend less time being occupied with your phone while out in public or at an event. Don’t live your life behind a screen.

  18. It’s always better to be the person who smiled and waved than the person who ignored the smile and wave. This is true while out running, in the hallway at work or sitting in the lobby at the dentist’s office. Acknowledge other people around you. You don’t even have to have a conversation. A simple smile or head nod is all it takes to show we’re humans and we have some sort of soul that connects us. If Jesus or the president walked by you, would you still keep your head down and pretend to be in your own little world?! Of course not. Better yet, err on the side of caution and just treat everybody like Jesus.

  19. Never underestimate the power of sending a simple text. People like to be remembered. A quick “Hey thought of you today…” to a sibling or friend can change someone’s outlook and it takes about 1 minute of your own time. A text from a friend telling me something funny that I would appreciate makes my day.

  20. If it’s not a “Hell Ya!” then it’s a no. You’re in control of your schedule. You can say no to things you don’t want to attend without being an asshole. You don’t have to attend every baby sprinkle, work happy hour or family party if you don’t want to. (Just don’t confuse this with being lazy or being a jerk.) The older I get and the more time I spend working and doing all the other life maintenance things that adults have to do, the more I realize that time is sacred. Guard and protect your time fiercely. If you’re not all in and pumped up about attending something – say no thank you and don’t go.

  21. If you eat like crap you will feel like crap. It took me years to realize that what you eat is so much more than just how it affects your body from the outside. Fuel your body with food that makes you feel good, but it’s ok to have a little fun. I like to follow the 80/20 rule. About 80% of the time I eat clean and the other 20% of the time I’m out here enjoying life – like wine and cheese. I mean who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board with a bottle – er, I mean – glass of wine?

  22. You really do need to find a job you love. If you aren’t happy (or challenged) at work then you need to make a plan and change your course of direction. We spend way too much time at work to be miserable while we’re there. (And along the lines of work – I 100% believe that you need to have a work best friend. Or “squad” as we like to call it in my office.)

  23. Every college student should be poor for a couple years. Sometimes I laugh out loud thinking about making $60 a week while in college. Why? Well first because it makes me appreciate my paycheck so much more now. But also because I like to remind myself that living off $60 a week were some of the best years of my life. Money was the last thing on my mind back then, yet I was so happy. And don’t get me wrong, having money now is great, but the principle of this is never lost on me.   

  24. People change, including you. And that’s perfectly alright. We’re supposed to change and evolve. Imagine looking back 10 years from now — wouldn’t it be a shame to learn you’re still the exact same person as before? In the past 10 years you’ve learned nothing that’s changed you? Achieved nothing that’s moved you? Experienced nothing that’s made you different? Change is good, change is constant and change is supposed to happen.  

  25. My parents are awesome. The older I get the more I am struck by how amazing my own parents are. How many times did they go without so that my siblings and I could play sports or get new clothes? You don’t realize how hard being a parent is or how much sacrifice is involved until you get older.

  26. Everything really does happen for a reason. And before you roll your eyes, think about it. And I mean REALLY think about it. A thousand little decisions and events have slowly shaped your life. Things that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time have created your entire world. An email I sent back in 2012 eventually led me to landing a job with my current employer. But what if I hadn’t sent it? One night in college in 2011 my friends went outside for a smoke break, which set the scene for me to meet my husband for the first time. But what if we had gone to a different bar that night? While standing in line at the zoo one summer day in 2013, I noticed that the couple in front of me had matching Ironman tattoos. I went home that night and Googled what an Ironman triathlon was and a dream was born. But what if I never saw those people? Things that you’re doing right now are helping to shape and mold your future. It’s so simple and so complex at the same time.

  27. Actions speak louder than words. And I don’t necessarily mean this advice in terms of a relationship, although that’s important too. Instead I’m talking about taking action with the things you want for your life. If you know anything about me then you’ll know that I’m a woman of action. Talking about your dreams or plans only goes so far. Do you want to run a marathon or lose weight? Do you need a better job? Are you looking to make more friends? Then go out there and do it. Nothing annoys me more than people sitting around just talking about stuff they want to accomplish or do. ACTION MEANS EVERYTHING. 

  28. Everything gets better when you stop caring what other people think. This is easier said than done and there are times I find myself taking two steps forward and one step back when it comes to this, but I strive for it every day. I’m in constant pursuit of no one else having power over my life except for me.

  29. Gossip gets you nowhere. I know, I know. Sometimes it feels good to vent and get it out of your system. Plus gossip is a quick way to bond with other people. But the older I get the more gross I feel after gossiping about someone or something. I feel negative and simple minded. I know it’s hard, but try to stay away from it.

  30. Confidence comes with age. I’m not saying that once you achieve a certain level of confidence that you’ll never slide back into old patterns, because there are times that confidence does fluctuate. Instead I believe that the older you get and the better you know yourself – the more confident you become across all aspects of your life. I remember standing outside of a coworker’s office rehearsing what I was going to say because I was so nervous to ask for clarification about a project. (Granted I was 23-years-old and brand new at the company.) But today I would never hesitate to ask questions or for clarification when it comes to work. Confidence is a skill. It takes years of training to improve and constant practice to maintain.

Fitness is Awesome


This is the first springtime in five years that I’m not starting a training plan for an upcoming race (or already in a training plan for that matter). It’s a very strange feeling not having any sort of “swim, bike, run” structure as the weather is starting to break from the long winter.

You mean I don’t have to study an Excel sheet every week and religiously record my mileage and heart rate zones?! There’s no countdown app on my phone sending me aggressive notifications that the race is just “X” weeks away??

Nope. I am free to do as I wish. And I have been. And it’s been awesome!

I’m definitely having a blast with this “new normal” level of training.

At the end of January some friends and I signed up for ClassPass. (And no, although I wish this was a paid advertisement — it’s not.) ClassPass really is as awesome as I’m about to tell you it is.

ClassPass is a mobile app that lets you book classes with different fitness studios and gyms around your zip code. Membership includes a free one-month trial and then switches to monthly fees, which range from $29 to $79.

This is genius for someone like me who likes to switch things up.

Sorry spin studio, I love you, but there’s absolutely no way I’d ever purchase your monthly unlimited ride package. I’d die of boredom if that’s all I was ever doing. And for the price they charge? It better be!! With ClassPass, my home gym and a normal gym membership ($10 a month, hmm guess where I go??) I’m able to fit in so many different workouts. I’m never doing the same thing and that’s what makes it so fun.


My recent training has included:

  • Swimming.
  • Bootcamp.
  • HIIT & circuit classes.
  • Crossfit.
  • Hot yoga.
  • Kettle bells.
  • Running (always, duh).
  • Outdoor biking & hiking.
  • Cardio kickboxing & combat conditioning.
  • Spinning.
  • Versa climbers.
  • Lifting.
  • I even busted out a surprise half marathon!

If there was ever a time to fall back in love with fitness (and to get my post-Ironman mind right) — it’s now.

And this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, because just as I was starting to feel the itch for a training plan — I suddenly had all these options available at my fingertips. I’m valuing the fact that I have so much freedom and I’m not confined to just swim, bike, run for the next several months.

Although don’t get me wrong — that Ironman finish line is ADDICTING. And I think there will always be a part of me that wants to chase that high. But for now, I am learning to love fitness — the whole general term of it. To move my body and sweat to feel good, not just for a specific race or finish line.

No training plans, no time limits, no mileage expectations. I show up when I can (which is usually 6 to 7 days a week) and I put in work. The intensity is always there because, hey, that’s just who I am, but this balance feels really good!


Find a New Pace


Raise your hand if your entire life has gone exactly as planned.

Raise your hand if every race you’ve ever done went exactly as expected.

I’ve watched in both excitement and horror as life events have unfolded before my eyes. Some things have gone off without a hitch, exactly how I had imagined and planned. While other events and twists have fallen apart without warning.

It’s like this in races too. With Ironman you have a set plan, but sometimes things just fall apart no matter how much you prepare. A smart person never goes into an Ironman thinking “I’m just going to wing this and hope for the best.” There is a lot of planning involved in long course races. Your nutrition is timed out to the exact hour and mile. Your paces are calculated with fluid intake. You have race plans A, B and C regarding weather and heat. You train. You plan. You set goals. You chase dreams. You always plan for your best race and for perfect conditions, yet so rarely does race day arrive and everything go this way.

It’s just not realistic.

Somewhere during the course of the day you will miss a pace. You will get tired. You will freak out. The heat will get to you. The road will seem too tough. Lots of things will go wrong. But do you throw in the towel when things don’t go exactly as planned? Do you hit mile 100 and think “Nah, this isn’t the race I trained for. This isn’t the time goal I wanted for myself”? Some people quit like this. But never in my wildest dreams could I imagine doing that.

Just because things don’t go as planned doesn’t mean the entire experience and all the effort is wasted.

And it’s like this in life too. Times when rejection feels tough. When opportunities that you had wanted so tremendously fall right through your fingers. Days where the rules are hard and fast and it doesn’t seem fair. Again you think “Nah, this isn’t how it was supposed to be. This isn’t the outcome I wanted.” And do you give up then?

Of course not.

With life and in races — just because the wheels fall off somewhere along the way doesn’t mean the entire experience is wasted and race day is ruined. The race and the opportunity is still salvageable.

Sometimes you just need to focus on playing the cards you were dealt. You can drive yourself crazy thinking about how unfair it was or you can waste your energy looking for someone to blame. Or you can adjust your attitude accordingly and show up for yourself.

Instead you develop a new mindset and new plan. So you adjust the brim of your hat and find a new pace. Maybe it wasn’t the pace you had trained for, but forward is still the direction you’re headed. You consult your race plans and see that plans A, B and C didn’t work. So you accept it and focus on what’s next. Maybe that’s race plans D, E or F. But those plans are your new opportunities, despite how you got there.

Even in crappy races I have still looked up and felt lucky to be out there. Even when I felt like my lungs were burning and every step was forced, I still felt grateful to feel the sun on me. And in life now, even when I feel frustrated by the details and how things played out for me, it doesn’t mean it’s the end. I still have an opportunity. Life is still good. My heart is still beating. Things will be ok.

Failure is only an attitude. It is not the final outcome. You must learn to move forward  with a new pace, a new attitude and a new race plan.

Smiling at the spectators never hurts either 😉

Race Review: Relay #7 – Burning River 100 Miler 2018

Miscellaneous, Running

On Saturday I ran as part of a relay for the Burning River 100 mile endurance run.  Believe it or not there are souls that run the whole damn thing by themselves! (I am a crazy triathlete, but DO NOT sign me up to run 100 solo miles, ever.)

There are 8 relays and I ran #7…or also known as the PARTY RELAY!! (I think I just made that up, but #7 is known for its epicness, usually because most people run it at night.)

I would be running 16.1 miles through the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park…but here’s the kicker…I would start around midnight. Teams have 28 hours to cover the 100 mile distance. The teams are also responsible for figuring out the logistics of getting their runners to each of the starting and ending lines. (Some people run this as a FOUR person relay oppose to eight!!)

The first relay started early and I was in a group text all day getting updates from all the runners — even the ones running! It was SO MUCH FUN!! The team was so positive and I couldn’t wait for my turn and to experience it. I had never even met my teammates in person either until race day (and never even met a few in person due to timing.) Yet another reason why I love the running and endurance community!

So much positivity and good vibes!

I didn’t end up starting my relay until 1:10AM and I finished slightly before 5AM.


Waiting to start my relay at Pine Hollows. They had a big screen playing a movie for the spectators and relay runners — so fun!! I was shocked by how many people were sitting at the relay zones/aid stations.

In a nutshell basically this race/relay was kind of my own personal nightmare, but it was also incredible. Running alone in the woods in the pitch black at night. (Think: Blair Witch Project.) I mean I saw numerous runners out there at different points, but it was not like your typical race where you are always surrounded. I would go 10 or 15 minutes without seeing ANYONE. Sometimes this freaked me out to the point where I was desperately praying to see a headlamp of another runner in front of me.

Meeting up with my teammate who ran Relay #6, Kristin.

Since I knew my relay was going to be in the middle of the night I opted for a headlamp and one of my teammates had suggested Christmas lights on my camel back. The lights were such a hit and people were wishing me a Merry Christmas and calling me a Christmas tree LOL. I’m glad I added these because at the last minute I was debating it. It not only helped runner moral, but it helped me to see!!

Let’s just talk about the darkness for a minute… Pitch black. Like to the point where my headlamp battery died (thankfully I had another with me) and when I changed it, my Christmas lights weren’t even providing me sight coverage in front of me. It was wild. We were in the middle of the freaking woods in the middle of the freaking night. I kept laughing out loud as I ran like how did I get here and what on earth am I doing?? It felt like a dream because I had tunnel vision from my headlamp illuminating the path directly ahead of me. Why would I sign up to run 16.1 of trails in the middle of the night?? But I had THE TIME OF MY LIFE YOU GUYS. So much fun!

We climbed up hillsides and rocks. Jumped over mud pits, rivers and trees. We dodged pricker bushes and rooted trails. I saw and heard people falling, but some how I managed to only trip violently, always catching myself before hitting the ground.

I met so many hilarious people who were so incredible — many who were between miles 70 and 80 of a 100 mile solo race. Some were in good spirits, some wanted to chat, some didn’t say anything and I could tell they were fighting dark mental places of despair. I tried offering encouraging words and prayed for everyone I saw. Going into this relay I had no idea just how ridiculous, amazing and CRAZY this entire race was.

This might have been crazier than even my full Ironman — we’re talking that epic. One of my friends who had run relay #7 before even went so far as to call it “spiritual” . You see the world and yourself in a whole new way. Even with the Ironman I wasn’t running in the pitch black alone, in the woods, at 3AM.

Around mile 14 I had been running alone for quite some time and was starting to climb up a giant hill. Suddenly I heard what sounded like sirens…until I heard the other “dogs” start chiming in with these “sirens” AKA howling…it was a pack of wild coyotes. And judging by how loud they were they must have been close by and it sounded like A LOT of them. I felt panic and fear in my chest and I started sprinting — looking for any sight of headlamps around me. I just wanted to be near someone else because I was so scared. I saw a faint light somewhere a head of me and ran as fast as I could to a girl slowly running the trail. (I felt like I wanted to puke from sprinting the hill), but when she saw me she looked just as scared “DID YOU HEAR THAT?” She asked me. And I explained how scared I was too. We continued on together for the next mile or so, but were were very skid-ish and jumpy. I even took out my mace! We eventually split off, but not first without making the “we’re not out of the woods yet” joke as we promised not to get eaten by coyotes. (Girl was running the 50-miler! Bad ass!)

A few times the wooded trail would open up into a field and the full moon was brilliant, casting an eerie but beautiful glow all around me. Moments like that took my breathe away as I realized just how incredible this entire experience was. I crossed over fields with fog rising and the stars were so clear and vivid. I was speechless at the beauty around me. I knew that not many people got to experience moments like that and I felt so grateful to be one of the lucky few.

Somehow I managed to make it to mile 16.1 and I met my relay exchange teammate, Cohen. She was bringing it home running the last 10 miles to the finish.

I tried to eat something before making the hour drive home, but I had no appetite. I pulled into our driveway at 6AM and felt like I was drunk, but really I was just exhausted and in awe of the entire experience.

What an epic adventure with incredible people. I love being a part of something much bigger than myself.


Race Review: Lighthouse Triathlon (Fairport Harbor) 2018


I signed up for the Lighthouse Triathlon in Fairport Harbor about a week before it. I’ve been wanting to do this race for a few years now, but I always seem to have something else the same day. This year I was able to swing it, plus it was one of the club races for Cleveland Triathlon Club.

Fairport Harbor earlier in the summer on a clear morning.

We ended up going out the night before on Saturday and I was actively watching the weather for race morning. It looked very likely to be raining when I woke up on Sunday. I figured since it was only $40 and since it was only a sprint, that if it was raining when I woke up then I would cut my loses and just skip the race. We were out until 1AM on Saturday night and when I fell asleep I figured I was more than likely skipping the race…

When I woke up at 5AM on Sunday it was 70 degrees and dry. I was a bit groggy, but I knew I would feel guilty if it wasn’t raining and I didn’t go. I had nothing packed, but got myself together enough to arrive at the beach around 6:45AM. The race was scheduled to start at 8AM. I hadn’t planned to wear my wet suit, but at the last second I grabbed it in case the water was cold due to the rain.

This is what your car looks like when you DON’T pack for a triathlon the night before and you throw everything together and hope for the best.

When I got to the beach it instantly started raining. Of course.

I tried to plaster a smile to my face and gave myself a pep talk. I was already there, no turning back now, so I made my way to packet pickup. This is such a low key triathlon that there was no body marking, nor were there numbers attached to your transition spot — it was basically first come first serve. The ankle timing chips were made out of plastic and I think I spotted only two porta-potties. It was fine though since registration was so cheap.

It started raining pretty heavily and my gear was instantly soaked in transition. I had a few plastic bags with me, which offered some assistance but not much. I was silently thanking myself for grabbing my wet suit because the wind and rain made the water quite choppy. I watched the waves nervously from shore during the pre-race briefing.

It was an age group start and my wave was at 8:15AM. We started in the water, which was pretty cold. I was racing with one of my triathlon friends, Kara, who had done this race numerous times before. She told me that because this race is really newbie friendly — which is great let me add — it just tends to make it a little more difficult for people who know what they are doing. (I.E. slow swimmers who don’t seed correctly, blocking and drafting on the bike, not getting over on the run, not setting up transition correctly, etc.) Kara told me to expect stuff like this all day, which I was thankful for because throughout the race I tried to have more patience for the athletes I saw committing these “crimes”. (This race also has a kayak option for newbies or people who want to compete but don’t want to swim.)

Got to race with my friend Kara for the first time this season!

The Swim: 12:56
The gun went off for the swim and right away I found myself in the middle of combat. In the five years I have been doing triathlon this was one of the most panic inducing swims! Newbie athletes thrashed about, hitting, kicking and pulling. No one was sighting correctly and zigged and zagged all over. Numerous swimmers were just treading water in the way. At one point I even heard a scream! It was a down and back course and when swimmers ahead of me made the turn around a buoy, they started swimming into the direction they just were and head on into other swimmers. It was mayhem. At one point I felt panic rising in my own chest as I was getting pulled down and swam over. I fought with myself  to get it under control because it was only going to be 10 minutes. I swam a little off course to be more by myself and things seemed to calm down a bit. Finally I could see the swim finish and I was relieved to hit the sand, even though it was still raining when I got out of the water.

The Bike: 45:02
I couldn’t believe that a sprint triathlon bike was only 12 miles. (I hadn’t raced a sprint distance since 2015!) It felt like nothing. By the time I got warmed up it was over. It rained off and on during the bike, but it was a flat and fast course that I had ridden before. A couple times I found myself shouting (nicely) at bikers who were riding side by side or down the very middle of the road — making it difficult or impossible to pass. There is one big hill at the very beginning and end of both the bike and run and it was very slippery because of the rain. On the way back in from the bike I could see and feel my tires slipping on the road. It was nerve wrecking!

A picture of me biking NOT in the rain.

The Run: 28:45 
By the time I reached the run I was pretty cold and I didn’t feel like running. I told myself to suck it up because it was only 3.1 miles. We ran another familiar route that I had run before. I saw a bunch of other members of Cleveland Triathlon Club and we all cheered for each other, which added some excitement. The finish line was small and uneventful but I expected it. It has been well over a year since I haven’t raced an Ironman or bigger event and I was used to pretty epic finishes. I almost forgot what these smaller races were like!

Overall: 1 hour 26 minutes
In general I feel like I would have enjoyed this race a lot more had it not been cold and raining. I also wish I had gotten a little more sleep the night before to push harder. I was happy to see teammates from Cleveland Tri Club, but happier to go home and take a warm shower. This race is an excellent newbie friendly triathlon and I will be recommending it to those looking to get into the sport!

Race Review 2018 Ironman 70.3 Muncie


Muncie, Indiana is about 4.5 hours away from Cleveland. The hubs and I left on Thursday night after work because the race was Saturday and mandatory athlete check-in was on Friday. (PS I am a big fan of Saturday races.)

The drive was pretty uneventful and we ended up checking into our hotel around midnight. The Courtyard Marriott was the main hotel for the race (about 15 minutes from the race venue) and it was buzzing with athletes even that late at night when we arrived. I felt like I was among friends seeing so many Ironman shirts and apparel!

The area around the hotel was really cute with older charming buildings, but we were a little surprised to see how round down the area was once you got outside this little part.

We slept in on Friday morning and then got up and walked around as we tried to find a coffee place. It was going to be brutally hot all weekend and by 9AM it was already nearing 80 degrees. I had gathered most of my stuff the night before so we headed to athlete check-in and optional bike check-in — which I opted for because why wouldn’t you? One less thing to remember on race day! Muncie was my third Half Ironman distance, but the only race so far to have one transition, which made things A LOT easier and quicker in terms of packing and check-in.

We attended the athlete briefing and they said that wet suits were probably going to be banned during the race because of high water temps. Sounds good to me, I thought. I was SO calm and chill about everything. We were in and out within an hour of entering athlete village and bike drop off. (Flash back to my first Half Ironman distance where I practically lost my damn mind because wet suits were going to be illegal and I was so stressed I couldn’t sleep and probably packed and repacked like 87 times.) Big difference once you get used to a distance!

We left athlete village around noon and had the entire day to spare. My husband’s college fraternity’s national headquarters were located about an hour away in Indianapolis, so we drove there for a mini day trip. It was SUPER hot and we were sweating walking around the city, but we had such a fun time exploring together. We both had never been to Indianapolis before!

Discovered a cute little park in downtown Indianapolis.

We got back to the hotel around 6PM that night and things starting setting in for me. I wasn’t really nervous so to say…maybe a little anxious I guess. The distance just started to get real as the starting line got closer. I laid everything out for the morning and we went down to the restaurant at our hotel for dinner. I had a big old salad with water, while the hubs enjoyed wings and beer. That night I fell asleep easily around 10PM and woke up a little before my alarm at 3:30AM. It was race day!!

The hotel was buzzing as we walked out to our car that morning. We were not staying that night so it was a little difficult to pack up the hotel room and be out the door by 4:30AM! We had heard that traffic could get pretty backed up heading into the race venue (there is one main road leading in), but we had no issue and parked pretty close. It was now 5:15AM and we had a lot of time to spare until the 7AM start time.

I set up my transition and there was excitement in the air. I made small talk with a few of the girls around me and I felt happy and grateful to be there in that moment. Slowly the hubs and I made our way down to the beach (sans wet suit, although a few people opted to be in the “party wave” at the back and wear one.)

The real MVP of the entire weekend and race. My husband is a great sherpa! Here he waits for me to use the bathroom for like the 5th time before the swim LOLLL

I warmed up a little in the water and the announcers started calling for people to line up for the swim start. I guess this was the first year that Muncie opted for a rolling start — meaning swimmers seed themselves with their estimated finish times. It was really packed when I started to get in line and I pushed through the crowds to try to get to the 40-45 minute coral, but I wasn’t really successful. Somehow I was back at the 60 minute time and I seriously could not make my way any further in without looking like a real A-hole and pushing people.

A beautiful morning for a Half Ironman!

So Lake Placid 2017 was also a self seeded start (I feel like most larger races are starting to go this route), and there were probably 3,000 racers there and I was in the water 7 or 8 minutes after the gun went off. No BS and no messing around. I loved it. However with Muncie…the gun went off at 7AM and I didn’t hit the water until 7:38. I was pretty annoyed by the time I got up to the start. They had gated the start off to only allow 5 swimmers to enter the water every 10 seconds. It took FOREVER and all the swimmers were sandwiched into this this tiny fenced in area. Everyone was practically naked, wet and hot…it was not good you guys.

FINALLY I started my race. The past couple bigger races I’ve done I’ve LOVED the swim and Muncie was the same! This is just a strange concept for me because I hate swimming LOL, but when I hit the open water, everything is great. I always feel so lucky and blessed to be out there. I feel like I always spend the majority of my swim talking to God because it’s just me and my thoughts and it’s vaguely quiet.

[Swim Time: 47:22]
I was thinking I’d finish around 43-44 minutes and felt like I was really pushing for a faster time, but I guess not! Overall I was fine with this time.

[Transition 1: 6:21]
Believe it or not this was one of my faster T1’s haha!

I was still slightly concerned over getting a flat tire when I started the bike, but that’s because I had a bad experience the week before during my last training ride. The bike was exciting for the first 10 miles or so, but when I settled in on the two loop main course I started to get a little bored. I have one word to describe the bike course — corn fields. It was HOT and there was no shade (which was expected, but still). I saw quite a few people with mechanical issues, but saw 5 or 6 different SAGs and felt rest assured. I also saw a few wheel chair athletes and at one point a tandem with a blind athlete, which was really awesome and I cheered.

I thought I was pushing it pretty good with my pace, but was disappointed with my bike time. I was glad it was over though. It’s funny how I loved the bike at Lake Placid, but couldn’t wait to be done with the bike at Muncie.

[Bike Time: 3:09]
I was REALLY hoping to be around 3 hours or even below, but that just wasn’t happening with the heat.

[Transition 2: 4:23]

I saw the husband when I got off the bike and when I started the run. I felt bad knowing he was walking around by himself for 6+ hours in 95 degrees (and he HATES the heat). He is incredible and I know how lucky I am to have him.

Happy to be off the bike.

The first few miles of the run started off good. The elites were just finishing up as I was starting and I cheered them in. The first two miles of any brick are always my fastest and at mile 3 I stopped to get water and fuel. I slightly had to pee, but my strategy was to make up good time on the run and finish around 2 hours… WRONG lol. It ended up being my worst Half Ironman run. It.was.so.damn.hot!!

The run had no shade, was basically in the middle of corn fields, had very little crowd support and was all on black concrete where I could see the heat waves rising up before me. People were pouring water on their heads and running with cold towels and sponges tucked into their shirts. I knew it was crucial to get liquids at every aid station if I wanted to finish strong. I didn’t even end up peeing during the run which tells me just how dehydrated I already was going in. I took my typical walk/run strategy. I picked out a landmark and told myself to run to it and then sometimes I’d pick another point to walk until or I’d count down from 5 to start running again. I was really missing music during this portion of the race because I was bored and honestly kept asking myself “Why am I doing this again??” But Ironman has a funny way of making you forget all about the pain when you reach that last mile…

The last part of the run before you hit the finish line area is a big ‘ole hill. It was lined with screaming people when I approached it and I knew that I was going to run it, but I also knew it was going to hurt. The crowd was going wild, which took my mind off my burning quads and tired body. People were on both sides yelling and high-fiving the runners. Different groups blasted music as the runners danced by. I could hear the finish line announcer and I felt that old familiar flame of PURE JOY set in.

The finish line of any long course race is always bitter sweet. You body is aching…your heart is exploding as for just a minute you are a rock star…you are scanning the crowd for your loved ones and your heart is swelling by the sheer fact that you are lucky enough to be there in this moment…you are blessed and able when some can’t and you feel so grateful to experience this…and then you hear your name and a medal is placed around your neck and you are whisked away and suddenly it’s all over. A searing moment burned into your memory more potent than the pain that you felt all day…

And THAT’S how Ironman hooks ya to keep coming back for more…

[Run Time: 2:22]
[Total Finishing Time: 6:30]

After the finish line I found my trooper husband and we got some post-race food (read: I got the food, but he ate it because I had ZERO appetite.) Then we decided to take a dip in the lake since we had both been sweating and in the sun all day. After our swim we showered and changed in the beach bathrooms and slowly made our way out of athlete village. We packed up and by 3PM we were on our way back to Cleveland. I thought I was going to nap a little in the car, but I never did. We arrived home around 8PM and stopped to get food because I was STARVING. But I could only manage a few bites and half a beer. Basically I needed to sleep ASAP. We got home and I fell into bed and slept for 12 hours 🙂 What a fun little weekend!


Overall I had a blast traveling to a new race in a different state. The swim was a blast. The bike was decent but pretty boring. And the run was not tough in terms of the course, but tough in terms of the heat and how boring it was. It wasn’t the time I had hoped for, but every day is different and I was happy to have pushed through for a finish.I probably wouldn’t recommend this race because multiple times I thought the race kind of felt like a local tri instead of an Ironman 70.3 experience. I am happy to have experienced it, but also kind of happy it’s over!


Training Recap & The Taper


T-minus four days until Ironman 70.3 Muncie! I am finally getting that pre-race feel and I can’t wait to be at an Ironman venue and feel the excitement of athlete village.

This was my third time training for the Half Ironman distance and I feel decent about my training. There was definitely more that I could have done, but I still feel like I had a life these past 16 weeks.

Here’s how I feel training went compared to past races:

  • Ironman 70.3 Ohio, 2016 – 95%
  • 70.3 Great Western Reserve, 2017 – 100% (because it was encompassed with Lake Placid training)
  • Ironman Lake Placid, 2017 – 120%
  • Ironman 70.3 Muncie, 2018 – 80%

This summer I was able to do trail runs, play in a volleyball league, take weekend trips, take more casual long rides, go camping, drink with friends, enjoy Memorial Day and 4th of July and in general enjoy life more than just being consumed with training and afraid of injury. So as I come out on the other side of  these past 16 weeks, I am feeling good about my training volume and still happy about how summer 2018 has gone so far! The true test will now be on race day 🙂

Week 13
Total Mileage: 83 miles
Total Time: 8:21
Calories Burned: 4,984

I ran the Hill Yeah Half Marathon in Week 13. I ran this race back in 2014, but I think I blacked out how tough the course was. A good chunk of the run is on trails and oh ya — it’s VERY hilly!

Week 14
Total Mileage: 59 miles
Total Time: 6:05
Calories Burned:3,589

I trained for 26 weeks for Ironman Lake Placid, biking well over 2,500 miles. Finally in Week 14 of training for my third Half Ironman…it finally happened. I finally got a flat tire.

I could feel something wrong with my back tire right after I had gone down a hill on my long ride that week. I pulled off to the side and discovered my entire back tire was flat. A small part of me was actually thinking “OK this is fine. I feel up to it and I can totally do this by myself. This will be great practice.” 45 minutes later my fingers were cramping and sore from trying to get the tire back on the rim, sweat was dripping down my back because it was 95 degrees out and I was covered in grease and grass. I thought I would be done and back on my ride in about 20 minutes, so it was much longer than anticipated. As the minutes ticked by I could feel myself getting more agitated. After I finally got the tire back on the rim, I attempted to inflate the tire with two CO2 cartridges, but to my horror, one malfunctioned and the second wouldn’t allow the air to go into the tire for some reason. (I later figured it was probably a pinched flat.)

Panic slowly began to seep in thinking about what would happen if this happened at Ironman 70.3 Muncie. At one point I felt tears starting to well up in my eyes. Finally after dropping the F-bomb quite a few times and tossing my bike in anger and it cutting my shin (oops) …I broke down and called my husband to come get me. 25 minutes later I sat in the passenger seat stewing in my anger. THANK GOODNESS for my God-sent husband who dropped everything he was doing to come pick me up and then let me lash out at anything and everything for the 15-minute drive back home. To put it lightly — I was PISSED. I was mad at my bike, mad at the CO2 cartridges, mad at the pinched flat tire, mad at myself, mad at how dirty and sweaty I was, mad at the wasted time, mad that I had only gotten in 16 miles in what should have been my last long ride…mad at the universe basically.

The next day I dropped my bike off at the shop for them to deal with the tire and for a tune up that I desperately needed. I re-bought cartridges and a new tube and will hope for the best this weekend! My plan for the race is basically to not get a flat tire *shrugs*

Week 15
Total Mileage: 62 miles
Total Time: 6:13
Calories Burned: 3,422

Last weekend we were able to do a quick camping trip and I still got in decent workouts both Saturday and Sunday. That’s the beauty of Half Ironman training and taper!

My last long ride was just 25 miles and I was happy to report no flat! My bike actually ran great because of the tune up. I think I’ll be just fine 🙂

It has been another great journey to 70.3. I am looking forward to spending the weekend with my husband, traveling to a new state, meeting new and old friends and having a great race and experience. These are the memories that last a lifetime and I am grateful and lucky to get to do this. I LOVE everything about Ironman!

Ironman 70.3 Training Update


Life is GOOD!

Training is good. Work is good. The house is good. My family is good. The weather…has been decent. Some rainy spouts here and there, but enough that I’m outside the majority of the time. I pretty much never want to get back on my bike trainer ever again.

Summer is here — like it’s happening right now! It makes me so, so, SO happy!! Every chance to see the sunrise is a beautiful thing and I’ve been feeling really lucky and grateful to be able to wake up and train.

Week 10
Miles: 95.6
Time: 9:52 hours
Calories Burned: 4,902

Week 11
Miles: 77.5
Time: 9:11 hours
Calories Burned: 4,441

Week 12
Miles: 103.6
Time: 9:27 hours
Calories Burned: 5,093

I’ve gotten in some solid long rides on the weekend, ranging from 40 to 56 miles. My “long runs” each week are typically between 8-10 miles. I do have a Half Marathon this weekend that I’m really looking forward to because the last time I truly raced a half was in 2016!

I love the balance I have right now. Sure it might still seem crazy to other people, but to me it’s perfection. I get to train and work hard and also find time to enjoy life and take it easy from time to time.

I even counted one of my weekly long runs as a slower trail run — and I had the best time ever!! Last summer I would have been too worried about training quality, pace, mileage and injury to even consider doing a trail run.

I also did my first Open Water Swim (OWS) since Lake Placid a few weeks back! Just being in my wet suit was getting me pumped up to race again. I stayed cool, calm and collected and was able to get in just over a mile. I still hate swimming — but an OWS beats staring at the black line any day.

Muncie 70.3 bib numbers were released (I’m #429) and I’m getting so excited for the race! Can’t wait to get back out there and just feel the excitement of being in athlete village again. T-minus 23 days! CHEERS!

Training & Yardwork


Weeks 8 and 9 snuck up quick, but I was glad to see them. For some reason I really wanted to be in the second phase of training (weeks 10-16).

It feels like my husband and I have been working like dogs every weekend and most weeknights on our house and yard. We moved in mid-summer last year and it was pretty much too late to do anything before the fall, so we knew we were going to have to work hard this spring. Thankfully, we are jussssst about done and can now enjoy the fruits of our labor the rest of summer! But dang April and May were filled to the brim with landscaping, seeding, cleaning, gardening, digging, pulling out bushes, planting trees, 87 trips to Lowe’s and so much more.

I am most relieved that we got our deck stained because it needed it BAD. We watched the weather like hawks since we needed 3 solid days of no rain before and after. We had a big Memorial Day party so the pressure was on to get the deck and yard ready. We ended up staining the deck in one full night after work, but we were out there until 11:15PM! I couldn’t help but wonder how people maintain bigger houses and yards and still train for a full Ironman…like how would that possibly work?? I got up the next day at 5AM and thankfully only had an hour ride, but it was still brutal. It was a blessing in disguise that we still lived in the apartment when I was training for Lake Placid! All of the housework and yard work has left me pretty tired, but I’ve still managed to be pretty good about training. I’m struggling a bit on my log rides and runs. I don’t find it necessary to ride for 4 hours while training for a Half Ironman and I’ve already run 13+ miles as my long run. And the crazy thing is — I’m following the intermediate plan, not even the competitive. The good thing here is that I know my body and I know the distance. I know the training volumes I need to be able to compete well, which is just a few key weekends between now and July 14. Nothing to worry about except having fun! (And then relaxing on our awesome deck and see our beautiful yard!)

My old hand-me-down and tiny (read: crappy) treadmill broke at the end of week 7. (I can’t complain because it was free, but damn it I really hated that thing.) I was able to replace it fairly quick thanks to my husband who found a decently priced one on the app, Let Go.

It feels great to finally have a good treadmill!! It’s something I’ve dreamed about for seriously the past 10 years — not even joking.

My home gym in the basement is finally complete!

Week 8
Total Mileage: 94.4
Total Time: 10:19
Total Time Spent on Yard Work / House Work: 3643634634

Week 9
Total Mileage: 78.9
Total Time: 8:20

CHEERS to phase 2 of training!