June: Out


I really don't understand how June can be over already? Wasn't it just April? The end of the month is everyone's favorite - time to look at all the things we did (or, let's be real, didn't) do!
  • Finish Jamestown International Triathlon in under 3 hours. So, I didn't end up doing quite as much triathlon ass-kicking as I had hoped and missed my overall time goal by just over 3 minutes. I have no excuses, but also no regrets. I'm proud to say that my overall time was 8:20 faster than my previous (and only other) Olympic/International distance tri. I also beat 2 out of 3 of my sub-goals: I beat my 32-minute swim goal by 1:55 and my 1 hour 25 minute bike goal by 3:38. I just wasn't feeling the run that day. I would have easily crushed this goal if I had been. But I have another international on the horizon in September - maybe I can shave off those 3 minutes then.
  • Work on my yoga. I finished Erin Motz's 30-Day Yoga Challenge at the beginning of the month. Then...my yoga practice became sporadic. The challenge was great for me because the videos were only 10-20 minutes - who can't find that kind of time at some point in the day? I don't know why I fell off the wagon. I got busy, but not that busy. I picked it up a little toward the end of the month, but not much. Oh but on the bright side, I can now do this so....yeah. Check me.
video
  • Take vitamins every day. I only missed one day when I went out of town and forgot to bring my vitamins, but I took them when I got home the next day.
  • No picking. I did really well with this for about a week. Then PMS hit and then I got really stressed about moving (stress is my #1 trigger for picking) and it wasn't perfect but I really did make a conscious effort to not do it. This goal inspired me to take better care of my skin in general, including starting to use daily sunscreen and some new products to help my hyperpigmentation (which I get as a result of my picking, lucky me!). I will save you from having to look at pictures of my giant, makeup-less mug but trust me when I say I can see some improvement!
  • Go on a walking tour of Portsmouth. OMG I totally forgot about this one! Maybe I can fit it in with Ben and/or Bane before we leave this weekend. 
Some things I did do...
  • Finished Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred. Okay, so it was more like 39 days, which included my normal 1 rest day per week, plus a few extra days before Jamestown (Level 3 was killer on the legs and I didn't want them to be sore for race day). Level 1 sucked at first but then got better, I hated Level 2, and loved Level 3. In some ways it was easier than I thought, and in other ways it was a lot harder. I liked that it was only 25 minutes long, and I dripped sweat throughout the whole thing so I really felt like I was working (despite only lifting 5 lbs - surprising). I liked JM and her encouragement. I thought some of the exercises were a little awkward and I'm not sure how much they did to build my strength. I kinda felt like they just made me tired. There was a lot of jumping, which I didn't care for. My shins are really sensitive from running and after a few days of 30DS I could tell they were getting worse, so I backed down to the beginners version of some of the jumpy exercises. I'm glad that I finished it but don't think I will try anything similar for a while. I really missed more traditional weight lifting and am happy to be back to that instead of jumping around like a lunatic for 25 minutes. 
  • Sold over $1000 worth of stuff! I really didn't expect to get rid of that much, period, let alone to be able to sell that much stuff. 
  • Moved over 400lbs of stuff out of the house. Between selling, donating, and storing, we have at least 400 fewer pounds worth of moving to do. Moving sucks, so A+ to me for making it that much easier.
  • Became a proud new owner of a vegan handbag collection. Special thanks to blog friends who are now the happy owners of my precious designer items :)
  • Found a renter for our condo. One of my biggest fears about moving was having to pay for 2 places, so this was a huge relief!
  • (Mostly) refinished my vanity. Because moving just wasn't big enough of a project, obviously!

Friday Favorites

This week I have felt like every time I blink, another hour passes. I can't believe how fast time is flying and how soon I move (yay! and yikes! at the same time). I still have a ton to do before Wednesday, but for now I'm taking a break to join in a new link-up (well not new but new to me) to share some of my favorite things from this week.



Favorite Purchase: Z-Palettes. I might be (probably am) really late to this party, but I just discovered these last week. I have not really kept it secret that I have become a maniac intent on downsizing and consolidating my entire life. Including my makeup stash. I used to be an eyeshadow junkie (thanks to a few binges, I haven't bought a single eyeshadow in over 2 years). I had 5 or 6 eyeshadow palettes I hardly use and was annoyed by how much space they were taking up on my shelf. I thought the Z-Palette was a great solution, until I saw that they were $15-$20 a pop. I thought about DIYing one but I really have neither the patience nor the time for any DIY projects. I found some on eBay that were slightly discounted due to "factory blemishes" and figured I didn't care if they weren't 100% perfect, so I ordered 2. I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived and actually were 100% perfect! If there is anything wrong with them, it's nothing I've been able to figure out. All of my eyeshadows are in one palette, which I really like since now I can see them all and therefore might actually use more of them. My most-used bronzers, blushes, and highlighters are in the the second one. The bottoms are magnetic which means I can easily swap out items. I'm obsessed.




I also bought that acrylic makeup storage container, so what you see here is literally my entire makeup stash (sans brushes). All in one little photo. I can't get over how much I love this new setup.

Favorite Face/Makeup Product: Coola Rose Essense Tinted Sunscreen. I have long been a fan of using tinted moisturizer, BB creams, etc. either under regular foundation or, more often, in place of foundation. Especially in the summer. One of my goals this month is to get my skin in check, especially my hyperpigmentation, and one of the best things I can do is wear sunscreen daily (I know, shame on me for not caring about this before). I've also been trying to use more natural products lately and this tinted sunscreen hits it out of the park! I actually had a sample of it leftover from an Ipsy bag last summer and I was hooked instantly! I immediately ordered the full size. 


Favorite Customer Service: Amazon. When I ordered the tinted sunscreen, I actually got it from Amazon since I could Prime it in cheaper and faster than from Ulta. Except, after it was on its way, I realized I had gotten the matte formula on accident. I kind of wanted to try the matte anyway, to see if I liked it, but I wasn't sure if Amazon would let me return an opened makeup package (this is the reason I normally shop at Sephora/Ulta). I contacted customer service via chat and spoke with a rep who told me they don't normally let you return opened packages, but that she could make an exception. She did say I'd have to pay for return shipping (fair enough, I figured that would teach me a lesson about buying makeup on Amazon). I got it, tried it, and didn't like it, so back it went on Monday. I had a full refund, with no shipping fees taken out, back on my credit card on Wednesday.

Favorite Workout Gear: My new SOAS triathlon kit (which will be here tomorrow)! SOAS is a womens' specific running/cycling/triathlon apparel company with the CUTEST designs. I found out about them about a year ago and have wanted to order a tri kit from them since then, but I was put off by the price and by the fact that they never seemed to have my size in stock in any of the designs I liked. They just put out new designs and I have a few races coming up (hopefully), so I finally bit the bullet and ordered one!

Favorite Website/App: Trello. I love anything that helps me stay organized, and Trello is a site that does just that. Ben actually uses it for work to keep track of who is working on what projects. We started using it to organize all of our moving tasks and I'm obsessed with it! It allows us to keep track of all of our to-dos, things we need to pack, etc. We can assign tasks, attach pictures, label them, add checklists to tasks, make comments, and more. It's amazing!



Favorite Thing That Happened: Virginia Tech finally processed all my transfer credits from the last year. I have credit from 2 different schools and getting my transcripts sorted out has been a headache. They received one of my transcripts 2 weeks ago but told me it could take until August (!!!!) to process the credit. Super pumped to check this morning and see that it has already gone through! 

Favorite Weekend Plans: Road-tripping to North Carolina to see Circa Survive tonight! I'm not sure that going out of town is the best way to spend my last weekend before I move but I'm also not sure that I care.

Have a great weekend, friends! I might be buried under a pile of boxes come Monday, but if not, I'll catch you all then ;)

This is My Brain

Vodka and Soda

- The last time I linked up, Michael taught me the word clowder! These confessions are not only cathartic, they are also educational. I'll let pictures do the explaining...



- People who talk about how they should work out get on my nerves. Especially people who have had kids, could sit on their couch eating Cheetos all day, and still weigh less than my works-out-6-days-a-week-sometimes-multiple-times-a-day ass. If you don't like to work out, who cares? Don't do it! I mean, it's good for you and I'm all for it (praise Fitness Jesus!) but if it's not your thing, it's not your thing. Why waste your time thinking or talking about how you should do it but you aren't going to?

- I switched back to using GFC as my blog reader instead of Bloglovin, and I thought it wasn't working right because some blog posts weren't showing up...but it turns out that I'm a dumbass and just never followed those blogs on GFC. My bad. But then it actually wasn't working right for a couple days so eff you too, GFC.

- I wish I had bigger boobs. Like I really really do. That's probably the only plastic surgery I'd ever consider getting.

- Now that I just opened the door to superficiality, I'll go ahead and admit that I think it's...interesting... when pretty girls I went to high school with end up marrying just okay-looking dudes. I mean, different strokes for different folks, but there are some girls I would have thought would have ended up with someone super hot.

- We found someone to rent our condo (YAY!!!) and I can't believe I am going to be someone's landlord. Our tenant is actually 2 or 3 years older than we are. It's just weird.

- Moving is HARD. All of my shit needs to be in boxes by a week from today and it most definitely is...not. And I'm just going to sit here and read blogs and hope that all these piles of stuff will magically find their way to a box.

But before I go, have another picture of a clowder!


#1/30: My 100th Concert

(Or Why I'm Glad I'm a List Person)



I've always loved music and tagged along to a handful of concerts with my parents as a kid (I don't remember them though so they get no love on my list). My love of music really developed when I was a teenager, especially after I met Ben when I was 18. In the early days of our friendship we quickly bonded over mutual love for our favorite bands and traveled to see them as often as we could. I never intended to end up going to 100 concerts, but it just sort of happened over time.

I started keeping a list of them all about 5 years ago, and thank goodness I did! I don't think I could go back now and remember every single one of them. About a year ago I knew I was getting close to #100, but I wasn't quite there yet so I just kept going to concerts and didn't really think about which number they were on the list.  In December I went to New York to see Brand New (who are now dead to me), which ultimately resulted in Daisygate. When I got home I realized I hadn't updated my concert spreadsheet in a while and had a moment of panic when I miscounted and thought that that debacle had been my 100th. It turned out to only be #98 - close call.

I had hoped #100 would be something really epic, like Neutral Milk Hotel (#99) or Saosin w/ Anthony Green (#101). I even skipped a show I wasn't really into going to because it would have made for a lame #100. We had already bought tickets for several shows in May, one of which was Portugal. The Man, and so it happened that 1-0-0 wasn't super epic and it wasn't super lame. But it was super fun!


Now some numbers for you data dorks (like me):

  • The bands I have seen the most are:
    • Brand New (10)
    • The Fall of Troy (8)
    • Dave Matthews Band (8). 
  • 90 of my (now 102) concerts were with Ben.
  • I've seen 4 10-Year-Anniversary Tours (in other news, I'm old):
    • New Found Glory - Self-titled
    • Thursday - Full Collapse
    • Coheed and Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade
    • Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends
  • I've seen shows at 36 different venues. My most-frequented venue, by far, is The NorVa in Norfolk, VA at 34 times.
  • I've seen shows in 8 different states (and whatever D.C. is?):
    • Virginia (77)
    • Florida (10) 
    • North Carolina (8)
    • Pennsylvania (2)
    • New York (1)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Connecticut (1) 
    • D.C. (2)
  • Yearly Breakdown: 
    • 2002 - 1
    • 2003 - 3
    • 2004 - 1
    • 2005 - 6
    • 2006 - 19
    • 2007 - 22
    • 2008 - 5
    • 2009 - 10
    • 2010 - 9
    • 2011 - 11
    • 2012 - 6
    • 2013 - 5
    • 2014 (so far) - 4
  • I've averaged .7 shows/month, or 2 shows/3 months for the last 12 years
  • My best streak is 3 shows in a row (in 3 different cities 3-5 hours away from each other).
  • I once saw 4 shows in 9 days (2 back-to-back one weekend, 2 back-to-back the next weekend) in 3 different cities all 3-4 hours away from each other. 

What crazy hobbies do you have?!

Runners Tell All: My Proudest Moment

I've always considered hitting a new distance to be proud running moments. Under that definition, I have too many proudest moments to count. Every distance PR I've ever hit, all the way from .25 up to 26.2 miles, all fall under that category. I remember each and every one of them and, even as I continued to increase in distance, none of those new moments of pride ever overshadowed the previous ones.

Running has never been easy for me, but looking back, increasing distance wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. N.B.As I thought it would be. It was still freakin' hard. Running faster has been a completely different story. As a new Couch to 5k graduate, I could run steadily, but my comfortable pace was 12+ minute miles. I might as well have been in the Olympics if I ran an 11 minute pace. Over the years, my pace has improved naturally, but I still never really pushed myself to run fast.

Until recently. Since the beginning of this year, I've started incorporating some speed work into my running. Nothing fancy, nothing too specific, and sometimes infrequent, but I figure some is better than none.

A few weeks ago I lined up at the start line of a 10k. It was a low-key race, in my neighborhood (on much of my same running route, in fact), no big deal. I had PR'ed the last 10k I ran in October (57 minutes on the dot/ 9:10 average page), and I wanted to PR this one. But when I looked at my splits from that race in October, hoping to feel better about my chances, I actually felt worse. I had no idea how I had managed to run those times. I knew that if I had any shot of PRing this race, I had to run fast, and I had to do it for the whole time.

When I started the race, I immediately pushed my pace. I had planned to start out slower, but the race day nerves got to me. I had planned to try to run intervals (since that's how I do my speed work, and it works out really well), but after the first one I felt burnt out. I was never going to make it doing that for the whole race. I scrapped the interval plan and ran steadily. I ran hard. I ran aggressively, something I'd only ever really done once (it didn't go so well). The whole race I watched my average pace continue to drop. Every mile marker I'd look at my watch and do mental math - if I dropped back to a 10 minute pace, could I still PR?


Somehow I managed to keep my pace up. I was getting tired so I dropped my pace by a few seconds during Mile 5. I wanted to conserve some energy so that when I got to 5.2 miles, I'd have enough gas left in the tank to really bust it out at the end. I didn't look at my watch very much at the end. By that point I knew I had the PR in the bag - now the question was, if I run like hell, just how big of a PR could I pull off?

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 55:12 (8:54 average pace). Not only was it a big PR, but it was the longest I'd ever run a sub-9 minute pace. I even finished 5th in my age group out of 39 people!
Accidentally pressed the lap button a couple times - oops
I've run almost 40 races, including 2 marathons and a handful of triathlons. Because of my obsession with distance, I never thought my proudest running moment would come in a 10k. I'm not just proud of my numbers in this race, but I'm proud that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to get there. I can truly say I ran a smart race, and that is something I'm really proud of.

#14/30: Run a 5k

Happy Tuesday! I recently revamped my 30 Before 30 List and decided to start sharing some of the progress I've already made. This morning the Shamrock Marathon Facebook page posted this picture


and I knew which item on my list I needed to share today. It's an oldie but a goodie, the one that started it all - my first 5k!

A lot of people who know about my running tell me how a 5k is on their bucket list, or how they've walked a 5k or two but want to really run one. I love these comments and have nothing but encouragement for these people! If you're one of them and don't know where to start, I can't sing the praises of Couch to 5k enough. I had never run in my life and had no clue how to even start. The idea of running ONE mile seemed like a task for Hercules. I had no idea how 3...in a row...without stopping...was even humanly possible. I fully credit that program with teaching me to run. There are a billion apps you can download but I just used that website. I looked at it before my run and saw what intervals I needed to do, then I timed them with my phone. I was pretty low-tech back then. Oh how things have changed...

So, on to my first 5k race. Technically, I have two first 5ks: the first one I ever did, and the first one I ever ran. I completed the former about a month into Couch to 5k so I did a combination of running and walking. I still count it as one of my races, but I didn't feel like I had truly completed a 5k (the way I wanted to anyway), until I finished the latter one.

I finished the C25k program in August 2011, but I still had never run a continuous 3.1 miles. The program is based on time more than distance, and it culminates in a 30-minute run. I was running somewhere in the 12:00 - 12:30 minute mile pace range, so 30 minutes was only about 2.5 miles. After I finished the program I fell off the wagon a little (I think I ran twice in the whole month of September, oops), so I didn't really "train" for this race, per se. I wasn't planning on running it, but my dad mentioned it to me and I think we signed up a week or two before the race.

I still remember what song was playing when I turned on my iPod at the start line: "Oh No" by Girl Talk. Which is kind of ironic because, at the speed I was running, I don't think anyone really had to move and get out of my way. It's also a pretty small race with only a few hundred participants which, in retrospect, was probably a good thing. There were always people around so I never felt lonely, but I also never got in any traffic jams.


The race course is pretty neat because it runs around and through our big outdoor music amphitheater here (fun Latin/Greek nerd fact for the day: amphi means both so really an amphitheater is a full circle even though we call the half-circle theaters amphitheaters). All I really remember about the actual running part is that it was slow and steady. So slow, in fact, that Ben was able to answer a phone call about 2 miles in and have a full-on conversation with his sister for about 5 minutes.

One thing I thought about a lot during the run was that it was my cousin's birthday that day. He was killed in 1999 at age 9 - he would have turned 22 on race day. I thought about the fact that I was doing something he never had the opportunity to do, and that kept me going when it got hard. That's still one of my go-to thoughts when I just don't feel like running anymore: keep going for those who can't.


It's nice to think back on this race and realize how pure of a moment crossing the finish line was. I don't really remember looking at the clock when I finished. I had no watch to immediately stop and check to see how I did. I had Runkeeper going on my phone but I don't remember immediately checking that either. The only thing that mattered was that I had conquered something I never in a million years thought I'd have the strength or determination to conquer. It was such a feeling of bliss!

Blog Sale!

This weekend, I reached a new level of crazy: I decided to get rid of all of my leather products...handbags, shoes,  etc. If you've been reading a while you know that I'm vegetarian, so I'm doing this in an effort to align my purchases and possessions more closely to my personal belief system. It just feels like the right thing for me to do.

So I thought I'd offer up my stuff here to see if anyone is interested. Maybe that's super tacky #sorrynotsory. Or maybe my loss could be your gain? I've already listed everything on eBay (didn't think to sell it here first), but only a few items have bids already (which means if you want it, you have to bid like everyone else, sorry!). The rest are available under the Buy It Now option. If you have an eBay account and want something, all you have to do is Buy It Now via eBay. If you don't have an eBay account but want to purchase something, e-mail me at tracytrisblog at gmail dot com with your PayPal info - I can then end the listing and send you a PayPal invoice. Not loving my current price? Make me an offer! Shipping will be $5 no matter how much your total comes out to (if you Buy It Now via eBay I'll adjust the shipping price when I send you the invoice).

Click the picture to see the full eBay listing with more pictures, condition information, measurements, etc.

{Michael Kors}

{Michael Kors}

{Michael Kors}

{Marc by Marc Jacobs}

{Marc by Marc Jacobs}

{Fossil}

{DKNY}

{Michael Kors}

{Tory Burch}

I'd give this stuff away if I weren't losing my entire purse collection (I'm going to replace most of these items with vegan alternatives, which are admittedly much less expensive than their leather counterparts but still cost a pretty penny). I'm not trying to make out like a bandit, but just do well enough to replace my collection and get back a fair price for what I paid for everything. With that said, if you see something you love and are really interested in, but really can't afford to buy, please let me know!

Congratulations, Class of 2014!

If I were still teaching, today I would be sitting in a coliseum attending my 4th Grizzly commencement ceremony. Graduation was always one of my favorite days of the year. Not only did it mean school was over (party time!!!), but I really loved watching my students step onto the stage (they should know that graduate is a derivative from gradus, gradus m. - step) and into a new chapter of their lives. That hour and fifteen minutes was always filled with such promise, with such hope for what the future might bring.


Today's graduation would have been a particularly special one, because today the first class I would have seen all the way through high school will graduate. Those freshman babies I met on their first day of high school, on the first day that I stepped into that classroom up there and saw a room full of faces staring back at me, are all grown up and ready to take on the world. The first student I ever had to take into the hall for a "chat" will graduate today. The students who made me, an overwhelmed first-year teacher with 4 classes and 5 preps and no help and no time, go home and cry, will graduate today. The student who was never afraid to be who he was, despite was his classmates thought about him, will graduate today. The quiet group of girls who were intimidated being in a class of upperclassmen are now leaders, and they will graduate today. In what feels like an eternity and the blink of an eye all at the same time, that group that had freshly entered high school is leaving it and moving on.

I taught over 300 students in my 3 years in education. As a language teacher (and the only Latin teacher), I was fortunate (or in some cases, unfortunate) that I had students in grades 9-12. I had many students for 2 or 3 years. I watched them grow up right in front of my eyes. I laughed with them, cried for them, worried about them, and celebrated with them. Some I remember, some I don't. Some I liked, some I didn't. Some were absolute angels, and some I'm positive were devil spawn. Some I think about often, some I think about randomly. But as I think about them today, imagine them walking across the stage and receiving their high school diplomas...the straight-A students, the goofballs, the perpetual homework forgetters, the mean girls, the incessant chatterers, the dress code violators, the "What are we supposed to be doing?"-ers, the athletes, the drama queens, the problem children, the "My friend told me this was easier thank Spanish"-ers (sorry dude but your friend is a liar), the kids who barely spoke two words the whole year...I'm proud of each and every one them. I want them to know that they can do anything they want - as long as they're willing to work for it. That a little bit of determination goes a long way. That they don't have to have it all figured out right now. That it might even be better if they don't.

The world has big plans for them, but they have even bigger plans for it.

Coming Clean

You may have heard that we are moving in less than a month into a tiny 1-bedroom apartment. The cleaning/packing party is in full swing and I LOVE it. I hate clutter and love getting rid of things. I'm pretty good at regularly culling our possessions and tossing things we obviously don't need anymore. Our current house is a 2-bedroom condo, not a McMansion, so it's not like we have a lot of stuff - or so I thought. As I've been going through everything, I've made a sad realization: I've been lying...to myself.

Some examples of the lies I've been telling myself over the last few years:

Those pillows left over from our old couch - I'm going to make new covers for them and use them for something else.

That cardigan that fits awkwardly, which I somehow failed to notice when I bought it - Can't get rid of that, I just bought it! Plus the print is super cute. 

That stack of sweaters I haven't touched in years - I'm just waiting for the right outfit and opportunity to bust them out. 

Those t-shirts I've been toting around and collecting since high school - I'm going to sleep in those.

These college textbooks and teaching materials - I might need those if I ever teach again. 

That Roomba and Scooba that haven't worked in over a year and have been living under our dresser since then - Trying to fix them will be a good weekend project

That candle I got on clearance at Kohl's after-Christmas sale 2 years ago, even though I'm not sure why because I really don't like how it looks - Well, you can never have too many candles.

These Blu-rays, 90% of which have never even been taken out of the box - We're definitely going to watch those. All of them.

That Sony point-and-shoot camera from freshman year of college - We'll totally use that when we go on a trip and don't want to lug a DSLR around. 

That collection of blankets that could fill a whole closet - We need them for when people stay the night, obviously. 

But I'm ready to come clean - literally and figuratively.

Our couch came with pillows to match it, we don't need any more; the fact that I just bought that cardigan doesn't make it fit any better; there is no right time to wear those sweaters, they're just not cute; those t-shirts are way too uncomfortable to sleep in; even if I were to go back to the classroom it would be a million years from now, and books are heavy to move; I'd rather buy a new Roomba (and I no longer need Scooba) than put in the time, effort, and money trying to fix them; you can have too many candles if they're ugly; we don't watch Blu-rays, that's what Netflix is for; it's 2014, my iPhone probably takes better pictures than that camera; we don't even have a place for guests to sleep over and, unless we're going to house a village on our couch and floor, we don't need 12 different blankets for that.

Goodwill Trip #1
Seven trash bags of clothes and housewares, 100+ books, 50+ movies, 18 eBay sales of some seriously random crap later, it's gone. As I keep finding new things, if I can't find a use for it or a real reason to keep it in the next few weeks, it's going too. Not only are we definitely moving to a small space for the next 2 years, but there's a good possibility we'll be city living after that, and we definitely won't have the space or need for anything extra. No more excess, no more duplicates, no more "Just in case"s or "That way, we have it"s. If we don't truly need it, we don't keep it. Bare bones, people. 

Day in the Life: Triathlon Edition

On Saturday, I completed my first triathlon of the season, the Jamestown International Triathlon. International sounds fancy but it's not, it just refers to the distance - 1500m swim (=.9 mile), 40k bike (=24.8 miles), 10k run (=6.2 miles). So, what is it really like to compete in a triathlon? I'm here to give you the play-by-play:

4:00am: The alarm goes off. OMG it's early. 

4:10am: Get ready. Apply liberal amounts of sunscreen. 

4:21am: Make breakfast but be too nervous to eat it. 

4:22am: Where's my peanut butter, mom? He knows the sound the jar makes when I open it and comes running every time.

 4:25am: Ready to go! Spandex is a really flattering look, in case you didn't know.

4:27am: I think I'm forgetting something....it's my Sweaty Band! It's right there waiting for me when I open the dryer. I take that as a good omen.

4:30am: Check to see if my ride is here. Not yet. Still dark outside. 

4:32am: Legs up the wall while I wait.

4:35am: Ride's here, time to go!

4:56am: Arrive at my dad's house. Load bikes onto his car - our friend's is in front, my dad's is behind it but it's black and still dark outside so you can't see it #triathleteprobs, and mine is in the back of the car.

5:55am: Arrive at triathlon location. Pump tires, double check bags, get ready to head to transition.

Tri term #1: Transition - Designated area for gear needed for all 3 events. This is where the bike, shoes, and anything else you need stay while you're out on the course. You come back to it after the swim to - you guessed it - transition to the bike, then again after the bike to transition to the run.

6:15am: All ready!

6:20am: Get to check-in area, present ID and USAT card, and pick up packet.

Tri term #2: USAT - USA Triathlon, the official governing body for triathlon. Everyone competing must be covered by USAT and can do so by either purchasing an annual membership for $45 or a one-day membership for the event for $12. If doing the one-day option, that's an additional cost added to registration. Triathlons are expensive, y'all. 

Tri term #3: Packet - Like a running race, the packet includes the bib and SWAG (including t-shirt). Triathlon packets also have 2 stickers with your number on them. One goes on the middle bar of the bike and one goes on the front of the helmet. 

6:25am: Get body marked. Feel badass.

Tri term #4: Body marking - Race number Sharpied onto your upper arms and age onto the back of your calf. I don't actually know the reason for this but I think it's to serve as your "bib" for the swim, for identification purposes. No one I know knows the real reason why your age has to be on your calf, except that it makes it easy to identify the people in your age group to pass them on the bike and run ;)

6:27am: Almost forgot my timing chip! Run back to get it and now I'm ready. 

6:30am: Transition area all set up! The time spent in transition is added into your overall time, so the goal is to set everything up logically so you can get out of there as quickly as possible! 

6:35am: Squeeze into my wetsuit

6:40am: Pre-race porta potty visit, the most important part of any race!

6:45am: Transition closes, which means my phone is no longer accessible, so no pictures for a few hours!

6:50am: Notice that one side of my goggles is broken. Awesome. Hope they last for the swim.

6:52am: Walk down to the beach where the swim starts. 

7:00am: The race starts! Still have 8 minutes before it's my turn, though.

7:05am: Get into the water and wait for my wave's turn. Some races have you start on the beach at the edge of the water, some have you start in the water.

Tri term #5: Wave - also like running races, not everyone starts at once. Instead, there are waves/corrals that start at different times. Unlike running races, where the corrals are based on pace, triathlon waves are broken up according to gender, age, or both. This was a fairly small race so all the women were in one wave.

7:08am: The horn sounds for my wave to start!

~7:10am: Spend the first couple of minutes trying not to get hit or kicked in the face. Successful.

~7:13am: Make it to the first buoy and make the first turn. There are several large, inflatable buoys to help guide swimmers in the right direction, and even larger buoys in a different color to signify where to turn.

~7:23am: Halfway. Make the turn to head back in the other direction. Water is slowly leaking into the left side of my goggles. Now that I've turned, every time I breathe I have to look right at the sun. Try breathing on the other side and just end up swallowing some water. Obviously that's not going to work.  I keep trying to sight but I can't see anything. Suck it up and resign myself to not being able to see anything for the remainder of the swim.

Tri term #6: Sighting: Looking up every  few strokes to look for buoys and make sure you aren't swimming off to the other side of the river. 

~7:27am: I can see the buoy marking the final turn! My left goggle is continuing to fill with water so I have to close my left eye for the remainder of the swim.

~7:30am: That buoy is NOT getting any closer!

~7:32am: Finally at the buoy, make the last turn to head toward the shore. Can't see the shore because the sun is beaming right into my face and off the water.

~7:34am: Can't see anything. I hope I'm swimming the right way. I can see splashing a few feet in front of my so I'm going to assume that's the right direction.

~7:36am: I notice people around me starting to stand up so I must be close. Put my foot down - yep, I can definitely touch here. Stand up and look at my watch for the first time. I'm shocked (in a good way) to see that it's just over 28 minutes. Start wading toward the shore to end the swim. Sometimes I'll keep swimming until it's too shallow to swim anymore, but at this point I'm over the swim.

~7:38am: Hit the timing mat on the beach and clock myself at 30 minutes 2 seconds. My goal for the swim was 32 minutes!

~7:41am: Finally make it back to transition. This race has one of the longest runs back to transition, probably a quarter mile total from the beach to where my bike is racked.

~7:43am: Out of transition and onto the bike. I'm always nervous about mounting at the right place but luckily there are a handful of volunteers near the mount/dismount line telling us to wait until AFTER the line to mount.

Tri term #7: Mount/Dismount line - Line at the beginning/end of the bike course that dictates when you can get on and off the bike. You have to cross it before you can get on the bike to start, and get off the bike before you cross it when you finish. Otherwise you will get a 2 minute penalty added to your time. This is probably the most stressful part of the whole race for me!


~8:15am: I feel GREAT on the bike. This doesn't usually happen. The bike is my least favorite part. I attribute it to the fact that there is virtually no wind.

~8:30am: I'm past the turnaround and about 45 minutes into the bike. This is usually the time when I'm ready to be done. I still feel pretty good and even though I want to be done, it passes.

~9:05am: The bike is over! My goal was 1 hour 25 minutes and I clock in at 1 hour 22 minutes!


~9:07am: Finally out on the run. I can tell pretty much immediately that this is going to be a slow one. Sometimes my legs feel great off the bike but today they feel like bricks.

~9:17am: A mile into the run and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make my goal time of 1 hour. I'm cool with that. I'm taking my time and I'm not mad about it.

~9:43am: I've just passed the turnaround and I see my dad heading toward it.

~10:00am: I've traveled over 30 miles today by land and sea with just my legs and arms. One mile left to go!

~10:05am: I'm just not feeling the run today. I slow down to walk for a few seconds with about half a mile left and my dad yells from behind me. I tell him I'm just slowing down waiting for him ;)

~10:11am: Cross the finish line! Get my medal, a bottle of water, and a cold towel.


~10:12am: Post-race party time! Pizza + Beer = Breakfast of Champions.



~11:30am: Pack up and leave transition

11:45am: More post-race goodies. I didn't get to celebrate National Donut Day on Friday, so I made up for it with 2 donuts on Saturday.

2:19pm: Finally home. Admire shorts tan.

2:27pm: Kitty snuggles and nap time! Pass out for 3 hours.

7:26pm: Dinner date! A selfie is definitely necessary because I just learned how to curl my hair correctly for the first time in my almost 27 years.

9:35pm: End the night with fireworks!