Friday, July 26, 2013

Week 2 of Insanity + Tri = big steps for me!

This week I conquered another huge fear I had......riding my bike on open roads. I have ridden my bike many times in this little area where my tri group meets that is a loop on a road but there are rarely any cars and it is literally around a circle about 3 miles. Last week I did it over and over again to get to 10 miles.

But thanks to my friend Jen who encouraged me to do a course that runs from a local lake out to a little country town and back, I experienced a true "road ride." Jen is a newer biker on her road bike, and she said she was nervous as well. We had our extremely talented friend Annah lead us on this course. Annah is a true athlete and is doing a sprint tri on Saturday, so this was more like a relaxing ride for her.
I appreciated so much that she would show us this course so we can do it another time. It has rolling hills that I need to practice on because my triathlon in September is supposedly very hilly.

I survived and it wasn't too bad! Jen and I are hoping to do it again next week without our leader.

This week I incorporated two sessions of Insanity into my training again:

Monday: Plyometric Cardio Circuit Insanity + 3.5 miles running
Tuesday: 4 miles running
Wednesday: 3.6 miles running
Thursday: 10.2 miles bike road race
Friday: Cardio Power and Resistance Insanity

I still need to do a swim in the lake or pool this weekend.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Mom, is that your gym teacher?" AKA Insanity + Triathlon training

I decided to try to incorporate some Insanity into my already Insane triathlon training. I am doing a triathlon in September. It is difficult, especially with the kids home in the summertime to get my bike and swim workouts in. I knew Insanity I could do while the kids were at home. I just wanted to see what all the hype was about and hopefully tone up a little.

Shaun T. is someone I love and hate at the same time. I am not going to lie; it is very difficult!

I found some training plans online that incorporated two days of Insanity with running. So I just adapted and decided to do two days for now until the triathlon is over and decide if I will add another day to my week.

This was last week for me:

Monday: 4 mile run + 4 lengths of open water swimming at the lake with my good friend Rebecca (a little under a 1/2 mile)
Tuesday: 3.5 mile run + Fit Test of Insanity
Wednesday: 3 mile run + Insane Abs (Insanity)
Thursday: 3.5 mile run with my good friends Kim and Melissa
Friday: 30 min swim in the pool
Saturday: 10.6 mile bike ride (which was my longest bike ride in a year-great for my confidence)
Sunday: 50 min yoga at my good friend Dana's house-she just graduated from yoga training on Saturday and had friends over to do a session with her and have dinner

Today I ran 3.5 miles and did the Plyometric Cardio Circuit. As I did this, my 4 year old rode around me in his Cozy Coupe in the living room and asked me if that was the same gym his soccer was in and if Shaun T. was my gym teacher.

Insanity Gym

I look forward to incorporating this twice a week into my workout and hopefully see some results!

Monday, July 15, 2013

5K PR........way behind posting!!

My husband's Rotary club sponsored the 2nd annual Service Above Self 5K in May. It went very smooth this year!
Registration was very smooth! Look at the long line!

My husband, the race director, is below with another Rotary member,

I was torn about whether to run or not because I was organizing the Kids' Race. Finally the day before, I decided I would do the 5K. My friends and I arrived and got lined up and ready to go!

The horn blew and Melanie (green shirt below) and I got into a groove running along about an 8:40 pace or so. The race ends up a bit shy of 3.1 at about 2.9 miles but we finished at 25:43 (8:18 pace for 3.1 but we were a tad slower than that because of distance). I was very happy with our finish. The weather was perfect!

Aaaand.....I finished 3rd in my age group! Two of my other friends with their 1st place medals!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


On May 5th, I ran my 6th half marathon! If someone told me 5 years ago, I would have ran 6 half marathons in 4 years, I would have told them they were crazy. This was my 4th experience with the Pittsburgh Marathon. In 2010, we did the relay and I did the half marathon in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Next year I will get a gift for 5 years from the Pittsburgh Marathon!

My husband had been golfing for 6 days and got home very late Friday night. On Saturday, we went to our oldest's baseball game and met my mother-in-law there so she could keep the kids overnight. We went to the Expo and got our packets. My husband did the Relay with some friends of ours so he was running 5.8 miles. We tried some samples of Honey Stinger waffles and bought some honey and vanilla flavored. These are my new favorite pre-workout food! Yummy!

We checked into our hotel that we stayed at downtown last year as well. We went to Sonoma Grill for dinner. I wish I could have had some wine! Their wine list is very extensive. I got some pasta, and it was amazing! Great food there!

We got ready for bed at 7:30PM and rented Guilt Trip with Seth Rogan and Barbara Streissand. It was pretty funny! I was asleep by 9:30PM!

We got up about 5:15AM and got ready to head downstairs to walk just a few blocks to the starting line. My husband was in Corral D so we had to split up there because I was in Corral C. This was the first race I had ever done where I didn't know anyone around me! I felt a little lonely as people chatted and hugged. But once the gun went off and Ryan Clark from the Steelers announced for us to go, I was ready! I had planned to stay around 9:15-9:20 pace. I really wanted to be 2:05 since last year I was 2:06.

I was doing great. The first mile I knew I went out too fast when it was 8:17 pace. I slowed down a little to stay around 9:20 or so. 

My splits were:

Mile 1: 8:17
Mile 2: 9:28
Mile 3: 9:21
Mile 4: 9:10
Mile 5: 9:04
Mile 6: 9:17
Mile 7: 9:24
Mile 8: 9:25
Mile 9: 9:31

And this is where I started to fall apart! Coming down Carson street there was an incline which was not fun. It seemed to go on forever. I got my Gatorade and ate 2 Shot Blocks, hoping that this would give me the extra fuel for the next few miles!

Mile 10: 9:51

Through the South Side, I felt like I could not run any faster. I was getting so tired and was hitting the wall.

Mile 11: 9:44

I started to move a bit faster but I knew what was coming for me......

Mile 12: 10:37

I lost so much time here! Once I went over the Birmingham Bridge, I knew that the dreaded hill at Duquense was coming. First was a little hill then around the corner and the big on looked at me right in the eyes. I had to walk a little on this hill. My heart was pounding so fast I thought it was going to come out of my chest. I never had this feeling before. I think the anxiety of the hill, and the fact that I was getting excited because I thought I could be 2:02 or 2:03 just all hit me at once. I got up the hill and tried to make up some speed in the 13th mile. 

Mile 13: 9:41

As I came into town and could hear the crowd cheering, two things happened. #1-I saw a man on the ground to my left with paramedics around him. I was distraught with worry.  #2-To my left came the winner of the full marathon. It was sensory overload for me.

I crossed the finish with a crowd cheering so loud for the winner of the full with a 2:05 finish. A PR for me!

Later that afternoon, I saw on the news that 23 year old Kyle Johnson died. He was the young man I saw on my left. I wondered if I had ran next to him at any point. What happened? The news said it must have been a heart condition. It was such a sad moment.

I enjoyed my 6th Pittsburgh marathon. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't stay at my goal pace and let that darn Duquense hill get me again. But I will do it again next year........I have to get my 5 year gift right??

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Heartbroken near Heartbreak Hill

I can't begin to express the sadness as a runner, as a mother, as a human being, as an American for those who were hurt and passed away as a result of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

As a runner, I feel the pain, feel like I was there so many times running a race......waiting for friends or my husband at the end of the race. Feeling the excitement as I crossed the finish line.....feeling just as excited for my friends and family as they cross the finish line. 

As a mother, my heart aches at the thought of losing one of my children. Three young lives were lost on Monday. Family and friends are devastated. Seeing little eight year old Martin Richard's face as he wore a Boston Bruins jersey tugged at my heart thinking of my oldest son who just turned 9. Thinking of how my son is about the same age and loves hockey as well.

As a human being and American, I wonder why someone has chose to perform such a horrible act of violence and evil at one of our country's greatest road races. I cannot understand, and I never will, why these events happen.

Will I be worried when I cross the finish line at the Pittsburgh half marathon in a few weeks? Maybe. Maybe I will just be so tired from running for 2 hours straight, I will just be looking for my husband's handsome face at the finish. Maybe I will have a bit of worry at the back of my mind. But I can guarantee that I will think of the victims as I cross that finish line and say a prayer for them.

I will not let this hold me back or change my life. The evil will not win. There is so much good in our world, and I see it every day. I see the smiles in my children's faces. I see the joy of something as simple as getting a hot dog at the hot dog card making my son's entire day exciting. I see my oldest son excited about baseball and getting a new helmet. I see my precious daughter making others smile and laugh when they are sad. I see the beauty of love and forgiveness in my parents who are best friends now after a divorce many, many moons ago. I see my husband spending hours and hours for months working on planning a 5K that raised thousands of dollars for veterans last year. I see fireman and emergency personnel helping people and risking their lives and not getting paid a penny for it. There is good in this world, and it surrounds us every day. Look around and see some today; let it comfort us all in this time of sadness.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trucking along to Pittsburgh half marathon.....again!

As I approach running my 6th half marathon, I still am enjoying running as much as I ever did! This winter has been rough. Very cold and snowy.

But now that I have become part of a little women's running circle, my Saturday morning long runs in the freezing cold have been!

In December, right before Christmas, most of us got to meet up for a "Christmas run" and breakfast at a great little cafe in Greensburg, Sun Dawg Cafe

Usually every Saturday or, at times, Sunday, a few of us are able to get in our "long" runs. There are times that I am running with some girls that aren't doing the half, and doing the relay, but they will still get in 5-6 miles with me, and I can finish the last few with my iPod for help. 

There was one Saturday that Melissa and I ran where it was snowing sheets of snow and we felt like total bada** mothers running through it. One morning, Kelli, Chrissy, and I ran when it was 5 degrees when we started. Kelli's black hair looked like a witch's hair after because of the ice frozen in it. My eyelashes looked like Lady Gaga. One morning, Rebecca and I ran and started at 8 degrees, when we finished our 5 miles, it was 7 degrees. So we were hard core ladies this winter!

Finally the weather has gotten better, and I got to do my first run in SHORTS Monday!!

Two weeks ago, my entire family got sick, and I am still coping with a cough when I am running. I am hoping for the half marathon that I can beat last year's time of 2:06, even if it is just by a minute!

Four weeks to go!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


A little less than a year ago as I was pulling in my driveway, my mom pulled in my driveway behind me. It wasn't a surprise because she stops by often. She walked in the garage and said, "I have cancer." I felt like someone punched me in the chest. My mom, my rock, my best friend......what happens now?

She told me it was endometrial and we needed to meet with an oncologist in Pittsburgh as soon as possible. I held it together and we said our goodbyes. I went inside and called my husband and my best friend in Charlotte. I was so worried.

The next week, I arranged for a babysitter to attend the first appointment with her oncologist. His name was Dr. Price and he was wonderful. He helped reassure some of the worries that we had. Her hysterectomy would be in 2 weeks. They may have to take out the lymph nodes depending on if the cancer was already coming through the lining of her uterus.

I didn't sleep much the next few weeks. I had trouble doing anything without thinking about the cancer and if my beloved mother was going to be okay.

On a Wednesday morning in May, I picked up my mom about 5am and we headed to Pittsburgh to the hospital. I stayed with her until they were to take her for surgery about 6:30am and I headed to the waiting room all alone. They said they would call every 1.5 hours on the waiting room phone once the surgery started.

I had my iPad and some tests to check for the English class I was teaching at the local community college. I watched a few Desperate Housewives episodes I was behind on. I talked to another family that was sitting by me for a while. Their mom was also in surgery and the dad and two sisters and the one grandchild was there. They were very nice and concerned about my mom as well. The doctor told me that the surgery would take 4-7 hours depending on if they needed to take the lymph nodes.

They called once about 10:30 and said they would call again in 1.5 hours. It then became 1PM. I had to go to the bathroom, and I was starving, but since I was alone, I was afraid to leave the room. It was torture waiting there all alone.  Finally Dr. Price called and said he would be in the waiting room to talk to me. I was so scared.

He came and took me in a room and told me he did take the lymph nodes because it was 30% out of the  lining but not to worry. That's why the surgery took so long. He said that she would be out of recovery soon and for me to go get some lunch downstairs. I called my dad, then my husband, to tell them and got some lunch. I can't even remember eating my pizza.

The waiting room phone was for me again. My mom's recovery nurse was saying that my mom woke up and was worried nobody was going to be able to get my kids off the bus. My mother had just gone through major surgery and woke up, worried about her grandkids! This is a pure example of how selfless my mother has been all her life, putting her kids and grandkids before herself. I told the nurse that my husband was getting them.

I finally got to go to my mom's room to see her. She looked terrible. She was in so much pain. My sister got there about 3:30PM and we sat with my mom. Finally about 4:30PM, I left to head home after being gone since 5AM. I remember it was pouring. A typical May rain where it just won't stop. It was just symbolic of the tears I shed as I drove home. I was so worried about my mom all alone in the hospital. I was praying she was going to be okay. Thank god for my babysitter, my husband, and my friend Chrissy for keeping my littlest one all afternoon for me.

I'm not sure how I slept but I did. I got up the next morning, dropped off my little one at my friend Rachel's house, and headed to Pittsburgh to get my mom to bring her home since they were ready to release her.

She was in so much pain. I was so worried that they were going to be sending her home already!

We got through the next several weeks slowly. My sister had to give her a shot every day for 14 days to prevent a blood clot in her lungs. I went to her house at least once every day. I would bring the kids in small increments because she would tire out so easily.

In June, my mom began a few radiation treatments that had no serious side effects.

In October, my mom had a clear 6 month appointment! Her first milestone in this battle against cancer!

Her next appointment is in April, and I know it will be a great 1 year cancer free appointment!

This ordeal was traumatic, exhausting, but taught me about what a fighter my mom is and what a determined woman she is. I am so blessed to have a healthy mother who is in my life and happy to have been there for her to get her healthy again so we have her for many years to come.