Foodie Pen Pals July

The Lean Green Bean

I had to miss June Foodie Pen Pals because I was gone for basically the whole month for work, so I was extra excited for July. My foodie pen pal of the month, Caitlin, didn't disappoint!

I travel all the time for work and I am always looking for yummy, healthy, and portable snacks to take with me since airport food leaves a lot to be desired. The box was packed with perfect travel food, some old favorites and some new things to try.

In my box was:

-Somersaults: crunchy nuggets made with sunflower seeds. My cousin brought a bag of these on our Rome trip and I ate 3/4 of the bag. 
-Dark chocolate bananas: You had me at dark chocolate.
-Cocoa covered almonds: These are one of my favorite snacks ever. Protein, healthy fats, and cocoa!
-Justin's honey peanut butter packet: I love this stuff, but I am too cheap to buy it for myself. Along with a banana, it's a perfect plane breakfast.
-Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups: Even better than Reese's. These will probably be gone by tomorrow.
-Lara apple turn-over bar: I love Lara bars, but haven't tried this yet.
-Kind Madagascar Vanilla Almond Bar: This sounds amazing. And Caitlin didn't even know I am going to Madagascar next year!
-Rasberry Fruit Leather- I love these for long runs when I just can't stomach Gu.
-Cliff Tropical Fruit Twist- Ditto above. 
-Perfect Fit Vanilla brown rice protein: I am the most excited about this. I have been trying to add protein powder to my iced coffee and smoothies and I am still looking for one that I love. Hopefully this will be it! 

Once again I have to say that Foodie Pen Pals is one of the best ideas ever. Thanks Lindsay!

When Fourth in the World isn't Good Enough

I was exhausted from the tri yesterday but made myself stay awake to watch women's gymnastics. I was a serious gymnast growing up and so I still get ridiculously excited when the Olympics are on. My heart broke for Jordan Wieber last night.

 image source

She has worked and sacrificed her entire life for this, and then because of a 2 athlete per country rule, didn't make the finals even though she was 4th overall. She was clearly disappointed but handled it with amazing grace, managing to seem genuinely happy for her teammates. I would have been rip-shit.

That is the thing about gymnastics. It demands so much and then it all comes down to 7 minutes. All four events take less than 7 minutes combined. It makes marathon training seem like a bargain in terms of time invested in training vs time in competition. Running is hard. Biking in hard. Triathalon is hard. All of the sports I do now are hard. But none even come close to gymnastics.

What do you think about the 2 athlete per country rule? Do you think this hurts the team's chances in the finals?

Tri for the Cure 2012

Yesterday I slept until my alarm went off and woke up feeling calm. Today, not so much. I started waking up at 3 am and kept waking up every 20 or so minutes until I gave up and got up at 6. It was Tri for the Cure day! I sat on the couch drinking my coffee, eating my peanut butter bagel, and watching Olympic women's cycling. It totally got me ready to kick some butt on the bike.

It was awesome doing a race so close to home. I was parked and in the transition area 15 minutes after leaving my house! Usually I calm down when I get to the race and start getting my stuff in order. Again, not so much today. Everyone looked so hard core-lots of Iron Man tattoos and fancy schmancy bikes. Also, I realized that I brought two right bike gloves and no left. Derp.

When I got down to the water, the swim course looked twice as long as when I practiced at the clinic. Seriously, why do I do this??

 The opening ceremonies started at 8:30. It all kicked off with a flash mob and we all were boogying in our wetsuits. The cancer survivors all went forward and some spoke. It reminded me that this race was about something much bigger than myself. During the national anthem I looked around at the 1,000 women around me and thought about how lucky I am to live in a country where I have so many opportunities as a woman. There were women of all ages and shapes, stripped of make-up and fancy clothing, coming together for a common goal. The opening ceremony set a great tone for the event, but it also meant that I didn't get to go to the bathroom for the 35 minutes right before the start. I had a lot of coffee pre-race and really needed to go!

I was in the second wave which took off 3 minutes after the first. I resisted the urge to hang at the back of the pack and positioned myself in the middle. Too soon the horn sounded and we were off. The water was not warm- only about 63! The water was much more crowded than at the clinic because most people were swimming at my speed. There were people bumping and grabbing me on all sides. I won't lie, the swim was not easy. It seemed endless. But, I was infinitely better prepared than my lake swim last year. I kept my face in the water, didn't hyperventilate, and just swam. I still had to go to the bathroom and really though I'd just go in the water (nasty, I know, I'm sorry). Turns out I can't swim hard and pee at the same time. My swim time was 12:08, which is 147/572.

Finally, I reached the shore and headed into the min-trasition. I stripped off my wetsuit and slipped on my sneakers for the run to the bike. We had a nice little 1/4 mile run up-hill to the bikes.

 I found my bike, switched into my bike shoes, put on one of my right bike gloves, and was off in 4:45. It felt great to be on the bike. Once I was comfortable I reached for my sweedish fish. I don't normally eat during sprint tris, but I have been having such good luck with sweedish fish, that I decided to try it. Unfortunately, I took off my bike bag to improve my aerodynamics, so I had to put them in the back of my jersey. They got wet during the swim, so they were a salty partially dissolved mess.

The bike was great. It was drizzling, but the roads were okay. The crowd support was amazing- I felt like I was in the London Olympics. The course was all roads I ride all the time so I knew where the hard parts were. My hips felt tight (probably from racing yesterday), but overall I felt great, except that I still really had to pee. My bike time was 50:43, which is an average of 17.7mph, good for 192/572.

Then it was time to hop off the bike and start the run. Next time I will take the time to double knot my shoes in the transition, both of my shoes came untied at different points in the run. I hopped on the shoulder of the woman in front of me and we ended up running the whole way together. She kept me going the first half and then I kept her going the second half. The run was basically a blur, I just tried to keep my legs moving. I was a little tired, but like the bike, felt pretty darn good. The last mile seemed endless because I didn't know exactly where the finish was. We got back to the SMCC campus and it seemed like we should be done but they looped us around the back on a little bike path. I wanted to push, but not too early. Finally it was there and I was done!! Run time was 25:25, which is an 8:12 pace, 92/572.

I headed straight for the bathroom, followed my the massage tent, and then the foot reflexology. Ahhhhhh. By this time it was really raining and I was wet and cold. But since the transition area wouldn't re-open until the last runner went out so I couldn't leave, I headed for the food. Whole foods put out a great spread- fruit, granola, almond butter, and cookies. There was also a separate BBQ area and coffee and donuts. I had some fruit and stuffed some goodies in my bag for later, then hit up the Green Mountain tent for some coffee. My hot caramel vanilla coffee tasted like absolute heaven.

Finally, finally the transition area re-opened and I could get my stuff. All my gear was totally soaked from sitting in the rain for hours, and I'd picked up a bunch of free goodies, so my bag weighed about a 1,000 pounds walking back to my car.

I am now showered, dry and warm and enjoying an awesome pancake. Grainberry pancake mix with brown rice protein, spirolina powder, and banana topped with almond butter and syrup.

The rain was bummer but overall the day was amazing! I am so pleased with my performance. 1:34:18.2 total time, good for 104 / 572 and 11/50 in my age. But in the end, it wasn't about my time, it was about raising money and awareness for cancer. This one was for you Dad!

Peak's Island Race 2012

Race 1 of 2 for the weekend is in the books. I didn't think doing both the Peak's Island Race and the Tri for the Cure in the same weekend would be a big deal, it really isn't more than I would do in normal workouts for the weekend. But I didn't consider the logistics.

We took the 8:30 ferry out to the island since I was going out with friends who were volunteering. Second ferry ride in one week for me. Every day should start with a boat ride. However everyday should not start with trying to carry your bike up a very crowded flight of stairs on the ferry.

 This cool old Coast Guard sailboat was in the harbor for the day and we got a nice view as we headed out to Peak's.
 On the island we headed over to the Lion's field and building to check in. I did a double take when I got my number- number 10! I am assuming this is because I signed up early, not because of my predicted pace. But I'll take the elite number any way I can get it!

The shirts are really cute this year, they show the whole course. 

I love this race because it is so relaxed. After we had our numbers we just chilled out in the field, looking at the water, and talking. 3 minutes before the start I ambled up the hill and took a place on the sides.

I had no goal or expectations for the race. I just wanted to take it easy and save something for tomorrow. It was warm and sunny, but not as hot as last year. I wore my Garmin but tried only to look every mile and half or so. I forgot my i-pod, but that turned out to be nice. I liked running and hearing the ocean and the other runners. I just trucked along at a pace that felt fast, but comfortable, and gave a little kick at the end. I ended up finishing in 43:27 with an average pace of 8:42. I was 12 out of 46 in my age group and 209 out of 465 in the field. I am pleased, considering my time was only minute slower than last year when I actually tried to race.

 After the race I tossed on some clean clothes and then we headed to the beer garden. It was packed and I really wasn't feeling the beer, so I gave it to my friends after a few sips. I really wanted some food so I headed down to the little coffee shop. I ordered a delicious sounding sandwich with hummus, avocado, sprouts, tomato, and lettuce on wheat. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I was still waiting when the 12:45 ferry pulled up. I HAD to be on that ferry because I had to be in South Portland by 2 for Tri packet pick-up. I ended up with a soggy pile of flavorless veggies which I wolfed down on the ferry back.

As soon as we landed I hopped on my bike and peddled as fast as I could back across the bridge to South Portland. I had my road bike waiting in my car and zipped over to the Tri check-in. I got my packet, had my bike inspected, and racked my bike. I really wish I'd been there earlier because the expo was already shutting down and there were some really fun looking booths!

As soon as that was done I ran home, finally hopped in the shower, and then rushed back to Portland to meet friends at Porthole. Since my lunch was less than tasty I sprung for some mussels as a snack. Cat got a fish sandwich that was the biggest sandwich I've ever seen.

 Now, I am finally home. I just got all my race stuff ready for the morning and applied my race tattoo! So much more stylish than sharpie marker! And now I plan to sit on the couch and do nothing for the rest of the night.


A day trip to Islesboro

With all the craziness at my job I have to remind myself that there all good aspects. I do have waaayy more flexibility than I did at my old job. So when a chance for an impromptu mini family reunion trip out to Isleboro came up yesterday, I was able to take it.

Islesboro is an island in Penobscot Bay. We have family from my maternal grandfather's side of the family that live there year round and it is one of my favorite places in Maine to visit. I usually take my bike because it is a great 30 mile ride around the island, but since it was a last minute decision and the weather forecast didn't look great, I left my bike at home this year.

Taking the ferry is half the adventure. We were aiming for the 10 o'clock ferry so we got to Lincolnville at 9.  We parked the car in the ferry line and then I went for a nice 5.8 mile run while the rest of my family headed off to Dot's to pick us up some breakfast. I rushed back from my run ready to hop in the car and on the ferry, but unfortunately there were some big trucks in front of us that took up a lot of room so we didn't make it on. I imagine this could get old if you lived out on the island and had to deal with the ferry all the time! So I had time for a nice cool down, stretch, and then my breakfast sandwich on the beach before we boarded the 11 o'clock ferry.

It was a calm crossing, and pretty soon we were pulling up to Islesboro.

The we headed down island to meet our relatives. We grilled up a feast of portobello mushrooms, squash, zucchini, and chicken for lunch.

 It was nice to have no real agenda for the afternoon. We ate, sat, talked, looked at the water, and lazed around. Before leaving we headed to the Dark Harbor store for a browse. I love their ice cream (really I love any ice cream), but even I was too full. We got a couple Islesboro sweatshirts and coffee mugs instead and then headed to down to the ferry. This time luck was with us, and we got right on the 3:30.

We rounded off the day with a stop in Rockland to pick up some stuff for the boat at Hamilton Marine and an ice stop since no day is complete without ice cream!

Today I am trying to take it easy since I have a big weekend ahead- Olympics, the Peak's Island Race on Saturday, and the Tri for the Cure Sunday!

Grace Restaurant, Portland Maine

I posted a few pictures of our weekend meal at Grace the other day, but it was just so amazingly good that I wanted to give Grace its own post.

Grace is inside a restored church and it is just breathtaking. They kept the integrity of the church and added in some cool touches like an open kitchen where the organ used to be and a huge central bar.

We sat upstairs looking down at the bar and the kitchen. It was neat to see all the food being prepared.

The menu changes seasonally and the summer menu was just bursting with fresh produce and seafood. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced. I had a butter lettuce salad with grilled peaches, hazelnuts, and caramelized vinaigrette.

My friend Jose was brave enough to try one of the many exotic meat appetizers. I don't do beer tartare, but it was pretty.

My entree was amazing- ricotta gnocchi with morels, kale, and Parmesan.  The gnocchi were so light and the morel sauce was so rich.

It only took me a year to finally make it to Grace, but I will definitely go back!

Just call me Miss Maine

I think the state of Maine should hire me as their official ambassador. This weekend I hosted 4 consultants that I worked with last year and really got to be good friends with. They are all devoted West Coasters, but I had them totally smitten with my home state by the time they left. This weekend was just what I needed. We did some bitching about work and travel, and because their life is just as crazy as mine, they totally understood how fried I am. But, we also just did a lot of eating, laughing, and relaxing. Maine really is the way life should be. 

Change is in the Air

There are big changes coming at work. I've been working with the same client for nearly 2 years and I really enjoy the people and the projects they've had me on. But now there is a major reorganization afoot. I am pretty sure they want to keep me as a consultant, but I also think they want me to travel 100% of the time again. Everything is just speculation and rumors at this point because we haven't been told anything for sure.

I am terrible at change and even worse with the unknown so this is throwing me for a loop. I am in constant stress mode, feeling like I need to be frantically working every second of the day. I know this is not healthy and I have tried my go to stress relievers, but they aren't working. Last night I went to outdoor yoga at Portland Head Light. It was a beautiful evening with a welcome cool breeze. But even as I flowed through the practice, gazing out at the ocean I couldn't turn my mind off. I came right home and checked my e-mail immediately.

This morning I got up early and went for a long run. I promised myself I'd just take it slow and easy so that it felt good and effortless. I ran along my favorite green belt path out to my beloved Bug Light. Again I just couldn't turn my mind off. I knew there was something wrong when I didn't do the last .25 miles to make it an even 12 miles (I am obsessed with running even numbers) and rushed home to start working again.

I know that I can't do anything to stop these changes and that what will be will be, but that doesn't make it any easier. Why can't I be one of those people who accepts change with grace and poise?

Southport Island Triple Brick Workout

I am at up at my Mom's on Southport Island. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite places in the world, but the running and biking gets a little redundant. There is basically one 8.5 mile loop around the island and it gets old fast. But, today I came up with a great workout. I worked my way around the island on my bike, stopping to do 3 run segments on some of the small dirt side roads.

It was a fun way to break up the workout because all the segments were so short. It also was great triathalon prep, because I got to experience that lovely heavy, rubbers feeling of running right off the the bike 3 times. Here are my splits:

Distance             Time
Bike 0.82 4:08
Run 0.62 5:55
Bike 3.6 17:47
Run 1 9:28
Bike 1.89 5:02
Run 1.54 14:27
Bike 3.82 17:00

Total Run      3.16 29:50:00
Total Bike 10.13 43:57:00

Have I mentioned that I HATE flying

Traveling so much for work has advantages and disadvantages. Generally I really like getting to see so much of the country and I put all the frequent flier miles I rack up to good use in my 7 continent quest. However these days there is nothing pleasant about flying. On the best day it is unpleasant, and on a bad day, it is horrible. Yesterday was one of those horrible days.

I was thrilled Wednesday when my customer said they wouldn’t need me Thursday afternoon, so I could fly home a day early. I waited on hold with United, argued over the flight change fee (since with my status I get free same day flight changes which should apply if you are switching from the first flight of one day to the last flight of the previous day), gave up and paid the fee, and started making plans for Friday night. When I got to the airport Thursday and printed my boarding passes, I realized the agent made a mistake. My first flight landed in Denver at 3:53. My second flight left Denver at 3:30. See the problem?

I hit the United speed dial button on my phone, waited on hold for 10 minutes, and when I got an agent explained my problem. I said that ideally I’d like to get to Portland that night, but since it was so late and there are so few flights to Maine, I’d rather get to Boston and drive than end up stuck somewhere in the middle and have to sleep in the airport. She said OK and put me on hold for a good 20 minutes only to come back and say “I’m sorry, the earliest we can get you to Portland is tomorrow night.”
“What about Boston?” I asked.
“Oh, you are willing to go to Boston?”
Sigh. After another hold period she got me on the flight to Boston.  I made a beseeching phone call to the car service I use sometimes and they agreed to pick me up in Boston at midnight.  I got on my first flight from Lubbock to Denver. We sat on the runway with the engines off for 45 minutes while they worked on a mechanical issue. I sweated to death. Finally we took off. 

After a bumpy flight we landed in Denver. I checked on my next flight. Delayed 3 hours.  I decided it was a good time to use one of my United Club passes. Sad when the highlight of your day is sitting in a lounge drinking bad wine and eating endless cups of Chex Mix and little individual cheeses while watching Secret Life of the American Teenager on the wi-fi that keeps cutting out. 

I kept checking my flight, still delayed. My name slowly moved up on the first class upgrade list. Right when my name hit #1 on the list, the cabin status changed to full. Naturally. Around 10 we finally took off and I got a little bit of uncomfortable sleep on the plane before we landed at Logan at 3:30 am. Blearily I made my way outside to the limo pick-up. No one was waiting with my name. I called the car company. After about a 100 rings a sleepy voice answered. My driver had fallen asleep in the telephone lot. He picked me up and then wanted to talk the whole way home to keep himself awake. 

I got to bed around 6:30 am. Then my phone rang at 7:30. I turned it off. Then the garbage truck outside woke me up at 8:30. Then, my neighbors yelling outside woke me up at 9:30. I gave up and got up. And I am grumpy. 

Lubbock Hotel Workout

I'm stuck in the hotel gym again all week and was feeling a little bored and uninspired. I needed a good new hotel gym workout to get my mojo back. This was a good one so I will share the wealth!

Technical Blog Question

Every time I look at my blog it drives me nuts that my Antarctica cartwheel picture is not centered. But I have tried everything and can't figure out a way to fix it. For the love of all good things, can someone help me??

Early morning Running

Yesterday morning I got up at 2 am to run before my flight. It seemed crazy when I set my alarm, crazy when my alarm went off, and crazy as I opened the door to complete darkness. As soon as I started running though, it didn't seem so crazy. During these long days of summer I haven't run in the dark recently. I forgot how much I like it. The air is cool, the world is silent, and running feels fast and effortless. It really is true that you only regret the runs you don't do. After I was attacked running 2 years ago, running in the dark terrified me. I think it's a good sign that I am back to loving it.  

 But I do exercise more caution now. When I'm traveling for work and don't know the area, or it doesn't look safe, I hit the treadmill. So the rest of the week I'll be confined to the hotel treadmill since I'm back in Lubbock, Texas for the week. All the more reason why I am so glad I got that run in yesterday morning.

Rest for the Weary

The great thing about summer is that there is always something fun going on. I have been taking full advantage and having a blast. Yesterday was another fun packed day. I started the day off with kickboxing (which didn't feel that hard at the time, but I am so sore today) and then ran home and quickly changed into my bathing suit. The boy (let's just call him R from now on) invited me out to his sister's lake house. Aside from the scariness of meeting his family for the first time, it was a blast. We ate some yummy BBQ and then spent a solid 2 hours floating in the lake. After swimming in the ocean so much lately, the lake felt so warm! By the time we got home, I had just enough time to change before heading to Freeport. It is LL Bean's 100th Anniversary and they were having a huge free outdoor concert and fireworks. The town was absolutely mobbed. We eventually found my mom and her friends and squeezed our way towards the stage. We grooved out to Chris Isaak and then watched the best fireworks I have ever seen. They went on forever and there were always like 5 different ones going off at once.  Seriously they were insane!

When my alarm went off this morning, I felt like I'd been run over by a truck. I started to drag myself out of bed and then started to reconsider. I've been so busy having fun that I have been neglecting some important things like sleep, eating real meals, stretching, and spending anytime in my own house. The entire week I felt like I was struggling through my workouts, they all felt like they took monumental effort. I am leaving super early tomorrow for an intense work trip to Texas. I needed a break or I was going to be in trouble.

So today, I didn't make plans with anyone. I went to yoga. I thought my poor tight hamstrings were going to rip in my first downdog. I took the time to make an omelet, toast, and fruit for lunch and then sit and eat it. I did an easy bike ride and an easy swim. I laid on the beach for a solid 2 hours and just read. For dinner I made some yummy grilled pizza from scratch and laid on the couch and watched TV while I ate it.

It is still a lovely evening out and my phone has been buzzing with invitations for tonight. But I am saying no. Sometimes you just need to chill.

Bradbury Mountain State Park and some Ethiopian food

Yesterday was an unexpectedly wonderful day. I tend to be a little bit of a creature of habit, but yesterday I discovered two great new things.

The guy I am dating suggested we try hiking at Bradbury Mountain State Park yesterday afternoon. Although it's less than half an hour from my house, I'd never been. I just don't tend to head inland very often in the summer, and in the winter I head north to ski. It was easy to find and super easy to park. We were on the trail in no time. We selected the steepest and more direct path to the summit and were at the top in 10 minutes!

Dixie beat me, even though her legs are even shorter than mine!

We took a longer route down, and then made a wrong turn, so we ended up looping around the outside of the entire park. It was nice a cool, even on a hot humid day. The trails were pretty easy footing, I'm thinking it would be a great place to trail run if I can ever motivate myself to trail run.

At night, I met my friend for the first Friday Art Walk in Portland. We started at the Portland Museum of Art, where they had a great art of the Normandy Coast Exhibit. I am sucker for impressionism. They also had a great Maine focused exhibit. I am also a sucker for a good Maine oceanscape. 

After a couple more stops at little galleries, we were starving. We decided it was the perfect night to try Asmara, an Ethiopian restaurant.  We started with honey wine. I don't know what exactly was in it, but it was good and strong. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the rest of the night.

 The food is served family style on top of injera, a spongy flat bread. We got chicken in yellow curry, a spicy spinach and potato dish, and then spinach and kale, and red lentils for sides. It took a few bites to get used to scooping up bites of food with the injera, but we were totally into it by the end. The injera right up the chicken was the best because it had soaked up all the extra sauce.
In our honey wine haze we headed out for some more art walking. I love all the street performers in the summer. Fire hula-hooping seemed to be the most common act.

We ended the night at Blue, where we were drawn in by the music of Merrily James. It was a great end to the day, sitting and sipping some french roast and listening to to Merrily cover everything from Bruce Springstein to Prince.

Happy 4th!

It is a typical Maine 4th of July, a little foggy, and a little cloudy, but it doesn't keep us from having fun!

Yesterday I went for my first outing in my new boat! It felt so good to get out on the water and have a cool, cool breeze. My Mom and I managed to get over to town, get gas, mix in the oil in the 50:1 ratio, add fuel stabilzer, and get the boat back on the mooring! My parallel docking could use some work though.

Elyse's outfit was much more patriotic than mine.
Today we had an impromptu party. We'd sent out some invites asking if anyone wanted to have a bbq and everyone answered yes! I started the day with a 20 mile bike ride over in Boothbay. It was hot, and humid, and hilly, and I couldn't wait to be done and drinking a margarita. When I got home, we went into party prep mode. We had the perfect Maine summer meal: lobster, grilled corn, and caprese pasta salad. There were even babies at the party, which I totally co-opted. Why are they so darn cute?? We rounded off the afternoon with a rousing game of badminton. I was seriously dripping sweat.

Oh hi, Jessie. I will steal you while your parents play badmiton.

Now I am enjoying sitting with my feet up for a few minutes before we head into town to go out on a friend's boat to watch the fireworks.

I hope you all had a day filled with friends, family, food and fun!

Tri for a Cure Swim Clinic

I think this is probably the most I have ever prepared myself for an event. I mean, I do all my scheduled long runs before a marathon, but I don't pay a whole lot of attention to my pace, study the course, or go to any clinics. But, I know that won't fly with an ocean swim, so I am glad that the Tri for a Cure offered a whole bunch of clinics to get you race ready.

This morning, after a horrible, hot, humid run, where I wanted to die the entire time, I headed down to Spring Point Light beach. I knew I was in the right place because there were a 100 women wandering around in wetsuits!

This was the first time I'd seen the buoys put out to mark the swim course. Holy moly they looked so far away! Like, so far I couldn't get both of them in one picture. Why do I do these things to myself??? Oh right, all the fundraising goes to the Maine Cancer Foundation, and I am doing it in honor of my Dad who beat thyroid cancer this year.

see that little yellow speck way out by the lighthouse? Buoy 1. So. far. away.

and that other little spec way off on the right. Buoy 2. How is this only 1/3 of a mile??

We started sitting on the grass and the race director went over the logistics of the race, some helpful hints, and even shared some inspirational stories about cancer survivors and how the fundraising money is used. All too soon, it was time to get in the water.

It was freezing. Like made my feet ache immediately freezing. They gave us some last minute swim tips. One thing I learned is to spit in your goggles, swish it around, and then dunk them in the salt water before putting them on to keep them from fogging. Also, to do a last minute pre-swim dunk to get used to the water so the cold isn't as shocking when you start. Every ounce of me wanted to start at the back, but I made myself follow my coach's advice to start near the front. After a group cheer, we were off. The cold did take breath away at first, and I started to hyperventilate. I let myself swim a few strokes with my face out of the water to calm down, but then made myself put my face back in. With the cold water and choppy seas, I found it easier to breathe every 2 strokes instead of every 3 like I do in the pool.  Just getting my face out of the water more often made me feel calmer. I also felt so well supported. They had a bunch of kayaks and some advanced swim angels out there to help us if needed.

Swimming in a crowd wasn't as bad as I expected. I was able to get around people pretty easily. To my surprise I found myself near the front of the back. The swim felt long, but once I was in the groove I could handle it. I adjusted to the cold, was able to sight the buoys, and just kept chugging along. I was shocked to be the third woman out of the water in 13 minutes. I thought for sure, I'd be wayyyy back.

Based on my success today, I decided to take the plunge and switch from the novice category to the age group category for the swim. Bring it on!

Post swim elation (and complete numbness)

And it is not too late to donate! I have set a goal of $350, and I am so close. So please consider helping me out!


I turned 35 in June. It's an age that felt both momentous and ominous to me. I'm not just an adult, I'm an ADULT. I've never...