11/30/13

Product Review & Giveaway–Soy Protein Bars

I was recently given the opportunity to test out a variety of Soy Protein Sports Nutrition Bars. It can be pricey to try all the different varieties of sports nutrition until you find something that you like and works for you. I have usually gone by recommendation or tried something at an expo and if I like it – I stick with it. I don’t venture off the reservation too much and this opportunity gave me a chance to try 4 different bars.

 

I was sent receiving a variety of one Eat-Smart Bar, Nogii Protein Bar, Nogii Paleo Bar and NOW Energy Bar, as well as a “Powered by Soy Protein” Traveler Exercise Kit. 

EatSmart NOWnutschocolate-coconut_bar

Key Information Regarding Soy Protein:

• Soy protein is a high‐quality, plant‐based protein derived from soybeans

• Soy protein preserves lean body mass, promotes fat loss, and boosts satiety during weight loss

• A blend of proteins – soy, whey and casein, prolongs muscle building after exercise and increases recovery compared to whey alone

• Soy protein promotes muscle growth and development

• Soy protein is equivalent to whey protein for building muscle when consumed as part of a resistance training program

Soy protein has the ability to displace fat and sugar calories

 

I spread the taste test over a week either before or after a workout. My favorite was the NOW Energy Bar – DELISH!! The Eat Smart protein bar and the Nogii Protein Bar were very good as well. The Nogii Paleo bar – not so much. It tasted okay, but I couldn’t get through the whole bar. It was too sweet and I have “teeth issues” – I don’t like things that stick to my teeth, so this bar was a NO.

 

You can check out the links below for more information

Would you like the opportunity to try these bars for yourself. Enter the raffle below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

“The products, information and two gift packs have been provided by DuPont Nutrition and Health.”

11/29/13

iCaughtSanta–You can too!

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Look who we caught putting presents around the tree. Thanks to an awesome website  - http://www.icaughtsanta.com/ –  we were able to keep the magic alive for Princess Cara! Love it!

 

Check out how iCaughtSanta and Rudolph in this unique photo opp at http://iCaughtSanta.com using the free code #SantaShare and you can too. While there I entered one amazing #giveaway for a new iPad Air and Visa, Starbucks and Amazon gift cards. But just like Santa it's only around for a limited time! You have until December 10th to use the code and create your own magic.

rudolph santa

You can add Santa or Rudolph to a family photo to create a cool Christmas eGreeting Card, share the image with friends and family, scrapbook it or use it to create a fun button photo for you to wear. Choose from a variety of Santa poses and themes.

 

The free code for is #SantaShare and remember, it expires December 10, 2013.

 

Merry Christmas!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

11/21/13

Diva Review: Organic Matcha- Green Tea Powder

Organic Matcha

I was recently asked to give Organic Matcha – Green Tea Powder by KissMe Organics a try and provide a review.

 

I’ve heard a lot of my friends talk about Green Tea and it’s benefits, but I’ve never really tried got into it. The over the counter bottles of green tea always seemed to have a weird (but not unpleasant) aftertaste and well, it just never became a habit. Furthermore, I prefer coffee so drinking hot green tea just wasn’t doing it for me.

 

KissMe Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder is sold exclusively on Amazon.com and I was sent a packet along with a 70 page Organic Matcha Recipe Guide for a trial.

Here are the particulars about the Matcha Green Tea Powder:

ORGANIC MATCHA - GREEN TEA POWDER --THE ANCIENT SECRET TO BEAUTY, HEALTH AND LONGEVITY
 
USED FOR:  LATTES | SMOOTHIES | BAKING

ALL DAY ENERGY WITH INCREASED FOCUS
Matcha provides 4 to 6 hours of mild steady energy as it acts as both a stimulant and a relaxant. This is ideal for focusing on whatever the day throws your way.

METABOLISM BOOST
Consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body's own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expenditure.

IMPROVED SKIN HEALTH
​Scientists have discovered that Matcha Green Tea helps protect the skin from harmful UVrays, while improving blood flow and oxygen levels lifting the overall quality of the skin.

137x THE ANTIOXIDANTS OF BREWED GREEN TEA
Antioxidants are essential as you age to boost your body's natural defenses against oxidation. Researchers have found that a high level of dietary antioxidants can prevent many age-related diseases.

For a week, my daughter Erin and I made smoothie drinks…

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…and they were DELISH!!! I used too much of the powder the 1st try (using a tablespoon when I should have been using a TEAspoon); however, I didn’t notice a difference in taste and there wasn’t any after taste. I did notice improved energy…I was doing 5:30am boot camp every morning and was not tired or sleepy hours later in the day once I drank my Matcha Smoothie. I was also STARVING and hour – hour and half after as well which might be a verification of the metabolism boost and the only way to ensure I didn’t gnaw my hand off was to add a touch of protein powder or have an egg along with my smoothie. I can’t say about the improved skin health – IMHO, my skin health was already awesome so…I’ll have to consume more and see if it gets even more so. I also like the idea of the 137x the antioxidants because as we all get older, you need to get those antioxidants in to get rid of the free radicals that build up in the body.

 

I enjoyed the product and will definitely add this to my wellness/fitness (and journey to better eating) routine.

 

If you want to learn more, visit www.KissMeOrganics.com and/or at their product page on Amazon.

 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

10/25/13

A Runner’s Prayer for the Marine Corp Marathon

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Two Days. Sunday.

 

YES, WE CAN!!!

 

Ever since coming back from IM 70.3 Cozumel it has been a roller coaster of emotions – with a bout of bronchitis, then another problem exacerbated by the intense coughing – I have been relegated to the sidelines of training for the Army 10 Miler followed by the MCM.

 

I had nothing but fear, doubt and uncertainty that I would be able to run the MCM let alone the Army 10, but last weekend I went out there with no expectations. All I wanted to do was beat the cutoff times and get in some kind of training – some version of distance before the MCM.

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AND IT WAS A GLORIUS DAY FOR A RUN. I felt great, refreshed. I actually looked up and looked around to take in the beauty of the city, talk to other runners and since I was all back of the bus – offer some encouragement to those who had their heads down. Si Se Puede. You CAN do it. It made my day and quickened my steps when I say Princess Erin at mile 6 and 7. When I saw BK with the cow bell (you NEVER have enough cow bell) at mile 7 right before going across the 14th St. Bridge and off to the finish line, I KNEW I had it in the bag.

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photo 1Now, as I approach Sunday and 26.2 miles- I pray. I pray for me and I pray for my run buddy as well as all the runners who are winners in my book for getting up Sunday morning, lacing up their shoes and putting their toe on the line. WINNERS.

 

Search me, oh Lord, and try me; test my soul and my heart.
For your kindness is before my eyes, and I [run] in your truth.
Psalm 26:2-3

I know I will be tested, but He will be with me every step of the way.

 

The Runner's Prayer 
Father God,
Watch over me Sunday as I run. 
It is the day
and it is the time for the race.
 
Watch over my body.
Keep it free from injury.
 
Watch over my mind.
May I listen to the signals from within
as I enjoy the scenes from without.
 
Watch over my spirit.
Keep my heart and ears open for your voice.

Give strength to my steps

 
Watch over my fellow marathoners.
Remind us that we all are struggling equally.

I believe I am not running or struggling alone. 
 
Lord,
Let me win.
Not by coming in ahead of my friends, but by beating myself.
 
Let it be an inner win.
A battle won over me.
 
And may I say at the end,
"I have fought a good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith." 2Timothy4:7
 2timothy4_7
Adapted from The Ultrarunner’s Prayer by Carolyn Erdman & Jay Hodde

 

See you out there! God BLESS!

10/7/13

Being Relentless - Working through Another Challenge

Relentless- to be a firery, driving force that let's no challenge or obstacle get in the way of a noteworthy goal.
So...I conquered a tropical storm to finish the IM 70.3 Cozumel and was rewarded a few days later with line horrendous, painful sore throat followed up with a chest crushing cough.

I made it through the rest of the week on a bag of cough drops and two bottles of cough syrup. Came home on a Saturday, ran 16 with my MCM buddy, Misty. Everything went south from there with me ending up in the doctors office and having her throw the kitchen sink at me; tsk tsking me at not getting in there earlier; glad that we MAY have caught it (bronchitis) early enough - blah blah blah.

She got my attention when she said no running till I finish the antibiotic. 10 days. NOT GONNA HAPPEN DOC! I have the MCM in 23 days. Ummm, yeah that's not gonna work. More sucking of teeth, a rescue inhaler added and you can try on Sunday.

I get up and go for what is supposed to be an easy 8 miles...and didn't make it 2 before I was sucking on my inhaler and it wasn't doing anything. I coughed my way back 2 miles and spent the rest of the day wishing I'd actually crack a rib instead of just feeling like it.

What to do? I'll put it to you exactly as the FireMarshall did...SIT YOUR AZZ DOWN SOMEWHERE AND BE STILL! Woman, get well, trust that you have a base of training, trust that you are tenacious enough to finish and pick it up when you can friggin breath. *stomps out of room*

Mmmmm...it is damn near killing me to sit still. After training damn near every day for months, going 2 days - 4 days doing no more than going to work...I'm pulling my hair out. 

This has been the absolute worse racing years. Sick or injured more often than not, I have felt like I've been behind the power curve making no forward progress at all.

...and perhaps I should back this bus up, regroup, get healthy and start again. 

I will run the Army10 and the MCM. Will I have put in all the mileage - no. I know I can do the distance but it won't be fast by any stretch of the imagination. If I don't make the bridge, I'm okay with that. I can only do what my body lets me and I believe I'm getting a strong message - LISTEN or ELSE. Keep pushing and we gonna push back. I'm trying to listen...sigh.

Off to take my Meds and go to bed. Ya know, there is nothing cute about a bag of drugs by your side. Not a single thing.

Being RELENTLESS!


9/28/13

Race Report: IM 70.3 Cozumel

 

photo 2The goal was to finish. Last years race was devastating.Pulled off the course in 2012 46 miles into the bike sick as a dog was enough to break your spirit right then and there. Obviously, since I signed up as soon as registration opened for 2013, I wasn’t built to break.

 

Time for redemption.

 

Yet, in Jan 2013, my body started to fail me. the foot injury, despite 2 x-rays, 2 podiatrists, 1 chiropractor, ended up having to resolve on its own. It took damn near into June before I could run pain free. I also got sick with the flu, then bronchitis. I has some other physical challenges…old lady ‘ish…that also set me on my heels. By then my training, especially the run, but pretty much everything else, SUFFERED. I pushed through. I endured. I had signed up for several races so I had to keep moving forward, no matter how slow. I probably should have sat out a few and fully recovered. Hind sight is 20/20. I paid the price.

 

When I reviewed my early season races thru June, it was a comedy of errors and pain. It took the Maryland Olympic Duathlon with the dramatical finish for me to confront reality that if I didn’t get some help, then going back to Cozumel was going to be a total waste.

 

I enlisted the help and coaching of Danny & Suzy Serpico and the goal was set. Bottom line, they could help me, but let’s be real….with starting up in July on the Serpico plan, the goal for Cozumel was to FINISH. PERIOD.

 

I could live with that. As training progressed and smaller goals were achieved, my confidence built. I WAS going to get it done. I WAS going to finish. I was going to need every second up to the cut off to do it. There was going to be no room for error. I was going to have to give it my all on the swim and bike to buy me enough time on the run. Jesus be some bio freeze and a pain free foot. Grant me Your mercy on that run course to give all I had and bring me in. This was my prayer.

 

IMG_3824God had bigger plans for me. Little did I know as I toed the line last Sunday morning that everything I am; everything I knew to be true would be tested. Little did I know that what would happen and what I did; how I reacted would be a testimony.

 

I needed all 8 hours. Matter of fact I needed all the time till the cutoff – 8:30 till the clock stops. EVERY SINGLE SECOND. It could be done.

 

The night before the race, I was laying out my clothes. I was wearing my West Point Triathlon Team gear. I kept hearing in my head…DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY…you WILL do it. So, I wrote down this part down on my transition card (which I had already memorized so many years ago):

 

Duty, Honor Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith, when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn

~ GEN Douglas MacArthur

 

Again, little did I know that I would have to fall back on this numerous times during the race. So here goes:

 

SWIM 45:53 (Beat last years time by 13 min)

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The morning was glorious. There was a short rain storm during transition set up but by the time the elite athletes took to the water the sky was clear, the air cool and the water beautiful and calm. I was in the 1st wave of age groupers at 7:06 am. I got in the water and swam what I believed was a steady, even pace. I got to the turn around, looked at my watch – 18 min!! and told myself to SWIM LIKE A SHARK IS BEHIND ME AND YOU LOOK LIKE A SEAL (I resemble that remark) I thought for sure I could co 35-40 min – not speedy gonzalez, but shiiiiiittt!!! GO LISA! SWIM, GIRL, SWIM!

 

When I got to the final turn buoy to the finish gate, it was if I had entered an underwater boxing ring. People were grabbing, pulling, punching. Someone grabbed my leg/ankle and pulled my timing chip loose. I had to tread water to keep it from sliding further down my foot and to the bottom about 30 ft. down to tighten it back. I had to do it twice. Finally secured, I got my fight on and swam that last 100 m like a prize fighter. No more open, relaxed hands, I now had fists! I threw my elbows into it and kicked anything that touched me on my way to that ramp like my life depended on it. I was OUT! I think I could have done 38-40 if it wasn’t for the timing chip incident but I hit my swim goal. Nuff said.

 

T1: 7:03

It is a long run from swim exit to the transition area. Even longer if you were in the last row. I had my transition card with exactly what to do ready. Followed it. Still took more time that I thought.

 

Bike 4:23:14

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I had already done the math. To finish in under 4 hours (less would be better), I needed to average 14-15mph. I was feeling good, elated even despite the fact that everyone ( and I mean EVERY. SINGLE. ONE) was blowing by me yelling “vamanos”. Uggaaaahhh! I knew I had to pick up the pace, I felt I had the gas in the tank to make a go for it. My toes started to have severe cramps, but instead of stopping, I loosened my shoe, pulled my foot out, pressed my heel into the back of the shoe and moved out like I stole something.I was pulling it off.

 

TIP: Training on the hills of Howard County DOES NOT prepare you for a flat course. AT ALL. Note to self…next time, put in some significant hours on the trainer. Some good ole Sufferfest will maximum suffering will get you ready. You get to rest on hills. Flat courses require you to pedal ALL THE DAMN TIME. No rest – EVER!

 

N.E.WAY…The clouds started to roll in. I thought nothing of it except, “Sweet! No more sun on my back.” I was thinking pushing this last 20 miles might hurt me on the run, but I had bio freeze waiting for me in T2 I would just have to suck it up. If I had maintained what I was doing I would have 3:30 for the half before they shut it down. I thought…Imma do this!

 

…and that is when, as my husband described it to me, FORCE MAJEURE – an unexpected or uncontrollable event; an extraordinary event beyond the control of parties (ME) – happened.

 

The skies opened up and dumped its entire contents on the island of Cozumel. I went from being able to see almost a mile out, to not being able to see 50 ft. in front of me. From bone dry road to streams so deep in the road (and moving) that when my pedal hit the lowest point, my foot was under water. I was fording streams on my bike – unsure if there were hazards in the road; unsure of how to handle a bike in that much rain; wondering if I should keep riding since where there is thunder, there must be lightening, right? The aid station was abandoned. No police. I never saw another race official until I was on the run. I had no idea where to go as I got closer to the Bike In. I couldn’t see the cones until I got up on them. If it wasn’t for people in doorways pointing the way I’m not sure how I would have made it in. Ron and Erin told me later that one of the Elite athletes stopped and asked if they knew who that lady was who just came in. He said, “Impressive. I wouldn’t have continued in this rain. It is not safe.”

 

 

Duty, Honor, Country…to build courage when courage seems to fail. It was failing me. I was skerred FO SHO but I kept moving. I slowed down, stayed in the center of the road – moved forward. It cost me 30+ min. 30 min I couldn’t make up anywhere else. 30 mins I absolutely needed. I entered T2 with a heavy heart, knowing I didn’t have an under 3 hour half marathon in me…but I damn well was going to try.

 

T2: 7:53

Why?!!! When I got in there, I racked my bike and looked around for my run bag. NOT THERE!!! I freaked out. The bag, as was told to us at the mandatory meeting would be at the bike rack. I’m screaming at the transition volunteers WHERE IS MY BAG?!!!…and nobody spoke English. I sobbed. Then I yelled at myself to pull your sh$t together. GET A GRIP, LISA! and in my best Spanglish…”Donde esta mi bag roja!!!!” They asked for my number, I guess, since all I understood was “numero” 5-9-1. Blank stare. 5-9-1!! Blank stare. Blink. CINCO-NUEVE-UNO!!!! Despair. My best laid plans…poof. I threw on my socks, shoes, belt and ran out of transition.

 

Total race time was now 5:24 min. I need to do the half in 3:06 to beat the cut off/shut down.

 

Duty, Honor, Country…to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith…to create hope when hope becomes forlorn

.

RUN: Approx. 3:26

IMG_3983Chanting, calling cadence in my head…I was going  to give it a good ole run for my money. It was still pouring on and off. There were huge puddles/streams in the street that we all had to run or at times wade through. The experience was surreal. I kept moving forward.

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IMG_3950

 

As I approached the turn around at 6:05 miles – right in front of the the finish chute – I looked at my time and KNEW that I wouldn’t make it in time on the second loop. I actually thought – entertained the notion – as I made the turn and had to choose a lane…finish line or second lap, that I could just go to the finish line. Nobody would know. It would be over. I would know and I sobbed as I chose the second loop. Cheaters never win. That’s not who I am. The despair and anguish HAD to be all over. I knew I wouldn’t make the cut off…but I would give it my best shot. I would still cross that finish line.

 

…and then my husband and Princess Cara ran that second loop with me following on the sidewalk the entire 6:05 long azz miles.

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I finally ran across the finish line 20 min after the cutoff. The clock was off. I was alone. No finish line picture except for the one my mother took. No announcer. No officials. No anything. Just me and the finish line. I crossed.

 

I felt like a failure. I cried as I stood there and The FireMarshall walked up beside me and said, “Remember your rally points. You came to finish and you did. That was the most courageous performance I’ve ever seen. You are an Ironwoman in my book. Head up.”

 

Si se puede – YES YOU CAN. YES IT CAN BE DONE.

 

I DID!

9/16/13

GIVEAWAY: Reebock Spartan Race & GovX

 

logo7THIS IS…SPARTAN!!! Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Their events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal. Their events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone!

 

Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor

 

Sound interesting. Looking for a new challenge? WAIT…THERE IS MORE!!!

 

SPARTAN RACE PARTNERS WITH GOVX TO OFFER DISCOUNTED RACE REGISTRATION FOR MILITARY AND FIRST RESPONDERS

 

govxReebok Spartan Race and GovX are proud to announce the formation of one of the largest race registration discount programs for U.S. Military service members and government first responders through the GovX.com network. Proud of our military and first responder community, Spartan and GovX wanted to bring something special to those groups as a way to say thank you and provide support and acknowledgement.

 

GovX is the leading website devoted exclusively to serving verified U.S. Military personnel and federal, state and local first responders by offering secured access to exclusive pricing on events, tickets and premium products. Through GovX, Spartan Race will offer a special $30 discount off all U.S. race registrations to verified active, reserve and veteran U.S. Military service members along with active first responders. This is the first time Spartan Race will be offering this level of discount, as well as including first responders in such a special offer!

 

“Our events, some of which are designed by various branches of the U.S. Military and top Special Operations units, are extremely popular with servicemen and women,” said Spartan Race Founder Joe DeSena. “Through its qualified and verified network, GovX provides a simple solution to meet our desire to provide discounted ticketing to those who serve and protect.”

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This another first that Spartan Race is bringing to the table with the Govx partnership. Spartan Race is the only race of its kind to have ever held a competition on a military base. And as a company, is dedicated to providing unique experiences and opportunities to those who serve, including a recent satellite race that connected troops in Afghanistan via live stream with their families who concurrently ran the race. Spartan Race is able to offer this discount by using GovX’s proprietary online verification technology that ensures controlled access to GovX.com exclusively for military personnel or first responders. This authorization process ensures accurate and quick registrations to only those who protect and serve. To date, more than three million users have access to the GovX e-commerce network.

 

To access discounts for Spartan Race and the entire GovX network, eligible members can register for free at www.GovX.com.

spartan_trifecta

SOOOOO!! Are you ready? Looking for that new challenge? How about a Spartan Race?

You don’t have to be military or a first responder to participate, but for those of you that are, you should check out www.GovX.com to get your $30 discount on the Spartan Races and on many other events.

 

And just for checking out the Spartan Races and GovX, I am giving away one free entry to ANY open heat in any 2013-2104  Spartan Race in the continental US.

ENTER NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9/15/13

Race Report: Iron Girl Rocky Gap

Winners3

This is all late but I have been a busy bee getting ready for IM70.3 Cozumel – The Redemption Tour (we will talk about my level of nervousness later), but I wanted to share a few thoughts from the Iron Girl Rocky Gap.

 

I was part of the awesome Team “I Need New Friends”. Where did we get that name, you ask? Well, what kind of friend signs you up for a race in February, calls you and asks what are you doing on Sept 8th, (why, nothing, yet) and says, “Good, mark yourself down as the swim leg on a relay that weekend.” MmmmKay. And I did.

 

I love the Iron Girl races – they are all women – because of the level of support, camaraderie and friendly competition that happens there. It is just a great way to get into the sport of triathlon.

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I went there all happy go lucky, thankful, that all I had to do was swim. I had grandiose ideas that since that is all I gotta do, that I will go all out and leave nothing in the reserve tank and hopefully get the half mile in 20 min or less. Well, I didn’t really plan it well enough…and when you fail to plan… mmmm. I got out there and swam as fast as I could – like a sprint. I would get about 100m and just before my heart would explode and arms fall off (that’s what it felt like to me) I would have to breast stroke (if that’s what you call it) for about 30 sec and resume. It was like hitch starting over and over. I should have pushed at a pace that was uncomfortable but I could maintain the whole way  (think tempo trainer). I finished in 24 min and when I can out and ran into transition, I was spent.

 

Ming and Misty held it down themselves, putting in a great showing – smiling the whole time. I’ve known my friend Misty for a while, but got to know Ming during the trip to Rocky Gap – and she is awesome. I’m proud of my relay team. We all did our best; giving it all.

MingBike IMG_3725

I will race with these ladies any day!

 

We stayed and cheered on as many people as we could before we HAD to get our stuff out of the resort and get on the road. The only disappointment I had was in the Resort itself. This year they jacked up the price of the room 2x over last year and then wouldn’t grant any late check outs. REALLY. IG Rocky Gap practically took over the resort and for ONE weekend they wouldn’t accommodate the race participants. Won’t stay there next year. HUMPH.

 

Enjoy the short slide show…

8/28/13

RACE REPORT: 24th Annual West Point Sprint Triathlon

black_knight_logo

I missed cheering on my sisters in Tri at Iron Girl Columbia because the 24th Annual West Point Sprint Triathlon was on the same date – August 4th.

 

Ever since I started doing Triathlons, I wanted to participate in this race. Why? Well, DUH! I’m a gray hog. I’m the 12th Man. West Point is my Rockbound Highland Home. I am the Long Gray Line. ALL DAT.

 

DUTY HONOR COUNTRY!

 

I HAD to do this race. AWESOMENESS!

 

My Sherpa and Spectathlete, The FireMarshall, drove me up to West Point, NY and our classmates, Irv & Mavis Smith, put us up for the weekend. It turned out to be an awesome weekend as I was asked to make a presentation to the new Superintendent, got to shop at the Cadet Store, hung out in the new fangled Grant Hall (and am getting my very own DEAN APPROVED coffee mug) AND spent time with several of our classmates up at Bull Pond. WHO KNEW that there were two cottages up there and you could rent out the whole place for the weekend. A lake retreat up near Lake Frederick. Our classmates Poly & John Combs rented it out for the weekend and invited all our classmates that were in town to come up for a get together. I mooched a little early on Friday by getting in an OWS at Bull Pond. More Awesomeness.

bullpondIMG_3273 

The race was on Sunday. The goal that my coach gave me was simple. NO PIDDLING IN TRANSITION. Get in/Get out. Cut my transition times significantly. With that as my only concern, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

west_point_tri_graphic2

We got to the Camp Buckner early but kinda late for the limited parking and had to walk about a mile to the transition area. The FireMarshall took his role as Sherpa seriously and carried all my gear and pushed my bike all the way to transition. I was a all emotional as we walked down the hill to transition together and was bummed that I didn’t get a picture of us to put side by side with the one below taken about 28 years ago. All I have are some shots Ron took of me running up that same hill. The memories came flooding back every step of the way.

           RON STEPTOE 025 IMG_3475

He handed everything off to me and I got things set up and then hung out with other West Pointers I met in transition. …and then, just like that, my girl – my BFF, rides in on her Harley to cheer me on. When I saw her I started crying. I told her that it was because of the Wounded Warrior that had just started the swim (and that did get me misty), but It was really seeing her. You just don’t know how much it means to have your own personal cheering squad and paparazzi. I know how much energy and time it takes to hang out for 2-3 hours (or longer) while we swim, bike, run. Being a spectathlete is hard work. And she rode and hour to cheer. ILAGATOR!!!

 IMG_3290 IMG_3291 - Copy

So let’s get to the race…

Athena Place2

SWIM 800m (23:55): The swim was in Lake Popolopen and wet suit legal at 72 degrees, but I didn’t bring mine. It was warm enough for me to swim as for Army. My only concern was I didn’t think they put out enough buoys. You had to swim out about 100m, make a hard right (without a buoy to guide you) following the shore line and then make a straight beeline to the 1st turn buoy. Yeah, sighting and fighting was the name of the game and I believe I lost some time in the cluster fugg trying to get around that corner. Other than that, I felt great on the swim and got out the water not feeling exhausted.

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Bike – 14 mile (1:07:18): Hill work is the name of the game. This was a challenging course – to me. Not in the short steep hills of Howard County challenging, but in the mile long (or it seemed even longer) steep climbs. It got to the point where, again, I simply did not look up – EVER – until all of a sudden I realized that I could pedal easier and was going down hill. I just kept spinning and moving my legs, chanting “Pull, Pull” until it was over.

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Run – 5k (44:44): It is what it is. I’m getting better. At least I can keep moving and the foot pain is pretty much gone (then again, I wear a compression sock). AND you can’t help but hustle up when ILAGATOR is behind you yelling “I’M RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!” Well, I couldn’t have that. And when I thought I was all alone out there on course, thinking “OH MY GOD. I’M DEAD ASS LAST. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.” I heard Ila’s voice into the woods…”LIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSAAAAAAA!!! GOOOOOOOOOO!!!” I had to keep moving. “COME ONNNNN, LIIIIISSSSAAAA!!!! ALMOST THERE!” It was the energy boost that kept me going.

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Did I achieve the goal? YES. I cut my average transition times in half. Another milestone…I cut my clock time down by an average of 16 min. Now I am comparing sprint races that are variable distances and terrain, but it is close enough for government work for me.

 

But the coup de grĂ¢ce to the race for me was finding out (all after the fact) that I had place 3rd in the Athena Class. Granted, only 4 of the 11 registered actually participated – WHO CARES – Imma take it. Made my day, week, month, year!!

Athena Place

BUCKFLUFFY!!!

 

I put together a little slide show from the day. Stick to the end to see the OLD GRAD WOBBLE.