Saturday, December 28, 2013

Coming back is hard

For the past six weeks, I have been staying off my feet from running. I was having some issues at the back of my heel right around the achilles tendon/bursa area below:

I figured if I went to the doctor, they would just tell me to stay off my feet for several weeks so I went ahead and prescribed my own medicine and saved me a trip. Besides, I've already been to the doctor too many times lately (strep for me, strep for my son, allergic reaction to cats for my son where his eye was almost swollen shut, etc.). I figured while I was sitting around for 6 weeks, I might as well load up on holiday treats and beverages to the point that I probably gained about a million pounds over the holidays. NOT a good recipe for triathlon success!

With temperatures in the mid 50's, I decided to head out on a run today. I figured my heels had enough time, with this beautiful weather, I would be a fool not to at least attempt a run. Well, there are several things wrong with that thought process: 1) I've had a horrible cough/congestion/possible strep (again...) for the past 5 days 2) Did I say I gained a million pounds? 3) I decided now was as best time as any to try out my new orthoTics (note: I have obviously been misspelling orthoDics incorrectly my entire life and just found out today. This brings up totally different issues as I am part of the grammar police!!!). 4) I decided this would be the first time I would attempt a Strava run directly from my cell phone app and I wasn't exactly sure how it all worked. 4) I was totally overdressed for a 50+ degree run.

But, given all that, I did a run/walk of a little over a mile and I felt pretty good physically. Tomorrow I will attempt another short run with the orthoTics and maybe by next week I'll be able to wear them with each run.

Time to get back at it. I can't complete Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 without some training!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

There's a new year coming...

2013 wasn't a good year as far as me keeping up with my blog. So, my goal for 2014 is to write AT LEAST one time/week every week. Do you think I can do it? Additionally, I need more followers for my blog. I don't like sitting here writing away and only 10 people see what I say. Will you be my follower? Maybe I can start giving away stuff to my followers and that will draw people to me. What do you think? Let's try it out...

Follow me by Dec 31, 2013 and you will be entered to win a packet of PowerBar products which I will give away at the beginning of 2014 to one lucky person! Will it be you?

What are your goals for the following year? Not resolutions...GOALS. I have already set some for myself:

1.Start eating more healthy foods by keeping a food diary, starting with 30 days, on
2. Start back on my team training plan. Download it, do it, and stay accountable to it by tracking my workouts on with my Rev3 teammates. I'm doing Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 this year and will need to stay committed to my training plan in order to successfully complete the September race.
3. Fit into my "skinnier" pair of jeans by Jan 31, 2014 by cutting back on bad carbs, drinking less "empty calories," and eating more protein and veggies.
4. Begin a weight training program 2x/week by joining Fitness Evolution with my roommate for the month of January. Might as well join the new years resolutionists since I haven't been to the gym in so long! Will revisit this goal at the end of January.
5. Drink 8 glasses of water daily. I'm hoping the purchase of a cute drinking bottle will help me attain this goal. I stink at getting in my daily water.

Besides health goals, I want to write some goals related to my personal life, my spiritual life, my business, etc. What are some of the goals you have set or want to set for yourself? Let's get started...only 9 more days until the new year!

Saturday, September 21, 2013 numbers

As I was on my ride today there were a lot of numbers in my head so I decided to write them all down just to clear my head, if nothing else! 

0: Times we got lost (for those that know me, this is a huge accomplishment as of late)
1: Time Tracy almost got crushed by a car
1: Time Tracy almost got attacked by a monster bug
1: Time we saw someone holding a bike helmet on their handlebars but NOT wearing it (her blonde locks did look beautiful in a Farrah Fawcett kind of way)
2: Stories about bodily functions
3: Live animals that crossed in front of me (8-point buck, snake, and, of course, a squirrel)
3.5: Crazy hard-core triathlete chicks on a hilly SUFFERFEST ride (see below for 0.5)
4: Roads with "town" or "ville" in their name
5+: Times Tracy asked people to please wear helmets on the trail.
10.4: Percent grade of biggest hill
18: Miles Renee got to ride with us (the 0.5 of a chick above)
25: Minutes late starting our ride
30: Dollars I had to pay my son for babysitting
32: Ounces of purchased drinks along the way (Gatorade & Coke)
42: Tracy's highest MPH speed for the day (you probably don't want to know the lowest! Maybe 2! LOL)
73: Miles rode
700: Roadkill (okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration...or not) 
4653: Feet of elevation

But, the best part of my day was doing this.....

Sufferfest September is in the books!

Friday, September 20, 2013


Do you get excited when you receive a REAL letter in the mail? I sure do. But, this is better than that.

Do you get excited when someone in the line in front of you at Starbucks buys your coffee for you? Oh yeah, that's great...but this is better than that.

What if someone says they'll handle the check at a restaurant and you can eat anything you want. Lobster and Steak for dinner, right? Pretty awesome, right? Oh yeah, but this is even better than that.

So, what in the world could I possibly be talking about?

As you know, I've been a member of Team Rev3 for the past year and NOW IS THE TIME for YOU to see if you have what it takes to be part of the REVOLUTION!!! Applications for Team Rev3 are now available through current team members and will be available soon on Rev3's website. Are you ready to ROCK THE R????

Email me if you are interested in receiving an application!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

2014 Race Calendar

It seems far too early to already be deciding which races I'm going to attend in 2014. But, 2014 is going to be another big year for me so I've got to get it all laid out now! Of course, things are apt to change (as they always do) before the next season arrives but this is what I've got so far:

May 18: Rev3 Knoxville - Probably Olympic distance (I have to prove myself here!)
June 15: Rev3 Williamsburg - Probably 70.3 distance (I'm not the only one that has things to prove here!)
July 7: General Smallwood Sprint (please don't let it be 112 degree "feels like" temperature again!)
August 17: Luray Sprint (hoping for no cramps!)
Sept: Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 (Going for time this year!)

What does YOUR calendar look like for next year? Share some of your favorite races with me!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Race Report: Rev3 Williamsburg

Race: Rev3 Williamsburg 
Date: June 23, 2013
Location: Jamestown, VA  
Race Type: Olympic Distance: 0.9 mi swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2 mile run 
Division: Age Group 45-49
Time: 3:28
------------ --
Pre race:

It was so exciting for me to arrive in Williamsburg and share the weekend with not only my Rev3 teammates but also my local Team Z friends. This is a weekend that will go down in my memory bank for a long time to come.

After arriving at the expo, my first stop post-packet pickup, was the Biotta Naturals tent where I helped the queen of beet juice, Jen Small, share the wonderful nutritional benefits of beet juice with the expo attendees.
Photo by: Miro Lehky

Of course, it didn't take me long to drop by the Rev3 green screen for some great memories. Here are some of my favorites:

Yeah, I'm pretty much a drama queen. Like you didn't know that already...

Saturday evening was our Team Z dinner. The room was totally packed and we had the amazing SimplyStu as the MC of our great event. As you may remember from my dreaded DNF report from Knoxville, Stu was my lifesaver that gave me the shoes and socks right off his feet to keep mine warm...and he didn't even know me at the time!
Photo by Miro Lehky

Also in attendance that night were professional triathletes Lauren Goss and Andrew Starykowicz along with the one and only "boss man" Charlie Patten (owner of Rev3). 

The night ended with a stay at the Williamsburg B&B (aka Jan Stover's parents house) looking at this little pond, relaxing for the rest of the evening...

...and watching Jess try out the cool bike we found in the basement...

Oh yeah...and royally screwing up my race tats!

So, you're probably all waiting for me to get to the actual race part, right? Well, the pre-race is just a tad more always! :)

Here are the deets:

Swim (0.9 miles): 46:29 17th in Age group
I hadn't prepared for the swim. Heck, I barely have even prepared for this race. The last few months have been crazy busy and my training has really been behind schedule. I knew going into this race that I would be doing it for two reasons: 1) to prove myself after my last DNF and 2) to have fun!

During the swim I felt pretty comfortable and relaxed. SO DIFFERENT from Knoxville. The water temps were fabulous (still wetsuit legal...but barely...) so I swam without my wetsuit. I was in the last wave (of course, that's where the old women always get put!) which is always a bummer for me. But, I felt strong. There was a current getting to the first buoy but I saw my turning spot faster than I thought I would. I had swam this same course at Patriots half a few years ago and remembered getting way off course so I made sure not to do that this time. The James River can be very rough at times so I took that into consideration going into the race. During Patriots I remember getting into a rhythm with the waves but that never happened during this race. I did okay going from buoy 1 to buoy 2 with the exception of getting kicked in the face, hit on the leg so many times by the same guy that I got a cramp in my leg, and swam on top of more times than I can count. But, hey, that's triathlon for you!

The only time I felt I could have done better was going from the 2nd buoy to the shore. The current was really strong by that point and I felt I got off course with every stroke. So, I forced myself to push to the right.

After the race, I heard numerous people say how horrific the swim was for them and how many people were pulled from the race (or took themselves out) during the swim. I can't say it was all that bad for me. My time wasn't spectacular but my swim felt comfortable. My last swim of this same distance was only about 30 seconds faster and, given I haven't been in the pool much lately, I'll take it!

T1: 3:51
It was a long trip to transition but as I compared my transition to Patriots, I've shaved off about  1 1/2 minutes from T1. Pretty sweet.

Bike (24 miles) : 1:19:40 11th place in Age group; 18.07 pace
Race day was the first time I had used the multisport feature on the Garmin I had just borrowed from my friend (since I lost mine at Knoxville). When I got on the bike I realized I was still in the swim function mode and that is exactly how the watch stayed for the rest of the race. So, I raced the entire race "naked." Normally if I found myself pacing too slow I would speed up to improve my overall time on both the bike and the run. But, today I would have to do it all by feel!

The bike course was perfect for me - pretty much as flat as they come. Since the half rev and the Olympic rev started at basically the same time, some of the pro field was lapping me and for brief moments in time I was riding with them! It was great to be able to do that if only for 3 seconds or so!

Overall my bike leg was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I just attempted to push as much as I could yet stay in Zone 2. Result: 18.07 pace. Not too shabby for "riding naked."

T2: 1:05
Pretty uneventful. I did put on socks which I normally don't do!

Run (6.2 miles): 1:17:13 19th place in Age group
Toward the end of the bike I could feel the same leg cramping that cramped during the swim so I was really concerned about that going into the run. I had been pretty consistent in my run training up until about the last month before the race when I made a decision that greatly affected my run workouts. But, I knew it was too late to worry about that now. I knew I just needed to somehow get these last 6.2 miles in the bank and cross the finish line.

As with any run coming off the bike, my legs felt like jello. I hadn't done enough BRICKS this year for sure but I didn't think my legs would feel this bad. I tried to get my mojo on the run and it just never came! Once I saw the HILL on the course I knew I was in trouble. I was expecting the Patriots SUPER FLAT run but this would not be it! This run course was a little more challenging than that. I did a lot of walking on this course - probably way more than I should. But, I was really feeling that calf muscle...and felt it for days afterwards.

I wasn't proud of my run or my run time by any means. But, I'm proud that I've recovered from my DNF!

Summary & Lessons Learned

  • If you want your body to feel good at the end of a race you should train for your race!
  • Beet juice rocks even if people give you funny faces about it.
  • Always be thankful for Jan and her parents for the Williamsburg B&B hook up!
  • Having a race with my two favorite teams makes me a happy, happy girl.
  • Always hang out with teammates post-race (see pic on the right)...but never mention Howie Mandel during that gathering!
  • Read directions and learn how to apply race tats before screwing it all up!
  • Never let Patti Jackson point a gun in my face.
  • Never ever hit SimplyStu in the face or he will embarrass you publicly. Right Melissa?
  • Always have lots of kisses for my teammies

And most importantly...ALWAYS be on the lookout for Miro with his camera...

Next Stop: Luray Double! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mini Me and her first tri of the season

I love writing my own race reports but I've never had the opportunity to write a race report for someone else. Of course, I doubt my 7 yr old daughter, Celeste, will see the benefits of writing a race report until she gets a little older so I might as well write them for her!

It was a cold morning as she started off her race - the Reston Youth Triathlon "Be AMYazing!"  She doesn't look too cold in the picture here but, believe me, she was being forced to smile! This picture of her in her Rev3 shimmer suit was taken right after she took off her shoes, long pants, shirt, and jacket! It's a good thing the pool was heated!

This was Celeste's second time racing this triathlon and she really loves it. The proceeds of this race go to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation and was started a local youth who lost her childhood friend, Amy Boyle, to a brain tumor. Celeste is all about giving to charities so this race is right up her ally.

There are many unique things about this race that make it a fun and interesting race for youth. It's always exciting to hear the wonderful George Pekarsky (age 11) open the race by playing the National Anthem on his violin. George is following in the footsteps of his father, Pavel, who has played the National Anthem for the opening of the Reston Triathlon for years. I love the picture below (right) where George is standing in the background as his father plays (picture taken from Pavel's Facebook page). The great thing is that after these amazing violinists play the National Anthem, they head out on the course to race! Unfortunately, George wasn't able to race this year due to being a little under the weather. We hope he's feeling better soon!

Celeste has been training a lot for this race. She has been going to the pool at least two times a week and has been training with Tri Team Xcel. Being part of a triathlon team has helped her grow in ways I never expected. I mean, as a mom I can teach her until I'm blue in the face but until she sees me as a coach (I'm her coach on TTX) she doesn't really pay much attention!

She improved greatly on her swim this year and was the first one out of the water in her wave! Last year she had to receive help from the lifeguard (although I felt the lifeguard jumped in a little prematurely). She finished the 50 yd swim in 1:36, over a minute improvement from last year. The last month or so before the race we weren't consistent in our swimming routine so I do feel she could improve a little more on the swim but I'll take the blame for that one!

T1: As a mom, I am NEVER disappointed in my children at a race. As long as they perform to the best of their ability, I don't care if they come in first or last. This race was no different. I don't want to say much here because my words may end up just getting me in trouble. But, suffice it to say we'll need to practice SPEEDY transitions in future workouts! Of course, in past races we haven't had to deal with putting on too many clothes because it's been warm outside. Attempting to put on shorts over a wet bathing suit does take some time and practice!

Celeste had a very speedy bike this year - over a 3:00 improvement! She has been working hard on her bike all winter long! I think she's probably going to need a bigger bike in the VERY near future, though. She seems to have outgrown this one! She had three speed bumps and a "big hill" (her words) to go over and she did it without stopping!

As always, Celeste was a strong runner. She has learned a lot of things about her form (which was already pretty good) during Tri Team Xcel workouts. So, at the finish line she looked pretty AMYazing...and very happy! This is my second time working as the race photographer for the AMYazing race and I'm always excited to work the finish line to see smiles like this! 

Comparing Celeste's results from last year she had a huge overall performance. I'm one proud mommy!

Transition 1
Transition 2

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My first DNF

Prior to this weekend, my thoughts on a DNF (did not finish) looked similar to this:

My motto was "Death before DNF!" I mean, I didn't even have a DNF on my bucket list for heaven's sake! So, why would I even consider doing something like that? I considered myself in the same category with greats such as Siam Welch or Wendy Ingraham - someone that would CRAWL across that darn finish line no matter WHAT my condition.

But, my beliefs were totally shattered this past weekend when, after the swim portion of my Olympic-distance race, I was out...with my first DNF.

Being the analytical person that I am, I've been analyzing the crap out of my race and race weekend to see exactly what it was that I did/didn't do that caused my first DNF.

I started the weekend extremely excited. It was the first time I would race with Team Rev3 and I was happy at the chance to get to meet and race with some of my new teammates and proudly wear the Rev3 kit! 

After a 7+ hour drive to Knoxville, I arrived at the race expo and ran into several of my teammates and the "boss man" (Charlie) almost immediately. Although I've never met most of them, I have drawn close to them virtually so it was easier to connect to them than I thought it might be. 
The first night, Rev3 had an amazing event called the Glow Run. The money raised from the Glow Run was
used to benefit former University of Tennessee swimmer Nicole Gross, injured in the Boston bombings. Local news reported over 1500 people attended this race! How amazing that the city of Knoxville came out to support such an amazing cause! 

I was excited to run the Glow run with Celeste. She had seen pictures of the finish line and was just as excited as I was. I was so proud of her for running...and not walking...the entire race! She's my little glow bug!

On Saturday the rain started falling. I knew it was going to be a cold and wet race so I was trying to stay positive about it. But, I wasn't in the right "head space" all weekend long. I needed someone to just smack me up the side of the head and say "GET OUT OF YOUR FUNK!!!" To be honest, I've been in a funk for a long time. I mean, SERIOUSLY's MAY and I'm still wearing a COAT!!!! I need spring, at a minimum, and I'd be REALLY HAPPY with summer!!! 

Saturday afternoon was a TON of fun! Celeste and I registered and raced the Little Rev Adventure Race. OMG! This is the next best thing to racing The Amazing Race (which I've been DYING to do!). I think adventure racing needs to be on my race schedule for next year for SURE! I'm totally lovin' it! Celeste loved it as well! Won't be our last one! Celeste had met a friend (Gabby) while at the race so we brought Gabby along with us to race the Little Rev. This is our post-race pic.

After Little Rev I decided it was time to test out the waters in the practice swim. So, I geared up (well, almost...thanks to Jill Poon for lending me her swim cap AND goggles) into my blueseventy wetsuit and headed down to the river. It was cold outside so I knew the water was going to be cold, too. And, rumor had it the temps were below 60 degrees (Did I say I hate the cold??). When I first jumped in, the water literally took my breath away! But, as I stood there doing a doggy paddle it became "bearable." 

All this great fun was leading up to what I had hoped would be a great race. Even though I felt really out of sorts most of the weekend, I figured once race time arrived I'd be ready to rock! 

My roomies and I drove down to the race venue early and parked at transition. We got transition set up and then decided to go to the start line (about 1/2 mile away) to watch the 70.3 swim start. I made the mistake of not bringing flip flops to the race start so I stood around (like many others) in the cold and walked through lots of puddles (because it rained all weekend) of water just waiting for my start time. Huge major props to SimplyStu Triathlon for literally giving me the shoes and socks off his own feet to keep mine warm for just a few minutes.

Once it was time for my wave to start, I went down to the river and jumped in, hand-in-hand, with my Rev3 teammate Jaime Dix into what I was told was 58 degree water! After our heads came up from out of the water, we just sat there looking at each other, encouraging each other to breathe. Jaime said "we're doing this together as a team" and she would never realize the power her words had on me that day. Throughout my toughest swim ever her words would continue to ring through my mind.

The horn blew for our swim to start and off we went! Going to the first buoy was against the current but it wasn't that far so I knew it wouldn't be an issue. I tried hard to get into Zone 2 for my swim as my wonderful  Team Z coaches had always taught me. But, my heart was racing like crazy. So, within minutes I decided I should roll over on my back and do the backstroke. However, rolling on my back wasn't helping a BIT and my heart was actually racing even faster. So, I rolled back over, tried a little breast stroke, tried a little doggy paddle, and tried to continue on. But, the current seemed to actually be moving me backwards rather than forward. I kept thinking "I just need to make it to the first buoy and then just a bit to the second buoy and then my swim would be with the current the rest of the way and I could potentially set a PR on this course." But, I literally could not get my heart rate to slow down. I tried everything I could but nothing seemed to be working. It took me a long time to get to the first buoy and I watched as everyone swam past me. Never in my life have I had such personal one-on-one conversations with the kayakers and lifeguards than in this race. When I finally made it back to shore (about twice as long as it would have normally taken me) I was wiped out both physically and mentally.

As I tried to move from swim to transition (about 1/4 mile) I knew I was in trouble. I was cold...REALLY cold. I knew I needed to run to transition (I always do!) but I could barely get my body to walk, let alone run. Then it emotional breakdown!

Looking back over my entire weekend I tried to figure out what this emotional breakdown was all about. It wasn't until I went to see my counselor days later that I figured it out. See, I have a problem understanding the FEELINGS that are underneath all the logic that goes on in my mind. So, as she asked me questions about those moments of emotional breakdown I was able to identify the feelings. See, as a mom of two and a coach to youth triathletes, I never want them to think of me as a quitter. The moment I came out of the water and struggled to transition, I knew I needed to pull out of this race. But, I didn't want to be labeled as a quitter because that label meant I was inadequate and unimportant (FEELINGS!). When I reached the transition area, I found several teammates and some others who said "it's okay." I remember specifically telling them "I don't want to stop but I know I need to stop." It was a mental game I have never experienced in my life. I kept thinking about my friend, Patti Jackson, who kept going in her Full Rev last year at Cedar Point. Patti had a ton of things going against her but she kept going and finished the race. Why couldn't I keep going? Again, those feelings came rushing back into my mind. But, you know what, I don't have to have those feelings - those are just lies I'm being told by the devil himself. And, I came to that realization days later (darn it, why did it take so long!).

As I think about the lessons I learned from this race a few things stood out to me:
1. I'm not a failure
2. Understanding a DNF on a personal level will help me be a better coach
3. "Did not finish" is better than "did not start" which trumps "did not try."
4. Patti Jackson is a rock star!
5. People that completed this race are rock stars!
6. I love my Rev3 teammates - particularly those who had heart-to-heart conversations with me about my experience - Pam, Jill and Jaime in particular!
4. Never, EVER, EVER swim in 58 degree water EVER again!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Race-day strategies

For those who are new to running a race, having a race-day strategy might seem like something foreign. Some people get discouraged after they race because they didn't reach the goal time they had intended. Others find they made an adjustment on race day that caused them to have poor performance or finish the race in the medical tent. Below are some race-day strategies to consider:

·        Don’t do something new: Never EVER do something on race day that you haven’t tested in your training. This includes what you eat/drink the night before the race, the morning of the race, and during the race; what you wear; and how you warm up.
·        Warm up appropriately: Recall what you did during your training to warm up. Don’t let the excitement of race day stop you from getting an appropriate warm up. It may take a while for your body to get going and you want to make sure you are prepared to go when the race begins.
·        Position yourself in the pack appropriately: Larger races typically have pace seeding at the start line. However, many local and/or smaller races don’t necessarily have this and it may take a little planning on your part to determine where you should be at the start line. If you run a 12:00 mile then you don’t want to be at the front of the start line. Alternatively, if you run a 6:00 mile, you don’t want to be in the back of the pack. Not positioning yourself at least somewhat in a reasonable area for your pace could cause you to miss your time goal.
·        Pacing: Ultimately, you want to keep a steady pace throughout your race. However, many people choose to race a negative split: running a little slower at the beginning of the race and then picking up the pace toward the end. Only race this way if you have planned to do so and have found it to be a successful strategy during training.
·        Don’t overdress: A good rule of thumb is to dress as if the weather is 15 degrees warmer than it is. If it’s cold outside, wearing additional “give away” clothes can be worn at the start line.
·        Pick up your race packet early: If you are able to pick up your packet before race day then do so. This will give you one less thing to worry about the day of the race.
·        Race Bib: Pin your race bib to the front of your shirt. This allows race officials and photographers to know you are part of the race. Alternatively, you can attach your bib to a race belt but still keep the number showing in the front.
·        Get to the race early: Many runners get to the race venue about 45 minutes – one hour early depending on the size of the race. You’ll want to give yourself enough time for a warm up, going to the bathroom (lines can get LONG!), picking up your packet (if you haven’t already) and pinning your bib.
·        Have fun! Seriously, if you aren't going to have fun then why are you even racing? Put on a smile, greet other runners, and run happy to the finish line!

Hopefully, knowing and planning for your race day will give you the finish line success you are looking to achieve.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Menopause and the female endurance athlete

There are a lot of topics women are scared to talk about and menopause is one of them. Lately, however, I've been wondering about how menopause effects female endurance athletes. So, I googled it and found some very interesting information on the Internet that I'd like to share with those who are interested in reading about it! Yeah, guys...this is when you can bury your head in the sand...HOWEVER, GUYS THAT ARE COACHES...LISTEN UP!!! You might just have some women you are training that can benefit from your knowledge of this subject!

In a triathlon forum, one woman talks about the drastic decrease in participation among women in triathlon as they get older. She also writes about how she went from being competitive in a 140.6 (top 10) to barely being able to finish a 70.3 race in just as little as a few years. Another woman writes about having her "personal worst" in a 70.3 of +45:00. Was it because of menopause? These women seemed to think it was mostly to blame.

Menopause typically starts when a woman is in her late 40's - early 50's but can start as early as their 30's so this is something that shouldn't be taken lightly by coaches.

There are several symptoms of menopause that could cause female athletes to perform poorly in endurance events. Not all women react the same to menopausal symptoms or treatments. Any treatments considered should be done under the consult of a doctor. 

Menopausal symptoms:
  • Lack of sleep: We all know if our sleep patterns get messed up our training gets messed up. And, women in menopause experience this a lot. Fatigue sets in and it becomes very difficult to even have the desire to workout, let alone the energy. Working women/moms will find this even harder since they are already struggling to find time to workout with their busy schedules. Throwing them off by even and hour can be devastating to some of their training. 
  • Weight gain: Broadly speaking, for every 1 lb you lose, you shave off 2 seconds/mile on the run. So, in theory, if you lose 5 lbs, you can shave off 2 minutes on a half marathon. Alternatively, if you gain weight, you'll tend to get slower. This can be a huge "downer" to the competitive athlete whether they are competing against themselves or others. 
  • "Brain fog": First of all, exactly what is brain fog? Well, it's lack of concentration, lack of focus, not being able to problem solve, etc. This can play out in many ways and many times women chalk it up to "old age" but it's just another of the menopause symptoms that can cause these athletes to become really frustrated and possibly perform less desirable than they intend.
  • Hot flashes/Night Sweats: Yeah, we all get sweaty when we workout but the hot flashes tend to give some women heat intolerance. Women have said it is sometimes so bad they have to incorporate a run/walk method where they never have in the past. Or, they can barely ride one hour on the bike when they previously had no problems. Another problem with sweating so much is the loss of Magnesium in the body. Many athletes are concerned about loss of electrolytes during training and starting a workout already depleted of magnesium is cause for concern. Foods high in magnesium include: green vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts and refined grains.
  • Headaches: Some women have headaches more frequently, some experiencing migraines for the first time in their life. 
  • Irregular periods: What use to be normal is now NOT! Some women struggle dealing with an extremely heavy flow when it comes to training.
  • Backaches: This is one symptom that can really hinder performance. Women experiencing backaches should be sure to see a doctor so they can be treated correctly. 
  • Mood changes: Although this may or may not hinder an athletes performance, everyone around them needs to know this! Moods can change RAPIDLY in a woman experiencing menopause! 
  • Loss of muscle mass: Although this is probably not something women recognize physically, menopause brings with it a significant loss of muscle mass. This will, in turn, put the athlete at a greater risk for injury. To combat this, women in menopause should increase the amount of strength training in their weekly plan.
Menopausal treatments:
  • Hormone therapy: Obviously this is something you need to discuss with your doctor because they'll need to do some blood work on you. But, going down this path seems to have worked wonders for some women.
  • Birth control pill: If a woman isn't on the birth control pill, it could greatly help regulate some of the menopausal symptoms.
  • Other medications: Some antidepressants have helped control symptoms such as hot flashes.
  • Isoflavones: Isoflavones are found in some soy products (soy beans, chickpeas, lentils) and have been found to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes.
  • Vitamin E: Some women have reported Vitamin E helps to reduce hot flashes but studies warn having more than 400 IU/day may not be safe.
  • Black Cohosh: This is a herbal remedy to help relieve women of some of some symptoms such as hot flashes. Studies show it's best to use it for up to 6 months only. 
  • Melatonin: This has been known to help people sleep better at night. However, some people experience vivid nightmares while taking it. 
  • Other natural remedies: Items such as licorice, dong quai, chasteberry, and wild yam have been used by some but, again, studies have not proven it's safety or effectiveness.

*Note: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I'm sure this isn't an exhaustive list of symptoms or treatments but I wanted to do a little research on the subject for my readers. Any other advice is more than welcome - please post in the comment section below.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What would you do with an extra hour?

Four days ago I embarked upon a 30 day journey with my Rev3 Teammate, Trimommy as part of her #Project30Days.

As part of my journey, I decided I would no longer lay around in my bed all morning (7 am...) but would start getting up NO LATER than 6 am. There is so much that can be done in just that one hour but, when I get up even earlier I feel like I've made great strides in getting my life back on track. So, what has changed in just these four days?

  • There aren't piles of laundry to be cleaned
  • There aren't dirty dishes in the sink (although there will be in about 30 minutes when my kids wake up!)
  • Candles are lit early in the morning making the house smell fresh (this is something I really love!)
  • Floors are vacuumed.
  • Business projects have been completed.
  • The stack of paperwork on my desk has been organized.
  • HEALTHY breakfasts have been fixed (typically cereal is part of our morning ritual. Not now!).
  • Started blogging more.
And...all it took was waking up an hour early for only the past four days. Imagine what I'll accomplish in the next 26 days!

If you had an extra hour in the day how would you spend it?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blocks, flips, and a BIG R!

A few months ago I signed up for my FIRST SWIM MEET EVER! Yeah, I'm kinda nervous just saying those words. Swimming is obviously not my strong point and I'll have 1000 meters to prove that come April 19th.

When I first started in the sport of triathlon in 2008, my logic was this: I've swam since I was a kid (not on a team or anything competitive...just swimming), I've biked since I was a kid (certainly not on a tri bike...with aerobars), and I've been running since 2002. So, why not give it a try!

Years later I find myself in this sticky situation of getting ready to swim my first swim meet. I hear people talking about starting with a dive off the blocks...(note, this isn't a picture of me...)

and doing flip turns (otherwise known as flippy flip turns)...

and I realize just how unprepared I am for this meet. Of course, my team has offered training for both these but I've been unable to attend the clinics. 

My fear for diving off the blocks is that I'll dive in and my goggles will go flying off my face. Then there is the unspoken fear (until now) of doing a belly flop! The unfortunate part of this is I'm unable to practice diving off the blocks due to some rule that I have to have a US Swimming Coach there while I'm using the blocks at my pool. The good news is, I'm able to dive off the side of the pool so at least I get some practice with the goggles. But, probably the most embarrassing part of all will be keeping that block position (above) while having my booty up in the air with a big "R" on it from my Rev3 shimmer suit! Great way to promote Rev3 but I'd rather hand out cards if you know what I mean! 

Now, for some reason I do remember learning how to do flip turns as a kid. I know I took swim lessons at one point so it may have been there where I learned how to do them. But, as an adult, re-learning the flip turn is something I never thought I'd have to do...EVER! Even in most pool triathlons, flip turns aren't allowed. And there is no reason to use a flip turn whatsoever in an open water swim. But, at the age of 47 (yeah, I know, I still look like I'm in my 20's!), I find myself in the pool practicing flip turns. The good news: doing a flip turn is similar to riding a bike - it comes back to you quickly. The bad news: I have way too much pool water up my nose (yes, I  blow out through my nose during the entire turn). 

Well, I have less than three more weeks to train for this swim meet and then my TRIATHLON SEASON begins!!! I couldn't be more excited!

Monday, April 1, 2013

How will you spend your time in the next 30 days?

I have to laugh. I was thinking of writing today's post about how I spend my time on a daily basis. So, when I logged on to Facebook, I found my friend had already talked about this on her blog !

Some days...okay, MOST days...I find myself totally into my work on the computer...and...let's be honest...playing around on the computer...that I feel just like I've wasted the whole day.

I'm going to join trimommy in #project30days. Won't you join me, too? In my #project30days I will:

  • Get up early every day (yep, just like trimommy). I'm a big morning person and I've been slacking off getting up early lately. When I get up early I get much more accomplished with my day. So, for the next 30 days, I will get up no later than 6 am.
  • Spend QUALITY time with each of my kids individually every day. It's hard having a 14 yr old boy in the house because statistically speaking teens don't want to hang out with their parents. Oh well, he's going to spend time with me and he's going to LOVE it! :) It's easier to spend that quality time with my daughter because I homeschool her and she's with me all the time. But, some days I feel we're all about "work" and never about quality time. So, it's time for some quality with her, too!
  • Stick to my workout schedule! I know this might seem crazy coming from me but I've been really slacking this winter. I think training for my 140.6 set me back a bit and I've just been taking it too easy this winter. Time to get serious! I have a swim meet (my first EVER!) in three weeks, a half marathon in four weeks, and my first triathlon of the season - Rev3 Knoxville Olympic in five weeks! YIKES! I need to get busy!!!
  • Commit to 2x/week strength training. Gotta get it done!

What will YOU do for the next 30 days?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tell me about Lyme

No, I didn't misspell the title. I'm not talking about this: 

I'm talking about this:

Yesterday, I found out that my 7 year old daughter has Lyme. I only know a little bit about it but the past 24 hours have been very educational. So, I'm going to share what I have learned so far in hope that it will help someone else out.

One of the most important lessons I've learned is that there are doctors who, believe it or not, say they don't believe that chronic Lyme disease exists and that it's all in the patient's head. From my understanding, this is starting to change. But, there are Lyme doctors that are being ostracized across the nation by their medical peers for their belief in Lyme as a real disease!

One of my good friend posted some myths about Lyme on her Facebook page and, for now, I'm going to share these with you.

Myth: You cannot die from Lyme Disease
Truth: yes, you can. People die from Lyme-related illnesses every year.

Myth: Local Lyme tests are accurate.
Truth: No. This is maybe one of the biggest myths. Not only do doctors NOT test for co-infections, they do not look at the details of the Western Blot or other Lyme tests being used. Always ask for a detailed copy of your blood work. 

Myth: Lyme symptoms are exclusive to Lyme
Truth: Misdiagnosis is huge with Lyme and tick-born diseases. Common misdiagnosis are: ADHD, Fibromyalgia, MS, Lupus, Growing pains, depression, behavior issues, etc.

Myth: If you don't have a bulls eye appear, you are Lyme free.
Truth: Less than 50% (possibly even as low as 30%) of Lyme patients develop a bulls eye. 

Myth: Everyone has the same symptoms; therefore; the same treatment
Truth: Almost every single patient is treated differently. Common symptoms include fatigue, aches and pains, heel pain (especially in children), headaches, floaters (vision spots), forgetfulness, and moodiness.

Myth: Only deer ticks carry Lyme disease and co-infections
Truth: Lyme has been detected in dog ticks, mosquitoes, and horse flies. 

Myth: The tick must be attached for more than 24 hours to infect you.
Truth: If it is attached at all or leaves even a tiny mark, it is enough.

I'll be posting more as I learn more. Please feel free to share your experiences.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's a name for your cup?

Starbucks Employee: May I help you
Me: I'll take a tall Americano with room
Starbucks Employee: What's a name for your cup?
Me: Tracy

Later I was kicking myself. Why would I name my cup "Tracy?" I mean, there are so many more unique names than Tracy...for MY CUP! "Cuppie," "Sippie," "Roberta," "Henrietta!" Why did I lack such creativity in my response?

Sometimes I'm just not as creative when I need to be IN THE MOMENT! Are you ever like that? Share with me a time when you wish you would have been WAY MORE CREATIVE in your response to someone.

Speaking of creativity...when I was in Israel a few years ago, someone had a VERY creative idea...Stars & BUCKS! They aren't kidding!!!! Somehow I think this might be illegal, though...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lacking motivation

It was a cold and rainy day....

It was a wet and freezing day...

It was a yucky day...

My life today feels just like the weather.  Have you ever had one of those days? One of those weeks? One of those months? Maybe even one of those years?

I'm going to be honest...going to be raw...I've gotta get this off my chest...

There are days like today when I just don't even want to leave the house. I want to just sit and watch the rain fall from the comfort of my easy chair! I don't want to work. I don't want to workout. I don't want to talk to friends. I have no desire to do anything productive. It takes all I can muster to sit here and write this blog. Because, like I said, I want to just sit and watch the rain fall.

What can a person do that has no motivation? What do you do? What tricks do you play with your mind? Or am I the only crazy one out there?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Race Report: George Washington Birthday Marathon & Relay

Race: GW Marathon Relay
Date: Feb 18, 2013
Location: Greenbelt, MD
Race Type: Marathon relay: 7.4 miles

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Race Report:

I'd like to think of this race as my #1 bipolar race! there were some really high "highs" and some really low "lows." And, as I watched everything unfold, it was quite interesting.

I was excited about this race as it would be my first ever relay and I was partnered up with two pretty awesome runners - Erica & Maureen.

I knew this was going to be a tough race with temperatures in the low 20's and winds gusting from 20-30 mph! YIKES! But, only a few weeks ago I had run 6 miles in very similar temps and my leg of this race was only 7.4 miles. So, I was confident. The only problem was my training hadn't taken me up and down a bunch of hills nor had the wind gusts been quite so strong on that day. 

My hamstrings have been an issue for the past few months and I haven't made it to the doctor - something I would totally have told someone ELSE to do. (Note: I did get a referral to go to a doctor last Friday! Brownie points?). With my hamstrings all tied up in knots, I've really only had a few training runs since Jan 1st but, hey, I've run this distance a million times so SURELY it wouldn't be a problem!

If I'm honest, the bulk of my day was less about racing and more about cheering! My lovely relay partners had 9.6 and 9.2 miles respectively. Since the race was three big loops, Team Z had one cheer station set up and we ROCKED THE Z (and, of course, I rocked the big green Z wig...hey, it was warmer than my running hat!).


When it was time for me to run I was all prepared! I took off with a good pace and was feeling great. The beginning of my loop was a short downhill and I thought to myself "Awesome, I love downhills! This is going to be a great race!" Yeah, that lasted for about a minute! I then saw a slight uphill...then another downhill...and an uphill...yeah, you get the point. It was a rolling course (which, of course I knew because I had read Coach Alexis' emails before the race!). I just figured those "rolling hills" he mentioned couldn't possibly be much different than the WOD trail I train on most of the time. But, as I told my relay partners several times on the trip to the race - once you cross over into Maryland it's a different world in many, MANY ways...and this was just one of those ways!

Anyway, with the hamstring issues, IT band issues, cold, wind, snow, etc...this race just wasn't working for me! And, at certain points, I walked the hills...but not for was too dang cold to stop moving! However, during one of my walking points a girl came alongside of me who really made my day. Her name was Carly and she was 17 years old running her first marathon (poor girl - not the greatest "first time friendly" race!). She was from PA and was in cross country and track so she had a good foundation of running. But, as she told me, she really underestimated a marathon! Walking up the hill, we decided to start running close to the top in anticipation for our next downhill. As it turned out, that downhill was our downhill into transition. So, I quickly moved ahead of her. Her dad had joined her by this time and commented how strong I was as I was passing them. I said, Oh, I'm just getting ahead of her so I can have my team cheer for her up ahead. So, as I came up to the Team Z cheer team I announced for them to cheer for Carly - a first time marathoner who was 17 years old. The crowd began cheering in typical Z fashion and it helped push Carly through that moment in time. 

As it turns out, I was at the finish line when Carly finished. Her parents were so grateful for Team Z's cheers and her mom said when she heard my announcement at transition she actually began crying. It was so very touching for her...and Carly's dad. As Carly crossed the finish line, I couldn't help it...I began crying like a big baby. I was so thrilled for her to complete this goal. She then came over and gave me a big hug while her mom snapped away with the camera. We were all in tears! 

I remember my first marathon. I remember those feelings of crossing the finish line. And, with that, my day was made! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

In Honor of Robin

Being new to Team Rev3, I've not had the pleasure to meet most of them yet. But, with the hundreds of emails, Facebook and Twitter posts a week I already feel so connected to many of them.

One of my teammates, Michael, was hit very hard this week. He and his three lovely little daughters were devastated by the sudden loss of his beautiful wife. It is hard to know what to say in a situation like this but I just wanted to take time to honor this woman.

I may have never known Robin but here are the things I DO know that her friends and family have shared...

- She was RADIANT.
- She was a loving wife and mother
- She was loved by her friends and family
- She was a hard worker
- She was "beautiful, vibrant, fun & kind"
- She always had a "kind word" and an "open heart"
- Her "positive outlook, friendliness and kindness were infectious."

...and more than anything...she has gone too soon and she will be greatly missed.

Praying for your heart to heal....

Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's a Rev3 Thang!

For the second year in a row, I applied for Team Rev3. After racing my full iron-distance triathlon with Rev3 in Ohio last year I knew I wanted to go for it again with hopes this year would be my year. And, guess what...THEY PICKED ME! THEY PICKED ME!!! I'm totally excited about the opportunity I have to race and train with the amazing Team Rev3 this year. It's an experience I can't WAIT to get started.

Unfortunately, the weekend we had our Team Summit in Boulder, CO (a place I've always wanted to go and where one of my best friends recently moved...) I was stuck in a small room on the back side of the Opryland Hotel listening to lecture upon lecture upon lecture while my teammates were out in CO skiing, meeting with our awesome sponsors, doing some kind of "don't break the egg" challenge and all other sorts of fun stuff! Okay, I make it sound a little bad but the reality is I was in Nashville reaching a goal of mine - to become certified as a USA Triathlon Coach! One of the best parts of the weekend was getting to know ONE of my Rev3 Teammates who was also with me in Nashville - Laura W!

Here we were during a 15-minute break (10 of which it took us to get to this beautiful location in the hotel!)

While we were in Nashville, we decided to go "Honky Tonkin" so we could get the "feel" for the city (of course, I used to live there so I already knew what the "feel" was like...which is why I left 15 years ago and this was my first time back!). But, Laura and I (and her sweet husband) had a blast! The place below was actually called "Honky Tonk Central" but look at the great view (from the 3rd floor) that it had of Broadway (pic on the right).

And, of course, we HAD to visit Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville!

Anyway, I am so thrilled to call Rev3 my team! This team is already knocking my socks off with their sense of community, concern for others, craziness, and athleticism. It's going to be a VERY fun year and I can't wait to meet more of them!

I've already started registering for some of the Rev3 races this year and I hope to see many of you out there with me. I know many of my local Team Z'ers are going to be heading down to Williamsburg (I mean, who WOULDN'T, right? It's going to be an awesome race!) but, please join me for some other Rev3 races: 

May 5: Knoxville
June 1: Quassy
June 23: Williamsburg
Oct 6: Half Full (Columbia, MD)
Oct 13: Anderson, SC

It's looking to be a GREAT season!