Sunday, April 6, 2014

Relax and Rebuild...spring break at the beach!

I just returned home from a most fabulous vacation to Florida for spring break with my friend DL.  An escape to sun, fun and the beach was much needed and this trip was one of the most relaxing/yet fun trips I've had in a very long  time.   It was the perfect combination workout, relax, shop and celebrate. The polar vortex of this winter turned my life upside down and inside out and left me  frozen without any control under a very large snow drift.  There was no reprive from the frozen-ess.  Just when it would warm up just a little and I'd start to thaw out,  another artic blast would blow in again.  After such a long extreme winter,  a trip out of here was so needed for a change of scenery, soak in some sun, build in a little more training and relax in the sun.

We loaded 3 tweens, 2 teenagers, 2 moms into a suburban with 2 bikes and a lot of luggage, left our neighborhood sub at 4 am and drove south practically without stopping to the ocean beaches of Florida. Did you know in a new suburban with a large tank and with bladders that will allow it you can drive 6.5 hours without stopping!
worth the drive!

We rented an adorable house on the beach sufficient to house all we hauled with us in the suburban.
My mission was to: 
1. relax, 2. clear my head 3. smile and have fun 4. workout 5. catch some sun 6. sweat 7. play on the beach 8. have more fun

We set  no alarms,  and I woke up and sat at the beach and saw dolphins with the  sun coming up,  or drank coffee on the porch.  I went for some great runs and its nice to see that  when you aren't trudging through snow, frozen wind and can shed a few base layers fitness is actually starting to come around and my easy run pace is actually starting to look decent again.  I did swim and bike some mainly for recovery and to enjoy being outside.

 Part of rebuilding strength and fitness is getting strong and following a plan and starting back at the basics. I floundered all winter randomly working out without direction, that got me through the polar vortex, but now I am now more focused again.   I started working out regularly with my long time personal trainer Mark Nilles who has been pushing me to a new level with some great strength workouts. He recently expanded his gym which only enables him to push us even  harder with more room and more toys.
Its been fun slamming some metal around

I have also started working with my friend Jen Harrison to get fast running and help direct me in my new adventure of marathon training with using bike racing and a few triathlons to cross train and keep me sane. So far, I have been more than thrilled in just the few weeks she has been coaching me. Now I need to get a few more races on the schedule! 

Even though I am focused again and loving being back to training and working hard, my goal  on this trip wasn't to  focus on training. I wanted a vacation to sit by the beach, play with the kids, celebrate spring and have fun and enjoy not having to get up at the crack of early and be on a mission to check off a lengthy to do list as I do regularly on most days. Balancing being a single mom, full time work, running a house, and trying to train some leaves me running crazy most days.  So,  sitting still on the beach was perfect!
beach souvenirs

moms on the beach
Betty bikini on the beach to recover!
Dinner out with this very interesting man
We returned home after another 14+ hours in the car in which I confess started liking country music (again).  It seems spring may actually have made its way to the midwest.  I have a slight tan, a smile on my face and am ready to face real life again.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Running! and Getting Lucky!

Get Lucky 1/2 marathon came and went, so did my birthday and the horrible stomach flu. 
dress and curled hair/ no run, bike clothes or pony tails

The only race that had been on my schedule for 2014 was the Get Lucky 1/2 marathon. Training without a coach, and  with the polar vortex definitely left me low end of being ready for a solid race. Too many runs ending walking or plodding along with tears rolling down my face don't leave you ready to race. But, I was set and totally fine to just go run, finish with a smile on my face and call it a mental victory. Then somehow I got an awful stomach flu that wouldn't leave.  I've never had it last so long and blamed the polar vortex. I lived on saltines sprite and rice for about a week. Even the afternoon before race day I was still sick and could barely get through a 3 mile run.  I think I puked and ...... out all that nasty virus & effects of polar vortex in me.  I headed to the city race morning with my friends  and decided to switch to the 7k. I wanted to run! With the fee required to switch races, its the most expensive and only 7k I've ever done! I started in the middle not even in the front, thats how un-prepared I felt. The weather was a decent enough to lose a few layers and wear my SWEET Betty team shorts some lucky socks to make it fun (and a little warmer).
Betty Runs!

I just ran, no plan no idea how or what I could do. The course required navigating oncoming traffic, ice and mud but it was fun to get out, and just run. 

 I was happy to be able to
1. run in shorts
2. suprise myself with decent pace on haphazord training
3. finish with a smile, even if it was just a 7k

fun friends and they smashed their races!
Its lighter out now, the snow has been melting, I can see the concrete of my patio for first time in months and ....I have more motivation. Enough that I pulled the trigger and signed up for Portland Marathon. This will be a new adventure and very different from anything I've done for years. It is Oct 5, so I can still dive full force into Cyclocross all fall and winter.  Im planning on doing lots of running, some bike races and maybe a few triathlons to break up the miles of running and keep it interesting. 

Speaking of running!, Locals spread the word. We are giving a talk at Geneva Running Outfitters on Thurs March 20. My friend and fellow employee Lisa Mertz and I will be speaking on kicking off training and race season smart! Tips on how to stay injury free, and run faster to include some info and video on our SEP (Sport Enhancement Program) at Dreyer where I work.  GRO
Click on Events.

More running!  My friend's 17 year old daughter is an amazing Kaneland High School student. She is organizing and promoting a local 5k through her school DECA program that supports the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. Please get out and support her race if you are around the western suburbs. Seize the Purple

Happy Run Miles!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Truth Is

 Truth is I go to work every day to help people heal from trauma, overuse, or just wearing out, and while I give everything I have to help people get better it sometimes just isn't enough and I can't help all (I have a great track record though) patients recover completely.  While I can do everything possible including massage, stretching, taping,  encouraging them on, coming up with a great treatment plan, bend over backwards  and do cartwheels (not quite, but almost and don't put it past me) sometimes it still won't be good enough if they don't do their exercises or take ownership in their injury.

Truth is if you skip your workouts and skip the work and steps it takes to get stronger,  you won't get more fit, you run the risk of injury and you most likely won't cross the finish line or meet the goal you wanted. In the end, if you skip the steps and the work, you will never be completely satisfied in the outcome at the finish line.

Truth is, I haven't put goggles on my face or swam since Vegas 70.3 World champs in September. Truth is, I haven't wanted to. Although,  I do miss wearing my Betty Designs suits. I did put on the mosaic bikini on 1sunny 20 degree day just to see if it fit. (whew! it did)
sunny and 20 deg!

Truth is, I have only signed up for 1 race this year so far, it is a 1/2 marathon on March 15. Truth is I've only been consistently running worth anything for a few weeks, so truth is I probably won't get the time I'd like, but truth is, I'm ok with that right now.   Truth is, I got my ass kicked on a killer hill run with Jen Harrison, and running legend Dave Walters and Ioved it. Truth is Dave can be so motivating when you are sucking it up a steep hill. Truth is, I drove an hour and showed up to run where the starting temp was -4 degrees plus windchill. Anyone who knows me well, understands I hate leaving the house under those circumstances and hate showing up to run when I'm not feeling strong.

Truth is I love Jimmy Fallon! but can't seem to stay awake to watch him.

Truth is the olympics were amazing, and now  I want to learn how to snowboard and do slopestyle!

Truth is I have no direction and no coach; while low pressure is awesome, I'm starting to want direction again.  Time to look for a coach.  Recommendations anyone?

Truth is I have't minded shoveling this pile of snow, and truth is I've taken my frustrations out on shoveling, running intervals so fast on the treadmill I've almost fallen off backwards, and painting my family room.
Zoey, on her snow mtn.
Good bye -pain

Truth is when you go through your lowest, most difficult times you see who your true friends are. The ones who aren't afraid to reach out to you and hear you out, tell it like it is, cry with you, put you in your place, or tell you your hair looks great or  even when it looks awful because its been in a pony tail for 2 days.   Truth is I have a few friends I rarely talk to, but when we get together its like we've never missed a beat. I went to Madison recently to visit a long time friend I hadn't seen in a few years and we had a blast. Madison is amazing even in the winter.

Truth is I am currently going through a divorce, not my choice.  Truth is Its the most painful experience I've ever been through.  I've named it the polar vortex. Seems fitting.

Truth is this kind of pain/experience can only make you stronger. Seems like I  might be able power clean a semi one day.

Truth is there is always someone worse off than you, and wow, I've seen some people at work that have experienced some very tragic situations this winter that makes your own  pain seem like nothing.

Truth is spring is coming, and unless I've gone crazy because I never sleep,  I hear birds in the morning. I am awake before they are.  And with spring comes more sun, more daylight, and warmer temperatures and melting of the polar vortex.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

surviving the polar vortex

For us midwesterners we have fallen into a frozen pit formed by the polar vortex that has taken over winter. It has been continuous cycles of snow followed by sub zero Arctic temperatures cold enough to close schools and businesses (of course not physical therapy departments)  I have shoveled more in a weeks time than I did all last winter. This kind of cold makes me want to stay home under the covers, run away and hide from it, and not face  uncomfortable things I don't like about it.  Instead,  I have tried to put my best foot (with a warm boot on) forward and stare it in the eye and embrace it (with a lot of layers on) and deal with the problems it brings. Here are a few ways I've been facing the polar vortex:

1. Painted the small powder room in the house> 3x to get the color right, now its perfect

2. Drive through Starbucks at lunch for hot coffee,  hot chocolate or hot cider, of which I only drink 1/2 of because it gets cold, I should probably start saving that money for a warm trip somewhere

3. Bundling up and running with friends>the Betty skull cap is so warm except now it is MIA, so I'll have to go on a Betty shopping spree

4. I made my muscles burn by starting up strength again; I went to cross fit once and started  going back to my long time personal trainer, Mark 

5. Signed up for a race to motivate me, the Get Lucky 1/2 marathon in March  is on the books! Time to get running faster to warm up 

6. Long visits with great friends with a glass of wine by the fire

7. Turn shoveling into a workout> that's one way to put muscles back on the arms

8. Have seen some previews of  the new Betty Designs swimsuits coming out in the spring and they are HOT!,  that's motivation to get moving

I feel so lucky to have so many amazing friends in all my walks of life! Great friends will always help you warm up.  Working with the Betty team has also been a very exciting start to the year and I am happy to share some of the fun gear with you. Email me directly at if you are interested in some bad ass but beautiful gear. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shiny New 2014

I've been hibernating. I got so cold and frozen at the end of cyclocross season I buried myself in a hole and tried to defrost.

Racing bikes in snow...
......and 10 degrees

But 2014 is here, and its time for new start, a fresh makeover for 2014 with new goals and roads to ride and paths to run. Usually by now I have a race schedule set, goals for the season and have signed up for several big races. Right now I am flying by the seat of my pants,  still don't have a race schedule, and am not sure of what events, distance race etc I want to focus on. I'm tossing a few ideas around that include  a few triathlons, maybe an xterra, some bike racing, of course cyclocross,  but lots of running,  maybe even an open marathon such as maybe PORTLAND MARATHON ...something I've never done. Change of focus is good, mixing it up is good,  otherwise I think its easy to become stagnant.  

A new and exciting change for 2014 is being part of team Betty. I am more than thankful and thrilled to "be a Betty in 2014". What an amazing opportunity to race and train along so many fabulous women from across the world, not to mention wear super hot training and racing gear. So this year I have the privilege of pushing myself to new limits, sweating, getting dirty while looking good along the way (or at least really trying) Santa delivered a big box full of Betty gear.

 What huge motivation to get moving again.

I also updated the look of my blog, to make it shiny and new with a little bit of Betty style.  Im a physical therapist, not a web designer so it still needs some perfecting, so stay tuned for some updates and BETTY discounts in the New Year! 

 Until then, cheers to a shiny new 2014!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Loving Cyclocross,Choices, and....Keeping It Simple

The trails have been awesome

I love cyclocross, its no secret. I have been having so much painful fun with this year's CX season! Last year fizzled out with my hip injury leaving my without much CX since 2011.   I am remembering how much I love the complete switch and 180 from triathlon to cyclocross. It can't be more different in so many ways.  I love and … need that. In 70.3 and Ironman races spectators cheer you on, encourage you, "you look awesome you can do it, you are an Ironman!"  In cross, they heckle you! Its dirty, its crazy, its balls out hard and then everyone has a good time.  I love it also because its simple. I don't even have a computer on my CX bike right now.  There is no need for a pre race plan, or nutrition plan. I don't eat gels, sometimes a swig of gatorade when its warm, but more often hot chocolate, or some regular Coke before the race. After a triathlon season of driving to work feeling like I was having  panic attacks on how to fit in training around a full time job and life, or nearly falling asleep from getting up at 4:20, the short and sweetness of CX has been awesome.
Yes, I rode through mud in a TUTU at Halloween Cross

With my new team PSIMET (which includes some fast women racers and a heater in a tent!)  along with a a now VERY competitive women's CAT 123 field  in Chicago Cup,  the CX fire is burning strong!   I had some bad early races with crashes coming off of triathlon, and missed a race to enjoy the beauty of Ironman World Championships and Hawaii. This year if you if you fail even just a little, you lose. Lose points and its harder to catch up. Is it because I'm forty-$# now, or because the field is so deep that crawling to the top of the Chicago Cross Cup Overall standings has gotten tougher.  I have been top 5 of women's CAT 1,2 3 field in the CCC twice.  Right now I"m hovering around 15 th.  If you want to place high in the CCC you have to win, do well in every race, not crash out in starts of early races, and not miss races to go to Kona.  
 PSIMET Women at Sunrise Park
Thank-you to Mathew Cane, who been out there snagging some great pics of the women's 123 races! I think he is getting hooked on covering cyclocross races!

I love our own local CCC. It helped me fall in love with CX and get better. Fierce local races every weekend for the past 3-4 years. I have always hated to miss a race. But this year I've ready to move on a little and try some bigger races again.  Along with trying to keep it simple and wanting to do all the CCC races to place as high as I can made this decision tough,  but I've  decided to put on my big girl bibs again, skip the double cross CCC Indian Lakes races for JINGLE CROSS. So I'll kiss all my work at crawling my up in the CCC goodbye. I'm heading to Iowa to see the Grinch, experience Mt. Krumpit, and race with some fasties.

Triathlon is on a big back burner for me right now. But it is never completely gone. There is a triathlon ghost living in our house.  So I have been biking a lot, running some and swimming is a far distant memory. To get up at 4:20 to swim, I have to have at least a race in mind to train for and right now I don't  I have no clue what I want to do next year. Something adventuresome will come to me, but for now I'm loving CX and will be playing in dirt, mud and probably snow soon until early January finishing the season at Nationals in Boulder.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


sunset on the Pacific/ i love 

I'll be leaving again soon for a trip across the Pacific to Kona, for the 7th time. (pretty sure its , but kind of lost count). I could co-author a second book called; "Survival guide to being #1 Fan in Kona during the Ironman World Championships" Every year there has been a different experience with different athletes and /or friends racing, or coming to also spectate. I particularly love my role of  being DONE with triathlon,  gels,  anything aero, and well into the start of cyclocross season. I've been there at least 7 x, maybe more and never raced. There was a time prior to Jack, I wanted to do it...he is 10 now.  As far as training goes, that week I manage to fit in some decent runs, find my goggles for the first time in weeks ( i saw my swim bag yesterday, it looked lonely) , stand up paddle, and maybe bike 1 x on the Queen K race day sprinting between mile markers cheering or AZ.  

Every year:

-I like to SUP and chase the dolphins on the board

-I swim in the waves and see the Honu

-run on Alii drive

-enjoy fabulous coffee every day, then dream about it the rest of the year

- cook the pre race dinner, tuck AZ into bed, go to TGNIR (thank God I'm not racing)  with whoever will go with me

I tend to look at my phone a lot

-Adam says sleep in, don't come to the swim and just watch the start of the bike, but the start of the race and the swim and race is one of the most exciting parts of the day

-my phone blows apart and nearly dies, this year I have a plan

-I get more nervous than my own races

This year:

-I'll be the one on the beach with cuts scrapes and bruises from 2 hard fought CX races. I have to stop getting taken down early in the race and then chasing down as many as I can. Although it has been good for motivation and putting out a massive effort to catch as many as possible only to finish mid pack which I don't like.  I am embarrassed to say how sore I am right now sitting here from a 45 min race yesterday.

-I'd like to have one of these drinks while waiting for the bikers to come in

-I get to cheer on my athlete Sara Arnold, she is a mom of 4 and and amazes me every day how hard she worked to get here!
Sara and I at the Hualalai one year. Who knew what was brewing!

-I have 2 Zuccos to cheer for; Pappa Joel is racing as a Legend!

With the end of the triathlon season and start of the CX season are some exciting changes for me. For cyclocross 2013/14, I am excited to be racing with PSIMET. I have always admired the support they give to women's cycling and am excited to be part of such a strong local women's CX team! 

 More on 2014 triathlon to come, but a fun sneak peak involves skulls and butterflies and some very HOT racing, training, and active gear and a whole bunch of very cool athletes.