fitness and nutrition

Taking the Plunge

One of 2020 goals was to complete a triathlon. I registered and started training and then, you guessed it, COVID. Postponed until 2021.

A lot of life changed between mid-2020 and now. Still, I kept that race on my calendar and wondered at times if I should still give it a go. The swim was the weakest of my weak spots and I had not really done anything to train it. I happened to be at a lake the week before the race and swam for 20 minutes without touching bottom. It was slow, but I did it. I also completed a 10K successfully the week before the triathlon was scheduled. With those things in mind, I decided to give it a go.

A triathlon is a strange race. So much different than a show-up-and-lace-up-and-get-running 10K. There’s so much equipment, so many rules (a 24-page rule book!) There’s transitions to think about and plan for. There are referees, penalties, even disqualification. All this made me incredibly nervous. I read, made lists, planned, packed, and off I went. Brought my precious facebook marketplace bike in from my car and tucked it in. I was up half the night wondering if my decades-old helmet would meet the standards. Finally, 5:00 am came.

I double checked my list, had some hotel room coffee and off I went. Transition is such a madhouse. By the time I arrived there were already hundreds of bikes hung from racks. A lady saw me in my confusion, forcefully grabbed my bike and told me where to put my towel and transition setup. Everything was tight. You get about 12 x 18 inches to lay out your running shoes, socks, running belt, clothes, and anything else you need. If your space is too big or you block someone else it’s a penalty. Nerve wracking. Timing chip on my left ankle. Race number in permanent ink on both my biceps. My race age on the back of my leg. Now the long wait to start.

One of the reasons I chose this race was the waterslide start. Yes, you waterslide one at a time into a river then start the swim. This made for about a 30 minute wait after the first person started. But, it is better than the scary start-in-a-pack situations I have read about. There were maybe 50 people behind me. I met a couple of other first-time-tri-ers as we waited. We shared out nerves, our whys, and our training for the race. Finally, it was time for me to jump in and hit the course.

I confess, I can move in the water but I only kinda know how to swim in any systematic stroke. I can’t freestyle so I alternated between a sort of breaststroke and backstroke. People passed me many times as I made my way down the course, passing one buoy then another. Just keep going. I finally got out of the water and made my way to transition, being careful not to get hit by bikes on their way out.

I was one of the last to pick up my bike, so it wasn’t very crazy. The first people were already returning from the 14 mile bike. Helmet on almost first thing (that’s a disqualification if you get on your bike with no helmet.) Shirt, shoes, race belt with energy chews, water bottle, etc. etc. Finally I cross the mount line and I am off.

Bike riding is a peace place for me. Just gliding along. Had some energy blocks and hydration. Tried to keep it around 12 miles an hour which is a good pace for me. Looked around. Thanked police and security. Glide glide glide. I missed having my phone but taking pics would have slowed me down. Playing music or having headphones in is cause for disqualification – this was one of the hardest parts!

Finally, the run. This transition was much simpler. Just hang the bike and helmet, grab a water and go. Seeing people who had already finished was sort of hard but also motivating. Just keep going and it will be me, too.

Well, this second transition was logistically simpler, but physically this transition is rough rough rough. Trading the speed and relative ease of biking for the slow plod of running is a shock to the system. I just had to pace it out and keep going. This was hillier than I had anticipated and I just walked up the hills and didn’t worry over it. I met several people who were just walking the whole 5K. It was an out-and-back so I cheered on every one who was still on the course. I passed my two friends from the start line on my way back to the finish. We were going to do it!

Finally, I came up the hill and saw the finish line, so I broke my rule and jogged in. I jumped and slid down the finish slide and got my medal. After a minute to regroup, I went and waited for my new friends at the finish. I cheered them in. What a great feeling, to be a triathlete!

Did I place? No. Do I care? No. I didn’t specifically train, although I am active…but I was still just thankful to have made it through. Completion was the goal. I cheered for the winners. I gathered my things and slowly made my way back to the car.

I have never smelled as bad after a race as I did after this triathlon. It was a long 4 hour drive to the farm. Everyone who saw me in town and on the road seemed to know what I had done. Was it the medal? The numbers on my arms? (The smell?) Who knows. But lots of congratulations. Lots of reasons to smile and feel accomplished.

I would definitely do another one. I’d even train for it. Maybe even take swimming lessons. I have some people I’d like to do one with so that gives me something to look forward to. It was amazing and strange and memorable all in one. And I’ll always be able to say I have done it.

adventure, celebrations

Whirlwind

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were booked solid. Events, activities, celebrations, milestones. So much importance in such a short period of time. Such is life in the fast lane.

The choreography begins days before. Have to squeeze in the dress shopping. The nail salon. The essentials of course. Nobody wants to look a mess in the photos. Can’t forget the laundry for the activities that fall in between big events.

Travel. Bags packed. Snacks packed for travel. Hydration. Dinners out. Mask. No mask. Fancy mask. So many details. Does the car have gas? Did the dog go out? Ready. Set. Go.

It’s Sunday night and the whirlwind weekend of festivities is over. Many tears of joy as well as sadness. Many smiles and giggles as the days pressed on. There may have even been some pains and blisters for poor shoe choices.

A new week begins. A new schedule of sorts. New sports seasons. New travel schedules. Summer mindset. It seems like I blinked and we are here. The end of school. The end of many firsts and hopefully last digital days.

How this year is so different from last. I am grateful that we are where we are today as far as being busy. Being able to do things. Being able to have graduations, banquets, special events in groups. It’s so needed for many. I have an appreciation for people. Mask-free smiles. Fresh air without counting people around you. Professional sporting events. Lines at restaurants.

Here’s to being busy this summer. Here’s to traveling to new places. Here’s to meeting new people and trying new things. For me It’s about savoring the moments. The experience. The time with loved ones that I can’t get back.

I have had plenty of time to think the past 12-15 months. Now I’m committed to spending all my minutes doing what I can, when I can with what means I have. No need to make excuses as I’ve had to live in the I can’t stage for too many months due to restrictions I never asked for.

2021 and beyond is all about new discoveries for me. I can’t wait to soar. I can’t wait to fail. Most importantly I can’t wait to try it all! Looking forward to whirlwind weekends.

healthy hacks

Spring Ick

The icky pollen is everywhere this time of year. It’s on the car and the rain just isn’t washing it away! The rain puddles even have the remnants of pollen corralled on its surface. The windows have pollen dust all over. It’s in the air. It’s on the ground. It’s everywhere.

The dog’s nose has a yellowish-green hue to its nostrils after playing outside. I even have to brush the pollen off the fur or the pollen with coat the hardwood floors when the dog prances by. Getting this close to pollen indoors drives me nuts.

My feet seem to bare the same yellowish glow whether I’m in flip flops or shoes. The pollen even seeps through my socks on heavy pollen days. It’s definitely gross!

When I play tennis I can see if the ball is “in” or “out” because it leaves a mark in the pollen. This sounds crazy but even if the pollen was blown of the court it would be right back on it. It just seems to be anywhere and everywhere. Including my my lungs and nostrils.

The itchy, watery eyes are pollen-related. No COVID here. Just some good old-fashioned allergies in the spring. A few sneezes here and there cause a glare or stare if you are in public these days. Just another effect of Covid that leaves one  embarrassed.

Big sigh for sinuses and allergies these days. Hope you are not as miserable as me this allergy season.

author moments, featured

Gratitude and Goodbye, 2020

Despite all the crappiness of 2020, I had a decent year. I learned a ton. I adventured some. I said hello to new friends. I watched as some friendships faded with COVID. I traveled a little stateside. I tried many new things. I hit some goals. I mapped out some new goals. Overall, a successful year in the books.

I am also grateful for my opportunity to write. From journals to picture books to blog posts and beyond. I truly get to enjoy my creative side in many ways through words, pictures and experiences. Many may dream of this life. Few will take the less traveled path. For me it’s part of the journey. 

The learning experience. The sharing of life’s ups and downs and all that is hidden in between. Sharing my lens view with the world from my digital device. Leaving a time capsule for my future grandkids. 

Chipping away at the 1095 Days project that has so much depth the cutting room floor will literally be covered. Years in the making amidst a pandemic of all odd things. So many twists and turns. Editing will not be for the weak at heart.

Thank you to all who follow this blog. Click through to our website. Like our posts. Share our stories. You are our inspiration. From a tiny town in small town USA to a high-tech suburb in Germany. You are appreciated. To all those new countries we reached this year, thank you for popping in to our virtual world.

I may not make it to your home country but hope you visit our site often. We can be virtual pals. It’s the cool thing of 2020. You never know what post is part of our bigger book projects or how we will flip a switch and cover some new topic you were not expecting. Some stories are about adventuring. Some hit on tough life paths. Some hit on the life of a parent. Some even cover emotional states. We offer depth. We over variety. We offer inspiration.

Our site is free to our readers. No ads. No big frills. Just 2 chicks writing their way. Today. Tomorrow. Into the future we go. Just like that. Keep following. A goal every year is to reach a larger audience. We continue down that path because of you. Just one forward. Just one repost. That’s all it takes to multiply our readership. Help us make 2021 a big reader year and share our stories if they touch you in a special way.

*The list of countries above is not all inclusive. However, it’s a snapshot of some of areas of growth in 2020. With travel restrictions limiting international travel it is great to know we virtually put our mark on at least some readers abroad. 

Wishing everyone a happy, sane and safe 2021.

friendship

Sunrise Yoga

I am so excited for sunrise yoga! I got an invite for a new kind of gathering this holiday season.

An invite from a beautiful and kind soul. The invite said:

This is a time to breathe together, pray together, meditate together, move together, laugh together and just be grateful to be together. As an added plus mimosas will be served!

Such a great idea to host such a special event around the holidays that will literally wipe away the woes of 2020. Ready, set, yoga!

After the stretching, an added bonus was relaxing in the hot tub. She really thought of all this details to make the group gathering special and relaxing.

News flash: And just like that the fun snatcher has arrived. The one and only Rona. Yep, that’s right Rona arrived the night before. Not even 12 hours to sunrise. Corona that is. The poor yoga instructor got COVID contact traced. Yup. Pop. Bam. Boom. Fizzle. Flap. Floop. Damn Corona just hanging out like flies on shit.

It’s really okay. We are tech savvy. Those not on quarantine will do makeshift yoga on the big screen and wash our woes away with mimosas and swap yet another shitty Rona story from 2020. Masks + mimosas + Internet + good friends = good times despite the Rona party crasher!

Rona just needs to go far away and stay there! Is 2021 here yet?