Category Archives: Healthy Living

What is it about 26.2?

My husband and I were arguing one night about the reality of my being able to train for a 26.2 once we had our baby. The issue is not so much whether I am capable of training to run the marathon distance but whether or not we can figure out the family balance. I would like to be able to train with the support of my husband and ensure the new baby is not neglected. Details and marital differences aside, his opinion was that 13.1 is a perfectly reasonable distance to manage as a family and he ultimately asked, “what is it about 26.2?”

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Excuses for My Blogging Hiatus

It has been almost a solid six months since my last blog post. I believe I once read (or wrote) that a blogger, especially one who blogs as a hobby, need not necessarily apologize for not blogging regularly. However, I am genuinely sorry and I feel terribly guilty for not writing often. I don’t expect that anyone has been waiting with bated breath for my next post but I want you to know that I think about this health and running blog nearly every day. My mind is constantly whirling with posts I want to write. I have 17 drafts of blogs to come. Continue reading

Has Anyone Seen My Speed?

I swear I was fast. At least, for me, in my age group, for my distances. I spent a good chunk of time and effort working on speed and got to a very comfortable place this year where my ‘slow, easy’ run was at 8:40, my 5k pace was near 7 minutes and my other mid-distances paces hovered somewhere between 8:00-8:15/mile. But alas, I seem to have regressed back to a 9 minute pace and just logged a long run averaging 9:15/mile. This rut, if that is what it is, is both frustrating and enlightening.

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Coughing, Sniffling, and Running

j0337300A few mornings ago I woke up with that subtle, yet horrible sensation of a sore throat coming on. I swigged down some Airborne, started popping Vitamin C, and broke out Sudafed nasal decongestant pills (one of the few medicines in my cabinet). The sore throat came and went but quickly moved on to a relatively runny nose which has in turn caused a nice phlegmy, but sometimes dry, cough. Despite the fact that I have this minor cold, I will knock on wood as I write, “I don’t get sick.” I’ve been knocking on wood saying this for years.

The last time I got sick–and it was this same kind of sick–it lasted for about five days and was right over top of this year’s New Year’s holiday. The last time I got sick was at the very beginning of training for my first marathon and this particular cold is coming at the end of training for my second marathon. Despite the sniffles and coughing, I still maintain that I refuse to get sick. Continue reading

Triathlon Transitions: Tips & Thoughts


I learned that it would've been fine to keep on my pullover and flip flops almost until the last minute since I had family there to hand the gear off to.

Having just completed my first sprint triathlon, I am by no means an expert or even a well-versed triathlete. However, from that first experience I think I learned some things during the transitions and in hindsight have realized some things about the transitions that are definitely valuable to me as I prepare for triathlon number two. If for no other reason than to be able to remember them later, I wanted to share some of the thoughts I have on triathlon transitions and perhaps this information will come in handy for others as they prepare for triathlons. And please, if you have triathlon transition tips or suggestions, please feel free to share them!

The transitions were a part of the triathlon that I agonized over during training. Despite my anxiety over transitions the most I did to prepare was to go for a short run after half a dozen or so bike rides. I also talked to every person I know who’d done a triathlon to get their advice and my husband and I watched an ING triathlon on TV one day and I got to see how the pros do their transitions. Needless to say I was floored when I saw that they did not dry off after the swim, didn’t wear socks, and seemed to be in and out of the transition area in a matter of seconds. The only other real “preparation” I did was all mental; I visualized how I thought my transitions would go. I am one that definitely learns by doing so I knew that there was no way I’d really understand transitions and how to make them go smoother until I’d actually done them. Continue reading

First Triathlon, First Impressions

We arrived early to get set-up and fortunately the dark sy didn't open up on us with any rain during the race.

We arrived early to get set-up and fortunately the dark sky didn't open up on us with any rain during the race.

In late April I set my mind on doing my first triathlon. My sister and her husband had moved to upstate New York last fall and her husband signed up for the Cazenovia Sprint Triathlon which was August 9th. I thought signing up as well would be a great way to tie in a visit to their new home and I was eager to mix up my running with cross-training for a tri. After months of swimming, biking, running, searching for the best thing to wear, practicing transitions, and mentally preparing to do a triathlon it was finally time to put all that work to the test.

The days leading up to the tri I tapered my training and kept my meals consistent with what I’d been used to eating. The day before the race I had three square meals with slightly more carbs in each than I would normally have, a race routine I’m used to. We all (myself, my husband, and my brother-in-law) went to bed at a reasonable hour with a 5:45 a.m. alarm set. As happens before any race, I woke up several times to make sure I didn’t miss the alarm and at 5:30 I was ready to get going. Continue reading

The Crooked Swim

jamaica_swimareaMy first open water swim that I would consider as part of my triathlon training was in crystal clear waters in a protected swim area in Jamaica. The second two have been off the beach at Chesapeake Bay Foundation and I hope there are at least two more open water swim practices in my future before the day of the triathlon. Though the tropical conditions of the Jamaica water with colorful fish I could see below me and a high level of salinity helping to keep me afloat and the brackish dark water of Chesapeake Bay are drastically different, they do have one thing in common–there is no perfectly straight black line along the bottom to guide you.

Within the enclosed swim area in Jamaica my goal was to practice the drills for that session, sprints and threshold swims. I had marked off the distance and knew about how many “laps” I would have to do to complete the drills for that day’s training session. The plan was to swim to the rope at the far end of the area, turn around, and swim back to the beach as many times as necessary. No sooner did I start off to my target end of the rope than I was headed diagonally toward a different area entirely. Where I ended up is not at all where I had planned to be. Part of the training for that day then became practicing swimming in a straight line when there was no black line on the bottom to follow. Continue reading

My New Ride: The Bike, The Shoes, The Ride

cannondale (5)Recently I wrote about the process of buying a new road bike. At the time I had tons of questions. My husband and I were buying road bikes together and it turned out that his bike was delivered to the store a week before mine. I watched as he got an orientation to his bike, was shown how the gears worked (very different than I’d ever seen), did a test ride around the parking lot, and talked through the various carbon components with the Bike Doctor’s bike expert. I tried to pay close attention knowing I would be doing the same thing soon enough.

Originally the Cannondale Synapse bike I ordered was to have an aluminum frame but nowhere could the Bike Doctor find one in my size. I was upgraded to a carbon frame on a 9-speed bike rather than a 10-speed bike with the rest of the components being essentially the same. The bike I’ve been training on so far is a 9-speed so while I understand there are certain advantages to having just two big gears, I was comfortable knowing my new bike would have a set-up I’m familiar with. Finally, my Cannondale Synapse Feminine 6 arrived and I went to the store to meet her (yep, I refer to my bike as a female and am working on names now!). Continue reading

An Eye Opening Open Water Swim

Our taking off point for the first open water swim practice. Photo by james_shelton32.

Our taking off point for the first open water swim practice. Photo by james_shelton32.

I am sure that some people who train for triathlons go into the race without having ever done an open water swim. Perhaps they live in a landlocked area and have no access to open water in which to practice. More power to them for taking the plunge for the first time at the race! I feel very fortunate to have the Chesapeake Bay at my fingertips because I cannot imagine going into my first triathlon without having practiced open water swimming.

My husband and I met our friend at the beach of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (she also works there which is a nice inside connection!) for an open water swim practice. My husband swam competitively all through childhood and in high school and has one triathlon under his belt, so there was not much mystery in this swim for him. My friend has done several triathlons and was excited to be getting back into the water. At the pool, I’ve been working on my form, my stroke, my pace, and also breathing drills to prepare for open water and in the pool I have been steadily improving and feel good about my swimming skills. My only concern standing on the beach was that I would get cold. Continue reading

Information Overload: Bike Buying

Photo by vufgew.

Photo by vufgew.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason; whether I agree with the reason or not is something else entirely. For months now I have been training for the bike portion of my triathlon in a combination of ways. I started out in spin class at the gym until it warmed up enough this spring for me to bike outside. (Mind you, I ran outside all winter but biking in cool weather I find to be much more chilling, so I stayed indoors until the temperatures suited me.) I also worked the stationary bike into a number of work-outs mostly because I found it easier to do a controlled hill work-out on the stationary bike. Though I’ve been riding my mountain bike for my outdoor rides, I never planned to ride it in the actual race.

For the race, my plan has long been to borrow someone else’s road bike. As luck would have it, a friend of my parents who is about my size offered her road bike to me for the triathlon. Wanting to get some practice time in on the bike I happily picked it up and accompanied my husband to our local Bike Doctor where he was going to buy a new bike and I was going to have the borrowed bike adjusted to fit me.

Almost from the day I signed up for the race my husband has encouraged me to just buy a proper road bike. My preference has been to make sure I like triathlons before making a purchase. I sat on the hardly ridden, borrowed Trek bike in the store and an associate came over and immediately (but nicely) squashed any thoughts I had of riding that bike. It is a size 54 and I was identified as a size 51. The seat is too far back and too angled down for me and the handlebars are too far away. I attempted the conversation of things we could do to make the bike work for me but with my husband and two associates pleading the case for why I should have my own bike, I finally caved. Buying a bike was not what I had planned for the day, but I guess that is what was supposed to happen. Let’s just hope I love triathlons! Continue reading