It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

December 16, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! - Random Stuff Version

At some point in the very near future I am going to revive this blog.  I just haven't had a lot of extra time for blogging or reading blogs for the last few months, but things are finally settling down.  I hope to be able to read/write more frequently in 2015.

I do love the Christmas Season, but I have to admit this year is tough.  It started over Thanksgiving weekend; that first real Holiday without my parents.  The whole weekend was filled with a bit of sadness as I put up the Christmas tree and just did a lot of thinking about my parents.  It's just hard.  I went shopping with a girlfriend this weekend - she was shopping for her Mom and I just couldn't help but keep thinking that I didn't have a Mom or a Dad to shop for.  I know the days surrounding Christmas are going to be really hard.  I just miss them every single day.

I don't mean to start on a sad note, but this blog has always been about honesty and that's kind of where I am right now.  It's just really hard getting through this first year and these first holidays.

In other news, I am trying to remember all the things I am so grateful for.  Yes, it's been a tough year, but in so many other ways I am so blessed.  We have 3 beautiful grand children who will be a blast on Christmas Day!  Jim & I both have great jobs that we love (well most of the time) and I am surrounded by many other wonderful family and friends.  And of course there's Jack too.  You know how much I love that dog!!

Today is Jim's Birthday!  He is never a big "it's my Birthday" kind of guy.  So it's nice that for once we have plans. It's just kind of the way it worked out.  We will be spending the evening on the Kansas City Plaza doing limo tour of the Plaza lights with the kids and grand kids.  We did this last year and it was a blast.  It just happened that tonight was the best night for everyone to get together.  I know we are all looking forward to it.
Quite possibly the most epic race photo ever

Jim and I did a Santa Dash 5K a few weeks ago with some friends.  It was fun.  You have to love seeing 2000 people dressed as Santa.  There is just something awesome about it!  We did a team and our team name was the Christmas Sweat-ers....get it???  Sweat---ers...because we were sweating lol. Everyone actually ran together which was fun, but also a little stressful for me.  It's a pretty hilly course and I'm still just not up to my normal slow it was a bit of a challenge. Everyone else was just running slow and having a blast, while I felt like I was in a full sprint to keep up with everyone the entire time.  Oh well, it was still a blast!

I'm also hosting an Instagram Giveaway on well of course Instagram.  Find me at @slowtrigirl or click the link at the top of my blog.  All you have to do is post one of your favorite cycling pictures and tag it #cyclingstateofmind and #slowtrigirl to win a fun Sports Chalet Bike Bell.

Well that's about all for now!  How is everyone else doing?  Shopping all done???

December 02, 2014

Two Things Tuesday

I know it is supposed to be Three Things Thursday….so I’m breaking the rules.  That’s me a rule breaker.

My niece Ashley & Me
1.       I did a Thanksgiving 5K with my niece and Jim on Thursday.  It was my first time to run a race with my niece so that was fun.  It’s been an annual tradition for Jim and I for the last 3 years…maybe 4.  I can’t remember!  It’s a pretty decent size race with 2500 runners and it’s a beautiful course though somewhat hilly for a 5K.  The first mile is great because it’s basically downhill, but then that means the second mile is basically uphill which gets tough. Just when you finally get a break you make the turnaround and go up another pretty steep hill, but then it’s all downhill to the finish which is awesome!  It’s always a lot of fun though and this year you got cute thermal shirts, a pie, and free race pictures! Score!!  My niece hadn’t been running at all for the last month, but she did great.  She ran the entire 5k with no problem and at a faster pace for her than normal.  It was fun to run with her.  Jim took home first in his Age Group and a sweet handmade medal!  All in all it was a great morning and a good way to burn off at least a few of those Thanksgiving dinner calories. 

2.       I’m doing the Runners World Run Streak – 36 Days of Awesome – Run at least 1 mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.  I am on day 6 and so far I have logged around 15 miles.  It’s a great way to keep motivated during the holidays and during the cold winter days!  I’ve already had a few runs with 15 degree temps…brrr…too cold for November…well now I guess it’s Dec!

 So what’s new with you???

November 17, 2014

Longview Half Marathon Race Review (Sorta)

This will be pretty short.  Here's the super short version. I ran the Longview half marathon in Lee's Summit, MO this weekend.  It was cold.  It was hilly.  I was SLOW.  There you go.  If you care to know a few other details read on.

It's been a rough year for me in racing and training.  I have pulled out of more races than I have completed.  But, when the Kansas City Running Company announced they would be putting on a half marathon practically in my back yard it sounded like a good idea.  It's the only' half marathon in Lee's Summit (that I'm aware of).  Several of my friends were going to do it so I figured, why not.

A few of us pre-race Jim was MIA
I bike at Longview Lake on a regular basis and it is HILLY.  There is one very long hill in particular that I curse every time I have to ride up it.  The half marathon course is very similar to several of the triathlon bike portions and would include that cursed hill.  I have to admit, the hills were what had me on the fence about the race, but I finally decided to suck it up and do it anyway.  Jim said he was in and like that we were signed up. 

I haven't been running regularly since April.  I still run quite a bit, but some days it's only 2 miles. And I am lucky to run 3 days a week.   But in the last several months I've really lacked.  My longest run since my last half marathon (which I also wasn't prepared for) in early October was 8 miles.  Last week I ran a whopping 2 miles before the race.  I had intended to run more in the last few weeks, but Winter arrived early here in KC and it was pretty much in the teens all last week in the morning and I just wasn't ready to run in that kind of cold.  In January - sure, in November, no. 

So, Saturday morning I woke up completely unprepared to go run a half marathon.  I planned to run/walk the event since I wasn't up to running the entire thing.  It was cold.  It was about 25 at race start with about 8 or 9 mph winds.  It certainly could have been worse, but it was cold.  And again, it is November....and I am just not used to running in these conditions.  I bundled up.  Maybe a bit too much.  I had on a good pair of lined running tights, a long sleeve tech tee and a pretty heavy jacket, 2 pair of gloves and a stocking cap.

After the long line to get into the event I met up with my friends.  It's always fun to hang out, though we were all freezing.  For an extra $25 you could have signed up as a VIP - which included a VIP tent and closer parking.  When I registered and it was 70 degrees, it seemed silly.  Standing outside in the freezing weather Sat, I was wishing I had spent the extra money. 
Me & Jim post race
Before the race I also ran into Allison, a fellow blogger from DaileyRuns.  She's a sweet girl from here in Lee's Summit who runs on her school's Cross Country Team.  We have done several of the same races, but never met before.  It was great to finally meet her!!  She also set a new PR at the race!  So Congrats Allison.

My friend Kelly and I started the race together.  She did her very first half marathon the weekend before and decided to not only do one half marathon, but two halves in back to back weekends.  Rock Star!!  As we were heading out of the park, there was a large amount of runners going the opposite direction.  Even with a delayed start of about 15 minutes, hundreds of people were still "running" to the start.  I guess they need to warn people next year to come early!! 

We made it about a mile together before I told her to go on.  I wasn't feeling "speedy" at all.  About mile 3 you reach "the hill".  They were even having a contest for King and Queen of the Hill.  The 15 fastest Men and Women got a plaque.  I was hoping there was an award for the slowest....but no luck.  I maintained my run walk pace and got up it.  I have to say much easier to run walk the hill than to bike it.  MUCH EASIER! 

After the hill I was warmed up and feeling like I had too many clothes on.  I took off one of my pair of gloves, and considered for a second taking off my jacket, but knew that would be a bad idea.  I actually ended up feeling pretty good for about the first 8 miles.  Around mile 8 on a shorter section, I even started spotting people and trying to pass them.....then it all fell apart.  At about mile 9 you start across the damn and the wind picked up (as it always does) and there was no shield from the wind and it just got cold.  All of a sudden I went from feeling pretty good, to freezing and getting really tired.  There are a couple of good rolling hills through this section too.  By mile 11, I just wanted to be done.  For the first 10 miles, I stayed ahead of the 2:30 pace group.  by Mile 11, the 2:40 group had passed me.  I knew it was going to be a slow time then and I just wanted it to be over.  Finally by mile 12 I knew I only had one mile left and I picked up the pace as much as I could...or at least I felt like I did.  I haven't' downloaded my Garmin data yet to see what my mile splits were.  But at mile 10 I was at a 12:02 pace, by the end I was at a 12:38 pace.  I lost a lot of speed in those last 4 miles.

I finally crossed the finish line in 2:40ish.  I honestly don't even know my final time.  But I do know that it was one of my slowest races ever.  But when I came through the finish chute Jim, and my friend Michelle and her boyfriend Chadd were all there to give me high fives!  Awesome to see smiling faces at the end.
Finishing and glad to be done
I got my finishers medal and literally went straight to the car.  I was freezing.  Jim said they had soup or something, but I have no idea. 

It certainly wasn't a great race for me, but I will probably do it again next year.  KC Running Company also has well organized events, and this was no different.  You got a great, heavy medal and a nice technical quarter zip tee.  And, it's close to home so you can't beat that.

2014 has definitely been the year for slow and no racing.  I am looking forward to 2015 and turning things around.

October 08, 2014

Mo Cowbell Half Marathon

Re-enactment of our first Mo' Cowbell shot
What a great weekend.  It’s been a long time since I had fun;  since I laughed, really laughed.  I posted the pic below with the following caption on FaceBook and it is so true.  “Nothing mends the heart like good friends and laughter “.  I needed this weekend.  It was a nice break from the grief and loss I’ve been dealing with.  No, it didn’t make it magically all go away, but it certainly helped in the healing process.

I drove the 3 and a half hours to the St Louis area on Friday afternoon.  I got to my room right about 5pm.  Coy wouldn’t be there until around 10pm.  So I just decided to chillax.  I turned on the TV and ordered ridiculously expensive room service.  I kicked up my feet and waited for her to arrive. 
She finally got there and I was so excited to see her!  We watched the KC Royals play yet another overtime game – which they won (and if you don’t know won the series – Go Royals) and then we both fell asleep.  To my surprise we both slept in the next morning.  It was nice to just relax…no rush.  We got up around 8 and headed downstairs for breakfast.  Then we headed out for the day.

Coy had never been to St Louis for more than just the night so we set out to see a few sites and pick up our packets of course.  We headed over to St Charles, MO which was about 10 mins from our hotel.  The expo and the race has grown exponentially since the first year we did it together.  They had 1500 runners that first year and around 5000 this year.  We browsed a few things at the expo and got our packets.  It was a pretty easy process and then we headed out for some site seeing.

Coy & I under the St Louis Arch
Our first stop was the Arch.  It is always pretty amazing if you’ve never seen it.  It is just so massive.  If you are up close, there is just no way to get a picture of the entire thing.  I asked Coy if she wanted to ride up in it – I made that mistake once and told her there was no way I was going with her..but I’d go wait with her if she wanted to go.  When I described the ridiculously small “pod” they transport you in she opted to just look at it.  Youtube it if you want…if you are at all claustrophobic it is not for you!
The outside of the City can just see how fun it is

Acting silly in an airplane

Everyone needs a pic in front of a rooster
After that we went to the City Museum, which is really not much of a “museum”, but more like an attraction.  It is similar to a Science City if you’ve ever been to one.  There is a lot to do and see.  It is really meant for kids, but two big kids can still have a blast.  We took some great pics and laughed a lot.
Just outside of Busch Stadium - Go Royals!
Our last stop was to Busch Stadium – home of the St Louis Cardinals. Now, us folks from KC are not big Cards fans…esp right now since we are both in the playoffs, but it is a beautiful stadium and Coy wanted to see if so how could I say no J
We finally headed back to the hotel for some dinner – at the hotel bar and then back to our rooms to get some sleep before the race.

In our race packets was the parking information which clearly said get to the race early.  Everyone will get there an hour beforehand, get there sooner…to which we both laughed…ha, we’ll leave about an hour ahead of time.  Um, we should have listened.  We got up about 5:30 for the 7:30 start and were out the door about 6:20. It seemed like plenty of time.  It wasn’t.  Traffic was backed up way off the highway just to get off the exit.  By the time we finally got parked, I dropped my bag and we hit the potty it was literally 2 minutes til go time.  Well, at least we didn’t have to wait around!

This was my first race since my Mom & Dad passed so I wanted to do something special to honor them.  I created a sign which I wore on my back for the entire race.  A few people commented on it, but most didn’t.  I was kind of surprised more people didn’t say anything, but maybe they just didn’t know what to say.  I wanted them to be with me during the race and I know they were.
It was a pretty cool start at about 45 degrees, but it was absolutely perfect running weather.  We both wore a cover layer to start, but quickly shed it before mile 2.  I was never hot and never cold.  It was seriously perfect weather for a run.

Now, let me remind you that I’ve had a lot on my plate.  I have lost both of my parents in the last month and I’ve done a lot of traveling.  I hadn’t ran over 4 miles in about 2 months.  So I had no idea what to expect really.  But, I did expect this race to be slow and painful and have lots of walking.  To manage it I put us on a run walk ratio of run 1:30 walk 30 seconds.  It’s amazing how fast that 30 seconds goes by.

A few pics we took along the way - there's a horse see
The pace ended up being perfect.  We were 7 miles in and I was still feeling great.  I was really expecting to be really slowing down by this point.  Right around mile 7, someone from behind us says “Michael – Coy”….it’s always a shocker when someone recognizes you in a race.  It was a reader named Susan who had just told me she was going to be at Mo’ Cowbell and Indy – small world.  We ran with her and chatted a bit and she went on her way.  She was doing the full marathon.  She was looking super strong so I’m sure she had a great race.  So a huge shout out to Susan – Thanks for saying HI!!!
At the 7.5 mile point we were still just under a 12 minute pace which wasn’t bad.  And we were stopping to take pictures pretty frequently.  But at 7.5 I also had to stop to go to the bathroom and apparently so did everyone else.  There was one porta potty and a line of about 7 people.  We lost a good 5+ minutes here.  Our pace went from 11:55 per mile to 12:20 per mile.  I knew we couldn’t make that up and I figured we’d just slow down after that, but I was ok with that.  I had originally thought – just finish, but if I finish under a 13 min pace I’d be happy.

We maintained the run/walk pace most of the rest of the race (other than the one really hilly section in mile 9 where I took a few extra breaks).  The miles between 9-11 are pretty boring and I was glad to get back into town.  At mile 12 there is the final aid station which is manned by what looked like was maybe a local fraternity…it was definitely college aged boys…   When we start toward the aid station, Coy says “well we get to choose which one to get water from, so there’s that”.  The first guy was much older than the rest of the guys, to which she said “so not him”.  LOL, this made me laugh…my favorite quote of the day.  We finally see the finish line and start heading toward it.  We ended up crossing the finish line with a 12:17 pace.  I was thrilled with this because it meant that other than the “pee mile” our pace was pretty consistent throughout.  It is still one of my slowest half marathons to date, but I’ll take it!  I knew 13 miles would be hard, but it went by in the blink of an eye.  I know my Mom & Dad were with me every single step of the way.
As far as the overall race goes I would recommend it.  If you are looking for a race in the St Louis area this is a great one.  It’s in the quaint little town of St Charles, MO and it’s very pretty.  It is also a very flat race other than a section of about one mile between miles 9 and 10 where you just seem to climb forever.  The rest of the race is pretty darn flat.  A few small hills here and there, but that’s it.  You get to run through the cute little historic downtown area, and then you run through a housing community called New Town which is just awesome.  It seriously looks just like a movie set.  It’s beautiful.  It makes me want to live there!!  As far as race swag you get a nice long sleeve technical t-shirt and a cowbell of course!  They have great course support and volunteers!  It’s really a great fun race!

Race Swag
Coy and I headed back to the hotels for showers and to say our goodbyes.  I was sad to see her go, but it was so great to get to spend the weekend together.  As a little added bonus, my niece who lives in St Louis, but just happened to be out of town for the weekend text me that she would be home by noon.  So I got to have lunch with her before I headed home.  That was a great little extra surprise.  All in all, it was just one great weekend!!!  And, it was wrapped up with a Royals Sweep of the Angels on Sunday night!!!  Wahoo!! Go Royals!



October 02, 2014

A True Love Story About My Mom & Dad

I don't know where to begin.  I've sat down to write this post a few times and just haven't felt ready to write it.  I don't want to write a heavy, depressing post, but wanted to let my readers know why I've been away for awhile.

I know some of you follow me on Facebook so you already know this, but if you don't, well then I lost my Dad on Sept 15, just 18 days after losing my Mom.  As you can imagine, my world has been turned upside down.  I just feel lost.  I am trying to use running as an outlet, but sometimes it just feel overwhelming.  I've cried a few times, a few deep down doesn't make it easy to run.

I miss my parents.  I miss them so much.  But I do find a peace knowing that they are together again. My Dad was absolutely lost and heart broken without my Mom.  They had something so many people want - true love.  Their marriage was far from perfect.  There are things, I'm sure if they were still here, that they would tell you they regretted.  They made bad decisions, etc, etc stuff that we all do.  But they loved each other more than most people could imagine.   They were truly inseparable.  When my Dad started a car lot, my Mom went to work with him as the bookkeeper.  When my Dad got another job as a salesman at a car dealership, my Mom went to work in the office there.  When my Dad decided to be an over the road truck driver, my Mom hopped in the passenger side and went with him. They had so many adventures together.  They couldn't be apart...truly couldn't.  So when my Mom got sick, my Dad in turn got sick.  And when my Mom passed, my Dad wasn't far behind.  I'm sure the death certificate for my Dad will say he died of septic shock, but I think my family knows he died of a broken heart.  True love.  It's a beautiful thing.  They had been together almost 50 years.  They met and were married in high school.  We found love letters back and forth between them from high school that were so special.  My Mom even saved (in a locked box) their very first grocery list.  How sweet is that?

I get my sense of  humor from my Dad.  I love that.  He was quick witted and sarcastic.  I also, unfortunately get my fiery and sometimes stubborn side from him too.  What I didn't inherit, which I have always been sad about is his musical side.  My Dad could pick up any stringed instrument and play.  He loved to play the guitar and the mandolin.  He played in a few blue grass bands over my childhood years.  He didn't have a great voice, but a good one.  He loved to play and sing.  He lost his voice after he had the feeding tube in the ICU and never quite regained it.  He really hated that because he wasn't really able to sing these last few months.  I'd love to hear him sing again.  Some of my favorite memories are when I was very young - about 5 and we used to sing together.  I would always pass my cowboy hat around afterward and expect money.  LOL.  But it is a great memory.

I just can't believe how much has gone on in my life these last 6 months, but especially these last few weeks.  It has been difficult to say the least.

Please, if you pray, continue to keep my family in your prayers.  It's a very hard thing losing your parents so close together - and so young.  My Mom was just a few days shy of her 66th Birthday and my Dad had just turned 67 in July.  I just turned 40 in April...and it just seems to young to be without parents.  My family is still facing a few challenges  and we are all just dealing with a lot.  I appreciate all the support I have received over these last few months.  It has meant so much to me.

I will be running my first race since all of this happened on Sunday.  I don't expect the race to go well AT ALL.  I haven't ran more than 4 miles in at least 6 weeks.  It will be slow and a lot of walking, but that's ok. I'm meeting up with one of my best friends in the whole world - Coy....many of you know Coy.  We met virtually through blogging, but we have done a race together every year for the past 4 years.  We are returning to Mo' Cowbell which was the very first race we did together and the first time we ever met.  We've been amazing friends since.  It will be good for my soul to just walk/run with her and enjoy the day.  Spend some time talking and laughing. I need that so much.  She has been so awesome!  She even drove 5 hours round trip to come to my Dad's funeral.  I don't have many friends who would have done that.

So the next post you will see will be a race recap. I plan on dedicating this next race to my Mom & Dad.  My Mom was absolutely my biggest blog fan.  I know my Mom & Dad will be watching me race.  Smiling and cheering me on.
Dad & Mom - back in the day
Dad on is Harley

Picture taken last year - Our Last Christmas together 

September 09, 2014

When Life Changes Overnight

Many of you know my Dad was critically sick a few months ago and spent a few weeks in the ICU.  What I didn’t mention as much is that my Mom was also sick.  She had a longer term illness that we thought was in a more “stable” condition.  But last Wednesday night I got a call they were sending her to the hospital with a fever.  No big deal I thought.  It was.  She was immediately admitted to ICU with a high heart rate, and extremely low blood pressure – classic symptoms of sepsis (basically an infection in the blood stream).  This is actually exactly what put my Dad in ICU, but my Dad came through.  My Mom did not.  We lost her within 24 hours.  I got the call that she had passed away about 6pm last Thursday.

Margaret Conley Sept 1, 1948 - Aug 28, 2014
I was in shock.  I shed a few tears, but felt numb.  I felt bad because I felt like I should have been “sadder”.  I realize now it was just shock.  I’d been through so much with my parents over the last couple of years health wise, and we’d had a lot of scares, but things always managed to turn around.  Not this time.  I went home and began packing to head to the lovely mountain town of Ruidoso, NM. 

My sisters and I arrived on Friday and started talking about arrangements.  My parents are both from KY and want to be buried there.  We were planning to make the trip to KY but soon realized my Dad could just simply not make the trip.  It is about a 21 hour trip by car for a healthy person.  It would have taken us 3-4 days to get there and there were so many other complications.  In the end we decided on a small funeral service in New Mexico.  My Mom will then be transported to KY for burial.

My Dad with his sister and my two cousins and sisters and niece
At first I felt guilty about giving my Mom such a small funeral service.  She deserved more.  But in the end, the most important people in her life were there and that’s all she would have wanted.  Her brothers came in from KY.  My Aunt (my Dad’s sister) came in from Florida.  My two cousins also came from KY.  My niece hitched a ride with my cousins from St Louis.  It was great to be surrounded by family.  I know if we’d had it in KY we would have had more time with them, but unfortunately they were in and out in a day or two, but it was great to see them.  My other cousin Ben – one of my Mom’s brother’s sons did the service for her and it was beautiful. 
Me and my sisters and niece and my Mom's brothers
And now my sisters and I are still trying to figure out the best solution for my Dad.  He needs care and can’t stay in New Mexico by himself, which is what he wants to do.  We are working on moving him to Kansas City which has its own challenges.  He is terminally ill and on Hospice, so we probably won’t have him with us much longer, especially now that my Mom has gone.
 I know several of you are friends with me on Facebook and have given me words of encouragement and love.  I appreciate it more than you know.  As you can imagine this is an extremely difficult time for my family.  If you’ve ever lost a parent then you know a lot of what I’m going through.  It’s harder than I even thought it would be.  I think back now to times when friends have lost a parent and think I wasn’t compassionate enough or didn’t do enough. I don’t think you can ever really understand these things until you go through them yourself.
But I want to end on a high note.  My Mom was by far the most positive person I knew.  Even though she had been sick for almost 2 years and never really felt great she never, ever complained.  You usually didn’t know how bad she was or felt.  She was always looking forward to the next day.  Always knew the next day would be better.  So I know that things are tough now, but will be better.  These are just the things in life we all have to go through at some point.  I’m just going through them a little sooner than I would have expected.  But my Mom’s strength is inside me and I will get through this.

In remembrance of Margaret Ann Conley – Wife, Mother, Sister, Aunt, Daughter, Friend, Light in the world.  I love you Mom.

Picture of my Mom taken last Christmas

September 04, 2014

Sports Chalet Gift Card Winners

I'm sorry for the delay in announcing the gift card winners. 

The winner of the $100 gift card goes to lucky comment #48 MJ Moore

The winner of the $50 gift card goes to lucky comment #38 *Monica*

Congratulations!!  Please leave your e-mail address so I can get your information and your gift cards to you!

Winners were selected at Random by (a random number generator)

August 26, 2014

The Aloha Triathlon and Quintathlon….Awesomeness!

Earlier this year I decided to join the Reds – a Women’s local tri group (though there are now a few guys too).  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to be super active with them, but the ladies and the Coach (Liz) are all terrific!  Liz decided to put on a Triathlon this year – and wanted to make it “the most fun race in Kansas City” and I think she succeeded.

Inaugural events can always be challenging, but I thought this one went so well!  You can tell it was a race put on by an actual racer. 
Why yes, those are snow cones at the finish
You had two options for the Aloha Triathlon and Quintathlon:  A Sprint Tri – 400 M Swim, 11 Mile Bike and 5K Run.  Or a Quintathon: Swim, bike, run, bike, run.  Which was a 800 M Swim, 18 Mile Bike, 5K Run, 11 Mile Bike, 2K Run.  With the heat this time of year in Kansas City I opted for the sprint, but there were about 60 people who did the Quint.

I woke up early…as always for a tri.  My alarm was set for 4:15 and I was up and ready in a few minutes.  I headed out the door at 5 am to pick up my friend Michelle and we were off.  Already at 5 am you could feel the heat in the air.  It was about 78 degrees and humid.
We arrived and got amazing parking! The benefits of getting there early and such a small race.  I think there were only about 200 people total for both events.  We got our transition areas set up and chatted with a few other friends we ran into.  Everyone was pretty excited for the race.  As we began to head out of transition the sun was just coming up.  It was really beautiful, but it was also bright and huge.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  It was definitely going to be a hot day.  I found myself very thankful I was only doing the Sprint for sure!

It was time to swim before I knew it.  Since it was a small race they just did 4 waves.  Men Quint,  Women Quint first – followed by a safety/wave .  And then Men Sprint and Women Sprint.  The women’s sprint was by far the largest group.  There were nearly 100 of us (92 to be exact ), so this made for a pretty large swim wave.  We started from the beach and ran in.  With only a 400 M swim and so many people starting at once it was pretty congested the entire time.  I got kicked and hit A LOT especially until I reached the first buoy.  Then it spread out some, but it was pretty packed the entire time.  I felt like I could never really get into a rhythm.  I didn’t have a great swim time, but it was ok.  I finished in 11:06.  My Garmin recorded over 1/3 of a mile vs. ¼ of a mile however, so the time was a little better than it looks.
Finish line picture...not exactly sure what's going on here
I was out of the water and running up to transition.  I was feeling pretty good and felt like I went through transition pretty quickly (1:31). I mounted my bike and took off on the bike course.  The bike was also really congested for the first several miles.  As I mentioned the swim was pretty congested the whole way so it seemed like many of us were grouped together on the bike at the same time too.  There was even one point where I was going uphill and had to brake to keep from hitting the person in front of me because I just couldn’t get around.  Braking on an uphill definitely is not cool!! I struggle enough with hills on my own.   It finally broke up and I felt like I could really get a little speed now.  I went back and forth with a girl for a while.  I would pass her on the uphills and she would pass me on the downhills.  This never happens!!  She even said to me “you keep passing me on the uphill and I’m passing you on the downhills”. It felt like being in an alternate universe – that is definitely the opposite of what usually happens to me.  Anyway, I really enjoyed the bike course because it was full of rolling hills and I really like those.  I know they aren’t for everyone and I heard a few people after saying they hated the bike course…but everyone likes different things I guess.  I also passed a ton of guys on the bike!  I’m not sure why, but I passed a lot.  My bike leg was my strongest of the 3 (as usual) and I felt really good.  I was actually disappointed to get my results.  I thought I had ridden a little better.  I ended up averaging 16.6 mph which is pretty good for me…but I thought I was a little faster.  Oh well I was 58th overall for my bike time out of 152…so for me…that’s pretty good.  Bike time was 41:58.

I quickly transitioned for the run (1:01 transition) and headed out for the HOT run.  I was definitely beginning to feel the heat.  But worse than the heat was the run course.  The 5K takes place on a chat trail which is like loose small gravel.  Most people love it because it is really easy on the joints, but for me, for whatever reason it absolutely burns up my calves.  I find I just can’t get traction and my feet slide.  I can’t seem to get any speed and my calves just get tighter and tighter as I run.  I was hot and my heart rate was elevated, but more than anything I had to stop completely several times to just stretch my calves out to be able to even keep running.  It was frustrating.  My run was TERRIBLE….but honestly the run was terrible for most people.  I ran a 39:06 5K (12:37 pace)…which is pretty awful. This would normally put me way down at the bottom….as in bottom few at a triathlon, but there were actually still 72 people who had run times slower than mine!! I guess that tells you just how hot it was.  I don’t know the exact temp, but it was well over 90 degrees with humidity above 80%.
In the end I finished in 1:34:39.  The average finish time was 1:32.  So I actually felt pretty good about my finish.  I was 8/15 in my AG, 49/92 women.  So relatively “average” and you know me I’m always happen with average! 
A pic of the wasn't over a100 actual temp though

I found my friend Michelle at the end who had come in 2nd Women overall!!  She is so awesome!  We then enjoyed some Snow Cones…and a photo booth….yes, it was a fun race! 
Race Swag
The race swag was pretty awesome too.  You got a really cool sweatshirt, a cute little rubber ducky, and a lei/medal.  You also got free race photos.  The added touches like the photo booth and snow cones were amazing too!  It really was a great race and I will definitely be back next  year!!!!

And if you haven't already - Don’t forget to sign up for my Giveaway!  You could win a $50 or $100 gift card to Sports Chalet!!  Giveaway ends 9/2.


August 22, 2014

Sports Chalet Gift Card Giveaway - Enter to Win!

Got your eye on a shiny new helmet?  Maybe a new pair of cycling or running shoes?  Whatever your fitness needs Sports Chalet has it!!  Go check out the newly launched Sports Chalet Website and see what they have to offer. 

Now, how would you like a chance to win a $50 or even a $100 gift card?

It's easy, but please read the rules and follow them for your chance to win.

How to Enter:

1.  Leave a comment and tell me what "new" item you want. (Required).

Bonus Entries:
2.  Like Slowly Tri-ing on FB and leave a comment. 
3.  Like @slowtrigirl on Instagram and leave a comment.
4.  Like Sports Chalet on FB and leave a comment.
5.  Like Sports Chalet on Instagram and leave a comment.
6.  Post a picture on Instagram doing your favorite fitness activity and use one of the Sports Chalet Community Hashtags found here and tag me in your photo for verification.  Leave a comment.
7.  Read my bio on Sports Chalet and tell me one thing you learned about me via a comment.
8.  Tell me what your favorite fitness activity is via a comment!

That's it! So many different ways to increase your odds!

Contest will run from Friday, August 22, 2014 through Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (midnight CT).  Two winners will be chosen at random by a random number generator on  Each comment you leave will be assigned a number.  The $100 gift card will be awarded to the person who has the comment associated with the first number generated on  The $50 gift card will be awarded to the person who has the comment associated with the 2nd number generated on  You must leave at least one comment as described in item 1 to be eligible.  All bonus entries must be separate comments.  If you do multiple bonus items but put them in a single comment it will only be counted as one comment. 

Good Luck!!

August 21, 2014

Big News!

Is it just me, or when someone says “Big News” do you automatically think they are pregnant?  Well, I am definitely NOT pregnant.  I have even bigger news to share than that!

I am excited to announce that I was recently selected by Sport Chalet to become part of their Expert Ambassador Program!  Specifically, I’ve been identified as a Cycling Expert.  Does this mean I’m the next Lance Armstrong?  No.  Well, I certainly hope not.  Anyway, does this mean I’m an expert in all things cycling?  No, I’m not that either.  But I have been through many experiences – like buying my first road bike, tri bike, clipless pedals, bike wreck, etc.  I have experiences to share and I’m excited about sharing what I know.  It also means I’ll get to try out some great products from time to time and share those with you. 

If you aren’t familiar with Sports Chalet then head over to their website!   Or even if you are, they just launched their new site on Tuesday!  You can browse through a huge selection of sports items or check out their community pages where you can find me and other experts in Running, Fitness, Scuba, Outdoors or other Cyclists!  Just click on the ‘Explore Your Community’ link at the top. To find me just click on Cycling – I’m actually their featured Cyclist at the moment.

They are also giving away 6 amazing adventures in the “Adventures of a Lifetime Sweepstakes”. So , be sure to enter those while you are there.
To help celebrate the launch of their new website and Ambassador Program I will be hosting a giveaway starting tomorrow.  I will be giving away both a $50 and a $100 gift card to Sports Chalet…so check back!

I’m so excited to finally get to share this news with you guys!! 

August 18, 2014

Monday, Monday

Well hello there Monday.  How’d you get here so quickly again?

I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like the summer is just flying by.  The weekends literally go by in a blur and then it’s Monday and time to start the work week again.  I’ve had so much going on lately and so little time to blog.  I’m really going to start getting back into blogging again though…so hang tight.
So what’s been up with me?
·         Training for my 4th marathon - I’m signed up for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on 11/1.  So far training is going pretty well.  My run this weekend was a bit discouraging, but I’m blaming it on the OVERWHELMING humidity.  I had a 15 miler.  I made it 14 miles before I literally started to feel like I might pass out.  I walked the last mile and then another half mile to my house on Saturday.  So I still got in 15.5 miles, just not the way I’d like.  Even the 14 miles was 1 minute per mile slower than my previous 13 miler….so yeah, a bit discouraging.  I don’t do well in humidity at all. 
·         I almost did a triathlon a few weeks ago.  It’s kind of a funny story.  I had intended to do the Matt Mason Memorial Triathlon for at least a month, but I hadn’t signed up for it.  A few weeks ago, I was literally in the middle of signing up and got kicked out – the race had sold out.  I was so disappointed.  Very few triathlons in Kansas City ever sell out so I was shocked.  I contacted the race director to see if there was anything I could do.  They didn’t have any full spots, but a team was in desperate need of a swimmer for a relay team so I decided why not.  Anyway, I showed up at the race ready to swim and the weather had something else in mind.  In the end we waited it out for almost 2 hours and they decided they would do the 5K only…I hadn’t brought any shoes just swim stuff, so I was out.  The race registration goes to a great cause.  The race is to honor Matt Mason a local Navy Seal who was killed in action with his entire Seal Team.  They honor him, but also all of the fallen soldiers.  The profits of the race go to Wounded Warrior Project.  I’m already signed up for next year.  I don’t want to miss out again.
·         Speaking of triathlons I’m doing one on Sunday.  It’s a first year event just a few minutes from home!  It’s the Aloha Triathlon and Quintathlon.  I’m just doing the sprint, but you can opt for a swim, bike, run, bike, run option.  It should be a blast. I’ll definitely post a race report after.
·         I have several road races coming up.  I think I’m going to try to work in a local 10K as part of my 17 miler.  I also have 3 half marathons coming up in Sept and October.  They all work into my marathon training well. 

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s enough for now.  What have you been up to?  I’d love to hear, since I haven’t been able to keep up with many of your blogs lately. 

July 24, 2014

Lawrence, KS Sprint Tri - A Hilly Beast!

Wahooo!  My 2nd triathlon of the year is complete.  That is one more than I was able to do last year J  I’ve missed triathlon…..though I think I would have been ok to miss this one.  It was by far the hardest sprint tri I’ve ever done.  But it’s over…and I finished and I still had fun so that’s all that really matters.

My friend Michelle was doing the Lawrence 5150 on Sunday which was her  “A” race for the year.  If you aren’t familiar with the 5150 it’s actually owned by Ironman.  It’s an Olympic distance race that consists of a 1.5K  swim, a 40K bike and a 10K (so 51.5 “K”s…..get it).  Anyway, the top 5 finishers in each Age group qualify for the Hyvee Championship race in Des Moines, Iowa later in the year and Michelle’s goal was to qualify. Since it’s a qualifier, the race also brings in several pros, which is always fun to see.
They also have shorter sprint race so I decided to do that one. I could have done the longer bike and run, but I wasn’t ready for the nearly mile long swim.  My race was a 500 meter swim, a 13 mile bike and a 5k.

The race location is about an hour and 10 minutes from my home.  It’s kind of out of the way for packet pickup so Michelle and I opted to pick up our packets race morning – which meant trying to get there by around 5:15….which meant leaving home around 4:00 am.  The 3:15 wake up is not pleasant, but it always amazes me how awake and alert I can actually be on race day. So I was up and out the door by 4:00 and headed to pick up Michelle.
We did manage to get there about 5:15 which was perfect timing – transition/packet pickup started at 5:30 and there was quite a walk from your car to the race location – around a half mile.  We got our packets – they were out of my size shirt – I’m supposed to get one mailed – we’ll see.  We then got in line to pick up our chip timers.  It was just 5:30 and there was already a line. They had one person handing out timers.  This line would grow throughout the morning and was huge by around 6:15 or so. I would have been panicked if we had gotten there late.  The race organization for this race was not very good. I got to my transition area and set up all my stuff and then looked around trying to find someone that was doing body marking.  There was no one around.  Normally at a tri they practically knock you over trying to get you marked.  I finally asked someone and found out that there were only two people doing body marking and they were outside of transition.  Again, another long line….again lack of organization. I don’t know if they didn’t have enough volunteers or what.

The morning was actually beautiful.  It was only about 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. It would get hot later, but I would be done.  We’ve had some unseasonably cool weather in Kansas City the previous week which had dropped not only the air temperatures, but also the lake temperatures.  So this race was wetsuit legal, which is pretty unheard of for a tri in Kansas City in late July. The water temperature was 78.  Since I was only doing 500, I opted out of the wetsuit – assuming it takes me more time to get out of it than it saves me.
The Swim:

Transition closed and Michelle and I headed down to the lake.  I wished her luck and we went our separate ways.  My group was the very last to start.  The pros went first, then multiple waves of the 5150 then all the “sprint” men, and then finally all the “sprint” women.  This was the first race where I’ve ever done with a swimming start.  You basically walk down a boat ramp and enter the water which is very rocky!  You then swim over to a little area and tread water until the buzzer goes off.   You burn a little extra energy treading water for about 5 minutes – but I guess you could call it a warm up J
The race finally starts and as usual you find yourself in a jumble of bodies - Hands, arms and feet everywhere.  I finally got in a rhythm and found a spot that wasn’t too jammed with people.  All of a sudden though I feel a huge swoosh of water right in front of my goggles I look up to see two huge feet right in front of my face.  The girl ahead of me was doing the breast stroke and almost kicked me straight in the face.  That’s the closet I’ve ever come to being kicked in the head during a race.  I got out of her path quickly and kept on.  I finally reach the turn for the final stretch of the race and some of the faster Olympic distance swimmers have caught up with me.  All of a sudden what was fairly calm became a little hectic.  But before I knew it I was done with the swim and heading into transition.

The Bike:
Hardest Bike EVER for a sprint race!  Ok, just thought I’d start with that.  I run into transition and grab my bike….my tri bike (first actual race on the tri bike) and head out to the course.  You have to mount on a hill….yes on a hill. Now, I noticed this before the race thank goodness, so I had my bike in the easiest gear.  But many people did not.  People were struggling to get started, weaving, stopping, falling, it was quite a mess.  I was feeling pretty proud as I passed most of them and got up to speed quicker than many.  I was actually passing people – woot – I never pass people J  I actually veered outside of the cones to get around a big mass of people right at the start and then all of a sudden this guy was basically veering right into me…I yelled “woah” and headed toward the left where I ended up coming within about 2 inches of going off the road – which would have been disastrous, but luckily I managed to keep it on the road. My heart was racing of course, but I got myself back together and kept climbing…as we headed out of the park and onto the main course.  The course is HILLY.  No other way to describe it.  I have ridden tougher individual hills, but because this course was hill after hill it was just incredibly taxing on the legs. 
You get one little straight stretch across the dam, but you’ve got an incredible head wind there and I was holding on to my bike for dear life.  My front tire was shaking like crazy…so it wasn’t exactly an area where you could “relax”.  So, it’s finally time for the turnaround and what fun, the turnaround is at the bottom of a hill which causes multiple problems:  1) you have momentum going down the hill, but you actually have to brake to make the turnaround on the two lane road 2) People doing the Olympic distance race are NOT doing the turnaround and are flying by you while you are trying to slow down (dangerous) 3) You now have to go UP that big hill you just came down from basically a stop.  No momentum because you had to drop your speed to make the turnaround… about a leg burner.  I had been doing “ok” on the hills to this point, but this really took it out of me.  In the end you have 872 feet of elevation gain over 13 miles which in my book is a ton!  While the Olympic bike is more miles, I honestly think it would have been an easier bike because once they reach the turn around the course levels out and they have a nice long straight stretch for their legs to recover before doing those hills on the way back in – and they aren’t doing the toughest hill from basically a stop.  Anyway, I finally finish the bike – on a downhill… YEAH!  And head back into transition to get ready for my run (which of course will start on an uphill)…ugh!

The Run:
I quickly change out of my helmet and shoes and throw on my running shoes, visor and race belt and I’m out.  My transition times were actually pretty good during this race.  The bad news is, my legs are toast!  I mean toast.  I feel like I can’t run 3.1 feet, much less 3.1 miles!  So, I start on the run up the basically ½ mile climb.  And before I know it I’m walking!  I hate walking in a 5k!  Granted it’s up a hill and after a tough bike, but still I keep telling myself it’s only 3 miles you can do it…but my legs say NOPE sorry lady right now we need to rest.  I kind of walk/run until I reach the top of the hill and then I try to get going.  I’m still feeling pretty sluggish but at least I’m running and the hard part of the run is over.  Most of the run is pretty flat.  Of course running is not my strong suit, so I get passed by a lot of people….as in most people.  Anyway, the beauty of a ½ mile uphill start is a ½ mile downhill finish.  I run to the finish and mile 3 is my fastest mile of the course!  There is a little confusion at the finish.  I am running back toward the park and the volunteer said “Olympic distance turnaround here!” – I said “But I’m doing the Sprint” – he said “then go straight” which I did….and noticed I was heading back into transition – I looked over to my left – there was the finish line…ARGH……I had to then cross back across the parking lot to get back into the finish line area.  I finally cross the finish line…glad to be done. 
Me & Michelle pre-race

Overall, I still had fun.  That’s been my goal for racing this summer.  Enjoy it and have fun.  This was certainly not one of my favorite races ever.  As a matter of fact I would put it up there with least favorite. I don’t think I will do this one again, but still I can’t complain too much. I finished another triathlon and on my new tri bike for a change!
I grabbed my medal and a few refreshments at the finish line and then headed to get my results.  I was super excited when I saw I was 4th in my Age Group! That was my highest finish ever.  But then I found out there were only 4 people in my age group….of course.  I was bummed because I was that close to an age group award by default – if just one of those girls hadn’t shown up I would have won. LOL and I would have been thrilled to get it even if it was by default.  The other thing I noticed was my bike speed.  It listed me as 18.9 miles per hour! Say what?  My fastest bike ever was just under 17 mph….hey maybe that tri bike was magic?  But then I started really thinking that there was just no way on that course I just had my fastest bike ever.  I went to the results area and asked “does anyone else think their bike time is fast”.  My friend (who works for the timing company) said “it was a 16 mile bike right”?  No, I replied it was only 13….oh…the miles were entered wrong, suddenly my stellar 18.9 mph bike ride was 15.3 mph – that’s more like it.

After I got my “real” results I then headed to the finish line to cheer on other athletes and wait for Michelle to finish.  She didn’t feel like she had her best race ever, but she did finish 3rd in her Age Group (out of way more than 4) and she did qualify for the Hyvee Championship which was her goal.  So in the end it was a great day for both of us! 
Jack wearing my medal and trying to take all the credit again