Friday, December 14, 2012

Life is Short - Celebrate Every Moment

This past Monday, my friend Lauri was taken away from us.  She got sick and went to the hospital on Friday and by Monday she passed away.  Things happen so quickly, it took me a while to process that she was really gone.  I've known Lauri for a long time, she was a few years older, my friend Tom's older sister.  She recently celebrated her 40th birthday.

She was not only a good friend but she acted as a sister to all of us, and always there to help someone out.  I still remember the deep conversation we had when I told her about how I met this guy with bleach blonde hair....who ended up being my husband.

She is our first friend with a baby, Shane.  In fact, my favorite story is one that she told a lot and found highly was Shane's 2nd or 3rd birthday.  Lauri rented Barney and Baby Bop costumes.  Jeff was Barney and our other friend wasn't there for the Baby Bop costume.  She asked me to wear this wonderful costume (you know the big ass ones that walk around parks that are really heavy).  So I took one for the team, chugged a beer and went out as Baby Bop...the mask kept falling down so I couldn't see and we were with all the children "playing catch".  So I kept missing the ball and one kid just turned around and said "Baby Bop sucks, he can't even catch a ball...."  Good times!  She is the best mom and someone that I can model after someday when I have children.  I am sure she was so proud to see her son graduate from high school this past Spring.

 Lauri laughed a lot and was always ready for a good time especially St. Patty's Day - her favorite holiday. I remember so many SPD years of spending with the Hussey family at their house or at the hall or even our friend, Joey's wedding. 

There were so many good times.  Although I didn't see her as often as we had when we were younger, we could still pick up where we left off.

My friend Tom wrote on facebook this week....
"Thank you for all of the love and kindness we have experienced over the last week. We will push on and share this love with our children. As a family we do bend but we will never break! Please join us to celebrate the life of beautiful person who was taken from us to soon……"

Life is short, and we can learn from Lauri and celebrate each moment we have with laughter and love; however small or large it may be.   We also need to stay strong no matter what life throws at us.  She is in a better place and with her mom.  Lauri will always be remembered as the wonderful, beautiful person she was.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gift Guide for the Rockstar Triathlete

Whether we are fast or not, is irrelevant.  Some of us like to train with a bit of attitude, which let's face it, gets us motivated to be faster!  So for all you ladies, I present to you a Holiday Gift Guide for the Rockstar Triathlete, and you may want to send this to your significant other as a little hint....

  1. TYR Woodstock Silicone Swim Cap $9.95
  2. Sugoi Skull + Bow Arm Warmers $34.95
  3. Sock Guy Videogame Socks $13.95
  4. Turbo Skulls One-Piece Swimsuit $49.95
  5. Betty Designs Tattoo Cycle Jersey $119.95 and Cycling Shorts $99.99

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small Blessings and Being Thankful

Sadness, stress, anger, frustration, pain, guilt - all of these are just some of the emotions we may feel when a family member is very ill.  However, with all the angst, with all this negativity, we hope, pray and seek some sliver of happiness that sheds some light on a bad situation.  This Thanksgiving, Mike and I didn't host the usual LaCouture-Cipolone feast and instead moved things to my in-laws.

If you have been following the blog or are a friend you may know about my father-in-law who has ALS.  To give you perspective, from the time he was diagnosed in November of 2010 with minor symptoms of weakness in his arms to now being in a hospital bed and not being able to walk or eat.  However, he has a wonderful disposition despite this awful disease.  It escalated June 1st when he was rushed to the hospital after a weekend of being able to read a kindle, drinking margaritas and making chili cheese dip.  My husband puts 200% into taking care of him, while being able to work hard at his job, while keeping up with his band, Beyond Dishonor, moving the Brewtal Beer along and spending time together with me (I get exhausted typing it).

The one concern that all of us had was HOW we were going to eat in front of this man who has not been able to have ANY food since June 1st.  BUT, Mike got him in the wheel chair, pushed him out and the decision was made - take some Glenfiddich whiskey and put it on a swab for his mouth - not enough to swallow but to taste and this my friends was the small blessing, the little sliver of happiness that you look for during all this negativity.
Mike and his dad, Carle
Tamara (mike's sister), Mike and Carle and Glen...

For the first time in this house I saw genuine laughter and happiness that has been absent for a while. In Thanksgiving fashion, I am so thankful we were able to spend our Thanksgiving with both our families and that we have such an AWESOME family.

Love this guy!

Our feast

No Thanksgiving is complete without a fried turkey with my dad's beer brine - AWESOME

Fall veggies -I had to fit in another food pic

My parents

Sneaking Turkey as it is cut

My #1 sis!

The little guys - Brenden, Aiden and Kieran

Mom and mother in law!

Belinda and Billy
This doesn't belong - but I can't forget my little bro, Ant (in middle) that we were able to see in Florida!
Source:  High Tail Farms
He lives in Louisiana with his fiance, Kaela where they are farming and sold all of their fine turkey's they raised!  They were even on TV - check them out here

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trenton Half Marathon Race Report

It was Trenton's first inaugrual half marathon and may be thinking - "Geez Heather, what is it about you and your ghetto running...first Camden, now Trenton"  - For the few of my followers that are not familiar with the state of New Jersey - these are some of the top crime rated cities...I am saying this like I am proud or something.  For your information - Camden, NJ has a crime rating of 3 and Trenton, NJ a rating of 11.  What does that mean?  Camden is safer than 3% of the cities in the US and Trenton safer than 11% of the cities in the US.

Trivia and humor aside, it was a really nice course and did not go through the "sketchy" areas.  The logistics and spectator view of it was a rating of 15 - maybe 15% better than other races....meaning no bueno.  However, the spectators were able to see each runner from the stadium as we ran into Trenton Thunder Stadium and it was great for photographers Mike.

I think they are trying to make it better for next year, and probably something I would consider doing again since it really was a nice course with a good mix of flats, bridges and some hills.

As for me, as you saw in the last post I was suffering from severe off-seasonitis....I wanted it to be over and I just really wasn't mentally into it.  When you aren't mentally into it, it's NOT going to go well.  It wasn't my worse race but it was not my best.  The lack of training or what I may call fake training really had an impact.  I don't think I was ever so ill-prepared from the running side to bad nutrition, it was just awful and I just want to put my head down because I did not RESPECT the race, the distance, none of it.

The week before I ran Bridge run 10K and felt good, THIS did not feel good.  I'll share the story now...

Twas two nights before the race, I had too much to drink - scratch that I had 3 very very strong beers and felt like ass the next day, which I think just set me up for disaster.  I don't normally drink very much the week leading up to a race and this had a definite impact.  My eating was off all day on Friday, I drank maybe two glasses of water and sipped on a bottle of Nuun...after work we were going with some friends to check out some space for Brewtal - more on that later and I asked Mike what we were going to do about dinner.  Oh, we are having pizza, so I  thought oh okay we are going somewhere for pizza, and I could probably order some chicken and salad and I thought I would be okay.  Nope they were BRINGING pizza, so I am very religious about what I eat the night before and this was not that.  At this point, I was like f it and had a beer and continued sipping some water.  I went to bed too late at midnight, and had to wake up by 5:30...Then I wasn't quite sure about clothing, it was going to be 30 degrees, I thought I would wear a skirt and twin it with Yasi but when she came in my house bundled up I ran up and changed.  Again, not prepared.  The other hard part was I didn't have my normal breakfast, I had no banana and I barely ate a rice cake with some almond butter.

To top it off I brought only 1 gu with me.  Nicole, Yasi and I get to the race site and park and met up with Matt and Bub and Meg (who did her first 10K).  I ate something at 6 and the race did not start until 8:30...not to mention I didn't eat enough at all.  I was thirsty, and my stomach was rumbling which is not a good sign.  The race had a 45 min delay so it was a double whammy.    So we start - FAST...I looked at my Garmin and it said 7:54...SLOW the F DOWN!!  I then felt good and clocked in some 9 and 9:20 min miles...I saw our friend Lisa at Mile 4 on the Pennsylvania side and at that point felt awesome...and the thought crossed my mind that if I can stay in around 9:10 I can PR from AC!  

AS you see above it looked decent, THEN it started falling apart...

 I still felt okay at 6 and 7 but felt a little niggle in my calve, so I stopped and walked the water break and then tried to sip on my one and only GU.  Mile 8 was when the little hilly area came and that's when the calve cramp that has not reared it head in quite a while showed up for the Mile 10 I decided I was going to relax my calve with my mind...I don't know what I was thinking but I assumed it I took deep yoga breaths and breathed into that area it will loosen.  Just so you know it is mentally exhausting to try this.  I felt like things were picking up at mile 10 and I could at least hold that pace in.  Then mile 11 happened and it traveled to my achilles....and the calf was balling up, which then signified my toes to start curling like it did in DC!  So basically miles 11-13 were a shit show of pain.  I want to spare you the pictures that the race took, it looked like I was dying a slow death.  At one point this older gentleman said - "are you okay?"  I was standing in the middle of the highway trying to push my toes flat..."um, yes, just trying to flatten the toes..."  No amount of electrolytes and salt were curing this...

Anyway, I started a run walk strategy and just tried to make it in, I was running with some man and he said he wished he was faster and how glad he was to see the finish line.  I told him, I was just glad that we are fortunate enough to be able to do this in the first place.  Then I said to him, we are almost there what do you say we fake run it in together - we got this!  I think that was the point where I saw my dad, which always makes me happy.  I ran around the bases and made pretend I was not in pain when in fact the cramping was really bad but I refused to not look good at the finish!  So I made it in and saw Mike at the finish with his camera, my mom, sister and my friends that finished the 10K.
 Without my husband and family and phenomenal group of friends this wouldn't be worth a damn thing.  I love them all and truly appreciate them being there!  Oh and the beer breakfast that followed it!!

As much as this was a shit show of running, I learned that nutrition and training are that important, it was a great learning experience.  AND I got to witness two people finishing their first 10K and ready for a Half-marathon - congrats Megan and Mahlet!!  AND I was able to run with my two friends Yasi and Nicole!

Now it's time for off-season and celebrate this EPIC year of accomplishments!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Case of Off-Seasonitis, Halloween and a Race Report

Been ultra - lackadasical about my posting...and about training...and I diagnosed it!  Yes, I am about to make up a word, I checked it on Wikapedia...

(although I am wary that this word already has been posted somewhere in the blogosphere by the other crazy triathletes out there)

Off-Seasonitis which is from the term "off-season" plus the suffix -itis (which refers to the inflamation or an illness), this is to describe the decreased motivation toward training by triathletes who are nearing the end of their season....

After Atlantic City, I was just DONE, but I still had two more racesI signed up for and well, I can't let things go to waste....

So I'll start with the back-story - Pre-Sandy, since it also contains Halloween weekend footage and the Bridge Run...which was awesome...

I was a "little" tipsy from all the awesome pumpkin beer at the Brewtal Beer October Halloween meeting and went into that "whoa is me" stage of drunkeness, where I told everyone I didn't FEEL like running 10 miles the next day, I didn't FEEL like running the Bridge Run the next weekend and most of all I didn't FEEL like running 13.1 miles at the Trenton Half Marathon. WAAAAA!  Poor Lisa, had to listen to this for about 20 minutes.Yes this is all as I was dressed as an evil Alice in Wonderland
"Mad Alice" - looking a little crazy

This is my mother....who NEVER dresses up!

The boys as Bareforce One....

Video game character photo shoot

Anywho, Lisa said "why don't you just not run it?"  Go ahead, I did the same thing - "huh?" I replied. The conclusion was just do a short run the next day, since I got in 10 miles already the week before and I would just do both races slow, no expectations.

The next day I woke up a touch hungover and decided I was driving to the park running 3 miles and going home to get ready for the next Halloween festivity.  So, I called Christine who said just do 6 miles.  So I got out of the car and I ran 7 miles.  Felt better, plus I was getting a little concerned because I heard we were getting some rain during the week (i.e. Hurricane Sandy).  Then I got myself ready for the Beyond Dishonor at Champs - I changed my hair color for the costume....

Beyond Dishonor as Mortal Kombat - aweseome!

Dorothy...and Mad Alice

Yasi all cat woman like - and me with a knife...
The crew pre-metal party
and it was Yasi's first metal show...

Fast-forward to last Sunday...Bridge Run 10K which really is a lot of fun and that was my plan, use it as a training run for Trenton Half Marathon.

The first mile was like fighting through a mass of 1200 people...oh wait I did fight through that mess...I couldn't get a spot by the 9min mile pacer so I went to the back.  My first mile as you can see the time versus moving time was about 35 seconds slower. 

Practicing my Miss America wave for the paparazzi
My goal was a 9 min mile pace all the way through and I achieved that.  I wasn't looking a PRing since I do want to do ok at tomorrow's half marathon so I kept the HR level fairly consistent around 154.

I started with noone and got really bored around mile 5 (as I slowed down) probably admiring the flowers (just kidding this is Camden - most likely admiring the crack head complaining to a cop).  I finally saw Lisa up ahead and sprinted up (see the spike in HR) and was just so happy to run with someone even for the last 1/2 mile.

Me and my twin Christine!

Team Triumph!

Oh and to add to the crazy weather - we had a snowstorm - random and just to add more power outages to the people who just got their power back from Sandy.

Because of the snow I opted not to run at all this week, I did free-weight, spin class, trainer rides and some yoga...hopefully this will make for some ultra fresh legs...

Oh and in order to make myself excited for tomorrow...I not only picked out a cute outfit...I planned a Beer and Mimosa Breakfast Party after the race!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Frankenstorm

I finally had some time to write a post on what's been going on...when Hurricane Sandy (or as some of us called Frankenstorm) hit and decided I would instead wait and post after the aftermath has cleared.  It was ironic that the last post I did was on the Atlantic City Triathlon where I talked about the best part of my day was running along the Atlantic City Boardwalk where most of my childhood memories were.  In fact, those memories coupled with all of my summers spent along the Jersey Shore.  Just for reference, this is the picture I posted on my last post from the race...

This is post-Sandy.

A Godsend was that Mike's parents house did not lose power.  His dad is hooked up to a fair amount of machines and extremely fortunate that they didn't need to go to the back up generator.  My parents are okay, they live by one of the bridges in Philly and extremely close to the Delaware River, but they said they heard both of the sub pumps kicking in during the storm.  We were also very fortunate and did not lose power and had no issues.  However, friends 5 and 10 min away did and are still without power.  I opened the house for coffee, charging and showers but I still feel a little guilty that I was so lucky. 

New York downtown was bad, some friends stayed uptown but I am sure it will take a while for the subways to get back in action.  It is horrible to hear about all of the homes and businesses.  

I remember when Katrina hit and my brother was in New Orleans, he, thank God, was smart and evacuated but I remember how much was lost among him and his friends and the sadness.  It becomes a different experience when it's even closer to your home.  I know this isn't the same size of a storm but the Hurricane Sandy coupled with the high tide made this a perfect storm.  It will take a lot to rebuild and get things going in a large city like NY and the East Coast beaches.  My thoughts and prayers to those who experienced the worst.

I went for a short run yesterday (given I have two running races this week and next) and posted that people need to be smart being on the road after a hurricane.
  1. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, there are tree branches and small twigs that can cause a twisted ankle.
  2. Look around you as well as there are things coming from the side, you may be better off on a trail..
  3. Pick up your feet, don't shuffle along, you don't want a broken ankle.
  4. Pay Attention, if you don't feel comfortable go to the gym
They say is still unsafe with all the trees being so weak from all the wind we had. So to all my friends...

  •  Be safe
  • Help out a friend
  • Pray that we can get this rebuilt

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Perfect Ending to the Tri-Season - AC International Distance Race Report

After doing my last week negatively sad post (I will try to keep those posts to a minimum), I am happy to report two things:
  • I turned 37 and survived
  • Had a pretty sweet race
  • I got a haircut
I went into this race feeling "blah" about everything, but the pity party was over and decided I was going to CELEBRATE all my training and hard work for the year.  In typical taper fashion, I got slammed with work which ironically helped me to feel super fresh on Sat...Friday night, we met at my parents (got a cute purse from my mommy) and we drove to Atlantic City to stay at my sister-in-laws where Christine gave me my bday present that I could wear for the race...

That made me smile and feel ready then ever to race.  My parents and sister were our support team and they did a great job showing up at random places on the course.
Cutest parents wearing their NJ Metal sweatshirts - REPRESENTING
Bright and Early at 5:30am
Christine and I got to Bader Field at 5:30am (I credit Yasi with encouraging me to be early for races) and picked up our race packets and went to transition.  The race was starting 15 minutes late because many people were caught in traffic...I have NEVER seen a race do this and it just showed how accomodating this company was.  They really did a nice job.  Thank you DelMoSports!

Swim -  1 mile (36:36)
The swim course looked like it could be cold but in actuality it was awesome.  I wore my full-piece wetsuit, I wish I had a sleeveless as I always feel so constricted in my full piece.  Anyway, I think the swim out to the start was good because it forced me to warm up a little.  I stayed in the back-right to avoid the initial crazies, and there was a bit of a current (against) on the way up. When I got to the first left, I got a little confused, I thought it was making a rectangle and think I ended up getting off course, then back on then off again.  Finally on the way back we were able to ride the current and I sighted the rest of the orange and was able to stay on course the rest of the way.  Most of the Olympic distance swims have been 0.8 miles so my time was faster than previous for a longer course...PR!

T1 - 5:16 (REASON BELOW)
I saw Christine in transition - she was doing the sprint and also did a little PR in the swim.  This was a ridiculously long transition - I was quick, HOWEVER, the Garmin registered a 1/2 mile transition....we had to run with our bikes out of transition and across Bader Field up to Rt. 322 where we were then allowed to mount the bike...NEXT time, I will not run in my bike shoes, and run barefoot so I can go a little faster.  I only know I was pretty speedy in the transition area because NINJA Christine had a similar time...haha

Bike - 20 miles (1:03  -19mph)
There was a lovely head side wind on the way up - it was a 1/2 loop course so I would guess about 60% of it you were going into the wind.  I just kept my head down and tried to keep steady, especially when a semi is flying by you on the AC Expressway and almost knocks you down.  The only "hills" were a couple over passes.  My garmin stopped working on the last mile but from what I gather I was doing about 15-17 in the headwind and 20-23 on the tailwind...Overall, a nice little PR speed for an Olympic/International distance.  I know I started easing up the last 5 miles, I think I got a little bored of no one being around me and the flatness....I need to get my head in the game as I think it cost me a little in speed.

T2 - 4:45 (Same as above)
I saw my dad coming off the bike and then right before my run, this put a little kick in my step and he said mom and Theresa were up on the boardwalk waiting for me to run by!

Run - 10k (54:20 8:46/mile)
This was a PR on any 10k whether that is a solo run or part of a tri, so I am quite happy with this and I think it really shows how far I am coming in getting back to the 8 min mile (goal for next year).  I saw Christine on her way in which gave me a little motivation.  I felt really good, the weather was awesome.  The only real complaint I have on the race was being stopped for traffic on the way to the you watch people go ahead of you....whatever, what is done is done. I got up to the boards and felt real good, I wish I had my Garmin to push me but instead I worked on passing one person at a time.  I saw my sister at Bally's and she said mom was at the Borgata.  A girl I passed on the bike earlier, was running by me so I figured I should try to stick with her.  I could tell my heartrate was getting a little higher, I would guess (since I am a stalker, the girl did 8 min miles) that we were going about 8min pace, after a mile I decided I wanted to have enough gas for the end.  I saw my mom and gave her a high five and went on...I can't tell you how much emotion I feel when I run here, there was so many memories of my childhood with my family and grandparents.  My grandfather worked at Resorts and as I passed it I remembered walking with my grandmom as a 7 year old from the Golden Nugget to Resorts to see him and then catching a tram home.  I remembered watching these casinos being built and torn down, Trump building the most elaborate looking ridiculous casino...good I remembered all of this I just put one foot in front of the other, I felt really good and steady.  When I got to mile 5, I felt good enough to speed it up, although I had to stop 2 more times for traffic...I am pretty sure it only took about a total of 30 seconds of all the stopping so I don't think it would have made a huge difference.

Total Time - 2:43:46

Our number 1 fan - Theresa!

After all this, we went to breakfast for my birthday, showered and got back on the road.  Mike was taking care of his dad, so he got home a little later and we celebrated with some cake and beers and a movie with a couple friends.  Sunday, I continued celebrating by spending the day on full birthday mode: reading, wine, sun, and then dinner with Mike.

My presents from Mike came and were wonderful.....

Shoes and watch can't get much better.

I had more gluttony in store this past weekend with a Brewtal beer meeting, a birthday dinner with friends on Sat, and then on Sunday for the grand finale of bday week with field hockey, book club and dinner with my family!  Here's to making the birthday last a full month!

AND just to be sure I am vacation ready, I started my week of detox before I leave 10/2 - which means coming up with some fantastic recipes that are detox-friendly - I think I may be the only one that gets excited for a detox...and detoxes BEFORE "toxing" on vacation.  See this post for my detox (I sometimes add in greek yogurt and eggs since this is not a full vegan detox although I had done it full vegan in the past for detox), obviously everyone is different and here for some relevant recipe lists...also I follow the various nutrition posts on my right hand column - Edible Perspective, Daily Garnish, Gluten-Free Goddess for some great recipes :)

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