Saturday, May 24, 2014

Never thought you'd see the day...

Well it's been a while blog-o-sphere. Have you missed me? 

I don't think I've posted since last August. Since then school and life have been giving me some serious butt-whoopings. Don't get me wrong, some very wonderful things have happened, but it's been a pretty tough 9 months. 

Suddenly, I find myself two months from graduation, with nothing to do! I have clinic twice a month. No classes. No thesis to do. Nothing but training. And training is going well, but this little ADD riddled soul can't survive on only training. Nope. 

So what am I going to do?? 

That's right - it is time for some good old-fashioned hobbies. The kind that exist in the real world, not just on my pinterest boards. 

Here's by list:

1. Re-instate the blog - CHECK! 
2. Sign up for tennis lessons - CHECK! 
3. Find someplace to volunteer 
4. Find a place to take an art class

Anyone have any other suggestions?? 

In the meantime I've also been doing a little research and renovation of my diet. Read: changing what I eat long term, not going on a diet. 

Because everyBODY is a beachBODY
My boyfriend's mom passed this nugget along: The Conscious Cleanse  and let me tell you it has only been a week, but already my body is 100% better. I'd been bloating, stomach achey, crabby and my whole system was not happy. I seriously suggest checking it out. 

Here's my latest conscious recipe: Curry Carrot Soup 


8 carrots - peeled and chopped thinly 
1 medium yellow onion - coarsely chopped 
2 tsp Curry Powder (or more...)
3 TBS coconut oil 
5 cups vegetable broth 
salt and pepper to taste 


1. Melt coconut oil in large soup pot. Add curry powder and stir for 2 minutes. 
2. Add carrots and onions, stir to coat. Continue stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
3. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes - or until the carrots are tender when poked with a fork (want them very tender!)
4. In small batches puree soup. **I used my blender, 2-3 cups worth at a time. If you have an immersion blender go for it! 
5. Transfer puree back to pot and heat. Skim any "junk" from top as needed. You'll know what I mean when you see it. 
6. Serve and salt/pepper to taste! 

Well, thanks for returning :) 
I'm looking forward to rejoining to blogosphere. 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Race ReCap

Fifteen races this year, nine of which were triathlons (5 Sprints, 3 Olympics and one Half-Ironman), and no race reports to show for it. I've mentioned my performance, but this is going to be my first stab at a proper race report. 

It all started early Saturday morning, waking up at the Florida House Inn (my absolutely new favorite place in Florida) with a bad case of the sneezes. My whole head felt like it was full of snot. We had gotten in pretty late the night before, and when the alarm went off at 5:15 it felt as though I had just fallen asleep. Don't get me wrong, it was a wonderful sleep, but one that I had hoped to continue. That paired with the non-stop sneezing was making me seriously regret the whole I-will-race-too scenario. Approximately 50 sneezes into the morning, and not even in the car yet headed to the course, the boy informed me he wouldn't judge me if I withdrew from the race. 

Ugh. This is when I knew I was in a bad place. 

I meant to keep track of the sneezes. But, alas internet world, I failed you. Big surprise.  

However, some free pre-race coffee (out of a cookie jar. One of use was upset the cookie jar didn't hold cookies. It wasn't me. You know coffee satisfies me!) AND... 

... a bagel smothered in Cinnamon Raisin Granola Nut Peanut Butter... 

Yes. Pause and read that again. 

It's peanut butter, with cinnamon. And raisins. And granola. And nuts. All together in one epic jar. 

So needless the say that distracted the sneezes. For awhile. They came back full force once we were in the car on the way to the course and didn't stop until my warm up swim. Thank goodness for salt water! 

The waves were serious Saturday morning, and I was glad to have the time to take a warm-up swim, if for no other reason than to get a sense for the waves. While I splashed around and chatted in transition, the boy took his warm up seriously.  

He was racing to win. I was racing for pizza. We all have our priorities. 

It was a bright and beautiful morning, and I was glad I'd recently bought some tinted goggles. It was only a 1/4 mile swim, and I just wanted to get in and out of the waves before a surfer cruised over me. But seriously, they were out as soon as we were out! Heading out the first buoy I looked to sight and saw the biggest wave of water I'd ever seen. 

"Just survive it girl, just survive it."

The wave threw me on my back and sent me back a few yards. Into a herd of girls pulling me under. Time to kick. I don't mean to kick anyone, but if you insist on grabbing my feet and yanking, then I need to kick a. to get ahead and away from you AND b. to send a message. Leave me alone! 

Finally made it to the first buoy and whipped around. At least now the waves were parallel to me, but little did I know that wouldn't be my biggest concern. 

Didn't know .25 mile could be so exciting, did ya? 
Well, just as I passed the second buoy (there were only three) I felt something PLOP into my bra. I didn't really think anything of it at first, just kept swimming. But then it started to sting. Like really really really sting. Still swimming with the right arm, and kicking, I yanked it out with my left hand. 


Like icky, yucky, spine shivery, squishy. So I threw it under me. And onto my right leg. Where it proceeded to sting my knee cap. Needless to say I was over this swim. Finally got my butt out of the water and into transition. Despite all that, looking back at the splits I was the first in my AG out of the water. I'll take it! 

Swim Course. I think we can all see where the squishy was! 

There is no better feeling during a tri than running into transition and seeing all the bikes still on the rack. Except maybe coming back into T2 and seeing all the racks empty!! Transition was smooth and relatively painless. Oh yeah, except for the part where I stabbed myself in the eye with my sunglasses. But my socks, shoes and helmet were all on with no problems so I considered it a success and got the heck out of there. 

The bike was uneventful. Leap frogged with a  few people. Got annoyed when I realized they were all pulling each other and taking turns drafting off me! I was suspicious of the length of the bike course, but it was definitely 17 miles! (The reported times the week before must have been wrong, no girls are going to pull off a 1:05 on a .25/17/3.1) Managed to average 20.5 mph on the course, and was pleased with myself. 

There's the bike in the center. Kept it pretty consistent!
Clearly the swim and run are a different story. 

Came into transition and had that wonderful, no-other-bikes-are-back-on-the-rack, feeling. I was the second in my AG back in on the bike. Wahoo! 

The run is really my weakness these days, so I knew I had to lay out a good run or people would start passing me. I'd already been passed on the bike by one girl, but otherwise I knew I was doing pretty well. At this point I didn't know if anyone had gotten out of the water before me or not. 

The run course was shady the whole time! And unlike my last three races, wasn't on the sand. Not one time. Felt good to have the chance to actually run. My goal was 25:30. Just hit 8:30's I thought. Which I did on the first mile. Not so much on the second. The exciting part was when I was able to pick it up again on the last mile. 

5k came in at 26:04. So 8:41 average. Just enough to keep me in the top 3 (to be fair, top three once the overall winner was taken out of the AG, but I'll take what I can get!). I felt strong crossing the finish line, and not knowing the results was positive about my performance. More than positive, I was a little impressed with myself. Not the race I'd imagined. Sometimes I forget how much I train, especially when I compare myself to others. I'd expected not only to have my tushy handed to me, but also to be a bit underwhelmed by my performance. I need to get over this self doubt thing. Even if I don't do "well" compared to others I train with, I still make gains every single race. 

Which is the best part of triathlon. 

There is always room for improvement. Always something that can get better. Always something to work on. A truly never ending project. 

So despite a lot of things going very wrong, I had a great race. 

And earned my *homemade* pizza for sure. 

I could however, have done without seeing Paranormal Activity for the first time. Even if scary movies are "fun."

So, two weeks until my next race weekend back in Seattle. Excited to see what I can put together there. Going to get after the run and bike. And because I still have to race Augusta, I need to get after some LONG rides followed by LONG runs. Wish me luck. 

At the airport now, ready to head out. Going to search for some food and maybe a beer, because you know that's what triathletes are actually all about. 

If it's in a meme it must be true. 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Do More of What Makes You Happy

A while back I applied to an externship position and they asked us to use one word to describe ourselves. I asked the facebook world for their one word to describe me, I was curious if anyone used any of the worlds I thought of. One word struck me as highly appropriate: 


I've always needed to be in a flurry of activity. Growing up I'd yearn for summer vacations, while my mom tried to warn and remind me how very much I actually hate having nothing to do. Inevitably summer would come and I'd wonder what I'd been so excited about. Camps, play dates, romps in the park. All were fun, but none lasted long enough or took up enough of my time to satisfy me. 

As an adult I've played around with my schedule, always trying to find the right amount of activity to keep me satisfied without going insane. Heading into summer I thought I had found the perfect balance, but little did I know I was close to chewing off more than I could handle. 

I learned a lot about priorities this summer. School hit me over the head with the reminder that graduate school, and becoming a speech and language pathologist is my very first priority. Everything else comes second. Despite school being first, I've been giving training the attention the number one priority deserved. Re-juggling my priorities was a painful challenge. Saying no, sleeping in, reading instead of running, all made me feel guilty. I also worried (stupidly) about being judged by my triathlete friends. I still worry about this. 

Tears have stained the summer. I've broken down enough times in the pool to fill the damn thing. I knew I'd taken on a lot, but I didn't think it was enough to deserve the intense feelings I was having on a daily basis. But then I read Katie's post over at Run This Amazing Day and she talked about starting graduate school, then triathlon training. Serially. And the immense challenge the both posed. And then this year she moved from D.C. to Colorado. I realized, each one of those things was highlighted as unique stressful events in her life and I did them all at once. 

{I didn't know how to handle all the shit my brain threw at me while I was throwing an unbelievable amount of shit at my body - Kaite, Run This Amazing Day}

Not only have I thrown an unbelievable amount of shit at my body, but over the course of the last year, I have also thrown a lot of shit at my brain. This year has been the loneliest, hardest, most thrilling, challenging and incredibly rewarding year of my life. 

Just last year I set out from Portland, headed to Florida. On this day last year I spent the night in Missouri.

Just a year ago this was my ethos. There was no room to worry. I was committed and worrying would only bring me down. I was determined to enjoy Tampa, no matter what. Slowly, the worry has creeped back into my life. Maybe it's that just a year from now I'll be preparing to start my first real job, as a Speech Language Pathologist. Or maybe it's that worrying is hard to keep at bay. Either way, I'm ready to ditch the worry and embrace all the things that can and are going right! 

And a lot is going right. 

I finished my first year of graduate school, am kicking butt at this thesis thing, have an apartment to myself that I love, had a great race last weekend, have a two week trip home, wonderful friends and new special someone. Life is pretty wonderful. 

Instead of driving into the unknown, today I got to drive across Florida to visit that special someone.

A little more excited than I was on this day last year

So life is good. You can see the white stallion peeking out at you in the back of the pripri. We're racing this weekend on Amelia Island, a few weekends ago we decided I'm not the best spectator. Cheering and picture taking and being in the right spot is a lot harder than it looks! We'll see which I prefer on Saturday. It was kind of fun to cheer and wait in anticipation for someone! 

So I'm going to spend the next year going easier on myself. I'll still be busy. There will surely still be tears. But I want to bite of manageable chunks and find success within those endeavors. 

Can't wait to see what the year brings, 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Oh Hey!

I swear, I swear I am still alive. 

I think I have finally found my limits. I couldn't take on a single extra responsibility at this point if you paid me. Every minute of the day is accounted for. Unfortunately none of those minutes have been allocated to blogging. When I do find myself with free time I'd rather sneak in a few extra miles, beers or laughs with friends! 

Right now, I have 25 more minutes until I need to be at Tampa General to get some extra training for school. Because school has taken over. Between my normal clinic hours, I've taken on an extra therapy group, my thesis and programming a device that includes me trying to figure out some basic computer coding.

 SO. It's been a tumultuous month since I last blogged. I've struggled with being nice to myself in regards to training. School has to come first. It's what I moved here for, and why I'm about to be in massive amounts of debt. Also, it's really my passion. 

I love triathlons. I love swimming. I'm starting to love biking. And I can negotiate the run ;) But Speech and Language Pathology, my clients and my research fuel me. I might complain about how busy I am {I've truly never been this tired from school work} but I thrive on this type of craziness. 

Aspects of this field scare me more than anything. Right now, my thesis is the terror in my life. 

But despite the insanity, something miraculous has happened over the last month. Not only have I lived without internet for the last month, but I have calmed down enough to start watching movies. Straight through. All of it. Long ones. 

Sometimes I'm not even doing school work during these movies. Those of you who know me well will be shocked. I even sit still. Like the whole time. On the couch. Clearly not surfing the internet because I don't have it. And do you know what I have discovered? These movies are so good!! 

Crazy, huh?

So it's been overwhelming, but I'm doing it. 

Re-prioritizing my life has been painful and difficult, but oh-so-important. 

I'm throwing my whole being into everything I do. {Because that's what I always do}
So I want my heart focused and trained towards what I deem to be the important things. Training will always be there. I only get two years one more year is school. I have to soak it up, and learn everything I can. 

But I'm still working on these babies ; ) 

So it's time to jet!! I just wanted to check in. People have still been reading every week - which just gives me so much happiness. So I apologize for being busy. Two more weeks of school, then a month off. I will be blogging during that month. Mostly from Seattle :)!!!

So until then: Sweat hard and Sparkle often! 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle

Monday, June 3, 2013

Look Strong, Feel Strong, Be Strong

Because when you feel strong you become strong.

Sunday's triathlon at Madeira Beach finally taught me that lesson. I knew it, but I didn't know it. 

I spent the month of May training. Hard. I know I've been "training" for awhile now, but this month really tested me. I logged 282 miles on the bike, 73 miles on the run and over 16 miles swimming. Big numbers for me. Tears, snot, curse words and sweat litter those 371 miles. 

As emotionally and physically painful as May was, it brought growth: strength, friendships and maturity all came along for the ride. There were points where I really didn't like who I was; for instance when I was pouty, crying and negative after being dropped on Davis Island (then again when I was dropped like I never have been, in San Antonio). But this is the first time in this entire triathlon experience that I have been excited about training. 

I've been very passive in my training. Asking questions about my performance that make me a victim of the circumstances. May helped me kick that mentality in the tuckus. Successful athletes don't let the circumstances control them - they control the circumstances. This weekend, I also realized that I have radically re-defined success for myself. 

So, you want to know what happened in Madeira this weekend?? 


First I finally put together a good swim - because I wasn't afraid to kick. And because master's swim has taught me that I can. I can keep pulling. My arm's won't give up. I can pass people on the swim. I can be the last person in the water and still get out 9th in my AG. Then I was swift, controlled and focused in transition. 

Here's where it get's good. I hammered it on the bike. I threw out the Garmin (like literally. but that is for another post. so don't do it. but do it. throw it out every now and then. figuratively.) and just went off the feel. I wanted to make sure I focused on staying connected to the pedal and transferring all my energy to the bike. Since our AG started second to last, I finally got to pass people. Boy does that help. And being passed by a few fast friends. Doing everything I could to stay on their tail. 

And the numbers show it: according to my calculations (9.8 miles in 29.51 minutes) I averaged 19.7 mph. Which is my fastest race average EVER. My first sprint was the same distance, perhaps even a tad bit shorter and it took me 32.23 ~ 18.2 mph. I remember hurting during that ride. But Sunday felt good. Hard, but good. Am I physically capable of going faster? Probably. But it was a good ride and I am proud of the speed I'm gaining. 

And if I thought I liked the person I was on the bike, boy was going to be surprised by the run. The first half of my run was nothing special. Rather, it was pretty dismal. The entire 5k was on the sand, and I'd run 5k on the sand the day before. I was letting that be an excuse, and I was letting the triathlon dictate my performance. I wasn't in control and was just kind of trotting. Since it was an out-and-back, I quickly realized I wasn't as far behind everyone as I thought I was. I was actually rather close to a lot of people who had passed me on the bike. Suddenly I kicked it into high gear. After track this week I knew I could run fast. After 8x400 at 1:41-1:46, I ran 1 mile in 7:30. So, I knew I could run. And run fast. 

And that is all it took. My brain deciding I could do it. 

That lethargic, being dominated, trotting feeling I had for the first mile and a half, that was my body doing what it wanted, without direction and innervation from the most important part of me: my mind. 

Once I decided I was going to do it, there was no going back. My mantra flooded my brain: 

Look strong, feel strong, be strong. 

That and cheering on everyone I knew that I passed. Obnoxious, hand clapping, whooping and hollering cheering. Because it helps. I swear. I do it more for me than for them! 

Ultimately I finished the race in 1:15.11. After swimming a full half-mile, and running the 5k completely in the sand. That is a 7 minute PR from my last sprint - where the swim was .46, and the run wasn't even 2.5 miles. I only averaged 18.3 on the bike. 

If that's not proof that I'm gaining speed, I don't know what is. 

Ok, I'll leave you with the pictures from the weekend! 

Love being up at 4:30 :) 

Finally got my cap off in time for pictures, thanks Franky! 


Oh yeah - we both placed in our AG's! 

I mean, we met through Ragnar - why be serious?

Speaking of serious, I didn't mention our W's the day before?? Dash for Cash - top ten on the 5k run we did won $20 and a plaque. Turns out you win an identical plaque if you come top ten on the mile swim we entered after. Love training with these ladies, it's never boring! 

All of this awesomeness happened the same weekend as NCAA's for Rowing. 7 years ago, as a Freshman, I placed 5th in the Nation in the women's four. I was more excited yesterday, seven years later, abut placing fifth at a small, local race, than I ever was about any of my rowing performances in college. I've re-defined success. Or, I'm working on it. Because I was stoked when I crossed the finish line yesterday, without having a clue about my time or place. I was so proud I was able to show the control to turn my run around, and I knew I'd put together a good race. I think I might even be ready for a race plan, because I'm finally ready to execute a plan. Which is awesome. 

So now that I am done over-using the word awesome, it's time to sleep. Triathlon Tuesday awaits. Can't wait to have the boys push me in the pool and to chase the ladies on the bike. All that pushing and chasing - that's the magic. I'm going to dream of magic tonight. 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle 

1. What was your last PR?
2. How do you define success?
3. Do you have a running mantra? Share it! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Promote Optimism

Ok, you caught me, I most definitely was not promoting optimism this weekend. I wasn't even faking it 'til I made it. It all started early Sunday morning, when I convinced myself I wasn't going to be strong enough to ride the hills with the friends I was going to be training with. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. And let's be real - it wasn't that I was afraid I wasn't strong or fast enough; I was afraid I wasn't enough. Plain and simple. 

I was afraid that my performance would re-define how my friends thought of me. 

Do you know what threatens your relationship with people most? Your outlook. How you attack life. Your optimism and personality. Not how many miles an hour you can maintain in the hills for 50 miles. Not if you are first or second or last. 

So I'm taking the day off today from training comparing myself to others. Sometimes the most hackneyed lines are the truest: 

Comparison is the thief of joy. 

I compared myself to my friends and was sorely disappointed when I didn't "measure up." Then I did it again that afternoon. Surrounded by wonderfully supportive, positive people, I let myself decided to let negativity, fear, self-doubt and comparison swirl me into a really ugly place. And since then I've been dwelling. Spending a lot of time and energy worried about how people will judge me now that they "know" this other side of me. But guess what - those thoughts are pretty ugly too. 

And they don't feel very good.

My life is awesome. I am surrounded by amazing people. I see the sun every day. I've found a field of study and work that I am fiercely passionate about. I've found a hobby that makes me feel happy and strong. And I need to remember it's my hobby; a wonderful hobby, but it does not define me. It is just one part of the dream. 

I do not plan on staying on this roller-coaster. 

One of my roommates gave me a wonderful compliment the other day,

"Whenever I hear you talk about things, you always talk about doing your best." 

It took me a while to digest that, and to realize what a compliment it is. At first I thought - "duh!" But I forget that sometimes this is a unique quality. It is one that brings me a lot of extremes: both incredible success and immense frustration. 

If I'm not satisfied with something in my life or myself, then it is time to do some serious goal setting. 

But do you know what the best, the very best, part is? 

Failure, or the perception of failure, is hard for me. I'm learning this lesson the hard way - that failure happens. And it's really not always a bad thing. Sometimes we need to fail, because we need to know where we need to grow. In speech pathology we talk about finding our client's zone of proximal development, then working just on the edge of it to help them achieve maximal success. Once you reach that edge, you get to set a loftier goal, because the zone has grown. I'm finding that zone within myself. With both my training and my academics, I need to make sure I set challenging, achievable, goals. 

And my dreams are pretty awesome 
- so why not spend some time investing in myself? 

My new mantra comes from advice I got at just the right time, but insisted on ignoring: 

{  Be patient and be kind  }

So that's where I'm at. Life is an ongoing series of lessons. Some are more painful and harder to learn than others. Some you have to learn and re-learn and then learn again. 

Come with me. Let's make a change. 

xoxo Sweat&Sparkle