Monday, March 25, 2013

Perspective & TRI-Mania Boston

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the TRI-Mania Expo in Boston with my Rev3 teammates, old (ling time Rev3/Trakkers team veteran and "big bro" Jamie, and second year vets Jordan and Ryan) and new (Laura)! Last year was pretty cool and I had a blast working the Rev3 booth and talking with everyone and meeting new friends IRL (in real life) that I had been socializing with in social media for quite some as a second year Team Rev3 "veteran" myself, I knew this year would be even more fun! Plus, Rev3 Race Director extraordinaire, Eric Opdyke, would be joining us.

The team was registered for the "Team Challenge" which were a series of events through out the day; a run in the morning, a relay swim at lunch time and a time trail CompuTrainer bike session in the afternoon. When I first found out about the team challenge, I was stoked! I could not wait to compete in the time trial and was really looking forward to that event.
Laura, Ryan, Jordan and me

As the Expo approached however, I started to get really nervous and anxious about the whole Team Challenge thing. I am just not "fast" right now and that is not what my training is about at the moment. I also found out that due to a family commitment, I would have to leave the expo early afternoon, thus unable to compete in the bike time trial (my strength). So I would be running and swimming with the team...ugh.

I don't care so much about my own personal times right now, as witnessed by my 5k run time at Kerrymen Pub 5k last weekend--my focus is on my training and not these fun little races right now. But when my times are a reflection on the TEAM...especially when your teammates are super-freaking-fast even NOW, in March.

Jordan, surrounded by awesome
Let's see, there's Jordan who runs like a 12 minute half marathon (ok, so really 1:22 but might as well be 12 minutes to me) and we've got Laura, who is not only awesome in all ways NOT triathlon but has raced her way to Kona, 70.3 Worlds and BQ'd like it was easy, after a broken pelvis. Ryan is no slouch either...that boy can ride a bike and run pretty dang fast. Plus, the boys take this stuff pretty seriously.

What about Jamie? Ahh, the J-man. JBalls. Jamie had an unfortunate accident this winter skiing and he is currently running around with a broken back. Lucky for us, Jamie was well enough to join us for the day at the Expo, but there would be no racing for Jamie this weekend. It is a blessing he is up and walking. PERIOD>


Thinking about my fast teammates and how I did not want to drag down the team average really bothered me. Stressed me out. Made me feel SOO anxious. I was actually dreading the whole thing. At least if I could participate in the bike time trial, I could save myself a little dignity since I can ride a bike...

I expressed my concerned to Laura and Jamie and as usual, Big Bro Jamie really gave me some perspective:

Hey Jen, you can run. Be happy about that. 

*reality slapped me in the face*

Here I was stressed out about time when my teammate was recovering from a broken back. That really took some of the stress off and put things in perspective.
It's funny, Jamie is quite a few years younger than me, but I always look up to him and have an immense amount of respect for what he has to say. You rock JBalls!!

 Laura said that she wasn't feeling very fast that day either as she had been nursing a cold so we agreed to run together since the day was about TEAM UNITY and not times as far as she was concerned. I really appreciated that she was gonna run with me. We invited to BOYS to run with us but they declined (duh!).

With no warm-up to speak of (does 1 lap count?) Laura and I lined up together to run the nearly-3 mile Team Challenge Run. Since Laura and I would run together, I ditched the music (how rude would THAT be?) and we ran. The weather was strange. It was cold but sunny and if you were protected from the wind, it wasn't that bad...then we rounded this corner and was like *SMACK* with this wall of wind!

We finished holding hands (how romantic??) and averaged a pace of 7:27 for the run. Oh, did I mention I had to stop to tie my shoe? rookie mistake! SO, it was Faster than Kerrymen last weekend but with a lower heart race. It was really cool that Laura ran with me and now I was feeling relaxed.

Here's Jordan girl, that Rinny drafting off him. Crazy Jordan, running half naked in that cold...but I guess when you run that fast, being out in the elements for just a few minutes isn't so bad.

Photo: Jordan Vance held off Rinny. Way to earn your keep. &

Ryan Rounding the corner on the last lap around campus
After the run, we got to chat with Rinny. She asked about our missing teammate, Jordan and she was quite disappointed that he took off after the run (he was probably getting dressed). Rinny is as cute as a button and just as nice as she is cute! She was doing well in the Boston cold for all the warm weather she's been in lately.

Then it was time to swim.

My favorite pic of the day!

I found out that the swim was going to be done relay style, each of our four team members swimming 200 yards each. Easy enough. was a dive start! eeek. Laura and I kind of laughed and had a mini-freakout since neither one of us does a diving start. So I moved my goggles under my swim cap and thought about the form I'd seen the swim team use. I did two dive starts and did a quick swim warm up. SUCCESS. awesome. NO ISSUES.

doing my best impersonation of a seal upon exit
of the MIT pool during the warm up

When it came time for me to go

arms straight & snug to ears, head tucked...
the goggles flipped right over. I tried to adjust them while swimming but no such luck. They were back on me but filled with water. That's not gonna work so at the wall, I adjusted them. Good enough...finish swimming.

All in all it was a great day and I got to hang out with people I really enjoy being around. Plus, I got to know my cool-awesome new teammate, Laura, a bit better. Now that she has relocated to the Northeast from Hawaii, we are definitely going to get some time in training together! Plus, she rides the same bike as I do--A beautiful Quintana Roo cd0.1--so how can she NOT be awesome?? Looks we will be driving to Rev3 Knoxville together and you know THAT is going to be one heck of a drive~

As I was leaving the expo, someone called my name.

It was Dutch!! And he was with DDAthlete, another friend from cyberspace!

IT was really cool to finally meet THESE TWO rockstars IRL and we will be meeting up again at Rev3 Quassy. Looks like DD has some revenge on those hills too!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Talkin' Turkey #EnduranceFoodies

Today I'm talking Turkey.
Ok, not literally...but we are gonna get all Turkish on you today.

When I asked Jason at Cook Train Eat Race to participate in the Mediterranean Cuisine #EnduranceFoodies Blog Carnival, I had no idea what country I could get and put my name in the hat for several different countries in the Mediterrenean region; some I knew a bit about and others I know not a single thing, but thought it would be fun to learn.

I ended up with the country TURKEY for the #EnduranceFoodies fun fest! When I started reading about the country of Turkey, I discovered that Turkish cuisine is largely vegetable based in most regions of the country. I was familiar with some dishes such as kebabs but did you know that red lentil soup is popular for breakfast? Me either! I'd totally have lentil soup for breakfast and will be giving this soup a go!

I am a huge hummus fan and we have this on hand at all times. Store bought, homemade, etc. Everyone in this house loves it! It is so easy to make yourself and more economical. Plus, this is one ingredient in my favorite post-hard-day-of-training-recovery meal, a GIANT veggie sandwich (as I talked about earlier this month!!). There is something so satisfying about the layer of flavors and textures and the saltiness of my "sammy", I knew I had to go this direction with the recipe.

Hummus bi Tahina
(Turkish Hummus)

1 large can of chickpeas (I chose organic)
*save a couple whole chickpeas for garnish
1/3 cup sesame tahini
2 large lemons, juiced
1/2 cup* of good quality olive oil
*(more or less may be needed depending on the consistency of the hummus you prefer)
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
salt to taste

(I use)
crushed red chili pepper
chopped cilantro

other options:
chopped parsley
roasted peppers

Drain (reserve the liquid) and rinse the chickpeas and put into a food processor. Add your tahini, juice from the lemons, chopped garlic and a pinch of salt. Process and slowly add the olive oil while blending. Keep blending until everything reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. You may use some of the liquid from the can of chickpeas in addition to the olive oil to bring the hummus to a smooth consistency.

Garnish with chickpeas, chopped cilantro, a sprinkle of crushed red chili peppers and a drizzle of olive oil. I like to let mine sit for a bit to let the flavors blend.

This recipe can easily be doubled. Store any leftovers in the fridge, covered.


How do I make my favorite recovery Veggie Sammy? You can find one version here but there is always lots of green (spinach, baby lettuces, sprouts), crunch (cuke slices, carrots, red peppers), salty sour pickles and hot from hot sauce, sriracha, or jalapenos and cool creaminess from hummus! I love to add avocado not only for the taste and creamy texture but for the good fats that we need to aid in recovery.


The other participants in the blog carnival along with their country of choice are as follows:
March 18th
Meg – Lebanon -
March 19th
Lindsay – Greece - Hummus Flat Bread
Lacy – Israel -  Raisin And Nut Quinoa Bowl
March 20th
Adrienne – Morocco – Chickpea Tagine And Carrot Salad
Donna – Tunisia - Seafood Stew With Quinoa
Jen – Turkey - RIGHT HERE!
March 22nd
Laurie – Albania -

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

She Says: It's all about E-Motion

I have long been a fan of the Pearl iZUMi running shoes.
Even before I was lucky enough to be on the Rev3 Team and got to work with them as a team sponsor.

As seen here in Spring 2011 when the Streak II was released

Shortly after the Steak II became part of my shoe repertoire, I tried the tri specific shoe, the ISO Transition and did a majority of my triathlons in that very model in the 2011 season.

I once again rocked the ISO Transition in the 2012 season, as seen here on the Rev3 Maine course.

In January at the Rev3 Team Summit, we had the pleasure of touring the Pearl iZUMi headquarters.
While there, the team was introduced to the VERY NEW line of shoes that PI launched called

 Inspired by Efficiency, Designed for Motion (EM)

One big bag of colorful sneaks!

The new shoe line is completely different from the previous shoes.
The designs are new.
The names have changed.
There are more options.

This is the new E:Motion Tri N1 (men's) and I just love the colors!

Women's Health magazine even listed the new Pearl Izumi E:Motion Road N2 as one of the 7 Best Running Sneakers

So what is so different about the new Pearl iZUMi line? The thing that stood out to me the most was Dynamic Offset.

So what exactly IS dynamic offset anyway? Well this video does a great job at illustrating it...

The height difference between the heel and ball of foot is continually changing as the foot moves through out the stride. 


The wait is finally over! The new E:Motion line launched recently and is available on their website and in stores at select retailers such as and Fleet Feet and more.

I just ordered these and I cannot wait to get my toes in them!! Tim DeBoom was at the PI headquarters the day we were there and it was great to hear him talk about how involved he is in the development of the products.

Pinned Image

Working with 2x Ironman® World Champion Tim DeBoom, the Project E:Motion Tri N 2 was built to meet the harsh demands of Kona. The TRI N 2 is the long course model. The Seamless Upper gives chafe-free, sockless comfort while the E:Motion platform provides a smooth, fast transitioning ride all the way down Ali’i Drive.

I will be sure to let you know how awesome these are once I get my little big feet into them!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kerrymen Pub 5k

Not Racing.

Yesterday was pretty cool, it was the first time I have ever "raced" with the hubby at the Kerrymen Pub 5k. I have to put "race" in quotes because I chose not to race it yesterday, opting to keep my focus on the big picture (thank you Michelle Ford) which is my training schedule. 

What am I training for? A handful of Rev3 Half's and the big dance, Rev3 Cedar Point Full in Sept.

It was a pretty full week of training with a long bike with some strength work on Saturday and Sunday was a long run after the 5k. Sweet. Never done THAT before...but I do whatever Sharpie tells me to do (I'm submissive like that! ha...probably the only time in my life that I am).

Last year I went into this race to race and seeking a sub-22, which I missed by :25 seconds but walked away from that with a shiny new PR of 22:24. At the time, I was disappointed that I did not meet my goal and I did not appreciate the fact that I ran hard and gave it my all. This year I had initially wanted to chase that 21:xx minute clock again but realistically, this is not what my training is about right now. It really wasn't that important to me and that long run was important to I made the decision to run the race and keep the focus on my training run.  

This is a pretty big event for a local 5k, about 1200 runners and a ton of people participate in the walk, Mary's Walk. The event is a fundraiser for Maine Cancer Fund and the race is in honor of a local woman, Mary Kerry, who died of cancer and this is the route she used to walk daily. This is the 15th year of the race and there were 3,000 people registered for the event!

We parked about a half mile away from the start and got out to warm up. It was rather cold for March (28*)  and there was a bitter cold wind but it was sunny! I really wanted to wear something cute, like a glittery green running skirt and knee socks but I don't have anything I rocked my blue Rev3 gear with a smile (and three layers under it!).

Casey and I warmed up for a bit and then we found Marc, who was also running today. We ran a bit and lined up for the start. Then we found Jon, a friend of Casey's and one of the athletes I have been working with since the fall.

This race shuts down half of Route 1 through town and seeds the start by your run time (I love this!) but with that many people running there is always a delay to get moving.

 I started with Marc and Casey and the first mile was a very comfortable 7:20 and then you round the corner and head right into a wind and a slight incline for a bit. Round another corner and there is a water stop to the left and where I got jammed I eased out to the right, a group of young runners blocked me. Around another corner and another slight incline...and WIND! My pace dropped to 7:40 for the second mile, around another corner and into the home stretch.
because it would not be a race without at tongue out pic, right??

running happy here, almost done!

I had been running with a local tri friend, Kim for a bit and I was just watching her run-so gazelle like! She's got these long, lean legs and she appeared to be just floating, run, run. I had not seen Casey or Marc in a bit and I was just chugging along when I felt a tap on my shoulder at mile 2.5. It was Casey!! I smiled at him and we ran together for a bit and as we got a tad closer to the finish, with about a .25 mile to go, he took off...and then Marc ran past me, chasing after Casey and he was on a mission! I could tell he was out for blood and did NOT want Casey to finish before him. I just kept running, watch Casey just GO towards the finish with Marc going after him. I think I was smiling and laughing a bit but proud at the same time.

Marc on his way to a +1 min PR

Double PR!! Jon by 4+ mins and Casey by 1:30
Casey finished in 23:16 (smashing his previous 5k time by more than a minute and a half)
Marc finished in 23:24 (another awesome PR!! by over a minute!)
Me? I finished in 23:46 (I was predicting a 23:30 finish) 
Jon finished in 28:52 (the biggest PR of the day by more than 4 minutes!!)

I was so psyched to see the three of them get huge PR's!! One proud Coach for sure!

The wind was blowing and I was was time to get moving and get my training run done so it was time to say goodbye to everyone and get going.

Later on as I was checking out the official results. I had run today at a comfortably-hard effort that was more in line with how I would pace a 10k, I certainly did not put the pedal to the metal today...and as I checked the results I was a bit bummed. A "comfortably-hard" effort had placed me 8th in my age group! Now if I had pushed it today, could I have snagged an AG award?? Who knows...but would that have brought me any closer to my goals? Probably addition to the 5k today, I got an additional easy 9 miles on the books and THAT is what is going to get me closer to my goals today.

Regardless, it was a super fun day and I am proud of my guys for crushing it out there!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

He Speaks: 5k's and Virrata

Hey Folks,

If you have been following Jen's blog for a while I am sure you have seen her post about Project X.

Let me introduce myself. I am Casey, otherwise known as Jen's husband and the subject in Project X.
For years, I had zero interest in this craziness of running (or any of that other stuff SHE does) but this fall I had a wake up call, an epiphany if you will. Now, I get it. I understand the hours of training, the quest to the finish line, the thrill that comes with challenging yourself and testing your limits. Now I am happily by her side and along for ride. I have my own journey and I am just happy that we can do this together!

Not only is Jen my wife, but she is also my Coach and has helped me shed 50lbs and go from a 40" pant size down to a 30! Jen is teaching me about the right way to train and race (and I think she picks on me the most out of all of her athletes).

When an opportunity came up to review a pair of men's running shoes from Saucony, I happily volunteered to be the guinea pig. I have been running in Saucony shoes since I started running and have been happy with the fit and comfort that the shoe provides. I started running in the Guide and recently tried the Fastwitch, a much lighter shoe. When I read the specs on the Virrata, I was very intrigued.

  • very light and weighing in at 6.5 oz
  • ZERO drop
  • bright colors 

The bit of information that was of most interest to me was this-
Built on a 0mm offset, this shoe lets your feet do the work while providing plenty of protection from the road.

photo from

I have been looking to gain more speed with my running and as I learned more about run mechanics and shoes (and still being a fairly new runner), it was important to me to have some cushion and protection yet a shoes that would allow me to run with the most efficient form.

I had a 5k coming up on the schedule and the Virrata arrived just in time, giving me a few days to get out and run before racing in a new shoe. The shoe immediately felt great-very comfortable like it had already been broken in to fit my foot. On my test run (5.6 miles) I could appreciate how light and springy they were! There was a sufficient amount of cushioning and I liked the way my feet just rolled along the road. I did notice a bit a calf tenderness after this first run but I was told by Jen that this was normal since I was moving into a more minimal shoe that I have been running in.

My second run in them was a short, easy run (Coach Jen had me on a mini-taper to get ready to race!) and they felt even better this second run. I had no other discomfort and liked the shoe even more.

Today was race day, it was a cold and windy day for sure. We got in some warm up miles before lining up and it was time to GO!

At the start line, we were all talking about new shoes and there was a guy next to me wearing the same exact Virrata's! We both agreed that we really, really liked this shoe!
At the race start, Im in blue (left, #946) running next to Jen in Rev3 blue (right, #947).
This was our first race running together!

My legs were warmed up and ready to run. Honestly, I could not even feel my shoes during the run they were so light and comfortable. I ran my way to 1 minute and 30 second PR today.

Thank you to Saucony for the chance to participate in this review.
Thank you Coach Jen for guiding me and being my cheerleader.

DISCLOSURE: All opinions expressed in this blog review are those of Casey and not Jen. The Saucony Virrata shoes were provided at no charge in exchange for Casey's honest evaluation of this running shoe.  All opinions expressed here are his own. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


As far as being coached as an athlete, I think I am pretty easy to deal with...

Coach gives me work.
I do work. 

No excuses.
Just Do It.

As I mentioned last week, we {we as in Me + Sharpie} moved into a new phase of training this month and it is certainly keeping things challenging and interesting for sure. It was not until mid-week when I finally sat down and really got a good look at what was planned for my weekend
Not gonna lie, I was a little like "oh crap" this is gonna be a tough weekend. Saturday was more of a LONG training session vs. hard intensity and Sunday was just straight up "embrace the pain". Words like "hang tough" and "the pain lasts for a short period" echoed loudly in my Training Peaks block.
Back to back, long and hard.
Let's do this! 

I learned my lesson a few weeks ago when I was doing too much work/teaching AND training so I made sure to back off as much as I could in the days leading up to the weekend with my classes. When my Friday cycling class had a time trail scheduled, I just spun easy. I did nothing but lead in Boot Camp and went into the weekend as fresh as I could be. 

Saturday was a long run then a long bike-the run was awesome! I got out with my training buddy Marc...and the hubby joined me for his first long run. 

We ran down by the beach and it was crazy how huge the waves were!! I'd never seen waves like that in the absence of a storm--this picture does not do it justice--they were 10 foot high at least!

Fortunes Rocks
Hubbs, Me and Marc
Right after the run, it was onto the bike for some aerobic work and build sets. My legs felt like garbage to start but after about 30 mins of cycling or so, I was in a groove and before I knew it, done!
Executed as directed. I made sure to spend a little time in my NormaTec recovery boots Saturday afternoon, ate really well and hydrated.

Sunday was the hard bike session and since there was so much to concentrate on, it really flew by. There was no way I could rely on my current trainer entertainment-watching Breaking Bad on Netflix-so it was music. Hard music. Some angry rock. Some inspirational songs. 
Boom...hill...done. Another hill, *smack* now YOU'RE my b!tch hill...on and on and DONE> 
Executed as directed.
And it wasn't that bad. I mean, I like to climb. I like those hurt sessions. This one hurt a little but not enough to leave a scar. 

The one thing that did hurt the most was how hungry I was when done. I had no patience for cooking and I wanted something not so good for me....the hubbs suggested Red Robin for burgers and once he said burgers, there was only one thing I wanted:

patiently waiting on burger goodness

 I chowed my burger and fries and then we walked around the Old Port for a bit, stopping into a little candy shop that had THE BEST pistachio fudge I've ever had. Ok, also the only pistachio fudge I've ever had but I am NOT a fudge fan and this was Fan-Freaking-Tastic. If you are ever in the Old Port in Portland ME, stop into The Old Port Candy Co.


The Pirate, The Hubbs and The Lola

This weekend's training session taught me 
not to underestimate myself 
or fear a workout. 

What lessons have you learned from training lately?