Monday, April 28, 2014

Gettin' Dirty-Into the Mud Challenge

Let the season of FUN begin!! 


After...some dirty and soapy girls...

Last week I was invited to run with a couple of my athletes at the Into the Mud Challenge, a fun 2.5 mud and obstacle course race and I was excited to be able to join them. I had never done a mud or OCR course before so this would be a first for me!

I started the day with a little run on the treadmill since it was cold and raining in the morning. Perfect weather for a mud run. What started as an easy run, turned into some hill work at mile 3. I was thinking about those Knoxville hills and the Quassy course ahead and decided to add some hills...then 500 vertical feet became 600...700...800 and then I was wanting to go to 900. I ended up at 944 vft! Goal achieved.

The "rules" I invented for today's run were  to keep the incline at a minimum of 2.5 % and I would adjust the pace and incline every 2 minutes. Some were fast, hard hills and some were steep and slow. I threw on some of my favorite "dig deep" tunes and before I knew it, 7.5 miles were done and I felt sooo good! I did not want to stop. But it was time to get ready to head out to play in the mud!!

We all met up at the Y and we were ready to GO and rock these CAMO outfits! Since the team said this was more for fun vs. time, I decided that i might as well cute it up! I even rocked some glitter eyeliner, cuz that's what you do when you wear camo...right!?

JDP, Me and Karen

Once we got to the race site, we got our stuff and waited the hour until our wave. The waves were 200-250 each wave and the day started at 8am...we were not running until 12:45 so we arrived at the school 11:30...we had some time to kill so let the shenanigans begin!

 After the piggy backs it was time to work on our planks...multiperson planks!

ASSume the position! ha  
 So there were DOUBLE PLANKS...and then a TRIPLE PLANK...

Time to stretch...

and then more nonsense...

what can I say, we are a close group! This Coach just loves her "kids"...they call me "Mama".

I ran into my friend, Andrea, who was also one of the FIRST RD's for this race years ago...

Marc and his "angels"
We found some dirty, little pigs are the start line and it was GO TIME!!

We had such a great time...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

3 Things Thursday

3 Things Thursday: What's going on in my world today? 


As part of my 2014 SEASON OF FUN, this weekend several of my athletes are doing a local mud run, The Into the Mud Challenge.  This sold out race promises "Filthy Fun for Everyone" and being mud season here in Maine, why not?
I have avoided these types of races close to tri season for fear of injury risk but since Knoxville is all about having fun, I am excited to share this experience with my "kids". They are somewhat regretting inviting me to come and play because my little competitive beast is coming out and I am all "LET'S KILL IT" and they are all like...NO! Let's just have fun. I say you can race hard and have fun too, right!?? Plus, there are mud and obstacles :) Sounds like the perfect time to go hard and have fun!

Do you do obstacle course runs and races? 
(if you are a Spartan Race fan, stay tuned! fun stuff coming up)


Lola's 1st race at 18 months old-a .25 mile track run! 
Speaking of races, did you know that Knoxville has a KIDS TRIATHLON? Yes! It's called the REVVIE. I am hoping that this will be coming to the Maine race too so Lola can participate! She has done the Kids Adventure Races with Rev3 and has done several kids runs...this would be really cool to have her to her first tri with Rev3.

The distances will be broken up by ages:

Athletes will be broken into two groups by age.
Ages 6-9
  • 150 Yard Swim
  • 2 Mile Bike
  • .7 Mile Run
Ages 10-13
  • 250 Yard Swim
  • 4 Mile Bike
  • 1.25 Mile Run
Lola's amazing finish at Rev3 Maine GLOW RUN 

Do you have children that race? Let's hear about it!!


FOOD! What am I noshing on lately??

Well, somewhat controversial in the "EAT CLEAN" camp is the powdered peanut butter, PB2.
Now, as someone who could eat an entire jar of peanut butter or almond butter in one sitting, I was happy finally try this out and I have been adding it to my IsaLean Pro shakes.  Mixed with my chocolate shake, it gives it a fantastic PB chocolate flavor without the nearly 200 additional calories (plus, it mixes up easier and I don't need my blender if Im on the go)

Food Babe did a post on PB2 and it's atrocities, the comments are just as interesting as the article itself. While I am an advocate of EAT CLEAN and this PB2 does not fall into my 100% clean category (it's processed and it has added sugar) I did not throw the PB2 in the trash and run for my life. It is a NON GMO crop and the ingredients consist of peanuts, sugar and salt, with 1g of sugar per 2 TB serving. I have no fear of the fat in regular peanut butter and I tried this product specifically to add to my shakes.

I did discover that there are alternatives available such as JUST GREAT STUFF, which is non-GMO as well, organic and uses coconut sugar. I will give this a try.

What are you thoughts on PB2? Have you tried it? 

In other food news, my new favorite snack is strawberries paired with walnuts.

As seen on my Instagram...two days in a row!

What's going on in YOUR world today?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Family, Swim, Work, Bike, Run,...Train?

This has been the weirdest triathlon season for me...ever...and it has not even started yet!

Looking back, I never took any time off from training (other than a few weeks here and there) and always went back full force-I love training. I feel so good and I dig having a schedule. After Cedar Point, I took a bit of down time and focused on family, my daughter starting Kindergarten and increased my hours working quite a bit.
My  Y Posse-after rocking out 200 push ups! 

I am a Personal Trainer and Triathlon Coach, I am self employed as well as working for my local YMCA (which I enjoy tremendously). I am coaching a group of athletes this year that are already making me beam with pride for their dedication, tenacity and drive!! Several new triathletes were born just a few weeks ago!

Karen, JDP, Marc, Abby, Kate
my local "kids"

This fall and winter I was also the Asst Swim Coach for our YMCA Swim Team, the Manta Rays and I learned so much and worked with an amazing group of young athletes, from age 8 up through High School. I got so much joy out of seeing these kids progress over the season and I look forward to returning next season.

I am also a weight loss coach, working with about 50 people right now that are totally rocking their programs and seeing some massive results. I love what I do and I get so much from seeing others succeed and reach their goals!! It's amazing...and I am lucky to call this work!

I went from working about 15 to 20 hours a week to 45+ and honestly, I have been struggling to balance it all. Training took a back seat and I have been feeling lost--without direction or focus.

I don't like not having a plan...or a Coach. Since I was feeling so unsure of what I would be doing race wise this season, I did not think it was fair to take up Carole's time without knowing what I wanted or needed.

Two podium finishes last season (Maine half and Cedar Point full) got me a slot to the AG Championship Series in Knoxville and I was stoked. Until about 4 weeks ago when I said "Hmm, think you might want to start training?" 

Honestly, I am no way prepared to race a Championship series and call it ego or whatever, but I don't think that I should be there toeing the line to that race unless I am there to RACE. Right now, I am just getting back into my own schedule and figuring things out for the 2014 season.

Rev3 Maine 70.3

Cedar Point 140.6 

Additionally, the cost of shipping my bike down there was also an issue and did I want to spend over $400 to ship my bike to Tennessee and not really race? HECK NO.

I am still going to Knoxville...and I will relay with my beautiful, smart and funny teammate, Holly --

I am going to run the GLOW RUN 5k without worrying about being off my feet. 

I am going to volunteer at the kids race Saturday and give back to a race company that does so much for me (Thanks Rev3).

I am going to cheer on my teammates and friends that ARE racing the AGC race!

I am going to enjoy spending time with friends and teammates that weekend. 

Am I bummed? Of course, but I knew darn well that I needed to get my behind in gear and prep for this race in January...then somehow it was April. 

I will learn how to balance full time work and being self employed...along with family...and everything else that needs to be done.

SO for this season, I want to focus on my run and get back to shorter, harder races (Oly) and some 5k's... then end the season with a bunch of half's (Maine, Poconos, Florida) and perhaps another stand alone marathon. 

Oh, and did I mention a fall 200 mile relay in the mountains of Kentucky...and a Spartan Race in the fall? :) (stay tuned for some fun Spartan stuff coming btw...hint hint)

After the break, I am feeling renewed and ready to tackle new challenges and have some fun this year!!

Psssst: make sure you look for the June issue of ALL YOU magazine hitting the shelves early May. You might know someone in there...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Motivational Monday: Start Living or Just Die

One of my favorite sources of inspiration and motivation over the years comes from Bruce Lee, martial arts master and a man with a very sharp mind. As I have grown as a human being an athlete, I have come to realize that the mind is the biggest element in training and racing.

To tap into that mental focus or that emotional well has some spectacular results. Being able to practice this over and over makes it habit. I believe that the body also really hears what the mind says and we must be careful what we tell ourselves...and limit that negative self talk.

I recall when I first started working with a Coach and I had my first race under her tutelage. It was a local 5k and I had a specific time in mind. I did not reach that time by just a handful of seconds and I was so pissed off at myself. I PR'd by quite a bit but because I did not hit some arbitrary number, my focus was on that and not the fact that my body had just performed as fast as it ever had at that distance. I did get quite the scolding from Coach that day about my attitude about it. Obviously, that lesson stuck with me to this day.

Lately my training has been very different than it has the past few years...I am so busy I struggle to find balance between working 50+ hours a week, family and training. This type of work schedule is new to me since I have been home with Lola the last 4 years so figuring it out results in less training. I am not working with Coach yet this year since my own athletic goals for the season have not been defined so it's the "No Training Training Plan" and some days my only workout(s) is the class I teach or the run I squeeze in between classes. There is less focus on pace and HR this year and just going by feel. I actually kind of like this...even though I do use my gadgets still. It's important to focus on the mind/body connection and not necessarily the data. 

This is a story reported by a friend of Bruce Lee. Fitting...

Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-tow minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a-half minutes per mile].
So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.”
I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”
He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.”
I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.”
So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out.
I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles.
Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

Do you impose limitations on yourself?
What could you achieve if you could lift those limits? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Transformation Tuesday!

I am excited to bring TRANSFORMATION TUESDAY to Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood!! 

Having shared my own story of weight loss has brought so many people into my life that have had similar struggles and successes with overcoming obesity and reaching their health goals. I love the diversity of HOW and WHY and I am so  happy to share these stories with YOU. 

Let me introduce my friend, Jennifer. 

From Jennifer-Today, I got to live my version of a Cinderella story.  I got to tell the girl on the left that her goals of finally being healthy and running a marathon were achieved. I am now at peace with my past so I can live in the now.  All of your dreams can come true if you have the courage to peruse them. ~Walt Disney. 

Jaw dropping, right!!?? Jennifer has lost a staggering 160lbs. This beautiful Mom and Wife is just as pretty on the inside as well. I have been blessed to get to know Jennifer though mutual friends and the power of social media. I am HONORED to share her story!

In her own words:

My challenges with my weight started at a very early age. I can remember being on a diet as early as second grade. I was active as a child however so that slowed down the inevitable weight gain to a degree. By the time I graduated high school however my weight was in the 200's. When high school was done so were the sports and dance. The weight came on even faster. I tried every diet there was, TWICE. That was before I realized that diets don't work. I rode that roller coaster for years. Taking off ten or fifteen pounds and putting back on twenty or more. I did not have any health issues at this point but I dreamed of more. I desperately wanted to run and feel good. I also longed to wear the beautiful clothes that my counter parts were wearing in management for a professional hair care company. At the age of 28 I had enough. I was just over three hundred pounds and fed up. Was this really living I asked myself?! I had found my breaking point...
This is when it all clicked. If I wanted what I had never had, then I had to do what I had never done. I broke up with fast food as well as Ben and Jerry's. I started eating vegetables and fruit. (The joke at the salon that I had worked at was that I hated salad.Turns out it's delicious. Who knew?!) I started making some swaps (lean chicken or egg beaters vs pizza or cereal) and I also started walking. The walking turned to a run/walk and then a very slow jog. In about six months I had taken off fifty pounds. By the end of a year I had taken off one hundred pounds. In eleven years I have taken off and kept off, a little over one hundred and sixty pounds. I enjoy eating clean and running. It was not always easy. I have had many times that I had to remind myself why this was important to me. Now that I am here at a healthier me and I look back, I can truly see that every tear shed and every moment of frustration was not for nothing. Those times of my life built me. They made me strong enough to dare to run that marathon and to not back down when the going gets tough. It is so true that anything is possible when you just believe.


1. What would be your biggest piece of advice to give someone who wants to get started on their own journey?
Surround yourself with like minded people and lots of motivation. You will need a good support system which other healthy people in your life will provide. Someone to get you active on the day that it's a challenge or to share a new healthy recipe they just tried. 
The other piece of advice is motivation. SURROUND yourself with it! A Pinterst page, Facebook pages, follow blogs and make a vision board. A vision board is photos and words of what "healthy" means to you. Mine is inside a kitchen cupboard door with motivation and goals. Thinking of snacking, just look in that cupboard. 😊 All of this will keep you inspired when the going gets tough and that will be huge in your success.
2. What is your favorite moment in your journey?
Actually that would be the moment captured in the photo. When I was overweight as a child two of my teachers were running marathons. I always ached inside to someday be healthy enough to run one. I am so thankful for the photographer that captured the moment that I made that dream come true. I am crying happy tears there.It is still surreal to me.

3. If you could go back in time to the "old Jenn" and say just ONE sentence to her, what would it be?

"Your tears of despair will be 
replaced by tears of triumph."

4. What is your favorite workout?
This is tough for me to pick! I love Boot Camp and it has brought my life and fitness to a level I never thought possible but I have to go with running. That dream is what kept me going along the journey. Starting as a run/walk, running that first mile then my first 5k, 10k, half marathon and then the Dopey Challenge in January. Running puts me in the right head space. To remember how far I've come and to dream about what's next. Running saved me.
5. What is your favorite meal?
Almond flax chicken (marinated in olive oil, almond butter, lemon and spices) and roasted brussel sprouts. Yummy!!!!