Monday, September 19, 2011

The Triathlon

The big day was this weekend!  The event I trained all summer for was finally here. The Sandman Triathlon! This was a big deal for me.  I had someone say to me recently “don’t stress it, I know people who do these things all the time and don’t train for them”.  Good for them! And so do I… but just because it’s not a half Ironman or an Ironman or even an Olympic triathlon, doesn’t make it a big deal when it’s your first one.  Especially because I know a lot of people who wouldn’t even take this challenge on, especially with this tri being an ocean swim. So I was very proud of myself for reaching this point. I was so stressed out and nervous all week about the ocean swim. After a swim clinic I went to last week in prep for Sunday, I was taken back at how difficult and different it was to swim in the ocean, than any other open water I have swam in.  So this made me very nervous.  I wasn’t alone though. At the swim clinic I spoke to a girl who was clearly younger than me and a 3 time Ironman finisher.  She told me that she still gets nervous swimming in the ocean, that made me, and my girlfriends, feel better that we were not alone.

Race morning.  I got up at 4:30, as I planned on meeting my girlfriends down at the oceanfront at 6AM to get into transition early and get all of our ducks in a row since we were newbies. My morning did not go as planned. As I am leaving my house to go to my car I opened the front door (very carefully) and the new addition of our family darted out the door! Our new doggie Maiya took off and was on the loose. This is a whole other story, and we did wind up finding her thanks to our family who helped. I cried the whole way to the triathlon because she was still not found yet when I left.  So I pull up in the parking lot to meet my girlfriends in tears. I was so upset our new doggie was gone and it was all my fault. Not intentionally, but I was still the one who opened the door and she snuck out, so my guilt level was fairly high. I had to get my mind right for this triathlon though. Thanks to my friends and the help of their hugs and talk of the tri, I got myself together.

We had all taken full advantage of bike inspection at packet pick-up the day before, so it was smooth sailing into transition area where we got body marked and assigned to where our own personal transition area and our bikes would be.  The weather was crappy. It was cool and very, very windy and kind of drizzly and damp. I could hear the ocean, but the sound just did not sound friendly. We heard talk of the swim possibly being cancelled…ten minutes later we found out that the swim had been cancelled due to dangerous undertows, rip tides and strong currents. I actually hadn’t seen the ocean yet at this point, as we were still in transition area getting our stuff together when they made the announcement. I will be honest; I was disappointed the swim was cancelled. I mean the swim is what I put most of my energy into this summer and I trained for a triathlon, so I wanted to do a triathlon. After I actually saw the ocean yesterday morning, my opinion changed drastically. The water was angry and intense. There is NO WAY I would of made it swimming in that water and if I had I would of never had the energy for a 14.2 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. So I was very happy the race officials and lifeguarding unit called the swim off. These photos really don’t do the water much justice, but those who were there, saw how rough the water really was and could vouch for it.

So the event turned into a run/bike/run.  Right before the race I found out that Maiya had been found and was safe at home. I felt so much better and was ready to get my game face on and kick some ass. We started out the race with the run. It was VERY windy and the whole first half of the 5K was running into wind, not fun.  I felt awesome the whole run though and somehow I managed a PR (Personal Record) for the 5K! I was stoked for a 26 minute 5K, which is great for me since my best 5K to date has been just shy of 28 minutes. Thank you Kim and “Speed Work Wednesdays”!  I felt awesome after the run, was stoked to do the bike, until I actually got on the bike. I was one of the very few people at the triathlon who did not have a road bike. I used a mountain bike, with large tires. I never really thought it would make that much of a difference. I was so wrong. Not only were you riding into 30 mph winds and gusts, but girls I had passed on the run, were passing me on their road or triathlon bikes. The competitor in me was pissed and forced all my energy into the bike, but my body was fighting it. I cursed myself out the whole bike ride and also made a Christmas list and added road bike to it… I did get through the bike, eventually. The last half mile was probably my strongest mile because I saw my family at the end and when Nicholas yelled my name “Mommy!!” it was like the wind pushed me the last half mile. I finally finished the bike in an hour and 14 minutes. Horrible time and I’m still beating myself up about it. In my defense, my bike sucks. It is definitely not meant for bike races, tris or anything of that nature and the wind was intense. I even heard the elite riders complaining about the wind, but the competitor in me was pissed.

After the bike there was a short sprint to the finish, easy, I love sprinting although your legs feel super weird after biking and trying to run. So I finally crossed the finish line. The end. I was happy it was over and looking back on it today it really was a good time. Seeing my family and friends at the end is always motivating and I am really excited about how great I did for myself on the run. 

I will definitely do a REAL triathlon though. Tri season is just about over, so there is always next year, BUT there is the Richmond Triathlon in October I am eyeing up! So we’ll see. In the meantime, I am going to have some fun and focus on smaller race distances at faster speeds, which is just fun and less stressful. I have Wicked 10K at the end of October and hope to get a sub 55 10K.

One thing that hasn’t changed is, I love racing and competing. It really is so much fun and the way I feel when I cross that finish line is such an awesome feeling.  So although my triathlon was “the little triathlon that wasn’t”, I trained for a triathlon and know I could do it if I had been able to. It was just out of my control, but in Mother Nature’s hands yesterday and apparently she sucks.

Thanks to Kris, Darlene and Jennifer for doing this with me, we rock. Thank you to Kim for being such an awesome friend, “trainer” and running partner. Thanks to Matt for all the tri tips you have given me the past few months.  But most of all thanks to my family for being there for me and putting up with my crazy schedule the past couple months, and dealing with all my spur of the moment shenanigans. Until next time…
Here's just a couple pics.
me and Hubby.

Here's me after the race probably cursing off the ocean.

boo and pop pop.

me and K. I've done a countless number of races with this girl. She did my 1st race, my 1st half marathon and almost my 1st triathlon with me. Great friend, great motivater.
aw yes, the post race look like death pic, BUT who cares we worked our butts off this summer. So glad I got to train and get to know these two great ladies. i see quite a few more races in our future.

C. loves Boo!

me, dad, hubby and my mil.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I plan to post about our NJ trip soon...hopefully before our next one (could I be anymore behind on my blog?). It really was such an awesome trip and one of my highlights were being able to take pictures of one of my best friend's kiddies! J just turned 4 in May and E just turned 1. Although, E wasn't having a good morning since he had too much partying the night before at his first birthday party, I was still able to snap a few shots of him that are just adorable and full of personality. With permission of mom, I am sharing some of the photos of two of the most adorable little people I know. I love these kids. Thanks Deloons for letting me get more practice! Click here to view the pictures!

Friday, August 26, 2011

There's a Hurricane Coming!

I have not written in so long. I am so out of loop with my blog and I am so mad at myself for letting the summer go by so quickly and not updating as much as I had wanted to. Life's just crazy and we had so much going on this summer, I kind of threw the blogging thing on the back burner. So it's taken a hurricane for me to get back into it...

A hurricane.  I really don't know much about a hurricane, well except for the drink ; ) but, I never had to actually experience one before. This will be my first REAL hurricane experience in Virginia Beach. Growing up on the Jersey shore, I don't ever remember the "panic" of a hurricane coming, it was always more hype. I mean I've experienced some bad storms, Nor Eastors', tropical waves, storms and maybe even an outskirt of a once formed hurricane that brought lots of rain and wind and of course blizzards. Does anyone remember the blizzard of 2003? I remember we were snowboarding in the Poconos with a bunch of friends and we literally got snowed in with minimal food and had to snowboard to the one and only restaurant open in town to eat. I remember finally being able to leave PA and driving home on 80 and 287 and there were 3-4 foot walls of snow, it was pretty crazy. So, yea, I've experienced some bad storms, but never a hurricane.

I don't know what to think of it. Is it all hype? The media and meteorologists eat this stuff and wait all year for something like this. I really didn't pay much attention to this thing until yesterday when I realized how serious it was becoming.

So I started prepping. The first thing I did was check the wine sitch in my house. I mean really, I can't be stuck in all weekend and wishing I had a delicious glass of Pinot Noir to calm my nerves. So I stocked up a bit, and double bonus we got our beer club shipment yesterday (thanks UPS!) I also went to the food store and bought everything I saw in everyone else's carts, well except Spam (ew do people really eat that stuff?). I got water, batteries, sippys for the kids, dry foods, fruit and canned goods.  We filled up the gas tanks, went to the ATM, starting putting away all outside items in the shed and garage, charged portable DVD players, made sure the Flip had fresh batteries, charged my camera batteries and did laundry. How much more prepared can I be for this thing? After all said and done, I've become one of those nuts who I used to make fun of.

I have the news on 24/7 in the background tracking this bad boy, I'm peering outside every 5 minutes to see if its getting windier, and I'm calling Hubby to see if the military knows something I don't know (not really sure why they would, but maybe they have some secret connection with mother nature). I'm obsessed with the hurricane, which leads to me writing a blog about it, seriously?!! Who am I?

I am prepared for the worst and praying for the best. I'm nervous the leak we had near our skylights in the fall and was fixed is not going to hold up.  I'm nervous about that tree in my front yard falling. I am nervous for my NJ friends and family on the coast as well and am really nervous for our little beach house in Lavalette, NJ that has been in the family for decades. I need a Xanex or something!

Although all worrying aside, I do believe everything in life, good and bad, happens for a reason. I believe everyone you meet in your life is for a reason, some more so than others. I believe in fate. I believe in events that happen in your life is why you are the person you are today. And I believe the reason this hurricane is coming is so I stay home one weekend, guilt free, instead of running around like a maniac. I believe this is the weekend I am supposed to do all the things I said I was going to do at home this summer, and didn't. I just hope I can do it all with power and not a leaky roof.

So as the hurricane approaches I am really hoping its worse than they are making it seem, because I will admit I am kind of scared. I am hugging my babies (and house) tight tonight and praying its over soon. So stay safe everyone..and get all that stuff done this weekend at home you've been putting off all summer too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Maternity Shoot

A few weeks ago I had to do an "Environmental Portrait Portfolio" for my photography class. Knowing right away I wanted to do a maternity shoot I contacted my friend Rebekah who is going to give birth in September. Her and her husband Andre were more than happy to help out. So with permission from new mom and dad to be, she's letting me share my VERY amateur photos. Check out the slide show below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday!

Hubby turned the big 3-0 this weekend. Ah, my younging. I wanted to do something really special for him. At first I thought of following suit as he did for my 30th and having him a surprise party, but with timing and a budget, it didn't fall into place. So I decided to snatch my in-laws for the weekend and take him on a "kid-free" weekend away, which they were more than willing to help out with. I researched a bunch of places, but everywhere I wanted to go included flights and with a strict time schedule of just Friday and Saturday I needed something close. So I chose somewhere we never have been and right in our own backyard. The Outer Banks! I know, I know...I've lived here over 5 years and have never been, and after going this weekend, I have no idea why. We LOVED it! We'll definitely be going more often and at one point we totally had a beach house there in 8 years when he retired from the Air Force...anyway...

Since Hubby had no idea we were going away, he came home Friday surprised his parents were there, and I gave him a card right away that said we were going away for the weekend kid-free and his bags were already packed. He was stoked, and so was I! We stopped at our favorite sushi place to eat before we left and then we were off...literally an hour and fifteen door to door since we live so close to 168.

I've been planning this for months. I researched so many places to stay and what part of OBX to go to. I wanted closer than Hatteras or Ocracoke, so I chose Nags Head after some advice from friends. After more research I chose the Oasis Suites. I am SO happy I did. I doubted myself a few times on it, because it wasn't at the beach, but it was literally a two minute drive to the beach. I seriously can't rave enough about this place. For those who know me, know I am VERY picky when it comes to hotels and I get skeeved out pretty easily at places, but this place was literally a home away from home. It was quiet and clean. Beautiful and quaint. Although it's a new place built in 2007, it has that old school hotel feel, you know, the kind where they don't take your credit card for a security deposit and write reservations in a reservation log. Here are some pictures, which really doesn't do it much justice:


Main Room with extra bed.

Living Area.



Our little patio outside living area.

Our view from our patio.


Creepy house that I wished I owned.

We really, really had an awesome time. It was so nice to talk and catch up with my husband, whom I feel like I never get to see anymore with our work, school and childrens' schedules! The next day (Saturday) his brother and wife surprised him as well, so that was nice to hang kid-free with the new parents! Our day consisted of drinking, beach, drinking, eating, drinking, catching up, get the picture. Good times.

We came home Sunday to his "birthday" party done by the kids with balloons, noise makers and more. It was too cute.
Noogs wanted to be all of part of the cake.

He was so excited to see daddy on his birthday.

But guess who enjoyed the cake the most? Yep, my chunky monkey, Miss Boo.

Boo eats everything with utensils now.

It was a great weekend all around for a special guy.
Happy 30th Birthday, Love. We love you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


A week after being home from what was a fantastic and well-needed family vacation, I finally weeded through over 400 pictures to share with everyone who has been asking. Click here to view some highlights of our trip to Fort Lauderdale. We can't wait to go back.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect!

I def need some practice with my new hobby, but with an adorable subject like the newest member of the extended "M" clan, he made it easy to practice on. Check out some pictures of my first "unprofessional newborn photo shoot" featuring my new nephew Jaxson Ryan. Thanks to new mom and dad for letting me share : )