Thursday, July 31, 2014


The trifecta that I completed a few weeks ago was seen by some as 'not an official" triathlon so I decided to register for a REAL triathlon. It was something I had always wanted to do but was afraid to try. I had every excuse in the book to not do this but realized that the time had step beyond excuses. How can I expect my children and my Girls on the Run to step beyond themselves and out of their comfort zone if I could not do the same?
I trained for each part (however, not enough). I knew that I could complete the parts of the tri and finish. I didn't expect to be first. It was the transitions that frightened me so I just focused on moving forward.
I told only one of my BRF's that I was thinking of registering and she decided to do it as well...boy was I glad. I didn't have to do this alone. We decided to keep it our secret, only confiding in a few people for advice and support, just in case we decided to chicken out!
As the day drew closer, I grew more nervous. I also realized that I would have to give up participating in a treasured tradition with my husband. This year he would ride alone and so would I. Knowing that I was nervous and sad to miss a long ride with him, he took me out on the Harley the night before the race. I thought he just wanted to take my mind off we rode I realized he was taking me to the race site. He took me through he bike course I would ride the following day and past the start/finish lines. To some that may not seem romantic but to me, better than jewelry and flowers.
Race morning dawned warm and sticky. My BRF showed up and we drove our trucks to the race....better with each toting our own bike. Upon arrival, we figured out check in, timing and body marking then headed to the transition area.
We began to set up our spaces and chatted with others. I think the fact that we were more towards the back that people were more open to helping us and making suggestions. We met some wonderful participants of all ages before we realized it was time to line up.
We headed to the pool area to wait for our start time. This tri began with a pool swim and since I was a tad stronger swimmer than my BRF, I started a little before her. It was nerve wracking to watch the faster swimmers start and see their speed in the water.
It was soon my turn to get in the water and I had a mild panic attack...that was disrupted by the start whistle. I was off and swimming...with a swimmer 15 seconds in front of me and another right behind. There was no slowing down or stopping now. The fact that we had to go under the lanes markers was a little scary as I took in water a few times ... due to another's strokes as I was coming up for air. I jockeyed for position with 3 other swimmers, passing and being passed as the water churned with each of my strokes....and before I knew it....I was at the ladder to get out!

I headed out to transition a little more slowly as I was terrified to fall. I got to my bike, tore off my top, pulled on pants, my GOTR tank, shoes and socks and my helmet. I had a little trouble dislodging my bike from the rack and then headed towards the bike course. Once on the bike, I drank some water and got situated. I was passed by faster bikes and riders but it didn't bother me like I thought it would. I was on the bike riding in the sun. All the volunteers I passed, cheered and were so positive and I started to thank them. each cross point, I said thank you and they all seemed surprised. As a finished my first of the 2 laps on the bike, I was passed by my good friend Fr. Rob. He is one of my Tri heroes and the one I promised I would do this. He told me to keep going and I pedaled harder through lap number 2.
As I finished the second lap, I realized that I was 2/3 done with this challenge...but the hardest part was yet to come.
I headed into the transition area for the last time, racked my bike, and pulled on my tutu. Yup, I was going to wear my tutu!  As the morning progressed it had gotten hotter and more humid. The sun was out in full force now and the run was in full sun.  My legs were shaking coming off the bike and it took me a good portion of the first mile to find a pace I could manage. I knew it was going to be a run/walk but was ok with that. As a ran the out and back course, people that passed me smiled and many commented on the tutu. I guess not many people wear tutus for triathlons! I think i heard everything from, "Wow, you get best dressed!" to "Hey, nice skirt". I was just glad people were smiling!
At the end of the first mile, my buddy Rob passed me again on his way to the finish. "You got this!" he yelled as we passed.
The middle of the run has a fairly large hill and by then I was tired but as I rounded the corner at teh bottom, there was Asian drummers playing and cheering!  "Hey, Pretty lady!  Come on now....up the hill!" How could a walk now? Ok...up the hill I climbed...albeit slowly! Down the other side and around the path. I got a bit confused at one point as the course was not all that well marked and a spectator told me which way to go....around and BACK UP THE HILL! UG!  but there they were again...drumming away!  "Here comes the pretty lady again....up you go!"
And I knew I was into the home stretch! this was the final push...only a mile left to go. Soon I could hear the announcer at the finish so I picked up my pace. There it was...THE FINISH!  And when I looked up there was Fr. Rob too!

As I crossed the finish line, I could hear the announcer say my name and I knew I had done it...I finished!  As soon as I crossed, I was mobbed by was putting the medal on my neck, one was handing me water and one was taking the timing chip off my ankle....and then there was my pal hugging me!
I shocked myself!  I did it!  I finished! What an amazing feeling!
As I waited for my BRF, I watched and cheered others to finish. It was like my first race all over again. My BRF soon came into view and crossed the finish line as well with the same feeling of elation!
We got something to eat, chatted with other finishers, took a million pictures and headed back to the transition area to pack our things.
It was over in a flash but the feeling of satisfaction will last forever. We are officially TRIATHLETES!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


This would look
great on your wrist!
Who wants a brand new Garmin Forerunner 10? Actually WHO DOESN'T?? 
Well here is your chance to help me help girls and WIN a new Garmin!! 
For every $10 donated to GOTR via my donation page  by August 31, 2014 your name will be entered into a raffle to win the Garmin. 
Donate $20 and get 2 raffle tickets. $30=3 tickets. The larger the donation the more chances to win. Winner will be notified on September 1, 2014. 
Just could have a new Garmin just in time all your fall races or give as a Christmas gift!!
To make a donation and enter the raffle:

Help this Superhero help girls find their own inner SUPERHERO!
To learn more about Girls on the Run, feel free to contact me or go to

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Today I was given the opportunity to run a race as a coach. I have run with my Girls on the Run as a buddy but this time I was a coach for other runners. It was an opportunity I was going to make the most of ...
My BRF (best running friend) and I headed down to the race early. She was chosen to lead the 'back of the packers' the 3:30's. I know it sounds like an easy job but run/walking a race and keeping people moving forward is no easy task.
I headed to the GOTR tent to get my bib and meet the other Solemates. We headed to the start corrals together and soon the race began. I knew I was not going to get an "official' time so I just had it in my head that this was my long training run for the week....boy was I wrong.
The first mile had me running up on a girl that was already walking. She looked at me as I asked if she was ok and said, "This is harder than I thought" I told her that she had a long way to go and she just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We ran together a bit and soon she was off in front of me.
My Cousin and his wife
I just kept moving and grooving forward. I crossed the bridge at the Chicago River and as I crossed wacker, I looked up. I saw a man with a camera that looked familiar. I looked again as I got was my oldest cousin who I have not seen in about 4 years (maybe more!). They live out of state and there he was!  He called his wife over and you snapped a pic. Their oldest daughter was running the 1/2 and they were looking for her!  We hugged again and I was off and moving.
ABC& News Anchors
A few minutes later, I ran past the ABC7 tv studio and 2 reporters were out front. "Hey!  Can we take a picture with you?" "Sure" I replied. The female reporter looked at me and said, "Can I touch your tutu?" I laughed and we took our pictures and I took off again. As I continued running I noticed a young lasy all by herself on the side of the street with her shoe off...not a good sign. I slowed and asked if she was ok. She told me that her foot kept falling asleep. New laces and shoes that were too small were the problems I figured out after listening to her. We loosened her laces and started running together. She felt better as she was alone at the race and soon she was off ahead of me.
I ran for a while just handing out high fives and encouragement as I moved through the miles. At mile 5, one of the girls from my training group ran up next to me. We ran together for a while and chatted. We both realized that this was not going to be easy. It was humid and we were in it to finish. I lost her at the water but kept moving. She had told me where her husband and baby daughter were  going to be so I was on the lookout and soon I saw them. I told them she was right behind me....and soon, there she was...running right to her daughter!  It was so sweet to see them together and the boost she got from seeing them!
I left her and headed on forward to soon be joined by one of my fellow Solemates. We ran together and talked a little, getting to know each other but she was so much faster than me and I could not keep up so off she went.
I stopped to talk to a few girls that were starting to cramp and had not had enough sports drink. They made it to water and were determined to finish. I saw many struggling runners at miles 9-10. More and more people were beginning to walk.
At Mile 11 a man and woman came up beside me and we ran together for a bit. I told the man he was my hero and was so amazing. Why? He was pushing her wife in the wheelchair. She told me that she was a star runner until the recently she was diagnosed with a progressive form of MS. He was not a runner and started running to push her and allow her to continue her passion!  WOW!  And Boy was he Fast!  Soon he was in front of me and I was crying!
Coming off the Lakefront  path I got some water and as I looked up I saw a runner in front of me wobble and then fall down...out cold. First responders were there in seconds taking care of her but it was frightening.  As I headed up the final incline and towards the finish line the young woman in front of me tripped and fell on all 4's. I came up next to her and asked if she was ok and she looked at me with tears, "I'm fine" she whimpered and blood spilled from her hands and knees. I took off my water bottle and got out a paper towel and washed her off. She told me she was tired and worried that she was supposed to call her mom when she finished. I told her, "Momma is right here....she sent me" She laughed and we started running together. She told me she would be sure that she and her mom would pray for me, her angel. Well, alrighty then!  I love prayers!
And here it was...the finish line!  I could see it! The last band was cranking and one of the guys came over and handed me the tambourine. I played and danced to "Happy" as I worked towards the finish.
And then I was passed by another young man pushing his girlfriend. She held a sign that said "stronger together" on one side and "I Love him" on the other. As they closed in on the finish line, He stopped and she got out of the chair. She was wearing a large leg brace but she stood up and used the arm of the chair for balance as she walked across the finish line with her man. Again, I was in tears.
A wonderful young man put a medal on my neck, I took a finisher photo and I headed towards the GOTR tent. I was a mess of emotion.
When I reached the tent, I saw out Solemates coordinator and thanked her for the amazing experience. It was amazing!
I didn't get an official chip time. I didn't get a PR. But I got so much more than a medal. I got to help others. I got to encourage others. I got to give back and spread the message of GOTR. I got so much more than a race time. A funny thing happens when I stop caring about time...I find the pace of my heart. Peace.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Try something new, they said. Step out of your comfort zone, they said. I have always wanted to try a triathlon but with no bike, no helmet and no money to buy these things,  it was out of the question. Indoor triathlons with running on a treadmill did not appeal to me. So when a friend posted about an outdoor tri with no bike needed and it was could I say no?
The Park Ridge Trifecta was Sunday. I was nervous as Saturday I had a 10 mile training run so I didn't know if I would be able to complete the 3 parts of the tri. I told myself that I just wanted to finish and do my best so that was the goal....that and not drowning!
Saturday's training run was not a good one.  10 miles in the rain with a head full of thoughts and feet that felt like lead is not a good experience for any runner. I was feeling defeated so I was worried that I would not do well Sunday.
I woke up and the sun was shining. I took the dogs for a walk and was feeling good. I grabbed my bag, sure that I had forgotten something yet packed things I didn't need, and drove to the race. My 14 year old was with me as she was going to babysit for a friend of mine who was also doing the Trifecta.
Upon our arrival, my friend and I were the first ones there so we were allowed to choose our position as well as event order. We both chose to do the events in the true 'tri' order. Swim, bike, run.
We set up our things on the pool deck and got ready to start. I had gotten some good advice from experienced tri ladies so I felt a little better.
My race 'ticket'

I got in the pool and my lane mate asked if I had goggles. Yup, I had my bag!  I got out and ran to get them on my face just in time!  The whistle blew and we started swimming.  30 minutes to complete as many laps as we could. It took me a while to get my rhythm  but once I did, I remembered how much I used to love swimming. I remembered how at home I used to feel in the water. About 1/2 way through the time, I started to get a little tired but I remembered what a friend had said, Think about Team Hoyt. That man swims putting a boat with his son.....and I was off and swimming again. I alternated between breaststroke and freestyle and soon the whistle blew and I was done! Time for the bike.
Spin bikes were placed on the pool deck so I did not have far to travel. I took off my tankini top as I had my sports bra underneath. I put on the GOTR tank top and pulled on my running shorts over wet bottoms. As I was bending to put on shoes, I was faced with the sight of a full frontal from a nearby older gentleman participant who was changing!! With my eyes burning from that sight, I headed to the spin bikes.
The towel and GOTR water bottle
as reminders of why I do this!

I put my water bottle and towel on the bike and asked for help as to how to work it and the seat height, etc.  Yup....never taken a spin class or been on a spin bike!  So the instructor took us all through a course of hills and valleys to simulate and real ride. We were up and down out of the saddle with speed changes and resistance changes. My feet came out of the clips a few times and I lost my balance a few times but I didn't fall off the bike! I just kept peddling for the 30 minutes logging 10 miles (or so the monitor said!). The whistle blew again and it was time for the run.
I put my towel and water bottle by my bag, pulled on my requisite tutu and left the pool deck for the run. This was the part I thought would be easiest for me. 3.1 miles? Big deal!  Piece of cake, or so I thought. The whistle sounded and I started slow....on foot in front of the other...forward was my pace. Running on tired legs, with a tired body was not so easy. I struggled to find my happy pace on my wobbly legs for the first mile. Once I got out of my own head and was moving forward, I knew I could do it. Running in wet bottoms is not fun but no big deal in the grand scheme of things!  It was hot and the sun strong but it was 'just' 3 miles. I could do it....I knew it. I finished the final 3.1 and went back to the pool deck.
I did it!  I finished all three events!  I didn't drown! I didn't hurt myself on the bike!  I didn't quit! I tried something new and did my best. I stepped outside my box, outside my comfort zone, and found a new part of me. I know that this was not an 'official' tri but it was real enough for me to know that someday I want to complete a 'real' tri.
We all need to do things that scare us once in a while. We all need to get out of the comfort zone and realize we are better, stronger, smarter, than we thought we were before. Sometimes we need a push and sometimes we need someone to hold our hand. This time I had both. And for that...and new adventures...I am forever grateful. Peace.

#tutulady finished GOTR strong!!!


Life is a series of moments strung together to make days, weeks, months, years. As I have aged, I have realized that I need to be more awake and aware of these moments, slowing down long enough to savor each one. When my children were small I was so concerned with making it through each day alive, I often missed moments. I feel a great deal of guilt that I was in a hurry for my kids to get somewhere or do something or go to sleep or grow up. Now I want to slow down. I miss my children now that they are growing up and not with me each moment of every day. Time we spend together is precious. During the summer I get the chance to slow down and spend time with my kids.
I love summer for many reasons...longer days, slower pace, relaxed schedules...but what I love most is time with my kids. Summer is a time to reconnect, recharge and relax.  I string together moments with each of my kids making for memories to last me long into the cold days of winter. 
Some of the moments from my summer thus far:
  • Running a race and having a 19year old thank me for helping her finish.
  • Watching my son in a parade 
  • Floating on a raft with the whole family
  • Listening to my kids laugh together
  • watching a sunset while holding hands with my husband
  • Watching fireworks and listening to commentary from all the kids
  • Walking home in the dark with my 16yo holding her hand and listening to her talk about life
  • Sitting in the driveway with my girls and husband while we watched my son put on a fireworks show
  • long walks and running with my pups
  • watching my girls wishes float skyward towards the heavens in the night sky on Chinese Lantern
  • dinner at an outdoor cafe with my 18yo
  • laughing till my stomach hurts with my 16 and 14 year olds
There is a home on my daily dog walk route that has the most beautiful roses. I do 'stop and smell the roses' each time I pass knowing that soon those roses will be gone. The roses are a reminder that life is fleeting and each day I have to slow down and appreciate the moments. This summer slow down and enjoy moments. Life is not perfect but there are moments in each day that make it all worthwhile. String those moments and you have a life that is pretty darn amazing! Peace.