Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Morning workout FAIL

I've always been an early morning exerciser. Even in college I'd be waiting outside the gym for it to open at 8am, and my sophomore year I would even run on the track at 7am (college 7am is the equivalent of adult 4am). The past few weeks I've been majorly failing though. I think if I would just stop setting my alarm, only to turn it off in the morning, I could call it "taking a break" instead of "failing" and it would improve my self esteem.

Source: via Kim on Pinterest

I'm actually really ok with it. All this travel has totally messed up my sleep schedule, so I've been going to bed later. I'm on break from grad school for one more week, so I have the time. Working without air conditioning means that I'm soaked in sweat by the end of the day anyhow, so it makes sense to just roll right into a workout. Showering in the morning before school is a major waste of time once the heat hits.

The YMCA doesn't really have many classes in the morning, so procrastinating until the evening means I've actually done stuff like bicep curls and push ups recently. 

For example, we didn't get home from the beach until 10pm on Monday night, so I slept in and went to the gym after work. Tuesday night I did the some quality magazine reading on the elliptical, followed by a class called Cardio Blast. The class was bootcamp style, and I lifted weights and jumped and used all sorts of new muscles.

I also did my first workout of week 2 in my Ab Challenge with Emily. I'm easily motivated. 

Do 20 minutes of core work before you start your actual workout? Hell no. 

What if you get to put an X under your name on a Google doc? That sounds great!

We are designating an ab workout each week, and aiming to do it three times that week, whenever we can fit it in. So far the workouts have been 20-30 minutes, and we are keeping it to things you can do with no equipment. I made up one in the car on Monday, using the highly scientific method of choosing 5 ab moves that I'd done in random exercise DVDs and decided to do them for one minute each. I tried to pick really hard ones that would get our heart rates up, and I seem to have succeeded, since I almost died yesterday. 

The point of the challenge isn't really to get ready for bikini season or anything, more just to get stronger in an area we both usually avoid working on. Plus, it's already bikini season, Emily's abs are ready year round, and no amount of sit ups will help me because my stomach is so blindingly white that no one can really see it anyway.

Do you prefer morning or evening exercise? Once JFK training starts this summer, I'll have to stick to early morning if I don't want to die from heat stroke.

Do you work on your abs?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Zombies are real

So apparently I majorly lied when I said we were going to the Outer Banks for Memorial Day weekend. Except that I didn't, because I abide by the George Costanza definition, which is that it's not a lie if you believe it. 

We did, in fact, spend the weekend at the beach. Here's what happened. Several months ago, I got an email from a friend (I've already forgotten which friend actually sent it) suggesting renting a house at the beach for the long weekend with these fine folks.

I was sort of on the fence because of the traffic, but then I got a second email saying the house didn't allow dogs (we are the only couple without one) and that was the nudge I needed to sign up. I mailed down our check, drove to the address I was given (or slept while Eric drove), the whole time thinking we were going to the Outer Banks. I honestly didn't even know until we were there that we were in Ocean Isle Beach, which is a completely different place. 

Moral of the story - if you email me with what I deem to be a great idea, I will mail you money and show up wherever you tell me to. It's a miracle I'm not chained up in someone's basement right now with my life savings safely stowed away in a Nigerian princes' bank account.

This is the house. It's even better than it looks. 

We had our own room, our own bathroom, and it even opened up to a balcony with a hammock.

View from our bedroom
This was our first time on a group vacation, and I highly recommend it. All the romantic aspects of a normal vacation, but with five girlfriends to eat, drink, gossip, and shop with. We estimated the time we spent together vs. time spent with our husbands to be somewhere around 95/5, which is often referred to as the ideal ratio. 

Look, here we are during the 5%!
I know I swore there would be no bikini pics, but I completely forgot about that handy little "crop" feature on my computer. You're welcome. 

The rest of the time looked a lot like this.

I'm sure we all have an idea what goes on during a beach vacation, but here's some pictures to drool over in case you didn't get to go on one this weekend.

The waves were huge! I consumed the recommended salt intake for a 400 pound man during a two year period in the hour or so we played in them.

I don't know those people but pretend its a romantic picture of Eric and I.
Eric and I have vastly different definitions of what constitutes a good vacation.
I'm really lucky that Eric wanted to come to the beach because he hates the actual beach. He came the first day, but he just doesn't get the appeal of being hot and covered in sand. The second day, once the hammock got too hot for him, he went inside and watched TV while eating snacks, and enjoyed himself immensely. 

 Also, there was plenty of drinking, delicious food, and games to occupy him.

I totally helped grill - look at how helpful I'm being

I fell asleep during catchphrase

But magically jumped to attention as soon as the white cheddar popcorn came out
I even did some running with my beach running buddies, Mike and Josh. I was terrified of the heat and humidity, but I did 8 miles Saturday at a fast pace for me of 8:38 and felt fantastic. 

Sunday and Monday were just as I expected, and I struggled to breathe and felt like I was being baked alive. I barely made it five miles each day.

We spent about 20 hours in the car from Friday - Monday, but it was well worth it. 

Did you hear about the real live zombie attack, aka the man who ate another man's face in Florida this weekend? It's all we could talk about Sunday night. I threw up in my mouth a little just googling for an article to link.

Who's vacation method sounds better to you, mine or Eric's? Both are pretty lazy, so if you want to be more active, I guess you'd have to go for none of the above.

Does that story make you feel that you are wildly unprepared for the zombie apocalypse? That was our general consensus.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Monkey balls

I got back from Dallas Tuesday night, and after a doctor's appointment this morning, Eric and I are off to the Outer Banks for a beach weekend. Gosh, it's hard being a world traveler.

Oh, wait, no it's not. Getting to go on all these cool trips is awesome. In my humble opinion, anyone who complains about having to travel too much should be shot. And that's coming from a major complainer.

It's like a 9 hour drive to the beach, but Eric is finally ready to listen to Mockingjay, so it will be 9 hours of Katniss and Peeta bliss. 

I'm actually a huge introvert/homebody, so I thought I might feel just a tad overwhelmed with all these trips, but they were too perfect for that. For both our triathlon weekend, and this coming weekend, we rented huge, gorgeous houses on the water. So it's just like being home, except a bunch of your friends are there, you're in a "home" that's a million times better than your actual home, and you still feel like you are on vacation and give yourself permission to drink accordingly. Best of both worlds.

While I did have to return to work on Wednesday, I didn't have to actually teach or anything, thank goodness. It was time for our big field trip to the zoo. 

I dated myself by screaming "Pumba!! Pumba!!" here. The kids were all like "What's a Pumba?". Does no one watch Disney movies anymore?

As if the zoo itself wasn't exciting enough on it's own, in the monkey enclosure we struck pure gold.

Try to imagine seeing this surrounded by 18 screaming children.

While it was great not to have to teach for a day, when I stumbled home exhausted, dehydrated, partially deaf, and with my blood pressure at an all time high, I wondered if teaching reading would have just been better.

I start training for JFK on June 18th, officially, according to my made up training plan, so I'm trying to enjoy this period of not training. I always look forward to not having to train and doing any workout I want like crazy while I'm training for a race. Then when it finally happens, I feel lazy and unfocused and can't wait to start training again. 

In Dallas, I set my alarm to "no sound" so that when I pushed snooze, I would be woken up by vibrations but my roommate wouldn't feel the need to kill me. On both Wednesday AND Thursday I couldn't figure out why my alarm hadn't woken me up. Genius, right here. Therefore, I was forced to work out at night both days, and I feel I deserve a medal for getting to the gym after that zoo trip.

Not much to write home about on these workouts.

Wednesday - 25 minutes on the elliptical and Body Sculpt, a weight lifting class.
Thursday - 45 minutes on the trainer with Felicity and day 2 of our ab challenge, which sounds so easy but takes almost a half hour and makes me want to cry. My abs hurt at dinner.
Friday - spin class and ab challenge again - we are aiming for three times a week so that means I'm done until Monday! 

I just have to share that I am enjoying this wonderful Ross Dress for Less find right now, and it IS as wonderful as it looks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I'm back from the great state of Texas!

I was there for five days, so I'll share some highlights.

The reason:

I was there with a bunch of other teachers presenting about our school at a national conference.

I'm not that unprofessional, we agreed to wear our school t-shirt and jeans
for the presentation. Texas is casual.

The workouts: The timing for the trip was perfect, since I'd just finished my big race and wasn't training for anything. I figured I'd just enjoy the trip, and any exercise I got in would be a bonus.

Thursday: I rode the trainer for an easy hour in the morning before our flight, and called it good. When we got there though, my boss immediately grabbed a class schedule from the gym and somehow I ended up at boot camp. We started out with 12 wind sprints. That was the warmup. On the third or fourth, the attractive black guy leading the bootcamp asked me if I was a runner and told me he could tell because my legs looked like it. Then he told another girl to race me and she said I was too fast.

GAME ON. I was pretty much on cloud nine after that and practically enjoyed the torture. Turns out working out in Texas is amazing.

Friday turned out to be the day from hell, and I didn't have a minute to eat, much less work out.

Saturday I went for a run. I thought I'd explore Dallas, but it became apparently early on that our hotel was an oasis in a wasteland of bail bonds places, gentlemen's clubs, and other boarded up facilities. I braved it for about 3 miles until it dawned on me that the hotel had a jogging path for a reason. I did 5 more miles on the jogging track. It's less than a quarter mile. Good times.

Pretty, but short.

You get to run by elephants.

And a koi pond - I wanted to push Michael Scott in.

On Sunday I knew I couldn't handle just aimlessly running  a million loops around the jogging track so I turned it into a track workout. I did 8 X 800. I was aiming for sub 3:50, and got them all under 3:55. Sort of a fail, but I hadn't done speed work since February, so not too bad for an impromptu run after a night of drinking in Dallas. 

Tuesday - the world's slowest 5K and the first day of a new ab challenge, which Emily does a great job explaining.

The food and drinks:

Fact - food tastes better when it's paid for by the organization that you work for. 
I love pretty presentation.
Not as much as I love delicious dessert though.

Chocolate peanut butter bombe
I want another one

They didn't cover the booze but you really can't go wrong with a watermelon mojito with fresh watermelon AND fresh mint. Especially when you consume it at the pool bar.

No bikini pics, maybe if our ab challenge goes well. Actually, it still won't happen then,
so don't hold your breath.

The random:

On our first night out in Dallas, we asked the concierge to call us a cab to go downtown, and he told us for $5 a person we could take a limo instead! SOLD!

Friday night there was a reception for the conference. Long story short, I didn't really get to attend based on the aforementioned hell I was in, but I did run in briefly to grab some free tacos and hop on this bad boy. (You must sign a death waiver, and you're not allowed to wear shoes).

The Texans put bulls in fancy hotel conference rooms.

On Sunday, I took a quick shower after my run and went to the first session of the conference. I'd felt great on the run, but suddenly I got super nauseous (nope, still not preggers) and a fever and chills hit me and I spent the rest of the day Sunday and all day Monday in bed. I even had to miss the Diamonds and Denim Gala!

Now that I've been home for a day, it's time to unpack and repack - we are leaving for the Outer Banks on Friday! We are renting a huge house with five other couple friends, right on the beach. Plans include drinking all day, lying on the beach, and eating ice cream. How jealous are you?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kinetic Half Triathlon - the aftermath

If you have ever considered a triathlon, here's some good news for you - the soreness afterwards in minimal to non-existent. 

I did wear compression like it was my job for the rest of the weekend.

I also used The Stick, so maybe that helped.

I'd heard that I'd be less sore after a tri, but was doubtful until I experienced it for myself. Unlike a marathon, where you spend four hours doing the exact same motion, with three sports, you are using all different muscles, so none of them really get over taxed.

The worst part of recovery was my sunburn, and even that wasn't bad. I did reapply sunscreen in T2, so I can't imagine what I would have looked like if I hadn't.

Lily got sun kissed. We got sun raped.
 The other problem I experienced after the race was my stomach hating me. That's not exactly new, it tends to happen after my first hot race of the year. I just sat at the dinner table sadly trying to sip Powerade and not puke while everyone else enjoyed the grilled feast that we'd had planned.

No worries, my hunger returned full force on Sunday, and I ate nearly an entire pizza. 

70.3 apparently changed me for life. I don't mention it too often, but I am a vegetarian, and I also hate animals, especially dogs. Sunday morning, Dan cooked a big pan of bacon and brought it right over to the rest of us lounging on the couch. I dug right in and enjoyed three salty, crispy pieces.

That's a really special expression.
Then the dog tried to get in on it, and while I sure as hell wasn't sharing my bacon, I did laugh while she licked my face. 

NOTE - I still don't like YOUR dog, so don't expect me to. Maddy is an exception.

We had the house as long as we wanted on Sunday, so we put off driving back so we could enjoy some of the amenities that we'd been too tired for on Saturday.

In a hot tub with beer and beautiful women, and Eric just looks confused.

Yet he seems totally content here....
 To prove how not sore I was, we tackled these steps to check out the private dock.

After a marathon, Katy Perry could have been at the bottom
and I still wouldn't have gone.

We got to go tubing! Check out my expression, the water felt a lot colder than it had the day before.

It felt great once I adapted though.

A much better way to enjoy the lake - why'd we waste time swimming in wetsuits?

There was a bit of a current, so you had to stay vigilant. 
 There was a basement full of games too! I came so close to beating Eric at Foosball.

Sadly, the weekend had to come to an end and we finally left for home around 5pm. 

I went for a 6 mile slow run this morning, after a full 3 days off. Honestly, I felt fine, and could have worked out, but I'm not about to waste an excuse for rest days like "I just did a half ironman". The timing worked out pretty well, since this week is jam packed. I present my final project to my grad class tonight, leave for a conference in Dallas in the morning, and I'm presenting at the conference on Saturday, so a little time off from exercise to work on those presentations was much needed.

I actually don't know if I'll be able to blog in Dallas, but I know how my loyal readers worry (there was some discussion on twitter after GORUCK about whether or not I was dead!) so I figured I'd give you the heads up. If you don't hear from me until Tuesday, it's because I was too busy riding bulls and laying by the pool soaking up all the knowledge from the conference.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kinetic Half Recap

It's long, it's strong, it's down to get the friction on. If I waited until I was less tired to write it this bad boy would never see the light of day.

Holy crap, I did it. 70.3 miles in 6 hours, 28 minutes, and 59 seconds.

Triathlons require a LOT of work. Friday night, we arrived at our rented house, and the three of us hopeful triathletes got to work packing bags, studying course maps, making lists, and diagramming how our transitions would look. 

We spent a lot of time like this.
We went to bed late, but I actually slept great and hopped out of bed at 4:15 Saturday morning to get ready.

We arrived at the race around 6am, an hour before the start, and stood in the packet pickup line forever. The temperature was in the 40s, my feet were paper white, they looked like they belonged on a corpse, and I couldn't feel my toes. At that point, jumping into a lake sounded less appealing than dental work without Novocaine.  

After packet pickup, I needed to get my tires pumped and pick up my timing chip. Thank God I had Eric because trying to navigate the race site with my bike and the two giant bags of crap that I would need would have been a pain in the ass.

Finally, we made it to transition. My intention was to follow my diagram and make it all organized but it still looked like a hot mess of random crap thrown underneath a bike.

Once all my stuff was under the bike, it was time to suit up!

Putting a wetsuit on isn't exactly an easy little task. It takes a lot of time and requires a lot of lube.

Next up - body marking!

It was finally time to walk down to the beach. This was where my heart started really pounding.

Can you find me?

We were swimming 1.2 miles and it was set up like swimming along three sides of a rectangle. There were orange buoys along each straightaway to sight (when you look up to see if you are going the right way or if you are going out to sea to die), and a big yellow triangle to signal where to turn. Jackie and Lily claimed they could see the first yellow triangle way off in the distance, but I saw no such thing. 1.2 miles was looking like a long way.

We got in the water to test it out - it was a good 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature. It felt like getting in a bath. My feet regained feeling.

I just kept repeating "it's really happening" because I really couldn't believe what we were about to do.

This is one sexy look.
The waves were only three minutes apart, so even though we were last, the crowd thinned quickly and we were up before we knew it! My plan was to let everyone go and start at the very back. Based on my Irongirl experience, losing a minute that way would be well worth the time I'd gain by not freaking out and panicking in a crowd.

Time to go!

And we're off! I have no idea which one I am.
My goal for the swim was to remain calm, and I totally did. As our wave walked out after our start, I waited until just about everyone had begun swimming before I started. Letting them all get ahead was the best plan ever - I think I may have slightly bumped another swimmer maybe twice. I was totally on my own. 

As always, the beginning felt terrible, but once I was warmed up and got into a rhythm I started to feel pretty good. The water was extremely calm, I could see my arms as they passed under my face, and I was warm without being hot. 

The downside was my sighting completely sucks and I think I did so much weaving that I swam more like 1.5 miles. I was sighting about every 3 or 4 breaths but I finally had to accept that it wasn't enough because I was looking up to find myself in the middle of the rectangle, and nowhere near the buoy. I focused on just getting from one buoy to another instead of thinking about the entire distance, but I still didn't see the yellow triangle and was getting discouraged on my way out. Suddenly, I passed a buoy and realized that the triangle was the next one, and it felt like winning the lottery. Once I turned, the swim seemed to go a lot faster.

On the way back to shore, we were swimming in to the sun, so I could barely see a thing, but I tried to head toward the giant yellow inflatable tube man at the swim finish. Once my hand hit sand, I stood up and ran.

I didn't think there would be wetsuit strippers, but there were! They stripped my arms in no time, then told me to sit down, and I slammed myself to the ground so fast I was afraid I'd broken my tailbone. They had the wetsuit off in seconds and saved me at least 5 minutes of transition time.

In T1 (transition 1) I saw Jackie. I was already feeling great because I'd done the hardest part of the race (swimming is scary) and seeing her really put me over the edge. She smoked me in the pool when we trained together so knowing that I swam "fast" enough to see her meant I'd done better than I expected. We said a quick goodbye and she took off on the bike.

Swim time: 48:22. 

The adrenaline in transition is insane. I got my gear ready for the bike, grabbed it off the rack, and ran toward the bike exit. 

T1 time: 4:12.

I was excited for the bike portion of the race. I really can't believe how much I love biking now.

When I started out, I did a double take when I saw my heart rate was 181 - I really thought the sun was in my eyes and it must say 81! But, no, the excitement from transition, plus sprinting up the first hill from the lake, running my bike up the second hill to the bike start, then riding up a huge ass hill for the first mile had skyrocketed my HR. 

It took a few minutes for it to even begin to come down. We did a tiny out and back portion (like, less than a mile) so I got to see Jackie right away and knew she wasn't too far ahead of me.

After that, I was riding entirely by myself for several miles. I didn't see even one other human, car, course marking, or anything, and I was starting to panic over whether or not I was on the race course or just out on some random country road by myself. Then I saw a hammer gel packet on the ground and knew it would all be ok.

Less than 5 miles in, I rode past the 50 mile marker and a huge spray chalk 50 mile sign. Some guy got all excited about how great that would be on the way back. Maybe so, but less than 5 miles in it was a bit of a tease.

I hadn't brought my phone, since I figured I wouldn't need it in a race, but seeing how empty the course was, I got a little freaked out. If anything went wrong, it could be a long time before I saw another athlete and they might not even be able to help me. I find triathlons a little nervewracking because there is so much that can go wrong. In a road race, you're basically guaranteed to finish unless your body completely rebels. I've never heard of anyone DNFing in a marathon because their shoes broke. In a triathlon, equipment can malfunction and end your race even if you feel great. My point here is, I was praying not to get a flat.

The bike course consisted of two loops on quiet country roads. There was really no place for spectators so it was mainly just me and nature. To break things up, I decided to keep an eye on my watch and eat a few bites of my granola bars every 30 minutes. I totally killed two birds with one stone - mentally chunking the time and making sure I ate enough. Nailed it.

In the first few miles, I started to have guys zoom by me on bikes that cost more than my car, and I didn't understand why they were in the back with the novice division people. It took me probably at least 5 super fast cyclists to figure out they were on their second loop. Duh.

Around mile 25 or so I caught up with Jackie and we got to chat for a little bit. I was really nervous because USAT officials were going around on motocycles and giving people four minute penalties for drafting, so if I accidentally got too close to talk to her I risked getting one. That's when I learned that a four minute penalty meant that they added four minutes to your official time. I had thought it meant you had to get off your bike and sit on the side of the road and spend four minutes thinking about what you did.

I took a quick bathroom break at mile 30, so quick that I was able to catch up to Jackie again in just a few minutes. We rode together for a few more miles and then around mile 35 I sped up a bit and we separated. 

I really enjoyed the bike course overall, it was pretty flat, with only two real hills, and even those weren't as bad as ones I'd done in training. I was tired at the end, of course, but I never felt overly exhausted or in an excessive amount of pain. 

Goals on the bike: 

1. Stay on top of eating and drinking - I was all over this. I even drank my entire bottle of Gatorade and didn't drop it once!
2. Keep my heart rate between 140-150 - major fail. It was usually closer to 160 when I looked down. Whenever I tried to get it down I felt like I was crawling, so finally I just gave up and went with it. 

During the last few miles on the bike I was starting to get really anxious about the run. I had no idea what my legs would feel like and I really wanted to get started and find out. Additionally, I've run 6 or 7 half marathons (depending on whether you count the one that was 12 miles) but I've never started one sometime around noon on an 80 degree day. I hate not knowing what to expect. 

Just when I was really starting to struggle mentally I passed the sign for the turn towards the finish and the 50 mile mark, and the rest of the ride flew by. 

We finished on a huge mile long downhill, which I thought was great. Until I was at the bottom and realized I'd have to turn right around and run up it. And then run up it two more times after that. FML.

It's weird to get to a finish line and then start another race.

Total bike time - 3:32:55. Average pace 15.8 mph, which is faster than most of my training rides.

T2 - 2:08. Switch helmet for a hat, bike shoes for running shoes, camelbak for water bottle, GO.

Transition is so freaking confusing. You enter and exit one way to set up, another way to bike, and yet another way to run. Of course I went the wrong way for my run. And of course Eric took a picture and tweeted it.

Utter confusion

Figured it out but somehow screwed up the Garmin in the process
The run was three 4-ish mile loops through the park. I'm a creature of habit who eats the same exact thing every day for lunch, so I love things like races with loops. Plus, we were finally back in the park, which meant I'd get to see Eric, Dan and the rest of our cheering squad at the end of each loop.

The huge uphill completely sucked, as expected, and my legs felt totally weird and off from riding. I reminded myself that the beginning of the swim and the bike had felt terrible until I got used to it, and the same was true for the run. 

The loop was hilly but the run had some pretty sweet upsides. There was an out and back portion, so I got to see Jackie on each loop and saw Lily on my second, which were huge boosts. They had two misting tents, and each water station had ice cold water. The last water station was right before a downhill, shaded paved trail through some woods, and when you exited the woods, you were right by the water and the crowds. I was nervous about passing the finish line twice (like, you literally have to run right past it) but it turned out to be pretty motivating.

Misting tent - my favorite part
I'd heard most triathletes aren't runners, and that seemed to be true. Most people were walking, and people were so impressed by anyone running, no matter how slowly. I was passing people like crazy, especially on the uphills (thanks, hilly neighborhood), which is always fun. I kept feeling better and better on the run, except that my feet were killing me, which is completely new. 

I gave myself permission to walk up the steepest part of the first uphill on the second and third loops (about a tenth of a mile), and I also stopped to pee and to take off my shoe when random piece of plastic got in there. Other than that I just ran what felt like a comfortably hard pace.

Goals on the run:
1. Stay on top of eating and drinking - I took two Gus, and refilled my bottle three times. 
2. Sub 10:00 pace - my average pace was 9:16.

The third loop was so exciting but things were getting so hard. I walked twice in the twelfth mile (only for 10-20 seconds each time) when I felt like I was going to die. Coming out of those woods and finally going towards the finish instead of past it felt like euphoria.

Run time - 2:01:24. I never would have thought I could run a 2:01 half marathon after all that other crap. I'm thrilled with my time but I'm also pissed about those walk breaks/plastic in my shoe/pee break - I could have had a sub - 2 half!

Getting that medal felt amazing.

My last goal of the race was to stay positive - that was easy, because this race was awesome, and while it was tough as hell I was happy almost the whole time. 

World's greatest husband, right here. I couldn't have done it without him.

Just as I started to feel really sick and laid down on the ground in the fetal position, Dan started yelling "Jackie's coming!" and I jumped up like my ass was on fire.

Shortly after that, Lily crossed the finish and we finally got to celebrate being Half Ironmen together!

That wasn't even the best part. The novice division does awards separately from the age group awards. We were getting ready to go when Jackie said we should wait to see if won anything. Moments after she said that, the announcer called my name as first place winner of the women's novice division!

Eric is amazing at capturing candid moments.
I sprinted down the hill to get my award.

Jackie took second place! We got to stand on the podiums and everything!

Out of 161 women (in the whole race, not the novice division), I came in 90th - not bad for my first half ironman! I was literally the last person to start the race, so I have to admit it felt pretty good to stand at the finish line for 45 minutes watching finishers who had started the race before me.

I was 142 in the swim, 131 on the bike, and 44 in the run. So the areas where I need work are clear, and don't come as a shock. 

It's official - I loved this half ironman so much that I would consider marrying it if I were single.