Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meeting in Miami

I had not been to Miami in a long time, and I had a meeting in Key Biscayne this week. It was at the Ritz Carlton, and the hotel was an amazing place for a meeting. You often don't get to do much outside, but it was great to have the ocean and the pool (with multiple tiki type bars) right there when you had a break. We also had a make salsa and margaritas event as a team building event, and it was great. I am not sure the judges tasted much after the first 5 margaritas, but it was a lot of fun! :) Glad to be back with the family today though. I certainly slept well last night. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Music City Triathlon 2010

I got up at 4:30 (yes that is AM), and I got ready quickly. I had already laid out my clothes the night before, and my tri bag was packed and ready to go. I made sure I had my Garmin, and I went downstairs at Grams and Papa’s house to get my frozen water bottles. It is supposed to be over 95 degrees, so I figured that I should at least try to have some frozen!

Phil and I left around 5:30 after pumping up our tires and lubing the chains on our bikes. When we got to LP Field (home of the Titans and where the race began and ended), the traffic was a mess. There was a LONG line of cars to turn in, and it was moving very slowly. I thought it would go quickly – I mean, seriously, how many cars do they get for a football game? They must be used to this. WRONG.  It took about 30 minutes to get parked. That made me a little nervous because I only had 30 minutes to get out of transition, but I was prepared so I wasn’t really nervous.

I took my tri bag, a small cooler with ice in it, and my bike and got my body marking. I still hate that they use the age that you will be at the END of the year which makes me 39. I will not be 39 until November, so that is not very nice.  I am really going to hate it next year. Ugh. Anyway, I got my number – 846 – on my leg and arm, and my “age” on my leg. I quickly got my stuff set up, and I went to find Phil. I then waited in the very long potty line, and I enjoyed talking to the people in line. Lots of friendly people. Everyone seemed nervous about the heat for the run, and I was getting REALLY nervous about that. I don’t do well running in the heat, so that is a big concern.

Next, I went down to the water to check it out. When I lived in Nashville, I always thought the Cumberland River was NASTY. I could not believe that I was actually going to swim in it. YUCK. Everyone I talked to about the race was fascinated that I was going to swim in the river. It actually didn’t look too bad, and the current didn’t seem too strong. I swam out a bit, and I was glad that I got practice coming up the ladder as the step was higher up than I thought it would be.

Then, we waited. The sprint distance started before the Olympic for some reason. I would think with the heat that they would let the Olympic distance start first so that we could finish a little earlier in the day. I didn’t go into the water until about 8:40. It was a time trial entry, so we were lined up by number in order of expected swim time. I had put 30 minutes as my time, but I wasn’t really sure. I did have the plan to take it really easy on the swim so that I would have plenty of energy for the bike and run. Normally, I would try to go fast on the swim as it is my best, but I was thinking that it might not be so great since I actually hadn’t been swimming as regularly as I should be. Oops…

The swim started out to the left for about 350 – 400 yards against the current. Then, you went around a buoy and turned back the other way. This part was with the current and it was nice.  It was hard to get around the buoy as the current was pushing you in front of it. At the other end, the current pushed you out away from the buoy which would cause more of a swim. I think I went pretty wide after the first buoy, but I did really well on the second one. I felt calm, relaxed, and I enjoyed it. I never pushed, but I probably should have.  The last 400ish yards were also against the current. I felt it a bit more on the way back. Apparently, I took my dear sweet time as it took me 36 minutes to do the swim. I should have done it closer to 27 – 30, but I used very little energy which was good.

I had a little trouble getting on the ladder, but then I started up the ramp. It was between 1/8 and ¼ mile from the river to the transition, and I left slip on shoes in the grass. I grabbed them on the way up. I mainly walked and slow “trotted” to transition. I was not fast getting through transition. I dried my feet and put on my bike shoes. This was my first triathlon with bike shoes, so it was new. I got my glasses and helmet, and I went to take my sport legs. Oops…they had melted in the sun. Yikes. Hot.

I started out on the bike, and I immediately realized that my bike seat was too low. I had checked my bike on the plane, and I had it assembled in Nashville at Cumberland Transit. I thought it was a bit too low in the store, but then when I sat on the seat and put my leg down it seemed about right. However, I think it fell lower somehow as it felt very low when I got on it. This made the bike feel harder. The first mile was fairly flat, but then there started to be some hills. Until mile 4, there were some hills that were pretty tough for me. I definitely need to practice hills more. From mile 4 – 6, it was pretty downhill to flat, and then the return trip wasn’t too bad. There was one hill that was kind of evil, but the rest wasn’t bad. Once mile 8 came, it was easy as it was a lot of downhill. I went through the very bumpy end part before the turn and then started the second loop. I knew I just had to make it to mile 4, and then I would be ok. I never pushed hard on the bike, and I tried to let my legs recover after the hills (they were burning pretty badly at times). I knew I would need it for the run.

Once I got back to transition, I dismounted. I did ok with the clips, and I was relieved that I didn’t crash due to leaving a foot in or something.  My legs were hurting in kind of a weird place – I think it was the adductor muscle on both legs that was NOT happy. I kind of hobbled to the transition, and I just sat down to put my socks and shoes on. I wiped my face. I got my hat and put some ice in it. I strapped on my water belt and my race number belt, and I was off. I thought I saw Phil at this point and was sad that I missed him. I knew I would never catch him on the run as he is a fast runner.

I jogged out through the water station toward the pedestrian bridge. I decided that I would conserve energy and walk up the pedestrian bridge as it is the very beginning of the run. It is VERY hot – definitely over 90 and very sunny. I walked up the hill, and then I started jogging again. I had my watch set for running 5 minutes and walking 30 seconds. I was doing pretty well, but I was very hot. I looked at my watch and my HR was 188. YIKES. Ok, time to relax a little as I have just reached mile 1 and there is a big hill looming in front of me. I decided that I would walk the hill. After the hill, there is a turn into the breeze (THANKFULLY), and then you went down 2nd Ave. This was nice as there were very brief pockets of shade and it was slightly downhill. At Broadway, we turned right and then turned right again on 3rd. Another hill was looming. Man. I jogged and walked and then I walked up the hill. Once the hill was behind me, there was a water station. I started dumping them on my head two cups at a time. I was very, very hot. I went over the Woodland Street Bridge, and it gave a nice downhill section to recover. Going around the stadium was very sunny and very hot. When I saw the signs that pointed in opposite directions – one saying “To Finish” and one saying “2nd Loop”, I wanted to cry. I wasn’t really sure I could do another one. But, I went through the water and kept going. Wet again from the cold water, I got to the bridge. I started walking, and I heard a voice say, “It is a good time to take a break.” We started talking, and I found out his name is Brandon and it was his first Olympic distance. I told him that I raised money for charity so I had to finish. He said that he was going to finish with me. I told him many times that he was welcome to go ahead, but I am SO very thankful that he was there. I cannot even tell you how much it helped to have someone to talk to. We would say “run to the car” or “run to the street” or “after the hill we will walk.” It kept getting hotter. I would dump water on my and then I would be dry and hot again minutes later. BRUTALLY HOT. It was nearing 100, and the heat index was off the charts. I was so happy to make it to that last water station before the Woodland Street Bridge because I knew we had the downhill and about a mile left. Brandon said, “tell that watch to shove it because we are finishing this thing.” So, we “ran” the rest of the way to the finish. What a great feeling.

As much pain as there was, I felt SOOOOO much better within minutes of finishing. It is amazing how your body reacts. The prize was a beer glass instead of a medal. I really like the medals, so I was a bit sad. Phil said he liked the glass better. Speaking of Phil, I was looking for him everywhere, and then all the sudden I heard his name being called. I screamed support to him and then went to meet him. I can’t believe that he was behind me!!! He started 20 minutes after me due to the time trial, and we never saw each other the whole race. We soaked up the atmosphere and the beer for a bit and waited for the results to be posted. Ours still weren’t posted even after we put our stuff away in the cars. That was a bummer. It was nice to get into transition so that I could call my family. I think everyone was glad to know that I survived the heat. Grams and Papa were getting worried as they didn’t know that you had to get into transition first to be able to get your stuff (my phone was there). I was so elated that I had finished, but I was also a bit sad as I was so terribly slow. It took me 3 hours and 51 minutes. The last one I did at St. Anthony’s was 3 hours and 14 minutes although the swim wasn’t long enough. However, even if you add 10 minutes to the swim, that would be 3:24. That still leaves 27 extra minutes. Most of those were on the run where I went from 1:14 to 1:29. On the bike, I took 1 hour and 37 minutes where at St. Anthony’s it was about 5 minutes faster. The swim was also 36 minutes so that is 9 minutes slower than my adjusted value for St. Anthony’s.

Overall – the race was brutal. I struggled and wondered if I could make it in the allowed time. 12:30 was the cut off, and I made it around 12:20. However, they had it open way past 12:30. Logistics, I really thought the race was very well run. The parking in the morning could have used some direction, and I highly wish that the sprint distance started after the Olympic. The water stops were placed perfectly, and the volunteers were very helpful!!!!! I loved the course, but the heat and hills were brutal. Not sure I will do this one again but I might do the sprint distance next year instead.  :)

I did raise money for CureJM, and you can still donate through 8/31 on my donation page. Please help us find a cure for Juvenile Dermatomyositis! Click here to donate! Thanks so much to Mike, Janice, Gwenyth, Liz, and Chuck for the amazing donations!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day Before Race

Today, I got my bike from Cumberland Transit. They were awesome and had the bike ready super duper fast. Then, Phil and I went down to LP field to pick up our race packets. We did a little expo browsing, and then grabbed a bite to eat. Then, Phil took me back to my parents.

Grams, Papa, Morgan, and I went to eat at Bonefish. YUM. Then, I went to Phil's friends in Nolensville. Wow, that area has GROWN. I didn't even know where I was! I didn't get into bed until about 12:30. Not so smart since I have to get up at 4:30. I did drink like a FISH today to try to prepare for tomorrow. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Arrived in Nashville

Morgan and I flew to Nashville tonight, and it was so nice to get home. I was thinking a lot about Nashville and the flood after we saw a car with a sign in the back that said, "Ex Opryland Hotel Employee who needs a job." It isn't due to open until October. The Grand Ole Opry has also been closed as well as the Opry Mills Mall. What a shame. I am still amazed at how little this is talked about outside of the Nashville area.

My parents took me to Cumberland Transit to drop off the enormous bike box. They said they would have it ready tomorrow. I am getting a little nervous about the hills!

Even though I never lived in this house, it was really nice to get "home." I guess wherever your parents are counts as home. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Morgan and I went to Chicago on Sunday, and we stayed at the Belden Stratford. It was a really nice hotel in Lincoln Park. We went to the zoo on Sunday, and we ate Chicago Pizza on Monday. We loved the roominess of our suite at the Beldon. We enjoyed the Mon Ami Gabi restaurant where Morgan had a stead and I had scallops. The chocolate mouse had rave reviews by the chocolate queen. Of course, our plane was late leaving Chicago (6th late flight in a row), but we did have a nice flight once we got in the air.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Horse Camp Show

Morgan went to the Cypress Ranch Horse Camp this week, and she really loved it. The first few days were a bit rough with homesickness, realizing it is a lot of work, having a friend who was homesick, and having a headache. However, by Wednesday, she was loving it and not wanting to go home - EVER. :) Jan and Ms. tweety were awesome, and she is already wanting to go again next year. I was amazed at their show. They did some cool moves that it must have been hard to learn!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Date Night

Mike and I actually got to have a date night! We went to see Inception and had dinner at the theater! We have never gotten to go to the Cobb theater and sit in the Adult dinner section because we always have kids, so we were excited to try it. However, there were only two seats and they weren't next to each other! DOH! So, we ate at the restarant and then went downstairs.

As for the movie, I slept through at least a third of it - maybe half. I would not recommend it. It has some interesting parts, but overall I give it a thumbs down. :( Date night gets a thumbs up though!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CureJM and Music City Triathlon

I am doing an Olympic Distance Triathlon in Nashville on the 25th. I am raising money for CureJM ( which is a non-profit raising money to find a cure for Juvenile Dermatomyositis.  An olympic distance triathlon is 1.5K swim (about a mile), 40K bike (about 25 miles), and a 10K run (6.2 miles). It is in July (think HOT) and in Nashville (think hills for the flat Floridian). If you want to give me motivation to hang in there when I think I might not be able to AND to help cure an awful disease that affects kids (see video here), please click HERE to donate to CureJM through my fundraising page.

Also, CureJM is in the running for a Pepsi Refresh $250,000 grant to help find a cure. It is currently in 12th place and has to be in the top 2 to get money. You can vote every day (it literally takes less than a minute a day with 16 days left). If you can, please vote HERE.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Travel Hell Tuesday

I was flying home from a conference in DC, and I was bookd on the 8pm flight to Atlanta and then the 10:50 flight from Atlanta to Tampa. I arrived at the airport around 6:20, and I see that the 5 flight was delayed and that the 6:30 flight was delayed to 7:15. I am thinking that it is not looking good for the 8pm flight. So, i ask if there are seats on teh 6:30, and I got one. :) Whew.

We board at about 6:45, and they get everyone on the plane. Thankfully, I scored the upgrade, so I am in first class. The door closes and mere minutes later there is an announcment that Atlanta is on a ground stop and that we won't leave until 9:20. OMG...That is 2 hours! They said that we can either get off the plane or stay on the plane, but that you have to make a choice. They were serving drinks, and I discovered that there was POWER on the plane. I either have never known the plugs existed or it was a rare circumstance. I was so excited (the little things make SUCH a difference when traveling). So, I decided to stay. The 2 hours went pretty fast as I got to talk to several people, update some documents for work, etc. Useful time.

Around 9:20, we leave the gate. YEAH! OH NO...another announcement. There is now a ground stop in DC. Seriously? There is a bad storm and it is raining hard and lightening. FUN on a plane - NOT.  Around 10:00, we are ready to go again. 30 minutes later, we still haven't taken off.  Another announcement. This time, there is bad weather over Virginia where we have to fly. Geez. We FINALLY took off close to midnight. When we landed in Atlanta after 1am, I scanned my ticket on the "Missed your flight?" scanner, and it said that I had to fly to Memphis at 8:30am, and then I would fly from Memphis to Tampa in the afternoon. WHAT? Crazy. As it is now 1:30am and I don't want to worry about it all night, I got in the sky priority line to figure out what is up. When I get to the desk, the guy starts looking at direct flights. He found a direct at 8:45!!!!! WOO HOO! It is now 2:15. I am debating the hotel vs airport bench at this point. I found a hotel in downtown atlanta, but I figured I wouldn't get there until about 3 or 3:30, and it would probably be about 4 before I could get into bed. Since I would need to leave at 6 to head back to the airport due to rush hour, I decided to stay at the airport. I finally fell asleep (WHY do they have the TVs blaring in the middle of the night???) around 4am. I woke at 5. Since the Sky Club opens at 5, I went there. I slept from about 5:30 - 7:30 in two chairs pulled together. I felt much better. Thankfully, Delta gave me the overnight bag that had a tshirt, toothbrush, brush, etc in it. I also got a travel voucher since they didn't get me a hotel. The flight to Tampa was boring (the way I like it). I have had pretty good travel luck, and the Delta staff were all very helpful. So, I hope I have paid my bad luck travel dues for a while!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday In Hilton Head

Today, we went to the beach today. Mike and I went down and set up the tent and some chairs. The rest of the family came later. The girls and I went to the movie Eclipse, and then we went to the beach. We had fun in the water, and Morgan came out of her shell later in the day. I liked Eclipse, but I didn't think she picked the right boy. YUCK!!!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Today, we started the day with the Firecracker 5000 race on Hilton Head. It is a 5k race that starts behind the Shelter Cove mall. It was a very nice course that went about .6 miles out with a turnaround and then about a mile out with a turnaround. Fun race. It was hot, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. I have a Personal Record of 32:48! The official race time says 33:48, but I was a bit behind the official start.

We then saw the boat parade, and then went to Captain Woody's for lunch. I had a blackeded grouper sandwich. It was good, but I wouldn't rate it as great. i had also forgotten how much attitude the staff at Captain Woody's has. I could do without that knd of hostile treatment when I go to eat. :)

For dinner, we had pulled pork at Grams and Papa's. it was yum. Then, we had the best timing ever for the fireworks. Mike and I dropped a car at Shelter Cove early in the day, and then Grams dropped us at Shelter cove about 8:25. We got face paint, made sand art, had a drink, and then only had to wait 15 minutes for the fireworks to being (9:25). I love the fireworks. Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I am so thankful to live in such a fantastic country with such great freedom. Happy birthday America!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday in Hilton Head

Today, we hung out at the Holiday Inn for breakfast and then at the beach for a bit. Morgan's face was getting red, and Chris also felt his face was red. So, we went back to Grams and Papa's while Mike, Michael, and Katie stayed at the beach. Mike and Tracy arrived around 6, and Mark arrived around 7. We had low country boil for dinner - YUMMMMMMM....I love that low country boil (shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes). It was great to see all of the family again.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In Hilton Head and Happy Anniversary!

Today is my 6th anniversary with Mike. Happy Anniversary Mike! Thanks for 6 great years, and I look forward to many, many more! I am so glad we get to celebrate where we got married!

I will eventually catch up on the last 2 weeks, but for now, I will start with today! :) Morgan went from camp to Hilton Head on Saturday, and I drove up on Wednesday to work from here yesterday. Phil Pead was nice enough to give all of Eclipsys off today (in addition to the normal holiday Monday), so my vacation officially started today!

Papa, Morgan, and I walked to the general store today, and Sophie came with us. She loved the walk. Papa had already taken her for her first walk on the beach, so she will probably sleep all day. :)

Morgan and Grams made banana bread, and it smells SO good.

Mike and the kids are arriving soon, and we are staying at the Holiday Inn tonight before the condo is available tomorrow. It is the place I first went on Hilton Head, and we changed clothes in the restroom and went to the beach pool. :)

We checked into the Holiday Inn for one night before the condo is available, and it was pretty nice. I wouldn't mind staying there for a while actually. It has a nice pool and tiki bar, and it is right on the beach. We ate at Grouper's buffet at the Holiday Inn, and it was great. It wasn't fancy or anything, but it was good food. It had crab legs, steamed shrimp, raw oysters, fried oysters, fried shrimp, crab cakes, prime rib, fish, lasagna, chicken (fried), chicken (bbq), potatoes, green beans, soup, rolls, and dessert. It was good!

We were lazy after dinner, and the girls relaxed in the room. The boys went swimming for a while. What a great day!