Friday, September 8, 2017

Happy Birthday to MEEEE!!!!

You know you've got a keeper when he buys you fitness-related things for your birthday ❤️

On another note, there is a massive hurricane heading up the state. We're not quite sure where she'll end up, but we're going to head west. :sigh: Another year, another evacuation. I was supposed to do my first Century at the Endless Summer Watermelon Ride in a couple days, but with Irma approaching, it was canceled. I pray we are all spared.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Transformation Tuesday

In January of 2016, I posted a picture of myself poolside after my first Adult Stroke Class and announced my goal to complete a sprint triathlon by May 2017. Sadly, there were other plans for my life. 

A couple months after my declaration, my father experienced complications after a stem cell transplant. After a nearly 3 month battle towards recovery, his body, literally, failed him. He died July 1st. Exactly 2 months after my stepmother called me about my father, my mother called to tell me that her time on this earth was limited. A few weeks later, I became an orphan. Just when I thought 2016 could not get any worse for our family, my beloved Pug (my original baby), died the day after Christmas.

I tell you all this, because, as crazy as it may seem, running kept me sane through it all. Those who follow my personal Facebook page have seen my effort, and my aunt -- my mom's youngest sister -- once asked me what I was running from. I didn't have an answer for her at the time, but have since discovered my reason. My mom was my biggest cheerleader, although virtually, and had often called me her "shero." I continued to hit the pavement, because I knew she would want me to. It's also where I felt/feel closest to God and converse with Him often. There's a point here, I promise you 🙂

Putting in QT on the bike trainer (Photo credit: My 5 year old)

January of this year, I renewed my goal of becoming a sprint triathlete. I put my Christmas gift on the bike trainer and started to rack up some serious miles. I even participated in a couple IronKIWI virtual events. Although, I did not reach my May deadline, I still achieved that sprint triathlon goal Father's Day weekend during the Life's A Beach Triathlon! 

A BGDB Shero (green/blue) and I (in red) heading into the water (Photo credit @SouthernStoneEvents)
Starting Garmin/Leaving Transition
(Photo credit @SouthernStoneEvents)
Sprinting Towards the Finish Line
(Photo credit @SouthernStoneEvents)

One of our local BGR! Ambassadors said, "We all have life circumstances . . ." In my case, I run to burn off the crazy! Stay encouraged friends!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


May 14th was my first Mother's Day without my mother. She's been gone nearly 8 months now, and I was told the "first" of every holiday would be the hardest. I've spent pretty much every Mother's Day with her over the past decade, so I knew I had to do something special. I considered visiting her memorial site, but figured that wasn't something I was ready to do yet. Instead, I sought out something to take my mind off her absence -- as if that were even possible -- and happened upon CycloFemme. "What is CycloFemme," you ask? According to their website, it is "a Global Celebration of Women created TO HONOR THE PAST from the shoulders of those who stood before us, for the freedom to choose and the chance to wear pants. TO CELEBRATE THE PRESENT with strength and courage, voices raised, moving together. TO EMPOWER THE FUTURE of women everywhere, the backbone of positive social change." Anyone who knew my mother would agree that this is something she would stand behind and would definitely encourage me to take part in. 

The ride closest to me was hosted by Open Road Bicycles' St. Johns location. I was quite anxious about it being an emotional Mother's Day and worried about riding on the road while tackling my longest ever cycling distance, so it was a bit of a relief to know that I wouldn't have to add a lengthy drive -- especially while transporting my bike -- to my list of concerns. It was also nice that a couple Sheroes I knew from the Jacksonville chapter of BGDB and one of my Jacksonville Galloway Training friends would also be there.

I arrived early to allow myself time to talk my anxiety down. As the rest of the group started to arrive, I put on my brave face and tried to be social. I thought I was doing a pretty good job until my Jacksonville Galloway friend arrived and gave me an extra long hug. She mentioned my Facebook post from earlier that month about how I wanted to fast forward to August and avoid Mother's Day, Father's Day, my dog's birthday (he died the day after Christmas) and the first anniversary of my father's death, to which I teared up and almost fell apart.

After that, we were divided into two groups: the 25 mile group and the "Tour de Neighborhood" group, the difference being speed, as we would be covering different distances in the same amount of time. My friends and I were e received our ride instructions, discussed our route and learned that we would ride :gulp: in a paceline. Again, I had to talk my anxiety down. Although I saw cyclists in single pacelines on nearly a daily basis, this was my first group ride off the Rail Trail. Not only do I have to deal with cars, but I now have to ride in a paceline and lead at some point?! Thankfully, our ride leader had given us an out, so if our turn came, and we did not want to lead, we could just fall back to the end of the paceline. That took the edge off. Once, I learned we only had to lead for a minute or so, I was ready for the challenge. I sent the route to The Mr. and was ready to ride, "but first, let me take a #Selfie!"

Pre-ride Selfie to psych myself up

There was another group ride newbie, although, she was quite familiar with the route and rode it often on her own. We made a nonverbal agreement to stay together in the back of the pack, so when her chain fell off as the ride started, I stayed behind to help her get it back on. I started panicking internally, because no one in the group saw what happened, and I was afraid we would fall too far behind. Thankfully, the other group had not left yet, and their ride's leader had the presence of mind to tell me to catch up to the group and let them know she was still coming. I'd lost sight of the group at this point, but remembered the route, so I pedaled hard until I caught them just after a red light. 

I started to relay the message of our left behind newbie to the ride leader as she fell back to take her place at the end of the pack when, suddenly, there was a chorus of "slowing[s]," before our paceline scattered and came to a halt. It turned out that one of our riders had a flat tire, which gave us an opportunity to see an on site tire change. Ironically, I recognized the rider from a tire changing course we'd taken at Open Road Bicycles' Avondale store. After the quick, but informative, change, we headed back out on our ride. 

Post-ride picture from Open Road Bicycles' Facebook page

We ended up going 15 miles, -- my longest ever ride to date -- and, after we finished, I found myself going back out with a smaller, but faster, group who wanted more miles. I surprised myself a lot that day: Not only had I ventured way out of my comfort zone by riding on the open road, I also rode 30 miles in a paceline, and, when my time to take the lead came, I arose to the challenge and led for a couple miles. I think my mom would have been proud . . . 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Good riddance 2016! I am glad to see you go, but am devastated that my parents and my dog joined those whose lives were lost during your seemingly endless 366 days. As much as I would love to steal back my loved ones and bring them into this new year, I have to set my feelings aside -- for now -- and do my best to carry on, one day at a time.

So, Day 1 started with the Polar Plunge 🏊🏾‍♀️ I've been plunging with my running buddies every year since 2013. Over the years, our number has dwindled. Last year, I encouraged one of my BGR! Sole Sisters to run and plunge with me since our usual group decided to pass. The Mr. and the kiddos usually come too since we celebrate our plunge with breakfast at Beach Diner. This, however, was the first year that I have been solo. At first, I was pretty bummed, but chose not to wallow in self pity and, instead, "shifted the prism." I saw a new year with new beginnings and embraced the solitude. After all, here was the opportunity for the alone time I so desired and everyone always told me I needed. I took lots of pictures, even video, so I could look back on how I "survived" without the perceived security of familiar faces. I spent extra time in the water to reflect on the past year. I submerged myself three times in remembrance of my father, mother and dog. Every time the sting of the cold water washed over me, I acknowledged the pain of each loss and continued to kneel until I was ready to accept their absence. It was a liberating experience, so much so, that I went back to spend a little more time in the water, this time to celebrate the new year.

Oh! I also met a fellow blogger who asked to photograph me for her blog. I'm looking forward to reading her thoughts on the Polar Plunge.

After I got home, The Mr. prepared a traditional southern New Year's Day meal of Hoppin' John, collard greens and cornbread which was timed perfectly for my uncle's arrival. He was passing through on his way back home from visiting my grand/great uncle and stopped by to break bread with us. It was nice having family visit, even though it was brief. One of the thoughts that often triggered an overflow of emotions was that neither of my parents got to visit our new home.

By the time our visitor left and the children were down for the night, it was too dark for me to safely get any miles in for the IronKIWI 140.6 Challenge (more info to come). So, I ended the day with a little QT with my Christmas gift and the dreaded bike trainer for 10.17 miles powered by the first 17 songs in Act I of "Hamilton," because 20.17 miles was too much for me 🚴🏾‍♀️ Happy New Year!
Christmas gift from The Mr.: Fuji 2.0 LE - 2016
I survived Day 1, and I'm still smiling