Beach Blast Triathlon Recap

This morning I raced my first Olympic distance triathlon – the Beach Blast Triathlon in Port St. Joe, FL, right on the Gulf of Mexico. I was up about 4:45 and had a slice of leftover veggie pizza from last night’s dinner and got ready to head out at 5:20. I said goodbye to Ryan and Thomas (Robert was still sleeping) and headed down with my bike and gear bag. I was riding to the race area with my friends O and M. (I also rode down here from Fort Rucker with them, and the guys joined us later in the evening so Robert didn’t have to miss school.) O was racing his first-ever triathlon and was also doing the Olympic distance.

We got to the race site, about 2 1/2 miles from our hotel and got a great spot in transition. We hooked up our bikes and got a little bit of our transition areas set up before heading to body marking. After getting all marked up (both upper arms and outsides of both legs with our race number and our age on our left calf), we walked across the highway to the beach to check out the swim area. Yes, we had to cross the highway to get from the swim to transition. Strange – and it was a LONG run. Once we were done checking out the swim area, we headed back up to finish getting our transition areas set up, final trips to the port-a-potty, race nutrition (2 packs of Generation UCAN in 12 ounces of water for me), and wetsuits on. And then we headed to the swim start for our race briefing and then it was go-time!

The swim was supposed to be .7 miles, and it was quite short, even after factoring in the run to the transition area – only ended up to be .45 with the run to T1. I started off much too fast on the swim and my first loop was miserable – a lot of breaststroke and treading water was involved. And then my goggles fogged up – they’ve NEVER done that before, so I’m not sure what was up with that. My second loop was much better as I finally got into a good rhythm with my breathing and everything. I hit the beach and began the run up to the transition area. I finished the swim in 18:16.

T1 took me 3:33 – much too long, but I had some balance issues with cleaning my feet off (the area transition was had little pokey things in the grass and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any stuck to my feet inside my socks) and in the process of losing my balance, I knocked my helmet and glasses off my bike. I finally got everything together and headed out on the bike.

The bike was supposed to be 24.8 miles and ended up being about 24.5. I felt really good on the bike despite my girl bits starting hurting about mile 13 or so and my left hand going numb starting about mile 5. It was a nice flat ride, other than the 2 climbs on a big bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway – it was an out-and-back course, so we had a bridge climb each direction. I passed 4 people while on the bike and drank my whole 20  ounce bottle of Nuun on the course. It was nice being able to ride in my big ring for most of the time (I only shifted to my small ring on the bridge climbs) and I was really happy with my almost 16 mph average speed! When I got near the transition area, my guys were there with M to cheer me on and it was really nice seeing them and seeing how excited the boys were to see me! I finished the bike in 1:33:41.

T2 took me 3:00 – WAY TOO LONG to go from bike to run. I need to work on speed laces for my shoes so I can save a few seconds with that. I also took the time to consume another packet of UCAN in 8 ounces of water, and I’m glad I did that. I’m also glad that I had taken a hat and my hand-held water bottle with me for just in case. It got warm toward the end of the bike.

With race belt and hat on and water in hand, I headed out on the run. I’m really glad I had the hand-held with 16 ounces of Nuun in it – I drank more often than the water stops. The water stops would have plentiful enough for a 50-60 degree 10K, but in the mid to upper 70s, not so much. I did grab a cup of water at every stop and poured it over my head and down the front and back of my tri top. It helped some, but I was still pretty much done. I did my run/walk ratio of 9:1, walked thru all the water stops, and walked a few more times as well. Everyone was really encouraging everyone else, and that was really nice. Finally the finish was in sight and I finished strong in 1:03:29. My final finish time was 3:01 and change. I finished 103rd overall and 4th in my age group.

There were other members of Team RWB there from our Fort Rucker Chapter as well as a couple of other chapters and we hung out and chatted together after – and got a group picture. Ryan and the boys had worn their RWB shirts as well and got to be a part of the picture! My Team RWB tri suit worked really well and I got a lot of high-5s  on the run part of the course from other Eagles as well as others. They had great food for after the race – hot dogs, tater salad, pasta salad, chips, bananas, Oreos (yes, I had some of those), beer (I did not have one), sodas, water, and gatorade. I had 2 hot dogs without buns and OMG were they good!! I don’t normally like hot dogs, but I must have needed the sodium in them. We stayed for the awards – lots of RWB members placed both overall and in age groups. Of course, they only do age group awards through 3rd place, so my 4th place wasn’t quite enough. But it’s ok! I had a great day!

And since I mentioned my friend O at the beginning, he did really well and I’m proud of him for finishing his first tri, and an Olympic one at that! His wife M got lots of awesome pics, so maybe I’ll be able to “steal” some of them from her and share them at some point.

An emotional rollercoaster day

Today was the day that many Staff Sergeants in the Army anxiously wait for – the day the new Sergeant First Class list comes out. It was my 6th look at SFC and I was really hoping that this year it would finally be my turn, but it was not meant to be. Passed over yet again. I’m not quite sure what the board was looking for, but I wish I could figure it out. I was upset and many tears were shed throughout the morning. However, life will go on, and I will continue to be the best NCO I can be for my Soldiers and the best trombone player I can be. That’s all I can do.

To counter the low I had this morning, our Trombone Quartet had an awesome and super fun gig this afternoon playing at a local assisted living facility. The residents were very receptive and we got to chat with them for a while after we finished playing. People of that era have some amazing stories to tell!

And then after work I went for my first real trail run on some of the mountain bike trails on post. It was a lot of fun dodging all the tree branches and Ross and stuff! I will need to get some trail shoes, though, if I do much more of it.

To end the day, Robert had his first baseball game this season and although the Red Bulls didn’t win, they played well. Robert played first base for two innings and even got an out on a throw from the pitcher! He struck out both times he batted, but he’ll get it next time!

My Day as First Sergeant

Back in the fall we had a unit auction to help beef up our unit fund. I bid on and won a certificate to be First Sergeant for a Day. Well, I kept putting off using it because I just could never find the “right day”. Well, that day was found for me by none other than our First Sergeant. Yesterday he informed me that he would be out of the area tomorrow (which was today) and that I would be the First Sergeant while he was gone. Of course, I thought that I was going to be 1SG WITH him, kind of like a shadow. Yeah, not so much!

So, today I was the acting 1SG for the Band. But my day started yesterday afternoon when I had to prepare some slides for a meeting that I would be attending this afternoon. That took over an hour yesterday, but it really wasn’t too bad. I showed up this morning, stopped by the Commander’s office to see if he had anything for the unit, and headed to the rehearsal hall for formation, clipboard in hand (1SG always has his clipboard with the current day’s appointments and training schedule). I went down the ranks and got accountability from all the Assistant Team Leaders and then headed back up front. I greeted the Soldiers with a hearty “Good Morning” and explained why I was up front. I put out the information that 1SG had tasked me with and asked for announcements from the band. All went well – morning formation really isn’t that difficult.

I got to take off my 1SG “hat” for a little while after making a phone call and following up on some stuff for the Commander, and did a little work in my Admin office (I still had to be me as well) and then headed to ceremonial band rehearsal. After lunch was when the real fun was. I had to attend 2 Battalion level meetings – the quarterly Safety Council meeting and the Battalion Training Meeting. The hardest part about both meetings?? Staying awake. I really should have brought coffee with me. I pretty much just sat and listened and took a few notes. The Commander did all the talking when it was our turn to report.

Overall, it was a pretty easy day as 1SG and I’m really grateful that I was able to have this experience!

And now, back to my normal MPT Leader/Senior Admin NCO/Trombone Player duties. . .

14 Things I Love

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share 14 things that I love with you!!


I love my husband, my sweetie, my main cheerleader for all things in life. This is Ryan. He does so much for me and our family. I really appreciate him and love him with all my heart!!


This is my Big Kid, Robert. He’s the one who first gave me the title of Mommy. He’s a big help around the house and with Thomas, but he’s still your typical 9 year old boy. He loves sports (and plays basketball, baseball, and soccer), playing video games, Cub Scouts, and his little brother. He also loves ice cream, just like his Mommy!


This is my Little Man, Thomas. He’s a super smart, very talkative 2 year old. He loves Mickey Mouse, eating (especially blueberries), doing (or trying to do) anything his big brother does, giving fist bumps, and helping feed the kitty.


I love seeing my boys play together. Despite the 7 year age difference, they get along really well and they have a lot of fun together. Oftentimes, you’ll find the two of them closed up in Thomas’ room playing and reading together, and you can tell they’re having fun by the peals of laughter that come through the door!


The newest member of our family, Cricket. She is a beautiful feisty little kitten and although she’s a pain in the butt sometimes between her claws and teeth and trying to steal my food or sleep on my head, I love her very much. She loves to tear through the house after who-knows-what, play with her little mousie, snuggle at my feet when I’m sleeping (if she’s not trying to share my pillow), and eventually, after she tires herself out, take  a nap curled up on my lap. I love the way her little nubbie-where-a-tail-should-be wiggles back and forth when she’s happy.


My fellow Army Musicians. This is my family when I’m away from home. Many of these Soldiers are (or have been) MY Soldiers. Not only have a I trained and worked with them, but I have celebrated with them, mourned with them, laughed with them, cried with them, and spent time with their families.


Music. Of course I love playing music, but I also love hearing good musicians and ensembles, such as the Dallas Brass. They gave a performance/clinic for us today (a separate blog post coming soon on that!!) and it was an awesome experience. I enjoyed their music and learned a lot from them.


I love my extended Band Family (the Families of all the Soldiers). We have an awesome Family Readiness Group (FRG) comprised of the spouses of the Soldiers, and they look after everyone. As a female Soldier, I enjoy a special connection with the spouses of my fellow Soldiers – not only am I a Soldier, but I am a wife and it’s nice have other women to chat with when you work with almost all guys. The FRG Leader brought me these beautiful flowers and chocolate today since my main Valentine (Ryan) has been out of town for a week and doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be home. I thought that was awfully sweet of her (and the FRG) to think about me on Valentine’s Day! There’s even two M&Ms tins for the boys!

Chili 5K 25Jan14 Crop

You all know that I love running! It’s my me time and helps me stay sane in my busy life. I can be having the worst day, but if I go for a run, it almost always makes everything better. And there’s no better way to start a day than with an early morning run and seeing the sun come up over the horizon! I love the solo aspect of running, and rarely run with others – until race day! I love the atmosphere of races and love talking to other runners, oftentimes complete strangers. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I cross the finish line, whether it’s a 5K or a full marathon.


I love the beauty of nature. I think this picture says it all.


I love artwork that comes home from day care, on a weekly basis. And there is a lot of it because Thomas loves drawing, and they do some kind of art project almost daily! Sometimes they are extra special – like this one!


Generation UCAN. I know I’ve talked about UCAN before and I’m sure I’ll talk about it again, but it is an amazing product! I mean, who else can say that they ran a 2 hour, 15 minute half marathon on only 400 calories that was consumed about 45 minutes BEFORE the race started and then nothing during the race except water?? I’ve done it and I felt great because of the slow release super starch that UCAN is! And it comes in great flavors, too! My favorites are Chocolate, Vanilla (and now Vanilla Creme), and Pom-Blue.


Nuun Hydration. There are so many great flavors to choose from that I never get tired of it! It helps me drink more water on a daily basis and helps with my electrolytes. My favorite flavor is Tri-Berry, but I love pretty much all of the flavors. And then, since I have a 32 oz cup and 1 tablet is for 16 oz, I mix 2 flavors together for even more variety!!


I’ve been drinking a Shakeology shake for breakfast for the past week and a half and I love it! SOOO many nutrients in it, it tastes delicious (I make a shake with a scoop of Shakeology, a cup of skim milk and a cup-ish of some kind of frozen berries), and keeps me full until lunch (and then some!). If you’d like more info, let me know, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!!

I hope you enjoyed reading about 14 things I love!!

Rest In Peace Sweet Kitty

Last Monday, 20 January, my sweet kitty Callie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. We spent the weekend prior worried about her because she was really lethargic, and I was able to get her into our vet Monday morning. The vet ran some lab work on her and determined that she probably had pancreatic cancer that had spread and that her kidneys had all but shut down. I had already made the decision to do the humane thing, but I called Ryan for moral support. Near the end of our conversation, Callie started gasping for air and after I had hung up with Ryan and was waiting for the vet to come back in, Callie breathed her last at 9:58 a.m. I’m thankful that I was able to be with her, cuddling and petting and talking to her when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Callie was a great companion, and I had had her since the day she was born. She would have been 15 in March and I know she lived a good life. We opted to have her cremated so that she will always be with us.
I’ll leave you with some pictures of my pretty girl – these are all from the last year or so. I’ll try and find one of her “baby” pictures and I’ll share that along with a picture of her urn when we get it back.

Callie in box





You will be missed, but never forgotten! Callie – 17 March 1999 to 20 January 2014

Meet Cricket!

I’d liked to introduce you to the newest member of our family – our new kitten, Cricket! We adopted her yesterday from the stray shelter here on Fort Rucker. She was found in the parking lot of the PX around the beginning of December. Ryan first met her just before we went on Christmas leave and fell in love with her. We decided that if she hadn’t been adopted yet when we got back from leave, we would make her a part of our family. Well, we got back from Michigan, and Cricket was still available and now she’s part of our family!

Cricket was born without a tail so she has this cute little nubbie where her tail should be. She’s having a lot of fun exploring our house and finding places to hide. She and Callie are working to establish the hierarchy (which of course Callie will (should) come out dominant). Cricket will go toward Callie, Callie hisses at Cricket and then Cricket makes a hasty retreat, only to try again a few minutes later.

I’ll leave you with a few pics of our new little girl!




Would You Rather??

I got this from my friend Cori at OliveToRun and thought it would be fun to answer the questions!!

#1. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm?
If it wasn’t too cold and the lightning wasn’t too nearby, I’d run in a thunderstorm. But if it’s cold out, you might as well just give me the snowstorm!

#2. Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth?
I’m definitely a mouth breather.

#3. Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)]
I’d rather do 100 crunches

#4. Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree?
I’ll take the baked good, please!

#5. Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour?
I would run around the same street block for an hour. I’d do it for longer even if it meant I didn’t have to get on a dreadmill.

#6. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch?
I think I’d rather have a headache. The endorphins from the run would probably make it go away at some point.

#7. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off?
I’d rather have it on a work day. Sure, I’d be a little sluggish at work without a workout, but at least I’d still be doing something other than sitting on the couch doing nothing.

#8. Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer?
I’ve been a race director before and it’s HARD work. I’ll pick volunteer!

#9. Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets [HRM, GPS watch, Headphones] or running shoes?
Um. . . Both??

#10. Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon?
Definitely a relay!!

She’s doing a link-up with this, so if you’d like to join in the fun, feel free to share your post with her!

Click the little blue guy above to add your Would You Rather #7 Post [it will take you to a new page]. Link Up Closes 1/31/14.

Interesting Beginning to the end of Vacation

We got the rental car all loaded up this morning – suitcases, computer bags, kids, adults, and 4 boxes. After a quick stop at Family Dollar to get a new magna-doodle for Thomas, we stopped at the post office to mail the 4 boxes to AL. That’s the one downside of flying instead of driving, but it’s definitely worth it. We made great time to the Milwaukee Airport and even had time for a long lunch stop at a McDonald’s just south of Green Bay – the kids had a great time playing in the play area! We got our rental car turned in and all the luggage loaded up on a cart and headed to the terminal only to find out that our flight to Atlanta had been cancelled due to weather in Atlanta. Boo. But the lady at the counter was super nice and she got us booked on a flight fairly early tomorrow morning and even gave us a coupon for a discount at a local hotel. After getting everything squared away for our flight tomorrow, I called the hotel and made a reservation. They sent their shuttle driver and he was super nice as well. He told us to just get into the van out of the cold and wind and he took care of all the bags and returned the luggage cart. It was a 5 minute drive to the hotel and thankfully they have a restaurant on-site so we didn’t have to worry about how we would get dinner. And we got coupons for free drinks with dinner, so I had a glass of wine with my chef salad. It was a good dinner and we have comfy beds in our room. We had planned on spending the night in a hotel tonight anyway, but in Atlanta. The only downside is that our hotel in Atlanta was a pre-paid one and so we’re out that money plus that cost of this hotel, but it’s all good. We can’t help that there was bad weather in Atlanta. We’ll just have to drive home after flying tomorrow, but it’ll be ok.

2014 Fitness & Running Goals

Happy 2014!! I hope your year is off to a great start! Here are some of my fitness and running goals for the coming year:

2014 Run this Year Badge
— My goal is not to run 2014 miles, but 2014 kilometers which equals roughly 1250 miles – definitely doable for me with marathon training and training for the 2015 Disney World Dopey Challenge.
— Along with this goes training smartly so that I don't get injured again and earn a new marathon PR at the Marine Corps Marathon in October (and hopefully a sub-5 hour marathon as well)!


— Complete 14 races in 2014. So far I have 10 on my tentative schedule. I'm not registered for any, although I did defer the Marine Corps Marathon from last year, so that's a given.

— My goal is to complete all 90 days of P90x3!
I'llbe starting P90x3 on Monday (6 Jan)!! If you'd like to order your own copy of P90x3 and join me in getting fit, check out my BeachBody page! Yes, I'm a BeachBody Coach and you can order all your favorite workout videos and Shakeology from me.


— continue to be the best #UCAN Ambassador I can

Nuun Ambassador Badge
— be the best Nuun Ambassador I can

And my focus word for the year is
I need to be more consistent in my eating (and not consistent with the bad stuff) and my fitness.

2013 Running Recap

Overall, I had a really great year of running! Sure, I didn't meet my goal of 1000 miles, or even my secondary goal of 800 miles, but it was still my highest mileage year!  Here's a little run-down of everything running for the year:

Number of runs: 175
Number of miles run: 759
Average miles per week: 15.1
Average miles per month: 66
Highest week: 34
Highest month: 104
Number of Races: 8 (3 5K, 1 10K, 1 10 mile, 2 half marathons, 1 full marathon)
Number of Injuries: 1 (stress fracture in my right tibia)
Number of weeks off from said injury: 7 1/2
Number of pairs of shoes worn: 4
Amount of GenUCAN and Nuun consumed: A LOT!!!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my goals for 2014 and my focus word for the year!