How to Medal at Any Race

I’ve been away from racing since the NYC Marathon this past November. I have some great and some not-so-great excuses for why I left the training behind for awhile, but I won’t bore you with those. I was SO ready to get back to the racing, though, so I chose an event at Goleta Beach (Santa Barbara). I chose a duathlon event–instead of SWIM/BIKE/RUN, you RUN/BIKE/RUN. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to train for the swim, so I stuck to my two favorite events instead.

If you want to medal, compete in duathlon events at a medium-sized race. It’s apparently not as popular as I imagined, so even though I misjudged the length of the event (I thought I was going to be running 1 mile/biking 11/running 1 mile–it was more than double that) & was not at all ready for the distance–I got 4th place overall female! 2nd in my division, though let me mention that first place was a PRO. She was literally a PRO for Team USA. I’m just going to keep saying “I was second to a USA PRO.” I will not mention the fact that there were only 2 people in our division. I got to stand on the podium and everything! Looking at her in her USA jacket, I was thinking, “Is this the Olympics? I would’ve french-braided my hair or something if I had known.” The most hilarious thing is that there is no third. If you were there, you could’ve been third. At least make it look like it was a real race.

The real thrill is just getting back out there. The bike route was amazing–all bike trails the whole 22 miles. I love going fast on my bike. The run was less than thrilling (multiple loops are always hard on me mentally), and you can’t fake being well-trained for a run. The heat got to me, as did the volunteer who kept shouting at us, “How many more loops do you have? See you again soon!!!” I usually can finish with a sprint, but I did not have it in me this time. This is what training is for!

They provided us with burgers and hot dogs after the race, which is always a big PLUS for me. Anytime you have a chance to do a race with this kind of “small town” feel, I highly recommend it. The race director kept on joking that if you stick around for the award ceremony, you will most likely get a medal. He even sent out an email after the race that any first-timers could email him if they wanted to have a medal. This guy is just giving these things away!

Oh, and let me give a big shout out to this event–the DUATHLON is amazing. Truth is, I don’t really love swimming in the ocean or in lakes. It is really dark and murky most of the time, and half the time I spend in panic or in exhaustion. I can DO IT, but it is by far my least favorite part of the day. It’s nice to give myself a break from the nerves, the stress, and the people kicking me during the race. I’m happy that more triathlons are offering this option, so I can plan a whole season around it. I already found my next one in September.

Happy Birthday Me!

Why not a birthday post? I also changed the look of the site in honor of my special day (well, really just so bored with the last look). Yesterday was my 37th birthday! I know I’m supposed to care about getting older, start complaining about things, tell the youngsters “Enjoy it while it lasts!” and schedule a billion botox sessions to stop the aging process. I’m just so happy to be around every year that those thoughts that creep into my head don’t stay there very long. All I can say is THANK YOU! Another year to enjoy the sights, the people, the ups & downs of it all.

My birthday was on a Saturday, the best day of the week. I was so happy about this because usually I spend my birthday surrounded by hundreds of sweaty, sticky kids at summer camp and while there is some joy to hear them singing happy birthday–it was very nice to have a day OFF for my day. I feel no guilt for saying my birthday day was going to be “My Perfect Day.” That’s what I kept telling people, but I didn’t plan it out or anything. This is what happened, though, and it was nice.

6am: Thanks for the wake up call, puppy! HUG puppy. Tell puppy how amazing he is. Take care of morning puppy duties.
6:30am: Take the puppy out for a nice walk while the weather is cool. Meet two elderly beagles who don’t understand that puppies want to PLAY.
7:00am: Out for a morning run. Head to the local hill & do my best to blast up it. Starts to rain. In normal places, this might be a bad thing–but in L.A. any drop of moisture is cause for celebration. Running in the rain is awesome.
8:30ish: Place my breakfast order on the Eat24 website from a local cafe. Get a latin latte and breakfast burrito. Try to avoid making myself morning coffee–patience. Talk to my brother on the phone. Laugh as he sings a really drawn out version of Happy Birthday.
9:30ish: EAT! Glorious food! Too much caffeine! Look at all the Facebook posts and smile.
10:00-1:00pm: OK, so this may not be on your PERFECT DAY, but I washed the dishes, scrubbed the entire bathroom, etc. Hey, you try to plan a perfect day. It’s hard. Sometimes you just need to scrub a toilet when you have some free time. Oh, also talked to my mom.
1:00pm: Headed out to the beach with puppy in tow. There is a little spot we’ve found away from waves and people where he can catch the ball. With no hesitation, he jumped into the water & caught it over and over again. Proud mama watched in amazement at the adventure dog. Look at the ocean–I try to see it every year on my birthday. This year, it was covered in clouds which is just as beautiful as a sunny day. Oh, then everyone is kicked off the beach due to lighting strikes.
3:00pm: NAP TIME!!! And also my O Magazine time. It wasn’t hard with the rainy weather to pass out for a good 90 minutes. Waking up early is no problem when you can build yourself in a nap time like this. It was amazing.
5:00pm: Debate getting all dolled up & going out to eat, but it’s SO RAINY. (Rain stops everything in L.A.). Decide instead to order some alcohol & pizza & enjoy them in the comfort of home.
5:30pm: I guess I should take a shower.
6:00: Make a Moscow Mule in honor of Oprah & eat a pepperoni pizza while watching a Netflix documentary “An Honest Liar.”
8:00pm: Already ready for bed and tired of all this perfectness. Play with the pup. Brush his coat. Tell him how awesome he is. Watch BRAVO–something about the Housewives. Check all my Facebook posts.
10:00pm: Asleep already.

There is is, folks–my perfect day. Now you know. I didn’t mention how I saw at least 7 or so people from my SWT or Texas State days on Friday night, which was equally as perfect. They always make me feel at home in a city that sometimes still feels strange even after being here 10 years. I got amazing birthday cards, flowers, a sports watch, lots of awesome stuff from Mom & TAYLOR SWIFT TIX. Did you hear me?!?! TAYLOR SWIFT TICKETS!!! I know all her songs from every single album, and I challenge your teenage daughter, granddaughter or niece to a Swift Off because I am the biggest fan. Also, my puppy is sleeping next to me right now and it’s like my perfect day has become a perfect weekend (except for the laundry I have to do). Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Lucky to have you all in my life.