Camping with kids: another endurance sport

Camping: an endurance sport, for sure

Apparently ONE endurance event this week juuuuuuust wasn’t enough. Right after getting back from OBX race we were unpacking and re-packing to go on a 3 day camping adventure. We’ve tried before to make it 3 days with the kids, but have failed. Until this week we had only done 2 days (one overnight at a time) with them. Previous times have involved a tiny Elmo potty & some tiny tot toys. But this time was different!

We did it! 2 nights, 3 days with the kids. We had 2 bikes. We had 2 scooters. We had a kayak. We had tons of food. We had fishing. We had a hammock. We had lake swimming (which was the most perfect temp ever!). We had charades. We had fun games I made up. It was fun but we were all really, really ready to come back. The weather was amazing. The location was only 20 minutes away and perfect for when we forgot important things that Jason needed to go back for.

Glad we did it! Next time, maybe not right after a really big triathlon…. just an idea.

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First Olympic Distance Triathlon

Race Report for the OBX Olympic Distance!

obx finish 5

This was the longest event I’ve ever done. It was just over 5 hours from start to finish. I almost quit after the swim. But Jason pushed me to keep going and I finished, which was my goal. I had three big ones for 2017 – The April race in FL, the Half IM swim in June, and this one – my first Olympic distance. I finished them all. Last year in 2016 I could not have done any of these events. I was also really glad to wear the TriMafia kit and rep for Velocity Sportswear, love that company! This past weekend really challenged me – here is what happened…

Before we left, I had to get my nails done. I forgot to do it last time & felt weird! So, Jason does my nails…really. These are the colors of the race logo and they were super cute! I also had to get my Velocity tats on as well. Those things are important too!

obx scarf

I learned how to “finger knit” this past week out of the blue. Then I realized how much of a good distraction it could be so I bought some yarn and knit several infinity scarves in the car on the 3 hour drive from Raleigh to Manteo. So….if ya’ want a scarf, lemme know.  : / It was a great distraction from how anxious I was. This shows 3 but I did 6 total!

obx water

Find the green one…that’s what I was swimming towards/around. 

The weather seemed really good on race morning. For whatever reason the swim buoys seemed really far out, farther than they should be. And the swim was going in the opposite direction around the buoys than last year. I’ve done a few open swim events now so I knew what to expect. Or, I thought that I did. I underestimated how hard that swim would be. I heard from someone that the buoys were set out further than they should be – so a 1500 swim was really more like a 2000 swim, and I totally believe that was true. I’ve heard horror stories of swims being really aggressive and dangerous. This wasn’t quite that, but it was the most aggressive swim I’ve been in. My goggles got kicked off my face (not completely off my head) which could have been really bad…I nearly missed an elbow to the head….and people were swimming over me. There was one person who would go fast, then do the breaststroke, then go fast, then do the breaststroke right in front of me. That’s a horribly dangerous way to swim in a pack. The kick in the breaststroke is powerful and could really hurt someone. I couldn’t get around this person. Then after you turn the first buoy you’re swimming straight into the sun and there are NO sight buoys along the way. NONE! They set them out for the Half distance but not for the oly distance. So the sun is in your face and there is no way to sight. And at this point the wind must have picked up so there are waves constantly in your face and I’m taking in tons of water.

During the last half of the swim I started trying to think of reasons why I couldn’t move forward in the race. I could say I got kicked in the water, that’s a good excuse. I could say that I felt dizzy, that’s a good excuse too. I was trying to come up with reasons why I should stop and take a DNF. (Later Jason tells me that several people got pulled and rode the kayak back in. I heard later that someone got a concussion, probably from a kick to the head.) I finally got out and looked at Jason and said…”I don’t know about this.” Meaning, I don’t think I can continue. I was exhausted. And knew 26 plus 6.4 miles were still ahead of me. That was just the first mile. He said something brilliant to me: he said, ‘Just take a walk up to transition & figure it out there. Just start walking.” As I’m walking, one of the volunteers asked me if I needed a medic. So, obviously, I did NOT look good or give any indication that I was excited about moving forward in this event. It was the hardest swim I’ve ever done.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I did this on the same weekend as my 45th birthday! So I also didn’t want to have a DNF on my birthday. That would really suck and make me feel like a loser. So there was some added pressure to keep going just for that alone.

obx 45

I get to transition and something clicks as I’m putting my cycling shoes on. I make the commitment that I’m going to finish this damn thing. The swim is over, I’m not going to talk about it, or think about it, or dwell on it. It’s over. Time to move forward. I’m heading out and the bridge is coming soon. It’s several miles of a bridge over the sound. Heading out I’m holding close to 18 mph and having  a great time. I’m also aware that coming back will be a head wind and it’ll be slooooow. I get to the turn around point, switch my water bottles, and head back. When I get to the bridge again I’m going about 8-10 mph into the head wind. Sooooo slow. The last mile on the bridge was torture. But I did it and I made it back in. All 26 miles are done. I could have pushed harder if it was just a ride, but I still had a 10k to walk/run so I intentionally kept it slow.

The run. The 10k run. It was hot. I was really glad I had prepared with water & gels on the bike. I was glad I had bought that $30 hand held water bottle with Nuun tablets and some extra gel in the pocket. All the practice this summer had paid off. I walked most of it but I did run some. And all of a sudden at 2 places on the run, Jason shows up to say hey! He was following along in the car to greet me at a couple of places. I started crying when I saw him & told him I almost quit at the swim but I didn’t come this far to ONLY come this far. I was really glad to see him. The end of the run takes place on a dirt/grass/weird path along side the airport. It’s just a big field and it’s the worst part of the whole thing. It’s wide open so you can almost see the finish line, at least you can see the finish area, but it’s deceptive how far you still have to go. It feels close, but it’s not.

Finally the finish line! I did it and crossed the finish line! I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon at the OBX. Last year I did their sprint and this year I did the Oly. I learned a lot from doing this. It’s crazy to think that the next step up is the Half Ironman distance….which I will NOT be doing any time soon. I will one day. But not soon, for a lot of reasons. I want to keep this fun and right now the longer distances won’t be much fun for me. I’ll finish the season with my 20th triathlon next month, where it all began, at the Ramblin’ Rose in Chapel Hill. One more to go!

obx finish 4

My favorite cheerleader, Jason – the reason I didn’t quit. 

You should hire an athlete!

Athletes make excellent employees

Here are my personal reasons for why you should hire an athlete! Granted, I’m a little biased. I realize that, and I’m OK with that. Read on & see what you think…

  • Goal setting. Goal setting is natural for athletes. Whether it’s a run or any type of athletic event there’s always a goal in mind, even if it’s just to finish the event. Being able to see something big, even just in concept, and committing to it is part of being an endurance athlete.
  • Being OK with being messy. Life is messy, and exercising is *very* messy. Hard work usually requires sweat – maybe literal, maybe not, but athletes understand that working hard and sweat are tied together.
  • Understanding consequences. One of the unintended consequences of signing up for events such as triathlons is the huge (did I say huuuuuge) amount of laundry! You have to be willing to have both, and there are many parallels in life & work. Creating things can be messy and can have unintended consequences.
  • Setbacks. Anyone who has any athletic experience can understand the power of a setback. Race day can take a sharp turn quickly. Being able to adjust for factors that are out of your hand – like weather, pot holes, choppy water – is a great skill that’s developed over time and with athletic performance.
  • Endurance. Long term planning at work requires the ability to pace yourself, especially through a complex project or one with multiple people/layers. Employers want people who are able to endure and be persistent over time.
  • Planning. Planning is different than goal setting. Seeing something in the distance is one thing; being able to plan backwards from that goal with smaller steps and milestones along the way is a concept that resonates very well with athletes who enjoy triathlon or other long distance sports.
  • Tools. Having good equipment (tools) makes a really big difference in performance. Being able to quantify your distance, pace…having solid running shoes…a good timing sports watch… a good support system in place…goggles that don’t leak…all those things make a huge difference. It’s best to invest in good quality rather than cut corners and suffer long term injuries. That’s true about people, technology, and just about everything!
  • Commitment. Sticking to a goal is a great skill and ability to have. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do a big event in 10 months. It’s quite another to consistently get long bike rides in, wake up at 5am, and swim miles every week over a period of time. Sacrifice & commitment are tied together in working for something that’s important.

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If you were to Google this question – “why you should hire an athlete” you will get tons of hits… see here for more  …I’m just sayin’….. people with an athletic mindset will set goals, crush them, and do it all over again – for fun! Why not put that energy to work at the office. Makes sense to me!

Did I mention that I’m available?