It Shall Not Go Unnoticed

One year ago today, the blog world lost a great guy and I lost a great friend.  A year ago today, I woke up ready to race Warrior Dash but was presented with some sad news as soon as I opened my Facebook.

Rick was a great blog friend, always ready with a funny comment and great advice.  I have missed him through this last year- we intended to meet in Boston, and while I felt his presence there, he was so very missed.  I have missed his humor while I have gone through many ups and downs with my racing this year and I think of him often.  I know Rick will be on my mind as I run Philly this year.

One year- so much happens in a year.  Days might go slow, but man does time fly.

Hope you are resting, and running, happy 🙂

Excitement & A Bit Of Sadness

Last April I wanted to spectate Boston.  Financially, I couldn’t work it out no matter how hard I tried.  However, I knew I was going to be there in 2011.  I made a deal with a fellow blogger to run the 5k together.  I was looking very forward to it, even a year ago when Boston seemed so far away.  Often myself and this blogger would talk about meeting up- we emailed frequently, became close friends and over summer started making plans for Boston.  I was so excited!

That friend was Rick.  Suddenly, and sadly, Rick passed away in October.

Rick and his Daughter- he loved this photo and I love how happy they both look.

Boston won’t be the same.  Not without Rick. He was the whole reason I was going to do the 5K…we were supposed to toe the line together.  And he won’t be there.  However, I know I won’t be totally alone…something tells me that Rick’s spirit will be at Boston…he wouldn’t miss all his friends running for the world!

Boston is going to be a great time- I am looking so very forward to meeting all the amazing bloggies (especially Denise, Meg and Lindsay…I have been reading their blogs since the beginning!) and taking part in all the festivities.  I have a whole heck of a lot jammed into two short days but I cannot wait!  This is more than likely my last post until I return but when I come back I will have a full 5K report, a spectator report and lots and lots and lots of photos! 

March Review & Updates

Today it is snowing.  Yes, in April.  No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke!  That Mother Nature sure is a trickster!  I mean realllllly???  Isn’t March supposed to go out like a lamb???  April showers….okay, but snow?  What the heck global warming…what the heck?? 

Despite the snow, I am so happy April is here- and that March is over.  March was a good month, but it was stressful at work.  Super stressful.  Luckily, some of that is over now, which is also attributing to my good moods lately 🙂  But it seems as though I made the choice in 2011 to be happy, I find that I am happy! 

My workouts in March were awesome- I only missed three which might actually be a new record for me.  My running is progressing very well and I am continuing to see improvements in the way I look due to lifting.  The only thing I would say I really need to work on, is my nutrition.  I am eating like a friggen pig and on the worst possible schedule ever!  Keeping up with two jobs, working out, a social life, family and a boyfriend is definitely taking some getting used to…time is so limited.  Truth is, I find myself either A-eating on the run and picking at random foods or B-not eating all day and then stuffing my face at dinner on nights that I have a chance to eat.  Neither of those options are going to work long-term, clearly, so I need to get on the ball.  I am lucky that I am working out so much that I am not gaining, but I am not losing either!  How do you eat on a busy schedule? 

I won’t lie, the busy schedule is busy.  And sometimes I feel like I could just lay in bed and sleep for days…but it is all worth the energy!  Two jobs are exhausting but I love the money it brings in and all the things I am experiencing because I have some extra.  And I wouldn’t trade the time I have with family, friends and especially R2 for anything, even if it is at times, limited.  Speaking of R2…everything is still awesome with us.  Last weekend we spent overnight in the city…had a fabulous and relaxed time along with an amazing dinner.  I asked him permission to use his photo on my blog and lucky for all of you, he said yes (as long as he likes the photos, it isn’t all the time and I don’t use his name 🙂 Fair enough, right? ).  So without further adieu, here is a picture from our dinner:

Oh and one last thing…with April…comes…BOSTON!!!  I am so excited to be going to Boston and very much looking forward to bloggy meet-ups and watching all you amazing runners!  We lost our Easter Break at work this year, so the long weekend get-a-way will be a nice break!  Are you going to be in Boston??  Let me know!!

And lastly, a little favor- please head over to Jesse’s blog and send some thoughts and prayers to his cousin.  She was unfortunately hit by a bus while riding her Tri bike in Las Vegas earlier this week.  Her injuries are critical and she has a long road to recovery.  I am sure  Jesse and his family can use all the get well vibes they can get. ♥

First 2011 Post…Where I Have Been & Goals

I have been struggling to come up with the right way to express how I have been feeling lately and when it came time to put my goals list together I struggled even more.  It took me almost the whole month of December to figure out why.

And here it is…

I was keeping charts and graphs and tracking everything I did.  I was driving myself crazy writing schedules, setting alarms and calculating my pace/distance for every swim/bike/run.  I was completely overwhelmed by all the facebook updates and blog posts in my google reader that were all about running, working out and etc.  I was putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself and feeling negative about myself.  All because I felt like I had to fit into some standard.  (I feel like a five year old even admitting all this.)  At times lately, it has all felt very competitive; I notice gatherings with my teammates where the only conversations we have are about working out and who is doing what and how much of it they are doing.  Honestly, it makes my head spin. And instead of being motivated to change, I shut down and allowed it all to push me into a hole that kept me from having a desire to do anything at all.

Running is not my life.  Neither is swimming.  And well, I think we all know biking isn’t either.  There are so many more aspects to my life than working out and keeping track of my miles.  But I was pressuring myself to “keep up with the Jones’s” for a while and was concentrating to the point of exhaustion on things that honestly don’t matter to me.  But I wanted them to matter to me so I kept doing them.  I wanted them to matter because I thought it put me in the same ranks as everyone else.  A “real” athlete.  If I woke up and didn’t want to work out, I felt like something was wrong with me.  And the truth is, more days than not I woke up not wanting to work out.  The more days in a row this happened, the less I felt about who I was as an athlete.  And not only was I frustrated but I was confused as to why I even felt that way.

But I know why- I felt that way because I thought I was letting myself and others down if I wasn’t “taking it serious enough” and that if I didn’t take it serious, people wouldn’t take me as a person seriously.  Got all that?  Anyway, the good news is, I snapped myself out of it, got real with myself and decided that I don’t have to be so serious.  And people who like and respect me will like and respect me even if I am not caculating my miles vs. distance every step of the way.  They will like me even if I don’t care that I missed a workout.  But most importantly, I will like myself again.  Because I will be having fun again.  And for me, fun is what it is all about.  And for the record, I am totally most definitely without a doubt an athlete!

At the end of it all I was able to come up with some goals.

Goals for 2011:

  1. Run for time, not distance; stop focusing so much on mileage.  It’ll be easier now with a Garmin to keep track of my miles without having to map out runs and etc, but some days I just want to run.  Run without caring about the exact distance.  At the end of the day, the miles I run in a week, month, year…that is not who I am.  I am not the miles I run, I am a runner simply because I run.
  2. There will be no more week in reviews.  No more formula posts to keep up with or anything else that cause me to self-pressure over miles/hours/etc.
  3. No more “100 push-ups a week” challenges for me.  Or anything of that nature.
  4. I will only host a give-a-way when I truly believe in the product.  I will not make the give-a-way rules harder than and IQ tests and there will always be less steps than when you call your credit card company!
  5. I will eliminate all unrealistic goals.  And I will push hard to achieve the realistic ones.
  6. Give myself a break.  Or two. Or ten.
  7. Realize I don’t need to blog every day.  Go back to quality over quantity.  My faithful readers will be here whether I blog once a day or once a week.
  8. Keep my goals more private.  Again, limiting the self-pressure.
  9. Continue to be an honest blogger.  Remember that at its most basic foundation this blog was my journey.  It is not always pretty, but it is always real!
  10. I will make it fun again. I want to channel the way I felt when I started this whole journey to my first tri…I felt fresh and new and it was fun.  I want to go back to how good it felt to just want to go to the gym…get out and run or hop in the pool.  I want to get back to a place where I knew what I was doing was making me a better person, not driving me insane.  I want to get back to me.

I just thought I should start the year posting how I really felt.  Being me.  Honest little me.

An Open Letter To 2010

Dear 2010,

To say you kept me on my toes this year, would be an understatement.

You started off awesome; January was going fabulously! I was seriously at the top of my game with training.  Hitting the gym on target, getting in all of my miles and feeling good and strong about my race schedule.  I had big and busy plans for this year- I had seven half-marathons planned, four tri’s and a handful of smaller road races and relay tri’s.  Yeah, I was excited to say the least.  Even having to move back home with my parents for a few months didn’t have me down.  I had good feeling about 2010.  Until February came and killed them.

With February came big-time highs and low-lows.  Good thing for medication or I may have become bi-polar.  In the beginning of the month I was still flying high off January, but then a tweak in my hip left me run’less; I had to heal up in time for my Florida getaway to race the Donna 13.1 with Morgan!  Unfortunately, the same day I was leaving for Florida, my grandfather passed away after a long battle post-stroke the year before.  My family convinced me to head to Florida anyway and that everything would take place upon my return.  So off to Florida I went for four jam-packed days of fun and running 🙂  I also got to meet one of the BEST bloggers out there, Robin.  Together, Morgan and I ran the 13.1 and we had a blast in our homemade tu-tu’s!  Check out the race report here.  Everytime I re-read it, I smile!  My welcome back to NJ greeted me with a snow storm, my mom breaking her foot and my grandfathers viewing.  Oh, and a very unhappy hip.

About three days into March I learned a very valuable lesson; if your hip hurts, don’t run.  If you run when your hip hurts, you could end up with a torn hip flexor.  Torn hip flexors are no fun at all!  March landed me in the orthopedics office, on crutches and then at PT for six weeks.  Oh, and it would NOT STOP snowing!!!  I had to bag my half-marathon in Virginia Beach but that did not keep me from going.  I was off the crutches and back to light working out and off to cheer my friends on at the Shamrock Half-Marathon.  On race day I still dressed in my running gear and even ran into the finish with my friends.  It hurt to pass on the race but I knew it was the right thing to do.  Little did I know then how slow my recovery would be and that this would not be the only race I would have to miss out on.

April would prove to be another tough month!  I was healed enough to work out but not enough to actually run.  In addition to that, stress at work was at an all time high; Governor Chris Christie piece of shit asshole was elected and cut our budgets and I was at risk for losing my job.  I was only weeks away from graduating PT but had to bag yet another race, the Rutgers Unite race.  That was supposed to be my A-race and I had to watch as all my friends ran and I couldn’t.  Depression from not running was kicking in big time and I was seriously hating on 2010.

Finally, May came along and started looking up for OneLittleTriGirl!  The weather was better, I graduated from PT and I was RUNNING AGAIN!!!  It was a slow start and I ended up having to re-neg another race- no Broad Street Run for me 😦  It was disheartening and I tried to rationalize to myself that I could run it…but there was really no way.  So I sold my bib and showed up to yet again cheer at another race I was supposed to be running.  But I focused on the good things that were happening in May and looked forward to my 5k that was fast approaching.  I was officially back on the race scene on May 16…exactly 2 years from my very first 5k ever.  I ran a very slow 35 minutes but was happier than a pig in shit (pigs in shit are happy right??) crossing that finish line.  I had zero pain and felt like I was finally on my way!!!  I ended the month with a relay tri at Black Bear…a dismal swim for me, but being out there just felt amazing!

June was another up and down month.  Just as 2010 and I were starting to get along and my hip was getting back to normal, my calves and shin decided they would hate on me and started KILLING with every run.  I started seeing my chiropractor for ART and Graston to loosen up all the scar tissue.  It hurt like hell but made such a huge difference.  I tested it all out at the Scott Coffee 8k, one of my favorite races, and did great!  I was still favoring my hip so I did not push it but I did better than I had anticipated and finished at 55 minutes.  This race was all about eating some humble pie and remembering that I had come a long way and that a slow time really meant nothing…I was just lucky and grateful to be running again!  My training was going well, I was in good spirits and I got to attend two amazing weddings wherein I danced my ass off.  Sorry, no video of such things…

July proved to me that 2010 was not one giant bird shitting on me because July was the most awesome month ever!  First and foremost, I came clean to all you bloggies with my Full Disclosure post, to which you all responded with the most amazing comments ever!  Having that out in the open made me feel so much better and after killing it with a PR at the Philly Women’s Duathlon, I was so ready to attack at NJ State.  And that is exactly what I did with another PR in the books!  Between the great racing and my birthday weekend, I had a fabulous July and was on the upswing big time going into August.

And August was no let down; the PR’s kept coming…first at the Belmar Sprint and then again with my swim in the Steelman relay.  The Wildwood Tri was a challenge, but in a good way and I ended the fabulous month with a trip downtheshore to my favorite place on Earth, Wildwood Crest.  Oh, and I was finally moved out of my parents house and back on my own.  Well, kind of my own.  Having a roommate has proven its own set of difficulties.  It has been nicer to be closer to work and out of my bedroom at my parents, but in retrospect, I wish I had done this alone.

Heading into September, I could feel myself wearing down.  I had raced almost every weekend of the summer and while I was doing great, I was burning out.  After running the Tim Kerr 7-miler in Avalon and really struggling with my calves/shins, I decided it was in my best interest to re-think my fall racing schedule.  The last thing I wanted to do was re-injure myself and I just wasn’t trained enough to run a half-marathon.  So there went the Philly R&R…the fourth bagged raced of 2010.

In October, we lost a great friend in the blog world, Rick.  I found out the same day as my Warrior Dash which made starting, and finishing, that race so much more meaningful.  Warrior Dash was something Rick loved and had planned on running again; it was poignant for me to run that while I knew he could not again.  I had decided over the summer to defer my Baltimore half-marathon to 2011, so another race off the schedule!  This turned out to be the best decision ever because I went and got myself a second job that would prove to keep me even busier than I could have imagined! While it wasn’t a great month for racing it was a fabulous month for training.  With the Philly 1/2 marathon fast approaching, I was staying as on top of my training as possible.  I was exhausted but nothing was going to keep me from running the Philly Half…even if I was planning to run “just for fun” given my lack of mileage.

In the blink of an eye it was November.  Other than being completely exhausted with work, November was one of the best months of 2010 for me.  I first traveled off to Colorado and then North Carolina.  And within no time the Philly half-marathon was here 🙂  I had planned to run it for fun and just enjoy the race, but in the end, I killed that race!  My first half-marathon PR in a year and a half!

And then it was December.  I was in major burnout mode coming off of the Philly half and basically my training fell apart.  I have been working way more than I should be in an effort to pay off some of my debt and really just could never find the energy to work out.  December has been a hard month for me, personally.  I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my plans for 2011 and my thoughts about life in general.  I feel pretty stagnant and need to make some kind of change…just haven’t figured out what that is yet.  I am finding myself confused and not quite myself.  Honestly, it was all I could do to write this post and have it finished before tonight.  And no, I still haven’t caught up on my reader.  I have been on vacation from my day job but working almost every night.  When I am home, I have so much to do, I am simply overwhelmed.  I have been through this before so I know it passes…I just want it to pass already!  So good-bye 2010 and your up-down-up-down ways.  I am really looking forward to 2011!



I wish you all a happy, safe and most of all healthy New Year in 2011 ♥

I had intended to link all my races within this post, but time just ran out.  If you are a new reader, or you just want to re-visit some of the older posts, you can find all the races and reports in the category to the right.  You know you all want to go see Morgan and I in our tu-tus again!!!!

A Look At Summer

As much as 2010 has been a thorn in my side, with a lot of stress, injury and more stress…this was a really great summer.  Despite my injuries this year and what seemed like constant pain in one form or another, when I look back I feel extremely accomplished.  It was a good summer for racing, I had a most excellent birthday and I am wrapping up my third weekend in a row down the shore as we speak.

As I laid in bed falling asleep last night I started to really give thought to how far I came this summer; I was hard on myself because I often switched up my goals and in part it felt like I was taking the easy road.  But this road was not easy, it was full of challenges.  Was it the summer I expected?  No.  But the end result was one PR after another and some really great experiences.  And I’ll take that as a win.

I consider my kick-off to summer Black Bear Relay in May; the coldest swim I have ever endured and also my first 1500 meter ows.  It was brutal cold and I threw up in the water before finally finishing…but I finished.  I knew my next swim of that distance would seem like cake in comparison!  Next up was the Scott Coffee 8K- I still wasn’t allowed to push or run hills of any kind but it was still a good way to gauge my recovery.  I did well too and it was the start of getting my confidence back.  After that, I had a small break wherein I attended two weddings in two weekends and then my birthday.  And before I knew it I was back to racing; with the exception of two weekends, I raced every weekend from July 11 until this weekend, Sept 11.  First up was Philly Women’s Tri which was once again turned into a DU; it was just as brutal as the year before but at least I knew what to expect.  It was also my first PR 🙂  I followed that race up with NJ State…probably my most anticipated race of summer.  First it was an Oly, then I made the smart but agonizing decision to drop to the Sprint.  In the end it was the right thing to do.  It was the best race I had all summer and the most fun.  Oh, and another PR 🙂  A week later I was in Belmar for a Sprint Tri; another fun race and another PR!  I followed that up with a Spring relay at Steelman where I had a great swim.  The seond 1500 swim, and just like a predicted…in comparison to Black Bear, it was cake!   Just as I was getting used to all this PR’ing…Wildwood came along and beat me up!  To date, this was my most challenging race.  I knew I was tough when I crossed that finish line!  A week later I did the Medford Sprint as a relay and had my best swim time to date.  Another PR! It was a great way to end my tri season!  And I topped the race off by heading down the shore.  And the racing did not stop…last week, I ran the Avalon 7-miler and although it tested my strength and my body, I finished well.  And this weekend…well, this weekend I am enjoying the end of summer!

And because I love photos…I give you, a summer in photos!

The thing is, I haven’t figured out a way to post it to this page- WordPress doesn’t support the OneTrueMedia, and on YouTube the music doesn’t play.  And it just isn’t the same without the music.  Therefore in order to see the montage (and you know you want to!) you have to click here.

What’s next?  That is still a tough question.  I am still not running…I will run this week and see how I feel to determine my course of action for PDR.  The Warrior Dash is still a definite and as long as my legs feel healthy, so is Philly.  But after Philly, I am taking a major break from running.  I need to heal- I need to just enjoy running without the pain or lasting aches that come with my longer runs.  For a few weeks, if not more, I will be much more focused on getting back to 100%.  Cause if you know me, you know I am already looking for ways to make 2011 even better than 2010!!!!

What was your biggest accomplishment in the summer of 2010?

*This day cannot go without acknowledging its significance- thinking of all those who gave 9-11-2001 and still give. ♥

In Terms Of A Decade

It wasn’t until this year that I ever thought of life in terms of a decade.  By next year, I will have lived three of them.  But I never think “Oh, I’ll be three decades” and when it was my ten year reunion, I never thought “Oh, I have been graduated a decade” and etc…

But recently, I have begun to think about the depth of a decade.

Today, it has been one decade since my friend Jimmy passed away.

10 years, a decade…however I look at it, it is far too long to be without him.  And I miss him.

I miss him today like it was ten years ago.  Sometimes I miss him and it feels like ten years.  But the one constant, is always how much I miss him.  I have stayed close with his family, developing my own close relationship with his mom, Karen.  This does help with the grieving process and I am so thankful for them in my life.  But the truth is, outside of my writing, I don’t really show much emotion when it comes to Jimmy.  I think about him every day- some days I am angry, some days I am sad, some days I laugh and some days he just crosses my mind.  I grieve over a loss that is constant- I never got to know him as an adult and I am acutely aware of all the life experiences he was cut short.  Losing a friend at nineteen is still difficult to process even ten years later.

My words, although therapeutic for me, never seem to do justice for Jimmy; I could never adequately put into words who he was a person.  Jimmy was just someone you had to know- and I feel blessed, that even though we only knew each other a few years before our time was cut short, that I got to know him.

Jimmy was one of a kind.  I met him on my first day of work at the local Shoprite.  It was April of my junior year in high school and we were both sixteen.  He came over to me to bag and I said “Hi James, I’m Jill” and he said “It’s Jimmy” and I said “Well, your name-tag says James so that’s what I’ll call you” and it was from there that the friendship began.  (I called Jimmy, James.  The entire time I knew him and long after he passed.  But being around his family so much, I now call him Jimmy.  I am sure this is a win for him 🙂 ) Of course this was only after he was done being mad at me (as if it it was my fault) that I got to work register before ever having to bag.  Oh, the terror!  Many of our friends worked at Shoprite and one of the things we did weekly was write down all the schedules of our friends.  This way, if we wanted to call out, we would typically choose a day when none of our friends were working.  Mature and responsible!  When we did work together, which was a few times weekly and every Saturday night, it was nothing short of a good time.  We tried to time our breaks the same so that we could eat together and just hang out.  Jimmy was crazy- he would do anything for a laugh.  He liked to put me in a shopping cart and push me around…once we even knocked over the entire razor display.  He also liked to “do returns” which basically meant pick up the returns from the registers and put them away.  Except he would put them away in the wrong spot!  We would have water fights in the back room, sticker fights at register and when we were once put in bakery for punishment (I can hardly remember what got us there!) we got into a fight with flour.  Yeah, it went over huge with management.  But that was Jimmy, and that was our friendship.

Jimmy had such a listening ear.  When I started dating my then boyfriend, who also worked with us, he was always there to listen if I needed him.  Even when he got upset with me for “ditching” him to take breaks with my boyfriend, it didn’t last long.  When I started driving, we would hang out after work, just driving around talking.  We talked about his first kiss, both our new relationships, school, friends, music…you name it, we talked about it.

Jimmy was fired from Shoprite in the spring of our senior year and I quit right before graduation.  But that did not stop us from hanging out- we went to different high schools and hung out with very different people but for us, it always came back to me and Jimmy.  Our antics did not stop just because we were no longer working at Shoprite.  Jimmy gave me the confidence to be who I was when I was with him- something I struggled so deeply at the time.  But because of this confidence and his craziness, I often broke the rules with him- once, while his parents were at a concert he had me in his house (huge no-no with his parents) and they came home early.  I had to hide until he could safely get me out the front door.  Another time, we went swimming at like 2am.  I have a loud voice and a loud laugh and his mom ended up yelling out the window that it was time for me to go home.  Karen and I still laugh about that.  He also had a way of making me laugh even when I wanted to rip his face off!  When I enlisted his help to buy me tampons (yeah, I was that girl who got embarrassed by that stuff) at a CVS he said no problem but then walked up to the register with them, pointed at me, and asked the lady “she looks like a regular right, too small to be a super?” and I turned about 2098 shades of red and ran out of the store.  And then there was his always kind heart- once at the mall, when there was nowhere to sit and eat our lunch, Jimmy decided we would sit with an older couple.  He politely asked them if we could share the table and we spent the next hour just listening to stories from them.  They were so nice and it was just Jimmy’s way to sit down and talk with anyone.  There are only a handful of the stories…just a piece of our friendship.

The day I found out Jimmy died is at the top of my worst days list.  I remember I was meeting a friend after class to go shopping and when I got there I could tell something was up.  She wasn’t close to Jimmy but knew him and had a friend who knew him pretty well.  And the news had gotten to her first.  She told me as easily as she could but really, how do you tell your friend something you know is going to change their life forever.  I remember running out of her house just in a daze, not even really crying yet.  I drove to the diner where I knew my parents were having dinner- everything is still such a blur, but I know by the time I reached them, I was inconsolable.  The days that followed all mix together- tears, no sleep, tears…

I found the first year was full of numbness.  I spent a lot of time at his grave, just sitting and writing.  The loss was so deep and my pain was so raw.  But nothing could have prepared me for the second year.  The year when you can no longer say “this time last year…”  Up until now, the second year was the hardest for me.  In the ten years that have passed, I have come to find that while it never gets easier, it does become manageable.  I still visit the grave- every birthday, holiday and anniversary (this being the first I have missed due to vacation) and on the occasions when it strikes me to say hello.  Sometimes I bring flowers, sometimes I write and sometimes I just go say hello.  I think about him every day- for ten years, I have thought about him every single day- but I smile more now when he crosses my mind.  I find that when I am with Karen, we laugh now more than we cry.  And that isn’t to say, there aren’t still tears, because there are…sometimes because a song or memory and sometimes because it is just a random Tuesday.  But for me, ten years later, there is some peace that comes with these tears.  Finally.

In the last few weeks, I have really been struggling…I was at odds with myself over being here in Wildwood instead of home where I could visit with him.  But the truth I know in my heart is that I can visit with him wherever I want, whenever I want.  He is always with me.  I carry him in my heart.  And being here in Wildwood, with the ocean waves and bright sun, is about as peaceful as it gets.

It is 7am, the sun is shining bright…I think I’ll go take a walk on the beach and say hello to my friend.

1998- taken at work.  A charity day; we worked to fill balloons for all the kids.

The June Review- 6th Month Check-Up!

Wow- did we really just finish the sixth month of the year?!?!?  Already!!!  Is it just me or is this year flying?  I feel like I have been through so much this year and done so much already this year that time is just getting away from me.  And summer isn’t slowing down for one second.

The Stats-

Swimming:  12,200 meters.  Swims are a mix of timed 200’s 400′s and 800′s, different drills and free swims.  They always include a warm-up and/or a cool-down.  I swam less this month than in May, but I feel like they were all quality swims so I am okay with the dip in meters.  Grade A

Biking:  37 miles.  I feel like a slacker when I see this number and it motivates me to kick ass in July!  If I don’t get over my fear of biking this season, my bigger fear is that I never will…Grade C

Running: 17 miles, plus 9.5 miles walking.  Post-injury running has presented me with a lot of set backs.  I am still uping the mileage month-to-month which is a postitive, but I am also let down that I cannot do more yet!  I try to make up for it with walking and the confidence that I WILL be better soon!  Grade B

Cross-Training:  N/A; I really don’t do much of this is the summer between training and racing.

Strength:  1 hour and 15 minutes.  Not a total fail but pretty pa-the-tic! Grade D

Goals Grades/Assessment-

  • Stretch More- Like a crazy lady still!  No more whammies injuries! Grade A
  • Abs Challenge- Honestly? I lost count.  And that’s  good thing! Grade A 
  • Pilates- You know, truth is…I just don’t think I am ever getting there.  Ever. N/A
  • Up the Run Mileage- Hell yes! Grade A
  • Two-A-Days- Not as many as I would like, but more than last month! Grade B
  • Eat Consistently- Meh- I do really good until dinner.  Then I usually scrounge because it is too hot to cook. Grade B
  • No Soda- I had a diet coke this week.  What the hell pizza shop doesn’t have water OR iced tea….REALLY???? Grade A-
  • No Scale- Here’s the thing…when you gain weight, you don’t want to weigh yourself.  I feel as though I have gained, so I haven’t weighed.  Grade A

Overall Grade B+; I can live with that!  Here’s to July being my best month yet!  Lots of great races coming up too!!!

Year to date totals; Jan-Jun

Swimming- 38,000 meters

Biking- 122.3 miles

Running- 132.2 miles

Walking- 25.1 miles

Strength/Cross Training- 23 hours and 25 minutes

All things considered, I am feeling pretty good about my numbers.  I did not start swimming until April 6, so YTD is a little misleading on that one.  And the entire month of March was pretty much a wash because of my injury.  Still not where I want to be…and I think I have to resign myself to the fact that 500 running miles might not happen for me this year.  But that is okay; honestly, I will be thrilled if I can just get my second YTD numbers all higher than the first.  And I see no reason why that is not possible!!!  So all in all, I really am pretty proud of these numbers. 

What are you most proud of through the first 6th months of the year?

The Real Jersey Girl And What I Love About NJ

Today I am dedicating my post to Kandi and Rick because they dedicated their runs to me today 🙂  Kandi, one of my newest readers, did 5.5 miles for me and when I saw that it really brightened my day!  Rick told me yesterday that his run planned for today is for me as well!  So basically Rick, if you don’t end up running, or dedicating it to me, I will have to renege this whole statement and I will look like a fool.  And since you are a Mets fan, you know all about lookin a fool.  And I know you wouldn’t want that for me 🙂

Todays questions, from Fran and Indi, are all about NJ 🙂 

Q: How did you end up in NJ?  This is pretty easy, I was born here 🙂  I live now in the same house I grew up in, although I have spent time living elsewhere over the years.   When I was 18, I moved down to Fort. Lauderdale, Florida for three months.  At 18!!!  It was huge for me because it would be my first time away from home for an extended period of time and because I am super close with my family.  My original plan was to find a college down there, come back to NJ for my Sophomore Year of college and then think about moving to Florida.  And I really liked it in Florida; it was hot as hell but I lived only a few blocks from the beach and loved my job at a tanning salon.  But then my boss got arrested, I had trouble finding another job, I was getting homesick, I missed my friends and I was excited to get back home.  Still, I hadn’t ruled out moving back to Florida.  But then my life was flipped upside down with personal tragedy.  After that, I couldn’t imagine living so far away.  I wanted to be in NJ, where all my family and friends were and really, where my heart was too. 

Q: Have you ever seen Bruce Springsteen walking around or in concert? I have seen Bruce in concert 🙂  Springsteen is from further north in New Jersey (North and South Jersey really should be two different states!!!) and while I have never seen him just walking around, I do know people who live in his area and have met him.  Word is, he is as awesome in person as he comes off. 

*Interesting little life tidbit–> I was born on July 9, 1981…the same day that Springsteen introduced his song “Jersey Girl” in the Meadowlands during his River Tour.  So yes, I am the real deal…a true Jersey Girl ♥

Q: What are you favorite NJ hangouts?  Most of my favorites places in NJ are in South Jersey (I hardly ever go to North Jersey, unless it is for a concert or when I used to visit friends in college) but my most favorite places are downtheshore.  Wildwood is not only my favorite place in NJ, but one of my favorite places in the world as well.  It is my home away from home.  My favorite places there are Duffers, Echos and Westys.  I also like the Quaterdeck @ Tropicana in Atlantic City and pretty much every restaurant in Ceasers Pier!  I also love the entire towns of Haddonfield and Collingswood; they have amazing shoppes and restaurants and are also great places to run!  As for places closer to home, my favorite place is called the Towne Tavern.  For a while it was known as Madison Pub, but after a few years it went back to its original roots as the tavern.  They have great food, really good drinks and it is a place to go in jeans or dressed up.  Whenever I have people visit, I always take them there!

Answering these got me thinking about how much there is to love about living in Jersey.  There is a lot to love, and depending on where in the state you live those loves might be different, but these are my favorites 🙂

  1. We don’t pump gas!  Score one for us!  Kind of makes me want to put my hands on my head and yell nanny-nanny-boo-boo to all of you who do have to pump!
  2. My location is amazing.  Honestly, regardless of where you live in NJ, you are never further than 45 minutes from a beach or two hours further from the major neighboring cities (Philly and NYC), plus we are the home of Atlantic City 🙂  I feel like I have the best of both worlds; I live in a small town, only 20 minutes from Philly and a little over thirty minutes from the closest shore town.  And being only an hour away from A.C. is great too; I am not a huge gambler, but they have great shopping outlets, restaurants and bars.  It is good for a day trip or for an overnight get-a-way.
  3. We have WaWa.  I know a few other states have them, but no one loves them like we do…and no other state has as many as we do!  Seriously they are everywhere (I pass 5 on my morning commute!) and when I lived in Florida, I missed them so much!  They are a one-stop-shop for gas, food and coffee (the best around!), plus they are open 24 hours and there is nothing better after a late night boozin than a WaWa hoagie!
  4. Diners.  I think, maybe other than tomatoes, this is what we are best known for here considering we have been dubbed the “diner capital of the world”.  There are probably more diners in NJ than there are WaWa’s!  Depending on what town you live in, usually depends on which diner is your favorite.  Before the age of 21, they are the place to go for late nights out with friends…usually with one plate of fries to share and three pots of coffee.  After the age of 21, it is where the party continues after the bars close…and but with a lot more food and water instead of coffee!
  5. We have respectable celebrities.  As in, they have real credentials!  Something other than having a big butt and a sex tape.  Just to name a few: Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Queen Latifah, Bon Jovi, Zach Braff, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, Nathan Lane and Elisabeth Shue.  Many of the celebrities who are from New Jersey still either live here or have homes here and often speak of their own Jersey pride.

These were fun questions, thanks girls!

How about you readers…do you still live where you were born?  What are some of your favorite things about where you live?


When Friendships Change

At least a few times a week, I will read a post by another blogger and think to myself “I need to post on that” but then I get all sidetracked with other posts and forget about them.  Or I start a post and it stays in my drafts so long that I end up never finishing it.  Well folks, all I have is time right now since I am not actually working-out in any capacity; I figured now is the time to get writing on those posts!

Today’s Topic: Friendships and Running

Over the last few months, I have been giving a lot of thought to how much my life has changed since the awful break-up in 2007 that led me to change my life and begin getting healthy.  There have been so many changes, it is hard to even remember the person I was then.  There have been ups (PR’s) and downs (injuries) but I have loved this ride and I am such a better person now than I was then.  I like this girl a lot! 

I noticed that one of the biggest changes in my life has been with friendships.  I knew that when I joined a team I would make a lot of new friends but I had no idea how much my relationships with old friends would change.  Instead of being happy for me and embracing my new sense of self and healthy life-style, there were a few friends who downright dissed me.  As if my positive change was negatively affecting them.  That really surprised me and continues to surprise me.

(I should stop and mention now, that when I say friends…it wasn’t all my friends; it was a handful of acquaintances and more specifically three closer friends…I certainly don’t want to lump them all together, as many have and continue to be very supportive.)

When I first expressed interest in triathlon, many people doubted me.  And trust me, I was not shocked- I didn’t know how to ride a bike, I hated running, I smoked and I preferred to spend a Friday night drinking rather than going to bed early in preparation for a weekend morning workout.  I’ll admit it, even I was a bit skeptical!   But I stuck with the working out and really devoted myself to learning all about triathlon. 

 The first time I realized that my friends didn’t “get it” was when I had a girls night at my apartment and my one friend picked up my Triathlete magazine and sarcastically said “cool mag Jill” as she rolled her eyes.   This was just the first of many comments that were to come.  I would get comments like “guess you can’t go out because you have to go to the gym” or “I just figured you were out with your team” or my favorite “you don’t know how to have fun anymore” which bothered me for two reasons.  1- what I was doing was fun for me and 2- I still liked to have a good time, just not an every-night-of-the-week good time. 

For the first year, when all I had on my schedule was one tri and a few small road races, I think my friends really just saw this as a phase.  Since I wasn’t training hardcore, I still did a fair share of drinking, going out late and yes, even smoking.  But eventually the working-out began taking precedent over the late nights and drinking.  Something inside changed. 

Things really began to change in late 2008, when I was going through some knee problems and couldn’t run for eight weeks.  I noticed I was down, depressed and moody.  I noticed that I liked running.  I knew then that this wasn’t a phase and that I would make this my lifestyle.  Additionally, I decided to quit smoking and seriously tone down the drinking.  The year 2009 was a tough one for me, and I am so thankful that I had my sports of triathlon and running to keep me balanced.  I am an all around better person than I was, and more importantly I am healthy and happy.   

I know that the reality of it is that I am better off without negative, non-supportive people in my life.  I know that when people change, things change.  When the drinking/partying was taken out of the equation, there wasn’t much left.  It isn’t so much that they couldn’t understand my lifestyle changes, they just didn’t want to understand.  And worse, they simply didn’t care.  What I have come to learn is that often friendships are based on common ground…and for myself and some of my friends at the time, partying was the common ground.  Sad, but true.

For the most part, I am okay with the losses because the gains have been so big.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to understand. 

My changes have all been for the better, whether people choose to see that as a good or bad thing is beyond my control.  What I can control is how I deal with things; I understand that not everyone “gets it” but I do not think it necessitates rude and sarcastic comments.  There is no reason to keep people in my life who bring me down, when I have so many that lift me up.  When a friendship ends, it’s like a break-up…sad, but for the best. 

Positive in, negative out!

Have you experienced any changes in friendships throughout your tri/running journey?