What We Are All About

After an amazing weekend at the New Jersey State Triathlon one of our club members, Mary, posted the following:

“What an amazing day I had yesterday with some awesome women at the NJ State triathlon. Words don’t come easy for me to effectively describe the kindness, nurturing and comraderie that was displayed by every single woman from our JG group that participated. We were made up of all ages, sizes and levels of athleticism, however the playing field within our group was level for all. Regardless of whether we were doing a leg of the tri or the entire Olympic distance, everyone was wholeheartedly cheered and encouraged until we were all over our respective finish lines. The humbleness of all involved as they completed their respective courses is inspiring…..no bravado here….just gratitude and thanks to their team mates for their encouragement and support….Amazing! 

Witnessing these accomplishments has encouraged some of us enough to entertain taking ourselves to whatever the next level of competion might be be for us….from the leg of a tri to a sprint, a sprint to an Olympic, Olympic to a 1/2 or full Ironman….knowing all the support that is needed is right here with the Jersey Girls.

Moira, what you have started and generated into what the Jersey Girl StayStrong Multisport Club is today is incredible. That a group of women of this size can always come together with no display of cattiness, jealousy or snide remarks, just the intent of participation and support to each other is such a credit to you. The fact that there is no segregation or special treatment of the elite or accomplished athletes from the novice within the JG’s lessens the intimidation and makes this group so welcoming. Your accomplishments are the inspiration for most of us to push harder, for longer time and faster pace……safely. 

For myself, I have come to believe that anything is possible athletically, even at my age! Thanks Moira and thank you to all you Jersey Girls!”

The icing on the cake to all of this is finding out that our team placed 8th overall out of 162 teams in the club competition, and we were the only all-women’s team.  For me, another grateful to be alive weekends!

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I remember when it was my first triathlon

Another amazing week.  I can’t say it any better than what Amy, one of our newer club members, wrote in a post about her first triathlon experience.  I saw Amy coming towards me on the boardwalk and didn’t see her bloody leg or road rash till she told me she had fallen on the run, but she was still making forward progress.

Here is what our group is all about.  Thanks to each and every one of you for being part of my life.

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My first triathlon experience was great. I did not sleep much last night partly due to excitement and nerves, but more nerves. I woke up at 3:30 a.m., got ready and left my house at 4:00 a.m. I was on the very lonely and dark parkway at 4:15 and there were no distractions to keep my mind off of the tri. So there I was driving 30 miles south, stomach in knots, nothing on the radio, just thinking about how I am going to get through this. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt! I tried to eat, but it was making me sick. I made it to Asbury Park, got out of my car and realized my bike tires were a little flat. But, who do I spot, Moira! Thank goodness for momma duck! She filled my tires, padded my bike seat, and I was off to the transition area. I met Jeannie – she looks just like her FB profile pic, so it was easy to spot her, and I borrowed her singlet. (Thanks Jeannie). I emptied my transition bag, organized my stuff and contemplated for 30 minutes whether to wear or not to wear the wet suit for the 300 yard ocean swim. My decision to wear it was the best decision I made. That ocean swim (which I later found out was much more than 300 yards) was very very hard. I swam, I floated, I rested, I talked to myself and I repeated all of that until I completed the swim! Transition from the swim to the bike was easy – I have always had a hard time taking the wetsuit off – but today, it slide off with ease and Kris was right there to help me if needed her. Now the 10 mile bike ride. All I could think about was NOW I can “relax” on the bike and take it easy for a little while. Well, there was no relaxing. Each time I fell below 14 mph, I played with the gears and got back to my 14 mph speed. (I know what Moira is saying right now, “you need to learn about cadence!) At one point I was up to 19 mph and it felt good. I pushed and pushed, and never felt it was time to relax on the ride, until the dismount area. I approached the transition area again, got off the bike, threw on my sneakers and walked out of transition to grab a water. Yes, I walked!! After the water break, I ran. I ran past a cheering JG (wish I knew her name – but somehow she knew mine) and she was so encouraging! I love that!! But, as soon as I turned the corner, my legs decided to stop working!! WHAT!! What happened to my legs!! Oh my – down I went. Face first into the sidewalk, knees bleeding, left palm bleeding, right knuckles bleeding, pain in my knees and a stinging pain in my palm. I was embarrassed – two people ran over me, quickly asked if I was okay, and went on their way. so, I did too! I got up and said to myself that I just swam in the ocean, biked 10 miles and I am NOT quitting this run unless a limb is hanging off of me – and even then, that limb had better be broken if I decide to quit!! So, to finish the race, I walked for a bit and ran for a bit, but pushed myself throughout. As I approach the boardwalk end of the run, here comes Moira. I just love when she comes swooping in and trots alongside of me – effortlessly. She has this amazing way of being so encouraging, yet so intimidating at the same time. I wish I had the stamina to run the entire last mile with her by my side, but I told her I just needed to walk and run at my pace. (Damn, I wish I would have let you push me till I cried and even then you should have just yelled at me to quit being a baby!!). As I crossed the finish line, I was filling up with so much emotion – but did not want to look like a crazy lady finishing with tears – so I held it in (but they would have been tears of “wow, look that I did!”) Even though my training time was limited because of my three kids and their activities, I am very proud of what I did today. That actually is wrong – I am extremely proud of what WE did today. There is no way I would have been able to finish this without the great support of the Jersey Girl StayStrong MultiSport Club. You girls rock!! You are super encouraging – a ton of fun to be around – and I am very proud to be a part of your training family. (yes, yes, I am quiet and a lot more reserve that most of you – but I do love your enthusiasm, your encouragement and your company! I cannot wait for the Jersey Girl Tri in a few weeks!! To everyone who cheered me on – and all of our JG volunteers – thank you so very much for making this a top 10 in my most memorable experiences so far in my life!!

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Just Another Weekend

Spent quite a bit of time outside this weekend.  Whenever I do (which is most of the time), I am reminded of how blessed I am to be where I am.  Barely a mile from the ocean — besides the everyday beauty of the water there is sea life, regular visits from dolphins, an occasssional whale sighting, surfers and so much more.

What is truly amazing is the difference just a few miles west make — an ostrich farm, horse farms, the Manasquan Reservoir, Allaire State Park and again, so much more.

Today while running at the Reservoir I notice a man with a fancy camera focusing on something in one of the small ponds off the trail.  Bird watchers with cameras and binoculars are a regular sight, but today something made me stop and see what he was photographing.  I am so glad I did because I caught sight of probably the biggest bird I’ve ever seen out side a zoo, just hanging out in the middle of the water, it was so big it look unreal!

http://www.bobcutrupi.com/Nature/Eagles-and-Hawks/Cormorants/22469321_9GdgJM/1768278426_gQvRPGZ#!i=1768278426&k=gQvRPGZ&lb=1&s=A 

A Day at the Office

A coincidence tonight on my way home from our group open water swim — as I pulled off the Parkway I saw my old bus unloading passengers, seemed like all the same people I once shared the life-sucking 4 hour per day commute to my past life.

Instead, I spent today with people I enjoy being around while doing something that I love!   I know we all have problems and issues and challenges in our lives but tonight our challenges were simple . . . . how to get our wetsuit on, how to swim a straight course to the buoy and just how much swimming we could do in an hour.  Can’t wait till the next workout.  

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Pool Swimming

Had a funny encounter this morning at the Atlantic Club pool in Red Bank.  People are so compulsive about their lanes and their workouts.  We’d all like our own lane to swim in for as long as we want, but unless we are ready to build ourselves a private pool we are stuck with the availability at our local club.  “I don’t like to circle” is unfortunately not an option.

The members of our club (Jersey Girls StayStrong Multisport) who are also Atlantic Club members have decided that we will meet informally at the Atlantic Club pool in Red Bank in the morning one week a month to swim together as a group.  Whatever lanes we can get we will deal with, we are all full paying members of the club and many swim there regularly.  But many also take the drive to the Wall Township facility to take advantage of the masters swim that is available in the morning.  It’s just minutes from my house but I thought to be fair and to encourage swimming workouts for the group, I’d take the 20 minute drive once or twice a month to swim in Red Bank with the members that are more local to that facility.  Anyway, about 8 of us were swimming in the three lanes that are available there this morning.  I stopped to give a technique pointer to one of our group in the next lane when I notice someone tapping her foot on the pool deck.

I looked up and she rather impatiently asked “Could one of you give up your lane?”  I looked at her, rather puzzled at the request and didn’t say anything.  Her response was “I’m on a schedule.”  I said, “so are we, you are more than welcome to circle swim with any of us.”  The woman I had been helping said that she was more than welcome to jump in with them but her lane was “slow” (as indicated by the lane sign).  I looked up again and said “you are more than welcome to circle swim in my lane” to which she responded “you said you are slow.”  Well . . . . I responded, “I am anything but slow.”

My workout partner held her breathe at the challenge, I was ready to step up my workout to prove a point and I’m sure she was too, but the challenger chose to walk back to the locker room and skip her morning swim.  What a shame for her.  I’m sure it totally ruined her morning, but had she gotten in the pool she probably would have found that (1) we are a very friendly, supportive and encouraging group and (2) she most likely would have enjoyed swimming with us.

Not a minute or two later another swimmer came into the pool area, I looked up and said “you are more than welcome to circle swim with us” and he did.  Although my swimming partner and I were a good amount faster than him, we made it work and he moved to the next lane when it opened and we all enjoyed our morning and our workout.

So, until you can build your own pool . . . . learn to play well with others!

 

Last Long Run – Preparation for the Long Branch Half and Full Marathon

I am just re-posting what one of my favorite people wrote about today’s run.  She had hoped to run 22 but had some stomach issues so it just wasn’t working for her today.  Here’s what she wrote.  I couldn’t agree more, and it’s why I do what I do!

“I went to the reservoir this morning with full intentions of running long. I am a firm believer that “things happen for a reason.” Well, as it turned out, and I can’t even blame it on things beyond my control, because I really could have avoided my issues this morning…..ANYWAY…..I had to walk back (quickly) and call it quits soon after starting my second loop, so I was there with Moira when all of you ladies came in from your runs.

My inability to complete my run was not unfortunate, as it afforded me the opportunity to witness the milestones for many of you running today, and I am thrilled. There is a lot to be said about strength in numbers, and you all proved it today. Each and every single one of you ROCK!!! and a very special shout out to Missy Serbonich! What drive and determination you have Missy, and I will be your Number Two Cheerleader at the finish, because no one can replace Moira Easton Horan as their Number One Cheerleader and Coach! Great job today ladies!!”

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Susan!  The end of another perfect day.

The Manasquan Reservoir, so peaceful!

Ironman Training Run

What a great day today!  Fortunate enough to live close enough to the course for the Ironman New Jersey that I can train on it.  Drove up there today and ran 13.5 miles of the loop.  It’s a challenging course but definitely “doable”.  Two loops of hills on the Palisades side is manageable – first loop will be tough, second loop will be “glad I don’t have to do that again.”  We ventured over the George Washington Bridge today — that was a first ever.  It was a good run, could be very crowded on race day depending on your pace.  But, I got to a point on the bridge, looked out over the New York side and thought that this is where on race day I will get that “I can do this” feeling.  Still 9 or so miles to go but those of you who have done long distance racing know what I mean.  The swim (2.4 miles), the bike (112 miles) and about 16-1/2 miles of the run are done.  It’s all relative.

Running the course today with friends was awesome.  Thanks so much Susan, for everything!  Knowing that you and all my Jersey Girls will be at the finish line waiting will mean more than any one of you can possibly imagine.

I read Jason Shortis’ blog the other day and this resonated so strongly with me:  “So in Ironman, as in life, when the times get tough, remember never to turn your back on it, because you’re better off being in the game than not playing at all!”

We are all in the game . . . . fast, slow, skinny, fat, experienced, newbie, winning, or hoping to make the cut off.

George Washington Bridge

NYC Half Marathon

All in all a successful day!  My “reach” goal was to qualify for the NYC Marathon.  I needed to run a 1:50, I had run a comfortable 2 hours at the half in Sandy Hook last fall and a 4 hour marathon in Philadelphia.  I ran a very evenly paced 1:46.  And a good day was had by all the Jersey Girls StayStrong Multisport Club members and our supporters.  (Definitely more to come on the day!)

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Blueberry Seed Smoothie

Blueberry Seed Smoothie

Tastes as good as it looks!

An idea that came about this morning while swimming with our own resident nutrition guru, Cara Pescatore . . . . a tab for our app that will sort out all the wonderful recipes and ideas that we keep posting on Facebook but then can’t find when we want to make them.

First up, this delicious Blueberry Seed Smoothie that Leslie Why Reap posted and I made this morning.  A perfect post-swim workout breakfast.  Going to try posting them as google docs, and make a new button for our app to keep them sorted out.  Let’s see how it works.