South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Run the Vineyards 15k

My first trail race is officially in the books. When I signed up for this race I read it as a on and off road race. So in my mind I imagine it to be split-half the race on the road and the other half trail. Never assume! You know how the saying goes… just under a 5k portion of the race was on the road. The rest of the race took you directly through the vineyard- zigging and zagging through rows of grapes. If that wasn’t bad enough the dirt and sand farm roads were not even or compact. To say the least this race was a bit of a challenge. The grass between the vines was thick and uneven. And please don’t take my description as complaining I’m always up for a challenge and pushing myself to the next level.

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This trail race did challenge me as I usually train on the road or a treadmill depending on my location. I’ve never trained to run a trail, but maybe this is just what I needed to encourage myself to train a little bit harder. The weather overall was pleasant. A bit chilly to start, but it warmed up nicely. I ran out of my favorite pre race fuel- power bar simple fruit energy gels and resorted to trying a different gel from power bar. It got the job done, but the taste just could not compare. I just wanted to get it down as quickly as possible.

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The 5k race started about 5 minutes prior to the 15k. The race was clearly marked and roped off to determine which turn was for the 5k versus the 15k. I found a comfortable pace at 8:30 min/mile and tried to constantly stay there. I refueled during the race with some honey stinger energy chews around mile 5 and I was carrying my own water in my Nathan handheld running bottle. By mile 7 I was ready to be done running up and down the rows of grapes. Though the scenery was beautiful and a change from my normal city run I had to put my mind else where. I gave myself a short pep talk to finish strong and that’s exactly what I did.

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I finished 7th in my age group (30-39) out of 71 women. 17th out of 184 women and 32nd overall out of 229 runners. Not too shabby, but this is definitely fueling myself to train harder. Running this trail race put me a little outside of my normal running comfort zone, but I embraced every second.
Next up is the Global Energy Race 10k in Philadelphia. Catch me if you can!
Xo

Leann

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Always Running 

This week has kept me moving. From working to Philadelphia to Denver, Denver to Los Angles back to Philadelphia. Then starting another trip that took me South, to Orlando. With a 19 hour layover I then came back to Philadelphia and out to Kansas City and back.

Within each of these two trips I found time to quick a run in, not as long as I had hoped but something I feel is always better than nothing. With early report times and some long work days you have to make some sacrifices to a) keep your sanity  b) you must get rest c) be active outside of work to stay healthy.

 

 

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My goal when I get to a layover I usually try to change right away and get a workout in. After a 4 hour flight to Denver I was ready to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. A fellow crew member even joined me on a jog to Cheesman Park. It’s located centrally in downtown Denver. Such a beautiful green space. I was hoping to get a swim in at a local public pool, but unfortunately it was only open for the weekends. So a nice jog from the hotel and back and a stop for sushi for lunch.

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After flying back to base, I repacked my bag for another two day trip to hot and humid Orlando. I had a sushi date with one of my girlfriends right when I landed because of her work schedule. I changed and met up with her and visited with some old co-workers ( I used to live in Otown). After digesting I told myself you have got to get in atleast a 5k, thats always the goal and minimum. I tried to pick a shady route that lead to Disney Springs, but the humidity was defiantly not on my side and I ended up finishing the run on the treadmill (aka dreadmill).

After a full week of flying, yes I did the unthinkable and hopped back on a plane after my last flight. But I still made time to get a run in on Saturday. I returned home today, Sunday, and I was determined to get a run in.img_1146 To me if you are determined enough and have the will, there’s always a way. I must say the times I had available to me were definitely not always ideal, but I had to make it work. Flying can cause a lot of fatigue and stress on the body, but I personally always feel better when I get out and exercise. It’s easy to not eat well and over eat lots of junk and snacks while working on the plane. I mean who wouldn’t want a hot fudge sundae with all the toppings. But I know I will regret it later. So I put down the spoon and stepped away from the ice cream cart in my first class. Instead I was determined to eat healthy and be conscious about what I put in my body to fuel it. 

It’s not about having time, it’s about making it!

xo

Leann


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Motivation, Transformation, and Determination 

So normally I don’t get very “preachy” on here about goals related to fitness or life.  But recently I’ve had some time to think about how important motivation, transformation, and determination really are. Read along some more if I’ve caught your interest. Otherwise have an awesome day.

The summer is just about wrapping up and soon it will be fall. I proudly completed several mock triathlons and two USAT sanctioned races. I’m started to amp up my running miles again to prepare for some longer runs this fall and winter. I’m happy with my performance and I’ve been learning so much along the way either through self education (lots of new books) or by talking with other athletes. Educating yourself about personal health, nutrition, and training has been the key to my self improvement. The transformations I have been able to reflect on come from internal and external. And the only reason they are occurring is because I want it bad enough to push myself to get out of bed at 5 am. Trust me it’s not always easy. Working on a layover in a new and exciting city can be tough.

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My final residency is coming up for my doctorate program and with a full time job, part time job, and training it doesn’t come easy, but it’s all about time management. My mom recently just got me a bracelet that so appropriately says “nothing great, ever came easy!” How true! There have been many instantces that I can think of when my studies started and I would be so wrapped up in my assignment I would be in tears because I wasn’t completely confident in my work. I’ve been able to work past these issues only because I’ve gotten rid of the fear of failure.

Lastly my full time job-flying. Since being back on the job things have been awesome! I was sort of uneasy transitioning back into things after my injury. The first day back I felt like I had not been on a plane in years instead of months. My second trip back and I was flying to Rome. Talk about being thrown into things. But I love my job and the crew members I get to work with.

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Overall I feel pretty lucky to be in the position I’m in. I love my job, my studies, and I love working out and racing.  Motivation, transformation, and determination have been part of each avenue in my life. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you love. More than likely it won’t come easy, but it will be worth it! Rant over go smash some goals.

It’s your choice!

Xo Leann


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Tri AC-Race Report

Where do I start? Tri AC (Atlantic City) for those of you not from the area, was my second fully timed and USAT (USA Triathlon) sanctioned race. This means referees checking your gear and even being able to receive time penalties for not following the rules. Anyway back to the race report. Friday I arrived in Atlantic City around noon at Bader Field, and old abandoned airport field where the tri would start and transitions would take place. I checked in, received my race bib, number 57 and racked my bike.

Being able to come in the night before makes a world of a difference I feel. You get an idea where and how to go thru transitions. The swim portion of the race was taking place right there in the bay. I got the feel of what the flow would be for the race.

I had a really great night sleep before the race and felt well rested when I woke up Saturday morning. I stayed in AC to avoid an hour drive in. I had my typical race breakfast; coffee and a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and banana. I packed my bags up and headed out of the hotel ready to go!

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The swim portion of the race I completed in 10:59. A big improvement from the NJ State Tri. This swim was in the bay and was a mass start. You jumped in the water off a dock. I actually really enjoyed this start as I felt the crowd allowed for people who were faster to naturally go first and the slower people seemed to wait to go near the end. The water temp was 88 degrees, so again not wet suit legal. My swim over all just felt better. I was more focused and felt that my technique just flowed.

The bike portion of the race was fast and flat. I finished this portion of the race in 34:59. Again, another improvement from the last race. What was really cool was the bike route took you on the AC Expressway where cars normally rule the road, being able to bike down the road and ride thru the toll booth was fun. The roads were a little wet splashing up on my legs, but that made it even more exciting. My biking still needs work, but I was able to crank out an average of about 20 miles per hour for 11 miles.

And the final portion of the tri, the run, my favorite and strongest part of the race. The 5k run started back at Bader Field and took you up on the to boardwalk and onto the beach for a short portion to finish at the Boardwalk hall. My run was pretty strong. I felt good, but I didn’t want to even look down and see my pace. Mentally I was in a good place and I felt really strong. I managed to pace out an 8 min/mile.

My race finish time was 1:14:01. A solid 8 minutes shaved off from two weeks ago. So I have to proudly say when I checked the timing table I was just so excited to see the big improvement. It was my Mom who pointed out my biggest accomplishment- I placed 3rd in my age group! Second triathlon and getting on the podium, really, what just happened?!

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My tri season might be over, but I’ve got a lot of things to work on to build up for next year. Now it’s time to amp up my running. This year starting to enter triathlons has brought a lot of excitement. Being able to combine running and biking has been awesome. Adding in the swimming was a little overwhelming at first, but as I take a step back I can see my top two events are running and swimming. Looking forward to more training and an even better season of running this fall!

xo

Leann


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24 Hours in Glasgow, Scotland

I am now home in Philly, but probably not for long. I go back on call at 6am tomorrow morning. But before I forget about the wonderful 24 hours spent in Glasgow let’s rewind and review what exactly I have been up to.

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Monday afternoon, I had a shift at the airport, to sit there for four hours. Yes, just sit there. I’m not going into details, but its for when there are last minute issues with crews and flights. I was one of four people on the shift from 3:45-7:45pm. By 5:45pm I was the last one left and then a little less than thirty minutes had passed and I was called to go to Glasgow!

Good thing I packed for all seasons because I really had no clue where I could end up. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to Glasgow before so I knew what to expect. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland! Its a fun city with lots of shopping! I love going to the United Kingdom. Years ago I studied abroad in London and travel all through the U.K.

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After 6 and a half hours we arrived in Scotland and the crew was shuttled off to the hotel in the city center. We stay at a fabulous hotel thats only a quick walk from the central train station. My first stop is always Costa (a british coffee company). There I had to have a cappuccino and a bacon roll. The bacon roll is literally a roll with bacon on it, but its just not like American style bacon. Plus you have to put HP brown sauce on it! I’m drooling just thinking about it! With my belly full I was on to my next stop-shopping!!!

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Primark! Even though Primark is now in the US, its just so much better in the UK, with items that aren’t available in the US. Ok…I was picky this time I promise. I took in the local sites and shops, and my next stop, Boots. Hmmm….how to describe Boots, its a pharmacy, convenience store, beauty products, but they carry the best stuff!!! And even their store brand products are amazing and super cheap! The prices and quality of product do not compare to what we have here in the US.

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Next, I decided I needed to head back to drop off some of my purchases, but now I needed to stop in Sainsburys. Sainsburys is a grocery store and while you are probably thinking I’m crazy for going grocery shopping while I’m on a 24 hour layover in Scotland, you are totally wrong. While I lived in London, I constantly grocery shopped in Sainsburys and the food is top notch. While I can’t do all my shopping there now, I do pop in to bring back some of my favorite candy, cookies, and other treats that I can’t get in the states.

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Finally lunch time! One of my co-workers told me to check out Old Salty’s for fish and chips. This was probably the best fish and chips I had ever had! You can choice want type of fish you would like; hake, cod, haddock. I chose the haddock and it was out of this world! And what better way but to wash it down with a beer!

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I was now in the west end of Glasgow and headed up the street to the Glasgow Botanic Garden. It is free to enter and wander through the green houses and gardens. I was told they hold many concerts here too.

As I made my way back to the hotel I walked through University of Glasgow. This university is the fourth oldest in the English speaking world! I love how the old buildings are just surrounded by the newer buildings.

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I truly love the European lifestyle and how friendly people are. Every time I am in U.K/Europe I just totally embrace every second I am there. I love the experience, the foods, and the people.

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You really just have to go experience it for yourself with an open mind!

xo

Leann


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Holy Hills-Spellbound Brewing Century Ride

Yesterday was my first official century bike ride. A century is equal to 100, so yes I rode 100 miles on a my Trek road bike! The ride was hosted by Spellbound Brewing in Mount Holly, New Jersey. This was the third year this event took place, but the first time I was able to take part in this event. There are were several distances to chose from; the century (100), metric century (62), 40 miles, and 22 miles. My Mom and I chose this ride to do our first century and as the website read, century riders receive a medal at the finish!

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Prior to the race, the weather on Friday was pretty horrific. Rain! Rain! Rain! Saturday morning felt more like a mid October morning with gusts of winds, rain off and on, and no sunlight in sight. Still we proceeded to pack up the car and drive to the brewery to find out if the ride was still happening. It was! Good thing my Mom had packed windbreakers because the summer riding gear was not going to cut it! We checked in, got our riding numbers, made sure we had plenty of air in our tires, filled our water bottles, and rolled out of the parking lot on our bikes by 7am. The ride was capped at 750 riders and I don’t think many of the riders were following the century route, marked with orange arrows.

Rests stops were about every 20-24 miles apart. At each rest stop as a century rider you had to collect a sticker to claim your medal at the end of the ride. Now this was not a race, you did not win if you finished first. My Mom and I did not encounter many other riders during our time on the road. One thing I usually do love about sports like running, cycling, and triathlon, it brings people of common interest together. At one point doing the ride we came upon two women wearing riding jerseys that said jersey girl strong, with the logos for triathlon. Out of curiosity and being friendly, we asked could they tell us some more about their club, as we are always looking for groups to join. The one lady snapped back in a harsh tone, “what do you want to know!” Wow. I was totally shocked and my Mom and I just looked at each other, ok, so you don’t want to talk to us, got it!

Moving on later in the ride, I almost got hit by a car! As a cyclist and especially during these types of rides, you must follow the rules of the road just like a car. Bikes ride with traffic and obey all traffic signs and lights. As we were riding through the green light a car decided to cut off everyone and turn left in front of us and nearly hit us and caused me to fall off my bike into the middle of the intersection. Not cool dude. Not cool at all! The driver didn’t even stop to see if I was ok. Thankfully my bike and I were both okay. I picked up my bike walked it across the road and back on I went.

One thing I will tell you when riding such a distance; hydration and nutrition is key! Drinking plenty of fluids is so important. I alternate between water and an electrolyte drink-my choice is nuun. For nutrition you have to learn your own body to not over do it, but I really like the honey stinger waffles, honey stinger energy chews, and power bar simple fruit energy food. At the first stop I did have peanut butter and jelly sandwich and later I had a half of a banana.

The course was tough. According to my garmin I had a total elevation climb of 2,108 ft. One climb alone was 181 ft in elevation. Ridiculous. Mind you, when we turned on Hill Road, my Mom said to me I hope this isn’t a sign. Holy hills, you bet your legs it was!!!! With the wind pushing against us, it wasn’t an easy fight. We pushed through and with a steady time we stayed on track. Some where along the way back though, we missed the last turn and with GPS made it back to the brewery and tacked on an extra 5 miles. So really I’m celebrating 105 miles!

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We rolled back in the same parking lot we started and received compliments of not looking like we rode 100 or in our case 105! Even though the conditions were not what I would consider the best, I still felt great and was ready to have a celebratory beer! I was handed a bag with my reward of a shirt and then I was looking for my medal that I worked so hard and stopped at each rest stop to collect those stickers! Only to my dismay to be surprised to be handed a keychain bottle opener that said Spellbound Century. Really? This is the medal I was promised??!?!?? Well, if you know me personally, this really didn’t go over well with me. I had to take a second to regain my thoughts and soon I found someone who I though was an employee, turned out to be one of the owners to listen to my two cents about keychain vs. medal. I was then directed by the owner to talk to the person who ordered these medals (KEYCHAINS) this year and give him my feedback, and surely enough I did. Well some other workers over heard me voicing my concerns and gave me a commemorative coin that was for sale for $20 for free because they said they had the same thoughts of what had happened this year.

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What a day Saturday was! My Mom and I conquered 105 miles, nasty attitudes, crazy drivers, and a disappointing medal. You better believe that keychain is hanging on display with all of my other medals, because I didn’t bike 105 miles to not receive the medal promised. I will always look back and laugh at that silly keychain that can not double as a medal.

Keep calm and bike on!

xo

Leann

 

 


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Running a Mental Game 

I’ve probably written a blog post similar to this before, but I have to talk about it again because I feel the mental game is so important in running. I’ve been back to work for less than a month and I already am feeling so extremely tired even though I would consider myself in pretty decent shape.

Let’s talk work schedules. There’s the 9 to 5. I’m sure you have your mid week slump, or what I heard is a popular term-Sunday scaries (when you realize you have to go back to work Monday). Shift workers that can range from over night, late nights, early mornings. When you have a day off, how do you break that routine? Then the on call (me)! There’s no norm! I’m jet setting all over the place. Now I’m not complaining please don’t take it that way because I love my job and I’m lucky to have it. But in the past 3 weeks I have been in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Italy. Talk about some crazy time zone changes. img_9518

As a runner, how do we pull thru these slumps or times of weariness? Get inside your head! Tell yourself I’ve ran X amount miles before there’s no reason I can’t do it now. Sometimes it is a struggle, we are human, life happens, stressful events occur, but you must push through. When the mind tells you that you are fatigued it is important to focus on something positive and become head strong in that moment.

Over time I have learned that making excuses for not working out is just not acceptable. For example, I just worked a trip that was considered an all nighter and with only 3 hours asleep I came home and took a nap and once I got up I put my running clothes on. This way I was more inclined to get my run done and over with as soon as I was ready to get out the door. It was not one of my fastest runs today, but I got it done.

Mile by mile, focus on the positive, you are out there running. Give yourself positive affirmations. Getting out there is half the battle, clear your mind of can’t and just run!

Running is a mental sport more than anything else. You’re only as good as your training and your training is only as good as your thinking!

xo

Leann