South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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NJ State Tri-Race Report 

Yesterday was my first official triathlon-NJ State Triathlon. All of the time I spent training came down to yesterday morning. I am super excited to report that I was happy with my official finish time of 1:22 and 18th in my division. I want to share with you my overall thoughts on the race and break down each part of the race: swim, bike, and run! LEANNNJSTATETRI

Set up for transitions

I arrived at Mercer County Park around 6am to set up my transition area for the tri. Everyone had to out of the transition area by 7:15am. Being this was my first race I made sure to ask plenty of questions to USAT referees. There are many different reasons you can be disqualified or receive a time penalization.

Swim -12:30

The dreaded swim! Ugh! My weakest link in the triathlon. I’ve put a lot of time and energy to the swim training. Open water swim is very different than swimming in a pool.  As I lined up in the water with my age group reality set it. When the announcer said, get out of here, the group started to swim! I started off my swim feeling pretty comfortable until there were a few kicks here and there. It became hard to get in my groove because everyone was thrashing around me. I had to talk to myself and ensure myself that I had this under control. The water temperature was 88.9! Bath water!

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Transition-3:10 swim to bike

Bike 38:28

So this ride was 11 miles and I averaged almost 18 mph. For the majority of the ride it was flat with a few little hills. There were mostly right turns and at every turn there were police officers with flags making sure everyone was making the turn. The only thing I wish there were markings of the milage. I would have liked to know at least the half way point. It wasn’t until I was re-entering the park I knew I was close to the transition. I felt I had a solid ride, but would like to improve my time here some.

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Transition-2:43 bike to run

Run 26:02

The run, my strength! At this point it was brutally hot. I told myself, it didn’t matter how slow I ran, but I was going to finish strong and not walk. I still had plenty of energy and felt good. The downfall of this run was it was on a paved trail inside of Mercer County Park and it was narrow. This was an out and back course and the runners shared the one path. At times it became a little tough to be able to pass, but at the same time I liked the camaraderie. The other triathletes seemed to encourage others to continue on, not give up, and the finish was close up. When I rounded the corner and saw the 3 mile sign, I knew it was time to release all the energy I had left and give it my all until I crossed the finish.

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Overall, this was a great race. I was able to meet some of my Mojo Racing teammates. Which was awesome! My experience at my first triathlon was great. I’m already hooked and looking forward to my next race in two weeks at the AC TRI!

Keep calm and tri on!

xo

Leann

 

 


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Chicago-Chi Town-Windy City

Another day another flight to a different destination. This morning I left bright and early from PHL (Philly) headed to ORD (Chicago). I’ve been here before, but every time I visit it seems to be a different season with different things to experience in the city. The hotel we stay at isn’t far from the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The last time I stayed in Chicago the cubs won the World Series!


With my triathlon this weekend I decided today would be a great day to get a run in and do some carbo loading! Chicago has tons of great running and biking paths through all of the city’s parks. I ran down the shore line to the end of Navy Pier to start, then to the Field Museum, through Grant Park, to Buckingham Fountain, and ended at the Bean in Millennium Park.


From there I was starving, hot, and sweaty. I realized I needed to eat and hydrate!! Be careful out there people, the heat is no joke! Being in Chi Town, I seized the opportunity to have freshly made pierogi. For those who do not know what a pierogi is, the best way to explain it as the polish version of a ravioli or dumpling. They have different fillings varying from meat to sauerkraut to potato and cheese. They are boiled, served with fried onion and sour cream. And if you can get them freshly made not out of the freezer aisle I suggest you eat as many as you can!



I found a place called Pierogi Heaven. I opted for 3 sauerkraut and mushroom and 3 potato and cheese with a cup of broscht soup (a beet based soup).  And for dessert I took some fruit filled Pierogi with me!!!! Amazing!!!!!! I fully suggest you give this place a try if you are in the Windy City.


Chicago is a beautiful city with so much to offer every individual no matter what you are looking for. The shoreline of Lake Michigan is stunning. This is just a peak of what I was able to squeeze in today, but there’s so much more to see and do. Don’t forget the deep dish pizza or watching a game a Wrigley Field!


Until next time safe travels!

Xo

Leann


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Roma wasn’t Built in a Day 

As a flight attendant when I meet new people I frequently get asked if I work international flights or just domestic. The simple answer is yes, I work international. Honestly it just depends on the time of the year. The Summer is the busy season and with more international destinations it is more likely to get called out for an exotic location. I will spare you the flight attendant lingo, because trust me it has its own language. Rome was not built in a day, but I only had one to explore the city.

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Friday evening was my last day on call when my phone unexpectedly rang, the voice on the other end from crew scheduling sounded completely exhausted and thrilled that I answered. She asked if I could make it to the airport in an hour and a half, that I was going to Rome. With our call out being a minimum of two hours, I said it would be close. Luckily I had not really unpacked from the previous trip I came back from! I got ready as quickly as possibly and jumped in an uber and off to the airport I went.

On a sidenote, Rome, always seems to go to very senior flight attendants. The trip is considered high time because the flight is so long. I’ve never been lucky enough to get called to go to Rome so you could imagine I was beyond excited. 7+ hours later we arrived at Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci International Aeroporto or FCO for short! With a 26 hour layover I pretty much hit the ground running. I wanted to eat my way through the city. img_8845

A fellow crew member was kind enough to play tour guide. First stop, get a slice of true Italian pizza. First, things first, pizza is supposed to be square or rectangular, round pizza is American! Wrapped in some paper I was off to the colosseum! It all felt so surreal! As I was walking down the streets and seeing so many historic sights, it almost felt like a movie set. I’ve read about these building in books growing up and now I was here to actually experience it.

The weather was almost unbearable. It was extremely hot reaching over ninety plus degrees and the sun was shining bright. What better way to cool off then to have a cold glass of prosecco with a delightful view!

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The architecture in Rome is amazing and nothing short of it. Thousands of years old and preserved so well! Being half Italian, I was just trying to soak in every bit of the atmosphere. The winding, narrow streets twist and turn and lead to so many unexacting shops, eateries, and history.

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One day, just gave me a taste of what this city has to offer. The cobblestone streets are enchanting and lets one imagine what life would be like thousands of years ago. There are so many sections of the city I still need to visit, but my first visit was a success. I found the locals to be friendly and most spoke English if you attempted to speak some Italian. The flight back to Philadelphia was completely full and took over nine hours! But I would happily do it all over again!

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Roma sei bellissima!

xo

Leann


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Trust Me! I’m a Flight Attendant. 

I’m officially back to work!!!! Hooray! I’m in the middle of my first trip back and it’s going great. The first day, yesterday I worked Philadelphia to Charlotte to Sacramento, California. I’ve never had a layover in Sacramento so I was really looking forward to seeing what the capital of California has to offer. I was also super lucky to snag a spot on this trip with a friend of mine, Korey!

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Great crew!

After being out of work for nearly 3 months I have been eager to get back to flying. Traveling and being a flight attendant is a huge passion of mine. Take away your passion and you just seem to feel completely lost! I was a bit nervous on the first flight to see what changes have been made while I was gone, but eased back into things quickly. Our plane came in late and we were delayed out of Charlotte because one of the airplane tires had to be changed! They wear out just like car tires!

 

Having never been to Sacramento I reached out to my running teammates at Rabbit to find out what people from the West Coast would suggest as far as a location to run.  They did not disappoint. I got many suggestions to check out the American River Trail- mainly used for biking and running! This trail runs for 32 miles and is just beautiful! So glad I got to check some of it out on foot. After my 6.5 mile run it was time to catch back up with Korey and explore Old Sacramento and the capital building!

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Old Sacramento as you can imagine is the historic district. It is here where you can visit the California State Railroad Museum. Many people settled here during the Gold Rushe era because it was a main traffic route for supplies.

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Our next stop was to the Wells Fargo museum where we tried our hand at being railroad messengers. Wells Fargo’s history dates back with the transportation and communication technology sending telegraphs!

 

The old Sacramento one room schoolhouse was our next location, showing education in the early days. Last, but not least we made our way to the Captial building.

 

California is defiantly one of my favorite states to visit. Every city in Calirfornia has its own specific culture and things to visit. I enjoyed my time in Sacramento and now it’s time to rest up and take a nap. I work the red eye from SMF to DFW tonight. Have about 12 hours before I work another flight back to Philadelphia!

Come fly the friendly skies with me!

Xo

Leann


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Flying Fish Brewing-Bikes and Beers

By now you might be noticing a bit of a trend, I like to talk about working out and enjoying good food or drinks! This morning I took part in a 30 mile bike ride hosted through Bikes and Beers at Flying Fish Brewing Company, in Somerdale, NJ. In the price you pay to bike either 15 or 30 miles, a portion of the benefits goes to a local cycling advocacy organization to help improve cycling conditions in your city! (There are rides all across the US) How awesome is that!!!! So for this ride the money went to The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia!

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My Mom and I posing after the ride!

Being that we were riding in Jersey, there were some pot holes at the beginning of the ride that you really had to dodge! Other than that it was a really great ride. I clocked an average speed on my Garmin of 15.5 miles per hour with my max speed being 25.7 mph. The weather was pretty hot though. The only downfall was the ride didn’t start till 9:30am and toward the end temps were reaching close to 88 degrees.

After finishing the ride all participants received a Bike and Beers pint glass, koozie, raffle ticket, and two tickets to redeem for beer. I decided to be the designated driver for this ride, but don’t worry I picked up some beer to bring home. Later in this month I will be riding the Spellbound Brewery Century ride and the tables will be turned and my mom will be the DD. (Please always be responsible and have a DD!) Flying Fish offered four beer for riders to chose from; Daylight Savings IPA, Farmhouse Summer Ale, Bayshore Oyster Stout, or Hogfish IPA. My mom picked to have the Farmhouse Summer Ale and from the sip I tried it was very easy and refreshing to drink. Flying Fish does offer seasonal and other beers on tap in their tasting room. I would definitely recommend checking them out if you are on the East Coast or seeing if you get their beer in your local beer distributor.

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Bike for the Beer!

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” John F Kennedy

xo

Leann


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Body Image, Athletics, & Society 

This post is something I have been thinking about writing for some time now. As a female and one that works out almost religiously body image is something I consistently think about. In a world where people are quick to pass judgement on someone without knowing them I’m sure everyone has encountered a rude comment or two in their day. But this rant isn’t to change your thoughts or even force you to go to the gym, just take my two cents and be a little more considerate on a daily basis.

I love to workout, but that doesn’t mean I have the perfect body. I eat pizza and ice cream and indulge in the adult beverage more than I should. But I have JUST started to really become comfortable in my own skin in the past few years. I must say working out has given me new appreciation for what my body can actually do and how I can quiet my mind to push limits when I am tired or want to give up. Those that have abs of steal, good for you, but I don’t want to give up eating french fries or pizza. That’s a true sense of mental power and I applaud you.

Another thought, making comments that someone is “skinny” or “fat” can really be hurtful. At the end of the day we have to make our own decisions on what to eat and how we take care of our bodies. We don’t know every individuals issues or even medical history. In the years of running I can see that my body has changed, muscles have formed where there once were none, and I still have “flabby” parts. I’m on a constant path of challenge and yet I now appreciate it as self discovery.

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Photo- Jared C. Wood Photography

This article was sparked by two things-training for my first triathlon and the recent collection of pictures I have had to take for several other posts ranging in the Courier Post newspaper article, Rabbit running team, Mojo Racing, and even this blog. Training for my first tri has really changed my mindset on how to approach things in life and by adding in the discipline of swimming, like biking and running wasn’t enough. I have seen some positive body changes. Training for a triathlon (and I’m only training for a sprint) takes a lot of time and dedication. I have learned that it takes so much planning for workouts and the people that are supportive with my decision to train will be there for me even if they don’t understand why I would want to spend half my day training and go to bed at 9pm. Training has changed my views of how much I can drink and perform the next day (bummer, lol). Then comes the photos. It all started with theCourier Post taking photos of my Mother and I for an article, which appeared on the front page of the newspaper. Then joining the two racing teams- Rabbit and Mojo which needed photos for bios. My only hope is that my story and my photos show that I am a happy and positive person.

My journey is one that I will continue on to be an overall better person. Please know and understand that finding peace within yourself and body image does not come over night. Sometimes I struggle with it still. Some days of course nothing fits right. It will always be one day at a time, just stay focused on your own individual goal and don’t let anyone stop you.

Choose happiness.

 

xo

Leann


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Fourth of July Getaway

To be truthful I did not think I would be lucky enough to have off for the holiday. Well opposite of my assumptions I was able to be off and join Jared in Long Beach Island (LBI) for the remainder of his vacation.

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In my previous two posts I had biked for beer and enjoyed fresh donuts. During the remainder of my trip I tried almost every ice cream shop on the island (no complaints). The beach in Surf City was the way to relax and enjoy the day, but if you wanted to get into the water more than dipping your toe in- the bay was the way to go. Kayaking through the bay was a great upper body workout that allowed me to work on my tan and enjoy the calm waters.

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Daily bike rides or runs filled my mornings followed by local coffee at How you Brewin? The evenings were filled with beautiful sunsets, beverages at the local watering holes, and cover bands that played popular/classic tunes.

While I don’t mind working or even working on a holiday this is a much appreciated time off. Soon I will be back to work and the craziness will ensue. Hopefully everyone had a great 4th of July!

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‘Merica!

xo

Leann