South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.

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Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon

Sunday was the first all women’s triathlon I had ever competed in. Let me just start this blog by saying-don’t under estimate the competition at one of these races! This race was the inaugural event by DelmoSports and if you aren’t familiar with the racing scene-DelmoSports has a hold on everything in the Jersey shore area and facilitates great races.

So let’s get to the nitty gritty and break it down! First year of this race and completely sold out! You have no idea what the competition is going to be like so you best bring your A game!


The Swim-

Normally in a triathlon the swim is in open water-put it in the city and your options are a bit limited. This was a pool swim at Kelly Pool next to the Please Touch Museum. The thing that makes it a bit difficult was it was serpent style-so you swim up and down each lane swimming underneath the lane lines at the end to enter the new lane. It was also self seeded meaning you had to know your approximate time it takes you to swim 400 meters. The swim was a bit of a cluster. They were letting two in at a time and if you started on the right you were already at a disadvantage trying to beat the person next to you to swim under the lane line at the end. I placed myself toward the beginning of the 8:00 minute group which I think was a bit of a mistake on my part. I am an okay swimmer, not my most confident part of the sport, but I’ve been working hard to improve. I normally can finish a 400 m swim just under 8 mins so I should have placed myself up further to avoid the mess at the end of the lane lines. There were times where it was almost impossible to pass people and I ended up swimming in the middle between two athletes to get ahead. With that being said I finished my swim in 7:22

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Transition 1-

Sprinting out of the pool I heard a familiar voice encouraging me to get a move on it. Thanks Will! I got to my bike, plopped down on the ground and threw on my bike shoes on as quick as I could. Strapped my helmet on and starting running with my bike out of transition. Watch that big curb you had to step off of! Time 2:05-Could definitely use some improvement.

The Bike-

I just got a brand new triathlon bike from Liv-the Avow advanced pro. This baby makes a world of a difference when shifting! The course starts out on a nice down hill, but there are a few turns to be aware of. There was a slight climb on the way out of MLK drive and I actually had the road to myself to a bit which was really nice. The turn around point was pretty narrow so I was glad I didn’t have a crowd of bikes around me. You then bike to the other end of MLK and with a nice climb back up the hill to get into transition. I ended the bike in 29:05 which shows great room for improvement- someone light a fire under me please! I averaged around 19 mph on the bike which isn’t horrible, but I know I can put the pedal to the medal a little bit harder.

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Transition 2-

2 sports down, one to go, and I was in my element for sure at this point. The run is “my thing.” Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on, grab the hat, sunglasses, and race belt and go! 1:16 much better! Let’s run!

The Run-

5k=3.1 miles. At first your legs are tight from the bike, but with a short race like this you don’t have much time to really think about it. With only 3 miles to run-you have got to get moving. After about a quarter mile I was starting to get into my rhythm. I settled into a good pace at the first mile of 8:35 and kept pushing. I knew I was getting close to the end and yelled out where is the finish? A spectator yelled back 400m, ok I can let it go now and sprint, but when I turned the corner it was much longer than 400m! I held back some until I really made the final turn and then sprinted to the finish. My run time was 24:12. It felt great with no aches or pains.

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Overall finish time of 1:04:01 and placing 3rd in my AG. I would love to shave off those 4 minutes to make it a flat 1 hour race, but it’s going to take some work. I’ve got another sprint triathlon coming up in two weeks-NJ State. This race brings a great crowd and tough competitors.

I was happy with my performance with the Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon and it just shows me hard work does pay off, I’ve got a way to go to reach my goals, but this is just a stepping stone in the right direction.

Another huge element of this race for me was having 3 of my Savage Tri Team members also racing. I felt like a proud mother hen to have them there representing our amazing team. This group of women are totally relentless, motivated, and badass!

Stay tuned for more race recaps!







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Runners are the Best People

Saturday morning I ran my first 1/2 marathon trail race. I’ve ran many half marathons, but all road races. So 13.1 miles on road versus trail-what could be different right?

Well, alot! First, lets talk shoes-you definitely need different running shoes. Running through grass, rocks, gravel, and climbing/descending lots of hills.

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Second, these trails are pretty narrow. When you run road races, you can span pretty much the ENTIRE road. The beginning of the race was a cluster. Finally, it started to space out! I found a group of three other runners that were pacing the same as I. We ended up running almost the entire race together and they provided great energy and support during the run.

Finally, enjoy your surroundings. This race took place in Pennypack Park. I had never been there to run before, but after this I will be back for sure. It was absolutely beautiful and a great change of scenery for me.

This trail race was set up by Uber endurance sports– 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Trail Race. The race bused us over to the park and back to their German club. After the race you were provided one ticket for a drink and one ticket for a food item-many partaking in the traditional beer and bratwurst! I went into this race with the mindset that my long run this week was 13 miles, so why not change the scenery and challenge myself a bit along the way. I did wear my garmin, but I did not track my pacing during the run, I did what felt comfortable and pushed it out at the end. I am happy to say I came in 4th in my age group at 1:57. This was a surprise to me and confident booster for sure.  There were many sections in the race I really wanted to walk up the hills, but I never walk in a race, why start now. The narrow trails with steps and stones really gave me a run for my money. I stuck to my fueling plan, water and honey stinger energy chews. This works for me and I will not take your nasty Gu sir, it makes me gag!

My support system was there along for the ride. My Mom was also racing and Will was able to show up to celebrate! Sunday, I was going to take as a rest day, but Will convinced me to go on an easy recovery run and I got to try out the Nike Run Club app. I actually talked about this app with the New Yorkers I ran with and they had nothing but great things to say about it. There’s tons of cool options for different lengths of runs. Once I try it a few more times I will share some more details on this!

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Have a great week!




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Keep Showing Up

Another race, another 4th place. To most, this is a great accomplishment. But for me it’s extremely frustrating and I am saying this and reflecting from a good place. But its like a smack in the face (runners you get where I’m coming from). When you find out you could have came in third, by 10 seconds, I really get annoyed. As I look back on my running career, I’ve come a long way.

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Saturday was the Cape May Great Foot Race 10k/5k. I ran the 10k (6.2 miles) and had another 5 on the training plan to finish off the long run of the week (70.3 training!). There are many factors I could blame on my 4th place finish; lack of sleep, loads of assignments to do, allergies, sinus infection, but no this is not the blame game! I was there in the present and ready to take on that race, so I’m taking Dez Linden’s advice (Boston Marathon winner), “Keep showing up. If you believe in yourself, put in the work and stay the course, anything is possible.” 


Running was and is my first love before triathlon, so stay the course I will and I’m going to keep my focus on my training. 4th place is just making me more determined to work harder to get to that podium. For everything else that was going on, I am pretty damn proud of my pacing and placing. The fire is fueling though, so as I take today as a rest day, I’m thinking about how I’m going to tackle next week’s training plan!




Why I did NOT run Broad Street!

This is a highly opinionated post. If you don’t like it I’m not sorry.

I thought about this blog post for 10 (long) miles today. In fact, I feel as if I have to back track for some to explain a bit about myself and how competitive I can be.  I’m training for a half ironman (70.3 miles) and multiple other races, but today’s training included a 10 mile run. In Philadelphia today, was the Broad Street Run. A race that sells out every year and is from North Philly to South. One straight, downhill road that is 10 miles long from start to finish. I ran it last year, as a fun run, not pushing my time. To be completely honest I wasn’t overwhelmingly excited about it or even saw the draw of what was so great about it. I live in the city, I can run Broad street any time I want, so I felt the need to atleast run this race once and see if I saw the hype behind it, but I didn’t. I have to be honest, I know MANY people that run this race every year and then don’t do other run until Broad Street comes up again the next year. You my friend, are not a runner, don’t take offense.

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So today instead of running Broad Street I ran a 10 mile road/trail race in New Jersey-Run the Vineyards at Auburn Road Winery. This race was capped at only 200 runners and challenged me from the start. In the past few years I have started to take myself more seriously when racing, before it just seemed like a fun way to get in shape and now its part of my life and I couldn’t imagine not racing ( I would probably lose my sanity too).

I had my running plan, but I knew this race was going to throw me thru some loops. I don’t do much trail racing so that was going to be tough and the area I was running has a ton of rolling hills. But a majority of the race was on the road, I have my fueling/nutrition down pack. 10 minutes after 8, its time to move! Running out of the vineyard and onto the road. Hill. Hill. Hill. Turn Around. I see two girls pacing together near me and I just can’t seem to get into the groove of things. We are about 5k in and I still don’t feel comfortable. WTF!!!! People are starting to spread out now, we are going off road again and I’ve got to stay focused. Nearing 5 miles and I’m thinking damn, what is wrong with me? I’ve run 10 miles a million times and I feel like my legs are made of cement! I know this is a training run, but come on Leann, you need to kick into gear. My mind was playing with me and I was bound and determined not to let it win. The mental game was real today. Focus. You got this. You are not going to walk.

I get to about mile 7 and I finally start to feel like I my body has relaxed and its doing what its trained to do. My mind has quieted down and I am just focused on staying on pace and getting over these hills. They are literally one after another and I can see one of the leaders in a neon shirt every time he climbs as my warning what ahead.

I spot a lady in front of me that I tell myself, I am going to pass, she’s been pacing in front of me for the past 8 miles, but I’m sorry its time to take it home now. I shout some encouraging words to her as I pass because I could tell she was running out of energy, you had an awesome pace lady in purple, thanks for inspiring me!  2 miles left and I’m enjoying this. It’s not Broad Street at all, this is tough, this is not all down hill. I can finally see the winery! Ah! I freaking made it.

So of course I have to see my results asap, 4th out of 64 in my age group, damn, I have mixed feelings on this. Tough race, I should be proud, I fought for that #4 spot, but the competitive bug in me said next time push harder. How bad do you want it?




Cycling in Spain & Becoming a Better Rider

I have so much to share with you about my experience in Spain. This is the first time in several years at the airline that I actually took my vacation and enjoyed it! There was a slight hiccup at the beginning of the trip that caused a delayed because of bad weather. That’s life and we got out of Philadelphia 2 days later. Onward!

After landing in Madrid, Spain the group I had traveled with then took a 4.5 hour ride to the coast to stay at La Finca a villa in Javea, Spain. I have to be honest on the way there I was thinking where are we headed!?! I learned the region we were headed to is known for cycling and many pros train there. Our fearless leader takes a group every year to Spain to meet up with friends she has made from England that plan this same cycling trip.

The moment I stepped off the bus I was amazed by the courtyard with fresh fruit trees growing-lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. Now it was time to get settled and unpack my bike. To be completely honest out of the three disciplines in triathlon-swimming, biking, and running I had come to realize biking was and is my weakness. I had a little apprehension about the trip because at this time of the season I could only ride inside on the trainer, which was better than nothing, but it just doesn’t transition the same as being out on the road.


Nevertheless, I was excited to get on my bike and ride in a place I had never been before. There were guides that took us out on the rides. Rides were split up by milage every day. Let me remind you-pros train here. Why? Because it’s so hilly!!!!! I am not a strong climber. This trip taught me to embrace my weakness and learn to roll with things. The British riders were so extremely helpful and taught me so much! It wasn’t a race and I was able to focus and learn basic riding mechanics. The views were unbelievable to match the elevation climbs. The descents were some of the scariest I have ever been on. These small roads twist and turn through the hills so there is a technique on how to descend properly (without being roadkill) !

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The trip was wonderful. Something I’m so glad I got to experience. The people were awesome. Many laughs were had. Being surrounded with like minded people is just a really great experience. Flash forward to yesterday when I was bound and determined to go for a bike ride. The sun was shinning, but it was deceiving because the wind was in full force. It was my first time back on my bike since Spain and even though it wasn’t a long ride (16 miles) everything just made sense. My riding skills felt better then ever. Now I thankfully am not dreading all of the training for the triathlon season ahead.


Feet in the pedals and head in the clouds!



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What 2017 Taught Me

Most people write about what their resolutions are for the new year, how they plan to put their very best foot forward, and thats awesome and I totally understand putting pen to paper (or in this case typing it and sharing it with cyber space), but I wanted to do something a little different. I need to reflect for just a few minutes on what I learned in 2017.

2017 started off well for me, until I got an injury!!!! I torn one of the ligaments in my left foot. Well that completely humbled me!!!! I was bound and determined to do everything the doctors said to heal as quickly as possible. I was so thankful after I was officially cleared to go back to work and running. If you know me personally, I am always on the go, I never slow down.

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After getting that final ok from a specialist, this was my first season of triathlon. I fell in LOVE with the sport. I had been running for about 8 years and then started to bike to cross train. The swimming was the only key part missing. I found a swim coach and the rest is history. Honestly, the swimming and biking have really seemed to improve my running too! I have met some awesome people through the sport of triathlon too.

Let’s talk races-I competed in 17 in 2017!!!! I’m not really trying to make that a thing, race the number or the year. Maybe it will happen who knows. I’ve got a list of races for 2018, I will be posting them up in the races/rides link soon!

Between working on my doctorate, working full time for the airline, and training/racing I always have a full schedule. What I learned about myself, anything is possible if you are bound and determined to get it done. You really have to want it bad enough. Everything I have and have done is because of my own hard work. Nothing comes easy and there are no hand outs are cliche sayings, but they are true! Simple lessons I have learned in 2017:

  • Be Kind
  • Work Hard
  • Be Humble
  • Mindset is Everything
  • Love Yourself First
  • Never Give Up

2017 thank you for everything you taught me. 2018 will be another great one for my own personal growth and goals. Stay tuned to see what adventures I have in store!


People will throw stones at you. Don’t throw them back. Collect them and build an empire.



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It’s Officially The Off Season

Off Season, slow season, but defiantly not bored season. You are probably wondering how December of all months can be considered the off season for someone!?! Let me break it down for you.

As a flight attendant even though people are traveling they don’t travel until right before or right after their respected holiday that he/she may celebrate. So families are staying home until school lets out and they can travel near or far for that family vacation. Flight attendants with much more seniority then me will have off for the holiday. So I will be instructing you to place your bag in the over head bin, fasten your seat belt, and remain seated until the seat belt sign is turned off this holiday season. This doesn’t worry me one bit, as I enjoy taking holiday travelers to their destination, but please don’t have to many glasses of holiday cheer before you step on my aircraft.


Next, as it’s December and I can hear the winds howling outside of my windows, its not race season. It’s rebuilding season. So, this off season I have started to get back in the gym and try to build my strength up. Let me tell you planks and the stepper machine are not my friend. But we will make it through until the weather starts to break again or I get to a warm destination where I can be outside! Whatever may come first.


And don’t worry I’ve got my doctoral program to still keep my mind focused. Plenty of reading and writing to finish up this year and next.  And plenty of planning for the 2018 season!

Stay focused and have a great end of 2017!