South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Tri and Tri again…

You are probably familiar with the saying, ” if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Well I’m learning the same goes within the triathlon world. It doesn’t matter how hard you train and how well you think you are prepared or the gear you have when it comes down to race day there are several things that can affect you. What are race conditions? Are you familiar with the area you are racing in? How do you feel? Did you get a good nights rest? And then ofcourse training and gear comes into play. You have to do the work to be prepared, just like studying for an exam, very few people have the ability to not study for an exam and go in and ace it. And even if you did study you may have missed some information or not understand a question. The same applies to a triathlon- if the course is not marked clearly you may swim a couple extra yards or miss a turn on your bike causing you to be set back.

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Today was my second mock tri. This time the swim was in open water. The first mock tri I did the swim was in an outdoor pool. Now I did have the opportunity to swim in the lake prior to the race. This allowed me to have a higher comfort level, understand where the buoys were and sight lines of where to swim (some areas being more shallow then others). Today we jumped in the lake five seconds apart from one another. (Talk about pressure to get moving). My swim went well. I felt pretty comfortable and even passed people! By the time I finished my swim though I was out of breath! Defiantly something I need to work on and as you see from my Garmin results, I forgot to turn off my watch during transition. (Opps). I ran up on land and had an easy transition from my wetsuit to my bike shoes and out on the road I went. img_7907

The bike was comfortable for me. I felt powerful on the fast and pretty flat course. It was all right turns making it easy to navigate with traffic for the most part. After reviewing my pace I was happy with my speed, but would like to build some more power and finish out as close or under 30 minutes if possible.

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The run is my strong point and what I feel should be. I slipped on my new cloud ON running shoes and headed back out on the road. If you have ever heard the term brick it is in reference to biking then running because your legs feel like bricks!!! It takes a little adjusting, but it’s best to keep moving. My pace was steady and at the turn around I heard someone shout, I’m going to pass you. That’s all I needed to motivate me to go faster. (lol) The run was just a smidgen under 3 miles, but it felt great.

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Overall, I was pretty happy with my overall times and how I felt. I know I can improve upon the breathing techniques in the swim, build more power on my bike, and speed up my run. It’s good to have your own goals. It’s going to take time and practice to push myself harder, but I like the challenge.

Love the pain!

xo

Leann

 


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Triathletes Aren’t Born, They’re Made 

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riding thru my hometown

Building off my last blog post about training being part of my lifestyle. I just want to give you a little insight to what things look like day to day. Today started with a 6am bike ride for an hour. I got up around 5am to get some coffee in my system, because if you truly know me I am not a morning person. Please give me coffee before you ask me to do anything. I had to limit my ride to an hour before I had to be back home to get showered and head out to physical therapy ( I’m in week 2 of the final 3 weeks)! After a day of running errands, doing some homework (yes still working on my doctorate), and taking a quick 30 minute nap I was prepping for an open water swim. If I’m not up getting in a morning ride, its either an early swim or early run (how else can I fit it all in). In fact, tomorrow morning at 6am I’m taking a master’s swim class. Now masters does not refer to education level, its a swim class for anyone over the age of 18. The class will be an hour long with other swimmers and a coach.

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So much to do so little time

Getting back to my open water swim that I did tonight-this swim was in a lake. Open water swimming does not bother me as I used to scuba dive when I lived in Florida. My mom who is also training for the triathlon is not such a fan of the water, but she did great tonight. The lake was marked out with buoys for a quarter mile distance. The temperature was actually pretty nice probably high 60s. We quickly covered about a half a mile in distance.

After a full day, I’m prepping for another day of training tomorrow. Start with the swim, back to PT, and in the evening I will either get back on the bike or go for a short run. This sport takes dedication. There are times I doubt myself and times I ask why I am doing this, but when I reflect I realize how much I truly love this sport. I feel great after my workouts and sometimes you have to love the pain. You are your own competition. I am committed to pushing myself to be the best I can possibly be.

This not a hobby, this is a lifestyle.

xo

Leann


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Global Running Day

Today is Global Running Day! If you have the time and energy, get outside or even on a treadmill and get a quick run in! I just wanted to write a post about how much running has changed my life for the better and what the sport has done for me.

After graduating from my undergrad-Temple University in 2009 I moved to Florida and this is were my running career started. After about six months in Florida I was not ready to return to the Northeast, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I started working in hospitality which allowed me time to figure out what my next move would be. While working in the hospitality industry I met so many wonderful people. This is how I found out about so many races that occur in Florida. I figured if these people were running, I could too. At first it was just something to keep me in shape, but I quickly learned it was so much more than that.  While living in Florida I ran my first 3k, 5k, obstacle course with 5k, and half marathon. Eventually I signed up for other races and began running all over the United States where ever I was and even a race in London.

Running has made me a healthier and happier person. I was never a morning person, sometimes I still struggle with getting up early, but I can attest that running has helped me recognize its not so bad. Running in the early morning when things are still quiet and peaceful is completely enjoyable. I’ve learned I can push past my limits and challenge myself. I no longer believe there’s no way I could accomplish something. If I put my mind to it, I’m going to do it, no matter what it is. If you would have asked me 6 years ago if I would ever run 26 miles I would have laughed and said there would be no way. Now I’m looking to go further and run an ultra, complete a triathlon, and even qualify for the Boston Marathon. There is no better feeling in the world than the endorphins I get after a run.

Running has also taught me it is important to fuel your body properly. My eating habits have improved greatly. As a child I looked forward to my weekly happy meal. Nothing could come between me and my hamburger, fries, and diet coke. HAHA! And those Wendy’s chicken nuggets! I could never get enough of them. Years have passed and I no longer crave that food, but I am always looking for new healthy recipes to try out. I try to educate myself on what foods I should be eating to give myself more energy and recover quicker.

I’ve gone from dreading running to simply being upset if I don’t get a run in. The running community is full of great people who are always willing to encourage and share training info along the way. It’s never too late to change your lifestyle. Get out there and give it a try!

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When your legs get tired, run with your heart.

xo

Leann


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My First Tri

After making the decision to compete in a triathlon, today was my first opportunity to actually attempt a swim, bike, and run consecutively. There are five different lengths of triathlons; super sprint, sprint, olympic, half ironman, and ironman. The two triathlons I have signed up to compete in this summer are both of the sprint distance. A sprint tri consists of a quarter mile swim. One then transitions from the water to the bike to ride 10-12 miles then back to transition to run a 5k (3.1 miles). Each event separately is not overly difficult for me, but try to complete them one after the other creates a bit of a challenge. The swim portion is my weakest link, but I have been feeling more and more confident recently after a few months of swim lessons.

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Prepped to go before the race

Today the swim portion took place in an outdoor pool, to complete a quarter mile you must swim 16 laps. The water was cold, but after a lap down and back my body quickly adjusted to the temperature and I started to focus on my breathing to keep on pace. I hopped out of the pool and jogged over to my bike where I slipped on my biking shoes. I just purchased a tri specific bike shoe from Garneau, but I didn’t get time to adjust the cleats yet! I then took my bike out for a very hilly 10 mile ride. Looking for the positives in the hills, once you work your way up, you get to coast down! The run portion of this was only 2 miles and by this point in the morning even though still early, was very hot! This 2 mile run was an out and back with one big hill to conquer.

This race was completely organized for and by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club. It was great practice before an actual race, there was no pressure, only bragging rights in the end. The race was over much faster than I expected and I enjoyed every moment. I was very happy with my overall performance and the times reflected in my Garmin watch.

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Some of the women that completed the triathlon this morning.

When preparing for your race the night before its key to write down each segment of the race and what is needed. For example

Swim

  • Goggles/Swim Cap

Bike

  • Helmet/sunglasses/bike shoes

Run

  • Sneakers/sunglasses/socks

Other key items include:

  • Sunscreen/lip balm/body glide/water/energy gels or chews/hat or visor

 

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My first try at a triathlon was a complete success. I’m excited to get in some open water swims soon and start prepping to train for longer distance triathlons such as the half ironman- 70.3 miles to complete between swimming, biking, and running.

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Train hard or go home.

xo

Leann


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Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family. 

I had a story I wanted to share on the blog, but I didn’t know how to spin it or how I was going to include my father. After this weekend I’m glad I waited and I am able to share these two seperate stories as one that allows me to tell you about my family.

As I child I was pretty active playing soccer year round. I wasn’t the star on the team, but I could hold my own. Eventually my Dad became my soccer coach as the town needed someone to volunteer their time. Everyone thinks at first it will be cool to have their parent as their coach- think again kids. He was extra hard on me because I was his kid. I can still remember a time where I hurt my ankle and I played the entire rest of the half until he was convinced I was actually hurt. My Father by no means is the athletic guy. 405718_10100569194795943_395316907_nI just learned he quit his high school football team even though he probabaly would have been great because his size and stature. Soccer gave my Father and I something to bond over and fight about all in the same. When I eventually burned out on playing soccer I gave field hockey a try, something I enjoyed, but eventually learned that my heart wasn’t in it.  I had been playing soccer since I was 5 years old! In my junior year I decided I would go back to playing soccer, but only problem was my high school did not have a girls team! The team allowed girls to try out if you could keep up! So the summer before my junior year I enlisted the help of my mom who has always been active and athletic. Long story short I made the team and both my parents were very supportive, never doubting my abilities or choice to join the boys soccer team.

Fast forward, over a decade later. A newspaper reporter reaches out to my mom and I. About what you ask? Our progression from running races together- 5ks to half marathons to marathons and now our biggest challenge a triathlon. You can read the full article here.  The completed article appeared on the cover of the Courier Post on Mother’s Day!

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My Mother and I have always had a strong relationship. She’s been my best friend and number one supporter from the beginning. We still have that amazing bond, but it’s gotten stronger and we challenge each other to push out of our comfort levels.  I don’t believe my Mom thought I would push myself and her to the ideas we have now of training for a half ironman which covers 70.3 miles between swimming, biking, and running. The thing is I’ve seen our progression from self training and it’s been amazing. This is the first year we have enlisted the help of coaches to take us to the next level. So proud of you Mom. Thanks  for never telling me goals were crazy or out of reach. You have always told me if I want it bad enough then I have to work for it because it’s not going to be easy.

Just this weekend we were out to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. He’s one of those guys who will never tell you what he wants and really doesn’t need another shirt. It dawned on me we still have not been to see the Philadelphia Union ( Philly’s own MLS team). My Dad is far removed from his side line coaching days, but this game is something that brought us together. As we cheered on the Union who brought home a win Saturday night-we booed the Rapids and gladly cheered when the referee threw yellow and red cards at the opposing team.

There was an awesome energy in the newly and specially built stadium for the Union as the challenge for Philly to get a major league soccer team was a struggle. The Sons of Ben (SOBs) fought for this team long before they were even a thought. The story and Netflix documentary captured my interest if you have the time check it out.

Both my Mom and Dad although have very different styles of encouragement have been there for me. Each supportive in their own way and challenge me on a daily basis to be a better me.

Whoever may be there for you at the end of the day make sure you recognize it.

Xo

Leann

 


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When the Tough Gets Going…

I start cooking. When I’m frustrated like the other day I tend to either workout, cook, or both. I happened to try out 3 recipes from the book Eat Slow Run Fast. img_6009This book full of recipes focusing on eating healthy and properly fueling for an active lifestyle specifically running. The two women that wrote this book focus on eating organic, natural, whole, healthy, and less processed foods. They do explain that yes this does tend to cost more, but leads your body to feeling better. Sometimes we need to slow down our busy lifestyles and cook good wholesome meals. These meals, snacks, and sauces can also be prepped for future meals and reheated later. Thus far I can highly recommend this book!

 

The first recipe I tried out was the whole fruit juice drink- Grapefruit Carrot Berry. I have a vitamix, but I’m sure any full powered blender or juicer may do the job. The juice was very refreshing and filling. The drink contains coconut water, ginger, carrots, grapefruit, and a handful of berries (your choice of strawberries or blueberries).


Next was the superhero muffins, suggested as morning fuel on the go or something great to snack on during a long run. This muffin is delicious, but it seriously has a ton of ingredients. Just to ramble off a few-zucchini, carrot, almond flour, oats, rasins, walnuts, and it’s held together with maple syrup, eggs, and butter! They cooked up beautifully. I put half the batch in the freezer to have later in the month.


Lastly was the simple marinara! I’m half Italian and I don’t make my own sauce. What a shame right! I make a lot of different Italian dishes but I’ve never really attempted sauce or as some call it gravy! Finally this recipe seemed simple enough for even me to try and led me to be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s the recipe:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, if you like spice)
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft but not brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes (along with their juices), oregano, black pepper, and pepper flakes (if using). If the tomatoes are whole, break them up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour 30 minutes for a thicker, richer sauce.

Leave the sauce chunky or blend with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Just before serving, stir in the basil (if using)

I do tend to like a spicier Fra Divalo type sauce so I did add the red pepper flakes and it gave it nice kick. I used diced tomatoes and the sauce does come out on the chunkier side  so depending on what type of pasta you are using I would use an immersion stick to thin it out some.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

xo

Leann

 


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Belly Hungry Vs. Head Hungry

Managing my appetite, especially when I’m training can be difficult. Work out more and my appetite just seems to grow unreasonably.  As promised, this is some more information from Matt Fitzgerald‘s book- Racing Weight. Being able to tell the difference between actual belly hunger (physical hunger) or head hunger (hedonic hunger) can be a struggle sometimes. 51fqplNG5lL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Belly hunger signs are the desire to eat because of rumbling in the stomach where head hunger is eating just for pleasure. Fitzgerald explained that actual belly hunger is marked by an empty stomach, an increase of hungry hormones-ghrelin, and low blood glucose. Head hunger is not actual hunger! It is temptations, cravings, habit, or even emotional state. We are all fully guilty of eating something we shouldn’t, but it looks so good.

So what determines how much we eat you ask? Fullness. Portions. Environment. There are levels of fullness that include just barely eating enough to being uncomfortable. Each individual needs to find the acceptable level proper for him/her. Portions especially in America are drastically larger than need to be and very calorie dense.  Environment plays a part in this as we tend to eat the same amount of food as those we surround ourselves with no matter if we would eat that portion regularly.

Try not to over eat. It’s much easier said then done. I can stand by this. Learning the difference between belly and head hunger can be a huge help. Listen to your body. What does it need? Clean out the fridge and pantry and try to keep healthy foods and snacks stocked to make easy decisions when you are hungry.

Learn what your body needs!

xo

Leann