South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


1 Comment

Triathletes Aren’t Born, They’re Made 

img_7693

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.

img_7694

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


Leave a comment

Training is Life

The weekend has come and gone and all I can think about is did I really train as hard as I wanted to this weekend? Could I have pushed harder? Did I give it my all? I feel confident and strong, but does that mean I didn’t really push my muscles and mind hard enough? Not necessarily. I’m learning to listen to my body. I’ve got three more solid weeks on the road to recovery for my ankle. While the specialist has given me the green light to keep training, I have to understand my own personal boundaries.


Saturday I went for a 35 mile ride on the back roads of South Jersey with my Mom and Uncle. We rescued a turtle trying to cross the road and even saw a ground hog who ran out in front of us! Sunday was a swim session with the coach who continues to push my limits and teach me thing to perfect my technique.


Monday I escaped the city to the Jersey shore. I decided to take Monday as my rest day. I drove to Cape May Beach. The southern most beach area for New Jersey. As a child we would take frequent Day trips here.  As I walked the quaint town I found Cape May Running. Either I can’t escape the sport of running or it can’t escape me. I ended up chatting with the owner/triathlete about some new running shoes I am considering trying- newton and ON. He gave great information and we even discussed triathlon training.


Running has become such a large part of my life. I love the positivity and meeting random people that share the same passion. Running has led to biking and now swimming to compete in triathlons. I’ve recently become part of the Mojo Racing team. This group of athletes are amazing- ranging in age and abilities. There are about 100 team members all over the world. The encouragement has been tremendous. As a beginning triathlete I have been able to ask so many questions and even received a half ironman training plan within minutes of asking for suggestions. The Mojo Racing team is affiliated with Love the Pain and The Triumph Project. 


Today I received a running singlet and hat in the mail from Rabbit-a running company  based in California formed by two women runner’s that promote being a runner and dreamer (RAD)! I was lucky enough to snag a spot to represent their running team!

Keep a look out on my Instagram- Southjerseybelle03 to see my latest swimming, biking, or running adventure.

Xo

Leann


1 Comment

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.

img_6881

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.

img_6933

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

 

img_6883

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.

img_6913

Train hard or go home.

xo

Leann


Leave a comment

Will it be easy? Nope.

Will it be worth it? Absolutely. I hate the saying good things come to those who wait. What the hell are you waiting for? If you want something bad enough you have to go out there and suffer for it. No one especially in this day and age are going to hand you anything (few exceptions, but we are not going there).

As you all know by now if you have been reading my blog I injured myself at work and I’ve been totally bummed out about it. I don’t have any kind of cool story to go along with the boot I’m dragging with me, I didn’t save puppies from a burning plane or run an ultra. But this time in recovery, rest, and healing has given me the time to reflect about what my passions are, what drives me, and my plans for after my ankle has healed.

We all tend to go thru times of trial. While in the middle of something we think to ourselves what the hell am I doing here or why am I doing this to myself? My mother always taught me to stick through it, no matter what it may be because there is always a lesson to be learned. Read Jared’s story of how he didn’t want to go to college, struggled through it, and is now working on his master’s degree at an ivy league school. He also shares his many passions on his website.

Today was my first day of physical therapy and my therapist answered and gave me the straight up facts I needed to know to get myself focused on this road to recovery. It was clarified that I tore ligaments or fibers that connect the bone. This explains why there was so much bruising (blood under the skin, gross). He gave me the ok to bike, but I can’t go to crazy! And he fully support swimming because of the lack of pressure. Running is something we will be working back up to.

Zig Ziglar once said, ” Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.” This quote is what leads me to my point of this post. Years of running developed into a habit. It was something fun, to keep me in shape and is now a passion. I’ve never really pushed myself until the last two years. I saw with my dedication to running my times were getting better. With more drive to see improvement I started cycling for cross training where eventually I pushed my limits as far as an 80 mile ride. I’ve already got two centuries (100 miles) lined up for this year. My motivation to stay healthy and in shape as turned into a lifestyle with some serious dedication and life changing goals. With my first triathlon coming up in July I already know that I want to train for an Ironman 70.3 and eventually qualify for the Boston Marathon.

None of these goals I have presented myself with appeared over night. Training for my first marathon was intense. After my second marathon I was so thrilled with my time and my comfortable pacing, I knew I could push myself harder. Each time I set new goals  I also have to hurdle new challenges.

The one saying I do like, if it was easy everyone would do it.

xo

Leann


Leave a comment

Swimming Beneficial to Runners

I don’t have many options for exercise at the moment-so swimming it is! I started to do my research on what benefits swimming has for runners. As you can properly assume there are a ton of great perks for runners.

1-No Impact!!!! This is a total win for me right now. Running can put  a lot of impact on the body particularly the joints.

2-Breathing Control. Proper swim technique forces rhythmic breathing. When you are swimming you have no choice, but to have your breathing under control and this can translate to running which will allow for a more smooth and efficient run.

3-Flexibility. Swimming allow the upper and lower body to develop flexibility and strengthen ligaments throughout the body that will in turn be of assistance in running (ankles and hip flexors).

4-Burns Calories! Swimming is a full body workout. Working arms, legs, back, core, and shoulders. While swimming provides resistance training for your entire body helping burn calories during your swim and even hours after!

So even though I am struggling mentally and physically not being able to run or bike I am starting to appreciate the pool a little more.


Chlorine is turning into my new perfume.

xo

Leann


1 Comment

When Injury Ensues

Well it’s not the end of the world, but when it happened it sure felt like it. After returning from work, I was sent to the doctor. I sprained my left ankle. It is completely swollen, bruised and very sore to touch or put pressure on. I left the doctors office with a boot and feeling discouraged. I was going through a range of emotions, being mad at myself, sad, angry, and extremely frustrated.

Injured-runner1

I’m not an elite athlete, but being active allows me to feel like I’m living a fulfilling life. I’ve seen my own growth and progression of improvement. Each week, month, and year I can see my progress and give myself new goals. A large part of my identity is allowing myself the freedom to be active whether it is swimming, biking, or running. When I am exercising I can put aside all of my worries and anxieties and focus on a happier and healthier me.

Now that I am forced to have my foot up and stay off it as much as possible for recovery I am looking at other ways I keep my mind quiet and stay fit. I’ve considered some other exercises to while I can not bike or run. I think I will still be able to get in the pool if I use a pull buoy to keep my legs still and focus on my arms and breathing. Eventually I think I will be able to focus on more core and upper body exercises as long as I stay off my feet.

I am hoping for a speedy recovery as I look forward to my return to running and biking at full force. I’m visualizing the best possible recovery and being healthier than ever! This time off is going to give me extra time to do research and reading on training plans!

Here’s to the future!

xo

Leann


Leave a comment

Racing Weight

As I’ve become more and more invested in my running and racing I’ve felt the need to educate myself. Everything I’ve learn has been self taught for the most part so please don’t use what I say as the end all be all. I’ve read books, magazines that focus on fitness, and have talked with many other athletes and trainers-we are by no means professionals.  d6fbe7ddae9c75e077db51f6e908f39a

In the last few years I would say I have taken my training to the next level where I compare my race times to previous times, consider my age bracket and where I place, and really have become concerned about my food as fuel. After running the Philadelphia marathon at what I considered was a “comfortable” pace for myself without pushing myself at all I finished in 4:18. To say I was impressed with myself would be an understatement. I followed a strict training schedule and overall ate healthy and restricted myself to having minimum alcoholic beverages.  After that race I realized I wasn’t pushing myself to my full potential. I set new goals. Quicker times and hard races that I plan to work up to- it doesn’t happen over night.

I picked up a book, Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I’m only about a quarter through and I’ve already have learned so much while solidifing some ideas I had about how to fuel when training. 51fqplNG5lL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_One thing I am focused on right now in the reading is high and low quality foods. Fitzgerald developed the Diet Quality Score Calculator or DQS. This gives points to higher quality foods such as fruits and veggies, lean meats, and multi/whole grains. It deducts points for foods that are fatty, high in sugar, or highly processed. You do not need to reach a specific number because every person is different in how much or how little they may eat. If you end up with a negative number you just aren’t eating well.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect at following this, but I like the idea of having this structure. I have days I eat plenty of junk-who doesn’t love some crispy French fries or ice cream now and then. Just trying to keep it to a minimum!

Fitzgerald includes 6 main steps in his book for endurance athletes to follow: improve diet quality, manage appetite, balance energy sources, monitor yourself, time nutrition, and train right. Since I haven’t gotten through the entire book yet I will have more information to share with you later on more of the steps.

e9d662487533296acc4886af64cae813

In the very first chapter I had interesting read about the different body structures of athletes body types depending on what type of sport he/she competes in. Runners tend to be light and skinny, but cyclists having more muscular legs, but a triathlete is a hybrid between the swimmer/cyclist/runner. Fitzgerald explained that the triathlete body type is really its own special body type of lean composition. He even mentioned shorter triathletes do quiet well (Yay-I’m only 5’4”)! Overall this type of athlete needs to have lean body composition.

Back to reading!

xo

Leann