Wind? Well I like Windy City Pizza!

My pal Meghan has decided to join me on my triventure. A few weeks ago we did some biking and walking together, and last Sunday we decided to hit Ft. Desoto to start on the swimming. Meghan is an excellent swimmer— excellent meaning lifeguard, swim teacher, etc. Definitely a bunch of ladder steps above me. She’s not thrilled about the open water swimming though, especially deep water, so I found this to be an excellent opportunity… she’ll help me with my technique, and I’ll help her by panicking louder and more insanely than her, making her look completely normal. See? It’s a win-win.

We hit the water a little later in the day, meaning more people, but that was ok. In my head, more people=more options at the buffet. I was hoping to be the jello mold at the very end that nobody ever touches.

Unfortunately, more people made things a little more difficult. Not only was my brain focused on the deep water and sharks, now I was also worried about running into people! To make things worse… it was pretty windy. Wind=waves. Apparently I’m not good at swimming with waves (lol). Fortunately, Meghan was there to give me some much needed tips on taking breaths, learning to follow the pattern of the waves, and other things to focus on aside from death. It wasn’t until the last 100yds of our 600yd swim that I felt like I was getting somewhere. We didn’t venture out into any depths, since there were too many other factors to deal with. Next time kids, next time.

I will say this though: wind and waves— I dare you to show your ugly face again!

It was late in the day, but we decided to do the bike. This would be Meghan’s first time tackling the 10 mile road stretch of Ft. Desoto, but I knew she would have no problem! I told her about the landmarks, and how to not be run over by a car, and off we went. By the flag pole (3 miles), she was contemplating just turning around and calling it a day, but she ventured on, and before we knew it, we at reached the end. I bet she’ll be ready for a tri way before I will! (lol).

It was extremely hot, too hot to do anything on foot, so we packed it up and headed for home.

Sometime during the middle of the week a new triathlete meetup was scheduled. We were both psyched about it! It had been a while since the group was together, so we were definitely excited.

Remember that thing about wind and waves? Well, apparently, neither of them listened.

You see, when you live in Florida, it is impossible to schedule ANY outdoor activity in the summer, because you just don’t know what the weather is going to surprise you with!

At 6:30am, the dogs woke me up for a bathroom break. That’s when I heard it.

Rain. Glorious rain! Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. I just complained about the weather, and waves and wind. Yes, yes I know. But remember… I may be trying to become a triathlete, but there is a fat girl still deep inside there. A fat girl who sees rain and thinks— CANCELLED! But the triathlete shut her up and felt dissapointed. I really did want to be out there today. After all… practice makes insane perfect.

I texted some of the members, including Meghan, and we all came to the same conclusion. The radar maps showed some major storms coming our way, so Ft. Desoto was a wash out.

I jumped on Facebook and started chatting with Meghan about the cancellation. She was feeling the same way. For a moment, she was happy about the gloomy weather, but after she thought better of it- the packing and preparation (both mental and physical), she too was dissapointed. So we made the decision to take our happy, motivated, sore asses (from biking!!) to the Upper Tampa Bay Trail for our own little tri-session.

Within 20 minutes we were both at the parking lot unloading our gear. The weather had cleared up just enough for us to complete 10 miles on the bike and a 5k! It didn’t start raining again until about a tenth of a mile remaining. We really lucked out, and we felt GREAT. So much better than getting back into bed would have felt.

By the way. Our biking experience? Faster, stronger and less exhausting. Thank you new tires!

October 3… I see you creeping closer and closer. Stay back! Stay back! ::cracks whip:: I’m not ready for you just yet!


McNugget? McNoWay!

Since it’s my last official week of summer vacation, I decided to get as much tri training in as possible- which included finding a good (and cheap) location for some lap swimming. I stumbled across a website called Beginner Triathlete. One of the forums had mentioned Bobby Hicks as being a really nice facility in Tampa for swimming. I decided to try it out today and see if it would be a good fit.

As anyone knows, Tampa is notorious for summer afternoon rains, so at around noon I decided to hit the pool, as the rains were already coming. I googled the directions, got my gear and hit the road. It was pretty easy to find, and only about ten minutes from my house. I decided to loop around the block and check things out from the car first. There was a handful of people there- some there for leisure and some for sport. It seemed as though they had about eight lanes open, four of which were being used by what looked to be some hard-core swimmers. I could see their swim caps in between their arm and leg splashes zooming through the dividers. Pros. Dammit.

Fat girl syndrome set in.

You see, when you’re not “lean and mean”, jumping in and being side by side with these “athletes” can be very intimidating. No one wants to be laughed at nor ridiculed. No matter how much confidence one says they have, it’s never easy to hear negative comments. Smug looks are always a hard gulp of sea water to swallow.

After sitting in the car for a good 2 or 3 minutes, I decided to suck it up and get out of the car. I walked up to the entrance and read some information posted on a bulletin board. “$2 entry fee, cash only”.

Score! I didn’t have cash!

So I happily got back in the car, turned on the tunes and pulled out of the parking lot.

It only took about four seconds for me to start feeling like a total loser.

After a pep talk from my bff, I drove myself to the nearest McDonald’s, pinched my nose, closed my eyes and felt my way to the ATM machine (McDonald’s doesn’t charge any ATM fees to credit union customers, but it’s best to walk in there Helen Keller style, as to not risk a sudden diversion to the value menu).

I got in my car and drove back to the pool. I wasn’t going to chicken out this time.

With cash in hand, I marched up to the lifeguard’s office without a second thought, signed the “Do Not Drown” waiver, and walked up to an open lane. The hardest part was over. I was standing in front of the pool, ready to jump in. I threw off my shorts, exposed my non-swimmer thighs, sprayed some sunscreen, got my swim cap and goggles and sat on the edge. While my sunscreen dried, I watched the other swimmers, noticing their techniques and speeds. I looked down into the water, and realized it was D-E-E-P. Now pools don’t really scare me too much, but jumping into some majorly deep water can be shocking for a moment. I scooted in, wet my hair and threw my cap on. As I was getting situated, it started to rain a little. A swimmer in the lane to my right came over and cracked a joke about “getting wet”, which suddenly made him seem less like an “Olympic swimmer” and more like just another corny smart ass.

That one little joke was enough to help me break the proverbial ice and start up. I threw on my goggles and started crawling. I ignored the really deeeeeep part of the pool to my right and focused on the lines underneath me. Once I got my breathing down, I was feeling like a catamaran, cutting through the water. By the start of the heavy rains, I had already completed 800yds. Although I had to take a break every now and then, and even did some laps on my back, I kept moving.

When the whistle blew I was pretty tired, but I felt like I had accomplished something major. I may not have been nearly as fast as the other swimmers in the pool, but I worked on strengthening my upper body, and getting my breathing under control. Two important parts of my tri training.

I may take a swim rest tomorrow, but I will be hitting Bobby Hicks again this week. It feels really good to spend $2 on lap swimming. Not McNuggets.


A Farmer’s Life for me

Usually, I reserve my farmer’s market trips for the fall
when pumpkins are a plenty, or late winter when, in Plant City,
Strawberries are plump and ready for purchase. But when you’re on a
budget, your local farmer’s market might be just the place to
really make your dollar stretch!

Today I
decided to pay a visit to Parksdale Farms out in east Tampa. As I
pulled up, I realized that the parking lot seemed a little scarce.
It was then that I read the sign “Closed until August 22”


I decided to head
back west and hit another market that I had bought strawberries at
earlier in the year. Johnson’s Produce Stand off Branch Forbes Road
and I-4 is a great family owned market where the produce is fresh
and the prices are just my style. I was able to get a plethora of
fresh fruits and veggies for a fraction of the price I would have
paid at the supermarket. For $17.00, I got:
6 limes, 4
lemons, 1 eggplant, 2 baskets of cherry tomatoes, 2 mangoes, 2
avocados, 1 cantaloupe, 3 cucumbers, 4 yellow squash, 5 nectarines,
2 onions, and 3 bulbs of garlic.


And if you take a look at my
pics below, you’ll see that all of these little gems are a decent
size! No puny plants here.

So the next time
you have a moment, try a local farmer’s market. You’ll be glad you


OWS- Can’t we be friends?

I just got back from my final summertime vacation before school starts up again (barf). My family and I went down to Key West for a little extended weekend, which gave me the perfect opportunity to work on my weakest tri sport—- swimming! Not only would I have a plethora of open water opportunities, but the house that we were renting also had a pool (score!).

Like I’ve mentioned before, I come from a family of swimmers, scuba divers, snorkelers and water skiers. Water sports come naturally to most of them, so I knew they would be partaking in all of these adventurous actives in the beautiful clear waters of the Keys. I tried to get into a “you can do it” mentality before I left, but I failed epically.

The first day of vacation, Kristin and I decided to take a drive up to Bahia Honda State Park. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs, and untouched mangroves as far as the eye can see. Kris brought her snorkeling gear, and I brought my swim cap and goggles. I left my fins behind so that I could work on strengthening my upper body in preparation for my first tri. Everyone keeps telling me that if I use my legs too much during the swim, I’ll regret it during the bike and run! So arms it is. Kris decided to go out a little deeper where the coral reefs were, while I decided to not take my chances and swim a little closer to shore. I marked out what I thought was about 100 yards, threw my head in the water and started crawling. The ocean was calm, and the water was so incredibly clear, it was like I was swimming in a pool (damn you Ft. Desoto). I reached my first goal and mapped out another 100 yards, then swam back to the start, completing 400 yards total. I was feeling good, and I noticed my breathing was improving. Before, I was taking breaths at the first, sometimes second stroke. Now, I was taking breaths on the fifth and sixth! (yay!) I decided to do another 200 yards before I called it quits.

Before we got out of the water, Kris convinced me to come out to the tippy tip edge of the coral reef and see a conch. I saw it. Then swam back. lol. I’ll get there. Really I will.

I was able to use the pool all week long, getting about 400-600 yards in each time. I really made a great effort to work on my breathing and my stroke, and within days I was feeling like a much stronger swimmer than when I first started out! I read a great article in Triathlete Magazine about beginner swimming techniques that gave me so much information on how to improve my swim. Now if I could just tackle the deep water, I’ll be golden!

One day during my trip, my uncle took us out on his boat for some fishing and snorkeling adventures. I really wanted to get into the water and do some swimming, but the 14ft depth was totally freaking me out. Thank goodness I won’t have to swim in 14ft of water during a tri! (hopefully).

Even though I only tackled one open water swim during my Key West adventure, I still feel like I made some major progress in my swimming! Hey, feeling good about what I’m doing is half the battle, right?

On another note, I purchased some tri goodies! My swimsuit came in, but unfortunately, it was too big and lacking support, so I had to send it back. As soon as I get my credit I will be purchasing another! To make up for that disappointment, my tri charm came in! (and it fit just right lol.) I found it while searching around Etsy (a site for all things handmade). I attached a picture below, and if you’d like to order one for yourself, check out Jessica’s Gifts! I’ve also picked up a tank to wear during the bike and run portion of the tri, to wear over my swimsuit (to spare any horror to onlookers). It’s a dri-fit Nike tank which happened to be on clearance (whoo!). I bought an xl men’s, thinking I would get a little more length. Check out the Nike online store if you’d like to buy one before they all sell out!

The last bit of exciting news that I’d like to share is:
1. I have another tri training partner! It looks like my pal Meghan is going to be joining me on this endeavor. We did some biking and walking this week, and we’ll be tackling open water swimming soon! (she’s not too thrilled about the OWS, so we’ll be getting our funoodles ready together)

2. My parents booked a weekend at Turtle Beach Campground in Siesta Key for the weekend of October 3rd… which happens to be the weekend of the Siesta Key Shark’s Sprint Tri. Coincidence?

3. I’m ordering 2 bike accessories: road tires and handle bar extenders. I’ll be flying in no time!

4. The weight loss has begun! FINALLY!

I’m feeling good. Real good. =)