iTryathlon Youth Sprint: Strawberry’s Perspective

Today’s post is a guest post from my favorite ginga ninja.  Last weekend Strawberry participated in the iTryathlon Sprint Tri.  So here’s the perspective of a Sprint Tri through the eyes of an 8-year old.

Standing at the starting line in a sea of women and looking petrified

Standing at the starting line in a sea of women and looking petrified

Strawberry’s Overview (Self-Typed):

Age Group Awards (Placed 2nd of 7)

Age Group Awards (Placed 2nd of 7)

So  i did it. I didn’t do very well though but i got second place in my age group. The running was really hard but it was just that big hill that slowed me down but i did the full itryathlon.  I was really bad at the biking super bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But the rest i was okay with the swim was really hard.

I was really struggling I saw Heather when i was running up a really big hill.  It was about 1 mile long, but the rest of the run was downhill so i just sprinted the rest of the way. Bike time I was really good at the up hill but not the big hill. I saw a dead goose i was just thinking of all the ways it it could’ve died and that goose did not look pretty for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So what do I do? Ride fast. I didn’t see it the second lap the helpers may have cleaned it up.

Photo by Mr. Heather

Photo by Mr. Heather

Strawberry’s Q&A (Spoken aloud and typed by Mom)

What was your favorite part?
Probably the running because it was the easiest.  It was the perfect temperature and I got to run through the clouds because it was still foggy.


What was the hardest part?
Biking for sure.  I didn’t have a gear shifting bike and people were zooming past me and I just kept going the same pace.  I felt a little depressed watching them zoom by.

In the transition area.  Thanks to mega volunteer Julie for this snapshot.

In the transition area. Thanks to mega volunteer Julie for this snapshot.

How did you feel when you were finished?
Sick but proud.  I felt like I might barf because it was hard to swim and catch my breath.  I almost threw up in the pool.  Ugh.  

Mom swimming me into the finish line

Mom swimming me into the finish line

If you did it again what would you do differently?
Probably do better on the biking.  I would like to have a gear shifting bike, not a BMX bike by then.  I might work to be a little faster.

How do you get through the hard parts of a race when you want to quit?
Don’t quit.  You have to stay strong and know it’s not about winning, it’s about having fun.  I kept thinking about what it would be like to finish a full triathlon and that made me finish.  You’ve gotta think strong to feel strong.

Just out of the pool!

Just out of the pool!

What would you tell other kids who are thinking about doing a triathlon?
It’s hard but you feel proud of yourself.  

At the awards ceremony - placed 2nd in his AG out of 7.  Go kiddo!

He was so happy at this very moment!


iTryathlon Race Recap

Saturday was the Renegade Race Series iTRYathlon.…and there’s so much to say – so you’ll hear more about it later, but mostly I want to give you the adult race recap for now…and the kid experience down the road….


First of all, I’m a total non-triathlete (this race confirmed this), but I really looked forward to this event to really try and stretch myself.  With about 3 weeks from “I’m going to do this” to race day, it wasn’t much time to physically train, but it was enough time to mentally piece myself together.  Good news – I got lots of pictures.  Bad news – I’m probably going to post most of them here….

If last year’s race was well done, this year’s was even better.  Between my much hated race day packet pick up (hello, race pickup party of 4 = chaos) and some major organizational errors like having the wrong bib number Sharpie tattooed on my body (sadly I can’t pass for an 6-year old boy, maybe an 11-year old one, but definitely not 6).

Margot and I at the starting line of the race.

Margot and I at the starting line of the race.

Performance Deets

5k – 21:03
Transition 1:  57 seconds
Bike (9 miles) – 33:58
Transition 2 – 2:03
Swim (200 yards) – 4:45

-Kid Zone. It’s truly, truly inspiring.  Let me tell you – this was no picnic for Strawberry.  His swim got incredibly rough (enough that a lifeguard had to jump in and I had to swim next to him to finish him home) and he was fighting mental wall after mental wall but knowing he tried his best (not doing THE best) was so important.  I watched Vanilla power through after getting tripped and taking a nasty spill at the starting line.  In addition, Vanilla and Chocolate officially became triathletes when they finished the race.

Proud yes...but Vanilla is still mad at the kid who tripped him at the starting line and made him fell.

Proud yes…but Vanilla is still mad at the kid who tripped him at the starting line and made him fell.

-2nd Place for Breakfast.  Apparently we put a little 2nd place AG sugar in our breakfast this morning because little red and I both snagged the title.


Check out who’s arms are 9 shades darker than her mid-section? #runnerstan

-AG Alma Mater.  In a super fun turn of events the woman who placed first in my AG was wearing a sweatshirt from my alma mater (University of Illinois)- and turned out to be a graduate as well- so it was an awesome added bonus to represent.  We were sure to make a scene and high five about it in front of everyone at the awards ceremony.

I-L-L- I-N-I - Representing some serious midwest alma mater

I’m pretty sure we’re having too much fun for the moment.  We had just awkwardly publicly high fived I-L-L- I-N-I – Representing some serious midwest alma mater

-Awesomesauce.  I think one of the greatest things in life is watching kids realize just how amazing they are.  All afternoon long, Chocolate kept mentioning how awesome he felt about the race.  When I did the last “tuck in” before I went to bed, I had to peel his medal from his sweaty little fist.  Awesomesauce indeed son.

-Familiar Faces – One of the best thing about these moderate-sized local races is you get to see a lot of familiar faces. From chasing Margot most of the race to seeing Heather before and after, and seeing Julie and Kelly volunteering on the course – it was most definitely comforting to see so many familiar faces along the way.

Chatting it up with Heather post race - whatever I was saying was clearly very dramatic.

Chatting it up with Heather post race – whatever I was saying was clearly very dramatic.  “Died, I almost DIED I tell you!”

The Not So Highlights
-Dead Legs.  Wanting to quit at mile 2 on the 5k because my legs hated me.  I was watching the speedy Margot peel away. Honestly around mile 2.5 I was done and wondering where I was going to have any energy left in my legs to finish the rest of the morning’s festivities.

Even if it's disguised as a triathlon - 5k's still suck.

Even if it’s disguised as a triathlon – 5k’s still suck.

-That’s Ugly.  So I took the bike to pool transition a little too fast and was totally winded when I jumped in.  Note:  This is bad.  I literally couldn’t keep my face in the water.  I swam with my face out most of the time and was incredibly awkward.  I knew that there was a cluster of us in my age group so my goal was to just go.  I’m pretty sure at one point I heard the kids on the side line go: “Is she okay?  Why is she doing that?” about my swimming.

Channeling my inner Dory with some, 'Just keep [ugly] swimming....

Channeling my inner Dory with some, ‘Just keep [ugly] swimming….

The end of the swim was such a fog and I was completely in over my head with the water, and the physical ability to get my breathing and body to align…it was scary ugly and just plain scary by the last few minutes.  I just knew that I had 2 women nipping at my heels and was trying to make up as much time as possible.

I've never been so happy to climb out of a pool...

I’ve never been so happy to climb out of a pool…

When all was said and done I went from iTryathlon to iTrySleeping

IMG_4506A huge thanks to Renegade Racing for letting the boys and I participate in this event.  They might have provided this opportunity, but we would have been there either way because we love their races, and particularly this event.

True Confession Thursday: All The Lazy Things

Workout Recap:  NOTHING

So I am basically way in #lazymode today.  I don’t know why but it’s there.  I literally couldn’t get myself to do anything today (aside from working a full day).  I packed my swimsuit in my gym bag and then proceeded to blaze right past the gym.  I thought about running, but the thought of tying my shoes was exhausting.  I looked at my bike, then poured a bowl of Raisin Bran for a snack.

Actual screenshot from yesterday

Actual screenshot from yesterday

Yes I declared running up the stairs the WOD (Workout of the Day).  I will justify it by saying, at least I ran fast, and I was winded.  For like 3 seconds.

Just how lazy am I?  My mother and I were discussing how sometimes you make questionable clothing choices.  You know, like the other day when I wore my biking shorts to the gym.


Which wouldn’t be a huge deal, except there’s that lovely crotch liner thing that was, you know…..SHOWING.  It wasn’t awkward at all.

1332261703384_6797466This Saturday is the iTRYathlon (see…I’m not lazy, I’m just tapering….or at least that’s what I’m telling myself).  I know I’ve written about this event a bunch of times, but it seriously is one of my favorite events and I am incredibly excited for a fun family morning!

What was the last embarrassing thing you did?

Any exciting plans this weekend?


Mind Over Matter

The other day was a significant day in the life of Strawberry….we learned a lot of lessons.  Most importantly, he learned the way to his mother’s heart early in the morning is to figure out how to make coffee.

IMG_4439The whole day was laced with meaningful conversations but he shared some serious conflict about the upcoming iTryathlon he’s participating in.  I have repeatedly told him he doesn’t need to do it, but he insists this is what he wants to do, despite his fears. (Sidenote: I  have NO idea where he gets this from. ;) )

Yes, he’s doing the full thing (3 mile run, 9 mile bike, 200 yard swim).

Strawberry:  What if I fall off my bike?  What if someone runs me over?  What if I fall off my bike and someone runs me over?
Me:  Uhh….errr….I’m kinda afraid of the same thing kid.  When was the last time you fell off your bike though, seriously?
Strawberry:  Yesterday.
[mother fail]

On a training run

On a training run

Here was the next life lesson this little bugger had to learn:  he has the “it” gene.  You know those people who drive you crazy?  The ones who can literally put their mind to something that’s humanly possible, but way outside the realm of expectation and can….well….nail it.

That’s him.  Raffle tickets – he’s probably got the winning one.  Bust out a sub 25-minute 5k at 7 years old.  Why not?  Your mom asks you to try and prove you’re ready for a triathlon without ANY training and do a 3 mile run and 10 mile bike – in his sleep (I really didn’t think he could do it).  Learning how to add and subtract fractions?  Did it on Monday morning before breakfast.  He’s actually been dying to write a blog post, I told him he can do a recap after the race on Saturday, but honestly I’m afraid he’ll probably do a better job  and take over the blog…

When I grow up….I want to be like him.

That said, I’m actually a little jittery about this weekend.  I’ve got niggly hammy which has been on and off since May, I still freak out going fast on my bike, I spent an hour the other day trying to figure out how to work the darn brakes so how am I actually supposed to, you know, use it, and in typical female fashion – I don’t know what to wear.

Didn’t I go through this last year?  Yes, and clearly I didn’t learn my lesson.

Do you have any littles you actually look up to?

What fear are you facing these days?

Whole ‘Nother Level

Weekly Recap
Monday – 4 Miles Running
Wednesday – 6 Miles Running
Friday – 2,000m Swimming (with super creeper dude), 4.5 miles walking
Saturday – 10 miles running, 1,200m swimming
Sunday – 10 miles biking (fast)

I really am TRYing to mix it up to prepare for the iTryathlon

The other day the following conversation took place in the back of the car:

Strawberry:  Mom!  Guess, what?!
Me:  What babe?
Strawberry:  [in abundant excitement] I HAVE HAIR ON MY TOES!!
Me:  Ummmm…okay
Strawberry:  That means I’m becoming a man.  Oh my gosh!  This is so exciting….

Clearly we both have grown up maturity levels

Clearly we both have grown up maturity levels

The rest of the boys then proceeded to find hair on any part of their body and declare their newfound steps toward manhood.

Just like Strawberry’s taking it to a whole ‘nother level in his manhood, I’m realizing I need to probably do the same in my running life.  While I have been running less miles per week, I have been running much speedier strides.

After most of my runs I’ve been looking at my watch and thinking I’m kind of a bad ass.  Now let’s clarify my bad ass scale:


1 is your crazy grandma and 10 is Lauren Fleshman.  Let’s just say I’ve been putting myself at about a 5 on this scale.

Before I get too far on my high horse, I realized it’s time to get some work done.  And I’m not talking like a starlet in her 50’s worrying about HDTV showing every nook and cranny…I’m talking about getting past the next plateau.

I can stay here, but I can also use plateau as a platform to take it to a whole ‘nother level.  It’s time for me to figure out how to step it up.  I’m not a coach, I’m not a crazy good runner with a ton of experience, but I know it’s time for me to start changing my expectations and reframing what my workouts look like if I want to step it up.  I should probably sit down and set some goals, figure out just how to set them and research what you’re supposed to do instead of my MO – winging it. #somuchwork

What are your best “next level” resources?

How do you plan/map your next performance goals?

On Why Swimming Hates Me

This week I’ve gotten in a more “typical” mileage pounding the pavement….but I’ve also been TRYing to get ready for the iTRYathlon here next month and so I finally mustered up the cajones to not just go tread water, but actually swim.

So this was happening this weekend.

So this was happening this weekend.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the pool that involves a lot more hate than love.

What I Love:
I love that swimming provides a great full-body workout and when everything seems “off” I can workout and my starting to get creakier joints all fall back into place.  Oh yeah, and it’s good for me.

And that’s pretty much where the love ends.

But it’s So Hard:
So you know that moment when you’re at the pool and you’re watching a kid “swim” and are pretty convinced they’re drowning?  You send a worried look over to an adoring parent who watches beaming and you wonder wtf is going on?  The parent reassures you, “Oh no, they are just learning…they’re really okay,” and 10 minutes later the kid triumphantly emerges from their 7 meters of swimming?

Yeah that’s me.

Or at least that’s what it feels like.

Found this gem from my mom's FB wall - clearly swimming doesn't suit me well.

Found this gem from my mom’s FB wall – clearly swimming doesn’t suit me well.

The other day, I was genuinely enjoying swimming at the pool.  Okay I was struggling to focus on counting the laps on what I hoped was a 3000m swim (it’s so hard!).  About 12 laps in I noticed a man in the lane next to me waiting until I hit the wall then going under water and watching me swim.  A few laps later I started feeling someone touch my toes.

I thought I was surely imaging it so I waited for about 90 seconds on the wall to see if he’d go ahead of me.

No dice.

The second I pushed off from the wall I turned to find him watching me under water.

I came back and waited 5 minutes this time just to confirm my suspicions.  Sure enough he waited until the second I went under water and I turned back to see him standing (uh it’s a pool super creepy dude, you should be swimming, not standing there) under water watching me swim by then following behind me watching my butt the entire time.

Um…..uber creepy and totally violating.

I confronted the man who denied it, left the gym with a towel around my waist, sans the shower or proper cool down, and let the manager know how inappropriate it was.

So even when I really, really try to like swimming, it slaps me in the face and tries to make me hate it.  *le sigh*  That said, I need to keep it up and at least hit the pool a few more times before the iTry at the end of August.

What’s your best/worst swimming experience?

Are you a swimming lover or hater?


Since Heather’s pretty much awesome and can do anything (run a marathon, raise amazing kidlets, train for an ultra, etc.) she’s been talking up the Renegade iTryathlon.  Last year was a blast (read about it here), and I was uber bummed to realize we were going to be camping that weekend and I couldn’t do it…until.

We canceled our camping trip.

There’s a lot of reasons why, but the perk is….the boys and I get to participate in the race again.

Showing off our bling at the iTryathlon last year.

Showing off our bling at the iTryathlon last year.

Last year Strawberry was the only one young enough to participate in the youth iTry, but this year the littles are all ramped up to do so!  That’s the beauty of this race – it’s women and kids so it’s super chill and super fun.

That said, I am now on the 1 month sprint triathlon training plan.

So far I have:
-Run a bunch
-Floated in the kiddie pool playing 3 Flags up last week
-Looked at my bike and remembered it needs to go to the shop

Clearly I’m super prepared for this.

But my lack of “readiness” is exactly what is so great about this race – it’s really about TRYING.  During the race last year, I yelled at people (in a nice way!), I sang, I cheered, I was silly.  I kept telling 13 year-old boys that they better beat me or I’d tell their friends.

I may have taken the run seriously....

I may have taken the run seriously….

I also learned I look like a huge dork on my bike. #runnerproblems

But I learned I look like a huge dork on my bike. #runnerproblems


Plain and simple.  While the crazy training schedule could improve your performance and will most definitely abate your fears, the TRY part in the iTRYathlon is what really matters.  I pretty much think “transition time” is how long it takes me to get out of the shower and into my car, that “drafting” is what happens with your beer at happy hour, and  that “bricks” belong on your house and not in a workout.  So I’m obviously a total rookie in this triathlon thing, but I can’t wait to give it another go.

Have you ever tried a Tri?

Of note….Renegade is giving the boys and I the opportunity to run this race, but these are my honest thoughts on the whole schtick.  I paid fully for this last year and would have happily done it again for the boys and I to have this experience as it’s a total blast.