This is a blog for the strong, the determined, the wild. In the past ten years more than 100 have joined the triBE on a journey to BE strong, to BE fierce, to BE triathletes. We are dedicated to the belief that anyone can BE a triathlete and support each other in every endeavor. Our team members are all sizes, speeds, and ages. This is our story.

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more." ~Florence Griffith Joyner

If this isn't enough you can read more from me here:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Million Little Pieces

Have you ever really thought about how you got to where you are today?  Consider something you’ve done that makes you really proud.  Maybe it’s earning a degree or passing a test.  Maybe it’s building a business or maintaining a relationship.  Perhaps it’s climbing a mountain or losing weight.  It can be any big hairy goal that you worked to achieve.  OK…  you got one?

Think about how you achieved the goal.  Did you wake up and it was done?  I doubt it.  If it was really something awesome, it took time, it took effort, and it had a lot of moving parts, plans to consider, decisions to make, and obligations to keep.  I think when we see people achieve a goal, or when we achieve one ourselves, we forget about all the work that went into it and just see then final outcome.  It feels great to succeed, and we immediately want to do it again.  Cross a finish line and you immediately start thinking about the next mountain to climb, goal to achieve.  And that’s awesome.

But what about all that went into our achievements?  Why do we forget about that?  I think it’s because it’s hard, it’s exhausting, it requires sacrifice, and it seems overwhelming at the beginning.  All that planning.  All those decisions.  All that work.  And we get bogged down and forget how sweet it feels to succeed, forget all that went into that success.

I see this in triathletes all the time.  People say yes to me every year and then somewhere along the way fall off the wagon.  They say, “Yes I want to do a triathlon.”  And I try to make them see what it entails, but it’s hard to wrap your head around it at the beginning.  The end seems so great, but the months in between are a blur.  And that’s because there’s so much to do, a million little pieces. 

Whew…  so many decisions to make.  Should I eat before or after? Drink this or that?  Swimming, biking, or running?  How far, how often, how fast?  What should I wear?  Sleep in or get up and train?  Go to bed early or spend more time on stretching?  It’s overwhelming.

I’m going to make it simpler for you.  This week you are going to do some planning.  One of your training sessions this week is going to be planning.  You are going to devote an hour to reading, thinking, and making some decisions.  We are 15 weeks from race day and there are plenty of training plans on this web site to consider.  Some start from scratch.  Others assume you work out regularly.  You need to read them and start thinking about how you want to train. And then you are going to answer the following questions.

·        Training:  How will you train?  What days?  What activities?  For how long?

·        Eating:  Choose one thing you will do this week to improve your eating.

·        Hydration:  Choose one thing you will do this week to improve your hydration.

·        Stretching:  Choose one thing you will do this week to improve your stretching.

·        Sleeping:  Choose one thing you will do this week to improve your sleeping.

Every person’s plan will be different.  Let’s use these next couple of weeks to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Let’s actually make some decisions and then follow through with them.  Maybe we’ll find it’s too much.  Maybe we’ll find we did too little.  Maybe we’ll find out something about how great it feels to keep our promises to ourselves. 

Here’s my plan.  I will update you on how it worked. 

·        This week I will train 6 days.  On Sunday I will spend time planning this week and making decisions.  (BOOM…  DONE!!) On Monday and Thursday I will do physical therapy for an hour.  On Tuesday and Friday I will go to the gym to lift and work on core for an hour and I will ride the training bike for at least 15 minutes.  On Saturday I will ride with the team. 

·        This week I will add one serving of fruit to each day’s intake of food.

·        This week I will drink a glass of water in the morning before I leave the house.

·        This week I will do my stretching exercises and ice my knee daily. 

·        This week I will go to bed no later than 10pm. 

OK.  That’s my plan.  It is a promise I have made to myself.  It is dozens of decisions already made.  There’s no consideration, no wondering.  Just doing.  And at the end of the week I will evaluate.  What worked?  What didn’t?  Why not?  And then I will begin again. 

You see what I did there.  I told you my plan.  Now I know I answer to you.  If I fail, you’ll ask me why and I’d better have good reasons, right?  Your turn.  Want some accountability?  Send me your plan or share yours with a friend or a spouse, someone that will ask you about it at the end of the week.  Build a plan with someone else and do it together.  Post your plan right here for the world to see.  Accountability is the key to your success. 

OK…  before you go, here’s a couple of motivational blog posts that helped me keep going this week.  Maybe they will help you too.  
And here’s a little pep talk from an awesome kid that’s been making the rounds!  Have a great week!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The First Step

I like wet hair and sweatpants.  I like sneakers and ponytails. ~Chris Evans
I’m trying to be grateful.  For the past two weeks I’ve worn these shoes every day.  They are comfortable and stable, easy to slip on and off with no pesky heels or laces.  I can walk now.  It’s slow and there’s a hitch in my step.  The further I go, the more my hips ache and my hamstrings tighten at the unfamiliar gait.  I start physical therapy on Monday, start on the real path to recovery.  I am anxious to begin, anxious that it will be difficult as well, and hopeful, even though I know that hope is not a plan.  Throughout this week, my pain has eased, and I give thanks to modern medicine and the knowledge that I will slowly find my way back to myself in the days and weeks to come.  Yesterday I walked around the block in these shoes.  Soon I will put on my running shoes.  Some people love their Jimmy Choo’s.  I miss my sneakers.
Checking in with the team this week, I discovered Rachel Gardiner and Christine Haskins ran the Dick Batchelor 5K down at Universal this weekend.  Here they are before the start! Woo hoo!
A 10 mile trail run from Amanda Dean and a 52 mile ride in 3:06 from the speedy Rose Ray lifted my spirits on a lazy Sunday.  I can’t wait until my Sundays are fuller…

I have been thinking about what to say to you in this last full week of January.  This month is meant to ease you back into the idea of a triathlon in May.  For this month you’ve been able to wrestle with this thought while you acquaint yourself with muscles you haven’t used in a while.  You’ve started thinking about your diet and wondering if maybe you should eat better.  Perhaps you’ve earned a little more sleep and started to adjust your schedule to fit in an extra workout or two.  It is the beginning of the path.  Whether you have begun or not in these last few weeks, this is the path I am now on, and I am asking you to join me. 
In this last full week of January, I am making a commitment to all of you to train to the best of my ability and do everything in my power to complete the Danskin triathlon in May.  I make no promises as to whether I will be speedy or slow, whether I will be able to do the sprint or the super sprint, whether I will make it up the hill on Jalarmy or find myself pushing my bike Spunky up its length.  I do not even know if I will be able to run a single step.  But I commit to you that if there is a way for me to finish this race, I will do it.  This is my only goal.  To be honest, this is always my goal, but I face it today with new circumstances in play, new challenges ahead.  This is my pledge, and I make it based on yesterday’s single block of walking.  I believe in my own strength and the support of all of you in the next few months.  And I believe in all of you as well.  I can walk one block today.  Will you walk a block today and then the rest of the way with me? 

I could really use some company.

PS:  A little Inspiration.  I'm not asking you to win.  I'm only asking you to try.


Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.  ~MLK, Jr.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”  ~Veronica Roth
On January 1st I rode 20 good miles.   I rode it on my own, with a bum knee, and still averaged 15.5 mph.  I felt great.  Twelve days later I struggle to walk 20 yards. I could focus on the fact that it took a doctor 20 minutes to undo 10 years of work.  I could mention the fact that I sleep 20 hours a day when I take all 20 prescribed pills and when I try to cut back, I have moments where on a scale of 1 to 10, I rate my pain at a 20.  I could mention a laundry list of at least 20 side effects and “bonus” symptoms including nausea, itching, sweats, bruising, swelling, muscle twitches, sore arm pits, and a need for prune juice. 

Or I can remember the 20+ acts of kindness that I encountered this week.  Home baked goods magically appeared, much to my children’s delight.  Friends I haven’t heard from in months called.  I received dozens of texts and emails and messages through every available medium.  People asked me how I was feeling while playing Scramble and Words with Friends and then proceeded to kick my tail without mercy, giving no thought to the drugs that made me practically incoherent.  I was victim to drive by chicken soup, in-and-out shrimp, and Cuban food and everyone ferried my kids to school except me. 

And throughout this week fogged with pain, impatience, and frustration, you inspired me, encouraged me, and made me laugh.  So I share a few of your stories here with deep gratitude and hope your week has gone 20 times better than mine.
Check out this amazing photo!  Angela Thomas, Marie Leticee, and Dawn Young headed out for a 51+ mile training ride and made this new 8 foot friend.  This big boy was hoping they were stopping by for a snack.  I'm glad they decided he was better eyed from a distance.

It was definitely a race weekend, which means a pack of our team mates were out doing a 5K, half, or full marathon!  Congrats to Rose Ray and Anne Marie Stricklin and their crews in the Color Run, a messy rainbow of fun for all ages. 

New triBE member Nicole Kanouse is back to running and gearing up for her first Triathlon in May, pictured here with Jonathan Gray.  I am thrilled to see Julie Jaworski back from back surgery and ready to rumble.  Both ran awesome half marathons on Saturday.  

And Sara Dowdy, Trish Horel, and Molly Halcom finished the full marathon at Disney, pictured here with honorary triBE members Neal Ater and Jason Dowdy.  Congratulations!
               And then I stumbled across this video on Pam Ater’s page, and I had to laugh. 
                                                Take 3 minutes. You need to watch this.

Laughter is good medicine. You are good medicine. 
Thank you twenty times over for a very bad, really good week.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Going In

A quick post to remind you to get out there this week.  If you’re not exercising, you need 3 days this week.  Walk, run, bike, swim, 3 sessions minimum, 30 minutes each.  30 minutes is 2% of your day.  Come on now…

If you are working out regularly, add something.  Do an extra ride, an extra mile, and extra set of reps in the weight room.  This process can be horribly painful or a long, slow build to awesome.  It’s your choice and every week you wait is gone forever and makes it that much harder. 

What are you doing today to make yourself stronger tomorrow?

I’m going in for knee surgery tomorrow, and then I am coming back.  I am not afraid.  I am coming back.  It will be what it is. 

I am coming back.
Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours. ~Swedish Proverb

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Life is Full of Surprises

“Would you like to know your future?
If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest life motivator.
So enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence -- a surprise.”
~Vera Nazarian

Over the holiday break I spent some wonderful time with my family including my husband’s sprawling Costello clan.  We laughed so hard, drank too much, ate with abandon, and one night burst into a spontaneous and awesomely wretched a cappella version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  It was truly a spectacular visit. 

One of my clan sisters, an outlaw, Costello by marriage like me, is from Mexico. She took a leap and married my brother-in-law 10 years ago and has been raising their three sons.  Recently she took another leap and has started back to school, determined to get her GED.  She told me about her dreams to go to college.  She wants to study psychology or nursing or maybe law.  She sees the world opening wide, stretching out in front of her in endless possibility.  She has reached that moment when she can look up from her life and start to dream.

She told me about her tutor, a 74-year-old retired teacher who works with her weekly and inspires her to keep going, even when she feels frustrated.  This tutor is creating a community for my sister, introducing her to others, encouraging her, helping her to move forward even when she has doubts.  My sister was surprised that school turned out to be so hard and that the road was so long.  She also loves it.  She wants to learn, wants to spend every minute reading.  The unknown, the unexpected is a beautiful surprise.  Her face lights as she talks.  Sometimes I think education is wasted on youth, but that’s another conversation.

So it’s a new year.  This afternoon I will go for a ride.  It is shaping up to be a gorgeous day.  No surprises there.  But on Monday I will take a little leap and have knee surgery.  In a perfect world I will start running a month later and by May I will be back and better than ever.  I suspect there will be some challenges to that dream, that the road will be harder and longer than I expect. Surprise. But I also know that I love this, and that whatever successes I achieve this year will be well-earned.

And that’s really the best part.  I don’t know what will happen.  Life is delicious in its surprises.  But I know I am willing, know I am ready to take the first step.  I’m going to take a flying leap into the unknown and ride it for all it’s worth.  There’s no point in worrying about tomorrow.  There’s only today and the pleasure and challenge that it offers.  And along the way I will spend time with all of you, fellow travelers willing to take a leap for today, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. 

A year ago there was no triBE, just a loose gathering of like-minded women.  Now we are community, family, strength.  A spectacular, wonderful surprise. This year we will welcome new members, make new friends.  We will laugh and fall and if necessary, punch surprises right in the nose.  We are ready for tears and sweat and spontaneous versions of song.  It is time to begin again.

Ready, set, SURPRISE!

“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” ~Walt Whitman