I have this thing: apparently I like to scare myself. I jump into things and then figure out the how. I ran track for 3 weeks in the 8th grade and then decided I hated running. When I signed up for my first running event, it was only because my friend said it was doable and dragged me along. I knew I could walk if we needed to, and we were actually doing this “let’s get fit” thing. Running races wasn’t something I thought I could do, let alone enjoy.

At 33 and post-baby #2 (over the course of 7 months while living in Hawaii) I did things I never thought possible. I ran a mile without stopping. Seems small, but it was big for me because I never thought I could.

Until I did.

It became longer. 5ks, 10ks, and even half-marathons. (That’s 13.1 miles. On feet.) It seemed insane, but when surrounded by others setting and smashing goals, the impossible seemed possible. Like, why couldn’t I do those things, too? At a get together during this time, over wine (back when I still drank), I made the slightly tipsy decision to run a marathon. I had lost weight, was working out (HARD) 5-6 days per week, and oh, why the heck not?! Never mind the fact that only a week before the marathon date, I’d already signed up for the Kualoa ranch Xterra half trail marathon. (Trail running DOES NOT equal a regular road race. At. All. Trail running is WAY, WAY harder.) But someone at the party said ‘It’s really very doable,’ as she explained a run-walk strategy. Impossible….becomes a maybe…becomes possible.

Our time in Hawaii taught me many things, including how to set goals for myself, how to dream big – even if it scares me – and that I can be a determined person when my mind is set. With 2020 being the circus it was, and the world in the chaos that it is, family, sobriety, and the bike in my living room that goes no where have been my outlet and sanity.

I haven’t run races in a few years due to injuries that get aggravated when I run over a 5k. After becoming a certified Spin instructor, my endorphin thirst was quenched on a bike instead of in running shoes. It’s been years since I participated in any events, but I still set goals and earn badges on the bike and through my fitness watch. (Side note: it’s the most trivial things like badges I find highly motivating.) The beauty of training this way is that metrics are measured which gives tangible evidence of improvement. I love improving.

Across the social pages along came the PeloFondo event. Riders set a mileage goal of their choosing, and then have 2 days to complete the miles. Thinking it would be fun and something to challenge myself before the next actual challenge begins in a week, I set my goal of 30 miles. Seemed achievable.

But…it didn’t really scare me. I’ve done 90 minute rides both indoor cycling and outdoor. So then I figured I could leave my goal at 30, but then actually ride 50 (because Garmin badges). That way I could play it safe, have a goal, but not push myself much harder.

A friend from the Hawaii days messaged years ago to say she was doing her first century ride. I remember this conversation vividly. (This was after we had all moved on to our next duty stations, but we still cheer each other on, even from across the globe.) This conversation planted a seed.

I swallowed and upped the mileage to 100.

One of the class instructors, Christine D’Ercole, often says in her classes to get curious. Instead of the mental chatter that tells us we can’t do something, that talks us out of all the things, she has this amazing motto: I am. I can. I will. I do. We change the chatter and get curious. What if I can do this thing? What if I can set a crazy-ass goal and actually achieve it? What if it takes forever? What if?

What. If.

I knew it would take me forever. I got ready and ordered the padded bike shorts and anti-chafing cream. (Somehow I missed the padded bike seat cover but my amazing husband popped out quick to the store and picked up not one, but two. He graciously fit one on while I was mid class!)

There were lots of stretching breaks between the classes. 2 peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat sammies, 3 apple pie Lara bars, 2 bananas, Nuun hydration tablets, and a LOT of water got me through. Not to mention the randomness of the post-ride feast!

Not necessarily pretty, but when you’re hangry, anything edible tastes like heaven!

101.19 miles took me 6:30. Six and a half hours. (The marathon time was in this same ridiculous ballpark.) I will never win races or compete competitively, but I race me. (And…. occasionally my friend Bo. He typically creams me.)

3000 calories torched according to the watch. Four Garmin badges were earned:

(Seriously, it’s ridiculous that these little things excite me to the degree that they do.) The very last ride of the 12 completed today happened to be the 200th!

Badges, badges everywhere!

I am…..capable. I can….do hard things. I will….continue to set goals that scare me. I do…finish what I start. Thank you Christine for the words I didn’t know I needed.

It’s been a minute since I set a scary goal, let alone participated in a formal event. I missed it. I missed getting scared and pushing beyond that fear. Because really….why not? And what if?


Birthday Fitness Trifecta

So I had a crazy idea…and recorded it this morning, you know, for accountability. There was no way I could put this out there and then not do it.

After my 37 laps, I relaxed and refueled back at the hotel room. Because it was still much to warm outside, I decided to wait just a bit longer.


An hour after this picture was taken, it had cooled all the way down to 82. (There really needs to be a sarcasm font.)

Time for the burpee extravaganza. Behold, my need to work on correct form, among other things.

After that “fun”, it was on to the run portion of my little endeavor. Here I am all happy with myself because the damn burpees are done!


And yes, it’s still a bazillion degrees out. I ran 3.72 with zero elevation as hilariously evidenced by the chart on my Garmin. Definitely no Whidbey Island hills here!

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While swimming, doing burpees, and running, a few things occurred to me.

1. Putting things up on social media creates accountability. I use it. My inner sloth needs that counteraction.

2. Sunblock is essential. I applied, but not enough. I am currently a lobster.

3. I could have easily not said anything about my birthday plans. I could have done my little exercise birthday thing and not recorded it. I didn’t have to post it after it was recorded. But I did. Do I look like a “fit” person? Nope. Do I fit into a size 6? Nope. Will I someday? Maybe. (Do I want to be featured on the People of Walmart site? Definitely not!) My point, though, is to move; to be healthy. I’m not a decoration for clothing. My function is not to be small, pretty, a size 0, have thighs that don’t touch, or any other physical aesthetic. I’m a person. I will not feel bad for taking up space, moving in that space, keeping up with my kiddos in that space, or feeling comfortable in my own skin. I love feeling strong. I feel better in my body when it moves on a regular basis, and I feed it the way I should, consistently. My goal is health. And to teach that to my children. I will not hide behind cameras until some elusive someday. Someday is today.

4. The gift my husband gave me this year was time. Time to do the things that light me up, that make me feel like me, and not simply the roles I am in our family. What a valuable gift. I am beyond grateful.

5. It’s time to get back to business. I am no longer as healthy as I was two and half years ago. I could blame the 15 month deployment, the kids, etc., etc., but really – the truth? The truth is I got complacent. I let things slide. My diet wasn’t where it should have been. I didn’t work out as often. Earth shattering? No. It’s just time to not be complacent any longer.

Here’s to another year, a new beginning in a new home, and lots more faith, fitness, family and fun!

I Tri’d

Whew. I did the dang thing!

Here’s the milage breakdown:

7 mile warm up from T2/Finish line to Goss Lake/Start line

800 yd swim in Goss Lake (warmer than I thought, thank goodness!)

19.5 mile bike ride

3.8 mile run

When I signed up for this race, I misread the distances and thought it was a 12 mile bike ride. And I had no clue about the “warm up” ride to the start line. Oh, well. Like most things I’ve done – I jump in first and ask questions later! I’ve yet to regret a race or event, and usually have a pretty good time doing it. You know, aside from the pain.

What I was unprepared for (among MANY things!) was how hilly the bike course was! (Here’s a link to the map if you are nerdy about elevation details like I am!) There were some TOUGH hills. When chatting with other triathletes, they were surprised that people (like me) would pick this one as their first Triathlon. “It’s such a crazy race!” Yeah. No joke. I think the website lied when it said, “great race for beginners”.

Oh well. I did it. And if I ever do another tri, I’ll be sure to find one that is a bit easier. There were a few DNFs (Did Not Finish), and while I was WAY at the back of the pack (so far back that I couldn’t SEE the pack!) I finished what I started.  There is no way that I could have quit knowing that my minions were waiting at the finish line. I didn’t care how bad I hurt or the fact that both of my knees were basically giving me the finger for the entire 3.8 mile run portion.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how bad a person sucks at something. It’s that new things are attempted. I am not a huge fan of swimming (unless its just for fun) but perhaps like childbirth, when the pain and memory fades from this race, I’ll be eager to sign up for another one!

Mad props to the triathletes out there! You all make marathons look easy!

Megan McClung Memorial 5K

In light of my husband’s family tragedy, it seems so insignificant to post my little race report on the memorial run I did Saturday morning. When things of this nature occur – it brings perspective.

Over the last few days I have been looking at my kids differently. When Jacob asks to push him on the swing (for the 5000th time), I find I really don’t mind. I’m definitely hugging my kids a bit tighter and thinking a bit more about what REALLY matters. Do the dishes really need to be done THIS minute? No, let’s go read a book or play outside!

I had found out about the accident on my way to the race. I kept thinking about the family and the shock of the whole situation. I just ran. And I ran faster than I ever have while pushing 70+ lbs of kid and stroller. I ran for Eric’s family. My goal was to do it in under 35 minutes and I did it in 31:19. While proud of the physical achievement, it was definitely a heavy hearted run….

Another run, another PR!

So excited!! I did a 5k today and set a new personal record!! I ran the first mile in 7:52!!! I still have a hard time believing that was my pace!!!! I NEVER thought I would see numbers like that! The second mile I did a pace of 8:15. And the 3rd mile I have no stinkin’ idea because i forgot to stop my tracker!! But even with my walking around for a minute and catching my breath I still beat my last 5k time!!!! I’ll take it! Yay for improvement!!


I went out and got myself a new outlook. I felt awful about my first biathlon and I REFUSE to feel that way again this Sunday.

A common thread in my life (that my mother will attest to) is that I like to “know it before I know it”. In other words – I expect to be an expert at things I’ve never done before. Yeah, I know it’s not logical. But I do get frustrated when I’m not good at something or when it doesn’t come easily. (Insert 3 year old temper tantrum here.) I’m becoming more adult in this area… Please have patience with me!

While I was frustrated with last month’s biathlon results, I just can’t get upset about this one-whatever the results may be. IT’S ONLY MY SECOND TIME! Duh.

I’ve done everything I can (taken swim lessons, practiced, ran, etc.) to better my times for the next race. Aside from this, I have absolutely NO control over how choppy that water is going to be. I have no control if a shark decides to make me his tasty treat (although that might make me swim faster!) there are just some things that are outside my control. I’m prepared and I’ve practiced and the times will be what they are. I can’t take it so seriously. I am supposed to be having fun too, right?!

(And when I do beat last months time – you can be dang sure I’ll be doing a happy dance ALL OVER the place!)

Packing Day is Here!

Well the packers have come and packed up most all of the downstairs and will finish the entire house tomorrow!!! It is so amazing to me how fast they get it all done! Jake doesn’t really understand why all the stuff is being put on the truck except that “it’s going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and we are going to ride a big boat and helicopter and move there too”. Try explaining moving to a person who has little concept of time and distance!
I also went for a short 2 mile run today. No excuses, right? It’s moving day, it was pouring down rain…. Whatever! 😉 I have to say – one of the best runs I’ve done in a while. Not in terms of pace or distance (stupid tracker app has this little button that says ‘start’ and SOMEBODY forgot to press it!) but just fun. Letting the rain pelt me on the arms and face, the squeal of laughter from the kids cause “it’s raining in my hair!”, and sprinting until I’m winded just felt so good and put me in such a better mood for dealing with the kids, the movers and all of the fun and emotion of the day. Running is so therapeutic (a benefit I never saw coming) and as my friend Nina says, “cheaper than antidepressants!”

I think I’m gonna have to get up and run again tomorrow!!!

Frustrated and Quitting

So lately I’ve been in a funk. I’m so thrilled with the progress I’ve made and the wonderful experiences with fitness I’ve had over the last 6 months. As I approach my goal weight and learn to live in a space of maintenance, I find myself frustrated. Mentally, I’ve been frustrated with a couple of my workouts, not being able to do the things that just last month I did no problem. I also haven’t been able to get the dang scale to move in a month. I feel like I’m backsliding. And then the familiar voice in the back of my head says stupid crap like, “Ah, screw it. Who cares? Eat the crap. You’re getting ready to move soon. Look how far you’ve come, you can cheat a bit.” And the excuses start rolling.

Swimming is mentally throwing me for a loop. As I’ve mentioned I’m not Michael Phelps. I can swim well enough to save my life and perhaps the life of my child, but that’s about it. And I’m all signed up for another biathlon. I wouldn’t say that things come easy to me, but usually when I try something new, I don’t get this frustrated because the progress usually happens a bit faster. Sunday I went for a practice swim and the water was CHOPPY to say the least. I think I swallowed half of the ocean. I was spitting salt all afternoon. And I quit. I stopped swimming and gave up. I was distracted too because the kiddos and hubbs were there, but still I just quit. I sat on the beach and watched my battle buddy finish her practice.

I despise being a quitter. And I hate it when I can’t figure out how to do something.

So the next day I hit the pool to work with the kickboard and get some laps in so I can attempt to get this breathing/stroking/timing thing down. I didn’t quit, I kept at it and did the laps I set out to do. I didn’t feel like very much headway was gained, so I signed up for my first swim lesson. I’m looking forward to it. I know I only have a couple of weeks until the biathlon, and really with the move, I know my time is running short.

Ultimately, my only goals for this biathlon are:
1. to not drown (or be eaten by sharks)
2. to not be last
3. to beat my first biathlon time

So with all this, plus the looming move on the horizon, I just don’t want to quit. I don’t want to leave the island knowing I could have done just a bit more. In our bootcamp class, our instructor always talks about how when she counts down the last 5-10 seconds of say a plank position for example, some people give up and break the pose. And then she screams, “WHY WOULD YOU QUIT WITH ONLY 5 SECONDS LEFT??!!” (I have been the person she screams that at by the way. Not my favorite.) I have to make the choice to give it all until the very last moment. Hold the plank, do the skiiers and up and overs until the last count, go faster, go harder, get stronger.

I can’t just give up because we are moving locations. That’s an excuse to fail.

I don’t want to fail.

I like the way I feel, I love the things I’ve been able to do. I can’t go back to having no energy and being exhausted at 9 am everyday.

Frustration is bound to happen, and can be worked through. Quitting though – quitting is not an option.

I am not a quitter.

The People I Admire

It dawned on me today that I have become “one of ‘those’ people”.

Six and a half months ago I began this bootcamp class.  When I first started, you could look out at the other wives and see that we all fell into 1 of 2 groups: those of us just starting, and those that looked like they didn’t need it. Why the heck are they here? They are already thin and fit. I wanted to be one of them. I’d spent too long in the first group.

Then I overheard some mutterings about one of the gals that lives in my neighborhood – that she RAN to bootcamp, did the insanely hard workout, then RAN home! Sheesh! She must be crazy! Or obsessed. That’s like 5 or 6 miles!

Then one of my friends, Nina, did it in preparation for a TRIATHLON! That’s just crazy! …or is it? I knew that Nina had been doing bootcamp for awhile. Then I was doing bootcamp. Ok, if she can do it, than just maybe I can too. It brings it home and makes it real in a different way when its someone you KNOW as opposed to just some “crazy exercise-obsessed” someone you have only seen from afar.

So I set a goal. I would run to bootcamp. From my house. And I did it! I didn’t die – and the sense of accomplishment was INCREDIBLE! Not to mention the view!


Today I rode my bike 6 miles one way to bootcamp, did the insanely hard workout, and rode another 6 miles home. Nina had ridden her bike to bootcamp, and now I can say I’ve done it too.
While I am a competitive person, I am so thankful for people that are stronger, fitter, and faster than me because it gives me goals to shoot for and achieve, as well as opening my mind to the possibilities.
Running to bootcamp seemed impossible – until I did it.
Riding a bike to bootcamp seemed scary – until I did it.
Running a 5 k was scary – until I did it.
Running a marathon was TERRIFYING – until I did it.
(Ok, that one still scares me!)
Swimming competitively isn’t necessarily scary, but I’m not very good at it (YET!) so it’s frustrating.
But I did it.
And while being given a hard time for being late this morning (btw, I detest being late but didn’t allow enough time for the bike ride) and announcing to the class that I had done a biathlon the day before, it dawned on me – she was calling me out the way she called out those super fit girls when I first started.
I have become one of them.
And that is AWESOME!
Oh and P.S., found out that I wasn’t last in the biathlon! I placed 6th!!
(out of 7 in my age group!) HA!

Once I get this next biathlon under my belt, I just know there is a triathlete inside me that is dying to come out! 😉

Get Over It

So I was all excited to do my first biathlon this morning. I really wasn’t thrilled about the swimming part, but I’ve done all kinds of things I thought were impossible and this would be no different.

Until I finished dead last.

I hate being last. I hate not being good at something. Forget that this is something I’ve never done before. I did not want to be last. At every race, it’s always one of my goals. My other goal was to finish the run portion in under 30 minutes. I didn’t achieve that goal either.

So I can do one of 2 things: I can stop doing things that I may suck at, or I can stop sucking.

I think I’m gonna stop sucking. Because, as my wonderful husband pointed out, what was I doing one year ago? I was frustrated, out of shape, over weight, lethargic, and not motivated. I have to look at how far I’ve come to comprehend the idea that I can improve. Greatly.

And my competitive nature will demand that I improve. So February biathlon – I will get you done in under an hour! And as a trainer I know says, “How do you get better at swimming?! You SWIM!”

And that’s what I will do!

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