Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Recap

2010 was a pretty awesome year. Here is a picture recap:

Phil and I kicked off 2010 in the middle east. We went on a two week trip to Dubai and Egypt. It was our first international trip together and it was an amazing start to the year!

My 24th birthday celebration was also one to remember. My friend Binoy (who has a birthday a day before mine) and I celebrated together by inviting a few friends to the Harry S Truman bowling alley- aka the White House bowling alley. Binoy knows some government people so we were able to bowl for a few hours before hitting the bars.

We were snowed in for the rest of the winter. We did manage to make it out to a small Mexican restaurant for huge drinks on occasion though :) 

Tons happened in the spring of 2010! In April my best friends from college all came to DC for a little reunion. This was the first time we were all together in one place since college. It was amazing.

Also in April was the American Odyssey Relay race- a 200 mile, 36 hour running race from Gettysburg, PA to Washington, DC. I was on a team of all amazing ladies and it was the funnest race ever. We all won $50 gift cards to North Face because our team won the "most spirited award". Our team, America the Bootyful, ran the last quarter mile of the race together, dressed as iconic Americans.

At the start in Gettysburg.

Right after the announcement that we won the spirit award!
I also ran my first 10 mile race in April 2010!

In May of 2010 Phil took me back to his home town in Iowa. Phil and I had very, very different childhoods. I was raised in the inner city of Philadelphia in a row home with little grass. Growing up my chores included cleaning the bathroom and putting my clothes away. Phil was raised on a farm in Council Bluffs, Iowa where his closest neighbor is a mile away. He learned how to drive a tractor at the age of 10 and his weekend chores consisted of bailing hay and feeding the cows. I had a wonderful time visiting the Midwest and I look forward to another trip out there this spring.

feeding the cows

I am a pretty bad shot :)

getting corn for the cows

Summer 2010 was filled with running, friends and family (and moving in with Phil!!!). We took Brizzy swimming, we went on a Riley family vacation to Williamsburg, Va, and I visited college friends in NYC where we did the Spartan Race- a 5k race with added obstacles and lots of dirt.

Fall of 2010 consisted of my first triathlon and a tropical vacation to Jamaica with our friends Arron and Angie.

2010 finishes with a great Christmas with my amazing family, and a relaxing new year celebration with my wonderful boyfriend and our friends.

2010 was a fabulous year. 2011 is going to be even better!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just call me Speed Racer!

This morning, I got my butt out of bed at 6am and hit the pavement for a 6 mile tempo run just like my marathon training schedule called for. A tempo run means that you run at a relaxed pace for a mile or so as a warm up and then you pick up your pace for X miles (4 miles for me this morning) and then you take it down a few notches for your last mile to warm down.

Whitney and I have been doing all of our long runs together and we have been doing them at a faster pace then what my marathon plan has been calling for. We just jog at a comfortable pace we can maintain and it happens to be faster then a 10:25 minute mile. Anyway- back to this morning.

Knowing I have been running at a faster pace, I decided this morning I would just go off of feeling instead of following the pace times outlined in my training schedule- running the 1st mile as an easy jog, run the 2nd through 4th miles at a faster but steady pace pushing myself a little, and then easy jog the last mile.

I underestimate myself sometimes. Look at these split times!

holy cow! I ran an 8 minute mile! And all but 1 mile were under 9 minutes! That is not that fast for a lot of people- but for me- the girl who said she would never be able to run under a 10 minute mile- this is huge! Maybe Ill be able to run the marathon faster than I think ;)

I was so excited when I walked back into my apartment this morning. Phil and Brizzy were still too sleepy to handle my excitement.

(this was not taken this morning- just a funny picture to share)
BEST MORNING RUN EVER. And added bonus that Phil cooked me breakfast!
7:30 minute mile next time? We'll see :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Athlete's Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

For the past few days, I was in Philly enjoying some home cooking and quality time with the family. Unfortunately, I had to cut my vacation short by a day due to the crazy snowstorm that clobbered Philly.

My parents and Brizzy on Christmas morning.

Me and big sister, Nikki

I must have been good this year. New shoes, sport bras, socks, and lots of winter running gear! :)

Briz got a new mat for the botom of her crate- and somehow she blocked herself in. Silly pooch!

Goals for 2011 post coming soon. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It’s the question I have been asked several times. It is also the question that I have avoided answering. So here it is- why I am training for an Ironman.

The short version:

I don’t enjoy waking up before the sun rises to get a run in. I also don’t enjoy muscles so sore that it hurts to walk. What I do enjoy is setting goals for myself and achieving them. Crossing a finish line for an event that you train so hard for is the most indescribable and amazing feeling in the world. I enjoy how being so active and pushing my limits has made me feel – both physically and emotionally. I think training for the next year for an event that right now seems impossible will teach me more about myself than I ever thought I could know.

The extended version:

I have always enjoyed being on a team and playing sports. I was involved in gymnastics and dance classes growing up as well as a smattering of other sports and activities. In college I was a diver on the swim team.

Now let’s fast forward to January 2009.

Phil and I took our first vacation as a couple to a ski resort in West Virginia. On the second run of the first day (of a four day trip!) I took a weird fall. I slipped on ice and my right leg flew out from underneath me. As I was falling I heard my knee make a loud “pop”. When I tried to stand up, I had no stabilization and fell again. Phil flagged down the ski patrol, and they strapped me to the sled and took me to first aid. Side note: Phil wanted to take a picture of me strapped to the ski patrol sled and I would not let him. He said I would regret it later. Now that I am all healed, I wish I had a picture!

After spending the next 3 days on the couch of the ski lodge with my knee as swollen as a grapefruit, we headed home. After an MRI and a few orthopedic visits, I had the verdict: completely torn ACL, MCL and meniscus. Surgery needed.

When I was talking to my orthopedic doctor about being active after my knee surgery, he said something that hit me deep…except I didn’t think anything of it until months later.

“I am glad you were not a runner! Runner’s usually have the hardest time with knee traumas such as this because of the impact of the sport.”

I laughed and replied that thankfully I was not a runner. At that point in my life the most I had ever ran was a 5k because our diving coach made us….and I hated every second of it.

I had knee surgery in March 2009. My ACL was replaced with a cadaver’s (yes, I have a dead guys ACL in my knee), my MCL was stapled together, and my meniscus was completely removed. The Dr. was hoping to not have to remove all of my meniscus (which is the padding in your knee which keeps bones from rubbing together) but it was so badly damaged that he had no choice.

I was a couch potato for a several weeks after the surgery. Being so inactive (along with eating tons) caused me to noticeably gain weight. I felt awful- I was always tired, my pants no longer fit and I was really cranky. I’m surprised how well Phil put up with me :)

Brizzy and I taking a nap the day of my knee surgery

I began physical therapy right away. I still had a ton of swelling in my knee, but I needed to get my range of motion back and build strength in my knee and surrounding muscles.

I saw my PT 4 times a week for several weeks and we always had wonderful conversations. During one of those conversations I told her what my doctor said to me about running. Her response was “You should sign up for a 10k just to prove him wrong!” I laughed and disregarded her comment.

She finally convinced me that training for and running a 10k would be very satisfying and build my confidence in myself and my new knee. She also promised that she would evaluate my knee every 2 weeks just to make sure everything was staying put.

I trained all fall for this race. I had no time goal- just to finish. My first run, I was able to run almost a block before becoming winded and exhausted. It was frustrating. But with Phil and my friends and family (especially my parents) supporting me, I was able to jog longer and longer. And I lost the weight that I had put on.

In December 2009, I ran my first 10k.

Running with friends makes it way more fun! :)

Approaching the finish line of my first race!

The feeling of crossing that finish line was unbelievable. I was so proud of myself. So I did it again.

Phil and I after the Marine Corps 10k

My confidence skyrocketed and I wanted to see just what else I could do.

So I signed up and ran my first 10 mile race.

Mom and Dad always come to cheer me on :)

After the 10 mile race, I ran a 36 hour, 200 mile relay race from Gettysburg to DC with 11 other girls. Don't worry, we each only ran between 15-20 mile total in three different sections.

Team America the Bootyful!
Then I ran a half marathon.

And now, I am training for my first full marathon in March.

The challenge of taking on a full Ironman is daunting. It is going to be a ton of work. I am going to get frustrated. I will cry at points. I am going to be tired. My whole body is going to hurt. I am going to wake up at ungodly hours to get in a work out and I am not going to like it.

But I will push my limits. I will make wonderful friends during 7 hour bike rides. I will raise as much money for the Susan G Koman foundation as I can. I will learn more about myself than I ever thought possible. I will enjoy the journey.

I am training for an Ironman to celebrate life. To celebrate how blessed I am that I can even consider training for an event like this. There is going to come a day where I will not be able to do this. Today is not that day.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday's Ten

1. Phil and I are watching Elf and it makes me happy :) I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

2. I need to get back in the pool. If I am supposed to survive a 2.4 mile swim next year, I need to get my swimming game in check.

3. I am 2 weeks into marathon training and have had no knee issues so far. However, it is sooo cold.

4. Today at the gym I was supposed to do an easy 4 mile run. I wasn't feeling it, so I ran for 20 minutes, did an ab workout and then did push ups when I got to every landing walking downstairs.

5. To the man that stopped and laughed as I was singing Lady Gaga while doing push ups on the landing- you are welcome for the show. Glad I made you laugh.

6. Brizzy sits in front of the cabinet where her treats are and barks...its really annoying. What a fatty.

7. I made my own pho (rice noodles in beef broth) tonight for was amazing.

8. I am super excited for my tri bike- it should be coming in the next few weeks!

9. I made cinnamon and sugar soft pretzels tonight. mmmm

10. My next post is going to be about why I'm doing this. When registering for IM Cozumel one of the questions was "Why do you seek entry to Ironman Cozumel?"...and it really got me thinking. So maybe if I share my reasoning, you won't think I am crazy. I know, I know, anyone that wants to swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 and then a marathon all within 17 hours has to be at least a little crazy. But I have my reasons, I swear :)

Magic Song

I think everyone has that one song that when they hear it their blood starts flowing and everything just seems right.

Normally at any given time I have a few songs like this on my Ipod shuffle. But there has been one song that has not been deleted off my Ipod since I downloaded it over a year ago. It is a song that I never ever skip over. I hear it come on and I automatically run faster. My 9 minute mile pace becomes a 7 minute mile pace during the amazing 3 minutes of the song. It is the song that I will have to sing to myself during the Ironman next November. I have no idea why it pumps me up, but it does.

It is the song that Helen and I drunkenly rapped at the bar Saturday night and blew everyone away that we knew every single word.

I'm on a boat!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Phil's Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

Marine Corps Marathon

October 31st 2010


4:00 - Have to achieve this regardless of loss of life and/or any limbs

3:30 - My actual goal. Based on training, this is achievable

At 8:00am the gun goes off and 26.2 miles to go. There is really not

much to say as far as my race report. The first 24 miles felt great.

The last two miles really sucked. I ran\walked the last two miles

with around 30 seconds of walking each mile. My legs were heavy and

screaming in pain. I sprinted in the last 200 yards after seeing my

girlfriend dressed as wonder woman and to meet my requirement to pass

the 3:30 pace guy. Check mark for a life goal.

Time 3:29:01

Conclusion: The marathon was fun, but I am not in any real hurry to

sign up for my next one.
Note from Lauren:
Phil really listened when we told him his last report was a novel :) He may not be in a hurry to sign up for another marathon...but he did sign up for Ironman Cozumel with me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Marathon Training is officially here!

Today was my first long run in my training for the Shamrock Marathon on March 20, 2011. Today the long run was 5 miles. This is the longest I have ran since the Philly Half Marathon. I felt pretty strong, but I have to admit that my legs are a little sore. I need to get my running legs back!

The training plan I am following is an 18-week plan that has me running 4 days a week (and swimming twice a week, and biking twice a week). Two short runs during the week, 1 speed work out, and then a long run on the weekend. The long runs add miles every weekend with the longest weekend run being 20 miles. March seems far away but I think it will be here before I know it! Here are the first 5 weeks of the training plan (not including biking or swimming):

The only annoying part about training in the winter for an early spring marathon (besides running in the freezing cold) is that I have a 7 mile run on Christmas weekend, 12 miles on New Years, and 15 miles on my BIRTHDAY. Happy 25th birthday to me!

Tomorrow is my first bike time trial- basically like a 20 mile bike race- but you are racing against yourself. Then, you do it again in a month or so and see how much faster you have gotten. I'll let you know how it goes :) Have a great Saturday evening! (I know I will- Phil is taking me out for Lebanese food! mmmmm)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Excuses. Play like a champion.

Sadly, vacation is over. It was a very wonderful trip. We layed on the beach (or by the pool) sipping cocktails and soaking in the sun. We ate dessert at every meal and Phil often ordered 2 entrees because he could. We also drank more in the past week than we have in the past several months. It was glorious.

Despite the gluttony, I worked out every morning. The resort had a wonderful gym area. My favorite part was the extremely friendly Jamaican man that would make me a banana smoothie after my work out. I was spoiled.

But I cannot be spoiled anymore! It is time to get back on track and kick it up a few notches. Right now this is my "off season"- aka get better at swimming, work on my running form, and become one with my new bike(s)...oh, and train for a marathon.

Bring on the early morning swims and after-work runs!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Worst. Blogger. Ever

Sorry I have been MIA! Aren't I just the worst blogger ever? ...Don't answer that. I have to be honest- I haven't been doing much triathlon training since the Richmond Sprint a few weeks ago. I actually haven't been in a pool since the tri. whoops! After vacation I will get back on track. Promise. Even though I do not have much to blog about regarding triathlons I have a ton to tell you about other life aspects! Here is an update:


...has been kicking my ass. It is quarter end- which to you non-finance or accountant types means nothing. But to us accountants it means getting to work early, working through lunch, staying late, and coming home completely drained only to get up in the morning and do it again. Repeat this for 4-5 weeks. Needless to say, I am so ready for a vacation. Which brings up my next point...


The Boy and myself are leaving for Jamaica on Wednesday morning. I am PUMPED. We are going to an all inclusive resort with Phil's best friend Aaron and Arron's wife Angie. I am excited to spend time with them...and not check work email. So while all of you are at work, Ill be sipping a mojito poolside. Was it mean that I am rubbing it in? So sorry :P My parents were nice enough to watch Brizzy while we are gone.

Brizzy... famous! A few months back I submitted this picture of Briz to

Photo by Phil Kealy...he made me give him credit.

She was pictured on the website a few days after I submitted the picture- which was exciting. But this week something even MORE exciting happened! I got an email from the webmaster at Upsidedown Dog telling me that Brizzy is on the COVER of the official 2011 Upsidedown Dog Calendar!!! Brizzy is a cover model!! You can take a look at my beautifully ugly dog on the cover here. I know what I am getting everyone for Christmas :)

Speaking of Christmas, I bought myself a Christmas present. A new bike! ok, 2 new bikes...let me explain.

Bike 1: Whenever I would ride my bike, my shoulders would scream in pain for days after my ride. I thought it was because I was just not used to riding a road bike. Turns out- the bike I was riding was entirely too big for me! Because I was reaching for the handlebars, it was pinching my shoulder blades which means a ton of pain. So I sold my road bike and bought a smaller road bike. Seriously- way smaller. It even has smaller tires! Small bike for a small girl. Selling my old bike gave me the majority of the funds to upgrade to the new one so this doesn't count as my Christmas present to me. It was a necessity! :) This is the new road bike:

I don't know what to name it. It reminds me of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Or Loop-de-La- the mint green My Little Pony that did ballet and ice skated. What? You don't remember the names of the My Little Ponies? I loved those dad taught me how to braid hair using the tail of a My Little Pony toy. That's right- my dad knows how to braid. Its a skill you need with two daughters.  

Bike 2: oooh this bike is so sexy. I pre-ordered a 2011 Quintana Roo (QR) Chiquilo from Bonzai Sports. I did alot of searching around for a tri bike that came in my size (and price range!)...and QR is the only brand that makes an XS (and its not breaking the bank)..aka a bike for extremely short ladies like myself. And best of all- its hot pink. Take a look:

This bike is specifically for racing triathlons- the seat is further forward to save some leg muscle for the run- and the handlebars are called aerobars- this puts you in a more aerodynamic position to handle elements such as wind because you are not allowed to draft off anyone else (that means ride really close to someones back tire to that you are not taking the brunt of any headwind).

Hm...I cant think of any other life updates. So in conclusion- I haven't been training, work has been kicking my ass, I need a vacation, my dog is famous, and our living room has entirely too many bikes in it.

I'll post again when I get back from Jamaica! Have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Richmond Sprint Triathlon- Race Report

Saturday, October 9, 2010:

Phil, Brizzy and myself headed down to Richmond around noon on Saturday after a quick stop for bagels at our favorite place. We had to head to Richmond the day before because there was no race-day packet pickup. Once in Richmond, I picked up my race numbers, t-shirt and other goodies and then we went to check in to the hotel. On our way to the hotel, Phil spotted this gem and of course wanted to go in.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) it was closing as we were pulling in to the parking lot. I really did not do a good job of picking a hotel. It was cheap and dog-friendly and on the same street as the start of the triathlon so I figured it was a sure thing. Well apparently that street is really long and there are some not so great areas, and that is where the Days Inn was. Lets just put it this way- the establishments closest to the hotel were strip clubs, Pay Day Loan store and a Taco Bell. But the room wasn't bad. Brizzy liked it.

After a quick dinner at Olive Garden, it was time for bed. I was nervous and did not manage to sleep very well. Plus, Brizzy kept switching sides of the beds to cuddle with Phil and then myself and she kept waking me up.

Sunday, October 10, 2010- Race Day!

Pre Race:

I woke up at 545am to give me plenty of time to eat, walk the pooch, use the bathroom, and get myself together. My stomach was feeling very nervous and I was not able to eat my cliff bar. Thank goodness I brought my Cytomax Pre-formance drink. It is a pre-workout drink that is especially designed to digest easily. It was the only thing my nervous stomach could handle.

Once we got to the race site, I set up my transition area, picked up my time chip and got body marked. I asked the kid to put a smiley face on my calf where my age is displayed just for fun.

Before I knew it, it was time to head inside to the pool.


The swim was a 400 meter pool swim. We were lined up in order from fasted to slowest. We had to provide a swim time when we registered for the race and we were able to change it up until 3 days before the race- so you had plenty of time to go and time yourself to make sure you had the time correct.

As I was watching the first 100 or so people I realized how much of a mess it was. Some people clearly did not take the time to time themselves and seriously misjudged how slow they were. There were people running in to each other, there was one guy doggie paddling, another walking along the bottom of the pool. Which is all fine- but not within the first 100 people! They are supposed to be the fast, strong swimmers. Seeing this made me scared for the swim because I didn't want to get trampled.

All of a sudden, I was a few people away from getting in to the pool. The woman who started in front of me told me that if I caught up to her, tap her on the foot and she would slow down so I could pass. In to the pool I went and had a 5,4,3,2,1 go countdown. It was a 50 meter pool so the laps were super long, but I felt great.

I passed the woman in front of me within the second 100 meters. No one passed me, and there were no issues like the ones I had seen earlier. Total swim time:8:31

Transition 1:

The run from the pool to the transition area was long! And it was concrete so it hurt my little feet! Other than sore toes, the transition went well and was uneventful. T1 time: 2:55


Despite the fact that I practiced mounting my bike last weekend during my own transition practice, I fumbled big time during the race. I got on my bike ok but I had a hard time clicking my bike cleat into the pedal! It took me a good ten seconds before I had both of my feet clipped in. I need to practice this more...or get pedals that I can clip in on from either side. Once situated, I kicked it up and got going. The bike course was FAST. The first 2 miles were flat with a slight downhill- I was going between 24-28mph the whole time. Even when the road evened out I was still going pretty fast and holding a steady 22mph. Then came the hill climb. During the race briefing the previous day, the woman said it was a slight "climb" (she even used the air quotes!). Because of her tone of voice and sarcasm, I was expecting something resembling a climb...but a pretty easy one. I was so wrong!!! She should not have used those air quotes. That hill climb was almost 3 miles long and pretty steep. I was able to hold 11mph up the hill. It hurt. After the hill, it was back to cruising between 17-20mph to the finish. I was extremely happy with my bike time. Bike time:43.37 (17.1 mph)

My goal for the run was to do it quickly. I was not able to hold an 8:30 pace like I would have liked because my legs were sore from the damn hill on the bike! It took me a good mile to find my legs and then I was able to pick up the pace a little bit. I think for longer distance triathlons I will have to take it easier on the bike to save some energy in my legs. It was a flat out and back and before I knew it I was headed to the finish line! It is amazing how short a 5k feels after running and training for a half marathon (soon to be a full marathon!)  :) 5k time: 30:08

Total Time: 1:26:32...7th in my age group! 276th overall out of almost 700 people.

I am so excited to be able to finally call myself a triathlete and I was very happy with how well I did for my first triathlon- I was 14 minutes faster then my goal time! A huge thank you and I love you to my triathlete boyfriend for sitting this one out to be my cheerleader and personal photographer :)