See Ya, 2017. Hello, 2018!

5 01 2018

I always like re-reading my year in review posts, so despite being a few days late, I’m going to share some highlights from my year. I’ve structured this year’s a bit differently than I have in the past- I took a page outta Beth‘s book and modeled mine after hers.

First, some stats on 2017:

Training:

I swam: 168 miles

I biked: 3,031 miles

I ran: 809 miles

(these numbers don’t include indoor trainer miles)

Wow, that’s quite a lot! My bike miles are essentially like riding from Florida to Washington State!

 

Racing:

In 2017, I completed the following races:

  • HITS Olympic triathlon (January)
  • Best Damn Race Half Marathon (February)
  • Clermont Olympic triathlon (March)
  • IM 70.3 Florida (April)
  • IM 70.3 Wisconsin (June)
  • IM 70.3 World Championships (September)
  • IM 70.3 North Carolina (Beach to Battleship) (October)
  • Tampa Bay Times 10K Turkey Trot (November)

Phew. That’s a lot of racing! But, it resulted in a new PR in the 70.3 distance and in doing so, I FINALLY broke 2:00 on the run. I finally learned how to race the 70.3 distance, thanks to trying again and again and again and trusting my coaches. I learned so much from them this season and I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes me and my racing.

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I also was lucky enough to race in the 70.3 World Championships. Hands down, my favorite race I’ve ever done. (IM Cozumel is a very close second though!) Not only did I experience a world-class race, but I also learned to race without putting pressure and expectations on myself that typically end in disappointment. With no pressure, I enjoyed every second of my race and it was amazing. At the same time, it lit a fire under my butt to try and qualify for 2019 in Nice, France. We’ll see if I can make that happen late in 2018 or early in 2019.

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Travel:

I went up to Madison, Wisconsin 8 times in 2017. I also got the pleasure of being in Minnesota for a few days in April, and I was just home in New Jersey for Christmas. I took one international trip to ITALY! Ah, I’m drooling just thinking about all the good food! Bill and I went to Rome, Florence, Pisa and the Cinque Terre.

 

 

 

Life Events

2017 was a big year for Bill and I. We moved from Tampa to St. Petersburg and it has been awesome to live on this side of the bridge. Sorry Tampa, but St. Pete is better:-)

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And, surprise!

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Bill and I eloped in December!

 

No fuss. No pomp and circumstance. Just me, Bill, our friend Domenique and the county clerk. Super simple. (and way cheaper than a “real” wedding).

 

So, switching gears a bit…

5 Things I’m looking forward to in 2018:

  1. Ironman Wisconsin. This race is my big race of the year, and I am pumped. Seriously, this finish line. I am super excited to hear Mike Reilly call my name as I cross the line of my second Ironman.
  2. Bad Ass Women’s Retreat – Next month (!!) I’m headed to Austin for the first time, which is exciting all by itself. However, I’m going there for a women’s retreat with some of my favorite female triathlete friends! Several of my TriMarni teammates organized this weekend of awesomeness which is going to include some run, bike, swim, but also some yoga and a cooking class! Heck yes! I am so so excited about this!
  3. Ironman 70.3 Haines City– Funny how a race I told myself I would Never do has ended up on a list of things I’m looking forward to in 2018! This is a TriMarni Team Race and we are going to SHOW UP! There are 20-some of us who are going to be there and it is going to be awesome!
  4. Triathlon CAMP! I plan to attend TWO camps this season, both in Greenville, South Carolina. Bring on riding in the mountains! They are going to be several days of HARD work, but gosh they are SO worth it!
  5. Last but certainly not least, spending time with Bill. As of right now, Bill doesn’t have as much travel scheduled for 2018, which means we’ll get to spend more time together! Hooray! I’m excited to explore all the fantastic things St. Pete has to offer with my new husband:0)
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2016 Highlights

31 12 2016

So, I know I haven’t finished my Australia/New Zealand recap, but I’m getting caught up in  all the end of the year hubbub and thought it might be fun to look back on some highlights from my year- some things that I have blogged about and others that I haven’t.

Here we go, starting with January:

 

Perhaps this isn’t quite a “highlight,” but it was definitely something significant for Steph the triathlete. While out on a long run in preparation for the Best Damn Race half marathon only a few weeks away, I sprained my ankle. Oof. 2016 was off to a great start…

A few days after the sprain, it was my birthday, and it was quite possibly one of my favorite birthdays ever. 33 is nothing special in itself, but Bill and our friend Domenique made sure I would never forget this one. We got dressed up and went to Ciro’s speakeasy for some fun drinks before hitting up Edison for a delicious meal. The best part of the evening was my gift, which was so incredibly thoughtful. Bill had collected notes from my friends, which highlighted what they appreciated about me, and put them in a jar for me to read. We read each and every one of them, and my heart overflowed with joy. I still read them every so often- its a great way to cheer up when you’re feeling a little down!

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February:

Bill and I got to spend Valentine’s Day together. Sure, he was performing, but it was a fun excuse to get dressed up:-)

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I took the plunge and got myself a power meter. I’m still learning more about how I should best use it, but it has definitely given me some interesting data to look at and analyze so I can keep improving!

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And finally, I started classes for my Certificate in Project Management at the UW. It was fun to be a student again and to learn something that was totally applicable to the work I do!

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March:

In March I had the pleasure of attending my first ever triathlon training camp with TriMarni. I had an absolute blast spending three days doing some of my favorite things: swimming, biking, running, EATING, and learning about how to be a better triathlete. On top of all that, I got to meet my amazing coaches and teammates in person for the first time. It was awesome. img_2889lgls1679

I also did my first tri of the season, on the last day of camp. I went out with ZERO expectations because hello tired, and I had a blast! It’s amazing how different a race can be if you just let go of all expectations and your only goal is to enjoy your day.

 

April:

 

Since I didn’t get a chance to run the Best Damn Race, I was looking for a redemption race, and I found it in the IronGirl Clearwater half marathon. I was still getting my fitness back from the sprain but was definitely well enough to race. So glad I did because I PRed! (caveat: I haven’t done that distance stand alone in a very long time!)

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I also did the St. Anthony’s Triathlon for the first time as an individual athlete. In 2015, I did it as a relay, but this year, it was all me. It was a hot day, but I PRed the Olympic distance and ended up with a 5th place AG award. Oh, and I met Rinny!

 

May:

The highlight of May would most certainly be our hiking trip! We spent several days on the AT, saw some beautiful scenery, and met some pretty fantastic people. We spent our last night at the Top of Georgia Hostel, hanging with our new friends, learning from Sir Packs a Lot about the top tips for a successful through hike, and relaxing after some long days of walking. It was awesome. Unfortunately, the fall of 2016 wouldn’t be so good to TOG- the surrounding area was overtaken by fire, causing parts of the trail to be shut down, and thus, the steady stream of hikers that TOG relies on to survive all but came to a halt. They’re currently doing some fundraising to help get back on track, so if you feel so inclined, please donate here.

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June:

June was pretty busy for me, work-wise. I had two trips to Madison, and one of them was a longer-than usual trip so I could finish up my last course for my Project Management certificate. I “graduated” from the program this month, and can now put MCPM behind my name if I so choose!

One of the reasons the Madison trip was so long was because the two weeks I needed to be there were back to back, so I stayed for the weekend. It just so happened that there was a 70.3 that weekend, so of course I raced! Oh, and the Madison farmers market which is Ah-Mazing. It was really fun to race with my SOAS teammate Kathy! (I’m coming back for this race in 2017, and it will be an IM branded race then!)

I had one other race in June, a sprint tri, the 2nd in the Crystal River Sprint series. I won my age group!img_4715

July:

In July, we celebrated the 4th with our friend Domenique, who recently bought a home in Tampa. We helped remove tile from the inlay suite and then stuffed our bellies with delicious food.

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August:

In August, my friend Domenique got some chickens, and I learned that I think chickens are pretty cool. I’m adopted mama #2 for these babes, and I had so much fun watching them grow in 2016!

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I also hunkered down and got in my last push of training before my A race in September. Hard training meant I needed some good recovery, and I tried a float tank for the first time. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but I also wouldn’t say I hated it. It was a different experience, and I think it’s one of those things where you need to do it a few times before fully “getting it”.

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September:

The triathlon I had been working towards all year was in September: Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City. It was a great excuse to get home to Jersey at one of the best times of year there. I didn’t have the race I wanted, but I still had fun!

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October/November:

Australia and New Zealand. ‘Nuf said.

New Zealand pics: (hopefully I’ll find some time to write up these posts!!)

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I spent Thanksgiving with some friends and then had a 2nd thanksgiving with another friend on Black Friday, and then had a 3rd Thanksgiving when Bill got home in early December. I love thanksgiving!

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I also started training with TriMarni as a one on one coached athletes. I felt the excitement of seeing my workouts loaded into Training Peaks for the first time (#triathletenerd).

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December:

In December, we celebrated Bill’s birthday with a surprise party. I’m so glad I was actually able to pull it off!

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I also was able to spend Christmas with my cousin and her family. It was so fun to experience a Christmas with children (6, 2.5, and 4 months old); seeing Christmas through their eyes really helps bring back the magic and joy that we can sometimes lose sight of as adults.

 

Thanks for the memories 2016. I wonder what 2017 will bring!

 





Three Sisters and Back to Bondi

2 12 2016

I awoke to the sound of the car starting. It was still pitch black out, but I knew immediately that Bill had gone to the car to warm up. His sleeping bag is actually a camping quilt, overstuffed so that it is 40 degree bag. Despite all his layers, he was definitely not comfortable in this temperature.

I most certainly was not going to get out of my warm sleeping bag, so I closed my eyes and kinda fell back asleep. Soon, the sun arose and I joined Bill in the car.

“So, what’s the plan?”

I could tell Bill hadn’t gotten much sleep (I mean, look at how small the car is! He’s 6’4″!) so we opted to start heading back to Sydney. But first, we needed to stop at the Three Sisters again, and actually hike over to get up close and personal with the girls:-0

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On the way back to Three Sisters, we were able to check off another thing from our “must do/see” in Australia list: we saw wild kangaroos! Just like deer in the states, a few shot out in front of the car, and we had to quickly break. I was only able to get a shot of this guy, who was still hanging out in someone’s farm, separated from his friends.

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We got back up to the visitors center and boy, was it windy! We followed the trail, went down some steep steps and crossed wooden walkway that was just a bit sketchy. Don’t. Look. Down. I told myself!

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We grabbed some photos, watched the crazy cockatoos (which are wild there, and are obnoxiously loud!) before heading back up. Some other walkers stopped to chat with us and told us we should check out the falls that was just up the road a bit. It was still pretty early, so I convinced Bill to stop. Well, not after stopping at this super cute coffee shop where I had the most amazing fruit cake ever.

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Absolutely NOTHING like the boxed sticky stuff you get. This was clearly homemade and outstanding!

We didn’t spend a ton of time at the falls; we actually saw them from a distance but didn’t want to walk all the way over and down to the bottom. It was chilly and we were both ready for a nap.

On the way home, we found a safe spot to stop and pulled over to take a 30 minute nap. Much needed!

We still had plenty of time before we needed to return the car, so I asked Bill if we could go back to Bondi and do the Coogee walk to see the sculptures. He agreed and navigated us back to that special place:-)

Today however, was a completely different day than Tuesday. It was much, much cooler, cloudy, and rainy. The surf was much calmer and the beach was empty.

We waited out the rain at a noodle shop and though it was quite good, it wasn’t quite as tasty as roach soup place. With full bellies and drier weather, we headed to Sculptures by the Sea. On the way, we passed the Iceberg club, which to my dismay was closed. Apparently every Thursday the pool is closed for cleaning. Argh! I guess that just means I need to go back!

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The art walk was really rad- so many beautiful and interesting sculptures. Here’s a few of my favorites!

 

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After we had seen all the sculptures, we headed back to the main drag to a brewery that had caught our eye on Tuesday. We grabbed a beer sampler at the Bavarian Bier Garden and played some foozeball. I am absolutely terrible and Bill whooped my butt every game. Tired and over foozeball, we headed back to Sydney since it was certainly not a beach day.

We returned the car and walked in the rain to our AirBnB, a loft studio in King’s Cross. King’s Cross is definitely more of an interesting neighborhood than Circular Quay: eclectic, artsy, and just the right amount of seedy.

The rainy weather did not make it an appealing night to be out and about, so we grabbed some take out Mexican, bought a bottle of wine, and had a relaxing night in.