A Good Week

13 09 2013

Phew, what a week! It’s been busy, but it’s been a really good week, for several reasons:

1) I started a new job!

I recently took on a full-time position at an organization that I worked very closely with while I was in DC. I’m still in the education world, but I’ll be back working with/for a population that is dear to my heart- English Language Learners. I’ll still be in Tampa, but I’ll get to do a bit more traveling than I have in the recent past. I’m really excited about the work I’ll be doing and I’ve got a great group of colleagues that I’ll be joining!

2) I witnessed my first Ironman live and in person!

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(I guess I didn’t really didn’t get a shot of any of the brand in this shot!)

I flew into Madison, WI for work on Sunday and it just so happened to be Ironman Wisconsin! I got in to town around 6pm, quickly dropped my stuff at the hotel, and walked a little over a mile to the finish line. Oh. My. Gosh. There is nothing like an Ironman finish line! The energy is absolutely contagious and it is so awe-inspiring to watch people of all shapes, sizes, ages crossing that finish line!

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And in case you were wondering, I did not wait in this line the next morning:

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to nab a spot in IMWI 2014. I have a few people putting a bug in my ear about a different race happening in 2015…We’ll see about that…

3. I’ve had some pretty fantastic workouts this week.

Before I left for Wisconsin, I started my Sunday with a brick on Davis Island. It was a perfect day for a ride- the sun was shining, the temps were a little cooler, and the humidity was lower than usual. I met up with my friend Chris and we rode about 32 miles together (I tacked on an extra 3 while I was waiting for him to arrive) and then I ran 4 miles after. I was rocking my Jet City jersey and I crossed paths with Jessica, the Jet City owner, who was also getting in her workout for the day. It’s always fun to see familiar faces on a run/ride!

IMG_8597I ran 6.45km, which is 4 miles (my XP coach forces strongly encourages us to switch our Garmins to metric; I’ve made the switch, but I still have my lap set to miles-whoops!) and I averaged 8:18/mile. I was stoked! I think track and tempo runs are paying off!

Inspired by the Ironman, I planned to get in a good run before work on Monday. I was out the door by 6:45am and I was pleasantly surprised that it was light out! I guess being up north, the sun rises a little earlier! I ran through the streets of Madison, now quiet after the excitement of the previous night’s race, and down to Lake Menona. I ran 12km (7.46 miles) and it was MUCH more pleasant than when I ran that same distance the weekend before in Florida. I average 8:48/mile, which wasn’t too bad, but I was more excited because I actually enjoyed the run. I haven’t really been running long because it’s miserable to do so in the Florida heat- I was encouraged because as the weather (hopefully) starts cooling down, I’ll be able to get in the long runs I need before my HIM and they won’t be torture!

I ran again on Tuesday (6km), and took a really fun spin class at CYC fitness in Madison on Wednesday. (Full review coming soon.) Thursday morning I flew into Jersey and got in a run on the boardwalk. I heart running on the boardwalk! I felt super speedy and ran 4 miles, averaging 8:11(!!)/mile.  BAM!

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This week’s runs have been super encouraging for me- now I just need to channel that speed this weekend!

4. It’s race week!

If I haven’t already mentioned it, I’m super excited about my race this weekend in Atlantic City! This will be my first and only international distance of the season- and because of the flexibility race directors have in determining the distances for each sport, this one will have a 1 mile swim! Heck yea!  DelMo sports puts on great races, so I can’t wait to get to that starting line on Sunday morning!

5. I’m spending time “down the shore” (aka home) in New Jersey!

Nothing beats September in South Jersey. The shoobies (those who spend their summers at the shore but aren’t really locals) are all gone, the weather is still pretty nice, and this year, the Miss America Pageant returns home to Atlantic City. You know those “Life is good” tees? Yeah, that’s me right now. 🙂

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Jersey Strong.

3 11 2012

Last week, I sat in the comfort of my home in Tampa, FL with my family, visiting me from Ventnor, NJ, our tiny beach town on one of the barrier islands in South Jersey.

We anxiously refreshed all of the weather and news websites, hoping that Sandy wouldn’t make that dreaded turn towards the shore. When she did, we searched for all the news we could find about our tiny home town. We talked to neighbors who hadn’t left the island, worried about how much damage would be done to the house,  hoping that the family cat would be okay, but thankful we were all safe and sound, thousands of miles away.

 

My parents were finally able to fly back to Jersey on Thursday morning, and then were able to get back to their home on Friday afternoon. My family was so incredibly lucky, as  water from the storm was only in the crawl space (under the house) and an inch or so into the closet leading to the crawl space. Salt water from the bay got into one of the cars, but other than that, we were one of the lucky few.

As I look at the pictures my friends from home are posting on Facebook, my heart aches. There is so much loss. And yes, most of it is just stuff. Stuff can be replaced, and it is being replaced! My heart warms to see the outpouring of love and generosity- not just through the typical channels- Red Cross, the benefit concert- but through the use of social media. My Facebook news feed is FILLED with posts of people volunteering their time and resources to help with the clean up. I am so moved!

Jersey has this rough reputation, and when you mention the Jersey shore, everyone immediately thinks of those dummies on that awful TV show. But that’s not the real Jersey shore. This is.

The people in Jersey care for each other. We live in a tight-knit community; we’ve gone to school with the same kids from kindergarten to 12th grade. Everyone knows the Magees or the VanDuynes or the Smiths (just to name a few!) We want to rebuild, and to be a better, stronger community. To me, the Jersey shore means family. It means friends. We didn’t need a tragedy to bring us all together- we know there’s someone who lives down the street or maybe even 20 minutes away who would lend a helping hand, some food or a warm bed to sleep on. But it is so heartwarming to see it all roll out for all to see via social media. We will rebuild South Jersey. I’m proud to be a Jersey Girl.

(Shirts available here: 100% of profit goes to Hurricane Sandy Relief)

Jersey Strong.

If you’d like to help the Jersey Shore, you can click here: http://www.shorefellowship.net/sandyrelief