My Third Triathlon


I did my third triathlon this weekend. Now that it’s behind me, I can say it was a blast. But up until that moment where my toes hit the water, I felt totally unprepared. The first time I did this triathlon, two years ago, I followed the training schedule faithfully. I packed my bag carefully, made notes and asked advice. And I was nervous as hell. Last year I was much more relaxed, but again trained aggressively and I beat my time by about two minutes. This year I started the summer with a strong training program, but by Mid-July my training fell apart. We listed our house, Daughter’s day care fell apart and my Dad passed away. I continued to train just to maintain my sanity. I went into the race very relaxed, probably too much. And maybe even too confident. I had no jitters and no concerns. I really just wanted to have fun. I didn’t expect to get a PR. Here’s what happened.

The Swim

I didn’t realize that the first wave had even started until I saw people running out of the water. What? Yeah, Jenn, they’re on the third wave already, my training partner told me. What? We were in the ninth wave, so we had a few minutes, but still, pay attention, Jenn! It’s a good thing she was there or I’d probably still be standing on the beach waiting to start. Anyway, I started the swim fast, too fast. I ran out ahead, dove in and swam with everything I had. And then I couldn’t breathe. I got kicked and then I kicked someone. Then I had to flip over and just breathe kick breathe. By the first turn I was starting to calm down but was still offered a noodle. All the crazy thoughts I expected came racing through my mind. “What are you thinking doing a triathlon? Just grab that kayak over there and you can be done. You still need to bike and run after this, are you crazy?” But just like in writing, I told my mind to shut up. I closed my eyes and started to swim. Every few strokes I looked up to make sure I was going in the right direction. I was. By the second turn I was encouraging another swimmer who seemed to be struggling. By the time I reached the shore I was grateful for strong legs and sand to run on.


I dried my feet, struggled with socks, velcroed my bike shoes, clipped on my race belt and helmet and ran outta there in just over two minutes.

The Bike

I have a love/hate relationship with the bike. I love the bike because I have water and food with me and I can get my head settled after the swim, but I hate it because it’s long and I have a slow bike and I inevitably get bored by mile 12 of so. This year I really worked on concentrating, mostly because I figured out my bike computer and now know how fast I’m going. Even then, by mile 14 I was slowing down and a friendly biker passed me and encouraged me to finish strong. It was exactly what I needed, so I kicked my speed back up and sped in.


I really only had to rack my bike and switch shoes, but as I leaned down to tie them (darn laces) I got a bad cramp in my upper abs (old yoga injury) and had to sit down. Sit Down? Just to put on shoes? Even sitting I could barely reach my feet without the cramp flaring up but I told myself as soon as I had them tied I could run away and stretch it as much as I wanted.

 The Swim

So, off I went to the trail and nobody else was there. Seriously. There were dozens of fans and I new I went the right way, but there were no other runners! I actually had to ask some spectators  if I was going the right away. I was, and moments later I caught some slower runners. (I might have a slow bike, but I pass all those racing-bike-types on the run). The first mile was hard. Really hard. My legs were tired and I felt like I was barely moving. But it’s so mental at that point and I really really didn’t want to walk. so I just kept moving my legs over and over and over. A half-mile into the run I caught my breathe and started to have fun. I encouraged walkers to run with me. I complimented a woman on her cute top (Athleta, of course!). I shouted out my calories burned when it hit 950. And I yelled just one mile to go when we had just one mile to go. Then with 800 yards left, I thought I was going to puke. That darn Gatorade I tried at the last water stop. I new it was a bad choice, but I just put the thought out of my head and new that at that finish line were my Husband, My In-laws and the sweetest little girl i knew. And I knew she wanted to finish with me. When I could finally see the finish line (I love that you can’t see the finish line until there’s only about 150 feet to go) I knew I was nearly there. I looked in the crowd for Husband and saw his head peeking over the crowd. I waved and out popped Daughter. Dressed in her favorite party dress and her new running shoes. She grabbed my hand and ran with me all the way to the end. We crossed and stopped and as I leaned down to hug her she looked up and asked, “Did we win?” “Yeah, Baby, we won all right.”

I didn’t look at the clock when I finished, but I knew from my watch that I had probably gotten a PR. I think the big difference is that I pushed it on the bike. I totally messed up the swim, but with the stronger bike and a consistent run (my best and favorite portion) I reached the PR. And after everything that happened this summer, everything that tried to derail my training and didn’t, I couldn’t be happier. Now, I just can’t wait until next year. Seriously. It can’t come soon enough!!

Goodbye, 1952

Say goodbye to the mint green tile, the peach and yellow accents and the crumbling walls.



I won’t miss the 80s lights or the cracked grout.


And I won’t miss the broken shelves in the medicine cabinet or the too-large-for-the-space sink.


Or that nightmare of a glass shower door. Really, eleven years we’ve been together. See ya!

Question #1


Remember those questions I posted a week or so ago? I haven’t forgotten them. Here’s number one:

1. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish (professionally or personally) in the next year?

There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in the next year…  move to a new house, complete another triathlon, run another 10k. But the one thing I need to throw out there, into this virtual but very real space, is that I want to finish the memoir I’ve been working on. I’ve been working on it on and off for a couple years (mostly off), but it needs to get onto the page somehow (and soon). That means that by April 4, 2014 I’ll have a first draft. And it might be a shitty first draft, well, yes, it will be a shitty first draft, but it will be a first draft.

I met a writing friend for coffee (I drink tea) yesterday and she has inspired me. She makes herself write 500 words every day. I’m going to write 500 words at least four times a week. At least. If more spills out that’s great. There will be less sleep and less reading, and hopefully less TV. But there will be writing.

And maybe I’ll share some of it with you here. I haven’t talked about this “memoir” here before. In fact, I rarely talk about my personal writing here except with my supportive and loyal writing group, but many of you know that having Daughter was no easy task. And that’s where my story begins. There are lots of parts of my story and lots to write about. And I’m working on it. Really working on it. And it’s hard. But now I’ve thrown it out to you. One year. 365 days. And it’s not an April Fool’s joke. Really. That was already three days ago!.

Happy Half Birthday To Me, I Think?

(the cake photo is borrowed from Cafe Latte, yum)

Today is my half-birthday, which I wouldn’t notice normally, but I’m still working my way through my 39 at 39 list and I think I have a ways to go. Let’s see:

1. Do a Triathlon – DONE, on August 17
2. Run a 10K – DONE, October 1
3. Make homemade bread
4. Take a nap
5. Enjoy a glass of wine with a close friend on a beautiful day
6. Read Anna Karenina
7. Do a charity walk for a cause close to my heart
8. Make sushi
9. Make homemade Veggie Burgers – GP’s Veggie Black Bean Burgers – DONE
10. Take the dog for a long walk – DONE
11. Go for a hike- Carpenter Nature Center – DONE

12. Laugh – DONE
13. Go snowshoeing – sort of?
14. Finish an unfinished project – finished mom’s 3rd pillow – DONE
15. Open my eyes
16. Conquer my fear of piecrust
17. Cook an indian meal
18. Take a nap
19. Make homemade jam
20. Spend an afternoon playing with Daughter – can it be a morning? October 18, art projects – DONE
21. Make a recipe out of the French Laundry Cookbook
22. Take another nap
23. Climb a tree
24. Design my own fabric
25. Love
26. Plan a day trip just to eat – sept 22 -DONE
27. Spend more time reading – DONE, xmas break into the new year
28. Go kayaking
29. Relax
30. Run a 5K with Daughter (jogging stroller, obviously) – MN Zoo 5k – DONE
31. Paint a picture with no restraints
32. Make fried green tomatoes – did it, august 2011 – DONE
33. Do another triathlon
34. Volunteer
35. Take a road trip – September 22, does this count? – DONE
36. Bake cookies from scratch – DONE (xmas)
37. Buy handmade – DONE, a scarf, for me. 
38. Smile more
39. Have fun
16 Done, 23 to go. I have a lot to do! I’ll get back to the William Morris project next week. Another list!

William Morris: Food Storage

 “I will have nothing in my home that I do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris

My first William Morris Thursday.… I took advantage of 20 minutes of Toddler distraction and cleaned out our two main food storage cupboards. Really, there’s not much space. Most of my baking goods are in the pantry, but the every day ingredients are in one of these two cupboards.

Above the stove, Before and After. This is where we keep the tea and all sorts of snacks for the Toddler. On the far left there is the homemade granola from Jen. Yum!

The main cupboard, Before and After. What a mess, it’s a little bit better. On the bottom shelf I have crackers, more snacks, granola bars, and can storage, mostly filled with black beans and coconut milk. Middle shelf is home to pasta, sauces and unopened bottles on the lazy susan. Top shelf includes nuts, cocoa, oatmeal and random grains that aren’t used very often.

It’s a little neater. I purged quite a bit, including consolidating oatmeal, tossing expired goods and eating a box of Cracker Jacks. It was worth it.


And then it was January. Well, actually the third of January..

I’m ready to get back in to the swing of things. I ready to stop eating Christmas cookies. I’m ready to get back to running, swimming, yoga and hockey. I’m ready for work… which promises to be very busy this month. And I’m ready to write.

Last year I had made a few New Year’s resolutions, and for the most part I stuck with them. I wrote here and there, I went to yoga fairly regularly, I created for those I love rather than for those that paid me, and I completed my first triathlon. This year there is just one resolution: To Write.

Oh, there will still be a triathlon or three, and a 10k and maybe (gulp) a 10 miler, and Yoga to keep a balance, but the real goal of the year it to Write. I have two, maybe three, books brewing in my head and they’re screaming to get out. So this is their year. Seriously. Here goes…

What are your resolutions?

And Then November….

November. I’m still running in shorts. Already playing hockey. And can/can’t wait for snow. Among other things, November is the month of daily creativity. There’s NaNoWrMo and Art Every Day For a Month. I’m aiming to do one or the other every day… meaning to write or create art. I feel like doodling, or making jewelry or maybe bring out the paints? We’ll see what comes up.

As for those resolutions…. here goes:

1. Create
See above….  And designing a whole lotta invitations and such for Purple•Poppie. Those ideas just keep coming. Woo!Hoo!

2. Write.
Hello 5:30am. Nice to see you again. You’re a pain in my butt but you get me writing.

3. Yoga
My lovely new instructor took a new job. ((*^%%&^%%$!! But I’m still going. Because I love it. And the Level 2 classes are HARD!

4. Budget
This is good. I just stopped spending money.

5. Triathlon.
Hockey started this past weekend and all that training really made the transition a piece of cake. (And yes, I enjoyed a piece of Salted Cashew Caramel Chocolate Cake to celebrate our first win.) I’m also signing up for my first indoor tri. Anyone with me?

Are you ready for snow? Thanksgiving? Eecks, the holidays?


It’s Friday. And last night on our walk this little fellow fell out of a tree just inches in front of Dog’s head. Seriously, inches. A split second later and he would have landed on Dog’s head! Good thing that didn’t happen, Dog was freaked out enough! After some discussion and a call to Animal Control, Husband gently moved him onto the base of the tree. We checked back later and he was gone and we could hear his Mama screaming. So glad she came down for him. Poor baby. Poor mama!

It’s a big weekend. Take it easy. Hug your kids. Hug your friends. Hug yourself.


It’s the first day of September and it is supposed to get to 95 degrees. Naturally. Meanwhile the State Fair is going on, school is starting, and I can smell Fall in the air. It’s also time to let you knwo how things are going re: the resolutions. Here goes!

1. Create
I’m sewing here and there. Finally finished pillow #3. And have some plans for the fall when the temps cool. Meanwhile I need to spend some time outside, quick, before I can’t

2. Write.
I’m all over this, even if just little snippets here and there. Hope to have something to share next month. Oh, and I joined a writing group. We’re meeting at the end of the month, can’t wait.

3. Yoga
Yep, doing Yoga again. Found a great new instructor that I can visit during my lunch hour. And what a pleasant lunch hour it is. Very, very lovely.

4. Budget
Totally on this. No worries. Ha!

5. Triathlon.
I did it! I did it! And it was a blast. I’m totally addicted and can’t wait to do another one. Well, actually, I can, but I plan to do a few next summer, the first one in June. Until then I’ll run and bike and swim just so I don’t forget how. And hey – I signed up for a 10k. A girl’s gotta have a goal, right?

Have you been to the fair? Are you ready for school?


Can you believe it’s April already? In these parts it’s hard to believe. The snow has just melted and the temperatures just reached above freezing. But I saw flowers yesterday, outside, in my neighbors yard. Tiny, purple flowers among the leaves and dirt and grime of the winter. Spring is here. Finally.

It’s also time for a resolution update:

1. Create
Sewing a bit here and there. Need to make a laptop case for my new laptop!! And I have a few summer dressed in mind for Daughter.

2. Write.
Yes! I”m taking an online class and took a one-day class last week. It’s going really well, and will share some stuff some if you’d like?

3. Yoga
Monday nights, new instructor, loving it.

4. Budget
Um, yeah. See February and March.

5. Triathlon.
Running, Spinning and Lifting. And I bought goggles, swim cap and a new suit. Getting there….

Pretty good….

Are you still following your Resolutions?