a humbling experience of which I recommend

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm writing this while sitting in the laundry room of my boyfriend's apartment. You see, there's a tornado warning out there and this is an interior room away from windows. There was somewhere around zero tornado warnings the first 3 summers I lived in Wisconsin, so I'm happy to report that in the first summer when Stephen lives here we've already had a handful. (his first winter here broke coldness records.)

I did make the mistake of starting a load of laundry (when in Rome...) and now every time the washer (which I'm sitting inches from) makes a weird noise (constantly), I perk up thinking I'm hearing a funnel cloud coming through the windows.

In short, I thought it was high time for a blog post.

I crossed something (big) off My 101 in 1001 List: I completed a triathlon!!

I forgot to wear my blue jeans
I tried the Wisconsin Triterium Triathlon in Verona, Wisconsin on Saturday! (results here to prove I'm not lying - and for my dad who surely misses looking at box scores. :) )

Overall, I will say: it was hard. But worth it.

Let's start with the swim. Everyone told me before the race "Open water swimming is really different, you should try it before the triathlon." Did I? Nope. But, it wasn't all because of pure laziness. Open water swimming can be dangerous if you're alone, and, as I knew swimming would be a challenge for me regardless, I was comfortable with practicing in a pool and just mentally preparing for the open-waterness.

For me, the weirdest part of open water swimming is how you are just constantly touching other people. Arms, legs, feet, hands, all flailing around in murky, unclear water. Also, weeds. But, I managed to finish respectably with others in my group. (probably in the bottom third but decidedly in the bottom third). Also, I repeated the mantra "It's better slow and alive than fast and dead" in my head. That proved oddly motivational.

The bike course? I should have tried beforehand. I cannot overstate the number of hills in the 11 mile bike route. Hills on hills on hills. I'm convinced this course is the hilly-est stretch in this mid-western, ostensibly FLAT state. (Hello, tornado warning.) Hills for days.

Biking was by far the most humbling component of the experience. I just kept getting passed. They do this thing at tri's where they marker up your body. They write your bib number on your arm and one calf, as shown:

post race gun show (note: although this pictures suggests otherwise, I was not sponsored by lululemon ;) )
On your other calf they write your age and an "S" for sprint or an "O" for olympic (longer distances). So, I got the joy of watching women pass me on bikes.....and knowing that they were 55 years old. Countless females passed me who were over 40 as I struggled my way up the endless hills. Did I mention there were hills?

Did the older triathletes have road bikes and was I one of few people riding a hybrid? Yes.
Were they also better bikers than me? Absolutely.

my bike and Lake Monona
So, I will say I have a long way to go until the Tour de France but a little dose of humility now and then never hurt anyone!

After the misery of the bike, the run felt much better! Not that I did great (actually, I ran at a pretty slow pace for me), but I got to end on the note of passing people versus being passed.And I was beyond happy to cross the finish line in one piece!

Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and if you're looking to find a new, fun thing to train for that isn't exclusively running, I highly recommend you try a tri. Feel free to hit me up with beginner questions! (I'm no ironman.)

Shout out to my two friends, Ainsley and Fran who completed the race with me! And to Stephen for waking up at 5:20am to come support us! Another lesson learned: next time, we should take "before" pictures.

Monday Inspiration: 101 in 1001

Monday, June 23, 2014

The internet is overly saturated with people absolutely hating on Monday.

Sure, waking up this morning and realizing it was time to go to work felt a lot like watching Portugal score an equalizer in the last second of the USA game yesterday (womp, womp) but, you guys, Monday comes once a week. And I think all the "negative press" about Monday online isn't helping me make it through the day without an exorbitant amount of coffee.

Thus, in an unprecedented move I give you: my best attempt at an inspirational Monday post!
view from Devil's Lake
I have been inspired to compile a "101 things in 1001 days" list. I originally heard of this idea from Mackenzie over on Design Darling and spent about 1001 days thinking about how I should write one. Quite literally. Mackenzie just wrapped up her first list and started her second list, and that's when realized that if I was casually thinking about starting a list for 2.75 years, maybe I should, you know, start one.

The goal is to come up with 101 new things to try in the next 2 and three-quarters year. So, not quite as dramatic as a Bucket List (death is not the deadline), and not quite as stressful as a post-it to-do list that lingers on my desk and taunts me every hour of every day. I'm all for happy mediums.

I haven't come up with all 101 items yet, but am tracking them on this newly created page of my blog, and wanted to share a few today.

1. Try stand up paddle boarding 
My proximity to beautiful lakes and my negligible amount of time spent doing water activities on said lakes is embarrassing. I'm determined to take advantage of Wisconsin's lovely lakes this summer. And stand up paddle boarding can't be too hard, right?

8. Tour the Madison Capital building
I've taken somewhere between 15 and 987 pictures of Madison's iconic landmark since moving to Madtown in July of 2011. Have I ever gone on one of the free tours offered every hour on the hour? Nope, though I've opted to eat brunch over looking it's exterior countless times. I'm determined to change that (and have brunch after the tour.)

this 8:30pm over-the-weekend picture of the Madison Capital brought to you by the summer solstice

10. Read 20 new books. Including Jane Eyre 
As an English major, the fact that I've never read Jane Eyre is essentially a dirty little secret. I'm pretty sure Bucknell would evoke my degree immediately if they ever found out.

15. Finally watch The Matrix
To indelibly avoid hearing the ever-prevalent question that has haunted my adult life, "You've never seen The Matrix!?!?!?"

21. Visit at least 3 new states 
Using the "if you stepped on land in the state, you were there" criteria, I have 36 states down and 14 to go. Does this mean I might be dragging my boyfriend to Idaho with me soon? Quite possibly.

My goal is to complete my list by the end of June - so be sure to check my 101 in 1001 days page for updates! More posts to come as I finish the list and (hopefully) start checking items off!