How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

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6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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Goof Views and News #1

Goof Views and News #1

Hey there boys and girls, guys and gals.  It’s the Goof comin’ at ya from Tampa, Florida to give you the first episode of what I hope to be one of many.

The Goof Views and News.

These will be personal perceptions made during specific times or events that may resonate some of you and news of events that have happened or will happen in the future.  For instance, as I have posted on FB and Twitter, I have registered for the Chicago Marathon as I did in 2011 prior to the Florida Ironman.  Ta da!  The first news of the post.

The Views (Seeing through the eyes of the Goof)

I was at Disney World this weekend enjoying some rest and relaxation and I wouldn’t say it was an epiphany, but it was a clarification of sorts.  I just happened to be in line at Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrow Land when I saw a couple coming toward me. He was a larger man riding in one of those motorized carts, and she was walking beside him.  She wasn’t a small person either.  They obviously were not concerned about their conversation being overheard and I heard him swear at her for some reason.  She yelled back at him, “Well if you would do something about it, you wouldn’t have to ride around in that thing.”  He snapped back with, “You think it is that easy, well you try it.”  She ended up retorting with, “I am! You <insert explicative here>!  You don’t see me needing a <insert another explicative> wheelchair. Do Ya?”  The large man pushed what I assumed to be the accelerator and moved ahead of her.

This is what I recall, it may not have been their exact words, but it did make me look around a bit more during my weekend visit.  Without being completely rude I started focussing on the more obese adults and I noticed something.  Ninety-five percent of the adults that were obese looked miserable.  I am not including people that just had a few extra pounds on them, I am talking about adults that were obviously fat.

There was not one of them that looked like they were having any fun.  Here we are in the happiest place on earth, with perfect weather, scents of food, and sweetness in the air, upbeat music, not a noticeable speck of negative energy in the place and these people are miserable.  Why would anyone want to do that to themselves?  Don’t get me wrong, I have never been that big.  I have been fat where I needed to take some pounds off, but never obese, so I can only imagine how hard it is, but to willingly stay in misery, just sounds exhausting to me.

Later, I sought out children that were, let’s just say, were in need of some more activity, which took all of thirty seconds.  While there were some that were running around, in my estimate, seventy to eighty percent of them were whining for somewhere to sit down.  Sit?  When there are rides, and new things to touch, smell and see?  Of course, most of them had parents that were in the same condition.  Go figure.

There are articles on articles explaining the epidemic we have in this country of obesity, but they are words on a page and maybe a picture.  I was able to watch this before my very eyes and they burned with disgust, pity, and sadness.  The next morning, I got up and ran six miles to clear the images from my head and come up with some kind of dream resolution.  The next time you are at an event or a place where there are families and a lot of people become aware of this. (Athletes: the Gasparilla Distance Weekend coming up, would not be a good place for this kind of perception.)

After mulling this around for the last few days, my desire to help has increased.  I know there are an abundance of people with this same desire and some of them more so if they have been able to overcome this obstacle for themselves, but I really want to help and the kids even more so.  We need to bring this epidemic more into the open and encourage people to move around and do something for a minimum of 20 minutes a day.

On to the News

I have entered into a partnership with Brenton Ford from Effortless Swimming.  He has a new program called Swimprove where a swimmer can log into a website and access an abundance of material to help them swim faster and more efficiently   As I have stated in numerous posts before, I really need help on my swimming.

I will be accessing his website and will be following his advice to the letter and bringing you my results, epiphany’s and observations.  This program of Brenton’s is not just for beginning swimmers, but for triathletes, open water swimmers and masters swimmers that would like to improve and become faster.  Included is not freestyle but the butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke as well.  I am really excited to get started and document what I have learned.

Gasparilla is this weekend and I am taking on the Beck’s Lite Challenge, so I will be running the 15k and 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.

Which races are you running?

I am currently coaching at FitNiche on Tuesday’s with a new program called the Technical Tune-up.  I have a number of runners just looking to have a structured workout that includes warm-ups, and cooldowns and gives them access to a coach running with them paying close attention to their form in order to create more efficiency and keep them injury free.  Most of my runners are return clients, but I do have some new clients that have joined the flock.  I am really excited to be coaching again.  The program goes for 8 weeks and then renews.  I still have some slots available, so if you feel like you are getting injured a lot or just not making any progress, or just want a structured workout, come on out.  Tuesday Nights starting at 6:30 pm at FitNiche in Hyde Park Village.

The owner and I are working on the marketing for a new course as well, but I will announce that later when the details are flushed out.

That is it for this episode of the Goof Views and News.  Have an amazing week and train hard athletes, but also train smart.

Carpe Viam!!

Catching back up with the Goof

My intention for re-starting this blog was to write more often, but the more I want to write, the more I find I have less to write about.  I have been reading a lot of blogs lately.  I enjoy reading them when I have the time, the only problem I am having is I am having way too many “A-HA” moments.  I read a great post and think to myself, “I should have written about that”, or “that was a great idea”, or the famous “I was going to write about that too.”  The issue I am having is being original and unique.  What does this mean exactly (as you may be scratching your head going, ok Goof, get on with it already)?  It means I have two choices.  As I peruse the new group I have been welcomed into, The Tampa Bay Bloggers, I notice two distinct kinds of blogs, the knowledge based, and the journal.  While both can provide very interesting information, I find that the latter can become a little monotonous.   Now for me, it doesn’t matter because I know, or am getting to know, most of the journal type bloggers and I enjoy reading those, but if I wasn’t associated with them, would I really want to read them?  I am not quite sure.

My struggle is that I want my posts to be creatively amusing while being interesting in a way where one of three things comes out of each post for each reader.  1) You laugh (or at least smile), 2) learn something, or at least remember that you learned it, or 3) you are emotional moved to some sort of action.  I don’t care if you end up being incredibly angry or even angry at me, if you are moved in some way I think I may have accomplished my goal.  Now is this too much to ask?

Susan & friend at WHM 2012

Regressing back to the title of this blog “Catching back up with the Goof”, let me give you the latest chronological items.

I was ecstatic to see my friends run the Women’s Half Marathon the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I had the opportunity to go out and cheer once again for a certain group of running and tri peeps and then being surprised to find even more women I knew that were running.  Kudos go out to Kat from Sneakers n’ Fingerpaints, Beka from Rebecca Roams, Anderson, Sarah, Jessica from Jet City Espresso, Elisa, Caitlin from Live, Sweat, Sleep, Repeat, Susan, and all the others out there I am probably missing.  It was a race that was a pleasure to watch and not just because there were a lot of fit and hot looking women in spandex(get your mind out of the gutter), but because the energy was higher than really a ton of races I have been a part of.  Maybe there is something to this “Girl Power” thing.  Can we harness it as a natural resource?  Can we use it in our cars? (Hey – get your mind out of the gutter I said.)

At least my sister,  Millie was happy
to see me.  I think.

Thanksgiving was very uneventful.  Thursday I worked out and hung out by myself for a while and then had dinner at Amy & Erik Eck’s home (my friend and coach).  I had the honor of hanging with a lot of great people to include the little new Godsend, Bennett Erik Eck whom is now just a couple of weeks old.  He is getting to be pretty adorable, if I do say so myself, and I am not being biased because I happened to (almost) be there at his birth.  That may be a whole other post I may need to write. (Note to self – see paragraph 1.)  There was plenty of delicious Paleo based food and a few dishes that were not so much, but everything was amazing.  After a long walk to help the digestion process I headed home and to bed due to my departure from Tampa Bay International Airport on the 6am flight to Chicago and my family’s belated Thanksgiving.  Needless to say Friday, family came over, there was conversation, there was food, there was more conversation, everyone went home, and I went to sleep.  The End.

Sunday, I was privileged to hang out at Moretti’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant with a very good friend from my high school years whom my influence had/has steadily increased his appetite for triathlon(patting myself on the back).  We have been continuing to keep in touch through email, phone and text, sharing information on races, plans and techniques.  He started swimming last year at this time right after the Chicago Marathon and last March/April timeframe competed in his first indoor sprint triathlon, followed by a couple more and finishing with his first Olympic in September.  Needless to say I was pretty proud of Big Guy last year.  Yes, his nick name was, and still is “Big Guy”.  Mine was “Bagelman”…go figure. (Pause for laughter)  Anyway, it was great to hang out eat a little pizza, watch the Bears kick some royal Viking butt and talk triathlon.

That left getting up at 3:30am on Monday for a 6am flight home to be able to put in a full days work.  I really didn’t think we had to leave as early as we did, but I was totally 100% wrong.  I made to the gate with barely 5 minutes to grab some McDonald’s coffee and ascend the jetway before taking off.   Security on Monday was brutal, but the flight was uneventful.  Thank you Southwest Airlines.

That is all I have for today.  I do have ideas vetted out for future posts and maybe some new developments in my coaching career that are starting to take shape.  All that and more to come.

Carpe Viam!

Tribute Tuesday #2 – Pete Amedure

Pete Amedure, Coach, Mentor, Motivator and Friend

Inspirational, motivational, challenging, generous and caring are all the adjectives I would use to describe my personal friend Pete Amedure.

The first time I met Pete I knew I was going to be in trouble of sorts.  Scott Bragan and I decided to check out a brick workout he was hosting with a number of the Team in Training athletes he was coaching at the time, and a couple of other triathletes.  I walked over to introduce myself and at first I was taken back by this big, burly, broad guy talking with this raspy voice that sounded like he just walked off the Brooklyn Bridge.  We didn’t know each other at all, but we proceeded to start our workout on the bike and after allowing Scott and to think we were superior for the first 10 miles he decided to show us who was really in command by zipping past us like we were standing still.  I was at first disgusted at myself and then I was in awe of his  explosiveness on the bike.  I continued to train with Pete and we started to become fast friends.  He also started a informal triathlon club he called the A-Train.  (A for Amedure and the fact he was from Brooklyn off the A line subway.  Get it?)

Pete and the A-Train after a difficult Brick

In 2010, the A-Train club exploded.  Why?  In all honesty because of Pete.  Pete is a spin instructor at L.A Fitness, as well as Certified Personal Trainer, and as he met athletes who were interested in triathlon he added them to an email list.  We all worked out and kept adding friends and other athletes to a point where we were hosting workouts of 20-30 people and the email list grew to about 80 members.  While anyone can pull people together once, these members kept coming back for long, grueling bike rides, harsh swims, runs that felt like they just wouldn’t end, and of course some difficult brick workouts in the middle of the Florida summers with high heat and humidity.  Why did we all come back?  One person; Pete.  He has a way of motivating and pushing athletes of all levels to their edge without making them feel inferior if they couldn’t keep up.  On long rides he would always play shepherd and leader at the same time.  If an athlete was having a bad day and just didn’t have it, Pete would double back and have them draft until they were able to catch up with the group.  The group adopted the US Military’s motto, “No one left behind” during long rides and soon we were all taking turns as the shepherd in order to allow Pete to have a good workout as well.

Not to say that training is all we do.  There have been numerous barbeques, Xmas parties, Greek Easter parties and nights out, but most of those are exceptions to the rule, because when most of us are asked to go out to the bars, or a party or clubbing on a Friday or Saturday night, we decline.  We know that 5am comes very quick and we want to be rested because we know Pete is going to bring us to our edge, and sometimes over it.  The difference between the other clubs and Pete’s A-Train?  We smile and laugh through it and enjoy every minute of it.  Pete turned us not only in to athletes, but a family as well.  We look out for each other and Pete looks out for us.

Pete loves the sauce…well the healthy sauce

DOB:  Sept 13, 1966 – Virgo

POB:   Brooklyn, NY

Grew up: Brooklyn, NY

High School: Brooklyn Tech, HS

High School sports: Swimming

College:  Brooklyn College (CUNY)

College Sports:  DRINKING

When and why did you start competing in triathlon?

2008 – It was a dare, Someone at the gym said HEY, we’re doing a triathlon out at Ft Desoto in two weeks, you should do it with us.  

What is one thing you love most about triathlon?

I love the feeling of pushing yourself to the bitter end no matter what. But most of all the camaraderie of triathletes.  During my first triathlon I remember during the run, I recall seeing an older couple.  They were each in their 60’s and still competing.  They crossed during the run, and stopped, gave each other a warm embrace and a kiss.  He then said, I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.  It was by far one of the most moving sights I have ever seen in any sport!

What made you start the A-Train?

The A-Train started as just a couple of friends, training together.  Luisa, was one of the first A-Trainers, and shortly there after Mike Walker came along.  Then in 2010, the A-Train exploded and continues to what/who we are today.

I know you teach spinning, how did you start?

I’ve been a cyclist for years and took spin classes to supplement my workouts..  Then realized how much I loved it.  It also drove me crazy when instructors  and just felt the need to get certified and teach people how to do it right!

What is the turning point in your life that made you such a leader and want to move people to their successes?

Not to sound cliche, but I read a book, it was called:  “Its Not About the Bike”  I don’t care about all the other stuff, but that book made me want to change and take charge of my life.

Pete during Ironman Haines City 70.3
What would you say is your greatest obstacle  you ever overcame?

About 10 years ago, I was 270lbs, with high blood pressure, and drank too much.  My biggest obstacle, was ME!

What is your greatest victory?

I have to say last May in Haines City FL.  Running on a stress fracture, and in in a state of total emotional disarray, there were more than a few times I almost abandoned the race.  Coming across the finish line to my waiting friends, A-Trainers and family was the greatest victory.

What are you favorite quotes?

“Victory belongs to those who believe…” 
-Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AROUND HERE” 
– Vince Lombardi

“Do or Do NOT, there is NO TRY”
-Yoda

So how in the world can you not love this guy?

CARPE VIAM!


Nick, Jamie & Pete after Haines City 70.3
The Goof and Pete

Albeit Augusta Part I

There is on aspect of competing in triathlon that is consistent among all courses, distances and brands; racing is lonely.  Obviously, during the swim it is hard enough to breathe let alone talk.  USAT regulations state that you keep four bike lengths between competitors unless one is passing and even at that point it must be done in 20 seconds, so accept for a “hey”, “hello” or an “on your left” there is not much conversation going on there.  The run can be more interactive, but after a long swim and bike, most competitors are already hypoxic or have a certain aerobic pace that doesn’t allow for a lot conversation their either.  It does happen though where athletes find new connections or meet with old and finish the run together, but it is rare, at least from what I have seen.  The common denominator is the people whom you share the race experience with, or the support that accompanies you.  After some logistics issues otherwise cancelled some of my support and fellow athletes, I was still fortunate enough to be surrounded by a small group of A-Trainers that made the entire experience a memory that will not fade.

On Friday we met up at Celeste’s home which was centrally located and began the caravan up to Georgia.  We started with three suv’s and a car with seven athletes.  Most of knew each other from other races and workouts, so the dynamic of the group was anxious but friendly.  The ride down was full of group texting, slight a couple of rather “adventurous” maneuvers, the lost and found of some of the caravan, but all-in-all safe and successful.

Luckily, we arrived early enough to drive to the expo and check-in, providing us the option of sleeping a little longer in the morning without the inconvenience of long lines which are typical to this race.  I was mentioning to one of my cohorts, that the previous year we arrived at check-in at 6am, coffee in hand, so we were in a prime spot when the activities started at 7.  I enjoyed this experience much more as there were no lines and even the expo was fairly empty enough to allow us to shop for any possibly extras we may need or want for the race.  Of course after an eight hour drive, unpacking gear, checking-in and shopping we were all tired and hungry.  We decided to walk down Broad Street, the main downtown strip, and see some of the nightlife on our way to Mellow Mushroom.  The thought of pizza from Mellow Mushroom made Celeste and myself excited with anticipation, but unfortunately, when we arrived there was a long wait and the other places we discovered just did not have the selection the group needed.  Even splitting up, Celeste and I picking up the pizza, while Beth, Bruce, Chris and Jessica retrieved the cars from the hotel proved to allot too much time between eating and allowing sleep to overcome us.  On the way back to the hotel, we settled on the next best choice which was have another pizza joint deliver food while we headed back.  The conversation seemed to stay on the race, sleeping and television while we plowed through two pizzas and 20 wings, which were actually a lot hotter than I expected, before we all finally retired for the night.

Saturday, brought on another level of excitement, renewed energy and the freedom of knowing the only task we needed to accomplish was to stow our bikes in transition for the next day’s big event.  I set the alarm for 7 o’clock thinking that would be the latest I slept in a while, but nevertheless my eyes popped open at 6:30 wide awake and ready for the excitement of the day.   Amy, my coach, had planned for me to do 15 minutes of each event as a precursor to the following day, however, emails had been sent from Ironman, announcing no swimming in the river would be allowed prior to race day. Swimming the day before the race is usually used to double check the wet suit and understand the conditions of the body of water.  For me this was not a big deal, as I had already completed the race the year prior, but it could have been for the rest of the group of whom not only was this the first time competing in Ironman Augusta, it was also their very first 70.3 distance triathlon ever.  With all of set on that fact, a few of us headed out for a run, which was surprisingly hilly, but interesting and fun due tot he southern cultural differences and the rare sighting of a fox.  Afterwards, we grabbed our bikes and headed out the opposite way and ended up in a very nice neighborhood with a couple of steep climbs.  I was grateful for that in order to test my bike, which had been recently pulled apart, cleaned tuned and re-assembled, and my legs.  Everything seemed to be in working order which pleased me just fine.

After a shower, a hearty breakfast, compliments of the Comfort Inn, and a quick jaunt to the bike store, we all loaded up our bikes and headed back to transition and race headquarters to drop our bikes in transition and explore the expo one last time.  Transporting our bikes to transition was uneventful with the exception that as we walked our bikes to transition, we noticed athletes with wet suits coming up out of the water.  When we inquired about it, they had no idea that there was an email warning of the disqualification if swimming in river prior to the race.  As a matter of fact the athletes we did talk with all mentioned the overabundance of people that were actually swimming, of which was confirmed by our own eyes.  We were all a little disappointed about that, however we shook it off not allowing it to crush our “high” of pre-race emotions.

Something I said to Chris, as we were walking into the expo that afternoon, may explain my last statement.  I expressed to him that I enjoyed the events of race weekend almost as much as the race itself.  The positive energy of all the athletes there to compete, seems to quell and increase allowing everyone to share in it.  Every expo I have attended from 5k races, marathons and mud runs to half and full Ironman triathlons, they all have never disappointed with the positive aura and energy collected and passed by runners, athletes and support staff.  It is one of my favorite parts of the weekend and this expo was just as exciting.

After buying a sample pack of a new natural energy drink called Zip Fizz, which tastes like grape and orange soda by  the way, I was walking back to the main hall when I saw someone I have been wanting to meet for a long time.  He was not only someone I had read about in countless articles but he was a friend of Lisa Jamison, my extraordinary massage therapist and friend.  This gentlemen did something that would be a first and would motivate a whole new generation of people to overcome the obstacles in their life and challenge themselves to live up to their own dreams.  Scott Rigsby, was the first double amputee to complete the Ironman World Championships in Kona, and I believe the first to finish a full Ironman period.  I was elated to meet Scott and I was shocked to watch him stand up and sit down as he was signing posters and books.  He moved up and down smoother than a lot of people I know whom have natural legs.  After a few words of conversation, a picture and him signing his book for me, I realized why he was so successful.  They guy just oozes positive mental attitude and strength.  Somehow, I believe that whether or not he lost his legs he would have still found a way to be a role model for people.  I wish I would have had the chance to read his book prior to the expo and would have been able to talk with him more about it.

Incredibly, I walked into the main hall and right there was another guy I admired.  John Pyle.  A vet whom had ran across America, flag in hand, for wounded veterans everywhere.  I had talked with John before where I coach at Fit2Run, and even then I noted his air of strength.  John is a little more grounded then Scott, not to mention a little older.  He reminds me of that guy in the motorcycle movies whom hangs out in the biker bars but is not part of the gang.  The character whom always ends up getting hit over the head with something on accident and then ends up taking out the whole gang.  Very cool, positive, respectful and passionate about his cause, but to be on his bad side seems like somewhere I would not want to be.

I completed my purchases and I headed to the hotel restaurant because I was starving.  I didn’t want anything to heavy because of our dinner plans that night, but I needed a snack and Bonk Breakers, Honey Stinger Waffles or any other race supplement was not going to do it for me.  As I sat at the bar, the beer taps floated past my field of vision and my mouth started to water.  Really?  I wanted a beer?  Now?  “Well, you only live once”, I thought to myself.  Thinking about my friend Dom (whom conquered the Chicago Marathon while stopping in the middle for a beer), I ordered a Guiness, and the Salmon with vegetables and it was awesome.  It was even plated beautifully.  While I was eating a very interesting couple sat down next to me.  The wife was an Xterra triathlete and trail runner hopefully bound for the World Championships and he was doing his first 70.3 the next day.  The dynamic had them supporting each other for races, but never doing the same race.  After the pleasantries and initial info gathering the conversation turned to running where I was impressed to hear after a long career of running she had started focusing on a new form to help her run more efficiently.  Was this a sign?  Running form is what I teach, coach and mentor athletes on and love doing so, and this athlete just so happens to let me know she has been looking at changing her form.  Kismet!  Of course as always I mentioned the group I coach at Fit2Run, my back story of how I became a form advocate, my results and then proceeded to ask her about her experiences changing her form and what she was looking to do.  We right on the same wavelength and she even asked my my opinion on a couple of things.  Needless to say, it was an outstanding feeling.

We called ahead to Carraba’s because of course most of the triathlete world wants pasta to carb load the night before.  Being on a 90% paleo diet I now forgo the pasta rituals and more prefer meat and vegetables.  I had a combo of steak marsala, chicken brian and vegetables with a couple of glasses of sangria to help me sleep.  It was perfect and the fact we did not wait for anything made it even better.  So, it was back to the hotel, to double check the gear, lay out clothes for the next day and off to bed.

My race night ritual usually always includes the following; lay out my gear, go over the race in my head to include transitions and nutrition, pack everything up, double check my list one more time, lay out my clothes bib, shoes, hat and glasses in some odd way, take a picture, post it to Facebook, set my alarm and do whatever I can to get to sleep.  The latter is the hard part.  I end up so anxious that I do not usually drift off for a couple of hours.  This night was no exception except I made a small error that revealed itself way too late.

My eyes popped open the next morning and I was ready for the day.  The alarm hadn’t gone off so I thought there was no problem with just lying around for a bit to get my bearings.  As I turned over, to turn off the alarm, my eyes cleared up on the face of the clock; 4:25am it read.  WHAT??? 4:25?? I was supposed to be up at 3:30 so I had an hour to gear myself up for the race before I was supposed to be downstairs at 4:30am.  SON OF A MONKEY”S UNCLE!! (That may have not been my exact vernacular.)  I couldn’t believe I overslept.   I immediately jumped up disrobed, put on my tri shorts an shirt, took my vitamins, put in my contacts, gathered my stuff and was down in the lobby by 4:30am awaiting the rest of the crew.  No hygiene, no pre-race glide, no pre-race meal and of course what I disliked the most, the fear I would have to  use a porta potty for a bowel movement.  OH-EM-Freakin -GEE!  My head was a wreck and I knew I had to get it together.  I was so lucky, I ended up driving myself to the race because I needed a little time to pull myself together.

I finally accepted the inevitable when we parked the cars fairly near to transition.  This was a huge plus as last year we ended up walking over a mile and then dragging our bikes and gear back.  Each moment started to bring on more and more positive energy.  Not that I wasn’t still anxious, but everything was starting to align.  Setting up transition was easy breezy.  A couple of weekends prior Amy had me running through my transition setup a few times to make sure I knew what was the most efficient for me, so it was just like putting puzzle pieces together; towel, shoes, cletes, race belt run, race belt bike, helmet and glasses.  Attach the bottles, ditch the bag and my transition was officially setup.  I ran up to it once and jumped in my cletes and mimed through my first transition as a quick check and at that point I was confident at least my bike and gear were ready.  I grabbed my wet suit, a honey stinger waffle and headed to the bus for a ride back to the swim start.

Everything continued to align as the bus’s speaker roared to life with the announcement that there would be two stops.  The first being the swim start and the second being the host hotel.  “Wait!” I thought.  “Did he just say the host hotel?  Really?”  Shut the front door!  I was going to be able to use a real bathroom prior to the race.  Awesome!  While the rest of the crew decided to go straight to the swim start, Jessica and I continued on to the hotel.  The thought of using a bathroom that was not a porta potty for…well…uh…number 2, elated me.  Not to mention, the idea I may be able to actually get that cup of coffee I was expecting in the hour I planned to have prior to leaving.  YAY!!!  Jessica seemed to be just as happy about the chance to have a cup of coffee as well.

After we both accomplished what we set out for we headed out to the River Walk and headed to the swim start.  The sky had this purple hue as the orange sun started to peak through the sky.  It was gorgeous.  I was also really happy to have a few spare moments to spend with Jessica.  She had taken the trip with us specifically to be a motivator and sherpa for Beth, and I could tell that she really appreciated Jessica being here.  Beth is this type A personality that while excitable always exhibits this aura of sunshine no matter how she is feeling.  Jessica, is extremely positive, but a little more laid back, but can definitely take her Cuban persona to a higher level when provoked.  Luckily, I only experienced it positively provoked spilling sunshine and rainbows.   I found her to be charming, caring and nurturing to everyone and luckily she was there because we all needed that grounding.

Jessica and I walked up to our crew sitting on a curb gabbing while a few of the other athletes we knew all started passing by.  We said our good lucks and gave hugs, high fives and fist bumps all the while suffering from own anxiety.  Beth is the one who turned me on to blogging more regularly and she has also forged connections with other fitness and running bloggers whom I have read.  One is Swim, Bike, Mom whom is very motivating and just so happened to not only be competing but was standing not to far from a group of bloggers that Beth was acquainted with.  I was really excited to see her there.   I don’t know what it was, but I was enthralled.  Maybe because she puts a lot of her personal feelings into her blog that I felt  like I knew her, but I was sincerely happy to see and meet her in person.

I looked at my watch and noticed it was 7:15, so I did some of my Dave Scott exercises, lunges and stretches and sat down to struggle with my wet suit.  As each leg went on the anxiety increased to another level.  “Just get me past the swim”, I kept saying to myself.  “Get me on the bike and everything will be just fine.”  One more glance at my watch.  7:28am.  I had no idea what I was thinking when the first gun went off and the announcer shouted that the Pro Men were off.  I went up to the barrier and and waited for them to swim by.  They were fast and looked as though they hardly were expending any energy.  If I could just figure that out before my wave start everything would be ok, but if I didn’t have it now, I wasn’t going to have it by then.  I decided I would trust my training and just do my best to keep straight by sighting every five strokes, kick as lightly as possible and just swim till I was done.  After that, what I thought, was a quick meditation my watch said 7:46.  I said goodbye and good luck to my crew and headed for the start.