Sally’s 2012
January 1, 2013

I love reading everyone’s year-in-review.  But I never feel that I have anything particularly interesting to share myself.  However looking back at where I’ve come since January 1, 2012, my year reads like the elevation profile of the 11.2 mile run through Percy Warner Park.

On New Year’s day I wake up with pain in my left shoulder.  It becomes very severe over the next few days and I begin many painful and expensive tests to diagnose it.  I eventually lose most of the strength and mobility in the arm altogether.  It is not for several months (see below) before we are able to diagnose the mystery condition.  But I take my first Caribbean vacation to Jamaica with my good friend Sara.  It is fantastic and just what we needed to thaw the dreary winter grays.  I also start training to Hoop the Half Marathon again.

I take a trip to Chicago to visit the city and see friends.  I begin planning my race calendar for the year.  But 2/3 of the way through the month I became very ill and take a brief stay in the hospital.  This sets me back physically and race and training-wise.  I eventually end up having to miss out on 4 different races this month and the next month due to illness and recovery.  I also support a friend during a difficult trial and witness that sometimes the judicial system doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to.

I miss out on the Triple Crown races due to the previous month’s recovery and post my first DNS ever, unfortunately it’s a 3-for-1.  I come up with an Athletic Bucket List and start working towards a plan to check off the items.  I tour the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and hit 7 distilleries in 2 days.  I attend an Olympic soccer qualifying tournament game.

I apply for the Nuun Hood To Coast team, though I don’t get picked, I still make a funny video.  I post some really high mileage with our hoop walking.  And eventually complete the Hooping the Half Marathon.  Many thanks to everyone who donates to the cause.  I finally really start training again in all 3 sports.  I also have my first swim lesson and find out that my self-taught freestyle form really isn’t that bad.  I also meet my Coach for the first time in a different swim lesson.  I witness my amazing friend Kira become ordained as an Episcopal priest.

I do my first open water swim ever, which also happens to be my first wetsuit swim ever.  I manage to survive both.  I compete in my first triathlon of the season and learn an important lesson of mental tenacity.  I have another minor surgery unrelated to my two previous medical issues earlier in the year.  I get a new fitting on my tri bike.

I make another trip to Chicago for a wedding and to visit friends.  I begin training with my Coach.  I go through a little bit of heartbreak.  I revise my race schedule for the year and really buckle down and distract myself with training.  I compete in the Du Run Run duathlon again and walk away with my first podium finish!  I also finally get back to the doctor for my left arm, and get a diagnosis of Parsonage Turner Syndrome.  I compete in the Muddy Buddy with a friend and have a great time, and once again somehow manage to never really get muddy in a mud event.  It’s a special talent.  I witness more heartbreak at the loss of a friend.  I also go to see Tenacious D with Sara and we have a lot of rocking out silliness.

I do a LOT of running, biking, swimming during the hot month, and put down more mileage than I ever imagined.  I compete in my first Olympic distance triathlon.  And I go to the Forecastle Festival after my race and get to see my favorite band play.  I volunteer at a major triathlon in my city and really get a chance to give back for all the racing that I do.  I run in a cape for beer.

My Coach comes to town and I get in another swim session.  I work on riding the course for my next big race, but the course keeps changing and I learn my lesson on some hills.  I get up way too early (even for me) to watch the Olympics for marathon and triathlon.  I compete in a Women’s super sprint tri and get misdirected on the course by a volunteer.  They throw out the run times and I end up with a podium finish, but maybe not the one I planned.  I begin physical therapy for my arm and shoulder.

I compete in my second Olympic Triathlon, in a torrential downpour.  This is my last tri of the season, but I don’t let that stop me because I sign up for my first Half Ironman race for the next year.  I attend my first Nashville Rollergirls bout and love it.  I buckle down on my running to train for my next few running races of the season.  I run my first 5k in probably 5 or 6 years, and walk away with another podium finish, once again a second place in my age group, which makes for a hat trick of podium finishes for the year.  My best friend has another baby, once again with a dramatic entrance.

I run in the Boston Half Marathon.  I get to visit my old friends and meet new ones, and see my best friend in a play.  I tour the Sam Adams Brewery finally.  I try Eritrean food, and of course eat lots and lots of lobstah!  I walk the Goo Goos Jog N Hog due to a painful injury.  That injury turns out to be peroneal tendonitis, and I also find out (on my 3rd Xray and MRI of the year) that I have a cyst in my heel, but the doctor doesn’t think it is affecting me.  I attend a Vanderbilt football game and watch them actually win!  I take a Motorcyle class.  I watch the Kona Ironman championships online and am amazed by the athletes.  I do the Color Run with a couple friends.

I make a road trip to tour the Calfkiller brewery and fall more in love with their beer.  I try to talk them into selling me a bike jersey with no luck.  I run in the Ragnar Tennessee relay race and tick off another Athletic Bucket List item.  I volunteer at the Flying Monkey Marathon and witness some truly hardcore runners.  I run the Boulevard Bolt and get another PR.  Coach comes into town again and we have a little team dinner and recap of the year and discuss the next year.

I start the month off with my first 12k, the 12 South Winter Warm Up, and finish the day with the 12 South Winter Warmer, one of my favorite beer fests.  Running and beer, what a perfect day!  Then I announce I’m doing something really crazy for my birthday.  I document all of my runs here, and follow it up with beers with friends.  I do one more Yazoo Barely a 4k Beer Run and earn a Yazoo Santa hat.  I find out I qualified for the USAT national championships for Olympic distance triathlon based on that Women’s race in August, which redeems the unfortunate results of that race.  I bake a monstrous cake and swear off buttercream forever.  I take a little New Year’s vacation and got to see my alma mater play in a bowl game.

And what does 2013 hold?  I’ve already started working on my race schedule for next year.  Who knows what else it holds?  I’m hoping for a happy, healthy, and injury-free year.  Looking forward to ticking off more Athletic Bucket List items and maybe clawing my way to more podium finishes?  I’d also like to start trying to race more duathlons.  What are your plans and goals?

Tri season is upon us
May 16, 2012

…well it’s upon me.  My first triathlon of the season is Saturday.  I love triathlon.  I love training.  I love racing.  But my heart’s hasn’t really caught up to this season yet.  I had a rough start to this year, and training and health issues have kept me from being as excited about this race as I should be.  I know I’m 100% prepared for this race.  I can do the distances in my sleep.  I know the course with my eyes closed.

Then there’s the swim.  200 meters.  No biggie.  Except they just filled the Olympic sized outdoor pool last week.

  • Do you know how long it takes a pool to warm up to a reasonable temperature?  (I don’t.)
  • Did they fill it while the temperatures were in the 90s a couple weeks ago?  No.
  • Did they wait until it was cold and rainy to fill it?  Yes.

Just for perspective.  Think about the temperature of water that comes out of your hose this time of the year.  Or that first dip in the neighborhood pool after Memorial Day.

Also, typically triathlons where the water temp is under 76º are “wetsuit legal.”  But this is only 200 meters.  It will take me longer to get in and out of a damn wetsuit than to swim 200 meters.  So, I foresee a lot of doggy paddle until I can get my breath under control.

I’m taking guesses on what the final water temperature will be at the start of the race.  Maybe I’ll make this fun and make a contest out of it.  So send me your best guesstimations on water temp for the race.  I’ll let you know if my quads enjoyed the pre-race ice bath.

(Also, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about a race update on Hooping the Half.  Stay tuned, it’s coming soon!)

Pick Me! For the Team nuun Hood To Coast team!
April 6, 2012

Just as I promised, I have finished my application for the nuun Hood To Coast relay team!  I think this gives you, and nuun, a really good introduction to me!

So, maybe I should introduce my readers to nuun first before you see the video.  What is nuun?  So glad you asked.  It’s an amazing way to hydrate and get all the electrolytes and other good stuff you need without getting all those sugars in regular sports drinks, but you still get some really great flavors.  Best part? It comes in a tablet that you just drop into your water.  So, you can travel with it.  It doesn’t take much space and no need to worry about liquids or spillage!  I’ve been using nuun for a few years now, when my friend Barbie first told me about it.  So if you’re a runner, or just need to stay hydrated, go check them out!

Now, on to the video.  One of my athletic bucket list items is to run the Hood to Coast Relay.  For those of you not in the know, Hood to Coast is a 200 mile relay race that takes place over 24 hours (give or take) with a relay team of 12 runners trading off various legs of the race.  It starts at Mt. Hood in Oregon and goes all the way to the Pacific coast (hence the name).  It seems like a fun and challenging event and definitely something every runner should do once.

As you know, I’ve done a lot of different kinds of races, but I still want to add that notch to my running shoes.  So, hopefully with the help of nuun, I’ll be on a nuun sponsored team of women running bloggers (hello, what an awesome group of people to be on a team!) in August ready to rock those 200 miles.  So, if you like my video below, let me know in the comments!  This is the biggest part of my application and I’m thrilled to share it with you!

P.S. How awesome is that song?

And many thanks to Downtown Brown who helped get the awesome video of me and gave me some very useful constructive criticism on editing the video!

Exciting reveal coming soon
April 4, 2012

In an effort to meet one of my Athletic Bucket List items, I’m making an exciting reveal very soon.  See, I’d really love to run the Hood To Coast relay race this year.  And one of my favorite ways to say hydrated, NUUN, is making that possible for a few lucky women runner bloggers.  So, I’ve been working hard on a video application the past couple weeks and I will post it here for your viewing hilarity enjoyment.  But not only is this a reveal of my video, but you’ll get to see video and photos of me running and hooping (not at the same time).  That’s right, I’m temporarily breaking my anonymity rule and you will actually see me in action!  If nothing else, it’s worth it just for the background music.

So stay tuned…

Athletic Bucket List
March 28, 2012

Some people have a bucket list for life.   I have one for athletics! (in no particular order)

  1. Run a half marathon. (Country Music Half Marathon 2007)
  2. Run a 25 minute 5k. (officially in a timed race) (Shelby Bottoms Boogie 5k 9/29/12)
  3. Do a triathlon. (Rambling Rose Tri 2011)
  4. Do an Olympic distance triathlon. (Louisville Border Challenge Tri 7/15/12)
  5. Complete a Half Ironman (70.3).
  6. Run in every state.
  7. Bike an endurance event.
  8. Run an adventure relay (Hood To Coast, Ragnar, Bourbon Trail). (Ragnar TN Nov. 9-10, 2012)
  9. Warrior Dash. (Warrior Dash TN 2011)
  10. Tough Mudder.
  11. Swim in the ocean (not just frolic, like a real swim, perhaps as a triathlon).
  12. Try Cross Fit.
  13. Run a Zombie Race. (Zombie 5k 2011)
  14. Run the Louisville Triple Crown.
  15. Do real pull ups, unassisted.
  16. Place in my age group in a race.  (Updated 6/17/13. As of 9/29/12, placed in 3 sports, running, triathlon, duathlon)
  17. Hula Hoop a half marathon. (2009, 2011)
  18. Witness one of the “big” marathons (NYC, Boston, Chicago, etc.).
  19. Witness an event at the Olympics.
  20. Run a race in a foreign country.  (Detroit Free Press Half Marathon 2009)
  21. Bike the Bourbon Trail or run the Bourbon Trail Relay.
  22. Play in a disc golf tournament.
  23. Run a sub-2:00 half marathon. (Philadelphia Half Marathon 2011)
  24. Master a flip turn in the pool.
  25. Play on a team sport.
  26. Outdoor rock climb.
  27. Get paid for figure skating. (many, many years ago)
  28. Learn to ski.
  29. Learn to snowboard.
  30. Learn to play golf.
  31. Learn to play tennis.
  32. Attend a major league professional sports game: NHL, NFL, MLB, FIFA, NBA

What are your exercise/sports/athletics bucket list items?

Keep that hoop spinning!
March 21, 2012

WTH! (What the Hoop!)
Check out what I did!

 Now go donate and support Hooping For Hope!!

Back at it
March 13, 2012

I went for my first run yesterday.  Nearly 4 weeks since my last run, since surgery, since my hospital visit.  It felt great.  It wasn’t my best run ever, but it sure beats out not running any day.

I could tell I still hadn’t gained back all the weight I lost in the hospital.  That tank top hung off my bony shoulders like I was real marathoner.  (Note, this won’t last long, I love food too much! In fact that’s why I run!)  I laced up my new running shoes (dear Mizuno, I love you!) after work and hit a nearby greenway.

I love running at greenways, because you can just get into the groove of the run and not be interrupted by stop lights, jackass drivers (we have some real special ones here), or uneven sidewalks (when you’re lucky enough to find sidewalks in the city).  In other words you can safely zone out and enjoy the run.  I decided that my first run shouldn’t be fraught with additional stressors that may make me hate it, and off to the greenway I went.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and all the rain had moved on to other parts.  I started out a little fast, but I was just so happy to be back on the pavement.  About halfway  through I was starting to feel it a little.  Partially from the going out too fast after not running, and partially because I hate running in the evening.  I’m so much more of an early morning runner.  After work, I’m tired from working all day, have trouble fueling properly for a dinner time run, it’s hot, and air quality is poor in the city.

In the end, it was a respectable run.  Kept a decent pace, even with some walking on the super steep hills (no need to overdo those right?).  3 miles down.  Several hundred more to go!

Don’t forget, I’m still Hooping the Half Marathon next month!!  I’ve been going on the hoopwalks with the team the past couple weekends (7 miles a day with a hula hoop, and I was worried about running again!).  And you can still donate to help out Breast Cancer Survivors here.  I’m halfway to my goal.  It only costs $40 to make and send a hoop to a breast cancer survivor, and my goal is to be able to send 2 hoops!

Hooping Again, Update. Fundraising page now live!
February 19, 2012

Just as I promised, our individual fundraising pages are live.  You can go here and donate to sponsor me to Hoop the Half Marathon with Hooping for Hope!

A little information about donations for Hooping For Hope:

  • All donations stay with Hooping for Hope.  Hooping for Hope is a stand-alone 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on donations to provide free hoops to breast cancer survivors all over the country, as well as hooping classes to local breast cancer survivors.
  • As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donations are tax-deductible!
  • It only costs about $40 to make and ship a Hoop to a Breast Cancer Survivor, so any amount of donation is appreciated!
  • We accept cash, credit, and checks (payable to Hooping For Hope).
  • Hooping For Hope is always looking for Company Sponsors for the team. Find more info here on how your company can support the team tax-deductible and get free advertising on our team shirts: HFH_SponsorInfo
  • The online donation page retains a small transaction fee, so if you can only donate a small amount (and believe me $1 donations are just as exciting as any amount!) we recommend you donate via cash or check to maximize the benefit from your donation under $5.  I can take cash or check donations in person, or you can mail them to: Hooping For Hope, PO BOX 68040, Nashville TN 37206, and indicate in a note or on the check that it is support me as a hooper.
  • For more information about how to support Hooping For Hope visit here: HFH_Info

Hooping again!
January 31, 2012

I love the reactions I get when people find out how much I run and race.  (Especially since I’m not a marathoner or Ironman.)  Some of my favorite recent interactions:

My mother just before the Philly Half Marathon: I just don’t know how you do it.
Me: What? It’s just scrambled eggs. (Note this was just after I served her my pre-race meal.)
Mother: No. 13 miles. Running.

Or this past weekend with my hairdresser’s assistant.

Assistant: How many miles do typically you run a week?
Me: During the week about 4-5 miles 2-3 times per week, and then between 7-12 miles on the weekend.
Assistant: All at once?!!!!

But when I talk to my runner and triathlete friends, that’s no big deal.  And in fact, I tend to stay on the lower end of mileage compared to others.  Since I don’t train for full marathons or full Ironman competitions, I’d rather train smarter than harder and avoid injury.  In any case, it’s really hard to shock my fellow athletes with my training.

Until I bring up hooping.  If you remember 2 years ago, I hula hooped the half marathon here in Nashville.  Last year, injuries, training, and personal matters prevented me from training.  So, I made the decision to train with the hoopers every other year, and provide bike support in the off years, which I did last year.  I will not be a trainer again this year, as I will need to focus time and attention on other running and triathlon training.

But yes.  I will hula hoop 13.1 miles.  If you thought running 13 miles at once was hard, try walking with a weighted hoop around your waist.  But the program Hooping For Hope, makes it worth it.  And this year, I have even more inspiration to hoop for the breast cancer survivors.  I have a dear friend who is only a year older than me who is going through aggressive treatment for breast cancer.  She has agreed to let me hoop on her behalf.  And once she has finished her treatment, she can also be a recipient of the Hooping For Hope program.

You can also donate to Hooping For Hope and support me to hoop 13.1 miles (all at once!).  It is a tax-deductible contribution, too!   You are always welcome to donate to Hooping For Hope here and leave a note it is to support Hooper Kelly RAnd soon they will hopefully have the individual donation pages up as well and I will update the blog here with that information.  UPDATE: My individual donation page is up here.  Or if you know me in person, you can always hand-deliver the donations and I will get them to Hooping for Hope!

NOTE: All donations stay with Hooping for Hope.  Hooping for Hope is a stand-alone 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on donations to provide free hoops to breast cancer survivors all over the country, as well as hooping classes to local breast cancer survivors.

Final Challenge
April 29, 2011

Well, I made it through this year’s 46 Day Challenge.  There’s a reason it is called a challenge.  It’s a challenge to keep up with the exercise on a daily basis, even when you’re sick, busy, or out of town.  It’s a challenge to “make” time rather than “find” time.  You challenge yourself to new physical and mental limits.  Or you just challenge yourself to try something crazy, like a triathlon.

For the last weekend of the Challenge, I was out of town for the holiday.  While travel usually makes it difficult to exercise, I still found time to run on one day and because of where we went for vacation (more on that in an upcoming post, here’s a hint…the happiest place) there was a LOT of walking involved.  I mean a lot.  I almost regretted going for that run on Saturday morning.  I have some well-worn sneakers now!

Also, remember how I hooped the half marathon last year?  Well, I wasn’t able to participate in the training this year, but tomorrow is the half marathon.  I will be on bike support with the hoopers!  Getting in my biking training for the triathlon and supporting a great cause and group of women at the same time!

Here is my final progress.

3/29 Walk 2.6 miles
3/30 Run 5.5 miles
3/31 Walk 1 mile
4/1 Walk 1.7 miles
4/2 Walk 0.25 miles plus some light bike riding
4/3 Walk 0.25 miles plus some heavy house cleaning
4/4 Foam Roller 20 min
4/5 Walk 1 mile
4/6 Run 2.4 miles
4/7 Swim 300 meters, walk 1 mile
4/8 Bike 4.34 miles
4/9 Swim 300 meters
4/10 Bike 5.73 miles
4/11 Run 4.2 miles
4/12 Run 3 miles
4/13 Swim 300 meters
4/14 Bike 9.26 miles
4/15 Walk 1/2 mile
4/16 Swim 750 meters
4/17 Run 4 miles
4/18 Bike 8 miles + Run 2 miles (practicing the transition for the triathlon!)
4/19 Walk 1 mile
4/20 Walk 1 mile
4/21 Swim 400 meters
4/22 Walking minimum 2 miles
4/23 Run 2.4 miles, plus walking minimum 2 miles
4/24 Walking minimum 2 miles, hooping 10 minutes

So, how did you do?  What has been your biggest challenge?