Monday, October 27, 2014

South Carolina, Sand and Ceremonies

That's how you do a first dance!!
October has been an event-filled month.  The month started off with my amazingly talented and gorgeous cousin Jennifer Bledsoe marrying the kind, caring and supportive Keith Haskins.  This was a wonderful ceremony and was Jennifer right down to the butterflies that were released at the end of the service.  Then, oh my, Jennifer and Keith performed an amazing dance.  Not only that, but my brother, Jonathan played the mandolin and... SANG!!  He has quite the awesome bluegrass voice!  Maybe Punch Brothers will give him a ring?  All in all, it was a great weekend in Atlantic Beach with the Corbin, Bledsoe and Haskins clans.  (Read all the way until the end and watch the song for all my old friends, especially Jon and Ashley!)

Rev3 Anderson

I have been prepping for Rev3 Anderson all summer.  The goal was to go sub 5 hours.  That did not happen, but it was a hilly and weather filled day.  My finishing time was 5:12:change.  I can honestly say that after the treacherous bike it was actually a wonderful experience.  I did not fall out after crossing the finish line and immediately started on recovery.

The Swim

We began setting up T1 and the rain came down.  It did not stop.  The swim was delayed over an hour because thunderstorm bands were crossing over the race location.  Sean English, the man on the mic, was risking electrocution keeping us anxious and fidgety athletes updated on the state of the weather.  Finally, Emergency Services gave us the OK, but all participants would be swimming the Olympic course.  The swim was not choppy, but not smooth because it had been raining over an hour.  People were bumping into each other.  (Waiting triathletes become aggressive people.)  I tried to swim around people and it seemed as if they would move over and block my way.  I did not pull any feet this time Jeremy Yoemans, but I was tempted to.  The swim seemed longer than an Oly and I stumbled out of the water.  I was a bit disoriented from getting smacked around.  Zack Russell, a fellow Fleet Feet High Point employee hollered at me in T1 and I blankly stared at him.  I made it to my bike and EVERYTHING was SOAKING WET!!  Pull on the pink Swiftwick socks, slip on the shoes and mount the bike, it was go time!

The Bike

SO COLD!!  So, so COLD!!  It seemed as if the elements had left us, but looming over the hills was an ominous black cloud.  I began to hammer down on the bike and monitor my nutrition.  Everything was going well and the BOOM!!  Rain, wind and HAIL!!  The elements were all around me.  My sunglasses were useless and the hail pelted my body.  The wind picked my bike up off the ground.  It was at this point that I dismounted and considered DNFing.  NO!  I took a few deep breaths, refocused, gritted my teeth and decided to keep rolling.  The weather finally subsided, which was fortunate because the hills were technical enough, and I began to dig in.  Every so often I would state, "Ride like Tommy Rodgers!!  Ride like Tommy Rodgers!!"  (He is an accomplished mountain and road cyclists.  He also coaches and provides nutritional guidance at E3: Elite Human Performance.)  The bike was finally finished and I knew that sub-5 was out the window.  At T2, I dismounted the bike and could not feel my feet and I really had to pee!!  Pearl Izumi TN1s on, race belt on, Rev3 Headsweats visor on and we're off!!

The Run

I started walking because of the aforementioned need to pee!!  A few steps out of transition, past a
Jessica chasing down 2nd!!
Port-a-Potty because that means I would be stopping and time is of the essence, right?!?!?  I walked right past the first aid station out of transition and FINALLY RELIEF (for all those reading this now, triathlon is so super sexy.  Dr. Laura I still need to work on my bike peeing skills.)  If this would have been any other setting, I would have been super embarrassed, but this was race day.  A kind volunteer biked next to me and she asked if I was OK and then saw what was occurring and promptly turned around.  (All right, enough about running and peeing.)
Once I started running, I was worried that I was done for, well that was not the case.  My first mile off the bike was a 7:00 flat!!  (It would've been faster, but again I had to GO!!)  The course was quite hilly and there was very little flat!  I kept ticking away and ran past the people partying at the BASE salt tab station.  They were too fun on their cruisers.  I tried their salt replacement on the run for the first time.  Again, if it is good enough for Andy Potts to try something new on race day, then why not?!?!?  The miles kept ticking by.  I caught up with this super fast young woman, Jessica.  She was currently in third over all.  Eric Opdyke, the Rev3 Race Director extraordinare was giving splits.  I told her I would help her out and provide a solid pace.  We stayed together the rest of the race and kept "killing" people (a RAGNAR term I just learned when you pass people, thanks Mandy!!).  At the last quarter mile of the 13.1 the second place woman was in our sites.  I told Jessica that her change to claim second was now or never!  She ran as if she was shot out of a cannon and passed 2nd place on the uphill.  Both women plowed to the finish line and Jessica took second.  I danced my way through the finish and gave Sean some "guns" (no, not bicep flexing, but finger guns, LOL!)  The time of the run was 1:34:change!!  It was a solid eleven minutes faster than Williamsburg!  Even though my overall time was seven minutes slower, having a stronger run was so satisfying!!  

3rd place Female is in front of me!
Anderson was in the books and it was epic!!  The last tri of the season is Rev3 Florida in about a week.  Before that I am once again pacing Alicia Rider at the City of Oaks Half Marathon in Raleigh.  Hopefully we'll go sub 1:30!  I had so much fun pacing her to first place overall woman at Run the Mountain.  


This weekend my brother from another mother Allen Amos got married.  It was a beautiful ceremony with amazing music!  The organist was incredible, but those who know the talented Maestro Allen Amos would expect nothing less.  Following Allen's wedding, my family booked it from Durham to Raleigh so that my brother, Jonathan, could make his sister-in-law's wedding.  The church was spectacular and the organ was over three million dollars.  It was quite the sight!  So, basically, double wedding!!  On that note, Michael and Lauren Vance celebrated their one year anniversary this weekend AND have just had their first child, James Howell Vance.  I guess people like to have wedding at the end of October.  

A perfect day with great people!
The day after the wedding, I drove back to Raleigh to hang out with old friends and see Jon and Ashley for one more day.  It was a good day.  It was topped off by having dinner with Jess and Eli!  For some reason, saying goodbye to Jon and Ashley was much harder this time than others.  Yes, they have to go back to Ithaca and yes, I have work, but it was such a perfect Sunday.  It was one of those days you wanted to hold onto for eternity, but everything is temporary.  They will come back Christmas for a few days.  Until then we will go about our daily lives.  I will train, work and race a few fun races.  Jon will research and apply for professorships CLOSE TO NC!  Ashley will make more money than either of us as she works in the medical field.  We will see each other again.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Flat Lining... and the Power of Music

The school bells have rung across the country and I am not there this year.  This has been an interesting experience for me.  Yes, I needed to take a step back and reevaluate my place in education, but not dealing with the day in and day out grind of the classroom has been interesting, to say the least.  Usually at this time of year, the advanced class is gearing up for its first set of performances of self-written works, competition pieces and an Improv night.  Yes, that sounds like a lot, but we always got it done.  Now I am not directing a show and attempting to come up with ideas to drive people into the shop.  (This creates many LONG mornings with only Spotify to keep me company.)

These changes have had more of an affect than I thought they would leading up to August.  One thing is that my training has started to suffer a bit because the energy to simply get going has been slipping away.  Rev3 Anderson is less than a month away and I need to quit having suck days and start seeing some improvement.  I am working with Matt Clancy of E3: Elite Human Performance and he has really pushed me, but lately for some reason, my motivation has been lacking and I either bonk or just skip a workout.  Matt is the best in the business around this area (and probably in the Great State of North Carolina) and I feel like I am letting him down by not putting up the numbers.  So, I am endeavoring to hit the reset button and find the drive once again.  

Jen and I before Rev3 Glow
With all this said, yesterday I read a cool blog written by my friend and fellow Challenge/Rev3 teammate Jen Smalls aka #jsmalls.  She posted music videos associated with decades of her life.  This could be just the inspiration I need to get my butt back in gear!  So, #jsmalls my selfie sister and the rest of the world, here goes...

Years 0-10

Most kids were singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, but I was singing opera.  I did sing Twinkle, Twinkle, but my mother would sing harmony while I had to stay on the melody.  You might think this was frustrating for a little tyke, but I am forever thankful now she did this (did I mention she has a Bachelor's in Music Education and Vocal Performance.  She is a Lyric Soprano so these exercises were just her being an awesome teacher) because I am able to hear, sing and read harmonies to this day.  It was also during this time that my love of the stage was fostered.  I was cast in the principle role of Oliver in Lionel Bart's Oliver!.  Who knew being trained as a Boy Soprano from day one would land me an amazing role at the musical powerhouse Jacksonville High School.  So my first song would have to be "Where is Love" from Oliver! because one night during a performance the mics went dead and I had to project throughout the huge auditorium at JHS.  (I was 10 at the time, it might be smaller, but to paraphrase Capt. Hook from Hook, "To a 10 year old it was HUGE!"

This started a long love of musical theatre.  It wasn't until my years at White Oak High School, the crosstown rival of JHS (Go VIKINGS!!), that I discovered Stephen Sondheim!  But, I was still an elementary schooler and it wasn't just musical theatre I was into, no, the original "Boy Band" New Kids on the Block had taken America by storm and I was into their bubble gum pop style!  I had posters, cassette tapes and a T-Shirt!  The one song that occasionally makes onto a playlist of mine is "The Right Stuff".  Check out Donny Wahlberg's sweet mullet!!

Years 10-13 (The Hell that is Middle School!!!)

Middle School... There are books written about it now.  One of the most popular series is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid I think that if it were written in the early 1990s it would've been about me.  I had little to no athletic ability in the traditional school sports.  Running was considered punishment in P.E. and wasn't pleasant at all.  Nope, my cousin Trent was given all the athletic ability.  He was a pretty awesome basketball player and athlete.  I was more of the AG or as it is called now AIG kid reading a book and listening to showtunes and pretending to brood on the occasion whilst listening to Tom Petty. Yeah, Tom Petty is pretty dark.  He wore a fedora and grew his hair out!  "Free Falling" was my anthem and I would sing it out loud with all my might!  (Well, maybe "Free Falling" and whatever was on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II soundtrack, yes Vanilla Ice!)

(And don't lie, you know you still groove to "Ice, Ice Baby".)

Years 14-18 The Grunge Revolution

I can't tell you how much it just warms my heart to see Nirvana T-shirts being used in Macy's commercials now.  This of course is total and complete sarcasm.  The mid to late 1990s were AMAZING!  Pop was dead and grunge/alternative rock was becoming mainstream!  I have actually been listening to some of the later musicians on Spotify recently remembering the awesomeness that was the late 1990s.  Nirvana set the stage, but in all honesty, Green Day, Rage Against the Machine and Smashing Pumpkins were my bands of choice.  To this day, the song "Today" is still on playlists because it simply rocks!  Aside from American Idiot, which went on to become a Tony Nominated musical, the only other stellar Green Day album was Dookie.  I think I played that CD until it had scratches all over it!

I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention the musical RENT.  I think my friends and I could sing every single note and and single word from that album.  It was a two disc set CD.  This was when the two disc sets were about the size of a small hardback book.  Now, the soundtrack is simply however many megabytes on an iPhone/Touch/Pod.  What is amazing is after having taught theatre for ten years, RENT is still lauded by theatre kids EVERYWHERE!  I don't think you can find a theatre kid who doesn't know "Seasons of Love"... and here it is live, how it was meant to be heard, during the last performance on Broadway!

Years The Twenties

I was kind of all over the place.  Yes, I listened to N'Sync, but I also was digging musicians and bands from varieties like Widespread Panic to Lisa Loeb.  I think Lisa Loeb will always be on the playlist because her song "Stay" reminds me of Montreat Youth Conferences.  One year, Beth or Betsy O'Donavan played the song on repeat EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I'll admit, it is catchy and meaningful, but after the one millionth time it grates.  Recently, call it nostalgia, I have picked it back up.

By the way, the song just turned 20 years old!  

I think I really got into my singer/songwriter groove during these years.  Yes, the soft acoustic or even mellow electric guitar.  Our ears were being permeated with electronic beats and the autotuner was making headways and so I was looking for people who could actually carry a tune and had skill on an instrument.  A girlfriend of mine during this time introduced me to John Mayer.  This was during his Room for Squares phase.  I thought he was pretty amazing, and still do.  He just might be one of the best guitarist of this generation.  (No comment on the actual man.)  I went to several concerts and always found him to be more entertaining live.  

As a side note, Room for Squares was the CD I switched on when I heard the news on 9/11/2001.  I thought, "This has to be a joke of some sort."  I was running late to my Advanced Lighting Design class and switched off the satirical Murphy in the Morning Show on 107.5 FM to the CD.  We all know now that it was no hoax and life has changed forever since then.  But, the song I played on my way to class was Why Georgia and I still think it can ring true because when are we ever out of a "Life Crisis"?  

Little note: The beginning of the song was cut for the album, but it SO good!

I also was introduced to a band called Weekend Excursion by my friend and former RA at Appalachian State University, Brian Kiser.  They were the culmination of early 2000s pop rock.  I think I may have attended at least fifty live shows.  

I continued to listen to musical theatre throughout my twenties and I still listen to it today.  Les Miserables is and most likely will always be a go-to for me. So for your viewing and listening pleasure with the original Jean Valjean, Colm Wilkinson: "One Day More"!!

Years The Thirties 

I still listen to a lot of the same music from high school and college.  Musical theatre will always be on my iPhone, I'm an actor/director who first started out as a little kid singing can you blame me?

Thanks to my younger brother, I have moved into  genre of music that is akin to bluegrass, but also known as Americana.  This style blends folk, bluegrass and country together in an amazing melodious way.  When I was in graduate school, I was taken to The Avett Brothers concert and for the past three years they are always on play!  I will say there is nothing like hearing them live!  There are a few songs that I use before big races and the have to be from the Live album because of how the band drives the tempo.  I also used The Avett Brothers for sound design for a show I have directed called Almost, Maine.  The one song that really is awesome and on my pre-race playlist is "Kick Drum Heart".

My younger brother Jonathan introduced me to a band name Punch Brothers.  They also fit into this Americana genre.  They have made it onto my playlist and I really want to see them in concert, but alas they also work with other bands and primarily play around Ithaca.  I have been playing the song "This Girl" and "Rye Whiskey" on my way to the gym and the pool in the mornings (when I have been able to get out of bed!  I'm telling you I need to get out of this funk!)

Fine': But Not Really

There are probably a dozen more musicians and bands I could put on this post that I have listened to and are currently listening to, but that would take a lot more cyberspace.  I think music is a powerful motivator.  It can also stir up memories from the past.  I know in my life it has travelled with me where ever I have gone.  I know that I will always listen to many styles of music.  (#Jsmalls I also have "Till I Collapse" by Emenim on my playlist.)  But I'll end this post with three songs, and hopefully good vibes will follow because flat lining is not fun!  

1. James Taylor "Carolina on My Mind" because I am from NC and no matter how messed up our politics currently are, this is a great state and has been my home for thirty-four years!

2. Old Crow Medicine Show "Wagon Wheel" (Not that Darius Rucker knock off version!).  No matter where I have travelled, my heart always comes back to NC.  This band is originally from Ithaca, NY where my brother and sister-in-law are while he works on his Ph.D. at Cornell.  I hear this song and think about them.  Ashley even has their apartment adorned with knick-knacks from good ole NC.

3. David Lamotte "Song for You" and "In the Light".  There are many great memories in the mountains of NC at the Montreat Conference Center.  This was a place that allowed us to question our faith.  It provided space to truly be.  "Song for You" helps us to remember that no matter what we are loved.  "In the Light" is a simple "Thank You" for letting me be.  These are things that we can often forget in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

*Sung at Montreat's Anderson Auditorium

To all my friends, family and teammates.  We all "Flatline" on occasion, but as David sung remember that, "You mean the world to me"!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where has the Summer Gone, My Captain?

Where has the summer gone?  It seems as if Rev3 Williamsburg was ages ago.  Immediately after the race my new career with Fleet Feet Sports began.  It was a whirlwind week of meetings and information.  It was much like the first few teacher workdays back at the beginning of the school year when all levels of administration are laying out the goals for the year.  (Hint: It was always the Achievement Gap!)

Mission Man Sprint 

Transition Area 
July was basically a blur of training and working in the shop.  I did race Mission Man Sprint Triathlon and set a PR of 1:16:44 on the day.  Hard, structured work brings about results!  Jeremy had mentioned that he wanted to race this one because it was the first Tri that he had seen.  (If you go back to last year, you will see that his wife VaLArie, daughter Mia and he cheered me on last year.)  Funny thing is I was three minutes slower last year and placed third in my age group.  This year it is no longer in the Try Series and has been moved to the NCTS; hence the fast boys and girls came out to play!  All that aside, it was a great race and it is always fun to race with/against Jeremy.  (Where is "The Stein" my good man??)

New Career

The career change has been interesting.  Retail.  If you don't turn a profit, you don't get paid.  Fleet Feet High Point has been going along, but I have been tasked to help the shop reach its full potential.  This means I am in the shop, utilizing social media and even getting in the car and doing old fashion sales calls.  Things have been interesting and I am finding that I most enjoy working with people and helping them become more knowledgeable about why the proper shoe, apparel and socks are important.  (Socks are not part of your apparel in the shoe world, they are accessories.)  I have quickly found my favorite sock brand and style, but to find out and get them on your feet you'll have to come to Fleet Feet High Point!  Another plus of working is I am seeded apparel and shoes to test so that I can give the customer an educated opinion of what we carry.  My Tri area at home is becoming shoe-filled and I LOVE IT!  Let me state this: Just because I like a shoe does not mean that you should be in that shoe or that you will like it!  The FIT process is vital to getting the customer in the correct type of shoe.

One of my favorite ventures in my new position was working with Potent Potables, a local beer and wine specialty shop, to create the Potent Runnables.  The group meets every Thursday evening at 6:15pm at Potent Potables and runs 3-5 miles at any pace.  Last week, Sydney, or Hoka Sydney as I call her brought the Hoka Clifton for the Potent Runnables to test out.  Everyone was excited and enjoyed the experience.  Throughout the next two months Swiftwick, Saucony, Adidas ( Whose rep is Amy and I call her Adidas Amy: Alliteration is GREAT!)  and Brooks will be making appearances.  (Philip from Pearl Izumi you are welcome ANYTIME!! #givingrev3plugandlove).

I will say that it is a little weird and sad that I am not returning to the classroom.  I ran with the SWGHS XC team last week and all the returning runners were asking where I had been.  They are such a great group of kids!  This choice is the right one, it is just an adjustment from what I have known for ten years.  Who knows what the future holds from here?  I will say that I am in the process of tackling my apartment at the moment because while adjusting to the new career and training schedule my apartment has been declared a NATIONAL DISASTER AREA!!!  I have "put my stupid hat on", as Gov. McCrory would say, in the cleaning department.

Oh Captain, My Captain...

Robin Williams committed suicide last week.  Needless to say, we are collectively suffering from this shock.  This goes to show that it is difficult to see what truly lies underneath the surface.  He was a person who I never met, but did look up to as an actor/comedian.  There has been a great outpour of support and sadness over social media and throughout the world beyond social media.  Although I had never met him, I felt sadness and pain due to his loss.  My mother phrases feeling loss like this, "When a person has affected your life you have an emotional response."  Good words.  But remember his final words from Hook...

The Family you Choose

*Borrowed from Pam McGowan's Facebook
Everyone knows that I love my family that I was born into, but with the loss of the greatest comedian it has made me very reflective.  The other day on Facebook my fellow Rev3 Teammate Pam McGowan posted an amazing picture her husband Steve made for her.  It states "Triathlon is Family"!  (Pam and Steve, I "borrowed" this picture for the blog.  I hope you don't mind.)  This past year has been an amazing year filled with inappropriate jokes, losses, quips and new editions through the Rev3 Google Groups; and that's just through Google.  My Facebook feed has been filled daily with the adventures and support of all my Rev3 Teammates.  You could possibly be apart of this part love/part insanity by applying for next years team.  I can say that I am so thankful for this experience will continue to support Rev3 through my efforts as a team member. There are still some events left this year!  Go sign up!   

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rev3 Williamsburg... Why YOU should race Rev3!!

Rev3 Rocks... and PR, BABY!!

 I had an amazing race in Williamsburg!!!  The last time I raced the 70.3 distance was Ironman Raleigh
Running is fun?
70.3 and it was a terrible day!  (Well, not terrible in the fact that I was able to get out there and race, but terrible in that I walked most of the half marathon.)  I finished with a time of 6:36:change.  (I'm not looking up the exact time, just know that it was respectively in that ball park.)  I completed Williamsburg in 5:07:23!!  I ran the entire half marathon except the part where my left hamstring completely cramped up.  It was simply a great day for me all around!


Swim Start
The most daunting portion of a triathlon for most people is the swim.  We all love to bike and run, yet we seem to slog through our swim workouts.  Swimming can be a tedious endeavor.

 Rev3 Team was front and center at the swim practice handing out samples or Triswim, Foggies and spraying folks who were practicing in a wetsuit with Trislide.  (These are all fantastic products created specifically for swimmers and triathletes by SBR Sports, INC.)

Mr. Opdyke with Team Rev3 
The big question on each participants mind was whether or not the swim would be wetsuit legal.  The Rev3 race director Eric Opdyke was readily on hand answering each nervous athlete's question before the pre-race meeting.  Jonathan Williamson, the swim coordinator and jack of all trades, was on hand giving the water temperature updates and reassuring athletes that they could race in a wetsuit if they wished, but the points and placing would be nullified due to USAT wetsuit rules.  Eric and Jonathan also announced that there would be an open water swim clinic for those who wished to attend during the swim practice.

Having the race director, swim coordinator and Team Rev3 on hand created an incredible sense of ease for nervous athletes with pre-race jitters.


Sean English
No one throws a party like Rev3.  Sean English and Stu Stacy were both rocking the mics with constant updates about race details and the music was pumping throughout the expo creating a party atmosphere.

The Rev3 Adventure team had both an adult's adventure race and family adventure race taking place.  Kids were racing Trykes and athletes were milling around the Rev3 MultiSport Store.  (If you forget anything for race day Hannah Heisler has got you covered!  You can even pick up some sweet Rev3 Water Bottles.  Those things were clutch on the 56 mile bike!!)

Sometimes the most difficult park of a larger race is packet picket up.  Not Rev3!!  You grab your packet and its on to get your chip.  Tim and Lisa take you through the computer timing sign in in about thirty seconds and Viola!! your registered and race ready!

Oh, and did I mention the HUMONGOUS HDTV at the expo??  People can see past race footage, interviews with pros who have raced previous Rev3 events and interviews with people just like you and me!

Race Day

Yes, we all know that race day a triathlete wakes up SUPER EARLY... I'm talking 3:30am after having gone to bed around 9/10pm, if you could actually sleep!!)  

Rev3 staffers were on hand to help sleepy-eyed athletes find their areas in T2.  Ashley Quinn was
The Best Staff in the Business!!

escorting groggy and nervous athletes towards the charter buses that carried them to T1 and swim start.  She even held a bus so that friends could ride together.  Nothing is more pleasant in the morning than seeing Ashley and her awesome smile greeting you!  (Quick plug, if you are thinking about racing Cedar Point and your child enjoys triathlon, Ashley has organized a Revvie... Knoxville was a huge success, this girl knows what's up!!)

The busses brought athletes to T2 and Sean "The Voice" English was keeping the vibe light and giving constant swim updates as athletes prepped their bikes. Thanks to Fat Frogs Bikes for being on hand for last minute mechanical issues!  

At go time, Sean led the athletes in a moment of reflection, and respectfully stated he understood that folks might be of different faiths, but it is important to reflect on what we are able to do.  The anthem was sung.  (This was a highlight for me because I was able to blend two of my passions in one day.  I sang the anthem and raced!)

The bike course was well-serviced with incredibly pumped volunteers.  I know "Bahston" Bob and Tracy had something to do with the festivities and cheerfulness of these awesome volunteers.

Perhaps the most mundane part of the race could have been the run.  When I looked at it online it was simply 5K loop that the 70.3 athletes would complete four times.  One would think this might get a little boring!  It was far from it.  Each time spectators and families were cheering you on with new signs and Sean English was updating the crowd and cheering on athletes the entire time!  (The man spoke for nearly 72 hours straight!)  

And the pinnacle of the entire experience... YOU, the athlete, can run across the finish line with your entire family... and wait for it... you get the Finisher Photo FOR FREE!!!

One More Thing...

Glow Runs!!  Rev3 Glow Run two days before the race!!  The community comes out and there is a 1 mile or 5K option.  It is fantastic!!

Final Finisher Celebration!
Oh, and the Final Finisher Celebration!  The Final Finisher at each race has his/her picture at the finish line with the entire Rev3 Staff and Team!  Sean cues up some spectacular music as he/she is escorted by the Sweepers to a BLOCK PARTY!!

The experience at a Rev3 event is unparalleled!  It is fun for the whole family!  So if you are on the fence about a destination race this summer, sign up for a Rev3 event!  (If you do two or more you might even qualify for Knoxville Championship in 2015!!)  If you comment on this blog, like/comment on Facebook, retweet or tweet to me I might even throw in something that will sweeten the registration deal if you're on the fence.

Come and #rocktherevolution!!

PR in the books!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old Dreams and New Beginnings

Andy and I after HPU Ceremony
I have been in the field of education for over ten years.  Last year, I received my Masters in Educational Leadership from High Point University.  I became a licensed principal upon graduation.  Last summer was spent as an administrator of the Guilford County Summer Arts Institute (SAI).  This program is an amazing summer experience where students are immersed in an area of visual or performing arts.  It truly was and continues to be an authentic educational experience for every student who is chosen and participates.  My hats off to Superintendent Green and Arts Coordinator Nathan Street for advocating for it during the first roll out of the GCS Strategic Plan.

Aside from working with SAI, I had begun to apply for administrative positions within GCS and throughout the greater Triangle and Triad of NC.  There were a few interviews with amazing "break up" letters; as I started calling them.  There were some interviews with no responses at all, and then there were simply no responses to the emails, resumes and phone calls made.  This was extremely disheartening!  August began and Cross Country season ramped up and I went back to "The Ranch", a term we use when referencing Southwest Guilford High School.  I worked alongside Coach Boulton, Coach Brown and Coach Johnson.  I ran with the kids and Coach Boulton gave me more and more freedom in the creating of workouts for the team, especially our "A" runners.  I coached Cross Country not to add to my paycheck because I wasn't receiving any pay for it, but simply because I love running and helping others develop as runners.

This coaching experience led to a greater relationship with the High Point Off'n Running/Fleet Feet Sports Store.  I started a training group out of that store now known as the "Funner Runners"; Funner Runners 3 starts July 21st at the store and please come and join us as we target a 10K and/or Half Marathon!!  This relationship with the store and its owner John Dewey and newly minted General Manager, also one of my best friends, Michael Vance led to more responsibility at the store such as helping to plan Pub Run nights and working with people through other programs in meeting their running goals.  Something was starting that wasn't focused within the school.

School started and the training group was wrapping up.  I was ready to attack the new school year and
hopefully produce another musical.  Musicals, acting in them and directing them, are definitely one of my passions.  Unfortunately, there was to be no musical this year due to scheduling conflicts and lack of funding.  Class sizes at the beginning level of theatre were reaching the high thirties and I was struggling to manage the immense diversity within the class.  There would be students who were considered "Gifted and Talented" with students who had an IEP over a mile long.  I do not fault the school for this scheduling nightmare because they were and still are under enormous pressure of scheduling students in tested classes.  The school was also faced with a scheduling nightmare due to the fact that despite claims from the NCGA, the budget for education had been greatly reduced and we lost a teacher in the middle of the semester because we were nineteen students under our projected numbers.  The teacher was moved schools and the students were jumbled into other classes.  How is that fair to the students, teacher and school??  We were continually asked to do more with less and at our beginning of the year meeting all our principal could do was shake his head about the deep cuts and new regulations placed on education.

Simply put, during my tenure at SWGHS, the number of tested subjects went from five to three to over ten.  The Common Core had been implemented and it was a full court press come testing time.  This year alone students were in testing for over twenty days of the school year.  How is authentic learning taking place when students are constantly being tested in the name of "accountability"?  I began to feel as if I wasn't truly teaching anymore, but merely holding court and keeping a space for students.  Do not misunderstand me, I love teaching theatre and helping a student see how theatre can help them in the 21st Century, but with over thirty students in a class it was increasingly difficult and I noticed that I was barely able to keep calm.  It was time for a change, the only issue is I had no idea what the change would be!

The Snow came down in January, February and March.  I approached Mike about possibly increasing my responsibilities with the shop.  The Rev3 Team Summit had just ended and I had met some of the most amazing and inspiring people EVER!!  (As Dawn Davis calls them, "My People".)  Dewey asked me to come in and talk about what I could bring to the shop.  It was a great discussion and his energy was and is amazing!  I left the meeting buzzing.  I had no clue what it could lead to, but it was simply exciting talking to Dewey about possibilities.  About a month later, Dewey emailed a proposal to be the manager of the High Point OnR/Fleet Feet store.  This was interesting and an unknown.  I had worked in a bike shop, managed an Abercrombie, but this was something new.  I wasn't sure at first because ten years of my life had been in the classroom; I was a freaking Teaching Fellow!  I had been pursuing administrative positions to no avail, I had just recently been announced as a member of Team Rev3.  (Still one of the coolest things to date!!), was I ready to jump ship??

The next few weeks were spent talking with my parents, Mike, Jeremy and a few other trusted friends and advisors.  Ultimately, my mother stated (paraphrased), "You love triathlon.  This is a great opportunity.  Education in NC is really going no where.  Why not?!?"  Dewey had created a plan where I would be easing into the position by working one day a week at the Greensboro shop.  There I learned to fit people for shoes as well as find the appropriate apparel and for the most part customers were and continue to be incredibly gracious. 

Rev3 Williamsburg Finish
Who knows if I will ever return to education.  (I even recently cancelled my NCAE membership which was a huge step because I have been a local Association Representative, served on the local board and served on the state level Board of Directors.)  All I can for now is that I will work to create an amazing atmosphere at the High Point Fleet Feet and represent Rev3 to the best of my ability at their races and other locally produced races.  I am thankful to all my mentors who worked with me and helped me become an accomplished educator.  I will treasure those experiences and I WILL miss the students who I have taught and directed over the past ten years.  Leaving what is often viewed as a calling can be a difficult choice, but we all develop many passions throughout our lives and how often do we truly get to indulge them?  One of my favorite singer/songwriters David Lamotte has a lyric in the chorus of his song Time: "There's no time like the present.  There's no present like time."  With the volley of attacks on public education, a stagnant salary schedule and the welcoming embrace of the running and triathlon community locally and nationally it seems that time is offering me the present and I must do as the great teacher, John Keating from the movie Dead Poets Society, told his students to do on his first day, "Carpe Diem!"

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tri Season is Upon Us!!

Team Rev3!
Those Pearl Izumi Kits look good!!

Team Rev3 Summit was incredibly awesome!  I met so many new people who instantly felt like family.  Everyone has experienced that awkward "first day of school" feeling where you're not sure where to sit in the cafeteria.  That was me the first morning.  I drove through the night after my students performed their self-written and directed works.  I got to Mannassa, VA around 1:30am and went straight to bed.  I woke up the next morning knowing the guys who I bunked up with and went to breakfast looking for a place to sit.  Instead of, "Can't sit here."  Oiler immediately opened up the table and provided me a place to sit and eat.  The uncomfortableness was gone and I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  The day was spent listening to the nuts and bolts of Rev3 and hearing from our various sponsors.  I think I know more about PowerBar than I have ever even needed to know.  SBR Sports rounded out the day with an amazing presentation about their products that keep us show fresh and clean after swimming.  (The smell of chlorine can really put a damper on a person's dating life... wait do triathletes even have time for that??)

There are so many amazing things that happened during the weekend I can't even provide a great summary in a blog post.  I do know this, I have lost a lot of my "special fraternity powers" and take a much longer time to recover, but WORTH IT!  On a more serious note, thank you Momma Bear, Carole Sharpless, for choosing me out of the hundreds who could have been on the team.  I know that it has been a whirlwind of change for you lately, but I couldn't be prouder of the strength, courage and vulnerability you have shown over the past few months.  

Race Time

This is a proof.
CC Bird's Eye View
What should a person do who is itching to race and has put in a huge block of training do... RACE OF COURSE!  Last weekend I suited up after having a crazy week of training and decided to jump in the Belews Creek International Triathlon.  The water was rather frigid and the air was brisk.  My legs were fatigued from a week of track workouts and hill repeats; running and biking, respectively.  But, I have been itching to race (especially since the Team Rev3 Kit looks fricking AWESOME!)  I woke up EARLY Saturday morning and trudged out to the race site.  


The swim was freezing, but a small victory is that even though I haven't been extremely diligent about morning swim practices, I managed to freestyle most of the way and only have my contact slip once.  The young lady on the kayak said, "We're hear if you're tired."  I politely responded, "Thanks, but my contact has just slipped back in my eye."  Not to mention the zipper on the back of the wetsuit became unhinged.  (So much for completely smooth sailing.)


I got out of transition and the chain on my bike fell off... it fell off... it fell the _______ OFF!  Jeremy Yoemans, I think you can relate to how this situation made me feel!  (For everyone else, Ron White for you viewing and listening pleasure!)  

(The clip above about sums up how I felt about the chain falling off.  DISCLOSURE: There is usage of profanity in the clip.)  
Fortunately, a kind volunteer helped me get the chain back on.  This took what felt like an eternity.  If the chain was not going to cooperate I was about to bag the entire race.  It went back on after much finagling.  Off I went up the first hill.  I started to pick people off and move through the field.  This course was rolling!  There was a point where I was in no-man's land and then WHOOSH I was past going up hill and as if I was going backwards!  I managed to average just over 20mph, but the lost time from the chain had occurred so any thought of "racing" was gone.  This had turned into an evaluation of where I currently stood physically.  


This is a proof.
CC Bird's Eye View Photography
Bike transition was slow, but done.  It was time to fly in my brand new Pearl Izumi T2s!  I had just received them the day before, but if Andy Potts can try something new every race why not me?!?!  (Not to mention one of the people I swim with says I look like him.  Wish I could swim like him!)  The double loop 10K was HILLY! (Thanks for the big cheer on the way out, Matt Clancy!) It felt as if I was moving through mud.  I looked down at my Garmin and I was cruising at 6:40s-7:30s!  Training for a marathon and then reintroducing speedwork after recovery has truly helped my run.  There was one issue on course and I had to walk to take care of it.  Yep, folks, I peed during the run and felt so much lighter afterwards.  (Triathletes don't have much same and there is nothing sexy about salt streaked faces and farmer's blowing!)  

As I was rounding the turn towards the turnaround, I saw Jordan McAmmond aka "The Swan" crushing her second loop!  She was sailing!  

The entire race took my 2:53:44!  This was my slowest Oly tri, but I'll take it because it was so fun to be back out there racing!  Over the winter I have done a few half marathons and a marathon, but nothing compares to triathlon!  A major shout out to local race organizers Jones Racing Company.  Benji it is amazing that you are following your passion and putting on great events throughout North Carolina!

Rock'n Roll Raleigh

And his hair was perfect!
Slapbet Stage one Complete!
Mike Vance hamming it up!
Congratulations to all who raced Rock'n Roll Raleigh.  It was an amazing event.  I had a blast providing support at the PowerBar tent at the finish line.  Greg Karpinski and I slapbet each other that he would complete a Raleigh this year and not only did he complete it, he finished his first half just above 2:00:00!  I truly enjoyed a training with Greg and his amazing girlfriend, Katie, a few times this winter.  (We even ran in the snow!)  Greg has been my best "bro" for nearly three years and it is simply great that he has started running and racing.  (It might help a little that Katie is a bit of a stud runner.)

There were 12,500 runners, respectively and most of them ran the half marathon.  It was an incredibly hilly course.  Michael Vance (ha!  I knew I could get you in this posting!) paced Bill Lamb.  Bill has some unfortunate IT issues, but he had quite a kick at the finish despite it all.  Mike was simply being his usual self hamming it up giving people high and low fives throughout the race as he helped pace Bill through the half.  Mike's wife Lauren finished the race as well... well she and the child she is carrying inside of her!  Those Vance's are just crazy and awesome!

Stevven Anderson 2nd Place
See all that PowerBar!
Fleet Feet Sports REPRESENT!
Stevven Anderson of Greensboro, NC came in second!  He crushed the course in just over seventy-one minutes!!  I glimpsed him coming up to the finish line and began to scream my head off!  He saw me and we were both ecstatic about his result.  (There might have been a sweaty man-hug that occurred.  There is no photo journalism of that event.)  Stevven is one of the nicest guys a person will meet and a humble runner.  He is willing to run with everyone and slow down to meet their pace.  With this said though, the kid can crush a half, 10K, or 5K any day of the week.  Stevven had his plaque at the Fleet Feet Sports in High Point the next day.  I'm sure some shoes or recovery products were sold that day!!!

What Does the Future Hold??

I am looking forward to racing more this season and working a few Rev3 events!  Maybe some change is on the horizon, who knows.  As I tell my students each day, "The only constant in the Universe is change."  Train smart, race hard and recover well!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ice, Ice, Baby!!

Two weekends ago the "Trilogy Bros" got together to watch the entire Indiana Jones Trilogy.  Needless to say, it was EPIC!  (The fourth movie NEVER HAPPENED!! And that statement goes along with Rocky V, NEVER HAPPENED!!  Alex Farmartino will appreciate these statements.)  I find it fitting that when I started this post the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark was piping through my headphones as I sit her at Starbucks sipping on a soy latte.  I bring up the awesome movie and score for one reason, much of Guilford County has been without power for three days now.  What was supposed to be a mild winter storm turned into a massive ice storm.  (Ironically, it is about 60* outside now.  NC weather, it is bipolar!)  The power outage has made me feel a little like Dr. Jones.  I have been coach surfing at friends' places.  Each night I have packed a bag and headed over to another friend's place.  It has been like searching for heat and electricity.  Granted, not the Ark of the Covenant, but a necessity.  I even took some baked chicken over to my friend +Ron Kennedy aka Kal-El or Clark to put in his fridge.  (That was some good chicken!!)

I grew up on the coast and we were affected by hurricanes so power outages are nothing new to me, but ice storms and power outages are a bit of a new thing.  I am grateful that my friends with power have opened their homes to me.  (And tolerate my Dairy Free and Gluten Limited ways, Liz Hackney those cookies were AWESOME!)  I will say that this ice storm has made training interesting.  I have only been on the bike twice this week.  Fortunately, Tommy Rodgers at E3 Elite Human Performance (Coach Matt I promise to get back in the pool!!) let me get in on the Tuesday night trainer class since Monday was booked up for me.  It was absolutely insane, and I get to suffer all over again this Monday.  I can say that the classes are helping my running and riding.  Yesterday, in shorts and a t-shirt (the weather is seriously chaotic) I was clicking off 7:30 miles/min.  It felt awesome!  The only major issue throughout this power outage situation has been fueling properly.  I have gotten in solid food, but have strayed a bit from my usual diet.  Saturday I subsisted off of Egg protein and Powerbar, well all except dinner which was at Village Tavern.  Yes, Sarge, the Egg Protein is AWESOME!

This brings me to a point... THANK YOU POWERBAR FOR MY SHIPMENT BEFORE THE ICE STORM!!  I received my Team Elite/Rev3 shipment of Powerbar product on Thursday.  It was the gel chews, gels and fruit blends.  I have been eat the Strawberry/Banana flavored that are too delicious!  (I think I picked that flavor up from my old SigEp brother Alex Davis.  He said the Stawbanana juice was, well if you knew Alex you would know the colorful adjectives he would describe it by.)  These past few days have been like a 70.3 event.  How much fuel intake do I need?  When will my stomach finally start to reject all the processed nutrients?  Powerbar is amazing for a long event, or even a quick pick-me-up during an Oly or Sprint; I don't suggest trying to live off it.  But, when in need you eat what is available.  (OK, I haven't eaten only Powerbar stuffs, but I am a teacher who hasn't had a raise in six years... do the math!!)

You know what place does have power?!?!?  Barbados... umm.. I mean Northern Virginia!!  It is less than a week until #TeamRev3 Summit.  I have been following most of my new teammates on Twitter and Facebook.  I am beyond ecstatic to meet them face-to-face.  According to +Carole Sharpless we will need to bring an extra bag for all the swag that we are being sent home with!  This trigeek is super excited!  The weather is supposed to be chilly, but NO ICE, NO SNOW and POWER!  Running tights will work fine with arm warmers.  And, real food!  The only thing I am concerned about is that some of my teammates have a passion for a particular man whose name is Jose!  Jose and I have had a contentious relationship, I have all but given up on any dealings we might have.  With all this said, I am extremely excited about Summit and look forward to meeting and rekindling friendships with people just as tricrazy as myself!