Sunday, May 18, 2014

Race Report - Gold Nugget Triathlon 2014

I know this isn't a fitness blog, but I had a great experience at a race today and wanted to share, in hopes that it might inspire someone else to try something out of their comfort zone!

Alaska has an awesome women's triathlon called the Gold Nugget, and it's well-known to be super friendly toward beginners. I'm used to running, and started kicking around the idea of a triathlon last year, but not until the race was already sold out. This year I was ready for registration and got in (before it sold out in 9 minutes)! I was nervous about the swimming and biking, since I hadn't really been swimming since I took a class in college 15 years ago, and I hadn't biked since I was a kid. But I love having a goal to work toward, so I took on the challenge and started working!

The distances were (in this order): 500 yd. swim, 12.1 mile bike, and a 4.1 mile run. I trained through the winter at the gym and the indoor pool, and got outside as soon as the snow cleared (April). It was hard to estimate what a good goal would be since I'd never done one before, and I originally shot for 2 hours, 30 minutes, knowing that it would be easily doable. As my training went on, and I looked at previous years' results, I started to wonder if I could actually go under two hours. While the biggest thing was just to finish and have a great time, I really started to have my heart set on that 2 hour mark. And, I'm proud to say, I beat it by quite a bit, with a time of 1:50! I almost had to let out a little scream in the race results tent when I saw it.

The Good
*Meeting my goal time, of course!
*I was really happy with my training leading up to the race. Between working full-time, and 3 kids in various sports and activities, it was really challenging to fit in enough workouts. I had to be really creative, getting up early in the morning, swimming laps while my kids had swim lessons, etc. Not to mention that there are NO triathlon training programs that take into account that the ground will be covered in snow until the month before the race. But I used what I knew about running training programs, and wrote myself something that I felt like worked really well for me.
*The race itself. Everything was organized so well, the volunteers and organizers were super friendly, the other racers were supportive - you couldn't ask for better energy in a race. It was amazing. The ages of the racers ranged from 9-76, and women of every size and shape.
*I also had a crazy awesome run. All this cross-training has really helped my run times, and I ran some of my best miles ever.
*Seeing my family there, cheering me on! I also had several friends and family members in the race throughout the day, and it was fun to see them and cheer them on.

The Bad
*Someone posted a picture of a black bear on the bike course the night before the race. Uh, can you say nerves?! And, reading the race reports coming in on the Facebook page, it seems that more than one person SAW black bears on the course today! Ack! Gotta love Alaska!
*I had shin splints in the two weeks leading up to the race, along with some crazy busy weeks at work. I knew I had to lay low and mostly stay off my feet for the shin splints, but it made me really anxious that my body would just forget all the training I had spent months on. It didn't, but it caused me a lot of anxiety in the days before the race.
*Okay, I know this sounds like I have turned into a true Alaskan, but it was actually a *touch* too hot for me out on the course today. We've been uncharacteristically warm here lately (over 70 degrees), and I was super hot on the run. Felt like California! Of course, it's better than the alternative, and I'm sure in future years I'll look back longingly on this 72 degree day!

The Ugly
*I forgot my sunglasses AND my racing belt/bib (my number) at my first transition!!!! The racing instructions said you HAD to have your racing bib for the run, so I spent a LONG hour on my bike having nightmares of what they would do when I got to the run and didn't have it (answer: nothing, but it was a lot of stress).

And that's it! I've had so many people say they could NEVER do a triathlon, but it was really encouraging to see women of all ages and fitness levels out there on the course today! Most people could do most beginner-level races with a few months of training, so start exploring what's in your area and try something new this summer!

Pin It!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Meet the Mop That Changed My Life

I want to make clear from the beginning that this is NOT a sponsored post - just sharing something I love!

Sometime last year, I put a plea out to my readers to help me find the perfect steam mop. I HATE mopping with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and I was willing to pay nearly any amount of money to make the job bearable. Here's some key words to start us out. Black dog. Three kids. Linoleum. Rental. Am I painting a lovely mental image here?

So one dear reader suggested the Hoover Floormate. I have the SpinScrub, but there is now a newer model. The Hoover Floormate is not actually a steam mop, but ended up being exactly what I was looking for. My main issues with mopping were:

1. I would spend all this time mopping, and then afterwards, if I would wipe the floor with a baby wipe, it would still come up brownish/gray.

2. The dog hair. Oh, the dog. How I wish.... never mind. Each time I would mop, it would simply push lines of dog hair into the corners of my floor, and I would have to go back through afterwards with baby wipes and clean all that up.

It was getting to the point where I would vacuum, use a Swiffer, then get on my hands and knees to spot-clean what the Swiffer hadn't gotten, and it STILL wasn't clean enough! Something had to change. Once my reader recommended the Floormate, I read the reviews and knew it was just what I needed.

Here's how it works:
*The Floormate has three functions: Vacuum, Wash, and Dry.
*Vacuum: Not intended to replace a regular vacuum, but nice if you're mopping and come across some crumbs or something. You can easily turn the switch to Vacuum, suction them right up, and then move along.
*Wash: You squeeze the trigger, and it sends out washing solution onto the floor, at which point some little rotating scrubbers under the head scrub the yuckyness, making your floors beautifully clean. At this point, the Floormate is also suctioning up the dirty water into a separate compartment.
*Dry: To decrease the drying time, there is also a Dry setting, which further suctions up the water. I don't use this because to me, the floors dry quickly enough without it.

The day it arrived from Amazon, I was giddy...

The first day I used it, I was converted. Here is my floor's side-by-side last two columns on the far right have not been mopped yet.)
Doesn't that look so nice and sparkling clean?

And then... this is unsettling. Here is some of the water the Floormate had sucked up during its first use. Beware... this is gross... See that bottom inch? Eeeeewwwww!
Thinking of buying one? Here are some Pros and Cons...

The Cons:
*Obviously more expensive than a regular mop.
*I always forget when I go into Dry mode, and I think I'm in Wash mode. I feel like it shouldn't squirt out the cleaning solution unless you're in Wash mode.
*About the same weight/size as a vacuum.

The Pros:
*No nasty water getting mixed into the water you are using for cleaning!
*The head is nice and low, so I can easily mop right against the edge of the floor, under the edges of my cabinets.
*You don't need to use their cleaner - you can use anything, even water and vinegar.
*It can clean lots of different surfaces - tile, grout, sealed hardwood, linoleum, etc.
*Cleans my floors so beautifully that if I take a baby wipe to it after I'm done, it comes up clean! I could NEVER make this happen before!

*And the biggest Pro of all.... now I LOVE mopping! I have gone from avoiding it at all costs, to actually being disappointed if my husband uses it without me. And, the more I love using it, the more frequently I use it, and the cleaner my floors are likely to stay! Can't beat that!

So that's that! Check it out! If you have any similarly wonderful products that have changed your mind about a household chore, I'd love to hear about them!

Pin It!