Flu Shot Strength

I looked down at my arm, willing it to relax while she finished prepping my skin for a flu shot.

Next the nurse commented on my Ironman tattoo, the small red IM logo high on my right arm near where she planned to stick me.

“What is that?” she asked with a true sense of wonder.

She wasn’t expecting tattoo at all, or something Ironman related, which made me smile. I love surprising people.

I looked back down at my right arm smiling inside and out, grateful for so many things like:

  • good health care,
  • strong muscles, and
  • the chances to use those beautiful muscles each day.

Questions for You:
Do you get a flu shot?
– What’s your favorite muscle?

You Know You’re Raising A Fit Family When…

  1. Everyone in the family has clothing made with DriFit.
  2. The kids request protein shakes for breakfast.
  3. Creative play includes working out, races and going to the gym.
  4. Your kids greet the childcare staff at your gym with as much affection as they give their favorite aunt. 
  5. There is a laundry basket for darks, for whites and for sweaty workout clothes.
  6. There is a designated workout area in the house (and the playroom doubles as a workout area when necessary).
  7. Everyone in the family has a “finishers photo” on the mantle.
  8. When you and your partner work out at the same time you consider it a date.
  9. Your gym bag doubles as a diaper bag and vice versa.
  10. Hearing “you stink” isn’t intended to be derogatory, but rather a statement of fact, even a badge of honor.

Thanks to Twitter I got an additional item, which I loved:

–You have to initial all the race shirts so you know whose laundry pile to put them in.

Any of your own to add? How do you know you’re raising a fit family?

Finding Balance In 24 Jam Packed Hours

I struggle with balance, I would bet, more than most.  I tend to fixate on the bright and shiny object of the moment, until I am dragged away kicking and screaming by other priorities.  I don’t think it’s entirely a bad thing.  It is a hallmark of my Type A, passionate personality.  Without that, I wouldn’t be Melanie, but I do need to find a way to balance all that passion out evenly among the important areas of my life.  So that’s my personal project right now.  To make it more challenging, I have more going on in my life right now than ever before.  24 hours is scarcely enough time to get everything done that is expected of me in a single day.

So here is how I am currently approaching it and things are improving at an incredible rate.

First, I spent a year working with my life coach, Kenny, who introduced me to the concept of the life pie.  He encouraged me to draw a pie to allocate my focus on a finite group of priorities.  These are things like family (husband, kids and extended family), friends, career, hobbies, health, spirituality and personal growth.  I wrote down what they are.  Then I was able to develop a personal mission from that.  What am I about?  What was I put on earth to do with regards to each of these focus areas.  Then I decided how much of my focus should be spent on each area.  It was an incredibly simple idea which revolutionized the way I approach my day.

The other idea he gave me was about life seasons.  Naturally, sometimes the priorities you’ve decided upon are going to become out of balance.  In different seasons of your life you will become focused more on some areas than others.   Let’s say you are launching a new product and you have to work long hours for a couple weeks or even months, or maybe you’ve decided to train for an Ironman and your training is consuming a huge part of your free time.  It is only a season in your life.  You are doing this big push in a certain area for a finite amount of time and it’s temporary.  You haven’t changed your pie, but right now it’s messed up.  The best way is to plan for these seasons and to address it ahead of time with the people in your life as well as to decide what can slip in other areas of your pie TEMPORARILY.

I learned that lesson the hard way.  I trained for a half ironman at a time in my life when my focus needed to be on my marriage and on the business I own with my husband.  It caused a lot of friction and some important things did not get done.  I blamed my husband for objecting.  I felt like he was holding me back.  He was still there to support me at the race, but he would have preferred that I waited until a better time.  I was in such a hurry to get this notch in my belt, that I ignored his pleas to wait until another time.  He wasn’t saying I couldn’t do it. He was saying “get THIS done first, and then go crazy training when the time is right.”

So now I am looking at my pie and my personal mission as a daily guide.  It isn’t absolute, because life has a funny way of trampling all over our priorities for the day.  But with this guide, I am able to make decisions about the kind of projects I take on, the commitments I make and yes even the races I sign up for.  Since I like to dabble and have my hand in a lot of things, this is invaluable for me.  I need this guidepost.   Faced with competing projects or priorities, I can now just ask myself (daily), “does this fit what I have set out to do?  How will being involved in this particular project or task serve the areas that I have already decided are my priorities?”  If it doesn’t fit, then I must say no.  This may disappoint other people. But if I go back to my personal mission, I can be ok with that, because I know what I was put on earth to do, who I am here to serve and that I am making forward movement by being selective in what I take on.  Somebody else out there is better suited to carry out that project or that task.  God will put it in their capable hands.  I can’t worry about disappointing others with these decisions.

Fast Forward

Last year at this time I was “balls deep” in Half Ironman Training. Fast forward one year later and I am going absolutely bonkers.

Being plagued by a damn hamstring injury that seems to rear its ugly head, just when I think it is healed up – I am left without being able to do run training … again. I took 3 months off, came back for 2 weeks and am back to square one.

I am still not working, per se. I am certified as a fitness trainer (and have this nagging Bachelor’s in Marketing that is just begging to be used), but in a town of only 3000 – people want a fitness center with all the bells and whistles … until it comes time to pay for a membership. I also teach cycling classes, which is going really well. My usual’s seem to really enjoy it and I am still getting some newcomers to show up at class – but teaching 3x per week isn’t a job, it’s more of a hobby and a workout?

I’m finding myself stuck in that position that it seems every stay at home mom comes across at one time or another. To work or not to work? My son is in school, but summer will be here before we know it and he is not yet at that age that he can stay home alone all day while his dad and I both work. And since his dad is averaging 70+ hours per week (with no change in sight) I am feeling stuck, whose well being is worth more? Mine (= my sanity) or my son’s? Of course I feel that anything my son needs trumps me any day of the week and twice on Sunday’s.

And yes, I know I am lucky. I realize that every day and will never forget it. I am fortunate to be in a financial situation where working is an option I am a very lucky girl who 16 months ago made a choice to quit my job. I get it, I truly do. But this is my blog, my time, my words, my feelings. And I know I can not be alone in this.

So now what? … This isn’t one of those blogs that tells you what to do; this is one that is seriously asking you “Now what the hell do I do?”

I can’t run. I could start making the trek to the nearest indoor pool, which is probably a good option. I’m already cycling nearly 3 hours a week. I have no idea if I will even be racing this summer. I will be running a half marathon in August because I am taking a group of women to the race and I will get through it one way or another. But the thought of no triathlons makes me want to cry. So now what do I do? I am honestly bordering on sinking into a bit of a dark place and I know I can’t let that happen. So any advice you can give will be taken with an open mind.

And thanks girls, for listening.

Cellular Housecleaning

Fascinating! Sure, it’s a study of mice vs. people, but the science is really cool. I love the idea of cellular housecleaning! 🙂


“…But this baseline level of cellular housecleaning wasn’t enough to protect them from developing diabetes in the face of a poor diet. Only when the control animals ran and pumped up their intracellular trash collection did they regain their health.

“I never worked out consistently before,” Dr. Levine says. But now, having witnessed how exercise helped scour the cells of the running mice, she owns a treadmill. “

Mommy Who Loves To TRI

My name is Jennifer, Jenny or JLo (not Jennifer Lopez =) as my hubby calls me.  I identify myself as a 38-year-old mommy, who does lots of other things too.  2012 plans include actually using this blog, for one thing.  My mind is a slate for lots of useless information, which I have been told is not as useless as I may have originally thought.  I can remember movie lines and appropriately (maybe a bit annoying) apply them to everyday  conversation.  I enjoy converting yummy, sumptuous, fattening foods to the healthiest version of itself as possible.  I have read about a billion parenting books, as I have an extremely fun, “energetic” and challenging son, who loves to keep me on my toes. I keep my sanity by running, doing triathlon as often as I possibly can and by socializing with friends all over the country.

Due to my husband’s wonderful career, we have moved 13 times in our 15 1/2 year marriage, which comes with many positives and negatives.  I have made wonderful friendships with people all over the country, only to have to say goodbye when a new move presents itself.  My children, J (13) and K (9) also have this same experience.  However, I used to think that it was harder on them to move than my husband and I, but now I realize that it is really the opposite.  So while my littles were off playdating and hanging with friends, Hubby and I have developed a “you and I through it all” mentality.  Thus began a joint journey of fitness and triathlon, which as become a bit of an obsession, I must admit!  Although I read a great quote recently that helps me rationalize it…..”Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”

Member Highlight On Jen Small

GT: Jen, where do you hang your helmet these days?

I live in a small town called Biddeford, Maine. We are close to everything-the beach (2 miles), Boston (90 mins), the moutains, the lakes.

It is a beautiful place to live, to raise a family and to train. I love it here! I am also excited to say that Revolution 3 Triathlon will be coming to my own back yard in 2012!! They will be hosting a half iron distance race in Old Orchard Beach on August 26th and I could not be happier to live right here, right now!


GT:       How did you start your endurance sport journey?

In 2007 after many years of being unhealthy, overweight, miserable, depressed, hating life, I had enough. I hit my own personal ROCK BOTTOM. It was time to take action. It was time to take control of my life and my health. I wanted to be a Mom, I wanted to live a happy life and I was sick of feeling sick all the time. I quit bad habits (being lazy, smoking, drinking, eating garbage) and started taking baby steps (literally) to a healthy life. I could only walk at the beginning but I wanted to be that “fit girl” I’d see out running. I started running in 15-20 second increments and just kept going from there. The first time I ran a mile without stopping was a very memorable moment. You would have thought I just ran a marathon.

It was a HUGE deal for me. I lost a bit of weight then we discovered I was pregnant with my daughter, Lola – this journey took on a whole new meaning and gave me all new reasons to be the woman I wanted to be and then some.

After 42 long weeks of pregnancy and an unscheduled c-section, Lola was here!! (Oct 2008 so just three short years ago!) My parents and husband invested in a BOB Revolution stroller so I could be active with the baby.

Once I started running outside, running took on a whole new perspective for me. It was no longer a way to burn calories. It was my escape, my quiet time, my time to reflect. After 14 months of hard word, I shed 100lbs and started running local road races. I fell in love with racing. It was more about racing myself-setting goals, working hard to achieve those goals and then raising the bar higher and higher. I got into triathlon in 2010 and that was it for me. Instant love. It was that “thing” I was missing. It has ignited a fire inside that I cannot explain– It’s my passion.



GT: What’s your favorite memory of the journey so far?

There are so many amazing moments! Timberman 70.3 was a very important event for me. First, it was the culmination of 6 months of training, I never dreamed I would do a sprint triathlon never mind a half iron distance. I went into that race not to race but to enjoy the day and celebrate all I had accomplished since starting on this road. I said goodbye to that miserable fat girl once and for all out there riding those hills. It was closure for me. I was able to let go of all kinds of hurt that held me back for so long.

I was able to embrace the woman I have become and celebrate the NOW! I crossed that finish line stronger than I ever thought possible. It was also my re-birth in a way-saying goodbye to one aspect of myself and saying hello to this new person that evolved. It was proof that I can do anything I want to do.

Then, to have Chrissie give me my medal-well that was just the icing on the cake. This amazing woman that I SO admired-not because she wins but because of all the good she does for the sport, her attitude. She is just awesome!!!

I knew that she was usually at this race and I had said to myself that all I wanted out of that day was to finish strong and get my medal from Chrissie.

And it happened. Literally, a dream come true!! I remember telling her that too (and I may or may not have told her that I loved her!! lol)


GT:       What’s been the greatest benefit of your journey?

Of course, my daughter!! I can be the Mom I wanted to be and always be a positive role model in her life.

But also while my physical being has changed the greatest change has been my mindset and the emotional growth. I have learned to love myself and accept that there is NO perfect. I believe that everything happens for a reason although we might not understand it at the time. Those dark, miserable years were terrible but that journey brought me here. I don’t think I could appreciate HERE so much if I did not know how awful THERE was.

I discovered that I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for being and having that self-confidence is a wonderful feeling. KNOWING that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to do!


GT: How do you Pay it Forward to others who may not believe it’s  possible to take on such an active lifestyle?

I am turning my passion for health and fitness into a career and I will be testing for my ACE PT certification soon. I believe that my own personal journey gives me perspective on things that are certainly different than someone who has always been fit and active.

Right now I am helping several people in my community on their own journey to a healthy life (gratis). As a stay-at-home Mom, my budget is very limited and I know I could not pay a trainer or nutritionist when I started so I have giving these people the tools they need to be successful in their own life.

I also write a blog about my life and my journey. I want to inspire and motivate people to take that first step no matter what their circumstances are, it can be done.

GT: Why GOTRIbal for you?

I know that the friends I have made in the triathlon community are just wonderful people! I have been welcomed with open arms into my local tri community and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such great people. I have also made contact with so many triathletes across the country and the world online. It is an exciting time for triathlon as the sport grows and I want to be able to connect with others, of all levels to talk about training, encourage one another and keep the passion growing. I know what tri has brought to my life, I would love to see others experience that same joy. I just want to share the love and inspire others to chase their dreams!

I am living proof that it can happen.

GT:    Share with us one goal you have for yourself in 2012 that you never thought you’d have as a  goal 5 years ago.

I will be doing at least 3 half iron distance races next year-possibly four-and I have some pretty specific time goals in mind for a couple of them!