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Loving to Tri

What I Did for Spring Break

This past week was my spring break, and I loved every minute of it. It wasn’t relaxing, per se, but it was filled with some great experiences!

On Monday, I took my bike over to Cycle Haus, a new bicycle shop in Simpsonville. Cycle Haus is generously sponsoring A Ride to Remember 2015, so I wanted to support them. I’d also heard wonderful things about Cliff and Sebastien; they have both done some great work for my dad and other members of Team Vive. In particular, I wanted to see what Cliff had to say about my bike fit. Cliff worked his magic, raising my seat about an inch, moving it back another inch, swapping out my stem for a different one. My bike feels completely different now, but it a good way. It’s much more comfortable, and I feel like I’m working more efficiently.

On Wednesday, my dad and I went for a bike ride. It’s been ages since I’ve ridden with my dad, and I convinced him to tackle a tough workout with me.

bike with dad

We loaded the bikes on dad’s car and headed for some new-to-us country roads. It was a tough 35 mile workout, but so much fun!

On Saturday, I joined Team Vive for a 60 mile bike ride (my longest ride ever!). We left from Cycle Haus and rode through Simpsonville, Woodruff, Grey Court, and Fountain Inn. The official route was 50 miles, but we kind of got lost a couple of times. Our meanderings just gave us a chance to enjoy the scenery! Some of the group headed back to Cycle Haus after 55 miles, but I really wanted to get a full 60 done. Thankfully, Wally, Lewis, Brenda, and Claire agreed to join me on the last few miles.

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Sunday was race day! I’ll write a full race report in the next few days, so for right now I’ll just say that the inaugural Altamont Marathon/Half-Marathon/Mountain Goat Relay/5K was great!

After the race, I drove out to Lake Hartwell for my first open water swim of the season (and my first open water freak out of the season).

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The water was so cold! It was like taking an ice bath, and it was not comfortable to put your face in the water and swim. After about 200 yards, I swam to the shore and waited for the others. Our wonderful kayakers offered to tow me back in, but I put my proverbial big-girl panties on and swam back myself.

Those were the real highlights of my spring break. There were also some other swims and runs, some naps, some good food. I, of course, had to celebrate National Beer Day with one of these:

national beer day


And now, it’s Monday morning and time to head back to work. Boo!

How was your week? Any great workouts or races?


Catching Up

I’ve taken a blogging break for the past few weeks, but lots has been going on in my world. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to:

1. Lots of swimming, biking, and running

With the change in weather, I’ve been getting out on the bike a bit more. I did a quick ride in Spartanburg one day during my lunch break:


Biking in Spartanburg

I also got in a good ride up in North Greenville with Team Vive:


Team Vive at Einsteins Bagels in Tigerville

2. Lusting after a new bike

I’ve got my eyes on this one:



Next week, I’ll get to test one out and see how I like it.

3. I got a coach!

With Raleigh 70.3 less than 2 months away (yikes!!!!!) plus A Ride to Remember and Marine Corps Marathon, I was less than confident in my ability to prepare myself for all of these events. Luckily, Katie had an opening! I’ve already met with her to talk about my swimming and running, and I’m certain that getting a coach was the right move for me.

4. Spring break!

This week was spring break, and boy did I need a break! So far, there’s been some training, some napping, some cleaning – and absolutely no work! I’m looking forward to even more good times this weekend – a long bike ride with Team Vive tomorrow and a race and possibly an open water swim on Sunday. I’ll end the weekend with a Skype dinner with my brother and sister-in-law – can’t wait to chat with them.

What’s been going on in your world?




Week 10 and 11 Training Updates

The past two weeks have been taper weeks, so not much exciting has been going on training wise. All of that taper madness led up to the half marathon I did in Asheville this past weekend (recap coming up shortly!). Here’s how my training went:

Week of March 2

Monday: 3×800 repeats with a warmup and cool down; I don’t know what it is about 800s, but I love them!

Tuesday: short swim with lots of drills

Wednesday: planned rest day

Thursday: tempo run on the dreadmill (my first treadmill run of 2015)

Friday: planned rest day

Saturday: short run around the lake near my house

Sunday: bike ride with members of Team Vive. We did Tubbs Mountain again – love this ride and the team!


Weekly totals

Swim: 700 yards

Bike: 29 miles

Run: 12 miles


Week of March 9

Monday: short tempo run where I got to test my new Vive jersey


Love the Vive jersey!


Tuesday: planned rest day

Wednesday: short run where I got to test my new sunglasses


The sunglasses do look like they’re pink, but they’re actually white with red details.


Thursday: planned rest day

Friday: planned rest day

Saturday: quick shakeout run with some strides

Sunday: half marathon!


Weekly total:

Run: 18.9 miles


With the half marathon over and done with, I can start to focus more on swimming and biking in preparation for Raleigh 70.3. There’s still hills to be run though – I’ve got the Altamont Mountain Goat relay (up and down Paris Mountain) coming up in April!

Is anyone else glad that spring seems to finally be here? Great weather for training outside!


Friday Five – A Day in the Life

Another crazy week is almost over! This week’s craziness didn’t leave me with much time to blog, but I’m taking some time to join Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for another great Friday Five. This week’s topic is “a day in the life.” With some finagling, I can fit my day’s events into five sections to make it a true #FridayFive.

1. Morning Events

I wake up sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 depending on what needs to be done. If there’s a morning workout on the schedule, I wake up at 5:00 for sure. Whether or not there’s a workout on tap for the morning, I start every day with at least two cups of coffee.

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I always drink my coffee from my favorite Fiestaware mug.

I also take care of the cats, who demand to be fed.

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After getting myself ready and making sure I’ve got all the supplies I need for work and my afternoon workouts, I mix up a Vive! shake and hit the road for my commute to Spartanburg.

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I drink a Vive! shake every morning.

2. Morning Classes

I teach ballet classes 6 mornings a week. Two days, I’m at an elementary school where all of the 3rd and 4th graders get to take a dance class each week. I spend two other mornings at a college, where students can take a dance class to meet their physical education requirement. Another morning I teach adult ballet students (a mix of beginners and adults who have danced their whole lives), and on Saturdays, I teach the advanced teens at Ballet Spartanburg.

3. Afternoon Workout

I typically have a few hours between my morning and afternoon classes, so I go to the Y and workout. Some days I swim; some days I run; some days I do both; and some days I just hit the hot tub.

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Finishing up a swim at the Y.



There are some great places to run in the neighborhoods around the Y, so I try to run outside as much as possible.

4. Afternoon/Evening Classes

After getting cleaned up and hitting a coffee shop for a much needed dose of caffeine, I teach my afternoon/evening classes at Ballet Spartanburg. Typically, I have classes Monday through Thursday afternoons, but this month I’m teaching on Fridays also to makeup classes that were cancelled because of snow.

5. Back Home

Depending on the day of the week, I get home between 7 and 8:30. Time for some dinner, quality time with my cat, and some bourbon!


Such a cutie!

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So, that’s a typical day in the life of Liz! Tomorrow I’m off to Asheville for the half marathon. Fingers crossed for a PR!





Friday Five – 5 Favorite Things!

This week was crazy! With all of the snow days we had in the previous weeks, it was EXHAUSTING getting back to a regular teaching schedule. Plus, all those classes that got cancelled have to be made up, so I’m teaching extra classes every Friday for the next month and some classes will run longer for the next several weeks to make up the time. And there’s been some drama going on at work, and it’s hard not to get stressed about some of the changes that are happening.

Anywho… I’m finally finding time to join Cynthia, Courtney, and Mar for another fabulous Friday Five. This week’s topic is “Friday Favorites.” Great choice since it gives me the chance to focus on positive things!


weather love

Sunny and warm. Finally!

Look at that lovely weather we’re supposed to have this weekend! I’m so excited to be able to ride and run outside on both days.


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My favorite snack!

A while back I posted a review of Vive! Shake. At the time, I loved it, and I love it even more now! Every day, I have a shake for my morning snack. It keeps me fueled and feeling great for my teaching and training. I love to experiment with different ingredients: chocolate with blueberries, chocolate with bananas and peanut butter, energy spice with pumpkin and greens, etc.


team vive

I’ve also had a chance to meet and go for a bike ride with Wally Bishop, the genius who developed Vive. He’s created a team to do this year’s A Ride to Remember to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. My dad and I have both joined Team Vive and will be riding 252 miles across South Carolina in July! There’s some great people on this team, and I’m looking forward to spending many hours on the bike with them.


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Toe socks!

I have read so much about Injinji’s toe socks, and I just had to give them a try! The ones in the photo are a pair of women’s specific running socks. I wore them on my tempo run this week and fell in love!


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No, I’m not going to talk about why I love everything in this picture. I do want to give a special shout out to the Shot Bloks though. I spent all of last racing season fueling with Gu, and I’m now a Shot Blok gal. The black cherry flavor is amazing, and it’s got a bit of caffeine in it for some extra energy. The Shot Bloks are much less messy than the GUs, especially on the bike! If only someone had developed a Shot Blok dispenser, kind of like a Pez dispenser for grownups…

What are you loving right now?


Week 9 Training Update – Time to Start Tapering!

I can’t believe I’ll be running my second half marathon in less than 2 weeks! And Raleigh 70.3 is only 3 months away! The days and weeks just seem to be passing so quickly; it seems like only yesterday that I started this training cycle. My training went pretty well this past week, and I’m looking forward to continuing this trend the next couple of weeks.


I got the week started off with an early morning trainer ride, an easy hour before going to teach. During my lunch break, I went to the Y for a swim. Unfortunately, I found out that a freezing cold pool + a pair of leaky goggles = a craptastic swim. I cut the swim short at just 450 yards…


I had the day off Tuesday because of snow. That let me get my trainer ride – 5 x 5 minute long hill repeats – done at a more civilized hour.


The roads were clear on Wednesday morning, so I went to Spartanburg to teach. Because a big storm was scheduled to come in later that afternoon, I really wanted to get in a good swim. I did 2000 yards. No leaky goggles this time!


That big snow storm we were supposed to get kind of fizzled, so the roads were clear by the afternoon. I did, however, go for a walk in the morning to take in some snowy sights.


Since schools were closed, I took the opportunity to get in my long run. I chose to do laps at ICAR so I’d have some hills to tackle over the course of my 12 mile run. It wasn’t the best run I’ve ever had, but I did learn a lot.

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Supplies for my long run.



Rest day!


Saturday evening was the first official Team Vive meeting in preparation for A Ride to Remember. It was so great to meet many of the people I’ll be riding 252 miles across the state with! Because I needed to prepare something to take to the potluck dinner, I didn’t have a lot of time for a workout, but I did get a short run done.


Sunday’s workout was a great mental and physical challenge: 2 hours and 45 minutes on the trainer! I was worried about getting bored – even though I had tons of 24 episodes to watch – so I created a workout I called the “Anti-Boredom Long Ride.” After a 10-minute warm up, I moved on to the main set: 5 minutes of focus on cadence, 15 minutes in Zone 2, 5 minutes in Zone 3, and 5 minutes easy spin. I did the main set 4 times and finished the workout with another 20 minutes in Zone 2 and a cool down.

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All set up for almost 3 hours on the trainer!


Weekly Totals:

Swim: 2450 yards

Bike: 80.9 miles (wow!)

Run: 14 miles

Total training time: 8:21

How’s your training going? Any big races coming up?


5 Things I Learned on my Long Run

Once again it’s time for Friday Five, hosted by the D.C. Trifecta – Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia. This week’s topic is “Free Friday,” so I thought I’d talk about five things I learned on my long run yesterday. David – if you’re reading this, you might want to stop (there’s a picture of my foot).

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Supplies for my long run.


This was my last long run of this training cycle, a 12-miler in preparation for my half marathon at Biltmore Estate on March 15. If you’ve never run a race, you might not realize that these long runs aren’t just for training your body. They’re for training the mind and for testing out race-day nutrition and hydration. If you pay attention to your body and mind, you can learn a lot during these long runs. Here’s some of what I learned:

1. I suck at math, even of the simplest type.

I recently switched my nutrition from GUs to Shot Bloks. I used to have a GU – that’s about 100 calories – every 3 miles. So, yesterday I thought I’d have a Shot Blok every 2 miles. Once I got to mile 7, I started getting pretty tired. It took me a while to figure out that 1) if I’d been using GUs, I would have had 200 calories by mile 6 and 2) with the Shot Bloks, I had only had 100 calories at mile 6. Once I figured this out (at about mile 9), I started eating a few extra Shot Bloks and got through the run. Luckily, I had brought an extra pack of Shot Bloks just in case. Glad I figured this out in a training run and not during a race!

2. Electrolytes are important even in the winter.

You’ll notice in the photo above that I brought along my handheld water bottle. It holds enough fluid to get me through about 6 miles, and I could easily fill it up at Whole Foods at the halfway point of my run. Leg cramps at mile 9 and an intense craving for pretzels clued me in that maybe I needed some electrolytes. Next time, I’ll throw some of my favorite NUUN into my water bottle!

3. Wearing newish shoes on a long run is about as good an idea as wearing them for a race.

Because of the recent snow fall, I wasn’t really sure about what type of surface I’d be running on. So, I wore my new trail shoes that I’d only worn once. Needless to say, my black toenail got a little bit blacker…

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4. There is some sketchy stuff going on at ICAR during the day. We’re talking Mustangs revving their engines and racing around, cars pulled up window to window for what looked like drug deals. All sorts of stuff. I just kept my head down and kept running…

5. An active imagination will help keep you from getting bored during a long run.

I don’t like to run with music for safety reasons and also because you can’t use it during a triathlon. Yesterday, I kept my mind occupied by coming up with phrases to chant in time with my steps: “I am strong” for when I was breathing every three steps and “hills sucks” for when I was breathing every two steps. When I saw the supposed drug deal going down, I imagined running for safety through the woods, thankful that I had my trail shoes on.

Do you have any long runs coming up? What are some of the things you’ve learned from your long runs?


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SwimSpray Review

A few weeks ago, I was researching something, anything that would help me take care of the chlorine problem in my hair. Swimming a couple of times a week in a chlorine pool had made my hair kind of icky. There was this persistent film that no amount of shampooing could get rid of.

My chlorine problems went deeper than just the residue on my hair. I normally swim on my lunch break, and I would show up to teach my afternoon classes smelling like a pool. I would also spend all evening scratching my dry, chlorine-irritated skin.

If you’re a swimmer or triathlete who swims in a chlorine pool, you definitely know about all of these problems! As I was doing my research, I came across a lot of different shampoos and conditioners designed to get rid of chlorine. I also saw a unique product called SwimSpray, and I was lucky enough to get the chance to try out this product and write up my SwimSpray review.


SwimSpray is really easy to use. Basically, after you’re done with your workout, rinse your hair and skin in the shower. Then, spray the SwimSpray on your hair and skin. The instructions recommend using 20-30 sprays. You can then use your normal shampoo/conditioner and soap.

The first time I used SwimSpray, I immediately noticed a difference in how my shampoo worked. Without SwimSpray, I would have to use a TON of shampoo to get it to lather properly. Now, I can use a normal amount of shampoo!

According to the company’s website, SwimSpray uses Vitamin C technology to break the bond between the chlorine and your hair and skin. I don’t know exactly how it works; I just now that this spray does exactly what it says it will do!


1. Works effectively.

2. No smell – either from the chlorine or from the product.

3. Tucks easily into your swim bag.

4. Reasonable price – especially since you’ll be able to use less of your post-swim shampoo.

5. It’s 100% natural and sulfate free!

6. It’s safe and gentle. If you have kids who swim, they can use the SwimSpray as well!



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No more chlorine film! If only I could get rid of my goggle marks!


*Disclaimer: SwimSpray graciously provided me with a sample of this product in exchange for my honest review of the product.

What’s your favorite post-swim product?

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Back on Track! – Week 7 Training Update

Last week was a pretty good week of training for the Asheville Half Marathon, the Altamont Mountain Goat Relay, and Raleigh 70.3. I got in a good bit of training time and some high-quality workouts, despite some less-than-ideal weather.


Monday morning, I didn’t have to teach because of President’s Day, and my afternoon classes were cancelled due to the weather. I took advantage of that break by doing an easy spin on the trainer and getting in some time at the pool.


On Tuesday morning, I woke up to this sight:


That’s right – that’s ice on the trees and ground! In the South, that basically means that everything shuts down until the ice melts. I took advantage of another day of no teaching by doing a trainer workout – 12 hill 1-minute hill climbs plus some zone 2 work.


All that ice was still there! And it was cold! I waited until the mid afternoon for things to warm up a bit before I headed out for my run. I got through about 2.5 miles before my hands and ears started feeling too uncomfortable for me to continue.


The cold weather certainly didn’t deter the geese at the lake!



Finally, the roads were clear enough to go back to work! On my break between morning and afternoon classes, I went to the Y to do a swim time trial.

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Yep – I was glad when that was done!



Planned rest day. After teaching my morning classes, I went back home for lunch and a nap. That night, my parents and I went back to Spartanburg to see Ballet Spartanburg’s DANSYNERGY. What an amazing production!


It was still pretty cold on Saturday, but I decided to run outside anyway. I haven’t run on the treadmill all year, and I kind of want to keep it that way. I did a 7 mile run, with 1 mile warm up, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile easy, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cool down.


On Sunday morning, the weather looked fairly okay (despite some significant fog), so I decided to go to Paris Mountain for my run.


Good thing I wore my reflective calf sleeves! Visibility wasn’t so good on the mountain!


If you missed my post about my upcoming races, you might not know that in April, I’m doing the Mountain Goat Relay at Paris Mountain. Each member of my team will have to run up and down Paris Mountain. After last week’s less-than-stellar performance running up a short part of Paris Mountain, I decided it was high time I got in some hillier runs!

I’m happy to report that I made it all the way up the mountain (3.5 miles) without taking any walk breaks! I did stop at the top to take pictures before running back down to my car.


At the top! Even though my glasses were foggy, I could see the “You Made It!” written in the middle of the road.


Later that afternoon, I did an easy spin on the trainer to loosen up my legs a little bit.


Weekly Totals:

Swim: 2 workouts, 2800 yards

Bike: 3 workouts, 45 miles

Run: 3 workouts, 16.9 miles

Total training time: 6:55

Up next: my last big week of training before the Asheville Half Marathon. After that, it’s taper time!

How’s your training going? Are you managing to stay active despite the winter weather?



5 Amazing Races I’m Doing in 2015

Ok, so I’m running a bit behind and am just now getting to my Friday Five post. This week’s topic, brought to the blogosphere by Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar, is “5 Races to Run in 2015.” Since I’m planning on doing 15 races/events in 2015, let me tell you about some of the bigger races I have on my schedule.




This race – where I’ll be doing the half marathon – is coming up in just three weeks (March 15). It’s been sold out for a while, so I’m really glad I registered when I did! It’s supposed to be a great event. Running through Biltmore Estate has got to be beautiful!




Then, on April 12, I’m joining three other crazy people for the Mountain Goat Relay. Each of us has to run up and down Paris Mountain (about 6.5 miles). This is going to be tough! I see lots of hill training in my future. Be prepared for lots of sweaty selfies of me looking something like this:


Hills make me feel like this!





In May, I’m heading back to North Carolina to do Raleigh 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run). This will be my first half Ironman, and I’m really looking forward to this event!


ride to remember

While this is not technically a race, it’s an event that I’m honored to participate in. From July 17-19, I’ll be doing a 252-mile bike ride across the state of South Carolina, raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association. I’m doing A Ride to Remember in memory of my Granddaddy. If you’d like to support this wonderful organization, you can go to my fundraising page here.




Number 5 is not official yet, but I’m 95% sure I’ll be doing the Marine Corps Marathon. I’ve heard so many good things about this marathon, and it’s been highly recommended as a great race for a first time marathoner like myself. If I decide to do the event, I won’t be going through the lottery (for those unfamiliar with this event, it sells out REALLY fast so you have to go through a lottery to get an entry). I’ll be doing it as part of a team to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund.

So that’s five races/events I’m excited about for 2015. What do you have on your race schedule?