Tag Archives: running

Naperville Esprit de She Sprint Triathlon 2014

22 Jun

On Sunday, June 8, I completed my first triathlon of the season. It was an all-women triathlon, which I preferred last year to the co-ed (Lake Geneva) version, so I was really pumped. Plus, because I competed in an Esprit de She event last year (their inaugural year), I was supposed to get special perks (spoiler alert: BUST).

The weather had been iffy in Chicago and I was worried about air/water temps. One blogger I read, Kelly the Culinarian, had done a practice swim in the pool we were going to use and advised me that sans-wetsuit would be OK. She was totally right, the water was 76 degrees and perfect.

The morning of the race I woke up at 4:45 and the air temperature was 55 degrees when I headed to Naperville. The transition area closed at 6:45 am and my wave wouldn’t begin until 8:15 am which meant a lot of waiting around.

The race went perfectly. I have no regrets about the amount I trained or prepared. My swim started off a bit rough because I was at the back of my wave and probably didn’t deserve to be. It’s funny how you wait what feels like forever (almost two hours) to start and when it’s your time you feel rushed! I didn’t even put my goggles on my face until about ten seconds before starting. What the heck was I doing the rest of the time? Anyway, I got a lot of feet in my face and didn’t feel free to swim comfortably until about one third into the course.

My transition one (T1) time was long. I saw my mom and was kind of chatting with her while I transitioned to bike. My biggest complaint about the race was the way they had set up the transition areas. The run out and bike in were at the same spot so those of us in later waves (read: younger) had to run with the bike longer than the others. I know it’s not a big deal, but for some reason it really bothered me. Probably because it’s uncomfortable running when you’re exhausted and dragging a bike on your side.


The bike ride was great – it was actually my best leg. It was two laps and there was a strong head wind on the second half of each lap which made for some cold riding but the tail wind side was so great and I could hit up to 21 mph. I did see one wipe out because there were sharp turns and lots of lost water bottles.

Like I said I wasn’t thrilled about the way transitions were set up. Running with the bike is difficult. Nothing noteworthy during T2 other than I found my sunglasses in my cycling shoes (I thought I had left them at home). I wore a hat for the first time – mostly so my parents could see me – that I had won from my friend and former classmate Erin’s blog. Thanks, Headsweats!


The run was OK. There was little crowd cheering and it felt kind of lonely. I don’t know if I’ll ever master the jelly-legs feeling you get off of the bike that makes you feel like you are crawling when you’re trucking along at a regular run pace. No hills or surprises so that was a win for me!

My parents came out to support me and take photos and I really appreciated it. There was a fun “lifestyle market” at the end of the race that really wasn’t any different than other races I’ve finished. There was a VIP “founding finishers” tent for those of us that races with Esprit de She last year but it wasn’t very exciting. They didn’t offer anything exclusive other than private port-o-potties and sparkling grape juice.

Like I said – great weather and a great race. No regrets. Plus my mom and I picked up Portillos on the way home – WIN!


Swim (1/2 mile): 15:27

T1: 4:23

Bike (14 mile): 49:17 (avg 16 mph)

T2: 3:19

Run (5k): 33:17 (10:43/mi)

Total: 1:45:41


Nashville St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon

18 Jun

It has been a hot minute since I’ve posted on Gerbs’ Blurbs. Thanks for following along. I’ve been traveling and racing and adventuring so I’ve got lots to share the next couple of days to catch up my loyal reader(s).

The last Friday in April my friends Jamie, Jenny, Kayla, Mandy, Pam and I (yes, that’s 6!!) loaded up Jamie’s dad’s car in Bartlett, Illinois, and headed south to Nashville. We had a smooth ride full of fun chats and laughs and arrived in Tennessee around 4:00 pm. We made our way to the expo to pick up our packets and gear and check out the vendors. I bought a pair of special Nashville Rock ‘N Roll marathon/half marathon socks, a 13.1 magnet for my car, and a cool new phone holder for runs. I didn’t end up using it in the race but it’s cool for training.

After the expo we were starving and because we were staying in an AirBnB condo we had the opportunity to cook our own carb-loading meal. We went to a local grocery store and picked up ingredients for spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad and had a great time cooking and dining. We turned in relatively early because we had a 5:00 wake up call for the run.

We were lucky in the sense that our condo was within three minutes walk from the start. Because we took advantage of the location and factored in our later wave start we almost missed the gear check which closed at 7:00 am. We crossed the start line around 7:40.

Our group of six stuck together for less than a mile before we paced and spaced ourselves out. It felt like we got a quick start but I found that even at the first mile we were pacing around 11:00 miles, slower than how I had trained. We had been warned that the Nashville course was full of hills but could not have possibly prepared for what we were about to face for thirteen miles.

I think the hills were the number one thing that contributed to a 2:31 finish. I had finished 11 miles under two hours while training so I didn’t expect to exceed my goal finish time by almost two minutes. The hills were brutal, though. I tried to power through them but every climb got harder and harder. I walked up most of them and it really messed with my mental plan for the race.


My favorite parts of the race were reading the signs and interacting with the crowd. Kayla and I wore matching, crazy pants so we got a lot of cheers (when we ran together). We saw people passing out shots, beers, Jolly Ranchers (which I loved!), salt packets (gross?), pretzels, orange slices (yum), and Krispy Kremes. We actually saw a lot of Krispy Kremes.

The weather for the race was near-perfect although the sun got hot. I was grateful to have sunglasses. Because this race was a Rock ‘N Roll-branded marathon there was supposed to be music at every mile but I’m not sure there was. Our entire group chose to run without music (opposite of how I trained) and I sort of regret that decision. Yes, I liked hearing the bands as we ran by but unfortunately most of the time they were inbetween sets for the 20-30 seconds we were within ear shot.

Overall, the race was really fun. It was very challenging and exhausting. We all struggled to have energy and move around the rest of the day/night as well as the next day, but we were all proud and accomplished.

When I was checking my official race time on the Rock ‘N Roll site I realized the craziest thing – there was another woman with my exact same name that finished within 120 seconds of me. She’s from New York, I doubt we’ll ever be reconnected, but how funny is that? What are the freakin’ odds?


The next day we celebrated with my favorite Nashville stop – Monell’s. If you’re traveling to Nashville it’s a must-do. There are five tables that seat twelve people and everyone (whether you know the people at your table or not) is served family-style and passes the food left. There is more food than you’ll know what to do with but it’s all delicious and reasonably priced. Brunch was no exception.

After brunch we walked around and looked for antique stores and thrift shops. We found a few good places and I picked up a cute dress and headband. Some of the girls got old blue prints of airplanes that will make great decorations.

Sunday night we had downtown Nashville to ourselves! Most people headed back home after the race Sunday but we had planned to enjoy the day and head back Monday. We lucked out because the very crowded bars and long lines from the day before were non-existent. It’s interesting to me how popular of a destination Nashville is becoming. What (I think) was once a southern city for country music lovers is becoming the hot spot for girls’ trips, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and road trip destinations.


Where should our next girls’ trip half marathon be? We’re thinking Savannah, Georgia.

Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie Triathlon Recap

13 Aug

After the bike that broke my heart I went to the John Mayer concert on Friday night and drove up to Pleasant Prarie, Wisconsin, on Saturday!

We met at her parents’ house in Elk Grove and added her bike to my sturdy bike rack and made it about 15 miles before we saw those bikes sliding around so we pulled over and readjusted. After the adjustment we were good to go and didn’t have a single problem with the bikes! We stopped at another Craigslist house which listed a Trek 1000 for sale on their garage sale ad but it was a 50cm bike and too small for me.

After that we made it to the Rec Plex which is where the race was hosted. We were able to pick up our packets, get our bikes looked at (they filled my tires and oiled my chain!), and check our bike into our transition area (read: claim a sweet spot!!). They also had some fun vendors we shopped around at until the course talk where they went through the rules, course details, and Q&A. After that was over we headed to the hotel and made sure we had all of our equipment/clothing/supplies before we went outlet mall and Target shopping!

Before the shopping adventure began we carb-loaded at Olive Garden. I downed three bread sticks and barely touched my pasta so it’s safe to say I was carbed-up. After that we headed to the outlet mall and I was strangely disappointed. The Pleasant Prarie outlet mall is one of my favorites because I usually find great deals but I firmly believe that outlet malls are becoming way too saturated lately and now all the stores are making clothes/products just for the sake of saying they’re outlet prices. I bought some refurbished Sony headphones and a cute Bath & Body Works air freshener and Jamie got a sweet North Face jacket (true outlet price, I think) and then we made our way to Target for some Gatorade, hair ties, and other last minute purchases.

Our First Triathlon (before)

Our First Triathlon (before)

By the time we got back to the hotel, laid out all of our stuff and formulated our plan, it was nearly 11:00 and let’s be honest, that’s past my bed time on a normal night, let alone a night that we have to be up at 4:00 am. I had a hard time sleeping because I was so anxious, nervous, and excited. When we woke up at 4:00 I was actually rockin’ and ready to go!

We got to the Rec Plex at 5:00, got body-marked and set up our transition area right away. We pretty much finished getting ready by 5:20 and had more than an hour until the transition area closed and more than two hours until we actually started the race! Plus, it was 62 degrees, so we were freezing.

The cool air + warm water on the lake

The cool air + warm water on the lake

When the transition area closed at 6:30 we made our way to the beach barefoot and with one shirt for warmth that we left in the sand. The grass and pavement were so cold on our feet that we rushed to the lake shore and thawed out in the 76 degree water.

Over an hour later it was finally time to get in the water and start the race! I want to cover what I wore and what I’d do differently for each leg of the race. So here we go:

Start/swim: I wore my one-piece Nike suit, an extra sports bra, and long spandex shorts underneath. This was perfect for my swim. Plus, I got new Aquasphere goggles last week and they were awesome. They fogged up a bit, but the suction/seal was great.

T1 Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie

T1 Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie

Next time: hit start on my Garmin! I forgot to time this leg but really it was fine because it’s nearly impossible to look at your wrist while swimming. Try it. Also – get some anti-fogging stuff. I think my SCUBA teacher said toothpaste works – I will try.

T1: I kind of took my time and made sure I had everything, but everything went smoothly. I didn’t even use water to wash off my feet (we didn’t really need to) but getting on my socks was hard. I am going to research how to do that better.

Bike: Everything went smoothly on the bike! I swapped my swim cap and goggles for helmets and sunglasses but rode in my swimsuit and shorts. I DID forget to reset the odometer-thingy before the race and it’s kind of complicated to reset so I used my Garmin for time/distance and it worked fine. I was able to drink plenty of water and catch my breath on this leg and it went great. I just plan on having a better bike next time!

T2: I had been debating whether or not to switch into dry shorts for the run but I didn’t and it worked out great!

Run: Threw on my pre-pinned bib (Miami) shirt and ran off on my jello legs. Wouldn’t have done anything different here, either.

Finishing the Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie

Finishing the Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie

So how’d I do?


Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie Race Results

Iron Girl Pleasant Prarie Race Results

We did it!

We did it!

Originally my goal was to finish under two hours and I crushed that and finished in 1:37.

The race was so fun, so empowering, and so addicting! Now I’m pumped about finding more fun races. And a new bike!

Our First Triathlon (after)

Our First Triathlon (after)