two spoons, one oven mitt, and a door

It doesn’t matter what you buy your kids to play with – most of the time, they are more interested in your kitchen gadgets (as demonstrated by the following video of my son and I this evening – rated G, I promise).


I’m sitting outside and it’s 7 pm. It’s warmer right now than it’s been all day…today was cold and breezy, but now it’s decided to get pretty. The robins are out in full force filling up their bellies with earthworms (I called them “wormsicles” the other day because it was so cold…witty, eh?). I love to hear the birds.

We took our son to his first Easter egg hunt today. It was a public affair where the folks dropped about 500 eggs onto the baseball field, then let the 1-3 year old kids pick them up. There were so many kids that the eggs were gone in probably 5 minutes. I think our son got 4 or 5, but it was fun and cute. He would pick up and egg, yell, and throw it in his bucket. He also met the Easter bunny, and he seemed to like her.

Here are some shots I captured lately of our deer friends, robins, and more.


Our deer friends


March sunset


More deer friends


One of our robins…if you look closely, you will see the snow that was falling that day.


My son playing with the gate. Even though it’s cold, we’ve still been playing outside a lot.


triathlon faqs

I was supposed to have a triathlon seminar for interested folks last night where I work, but only one person showed up. But, that’s ok! This lady had hiked the ENTIRE Appalachian Trail a few years ago, so she and I shared our experiences (my triathlons and her hiking).

Since I went through all the trouble of coming up with notes, I thought I would share them here. Enjoy!

Q: What is a triathlon?

A: Wikipedia defines it as “A triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines.” Most of the time, a triathlon consists of three legs: Swimming, Biking, and Running. There are triathlons that consist of some type of boating in place of the swimming.

Q: In what order are the events completed?

A: Swimming comes first, followed by biking, and the run is last. Sometimes, you swim in an open water area (like a lake or ocean), but some races hold the swim event in a pool. Biking and running can be on the road or on a trail.

Q: How long is each leg of the event?

A: The most common triathlon distance for beginners is the “Sprint” distance. It normally consists of a ½ mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run (5K). The Olympic distance triathlon is double those distances in each leg. An Ironman race is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run (yikes!!!).

Q: Where do you change your clothes between each leg of the event?

A: Most of the time, you don’t really change clothes. Most folks where a one piece triathlon suit for all three events. Or, you can wear your swim suit and then add more clothes after you get out of the water. When you start biking, you’re wet, but you dry off relatively quickly (until you start sweating!).

Q: What is the “transition area”?

A: That’s the area where you transition between each event. Once you leave the water, you go to your bike that is set up and ready for riding. Before the race, you are allowed to enter the transition area and set up your bike and running gear.

Q: Is it expensive?

A: Participating in triathlons can be expensive if you let it, but you can keep it economical if you choose. For my first race, I borrowed my dad’s mountain bike. It was harder than having my own road bike, but I wanted to make sure I liked the sport before investing in a bike of my own. Besides a bike, all you really need are shoes, goggles, and a swim suit. You can borrow a wet suit or wait until warmer weather so you don’t need to wear a suit at all.

The entry fees can be expensive, but normally the earlier you register, the cheaper they are. You can normally race for as low as $50 per event, but if you wait till the last minute, you could pay $80 or more.

You can get a membership to the USAT (USA Triathlon) for around $35 per year, but normally I just pay the $10 race day fee if I only plan to do one or two events each year. The yearly membership includes things like a magazine subscription, but I’ve never signed up. 

Q: How do I train for a race?

A: Practice each sport – swimming, biking and running. I have some sample training plans in this packet to help you out. I’ve realized that being a competitive triathlete keeps me fit because I have events to train for. If you haven’t been active before, start slow and work your way up. Consult your physician before starting any exercise plan if you’ve been sedentary (not exercising). 

Q: What is a “brick”?

A: A brick is when you run after biking during a training session. It’s called that because your feet feel like bricks weighing your legs down! However, after you get into running, your legs feel better. The first quarter mile or so is hard after you’ve ridden your bike for a while, but you can do it!

Q: What is a “wave”?

A: The swimming is started in waves of people grouped normally by gender and/or category. Most of the time, the young males go first because they are the fastest. Then, a few minutes later, another wave starts. Sometimes, there are 4 to 5 waves of swimmers. This keeps everyone from getting jammed up in the turns and is easier for the lifeguarding folks to make sure no one goes under unnoticed. If it’s a pool swim, then normally folks start one at a time.

Q: What’s a typical race day like?

A: I normally get up early (probably 5 or 6 am) so I can get to the race site at least an hour early. Even though I’m going to be jumping in the lake, I normally take a shower to wake myself up. Once I get to the race site, I go pick up my packet (if I didn’t the day before), get my body markings, and set up my transition area. After that’s all set, I always warm up by jogging or swimming a bit. Then, I get ready and race!

Q: What are body markings?

A: Before the race, you have to take your race number that is assigned to you and let folks take permanent markers and mark you up with your number. This makes sure that you clear all check points and it also ensures that someone doesn’t steal your bike when you remove it from the transition area (only the biker with the corresponding number is supposed to remove the bike after the race). Normally, I wear my markings until they naturally fade (sometimes a week, even with reguarl showering)…it’s kind of neat when people ask you why you have numbers on your legs and arms. Most of the time, your age is marked on your calf and your race number is on your thighs and arms. BUT, if you want to make it come off faster, rubbing alcohol takes it right off. 

Q: Why did you become a triathlete?

A: My friend asked me to do a triathlon with her back in 2004. I told her she was crazy! She convinced me that I could do it, even though I didn’t know how to properly swim. So, I practiced and trained for a few months. My first race was the Smith Mountain Lake sprint the first weekend in May. It took me almost 2 hours to complete and it was hard, but after that, I was hooked! My friend never did another triathlon again (ironic, huh?).

Q: What races have you participated in?

A: I can’t remember the years for each event, but these are the races I remember competing in:

  • SmithMountainLake Sprint – I’ve done it 4 or 5 years. It’s a great race, but the water is cold (the lake is about 60 degrees). I recommend a wetsuit if you plan to do this race (normally the first weekend in May).
  • Bath County/Lake MooMaw Sprint – I did it once and really liked it. The water is warmer since it’s in late June. I plan to do that race again this year on June 22.
  • SheRox Sprint – This was an all women event held in Charlotte, NC. I liked it a lot, but I don’t think they’ve held it again.
  • Boone, NC – I did a sprint triathlon there one year and liked it. It was a longer swim, and I think the bike was 20 miles, with a 5 mile run. It was hard, but it was beautiful country. The first and only time I’ve ever been chased by dogs in a race!
  • Claytor Lake Sprint – I did this race last September and really liked it. Plus, it’s local so you don’t have to stay the night anywhere the night before.


about time to “tri”

I’m going to be presenting a seminar on Becoming a Triathlete next Tuesday (if anyone shows up). I had my sister forward me the photos she took of my last triathlon back in September, and as I was flipping through them, I noticed I actually had some muscle tone in one of them. Now, I look nothing like Dara Torres, but I’m pretty happy with my physique, especially having had a baby last year.

I'm not Dara Torres...

I’m not Dara Torres…

Anyway, it’s more than how you look. I’m just happy that I take my health seriously. I eat better than probably most Americans and I do exercise at least 3 times a week. I’m studying to become a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), so I can share my passion with others.

Most of all, I’m glad I’m showing my son the importance of good health, while having fun. So far, his dad and I are very active with him and encourage him to play and not be a couch potato (at the mere age of 1, that’s not too hard). We try to get him outside to play as much as possible, and a lot of our relatives do the same. My husband plays flag football and basketball, so I believe it will help foster my son’s athleticism.

Anyhoo, my point of this post is to encourage you to be the most healthful YOU that you can be. Even if that means just trying to eat one more vegetable or fruit a day…or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps and it can really add up to a life changing experience.

Holding my son while walking beside my dad after the Claytor Lake Triathlon in September. You can see my calf muscles (and yes, I have a shoulder tattoo - swim, bike, run).

Holding my son while walking beside my dad after the Claytor Lake Triathlon in September. You can see my calf muscles (and yes, I have a shoulder tattoo – swim, bike, run).

cake is my favorite food

Yeah, I know I should say something adult like, “Vegetables are my favorite food” but I cannot tell a lie. I love cake. My birthday was last week and my mom got me a small cake from WalMart. Darn, that thing was good! I ate almost the whole thing by myself!

Last night on the phone, my sister told me she went to some cupcake shop in Nashville this weekend where they sell their cupcakes for $3 a piece. She said the icing was very good and we’d have to go by and get a cupcake when I come to visit her.

Then, this morning, I found this cake in People magazine. This sucker runs $100 from Williams Sonoma! It’s so pretty, though. I’m not going to buy it, but it’s inspired me to try to make something similar for Easter. If I follow through, I’ll post a picture of my creation. 🙂

peep frogs are here!

I was outside with my son yesterday when I heard them – the peep frogs are finally out, singing their glorious spring tunes! Their music has to be one of the best sounds to my ears. Not only do they let you know spring is almost here, but it’s just soothing in some way. When my husband got home, I told him I heard them, and he didn’t believe me. So, I opened the window and made him listen.

While my son and I were playing in the yard yesterday, I also noticed that the trees are just about to pop out in new buds. I’m very excited! I love spring and summer, so I’m ready to see some green.

Someone else loves peepers just like I do. They even felt inspired to write a poem about them…


Massive legions claim the night,
from dusk till dawn till morning light.
Outside my door and weathered walls,
the summoned roar and trumpet calls
of creatures’ spawn to grow one inch,
yet blast love calls that make us flinch.
Before I die and meet the Reaper,
grant me the chance to spot one Peeper.


the controversial commercial

I had a lengthy conversation last night with my sister and her boyfriend about a commercial that recently aired for Amazon’s Kindle. It’s the one where, at the end of the commercial, the man reveals that he’s married to another man. Oh, how subtle but stark (if that makes any sense).

The boyfriend recommended that since the name of my blog is “Because Nice Matters” I should blog about the internal controversy I had over whether or not to blog about the commercial and my feelings about it. I think in a way he is right. I’m not going to sit here and condemn people one way or the other, but I have to tell you what I did, because of the way I believe.

I wrote a letter to Amazon – hand written on notebook paper. I asked them to cancel my accounts and reconsider taking that commercial off the air. I nicely let them know that I don’t agree with their marketing and that I will not be purchasing from or supporting their company as long as they are promoting homosexuality. I also gave up my beloved Kindle – it was given to me, so I gave it back to the person who gave it to me.

Call me crazy – that’s ok. I only have One that I must answer to for my actions (ultimately). I’m not a hater of anyone – I love all people. I really do. But, if you don’t make a stand for what you believe is right, then you’ll be pushed around in everything.