She’s BAAAAAACK!

Hey all! Well I took a little bit of an unforeseen hiatus from the ol’ #bloglife there for a bit. The truth is: that dang triathlon really took it out of me. After that Cry-athlon bit, I decided to nose to the grindstone and do the damn thing.

Running the race, I was a ball of nerves and jitters. I had been preparing for months to do it so I knew that my body could handle the race, but as everyone says “you never know what will happen on race day…”

With my Coach Doug

With my Coach Doug

Luckily for me, the weather dropped 30 degrees on the morning of the race, leaving us with an overcast and breezy clime–quite similar to that of San Francisco! How ever as soon as we got out of the gate and onto the swim course, the winds picked up and the waves came crashing over my head. I have never fought so hard for a swim. Each time as I turned my head to breathe, I choked on water and eventually I was forced into the backstroke. Around me I saw people getting seasick, crying and hanging on to the buoys for dear life. It was atrocious.

Words can’t describe how scary this swim was actually. But I think that everything happens for a reason. I think without having had my freak out, something bad may have happened to me in that water. But I didn’t panic and 50-minutes later I triumphantly made it to the shore.

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The rest of the race was a breeze, well I mean as much of a breeze that a 25-mile bike ride and a 6-mile run can be. It felt SO good to finish. I cried. I hugged. I called Moms. And then I basically slept for the next 6 days straight.

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Since then I’ve been nursing a slight foot injury and things are now feeling much better. While my life swung very intensely in the direction of the Tri, I’m now working towards reestablishing a sustainable balance.

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all who supported be through my journey. Training certainly wasn’t easy and I could NOT have done it with out my friends, family, coaches, teammates and of course, my sponsors who helped me EXCEED my goal of raising $2,900 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thank you! Merci! Gracias! Muito Obrigada!

So what’s next? Well. I couldn’t be more excited about that. This summer I have a FANTABULOUS event in store here in San Francisco. I don’t want to say that it’s going to be my best one yet, but really, that’s what we’re looking at. I’ll have details about that with a Save The Date later this week!

Sorry for the radio silence for a bit, but life happens and now I’m glad to be back!

A DIY Diva’s Guide to Beauty: recipes for beauty beverages

So much of our outside beauty relies on what we put inside it. When the work week is over and we’re jacked that the weekend’s come, we often forget to maintain our healthy lifestyle choices. Binging on cocktails and fried foods over the weekend can leave our skin looking lack-lustre and less than flawless.

To boost your outer beauty, I’ve designed a few tasty and effective beverages that will kick your skin back into shape.


Green

There’s nothing better for your skin than giving yourself a little green cleanse. This blended recipe will give you nearly 50% of your daily Vitamin A and C intake, which will stimulate cellular turnover to give you brighter looking skin.

For this drink you will need the following items:

- 2 large apples
- 1 cup of kale
- 1 cup of spinach
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup filtered water
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- A blender

For best results, give your ingredients a thorough cleaning. You don’t want to be sucking back any dirt!

Core your apples and slice them up. Feel free to leave the skin on because it will be blended into your drink.

Cut up the rest of your ingredients into manageable pieces then add them and your apple to the blender. Blend on high for 3-5 minutes; it depends on how smooth or pulpy you like your drinks.

Pour in a glass and enjoy the high fiber benefits that will kickstart your metabolism and rejuvenate your skin.

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Orange

Sometimes we need to give our body a little helping hand in absorbing nutrients. This next beverage will do just that.

Prepare the following items:

- 1 banana
- ¼ inch fresh ginger
- ½ cup mango
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup filtered water
- A blender

Peel your banana and ginger. Mince into small pieces before adding to the blender.

Cut up your mango and add it, along with the rest of your ingredients to the blender. Blend on high until it is nice and smooth.

The combination of ingredients in this smoothie are great for preventing future skin damage. On top of that, the high beta-carotene content gives your skin a natural, healthy glow.

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Yellow

Cut out you dehydrating cup of caffeine in the morning and replace it with this hydrating drink instead.

- 2 cups of hot water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 5 drops of Stevia concentrate
- Half of a freshly squeezed lemon

Bring your water to a boil then add the remaining ingredients. If you don’t need the sweetness of Stevia just omit this from your recipe.

This warm beverage will not only stimulate your senses and wake you up, but will soothe skin inflammation. This is especially great for those suffering from acne because the ingredients listed help rid your body of acne-causing toxins.

Each of these beauty beverages is simple to make and relatively cheap. A much healthier alternative to sugar filled cocktails and hangovers; promise!

About Sabrina:Sabrina is a lover of spontaneous adventure, surfing the net and of course, all things skincare and beauty. To green her skincare routine she likes to come up with cheeky and cheap DIY’s like How to Tighten Pores Naturally

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

My Cry-athlon at my Practice Triathlon…(and how my 10 year old sister saved the day!)

I can’t believe my first triathlon is just two weeks away!  Actually, I can absolutely believe that.  I’m in the midst of what is called “Peak Week” the period where our coaches push us to our fitness limits in preparation for the big race: swims top out at 2600 meters, runs include long hills, and three days a week we have two workouts each day.

It’s been tough, but the results are showing and I feel my body arriving at peak endurance condition.

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Me in my “Trisuit”—the one piece of glory in which I will swim, bike and run! (Not Alcatraz in the background…”

Which is why this past weekend, I was particularly excited to put it all to the test in our team’s Practice Triathlon!  Our coaches had arranged a day that would simulate the actual race as closely as possible.  We arrived at 7:45AM to set up our transition areas, clip our bibs to our jerseys and be “marked” by Sharpies with our age and race numbers on our arms and legs.

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My transition area: everything I need for the race including water, snacks and route maps.

Soon about 50 of us diving into the San Francisco Bay at the same time and racing towards the buoys.  Pretty immediately the familiar feeling of exhaustion that comes with fast-paced swimming crept into my arms and I slowed my pace to catch my breath.

“march of the penguins”…into the Bay

I'm somewhere in this melée.  Please note San Quentin in the background.  Apparently my team does well to swim in front of California's prisons.

I’m somewhere in this melée. Please note San Quentin in the background. Apparently my team does well to swim in front of California’s prisons.

The issue is, I never caught my breath.  My heart continued to race faster and faster, despite my slow pace and eventual transition into doing the backstroke.  My wetsuit grew tighter and more constricting.   I eventually started coughing uncontrollably.  My goggles filled with tears and in emptying them accidentally filled with Bay water.  My swim cap fell off.  I doggy paddled.  I tried to meditate.  I swam. I floated. I floundered. And I STILL couldn’t catch my breath.

 
 

It was an absolute disaster.

 
 

One of my coaches asked if I was okay from a nearby kayak and I shook my head no through a haze of tears and a fit of coughing.  I had somehow managed to finish the .7 mile swim course, but she towed me to shore.  Dazed and confused, I peeled off my wet suit, strapped on my bike shoes and headed out for a 18 mile ride followed by a 4-mile run on shaky legs and weakened lungs.  For me, it turned out to be the hardest run and ride of the season.

 

Me somewhere along the bike route

Me somewhere along the bike route


 

Crossing the mock finish line, I officially became a triathlete, but instead of joy I felt defeated and sad with a complete loss of confidence.

 

So I did what any normal girl would do: I called my parents crying. After reassuring conversations and pep talks from both,  my phone rang from the landline.  It was my 10-year old sister Skya.

 

I told her about how I had struggled in the water and how it was really scary to not be able to breath and how the rest of the triathlon was so hard—then asked what she thought.

 

Her words: “Well, Cass.  I think it all just caught up to you.  You’ve been working SO hard on this one thing and then you realized that this is ACTUALLY happening and you got nervous.  So what you need to do is stay positive and remember that you’re a good runner, a good biker, and a good swimmer.  You can do it!”

 

Verbatim.  From a 10-year old.

 

I’m glad I got this panic out-of-the-way before race day.  As Skya reminded me– after three months of training I AM a good swimmer, a good biker and a good runner.  I CAN DO THIS!

 

In a recent team “Mission Moment” I shared with them the story of my sister Keagan and dedicated my triathlon to her in honor of doing this event for those who can’t.  I’m going to share my dedication now to include our other sister Skya, whose positivity and encouragement will help me get across the finish line.

 

Cass, Keagan and Skya!

Cass, Keagan and Skya!

Any words of wisdom, advice or encouragement are very welcome as I head into this last phase!  I can’t wait to share my Wildflower experience with you soon!!

A Diva’s Guide to DIY Beauty: Gluten Free Skincare

Gluten seems to be a pretty popular topic these days. More and more people seem to be diagnosed as Celiacs or suffer from a severe allergy to it.

A silent killer in so many of your skin care products, you’d be reckless not to start reading your ingredient lists just a little more thoroughly.

Got Gluten?

For those of you who aren’t sure of what gluten really is, follow along.

Gluten is a protein found in any product contain barley, rye, wheat and more often than not, oats. Though this list is only 4 items long, you can see the issue.

Many of your favourite foods and drinks contain at least one of these ingredients and you’d be surprised how many skincare and beauty products do as well.

Those of us who are diagnosed with Celiacs Disease or suffering from sever intolerances are affected because our body is rejecting the protein. As a result, small intestinal villi are damaged and nutritional absorption is affected. Long story short, your body is attacking the very thing that is trying to nourish you.

To undo damage caused to your villi and live a healthy, happy life all you have to do is live by a strict g-free diet and lifestyle. It’s easier than it sounds, promise!

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G-Free Your Skincare

To maintain glowing gorgeous skin, try swapping out your usual products for one of these recipes:

Moisturizer

So simple to make and so rich and creamy. This blend will rival any of your favourite products; I’m certain of it.

All you need is:

- 1 cup Shea Butter
- ½ cup 100% Virgin Coconut Oil
- ½ cup Almond Oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons Beeswax
- 1 tablespoon Zinc Oxide
- 1 tablespoon Glycerin
- 10 drops of your favourite Essential Oil (I like Vanilla because it blends well with the other scents)

Step 1:Melt your butter oils and beeswax over low heat. Once liquified, remove from heat and set aside.

Step 2: Place your zinc oxide and glycerin in a blender and mix on high for 30 seconds.

Step 3: Remove the middle portion of your blender lid and slowly add in your oils and butter blend, one scoop at a time. Once it is all added let it blend on high for 5 minutes or until it becomes the creamy consistency you desire.

Step 4: Slather it on your skin!

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Cleanser

Great for your face and your body. This next recipe will gently exfoliate your skin and cleanse it. It’s so good it even removes waterproof makeup!

Gather together:

- 1 cup Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup Grapeseed Oil
- 1 cup Raw Sugar

Step 1: Blend together your oils.

Step 2: Add in your sugar and stir thoroughly.

Step 3: If you want to use this as a body wash, double the recipe, otherwise gently massage this cleanser into your face and rinse off with lukewarm water.

Toner

I love a good toner for when I’m on the go and this is no exception. To promote clear skin, tighten pores and remain blemish free all you will need is:

- ¼ cup Witch Hazel
- ¼ cup Aloe Juice
- 2 tablespoons Chamomile Essential Oil
- 2 tablespoons Distilled Water
- 5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves

Step 1: Mix everything together in a bowl.

Step 2: Pulverize the mint leaves to extract their natural oils. Do so with a muddler.

Step 3:Pour your toner into a travel-sized spray bottle so you can carry it with you at all times.

Tip: I like to remove the crushed mint stems so the toner doesn’t go off. You can use a micro-strainer to do this if you’ve pulverized them nice and good!

mint face spray

Hope you enjoy these g-free skin care products. They are budget friendly and a great opportunity for you to take your first step into a gluten-free lifestyle.

About Sabrina: Sabrina is a lover of spontaneous adventure, surfing the net and of course, all things skincare and beauty. To green her skincare routine she likes to come up with cheeky and cheap DIY’s like How to Tighten Pores Naturally

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Dove Tells Us That We Are More Beautiful Than We Think. (and it’s true!)

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the words “BODY ISSUES”, which come together to represent the concept of the things we don’t like about our physical selves. We hear them more frequently than not:

  • I’m too fat.
  • I’m too skinny.
  • My nose is too wide.
  • I don’t like my hips.
  • I have back fat.
  • I hate my freckles.
  • My hair is too [nappy/thin/thick/short]

The list goes on.

From a young age,  most women are taught to critique themselves, to assemble this list of “body issues” as opposed to celebrating themselves with a list of “body awesomes”.

Case in point: Dove’s new campaign that employs a forensic artist to draw two portraits of the same woman, one as she describes herself and the other as described by a complete stranger.  The results are powerful.  Each and every time, the self-described drawings depict a harsher image, while the one’s influenced by the description of a stranger are not only more “beautiful”, but also closer to reality.

Check it out:

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What does this say about us?

Dove says that “We are more beautiful than we think” and that “women are their own worst beauty critics”.  (I’d like to extend that to people in general as I think a lot of men experience this as well!)

Wouldn’t it be nice to change that up?  To change the conversation from “Body Issues” to “Body Awesomes”, from a critique to a celebration?

Let’s Give It A Try.

I’ll start.

  • I’ve never been a fan of my big thighs and derriere–it’s hard to find jeans that fit, especially in this land of “skinny-fits”.  But now, I’ve realized that they are awesome for  powering me up big hills on my bike and helping me run super fast.
  • My shoulders are awesome.  (And look damn good in a one-shouldered dress.)
  • My hair, which I once thought and was taught to believe was too thick and too nappy, is one of my most distinctive features.  Lola IS awesome.

What about you? What are your Body Awesomes? Share them in the comments!

 

The Final Four…(weeks that is.)

I heard a little rumor that an important basketball game is on tonight, but honestly, I’m much more focused on my final four weeks of triathlon training!  I can’t believe that two and a half months of training have already past and I’m in the home stretch before I swim, bike and run the Wildflower course!  I’m excited to cross the finish line, but right now I am:

Sore and satisfied.

Tired and hopeful.

Excited and anxious.

Hungry for more, but REALLY hungry for food.

When I signed up, I knew that training was going to be hard but I’m starting to feel like now things are about to kick into high gear as we’re coached into putting each of the events together.  This past weekend was filled with a couple of intense workouts that included coaxing my legs into a 2 mile run after a 30 mile bike (and I’m supposed to do it for six!?!), donning a wetsuit and swimming in 50-degree Bay water,  and running 5 miles–all in a decent amount of rain.

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The process thus far has not only gotten my body into good physical shape, but has put me in a very focused, determined and disciplined headspace.  It’s been rewarding to see muscles appear where there weren’t any before and get to a place where running a track practice no longer feels like a chore.

But I will admit it, there have been (and still are!) many a time where I’ve questioned my ability to do this race.  As I said: I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t exactly know just HOW hard it would be to balance a full training schedule with blogging, events, work, projects, home life, friendships and family.  Just like when I feel like I can’t make it another lap or finish a hill, if I find myself getting overwhelmed with it all, I just try to take a second to pause and breathe more deeply to get through it.

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After a recent (and delightfully raucous) bachlorette party weekend in Napa Valley that involved more wine than I care to share, I’ve decided to give myself the gift of alcohol-freedom! That’s right, no booze for this gal until after the tri!  It’s not like I’m a big drinker, but I’ve I’m going to put my body through an intense Saturday morning training, I don’t need to go into it after a rowdy Friday night.  It’s rather nice to wake up refreshed, rested, hydrated and ready to go!

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As a participant in the Team in Training program, I’ve committed to raising $2,900 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The money I raise goes directly to cancer patients and their families.  It’s been extremely touching to connect with those who have benefitted directly from LLS and I’m proud to be a part of this philanthropic effort.  I’ve already raised over $2,200 and have just another 2 weeks to raise the rest!  I can’t say thank you enough to my sponsors who have already supported me and made contributions!  Whether or not you’ve got a connection to the cause, you’re more than welcome to make a donation to my fundraising efforts!

The bottom line is that yes, training is tough, but I’m still having a lot of fun.  I mean, if I wasn’t would I be able to do this??

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Didn’t think so. :)

 

 

 

A DIY Divas Guide to Natural Beauty: fighting acne with Tea Tree Oil!

Over the next few weeks, I want you to extend a warm welcome to Sabrina, our guest blogger who will be presenting series on DIY Skincare Ideas!  I think some of the best products are often times the ones made from ingredients we’ve already got in our cupboards.  Read on, roll up your sleeves, and get ready for some hands on, au naturel goodness!

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Acne

As a beauty and skincare blogger, I read A LOT of articles and posts on anything and everything to do with skin, beauty and their related products. Even if you don’t read as much as me, you’d have to live under a rock to not hear about tea tree oil and it’s many benefits.

I have been using tea tree oils for years, but it seems like the general public is just getting the memo on how awesome it is. From curing ailments to preventing acne, this simple oil is handy to have hanging around. Before I get into the good stuff, let me tell you a little bit more about this wonder oil.

Let’s Talk Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of Australia’s tea trees. Most commonly applied topically, it is a potent antifungal that is often used to cure fungal infections of the nail, athlete’s foot, acne and lice. It is also a great natural antiseptic making it perfect for use on cuts, abrasions, burns, bug bites, mouth and nose infections and several other minor infections.

Rather than focus on all that this oil can do, I’m going to focus on one area of its expertise; fighting acne. Regardless of how mild or severe your acne may be, the next 3 treatments will be beneficial and effective.

 

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A Simple Spot Treatment

If you’re rushed for time but need to deal with a simple pimple pop up, this spot treatment is perfect for you.

All you need is two easy to find ingredients; tea tree oil and aloe vera gel. Mix together 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 9 teaspoons of aloe vera gel in a small dish. I like to put my mixture in travel size containers for quick and easy future use.

Once both ingredients are blended together nicely, use a clean finger and apply a bit of your treatment to the affected area. Feel free to leave this overnight, or like I said make it a quick spot treatment and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. It is safe and gentle enough to repeat as needed until your blemishes begin to vanish.

Though you can use straight tea tree oil on your skin I do not recommend doing so for a prolonged period of time as it has been known to cause irritation.

 

Acne-Fighting Astringent

Similar to my spot treatment, but meant for an all-over cleanse, mix 1 part tea tree oil to 9 parts water. You can put it in a spray bottle or a squeeze bottle; it just depends on your method of use. I like to use a spray bottle and mist myself but you can also sweep it across your face with a cotton pad.

Your face will feel refreshed, clean and invigorated within seconds of using. Impurities will be removed, pores will be rid of bacteria and dirt and inflammation will be diminished. Regular use will not only banish your current blemishes, but will prevent future pimples from popping up!

 

The Perfect Pimple Preventing Face Mask

 

If you’re looking to really get rid of your acne then you definitely want to give this face mask a try.

To make this mask you will need 2 tablespoons of green clay powder, 3-4 drops of tea treeoil and enough water to make your clay a paste.

Stir all your ingredients together in a bowl until they are nice and smooth. Use your fingers to apply your mask but be sure to steer clear of your eyes. If you get some in your eyes immediately rinse them out with cool water.

Your mask needs about 20 minutes to absorb and during this time it will become dry. Just be patient! Once the 20 minutes has passed rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat your face dry.

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You can use this for a spot treatment as well as an all-over face mask so feel free to double up the recipe and store in a cool, dry place for future use.

In as little as a week you should see amazing results and all because you added tea tree oil to your beauty regime. You’ll look great, feel great and smell great! Enjoy!

 

About Sabrina: Sabrina is a lover of spontaneous adventure, surfing the net and of course, all things skincare and beauty. To green her skincare routine she likes to come up with cheeky and cheap DIY’s like How to Tighten Pores Naturally

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Want to Lose Weight? Put $25 On It. 12 Hours to Join Me on DIETBET

I have an extremely persistent friend named Kelsey who for weeks has been trying to talk me into joining her on DietBet, a website where you place a bet on your ability to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks. If you don’t lose the weight then you also lose your money. If you DO, then you get your money back AND the money of the people in your pool who don’t do it.

Frankly, I had my doubts about the validity of the service–I mean HOW is some website supposed to know that you aren’t lying? Was this really a good use of my $25? Do I have time to even focus on losing weight right now? Not to mention I don’t need people up in the business of how much I weigh!! I didn’t really get it so I kind of pushed her to the side, but as I mention this chica is P.E.R.S.I.S.T.E.N.T. and finally got me to click the link of the DietBet she had organized starting in a week.

It looked pretty cool.  And all of my concerns?  Alleviated:

  • DietBet uses a pretty intricate weigh-in system that involves a “secret word”, scale, and full length mirror.  If for some reason the DietBet referees think you are lying—then you get sent to DietBet “court” aka a Skype meeting.
  • Unless you click “SHARE EVERYTHING ON FACEBOOK”, your weight and photos are keep private, only to be seen by the DietBet referees.
  • Once I did the calculation, 4% of my weight is under 10 pounds and I can achieve that goal by losing under 2 lbs a week.
  • (and this is my rationale for MANY things I talk myself into): I can [EASILY] spend $25 out on a night of drinking.  So I can certainly spend this much in the name of wellness.

And so I signed up.

Wanting to lose weight is one thing. Winning money is quite another. Placing my OWN money makes it imperative.

Our $25 DietBet starts TOMORROW and we’ve already got 41 players so the pot is up to $1025!  If you want to join me and our group you can find us here!

On that note, I gotta go officially enter my weigh in! Here goes nothing! Er….here goes 4% of my weight that is.

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Just TRI Me: this ish is tight. Literally.

When you think “California” you may imagine palm trees, golden sunshine and bikini clad people scampering around in the waves of the Pacific.  This may be true for people in Los Angeles and San Diego, but up here in San Francisco our beach life couldn’t be further from this idyllic image.  Our beach trips generally require jackets, scarves, hats and mittens.  It’s extremely cold to even LOOK at the ocean, let alone strip down and hop into the 40-degree water.  In my six years of living here, I have been in the water once for a total of 30 seconds, and that includes dipping my toes in.

But as you know, I’ve got this triathlon thang  coming up, which means I’ll soon be having confront the waters of Northern California.  We will be training in the Bay and the actual race will go down in a lake just south of San Francisco, but no matter- it’s still going to be freaking cold.

How am I going to do this?  Certainly not in skimpy bathing suit!  Instead, I will be jamming my body into the thick neoprene walls of a wetsuit.

A couple weeks ago I went over to Sports Basement in the Presidio to take a peek and try one on for size, just to get a sense of what the wet suit experience was like.  I was helped by Lauren, a multi-time Triathlete who has successfully completed many an Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike and full 26-mile  marathon run!) so I knew I was in good hands.

Lauren started by taking my height and weight (and unlike the DMV, lying about the latter when it comes to a wet suit fitting can result in very unsavory and painful results) then explained how to put the full body suit on.  It took me about 10 minutes total to get my body fully into the suit.  Imagine pulling on a very very thick pair of panty hose: you have to be delicate, but also use some elbow grease.  Oh you wanna see how I made it happen?  By all means:

 

And once I got myself in as much as I could, Lauren helped me adjust the fit and get me all zipped up!

 

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So how did it feel?  SO TIGHT!  But also, kinda good. It was like a giant bear hug all over my entire body.  Or like a really, really good pair of Spanx because it holds you in at all the right places.  I wouldn’t go walking around in it, but let’s say the thought crossed my mind and I just decided to settle on some good selfies for Instagram…

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Then I had the pleasure of checking out some other tri-gear goodies including a neoprene swimcap (Lola might get cold too!) and a one-piece tri suit that I’ll be wearing on the bike and run portions.

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Moral of the story: lots more spandex and stretchy fabrics in my future over here.  Special thanks to Lauren for bestowing upon me her experience and expertise in the getting me fitted out for the swim portions of the Tri!

The toll it took on me.

If you know me, you know that I love to travel.  Flying to new places away from home and immersing myself in new cultures has been a wonderfully enriching experience, one that has given me perspective, growth and inspired not just creativity, but understanding, patience and flexibility as I engage with people across geographic boundaries.   For the last year, I found myself not home, but ELSEWHERE almost 2 weeks out of every month.  Looking back, that was a lot of time, but  I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Europe for the first time since studying abroad seven years ago, take my first trip to Africa, make extended stays at home in Minneapolis with my family.  I also sprinkled in visits to New Orleans(thrice), Chicago (twice), Los Angeles (thrice), Florida, New York (twice), Las Vegas, DC, the Virgin Islands and Honolulu in there as well.

However, after I returned home from Dakar last December, I was just tired.  Tired of security lines, red eyes, hotel rooms, delays, airport food and schlepping 75-pounds of luggage for two weeks at a time.  And more than tired, I felt unrooted, disconnected and out of balance.  Turns out when I made my home an airplane, my REAL home–the one in San Francisco where I sleep in my big pink bed, host my beloved dinner parties, eat with roommates and shoot the shit with neighbors on my stoop–had become as foreign as the places to which I was jetting.  Coming home to hibernate away from the world only to leave six days later is no way to maintain a home, friendships or personal sense of equilibrium.

I haven’t been on a plane since December 4th, 2012 and that’s the longest span of time I’ve been on the ground in the past two years!  Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am very fortunate to be able to travel so much.  But now that I’ve been home, I’ve realized the the toll it took on the things I truly value that make me a whole person. In a way, it became easier to be away than home; now that I’ve nestled back into my routines, committed to community (hell-O Team In Training!) and re-established focus on my work, I very much appreciate the stability that a non-flying routine affords.  In a word, I just feel mentally and spiritually healthier and it shows: my skin is clear and I’ve lost 20 pounds!  

Aside from a trip to Chicago in early March, I’m going to be keeping my wheels on the ground for the next few months and I’m looking forward to rebalancing, refocusing and recharging.  What it means in terms of NaturalSelectionBlog is that I HAVE A LOT OF EXCITING STUFF ON THE HORIZON!!!!  All of the travel time (read: no WiFi and just a journal) have left me with a lot of ideas that are starting to sprout and come to life!  So trust, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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Now that said, you can take the girl off the plane, but you can’t take the plane off the girl.  No really, you can’t because I’ve got one tattooed on my arm.
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I definitely still have my eyes set on those distant far off horizons.  But for now, I’m going to zip my desires to experience the rhythms of Brasil, flavors of India and  vibrant metropolises of Morocco safely into my suitcase and pack them away until later.

 

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