2015 Races and Results

Finally got a chance to update the race results page.  Only a month late…

Source: 2015 Races and Results

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Making adjustments when life happens

My absence from writing is keeping in context with the tag line of this blog, the real life of a triathlete. I have had no time over the past month to even contemplate writing.  This season has been jammed packed with more racing than I have ever done in a single year.  Following the NYC Triathlon, I had no solid plans for racing outside of Ragnar Washington D.C. in October.  And good thing.  A week after returning home from NYC, my wife and I were blessed with two new arrivals in our home.  Yes, two new, beautiful, and unexpected children.   A little over a year ago, my wife and I were approved and certified as foster/adoptive parents.  Since then, our life has been a never ending stream of life changing events.  In a matter of 4 months we went from having on 8 year old to 4 children ages 8, 3, 4 months and 4 days.  Despite the concerns of caution from family and friends and the constant “you are bat crap crazy” looks, we have never been more happy.  But with this happiness comes a period of transition.  We practically have twins and had no time to prepare ourselves emotionally or mentally.  Much less not having the typical 10 months to prepare for the arrival of a newborn.  So yes, a transition period of sorts was necessary.  For me, that meant very limited to no training.  Since I didn’t have any races in the very near future, some time off was necessary, especially when only getting a couple hours of sleep a night.

Triathletes tend to be type A personalities with attention to detail and a little obsessive.  (Eh, “a little obsessive” may be a gross understatement.)  With that said, many of us struggle with listening to our bodies rather than following a strict training plan. And I am certainly guilty of continuing to train when life piles on the crap, which only impedes progress and increases burnout in the end.  I’d like to think I have learned my lesson, for I have certainly changed my view the relationships between my life and training.

Now, instead of getting up at 4 am and heading to the gym or jumping on the trainer, I sleep until 7 am after being up multiple times during the course of the night.  After work training sessions are completely out of the question with dinner, baths, homework, and quality time with the kids.  So recently, my only option has been training after the kids are down for the night. It has certainly been a shift.  And it also involves being a little creative at times.

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Trainer Ride/Pacifier Duty                                      Jogging with the boys

It is a constant struggle to find the time and without a supportive wife and beautiful children to be a role model for, it would not be possible!

Our Thanks to Denae Nicole Photography!

unnamed (1)“Photographs are those tangible memories that people can see for generations to come.” – Denae Serzan
Local resident, Denae Serzan, is a master a capturing these moments.  Born and raised in Virginia City, Nevada, a tiny mining ghost town of 1,000 residents similar to those of the Gold Rush and Bonanza.  She moved to Virginia with her now 10-year-old daughter a little over three years ago.  Here, she met her husband of almost two years.  During this time, she had an intense passion for photograph as a hobby, but it was Denae’s husband who was the one who finally gave her the push and support she needed to go develop her passion into her business.

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“It is my passion and I love to bring people’s stories, their love stories to life. Love stories between friends, family, couples and I have a sweet spot for the love story of a new baby being brought into the world.” 

Denae enjoys being connected with the community and feels the networking required to be a successful photograph has been vital into maintaining that connection.  She is in close contact with a wide range of vendors and professionals such as midwives, birthing centers, florists, bakers, shops, other photographers, and even local artists who create some of her unique props.
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“I love my clients and the businesses I work alongside. I truly think I have one of the best jobs in the world.”

Denae has a distinct style that has evolved and been cultivated by a plethora of specific life
unnamed (4)experiences.
 “I am a double cancer survivor and I believe that has had a profound impact on my photography and how I see through my lens. It has given me an eye for the unnoticed, because often those moments are the most important.”
She utilizes natural light, the glow of the sun and the natural shadows it produces to create dreamy and whimsical images outside of a studio.  Her ability to make her clients feel comfortable brings out raw emotion, which truly sets her apart from other photographers in the area.
When asked to support the Tri FAST for Stroke Team for the National Stroke Association, Denae was one of the first to support the journey.  She has a personal stake in this endeavor, as her mother has suffered a stroke.  Luckily, her mother was close to a local stroke center and time was her side.  While that experience was difficult, Denae also knows that once someone has suffered a stroke, they are far more likely to suffer another in the future.  Education is key for survival when it comes to suffering a stroke.
“I also support this endeavor because Erin has one of the biggest hearts I have ever known and she is committed to using her good to help make a difference in the world. I am proud to support her and to be a part of it.”
We thank Denae for her dedication to the local community and support of our fundraising journey for the National Stroke Association.  Please consider Denae as your future photographer.  Check out her website http://denaenicole.com/ for more information about her services and availability.

Our Thanks to Top Flight BBQ!

11159994_598364153634384_9149202375240650970_nBarbeque is quintessentially American, and there is nobody that does it better than Top Flight BBQ. They are legendary caterers, but now they also have a big blue food truck to bring that movable feast all over the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and the Northern Shenandoah Valley of VA.

Their traditional southern barbeque is the product of considerable care and talent. A minimum of eight to twelve hours of “slow and low” preparation using hickory wood is the magic method behind Top Flight’s incredible dishes. They do not pre-sauce their meat either, instead using a savory dry rub to provide flavor and offering three signature sauces on the sides to allow their clients to find just the right flavor for their taste buds. Offering the sauces allows guests the ability to enjoy their individual favorite flavor by selecting from the choices of sweet/mild, spicy, and vinegar-based sauces that have been engineered in the Top Flight experimental kitchen.

11233511_601112516692881_1089879312663729576_nIn addition to signature pulled pork, the company offers baby back ribs, two kinds of chicken, and a variety of side dishes, including redskin potato salad, coleslaw, garden salads, and desserts. (Even their honey-sweetened cornbread has a following of its own.) Plated together, the offerings create a meal where each item compliments the flavor of the plate overall.

We are so honored that they offered to help our team reach our goal of raising $2,500 for the National Stroke Association. Check them out at topflightbbq.com or call 865-384-5949. More importantly, be sure to “like” them on Facebook to keep up with where their food truck will be serving up the “goods” next.

Written by Victoria Kidd

Our Thanks to Anderson Roofing & Sheet Metal Works Inc

home-hero-2Anderson Roofing & Sheet Metal Works applies experience gained over the course of their sixty years in business to every job. Commercial and residential clients call them for roof and gutter inspections, repairs, and replacements, as well as chimney care, sheet metal and copper work, slate roof repair, and more. They are a member of the Virginia Association of Roofing Contractors and are fully licensed, bonded, and insured.

In addition to roofing, Anderson invites customers to “think outside the box” when considering the various applications sheet metal can have or the beauty cooper can add to their properties. Their fabrication experience includes everything from signs, ductwork, and chimney caps to mailboxes, yard art, and decorative features. While their fabrication experience gives shape to ideas both practical and fanciful in nature, their creative use of cooper really sets them apart. Copper is a material that can be kept shiny as a new penny or allowed to change into an eye-catching patina. Imagine beautiful copper gutters, roofing, or other accents. If you can dream it, they can do it.

We welcome Anderson to team Tri-Fast. Their sponsorship of the team helped us reach our goal of raising $2,500 for the National Stroke Association. Give them a call at 540-662-2586 or visit http://www.andersonroofingva.com.

Written by Victoria Kidd

Finding Balance in Chaos

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To say life has been hectic over the past 6 weeks would be gross understatement.  In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m  interrupted every 5-10 seconds by our two month old foster son, who continues to abruptly wake from a peaceful sleep because the pacifier fell out of his mouth.   Meanwhile, our 4 dogs are barking at a squirrel…or a bird…or a leaf…or nothing, our new pig persistently searches for an escape, the goats scream for more food and the chickens are in danger from being eaten from a wild bear roaming the mountain.  This is all while I’m working from home.  In a few short hours, I will have to pick my son up from the bus stop and take him to karate, while my wife desperately tries to finish the farm chores as quickly as possible before I explode from lack of time to breathe.

There are moments in our lives where we feel as though we cannot handle one more responsibility.  Our hobbies (for lack of a better word) are our escape and provide solace in times of overwhelm.  They can keep us afloat when we risk submerging into the underworld of reality and responsibility.  For me, I find escape in triathlon.  For my wife, she finds it in the farm.  They are our passion and keep us engaged in life when the chaos closes in.

But how do families balance two time consuming passions?  It isn’t easy.  At times, it is down right impossible. But what makes it possible is understanding and sacrifice.  It’s about setting realistic goals that are achievable along with your spouses.   Obviously, it would not be a realistic goal for me to train for an Ironman given our circumstances at the time.  Also, just know that you will be required to give a little more from time to time.  Right now I’m on baby duty most of the time so my wife can accomplish the highly time consuming tasks she needs to do for the farm. And when I need extra time to train or race…she will be there to support me in the same way.

For our family, finding balance is about gratitude and understanding.  It’s not always easy and certainly not always pretty, but it is always better.

Driven for Success

Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.

– G.K. Nielson

One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell.  He is a unique man with an afro that wrote several great books, including Outliers, an intriguing look into success and how some of the most famous humans have achieved greatness.  Surprisingly through, he does not speak about the accomplishments of the individual outliers such as The Beatles and Bill Gates, but rather to HOW they became successful.  Their accomplisments we not solely due to talent or genetic gifts, but opportunity, environment, resources, and sheer time spent engaged in their craft. I often think about the power of opportunity and resources in my own life. I am a working mother of three kids, two of which are foster kids. (This adds a whole other aspect to the responsibilities of parenting that I never imagined).  We have limited financial resources and often struggle to keep afloat.  My wife and I both have hobbies that are not cheap, but they bring us great joy and help us be healthy models for our children.  I have a wonderful life!

But one thing that stands out about Gladwell’s stories is that the individuals in the book have an unyielding amount of drive and passion.  One does not spend 10,000 practicing the piano, programming computers, or writing stories because they want to get better.  It is because they do not feel alive without that one thing.  Now, I’m not saying I have one thing in my life that I live for….but I do have passion for triathlon…otherwise 4 am would not seem so exciting. I also understand that I do not have the time to train like a professional nor do I have the resources.  I support a family of 5 and that will always take priority.  But that does not mean that I do not continue to set reachable goals and work towards my own successes, as small or great as they may be.  When I do accomplish goals, it is because I have set my mind and worked hard.  I am not gifted, I am driven.

TRI FAST for Stroke and Returning to NYC

Each year, I like to designate a race for fundraising and charity. Last year, I participated in the NYC Triathlon as a member of the Autism Speaks Team.  I raised over $2,300 and as a whole, the 11 member team raised over $26,000!  I documented the race journey in a video, you can watch here:  https://vimeo.com/102575538 .  The experience was phenomenal and something I hoped to repeat in the near future.

With that hope in mind, I began searching for a new fundraising opportunity.  I began to brainstorm on organizations that impacted my life and those around me the most.  I ran through a laundry list of diseases and problems in the world. None seemed personal enough.

Until…

A bike ride (all good ideas come during a bike session…something about the cyclic motion of the legs that my mind seems to mimic like a hamster on a wheel) I came up with a brilliant idea.

There are people in the world that work to make a difference, not just in their own lives, but for the greater good of the human race.  They give so much of their lives that we often forget about their sacrifice and hardships.  For me, this person is one of my closest friends, Victoria.  The label “friend” is not an accurate descriptor, she is family or as she calls it, “framily”  Last year, she and her wife, Christy, took on the state of Virginia in a class action lawsuit, fighting for equal rights of same-sex couples and the right to marry. Nearly a year of their lives were dedicated to this effort.  Press conferences, phone calls, interviews, more press conferences, court date after court date after court date.   Not to exclude lovely bouts of hate mail. All their efforts and sacrifices resulted in a victory that changed the lives of so many couples in many states….their fight changed my life.  Because of them, I am legally married in my home state and with that, I am equal to my neighbors.  I cannot thank them enough.

So during this bike ride, I decided to dedicate my charity race this year to Victoria, who in the past couple years, suffered a near fatal stroke.  Had this disaster resulted in an unimaginable fatality, I’m not sure where the state of same-sex marriage would be for the state of Virginia and West Virginia.  Furthermore, I’m not sure my life would be as interesting, nor would I be so inspired be a positive impact on this world.

So I’m proud to announce that this year, I will be teaming up with my inspirational friend, Victoria, to raise funds for the National Stoke Association. And as luck my have it, I will return to NYC on July 19th to participate in the NYC Triathlon once again, but this time, racing for the National Stroke Association team and spreading knowledge about stoke, symptoms, and prevention!

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