Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 4

Most training programs have you taking a rest week or a scaled back week about every four weeks or so and I guess my body decided to make this week one whether I wanted to or not.

I went out for my workout Monday night and as I steadily got slower and slower during my speed workout, I chalked it up to not having done speedwork in awhile. And when I felt like I was going to throw up, well I just figured I was too hot and had overheated. I drove straight home and hopped in the shower to cool off. However, even that didn’t work and I came out of the shower still hot and still feeling terrible. I couldn’t even imagine drinking water or trying to eat something. About 30 minutes later, I found out why. I spent the next 6 hours or so getting up every 15-30 minutes to throw up all the contents of my stomach and then some.

GROSS WARNING: Fun fact, when I throw up, I headbutt my hand, resulting in this lovely bruise

GROSS WARNING: Fun fact, when I throw up, I headbutt my hand, resulting in this lovely bruise

Tuesday came and even though I didn’t throw up during the day, I felt delirious and like I was on a different planet. That evening, the Beast told me I had a raging fever, which is something I almost never have. I laid in bed for most of the day Wednesday too, trying to recover. Thursday, I thought things might have been better, but I still felt weak and couldn’t stay awake for very long. Friday, I slept in until the afternoon, which is something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

However, once I awoke from my coma, I felt so much better. The Beast and I headed to our gyms that night since I figured that working out with a ton of people around me was the best idea in case things went south really quick, but besides being tired, I felt fine. And my legs were beginning to get antsy from laying around for four days.

So, overall this week was a very odd training week, but now, I am rested and ready to dive back into training again.

Monday: 4 mile speedwork I did a half mile warmup and then 12×400 repeats trying to get faster, but as I mentioned this plan didn’t work out very well and I got slower and slower as time went on. I hit my marks for the most part for the first 6/7 but the last ones were not great. At the time I was proud of myself for pushing through when all I wanted to do was quit, but now I realize, maybe that wasn’t the best option. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.

After my speed workout, I managed to snap this photo.

After my speed workout, I managed to snap this photo.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Sick This consisted of chicken and stars, popsicles, rice, and gatorade.

My cousin got me this adorable running socks, which I am obsessed with

My cousin got me this adorable running socks, which I am obsessed with

Thursday: Recovery

Friday: 40 minute bike; 1 mile run; weights – chest/triceps I pushed it a little bit, but I just wanted my body to move. I dropped my weights down a little bit from where I normally am , but just wanted to get my arms moving as much as my legs were able to. The brick was pretty miserable, which was a combination of recovering from sickness, not running as much, and being on the terrible treadmill without wifi (I had planned to watch a show while running and biking).

The dreaded indoor bike

The dreaded indoor bike

Saturday: 90 minutes bike outside I went out a little later than I planned at around 11:20am, but the ride was amazing and felt so good to push it. Also, I almost did an even split on the bike even though the first five miles are all downhill and the last five are all uphill, so I felt really good about this bike ride. My only problem is finding a good bike route that either has good hills and is not super flat (like Mount Vernon trail) but also doesn’t require you to stop for traffic/road crossing ever mile or so (W&OD Trail). The quest continues as I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and into exploring more.

Ready to go on a bike ride in my American jersey, courtesy of the Beast

Ready to go on a bike ride in my American jersey, courtesy of the Beast

Sunday: 8 mile run I was dreading this run all day. I haven’t run 8 miles since the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April. Yes, I have been slacking on my long distance runs, but I just was tired of spending so much time running. Then I started running and the course I plotted out wasn’t as long as I thought so it required taking on an additional 3 miles in another direction, but I did it. It was slow, but not too painful, and I actually feel somewhat decent sitting here typing. It is only a start, but I am ready to get back to it.

The meadow I pass on my run that is always filled with deer

The meadow I pass on my run that is always filled with deer


Just a little sweaty after my long 8 mile run.

Just a little sweaty after my long 8 mile run.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 3

I apologize that last week’s update has been a little late, but I have been under the weather. And by that I mean that I have been puking my guts out and barely able to move or eat. In fact, I had my first almost full meal for lunch today for the first time since lunch on Monday. I am thinking it was some sort of stomach virus that I caught, but more on that later and how it has affected my training (once I am actually able to get back to my training).

This week was also the week of irritating small injuries from my iPod band rubbing my arm and giving me a rash to my shorts doing the same thing right under my butt.

Monday: OFF A nice pounding headache to start off last week that went into Tuesday morning. I am really the epitome of health lately.

Tuesday: Bike/Run/Weights – shoulders/legs This legs workout didn’t kill me nearly as much as the one the week before, but my legs were definitely crying for a couple of days afterwards. This run was also brutal, mainly because a torrential downpour started about 5 minutes into my 30 minutes run and persisted the entire time. It also almost killed my iPhone, but luckily, I stuck it in a container of rice and it is good as new now. I wish I could say more about how this run went, but it was just meh, trying to get back into it. The bike was done on the trainer because of the downpour, and lately I have really been digging riding my trainer while the Beast decompresses from his workout on the couch. It’s time together while I can still get a workout in.

Wednesday: Swim 1800m/Weights – chest/triceps/abs I seem to have a mental block on my swim about halfway through. I want to stop around then and just say well that is good enough for now, but if I am going to do an Olympic distance, it really isn’t anymore. It will definitely be enough for my sprint coming up in a few weeks (gulp!) but I need to keep putting in the meters here to get it done.

Thursday: Hilly bike I wish I could fully explain how hilly this bike ride was. I was not expecting it to be quite so bad whenever I set off, but instead of doing the trail I decided to do my neighborhood and explore a little bit more. This required some planning finesse on my part, and I apparently planned the entire ride to either be going down or uphill. There was almost no flat part, which is great for killing my legs and really kicking it into high gear. (Okay, the bike was only an elevation gain of 660 ft but for me and this DC area, that is fantastic).

Friday: Swim 1600m/Weights – back/biceps/abs My swim is really starting to improve and I am starting to feel more like a fish. The back and forth in the pool just requires me to empty my mind and not think at all because otherwise it starts to get really monotonous really fast.

Saturday: Bike/Run/Bike/Run Brick I roped my mom into doing this brick workout with me that consisted of 20 minutes of biking, 20 minutes of running, then repeat. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to post a negative split, but we altered our bike and run route a little bit each time to include different hills. My legs were burning by the end but I managed a slight sprint.

This next week of training will be significantly subdued because of my illness, which scares me just two weeks before a sprint distance triathlon. Luckily, there is still plenty of time before my 10k tune up race at the end of August and Olympic distance triathlon in September!

Olympic Distance Training – Week 2

This week started off really well before completely descending by the weekend, which I will blame completely on my birthday and having far too much fun with family and friends.

Monday: 60 minute bike trainer; weights – shoulders/legs Doing legs at the beginning of the week proved to be quite the rookie mistake but I’m doing pretty well getting my weight workouts in.

Tuesday: weights – chest/triceps/abs Like I said my legs hurt too bad to do anything else, so I just did weights.

Wednesday: 5 mile run; 1500m swim Finally a good workout day. The run was hard and hot but I did it and my speed wasn’t too bad considering the heat (11:11/mile). The swim went pretty well and it felt good to just be swimming again.

Thursday: 90 minute bike and 1700m swim Another strong training day that I pushed myself through. The bike ride on the trainer was rough but I kept pushing and kept going despite protests from my rear. The swim had a 1000m pull that tested me mentally. I kept wanting to stop but I knew I would regret t.

Friday: 75 minute bike trainer and weights – back/biceps/abs I had intended on biking outside after my quick oil change. Then the oil changed turned into a surprise you need four new tires and this will take awhile. I had errands to do for my birthday dinner party tonight but managed to still get in the ride and make everything and have a great party. However this was the beginning of the diet and exercise decline.

Saturday: blackberry picking While not very strenuous, I was sweating profusely for the hour we were picking blackberries.

Sunday doesn’t even bear mentioning. Overall a strong start with a lousy finish but I am getting there.

I don’t know which of these desserts were better. The salted caramel cheesecake with a caramel sauce and chocolate ganache with an Oreo cookie crust made by the Beast or the super chocolatey chocolate cake made by my mom. Hands down the best birthday I’ve had in a very long time and well worth the lost workouts and extra calories.

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Olympic Distance Training – Week 1

Well if I had to rate this past week I would give my workouts and my eating habits a C. There were some good days and some bad on both counts but overall they were average and I gave an average effort if I am being honest. Just means there is only room upwards to go after this week and sitting here on the couch resisting making cookie dough is a good start.

Monday: 4.5 mile run I woke up early to get this run in and it was still hot and humid at 5:45am. But I did it and that’s what counts. Plus it went much better than my first run back.

Tuesday: 60 minute trainer bike; chest/triceps/abs I ended up biking on my trainer because I went out with some friends post work, which meant I didn’t want to bike in the dark.

Wednesday/Thursday: off Yes I slacked off. End of story.

Friday: hilly 5k run I had planned to do a 5 mile hilly run but my morning milk and cereal was not sitting well and it was all I could do to make it that far. At least I learned a good lesson to not have dairy! Good to know for races.

Saturday: 21 mile bike and back/biceps/abs This long bike ride went really well. My hip slightly twinged but it felt much better. The weights workout after felt good but I was spent by the end of it all.

Sunday: Pool day

Watching the World Cup – USA vs. Belgium

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Pool side with a vintage bomb pop

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Homemade falling off the bone ribs

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Olympic Distance Training – Pre-Program

I figured that as I begin to embark on a 12 week journey to my first Olympic distance triathlon that cataloging my workouts each week would be good way to analyze progress and fitness and how things are going. In addition, starting tomorrow, I will do weekly weigh ins and let you all into this very personal aspect of my fitness struggle. 

In between the program starting and coming off of not doing that much fitness wise during my break, I decided to use this past week to start gearing up and getting ready to begin hardcore training tomorrow. (eeek!!!)

Monday: Bike 19 miles (average 4:28/mile pace). I set off to try out a trail around me calling the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) trail which basically only goes up or only goes down in a steady incline or steady decline, nothing too exaggerated. Coming down on the way out was fantastic and I really pushed the pace to under 3:30 on average. Once I turned around to head back though, it set in how much of a help the decline was. I was struggling to get down around a 5 minute pace. It’s not a constant beating of up and downs, but the slow steady incline was wearing. It makes for great triathlon practice though!

Tuesday: Final moving of boxes. This meant the evening was consumed with traffic, packing, and moving boxes. A light weight workout if you will.

Wednesday: 50 minute run. Ooof. This run was hard. It was brutal and grueling and hot and sweaty and oh so wonderful. After taking some time off from running getting out to go running on a trail near the new apartment was wonderful. I slugged my way through 4 miles, and vowed to never go running at 6:30pm again because it was not worth it to feel like I was dying like that. The trail though, was wonderful.

Thursday: Open water swim at the National Harbor – 1200m. WaveOne Swimming hosts a “Happy Hour” open water swim on Thursday evenings an hour and 15 minutes before sunset. My friend Nicole over at Silver and Iron and I headed out to experience a weekday open water swim in the “gorgeous” Potomac River, a real rarity in the DC area where there aren’t a ton of local options for open water practice. I am going to do a post on the experience soon, but I ended up completing 4 laps of the 300m course, far exceeding my expectations.

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 2.5 mile run AKA the worst long run of my life. I decided to lie in for a bit and not rush getting up to go running, which meant that I started running at 9am. BIG MISTAKE. I took our dog Riley out running for a quick run before doing a second lap. She and I planned on doing a 5k but the heat started to get to her and so I cut it short. Then instead of doing a second loop I hosed her down and took care of her hydration needs to make sure that the run wasn’t too much for her. By the time I was done, it was too hot for me to attempt running, but at least a run was accomplished.

Sunday: OFF

Now, time to plan out the workouts for the first week of olympic distance triathlon training.

Sometimes Plans Go Astray

Yesterday, I planned on going on a run then swimming. Then I realized the pool I wanted to swim in closed at 7, so it made more sense to swim first then run. Then literally walking around my apartment I lost the temporary guest pass to go to the pool, which meant no more swimming for me.

Instead I set out on a easy, slow run. Originally I was supposed to go for only 30 minutes but I figured that since I got rid of swimming I would go for 4 miles and see how long it took.

Spoiler alert: It took 50 minutes.

I started at 6:30pm, when it was about 85 degrees and humid. I haven’t run in awhile. The run was on trails. I wanted to take it easy. Enough with the excuses now, I got out there and I did it in the burning humidity and heat. I was very proud of myself for doing it and getting out there.

I am also in love with the trails near my new apartment. Apparently I live next to a cross country trail that spans 75 miles or so. And everyone there was super friendly. People kept smiling and waving and when I stopped to make sure a bug wasn’t eating my leg off, a guy shouted encouragement to me, telling me to “Keep it up!” I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and the woods and the shade. I think I have found a new favorite place.

And slowly, but surely, I am falling back in love with triathlon training and the sport.

What I Want

After deciding that I was going to defer my entry to the Colonial Beach Olympic triathlon, I decided to take a break and really refocus. Instead of regretting skipping my workouts and feeling guilty, I decided to workout whenever I felt like it and relax when I wanted. I ended up walking more than anything else. Some days I walked upwards of 5+ miles. It was good for my soul and good for building new friendships and still helped my legs get some workouts in. 

It was revitalizing to take the opportunity to refocus and decide what do I want? Why am I doing triathlons and running and doing more more more? Why do I want to wake up at the crack of dawn to take advantage of cool weather before the blistering sun takes over? Why do I want my Saturdays and Sundays to be consumed with a long bike and a long run and venturing out to find a place for an open water swim?

Because I want more. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to be proud of my body and what it can achieve. I want to push my body’s limits and be greeted with surprise and awe at just what it can do. I want confidence. I want to inspire others. I want to find myself and I do that every single time I take a stroke in the water, feel the wind in my face and burn in my thighs on the bike, and each stride my feet take with every laboring breath. 

My body and mind needed the break to refocus and set my sights on what I want next. The Beast and I are happily living together and we are adjusting well to the move and the new circumstances. If anything, we are eating healthier and now trying to encourage each other to work out. I have 13 weeks until the Richmond Rox Olympic Triathlon in September with a sprint distance along the way and maybe a smattering of 5ks, and I intend to make every moment count. I want to be in the best shape of my life for the Olympic distance and then I want to turn around and crush my half marathon time at the Richmond Half in November. I am ready for the second half of race season. I am ready to concur.

You do you, Boo boo

The title of the post is something that the Beast says to me when I am trying to make a decision. 

I love readin blogs. I love reading about the successes and the trials and tribulations (there are no failures in my book) that other runners and triathletes have. They are inspiring, give advice, and make me feel not so alone in a lot of the barriers I run up against.

However, I have noticed that many of the blogs I read are about people who are doing half marathons or marathons, and half Ironmans and full Ironmans. Not a whole lot of them have an Olympic distance triathlon as their “goal race” for the year. Sometimes, this is hard for me to remember. I am still at the beginning of my journey, and I am still learning to make triathlon and running and exercising part of my life. It is a conscious effort every single day for me to work out. It isn’t easy.

I struggle each and every day to make the right food choices and the right exercise choices (as in…exercise). Exercising in the morning makes me nervous about running/biking outside. I am extremely cautious and have to be out the door by 7am, which means workouts need to start around 5am. That means no sun outside really. Exercising in the evenings means it is sweltering, humidly hot, and I am tired, and want to eat dinner and spend time with the Beast. Oh and I don’t want to have my whole evenings filled with exercise. I like hanging out and relaxing, but I suppose some sacrifices are going to be made soon. 

I began to feel a little burnt out after the wave of races that I planned (Monument 10k, Chasing Chicken Sprint Triathlon, Nike Women’s Half Marathon, Groundforce IT Sprint Triathlon), and I am glad that I moved my one at the end of June to August. I needed some time to relax and recuperate and to let me hip feel better. Taking off all this time has been mentally and physically good for me but it is hard to start back up again. It is hard to say no to the sweets and breads and to getting off the couch and turning off the latest crappy (or good) television. 

I keep thinking, I should do more, I can do more, but with everything going on in my life (moving two households into one and figuring out that situation), I feel that it is enough for me to do the Olympic. I want to do more and I plan to do more, but that is in the future, and that will require me to crack down and be serious about training. I can’t keep goofing off and relaxing as I have been. My goal race is the Richmond Rox Olympic distance in September and I plan to start to train hardcore in a couple of weeks after the move settles down and I am not sore/exhausted from moving boxes and picking out a couch (which by the way, was the most difficult decision in the world for someone who hates spending money but likes comfy, nice things).

And with all of this, I have decided to defer my Colonial Beach Olympic Triathlon to next year. I don’t feel ready and I don’t want to kill myself whenever it would be better to train that weekend.

I am proud of a 9:30 pace 5k, and happy any day a long run averages a 10 minute pace. I am happy that my swim is improving but still 2 minutes/100m. I am ecstatic to see my bike times improving and hitting 15mph averages. I am not fast, and there is a lot of room for improvement, but I tri (see my pun!).

Remember when I completely disappeared

It’s been awhile. Both posting in my blog life and getting out there to get some quality workouts in. I ran once this week because National Running Day, duh. The last time I biked was last Friday. I think I swam last week. And I think that’s also the last time I touched a weight.

The past week has been hectic and a whirlwind, and oh so wonderful. The Beast and I moved in together last weekend, so we spent the entire weekend packing him up, packing me up (halfway), and moving it to our new place. I still have some stuff at my old place that we are working on, but about 80% of my stuff is in our new home and 100% of his stuff.

However, the exhaustion from the weekend has left me tired this week and unwilling to move a limb. To top it all off, we are couch hunting, which means hours upon hours spent looking for the perfect couch in the perfect fabric in the perfect color. When I think about it I think how silly it is, but when I think about a couch as a centerpiece of our home and a place to relax after all my future hard workouts and to hang out with friends, suddenly, I don’t feel quite so silly.

We have both been slacking and we know it. There is still a lot of work to do before my first Olympic triathlon next month, but I am getting back into the swing of things and finding my motivation again and the energy to be able to do anything besides sleep and organize.

The new place also comes with a lot of fitness advantages that I didn’t have at my old apartment.

1. Hills. My old apartment was surrounded by flat terrain and a root growing under a sidewalk was the biggest hill. I could easily do a 5 mile run without encountering a single hill, and I did that a lot because who choses hills. The only exception was when I did hill workouts on the very hilly neighborhood a mile away. Now, however, my new neighborhood is hills galore. When you reach the bottom of one there is another one already beginning. Rollers and rollers for miles. It made for a wicked hard run this week, but I imagine that I could easily get some short bike miles in. The bike trail closest to us is also much hillier than the one near my old place.
2. The proximity of the gym. My old gym was 4 miles away from my apartment, which obviously isn’t huge. However, my new gym is 2 miles away, and running 2 miles to the gym and two miles home is a very easy feat, so this is my plan for going to the gym some days.
3. My roommate/boyfriend loves to workout. My old roommate was a runner in college and biked for fun and most days worked out. She was really great to be around, but the Beast loves weights. I can talk to him more about my workouts and he can help me in the area that I struggle the most in. It’s also really nice to try to plan our workouts around the same time of day so we get home together and can eat dinner still.
4. My new complex has a community pool. While it still isn’t finished, I can only hope that I will be able to swim a few laps in an outdoor pool soon before all the kiddos jump in.
5. Eating habits. Since the Beast and I moved in, we have had to start our food from scratch, and while this makes it look like we don’t eat any food. Currently our fridge has a ribeye steak, eggs, and diet mountain dew (the Beast’s addiction). The freezer has broccoli, okra, crawfish, and another steak. Even our pantry has no sweets or bad things in it. It feels so great to start all over again and I can honestly say that I didn’t have any sweets from Saturday-Wednesday, which is quite a streak for me. We treated ourselves last night, but we plan on continuing our streak.

I promise to post more because one of the reasons I started the blog was so I could be help more accountable, and dammit I am going to do more and be more.

27 days until the Colonial Beach Olympic Triathlon

Groundforce IT Sprint Triathlon – Race Recap

I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend and honored those who have fallen.

I know it’s been over a week but I am finally getting to my race recap from last Sunday.

This race weekend was unlike most of my other ones: I didn’t have nerves and I wasn’t in my normal crazy prep mode. I forgot to bring peanut butter (I bought some instead), I almost didn’t lay out my clothes, and I barely thought about dinner the night beforehand.

The days leading up to the race were jam packed. The Beast and I headed up to his college for his mentee’s graduation and to see some of his college buds. We had a blast seeing our friends and hanging out and it was exhaustingly fun. Then on Saturday I volunteered at a kids’ triathlon (more to come on that later). I was tired but had so much fun and wouldn’t have traded it. Plus my hip had been hurting so I wasn’t going to go balls out at this triathlon.

Saturday night the Beast and I made a pasta concoction with vodka sauce, turkey meat, and a weird mixture of noodles–lasagna and gluten free penne pasta. It was delicious and put me right to sleep.

Sunday I woke up exactly on time and started my pre race routine: a bathroom break, shaving my legs, shoveling in breakfast and waking up the Beast 15 minutes before we leave.

We made remarkable time getting there but couldn’t find any places open for breakfast (Starbucks was open just for the triathlon but the Beast wanted an egg sandwich). We set everything up before mom and my cousin Allison showed up and then we helped them.

I was starting to get nervous and could barely breath since I felt so unprepared. We had a long wait before our swim start times and chit chatted and tried to keep warm as best we could. Then we were in the pool area and I was jumping in and waiting for the signal.

I kicked off and started steady not too fast and not too slow, keeping a pace I thought I could maintain. I quickly passed the guy in front of me and my confidence surged. My pace remained steady and I passed another person. In the last 50 I passed one other guy rather than nipping at his heels when I wanted a faster swim finish.

There was quite a bit of a jog to the bikes and the guy I passed last caught up to me right before we got into transition. Out of breath but ready for the bike I threw on my helmet and bike shoes (no socks for the first time!!!).

My goal was to be careful and steady on the bike since my hip was doing well and the bike is what irritated it last time. I kept my mom off my butt for a little while but she passed me around mile 7 or so. I also passed a girl in my age group and I felt good. The last mile my hip started to flare up and I backed off to reserve it for the race.

I barreled into transition and thank goodness for the buckets my mom made that stand out! She painted mine blue and wrote MADD on it so I could spot it from far away. I put my socks and shoes on and headed out for the run.

This flat fast course was anything but and it felt like someone strapped cement blocks to my legs. I was moving at a snails pace. We went down one hill and then up a huge hill before the turnaround. For the first mile there was a girl in my age group who was speeding along and telling everyone good job and driving me insane how easy the pace seemed to her so I vowed to keep her in my sights and keep chugging. Turns out she had already finished and was bringing in a friend. I was sad when she found her since I lost my pacer. Then the girl in my age group I passed on the bike flew past me. I was feeling down in the dumps letting an age group award slip through my fingers. But I vowed not to get upset. All I could do was my best and hope for a PR.

My super speedy cousin passed me about a mile in and I saw my mom slightly banged up. She told me she pulled a Maddison since I am renowned for many clumsy accidents.

I just tried to keep going for the run. I had forgotten my watch and didn’t have an idea of my pace. Then as we came up the final hill I heard a girl behind me huffing and puffing and and I thought “Hell no!” I am not getting passed now so I kicked it into gear and trucked up the hill. When we rounded the corner I kicked it into my final gear to cross the finish line.

I grabbed my medal and some water and found my family waiting for me there. I wanted to vomit and cry and laugh. The Beast gave me a huge hug and a salty kiss.

Turns out my mom had tripped over herself on the run and scrapped her knees and chin and bruised her hand really good. She looked hardcore and I cleaned her up while we waited for the EMS guys to get there. I was just so thankful she fell on the run and not the bike and she was okay. She was still beaming and talking about the cheeseburger she wanted. While she was getting doctored up the Beast and I headed over to see the results.

At first I couldn’t find my name and was worried there was a repeat of the last triathlon.

I found my mom and Allison’s finish first and then finally mine.

3/5.

I had placed. My first triathlon place ever. And I beat my goal getting a time under 1:30. I was so happy. I never thought it could truly happen. It seemed unreal and I felt on top of the world. The Beast was beaming having seen my name beforehand.

Icing on the cake: mom and Allison placed as well, third and second respectively. Going over to see them and telling them was the highlight of the triathlon. My mom’s face lite up and Allison squealed.

There is still a lot of hard work ahead of me to go but this felt so good. So so good.

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