Merry Christmas! Charlie Brown & Xmounts

Merry Christmas!!!!!!
Last month I took the TRX Suspension Training Course --- loved it, totally awesome. I bought myself a TRX two years ago for my birthday and have used TRX in various venues at home, in fitness centers and on the road.

I've been using my TRX at home with a door anchor or at the park across the street. When I saw the Xmount I knew it'd be perfect in the basement and would give me a full range of motion.

TRX Xmount

My husband put the Xmount up today, and being Christmas Eve it made me think of the phrase Merry X-mas!

I'm really excited with my new Xmount, but I'm sticking with Merry Christmas.

I saw this Charlie Brown picture and quote on facebook earlier today:

Charlie Brown: “Isn’t there ANYONE who knows what Christmas is all about?!?!

Linus: Sure Charlie Brown I can tell you what Christmas is all about…….lights please……“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were so afraid. And t...he angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ ”“That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown”

Questions for You:
- How will stay fit and active in the New Year?
- If you've tried TRX, what is your favorite move, tip or resource?

T-Rex & Flu Shots

I saw this on facebook via fellow triathlete & GOTRIbal member Donna T.
Thanks! It made me smile.

I couldn't stop smiling during my last trip to the doctor --- (no I'm not expecting!). Read my latest GOTRIbal post Flu Shot Strength.

Question for You:
- What's your favorite push-up style?
- What do you love about being strong & fit?

Merry Christmas!

Congratulations Ruth! World Champ!

My sisters and I grew up playing soccer. My sister Susan played with a group of really talented and close-knit players, including a girl named Ruth Brennan who later played for the Badgers (UW-Madison.) I also competed for the Badgers but in rowing. During the years we were both on campus it was fun to catch some games with Ruth playing.

Overall I have so many great soccer-filled memories! With three sisters playing soccer, we were either playing, practicing or watching each other play -- very fun! I loved getting to know the families too.

My Dad can remember scores, game-changing plays and all sorts of fun details. I don't have ALL the details, but I do remember my Dad pointing out our friend Ruth specifically one day. We were in a gym, maybe it was a tryout session, I don't know. But Dad pointed at Ruth who instead of resting or chatting with friends was busy practicing her foot skills and he said, "there's an athlete."

Now, many years later, Ruth's applied her gifts, time management and incredible drive to a new sport -- triathlon! It was so fun to open a USA Triathlon press release and find a quote from Ruth within it.

Ruth (now Brennan Morrey) recently raced with Team USA at the 2011 ITU Long Distance World Championships in Henderson, Nev. Cold water and air temperatures led to the cancellation of the swim, and athletes competed on a 120-kilometer bike and 30-kilometer run course after a time trial start.

Via facebook she describes the bike course as "hilly and windy but fun and beautiful. The run was 2.8 mile steep hill up then 2.8m down x 4."

She finished in 6:00:49 taking first place amateur overall by eight minutes!
Female 35-39
1. Ruth Brennan Morrey (Rochester, Minn.), 6:00:49

"I felt phenomenal on the bike," says Brennan Morrey. "It was so much fun. It's a great sport, it keeps me healthy, and it's just a great experience."

Ruth says her race mantra ("I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.") carried her through. She raced in memory of her mama (Constance Maureen Brennan Nov. 3, 1944 - June 21, 1993.)

Congratulations Ruth!!

Read more about Ruth in this Rochester Post-Bulletin article. We all grew up in Rochester and I worked for the Post-Bulletin in high school.

- What sport did you play growing up?
- What sport would you still like to try?

photo: Me with fake blonde hair & my sister Susan in our high school soccer uniforms.

Preheat + 10-13: Mini-Workout!

A frozen pizza takes between 10-13 minutes to bake once the oven is pre-heated.

Using a strategy from GOTRIbal contributor and Hot Sweaty Mamas co-author Kara Douglass Thom, I've converted my "waiting for pizza to be done time" into a perfect pizza-inspired pilates experience. My yummy mix includes: roll-ups, 100s, single-leg stretch, side bend and side twist.

In Hot Sweaty Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom Thom and co-author Laurie Lethert Kocanda share strategies, ideas and real-world examples, of how fit moms:
-make time,
- take time,
- share time, or
- snare time.

"Learning how to make the most of each moment, being a mindful mama, is one of the basic skills of all fit moms," according to Hot Sweaty Mamas.

10 minutes matters! Block out a segment of time tonight & enjoy!

Read more from Thom here including her recent post breaking down the myth of the pre-baby body (belly-buttons, boobies and pinot noir!).

The Runner's Pizza from Runner's World.

Questions for You
- What do you like on your pizza?
- What's your favorite pilates move?

The Grim, the Grizz & Buck Meets Bike

I love running into nature during a run or bike route or even a swim. Over the years I've enjoyed meeting a fun assortment of basic animals: deer, fox, snakes, turtles, turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, voles, and all sorts of birds. We were obviously too late to meet this porcupine.

The only animal that freaks me out is ... the country dog. I love dogs and we have a lab named Sherpa, but the country dog terrifies me. I call them Grims (Harry Potter reference). Grims have chased and stalked me many times on long rides. I've been chased by dogs of all sizes and breeds. Once I had a country grim and her puppies go after me... puppies can be scary. The right dog could easily knock me over.

Thanks to YouTube we've seen all sorts of bike/foot/animal collisions. Most recently Evan van der Spuy of Team Jeep South Africa was biking through a South African nature reserve when an Antelope took him out! Team mate Travis Walker caught it on his GoPro Camera. These cameras are SOOO cool, I want one!

Fortunately, Evan survived with no long-term injuries, just a broken helmet. NBC interviewed Evan and Travis this morning, Evan doesn't remember anything after the crash until coming to in the hospital.

My husband is impressed with how easily the antelope turns its hips and body in mid-air to lessen the strike, amazing quickness.

My favorite animal encounter was with a Grizzly bear in Yellowstone two summers ago. We watched the bear work its way down a hillside, digging up roots. As it got closer to the road, most people got back in their cars--smart. The bear passed right in front of our minivan and then rooted around the hillside next to the road. It was incredible. Here's my short clip.

Questions for You:
- What have you met?
- What are you hoping to meet?

photos by me.

A Visit with Team Winter

Our family hosted 12-year-old triathlete Winter Vinecki and her brother Yukon for a week prior to Ironman Wisconsin.

As the National Champion and IronKids Ambassador Winter travels to many of the IronKids events across the U.S. She speaks with kids about triathlon, being active, eating well and living a positive life.

Winter also raises awareness about prostate cancer, the disease that took her father's life. She talks about her efforts to stomp out prostate cancer through her non-profit organization Team Winter, its athletes and sponsors. Winter also encourages kids to race for a cause, something that is dear to their hearts.

Our family loved hosting Winter & Yukon. With three kids of our own it was a full, but fun house!
We enjoyed:
- biking, running, kayaking, flying kites, assembling/breaking down the bike, popping bubble wrap, playing hockey, cooking meals and snacks, keeping up with homework and their online schooling, using Oxyclean, practicing handstands, rolling down the hill, balancing on anything, scootering, playing the labyrinth, playing with the robot, bench-pressing watermelons, Oreo taste tests and more.

- Winter spoke with students in Jefferson and McFarland, to parents and kids at SBR Coaching in Verona and to participants of the Madison IronKids event via her Team Winter Expo booth.

September is prostate cancer awareness month. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most common non-skin cancer in America.

Winter and Yukon spent most of September on the road raising awaresness for prostate cancer and competing in events. I am a few posts behind, but I have more Team Winter updates to share here. Please stop by Team Winter as well!

Here's a short piece from our local newspaper.

photos by me: Jefferson Middle School students listen to Team Winter. Fourth grade teacher Sharon Mischio and Winter.

Friday Fun: The Corn Maze

Thanks to tri blogger Kelly Jepson Covert for posting this Friday Fun! The photo is making the rounds on facebook and totally brightened my morning!

Follow Kelly on twitter at and her blog at

Questions for You:
- Ever been through a corn maze?

More than a race: 100+ reasons to smile

In the 16 years since McFarland organized its first sprint triathlon not too much has changed—and that’s intentional according to McFarland Aquatics Director Katie Heiser. “Our focus isn’t on numbers or growth,” she says. “It’s about the people in our community.”

With a strong foundation, it’s easy to stick to your roots. Three main aspects of the McFarland Family Festival Sprint triathlon include: it’s local, it’s about families and it’s doable, says Heiser.

... Please read the rest of my article featuring our local sprint triathlon coming up Sept. 16-17th. Unfortunately the print version in the newspaper left out the information box with dates, prices, distances and how to sign up. I've requested the online version be updated.

Overall, this was one of my favorite pieces to write. It's a pleasure combining my background in journalism with my passion for triathlon.


- Name 3 great things about your favorite local fitness event!

- Name 3 things to smile about on race day!

A smile on race day can do powerful things.

photo by me: bikes lined up ready for the youth triathlon 2010

Hot Pepper Moments - Handling If-then's

Our son Elias rubbed his eyes last night after handling hot peppers in the garden... not good. It was terrifying.

Ken and I got his face under the running water in the kitchen sink and then his whole body in the shower. It was scary and stressful and thankfully Elias is ok.

I wrote about the experience on my GOTRIbal blog. GOTRIbal is an organization created to empower and connect women through the journey of endurance sport.

Please check out my post and let me know what you think of GOTRIbal Ambassador and three-time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington's advice for handling if-then moments as an endurance athlete.

Screen Printing & Wampas

In first grade I took forever to pick out my first t-shirt design. I chose a really cute kitten sitting next to a sundae and I spelled out my name with matching fuzzy letters. I loved the way the heat-transfer smelled!

Over the years I've made fun t-shirts for families, vacations, teams and special events. We tried spray-on tie die this year at our middle son's birthday party (it worked great!).

It was fun this summer getting a close-up look at the screen printing process. When I picked up my Village Athlete shirts, Steve from Sport Products gave us a tour.

The shirts are placed on little holding platforms and then the screen design/frame is squashed down over the shirt. Then color is scraped/painted back and forth over the stencil-like cutout screen, leaving the desired print on the shirt. The shirt below took three applications of white in order to show up on the dark red shirt. Then the shirt rides along a conveyor belt and goes underneath an oven to set the design.

We also checked out the embroidery process. I forgot how many stitches per minute this machine is capable of, 1,500 maybe?

I love the color and fabric of my shirts this year (blue shirts in box above). I intentionally kept the text subtle and basic.

"The Wampa almost killed Luke," says our middle son. "If he was around at dinosaur time paleontologists would now be searching for him." (Declared during an afternoon session of the Empire Strikes Back.)

Questions for You:
- Do you have a favorite t-shirt from your childhood or now as an adult?

- I thought the ice-cave fuzzy guy from Star Wars was called a Wompa, but now I know it's a Wampa.

Ferris, Donkey Kong & Fast Times of Summer!

In the spirit of Ferris Bueller, I'll say, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile you can miss it."

Summer = fast. Here are a few captured moments:

- Rollin' with Donkey Kong: Track camp was fun, we all spent time playing (yes that's a Donkey Kong monster truck)! Read my earlier posts about track camp:

- Fields, fireworks, freedom: I spent the 4th with my family -- fireworks, lake swimming, food and fun as a fam.

Trails & TRX: I celebrated freedom by running on the trails and later enjoyed my TRX.

Questions for You:
- What's the best thing about Summer?
- How are you staying active?
- Favorite Ferris Bueller scene?

Track Camp - 1980s Meets 2011

In the summer of third grade I ran the 400. Our city held community track meets at one of the high schools. My younger sister and I ran several events. She excelled at short bursts, like the 50 and 100 m dash. And I preferred longer events. At school I also liked the hurdles and high jump and once tied an older boy for best high jump. (Read the rest of my previous post here.)

This summer our oldest son Truitt went to track camp and ran his first 400. It was his favorite event that day.

I loved watching him run. Like me he started slow and let his pace build along the loop and in the final stretch he passed three kids before the finish. His younger brothers and I cheered from the stands.

And before we went home, I took his picture on the track. I had my photo in mind, but hadn't studied the details to try and replicate one with Truitt. Looking at us side-by-side I see:
- His posture is better.
- His shoes are nicer.
- Our stance and hand positioning is similar.
- And by luck, our position along two different tracks is similar (off by a lane).

Questions for You:

- What do you see?

- What do you have in common with your kids?

400 m, Super 8, Get in the Game

In the summer of third grade I ran the 400. Our city held community track meets at one of the high schools. My younger sister and I ran several events. She excelled at short bursts, like the 50 and 100 m dash. And I preferred longer events. At school I also liked the hurdles and high jump and once tied an older boy for best high jump.

The 400 drew a mix of kids, boys and girls ages 9-12. My dad gave me a pep talk pre-race suggesting I run a steady lap vs. starting off too fast and then burning out. So when the pack pulled away, I stayed steady, determined to run the race correctly. My dad filmed the race with 8mm. He zoomed out, panning between the race leaders and me, running on my own in last place. The gap grew and Dad's camerawork was unsteady, likely due to laughing (in a good way.)

  • I didn't fall.

  • I didn't pull a hamstring.

But there I was in last place -- and I chose to keep running following the plan. I caught and passed someone in the final stretch.

The 400 is one of my favorite life moments. There are so many races worth running, experiences worth having. If you're curious about a sport, get up and go. Stop waiting for the perfect moment -- it's not coming. Instead, give yourself permission to be a beginner and go. Get in the game.

The film is a family favorite at holidays. It makes me laugh too. I asked Dad to help me transfer it to digital format, even if it means filming the screen and then uploading. 8mm transfer is tricky with audio and super old equipment.

Questions for You:
- What track event is your favorite to watch or compete in?
- Have you seen Super 8? I loved it. I miss making movies as a kid.

Favorite Track Moments
Bonnie Richardson, a girl from Texas, wins the state team track title by herself. Twice.

Eric Liddell's
1924 Olympic 400. Watch the Chariots of Fire clip.

Derek Redmond's 1992 Olympic 400 semifinal.

Heather Doriden's 600 M race at Big 10 Indoor Track Championships

Buck Melanoma & My "16-year-old Me" Sunburn...

As a high schooler I walked the Ft. Myers beach for hours. It was cloudy, not too hot and the idea of using sunscreen didn't cross my mind.

Later on I was hideous: my skin was purple, even my eyelids were burned so you could barely see my eyes. That night, I'd take a vinegar bath, to reduce the sting.

And while the burn of a severe sunburn eventually goes away, my skin will never forget. And because I was sunburned before age 18, my chances of getting Melanoma double. Strike one.

If you've seen the Dear 16-year-old me video circulating on facebook you may recall:

  • one bad sunburn before you're 18 doubles your chance of developing melanoma.... and other factors put you at risk, like having fair skin, red hair or 50+ moles, or a weakened immune system or family history of skin cancer. Potential Strike two.

My Dad was treated for actinic keratosis (AK) this year. They took a biopsy of the main spot on his face and then treated him using photodynamic therapy. It's like a face peel with an activating agent.

A chemical is put on the spots that are AK and it adheres to them. You sit for about an hour and they put a blue light on it for exactly 16 minutes, 40 seconds, which takes off all the AK spots without cutting. Then your face looks sunburned and you can't go outside for 48 hours. When my dad woke up, his pillow was bloody all the way through to the mattress pad.

Both my mom and dad have had other types of precancer pieces taken off their faces or necks and I believe my grandparents did as well.

- Recently the FDA released new rules and standards regarding sunscreen and its usage.

Read the new rules. For example, sunscreens can no longer claim to be waterproof and sunscreens with "SPF of 2-14 will be required to have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging." Learn more about skin cancer at

- Skin cancer = NOT funny.

This Uncle Buck clip using the word Melanoma makes me laugh though! Watch the trailer. I think my favorite two seconds are when he tries to sit politely and then watching his eyes focus on the principal.

If you can't see the video, watch here

And because one mole-related video isn't enough, watch this Austin Powers clip.

Questions for You:

- Which one are you? A twiddler, dreamer, silly heart or jabberbox?
- How do you care for your skin?
- I love quacamole! Do you?

Swearing at Church Camp: Summer Adventures

photos: My dream came true the year I worked as summer staff---I got to be one of the puppet fish. (right) We went to the Apostle Islands for a staff team-building weekend.

A few weeks ago we spent the weekend camping at the church camp I attended as a kid. Lake Beauty Bible Camp is in Long Prairie, Minn., about a seven hour drive from where we live.

photos: Camp-style braids, hat, flannel and layers. The most glorious crisp-rich dutch oven potatoes. My spork, I love it.

We set up our tent immediately and wrapped that up right as the first drops of rain fell. It would rain for the next 12 hours and thunderstorm later on during the long weekend.
Thankfully our tent and gear stayed dry and warm and all three kids slept through the thunder! We signed up for the meal plan for lunch and dinner, but made breakfast on our campfire each morning. We brought our dutch ovens, skillet, kettle and coffee press.

photos: Ken enjoying breakfast.

It was fun showing my family around camp, comparing what was new and what was not. When I worked on staff, I was one of two activities directors and I led and played games with the campers in groups from 10-200 kids ages 6-18.

photos: hi-ropes course, the pamper pole, playing soft baseball in the gym.

As a family we spent a lot of time playing:
- a game we call run scrub run
- kickball
- baseball
- paddling
- hiking
- cards
- army guys
- on the jungle gym.

photos: On our way to chapel. The dining hall. Playing Bandits.

photos: Fun times around the campsite.

photos: bacon, blue skies and coffee.

photos: Little Falls, Minn. Beautiful spot along the way, though being close to rushing water freaks me out.

And finally, I have a special little story about swearing at church camp.

Our youngest (Orry) is in pull-ups. He's about the same age that his older brothers made the move to underwear, but we're not there yet. Fine.

It's our first morning at camp and we're settling in. My husband walks Orry to the bathroom. The bathroom building in family camp has flushing toilets, but it's rustic (not much water pressure, exposed pipes, bugs etc). He and Orry walk up to a stall and creak open the plywood door. They observe the clean, but rust-stained toilet before them...

And then Orry drops the f-bomb. "Oh f***," he declares, this from a little boy who craps his pull-up. Go ahead and pray for us.

Questions for You:
- Did you attend camp as a kid?
- Do you know what a Pamper Pole is?
- What's your favorite campfire meal?

photos all by me.