Action-Packed Weekend...So Far...

After being sidelined for a couple of days due to a terrible head cold, I was seriously anxious to get back on the "workout wagon" for today's GTS. TEAM had a special Group Training Session planned for today! All TNT teams for both the Spring and Summer seasons (triathletes, marathoners, cyclists, and adventure racers) were getting together for a group run. After the run, all of our coaches, mentors, and LLS staff members were hosting a picnic.

The plan was slightly foiled by the torrential rain that we've been having for 2 straight days... but TEAM doesn't cancel for rain! There were still a ton of us huddled around in the pouring rain before 8am this morning. We did something really cool - the first mile of the run was a "Silent Mile" - everyone ran in silence while we reflected on the purpose of our training. We ran in silence in memory of or to honor all of our personal heroes as well as all of those that are currently battling blood cancers. It was really quite touching!

Apparently, I was quite inspired and caught up in the energy of the day... because, as the rain came down HARDER and HARDER, I just kept running. Before I realized it, I had run 4 miles (for the record, before today I had never run more than a 5K (3.1 miles) at one time in my life)!! I was soaked from head to toe - I had to keep pulling up my running tights because they were so heavy with water. The run was followed by an "indoor picnic" with tons of great food!

After a trip home to warm up and put on dry clothes, we headed out to...where else? REI for their "Scratch and Dent" sale! Picked up a few good buys on accessories, but while we were there, I saw an upgraded version of the new bike I bought less than 3 weeks ago. (Oh no, you know where this is going...)

I am convinced by my "ultra tech-y" husband ;-) (who wants to have the top of the line gear of every kind!) and the super-nice manager at REI to go home and retrieve my not yet 3 week-old bike and exchange it for this much better one that only costs a little bit more due to their AWESOME sale. And of course, this is not the REI store that is close to our house... so I sit here late tonight and introduce you to... My NEW NEW bike... the K2 T:Nine Twister (pictured above)!

This one has the fancy clipless pedals - so now I need to buy cycling shoes, oh yeah, and learn how to use them before next Saturday's group ride! Now I have anxiety again... STAY TUNED...swim clinic tomorrow!


YOUR Support is SO AWESOME!!

I just wanted to start this entry by expressing my sincere THANKS and gratitude to all of you who continue to donate to LLS and support me in this journey! I'm four weeks into my training, and YOU have already supported me to the tune of over $500! (To those of you who have given or mailed checks to me, you will get donor credit on my website once LLS processes your payment...I'm told this can take a couple of weeks). This is an AMAZING start to my campaign - but I still have quite a way to go! Please continue to follow my progress and spread the word about what I'm doing - it really is a great cause!!

Monday: Practiced my swim drills after work at the gym. I really am taking the swimming part seriously, as it is my biggest "opportunity."

Tuesday: 5:15am boot camp... then hit the road for an overnight biz trip to Charlotte.

Wednesday: Workout #1 - ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill at the hotel gym. Made it back to Atlanta in time for Workout #2 - weekly Team swim! Made it "swimmingly" through all of my drills, and right before getting out of the pool...drum roll.... I started swimming freestyle...in a fashion that I'm told actually resembled proper swim technique! My swim coach was actually having me help demonstrate proper form to other teammates in my "beginner lane!" This is nothing short of amazing, as I would barely swim with my face in the water just four weeks ago! I can't give enough credit to my amazing coaches and the whole Team in Training program!

Today is my weekly rest day...but I have an exciting training calendar lined up for the next few days... boot camp tomorrow morning, Team run on Saturday morning, and a swim clinic on Sunday morning...



At Least I Can Ride A Bike!

Although I may be a bit "challenged" in the swimming arena, I'm happy to report that my first Team ride went smoothly this weekend! Unlike the nightmare I had Friday night, my coaches did NOT affix training wheels to my bike when I showed up Saturday morning :-)

It was 27 degrees when we started riding, but had warmed up to about 50 by the time we finished... much better! Let me back up a little bit though...

Thursday was a day of rest...

Friday - Workout #1 - 5:15am boot camp...28 degrees - there were only 3 of us, so we set up a circuit in one of the ladies' garage, which turned out to be a GREAT idea! Workout #2 - 1 hour swim at the gym - working on drills that I learned at the Wednesday Team swim.

Saturday - Team ride, as mentioned above.

Today - supposed to have been a 20 minute run... was WAY too cold & windy outside, and I never made it to the gym. I'm rather bummed and disappointed. BUT, I promise to make it up!

Training for this week is going to be a bit of a challenge...but I am committed to finding a way to get it all in. I will be out of town on business for a couple of days mid-week, and out of the office another two full days on top of that, so my schedule will be really out of whack. But, I will be creative and work out early, or late, or in the hotel fitness room, etc...



Fallen Heroes of Georgia

For any of you blog followers who are here in Georgia, there is a 5K, 10K and "1K Fun Run" event being held in Hoschton on Saturday, March 28th, 2009. The run is in honor of the 141 Fallen Soldiers from Georgia that have died defending our freedoms in the Global War on Terror.

We received information about this run from my husband's friend and co-worker, who lost his 23-year old daughter Ashley, an Army MP, to a suicide bomber in Mosul, Iraq in 2006.

From the email we received: "Attending the event will be the Patriot Guard of Georgia, local police and fire departments, vehicles and displays from the Army 802nd, Army 48th, Army 148th, Chick-fil-A, some Atlanta Falcons to hand out awards and possibly Congressman Nathan Deal. The 48th and 148th are planning on participating as part of community involvement, because they will be training for deployment to Afghanistan in late spring. So we really need to show our support to them!"

Click here for online event information or here to download a .pdf file with registration information. If any of you plan to attend, let me know and we'll meet up there!


Still Going Strong...

...and getting stronger...

Monday: Workout #1 - 5:15am boot camp - circuit training (good mixture of upper body, lower body, and abs, mixed in with some short sprint running) Workout #2 - 1 hour swim, practicing the drills learned last Wednesday night @ Team swim.

Tuesday: Workout #1 - 5:15am boot camp - 1 mile timed run; push ups, sit ups, and various other "torture" drills (bear crawls uphill, chariot races - things Jillian Michaels has the contestants do on "The Biggest Loser"). Workout #2 - met 3 of my fellow Team members for a 2.5 mile run.

Today: Just returned from Team in Training swim - I am proud to report that I am consistently keeping my eyes open under water (see post The Drain Monster if you don't know why this is a big deal)! I'm going to try to fit in another swim day/night on my own, so that I'm swimming 3x/week, at least until I feel like I am mastering the technical aspects of the swim.

---Upcoming... rest day tomorrow (HOORAY FOR REST!)... boot camp Friday morning, and hopefully a swim Friday night. Team bike and run on Saturday morning. Sunday will be either a swim clinic (if scheduled), or I will run.

Sunday afternoon is also the "Honored Hero" party for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This is a gathering where we get to meet all of the patients who are currently battling the blood cancers that we are trying to cure! These "heroes" are our inspiration and motivation for all of this training... it reminds us of why we joined TNT!

Thank you so much for all of your continued encouragement and support!

My fundraising website:


Rock the Run!

My training schedule for today called for a 20-minute run... I took advantage of a nice, sunny, 60-degree day and headed to Sims Lake Park. Sims Lake just opened last October, and it has a great 1.2-mile paved loop around a lake. Better yet, it's SO SO close to my house - so very easy to get a quick workout in when you have a busy day and not a lot of time.

I ran 2 loops around the lake - 2.4 miles - in 25:43. Not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but constant running nonetheless...

When I do a kickboxing class, or spin class, I love the high-energy hip-hop/pop/dance music to work out to... but for whatever reason, when I run, I favor rock and alternative tracks...here is what was loaded on my iPod shuffle for today's run:

1. "American Girl" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
2. "Mr. Brightside" - The Killers
3. "Love and Memories" - O.A.R.
4. "You Shook Me All Night Long" - AC/DC
5. "Rise Above This" - Seether
6. "I Don't Want To Be In Love" - Good Charlotte
7. "Wake Up Call" - Maroon 5
8. "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" - Bowling For Soup

My newsletters went out in the mail last Thursday... I hope you enjoy reading it and learning more about my journey and about Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you don't receive one, it's because I don't have your address! You don't have to miss out...just email me your address (amjackson@bellsouth.net) and I will drop one in the mail for you! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!



Discovering Where I Live

It just amazes me that I have lived in metro Atlanta for nearly 9 years and it seems like every year we discover more wonderful state parks, hiking trails, bike trails, and other outdoor recreation areas that surround us! And they've been here all along - miles and miles of greenways nestled in wooded areas behind shopping malls, residential areas, and business parks. And so close to home!

I am SO enjoying finding new places to ride and run, and cannot wait to hit all of these places regularly when the weather warms up for good! Training update from the past few days:

Thursday: rest day as planned :-)

Friday: AM boot camp - decent amount of running, uphill sprints, upper body strength-training focus

Today: 12-mile bike ride on the Big Creek Greenway (first time on that trail and will definitely ride there a lot more!)



3 More Days Down...

Monday: Swam for about 30 minutes at the gym after work. Tried to really work on opening my eyes under water and slow down and focus on my breathing....feeling better each time. :-)

Tuesday: 5:15am boot camp! 1 hour of running, lunges, push ups, tricep dips, ab work, and various other cardio and strength training drills! ;-)

Today: Workout #1 - 5:15am boot camp! 1 hour of running, upper body weights, push ups, and abs! Workout #2 - swam with Team from 8:00pm-9:00pm. Worked on kicking drills, back balance, side balance, active balance, and skating (these are all drills intended to build the necessary foundation for a proper, efficient freestyle swim stroke). I am not exaggerating when I say that I need these drills... I am not a good swimmer from a technical standpoint. I am so thankful for our great coaches and mentors, and am so excited to (hopefully) see improvement each week!

Tomorrow is my rest day... then boot camp on Friday morning. Right now? Sleep!




I took the plunge and bought a road bike this morning (K2 T:Nine Whirlwind)- just in time to take it out for a ride on a BEAUTIFUL February day in Georgia (I'm talking 70 degrees and sunny at ride time!)!!! I had found this one online at REI and decided that since it was in the price range of the ones I tested yesterday, I would stop by the store to see if they had one I could try out.... Well, folks - JACKPOT - not only did they have one sized just right for me - the store had it for $300 LESS than the online (sale) price...yes...$300 LESS!!! Because it is a 2008 model and not a 2009, they were closing it out. Um, yeah...like that matters to me.

While it was being tuned up and prepped for me, I also hit the jackpot in the cycling clearance bin... new gloves, and two cycling jerseys... really nice ones, for like 60% off! I'm in love with REI today :-)


Bike Shopping

Thursday: Rest day (catching up on sleep was much appreciated after a few late nights in a row this week!)

Friday: Hit the gym after work for a light run on the treadmill (coaches keep reminding us not to overdo it early on... slower now will make us faster later)

Today: Meeting with Team at 8am at running shoe store... education about proper shoe fit, foot biomechanics, etc.. followed by a group ride/run along the Chattahoochee River. Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around the whole time due to a prior commitment, but I managed to hit the gym later in the morning and ride the stationary bike for about 20 minutes. Later, I went "road bike" shopping, and test rode 3 different bikes out on the road for another 15-20 minutes... so all that combined makes up by bike workout today. :-)

Didn't purchase a road bike yet... was just trying to do my research and narrow down my options... there are multiple trains of thought on this - some say that since it's my first triathlon that I can just do it with any bike - including my mountain bike. I'm really not a fan of that idea because I am going to put in a lot of time and effort training for this race, and although I know I'm not going to be in a position to win or anything, I'd like to participate with the right equipment. Of course, the fact that even an entry-level road bike is still rather pricey does cause me to consider using my existing bike... BUT, I did find one that I liked today, so... stay tuned!

THANK YOU again to all of you who have given me such positive feedback on my journey! Your encouragement and donations to LLS are keeping me so excited and motivated every day!!



Are Those Icicles In My Hair?

Update from yesterday...after a 12.5 hour day trip to Charlotte for work, I managed to hit the gym and ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes last night. My training schedule called for a 20-30 minute bike ride, but an indoor bike was what I could fit in after 6+ hours of driving - and was much needed after sitting in the car and in meetings all day ;-)

Tonight was our first group swim with Team... we swam in lanes with our mentors while the coaches assessed our "starting" swim ability. Starting next week, we will be in lanes with fellow trainees who are of similar skill level - everything from "omigod, I'm drowning!" up to "former competitive swimmer." I imagine (hope) that I will fall somewhere in between. The swim drills tonight were great, and I feel totally energized now (though I NEED to go to sleep)! The worst part? Getting out of the outdoor pool (covered for winter) and running outside (not covered) to the locker room. In 19 degree weather. With seriously gusty winds. Yeah, I'm more than ready for spring.



The Drain Monster

OK, I'm just going to get this out of the way early on... I'm afraid of the pool. Well, more accurately, I'm afraid of the various drain mechanisms in the pool. I don't want to think about them, I don't want to step on them, and heaven help me if I open my eyes under water and see one! Eeek!

Yes, I'm a freak. But, we all have our things, right?

I've known for quite a while that the whole swimming thing is going to be the biggest obstacle I'm going to have to overcome in order to complete this triathlon. I started swimming in the pool at the gym about a month ago with a friend of mine. I'm not afraid of the water, I know how to keep myself afloat and swim (although not well from a technical standpoint), I just don't want to open my eyes when my face is in the water, for fear of some plastic contraption that threatens to suck me into the abyss! So far, people have been able to coach me on my swim strokes and my breathing technique, but no one knows what to say about my fear of the drain. They probably think I must be kidding. I wish I was.

So, did I make my 5am swim this morning? No. It's one thing to make it to boot camp at 5:15am every morning, or to the gym when I'm meeting someone there for a 5:30am class. But, to get up and face the pool BY MYSELF at that hour... I totally chickened out! HOWEVER, I did redeem myself by going to the gym to swim laps after work. The pool was packed, which was good for alleviating my fears, but bad because I felt rushed and crowded. But, I swam for about 20 minutes and tried to work on my breathing. Did I open my eyes underwater? Nope. The way I figure, the triathlon will be in Lake Lanier- what I am going to see then other than an old washing machine and beer bottles?

So, I'm looking forward to our first group swim on Wednesday night... to see if my coaches and my teammates can get me over this irrational fear...



Bricks, You Say?

Anticipating a beautiful, sunny Sunday, I was looking forward to taking my bike out today... I had a bunch of errands to run, but I loaded up my bike and helmet and took off. Errands ran longer than expected, but I still managed to make it out to the greenway by around 2:15pm. Did just a light ride (on my mountain bike - since I haven't bought my road bike yet), about 30-40 minutes, then decided to try what triathletes call "bricks."

Bricks are the drills where you train yourself to transition from one discipline to another, in this case, biking to running. They are also affectionately called "bricks" because this is exactly what your legs feel like when you jump off the bike and start to run! No joke. Legs = ha ha, yeah right. Didn't run very far - just back up the trail from the parking lot, turned around, and back to the car. So, this is what I have to look forward to... :-)

Weather @ Training Time: 62, Sunny

As a side note, I bought a bike carrier for my car today...but brought it home and decided that I had no interest whatsoever in reading the instructions to figure out how to attach it to the car.... alas, bike carrier currently resides in the garage, and bike is shoved in the back of the Explorer...

Planning a 5am swim at the gym before work tomorrow morning....