Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Almost Midwest Bound

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are moving from Coastal Georgia to Northeast Kansas in roughly two weeks. When we found out in June I immediately panicked and probably overreacted a bit, but twelve weeks was pretty short notice. I needed some time to "be mad" about having to withdraw from this year's Augusta 70.3, but after that I was able to see all the positives of this sudden move.

Joel is active duty Army. Six years ago we moved from Northeast Kansas to here in Coastal Georgia. Yes, we are going back to exactly where we came from. We already know our way around and where everything is. We were married there and had our oldest daughter there. I met my best friend Loraine there. "I" was there before we were "we". I joined the Army about two years before Joel did, and was stationed in Kansas in early 2002, he got his assignment to Kansas in late 2004 and we met in early 2005. So, we have quite a history with the wheat state.

Ever since 2010 and 2011, when Joel and I started our active lifestyle, we have often talked about all the great activities we could have done in Kansas had we had an active lifestyle when we lived there, and how we wished we did. Now we get that second chance. Northeast Kansas houses one of the last natural tall grass prairies in the country. Its endless and stretches for miles and miles. In our research we have found countless running races and cycling events on the prairie. I even went ahead and registered for a trail 25k running race on the prairie on September 21st, plus, its my first 25k.

Moving there also opens a brand new world for Joel, gravel rides and races. These gravel rides are anywhere from 20 miles to 200 miles, done on a cyclocross bike on bone jarring gravel roads out in the middle of nowhere. Well, only one is 200 miles, the Dirty Kanza 200, which is pretty much the Ironman of gravel racing. Its tough, soul-stealing, breaks off its competitors with no remorse, and Joel is doing it next year. The interesting thing is, he was going to do it next year regardless of where we lived. We were planning to make the trip from Coastal Georgia for him to do it, but now, coincidentally, it will be in our backyard.

Triathlon season in the Midwest is not nearly as long as it is here in the South. Here in the South we enjoy a nice long triathlon season, starting in March and ending in November. In the Midwest it only lasts from roughly May to September. To give myself variety and to stay motivated, I'm taking up trail running and Cyclocross. Kansas, especially where we are moving to with the tall grass prairies and the Flint Hills, is full of trails. Joel bought me some Newton BOCO ATs for the trails. I have ran on the dirt oval in them and they are great, I can't wait to hit the Kansas trails with them.

Our girls have been great throughout this. They are excited about moving. They are excited about seeing snow in the winter and not having to wear uniforms to school. Their resiliency is truly wonderful. Through their eyes this is a fun adventure. We aren't being naive about this though, we know there will be a few adjustments once we get there, and we may be drying a few tears.

When we are going, Fort Riley, is located right next to Manhattan, KS, home of Kansas State University. Ever since I was a soldier stationed at Fort Riley, I wanted to go to K State. Between two deployments to Iraq, as well as not being able to use active duty tuition assistance because of my weight, it never happened for me. The day we were married, Joel had bought a K State pint glass and put it in our hotel room we would be returning to later that day, as a promise I would one day get to attend my dream school. Life, and kids got in the way of that dream, plus the fact that we had to eventually move to Coastal Georgia. Now I get a second chance. The school I earned my Associates from accepts transfers to K State. Just the thought of this makes me teary eyed as I type this, gives my butterflies and makes me shake a bit. A degree from K State, one of my life's goals and dreams.

I'm going to miss the wonderful friends I have made in the South, and going to miss the nice long triathlon season, but looking forward to this new chapter and writing about my Midwest adventures.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back in Blog World

So, I'm back.

I deleted my previous blog "Fatty to Ironmom" and took a hiatus from social networking. I kept my Facebook page as I know almost every one of my Facebook friends in person. It may have seemed as if I disappeared off the face of the planet, but I was still around, on the road and in the pool training. Racing often as I love racing.

In January I had a health setback, while running a 50k an ulcer I had perforated, but my body didn't let me know until five days later. For five days all sorts of junk was spewing into my body from the hole in my intestines. The resulting sepsis almost killed me. I had emergency surgery to repair the hole and started the road to recovery. In my recovery process I realized there has been so much more to my journey than being a former morbidly obese woman, which was the premise of "Fatty to Ironmom" and at the time of my emergency surgery, I had finished two Ironmans.

I decided to start blogging again because I truly enjoy writing about my races and race experiences. Now, I am writing under the premise of just being Jillian. The weird, nerdy, eccentric person I am, the person I am because of all my life experiences thus far.

Let my give a brief recap of my race year so far:

In March, 10 weeks after my emergency gastro-intestinal surgery, I did the first triathlon of the year at Fort Gordon, GA. I ended up placing 3rd female overall

In April, we took a trip to the historic and famed University of Georgia for the Early Bird Sprint Triathlon in Athens, GA. I ended up placing 1st in age group

In May I raced every weekend. The first weekend I did a 10k and got my PR (47:52). The second weekend I did the Ride on Ryan Sprint Triathlon in Savannah,GA with my hubby, and I ended up placing 1st in age group.

The third weekend we took the trip to beautiful Jekyll Island, GA for the Turtle Crawl Sprint Triathlon. The rough seas made for a rough swim for all participants. I ended placing 1st in age group.

The fourth weekend Joel and I ran the Savannah all-out mile. It was fun to see how fast we could run a mile. This is the only race Joel has ever beat me at. I ran a 6:35, Joel ran a 6:22.

June brought the annual Trybee Island Sprint Triathlon on Tybee Island, GA. Mentally the race was tough for me. Joel was away at a service school and had told me two days before the race that we were moving to Kansas in early September. I was already registered for this year's Augusta 70.3 so I immediately panicked. Having to race with moving on my mind was tough. I ended up placing 1st in age group. Shortly after that, I decided to withdraw from Augusta 70.3, as having to move halfway across the country three weeks before race day is too big of an obstacle to overcome.

July I made the trip to Columbus, GA for the Chattahoochee Challenge Sprint Triathlon. Bad weather made for an interesting race. I ended up placing 2nd in age group.

This month started off with Joel and I racing the Skidaway Island Sprint Triathlon in Savannah, GA. Was a fun day racing with my hubby. I ended up placing 1st in age group.

Last weekend I race the Jacksonville Triathlon Series Race #3 at Fernandina Beach, FL. I did the olympic this time, I had raced the sprint four times previously. Olympic is my least favorite distance, but I raced hard and placed 4th in my age. PR for me (2:41). The podium was 5 deep so I got to take home a sweet medal.

Now that we are all caught up. Yes, I'm moving from Coastal Georgia to Northeast Kansas within the next few weeks. We came here from Kansas, so in a way it feels like we are going back home. I'm already registered for races up there and looking forward to new Midwest adventures.

Looking forward to once again sharing my racing and training adventures, thanks for reading!