Random Off Season Thoughts

I love the month of October!  Last year at this time I was training for IMAZ and we were having an amazing fall!  This October I am on the extreme opposite end of that – I am still resting after Nationals LC that was almost a month ago now.   Since it has been a busy and random month, I’m going to bullet point the highlights and lowlights.

  • Speaking of lowlights, I got my hair done.  I have been seeing the gal who cuts my hair for at least 10 years.  I probably should try someone new — but I am fiercely loyal in all aspects of my life and that includes the gal who cuts my hair!  (really?)  Anyway, I like her because I walked in there last week and she said, “OK…time to keep it real, Jenny.”  She told me that she cannot just highlight my hair blonde anymore.  I have too much grey and it is time to color it – back to more of my natural hair color.  BLAH!!  It is darker than I like it, but at least you cannot see all my grey when I have a pony tail in. I wanted to slap her because she is barely out of diapers, but that would not get me too far – and it surely won’t take away my greys.
  • Jerome has been in China for 2 weeks.  He now goes 1x/quarter, so I am used to him being gone.  The first week is lovely – quiet, I can go to bed at 8:30pm.  But, the 2nd week sucks and this cycle was especially hard because over this trip, my dear grandmother passed away.  She passed away on a Friday and services were on a Sunday.  I did not even get in touch with Jerome in enough time for him to come home (and, it would have been too much). While my grandmother lived a  full life and died at 90 years old, she still was super special to me and my family and my last living grandparent and the end of an era.  Being with my family and extended family for a few days during this process made me realize HOW lucky I am /we are and how much I value my family and living so close to everyone.  We all could pull together and celebrate my grandmother’s life!  Just going back to Kankakee, IL where my parents grew up and where I spent a large part of my childhood, was very special.
  • Graham is really getting into this XC stuff.  His school does not have a program (he is only in 5th grade)…but there is a team of local kids (well, it is not that close to us really) that practice and compete in meets every Saturday and sometimes week-days.  I did not want to push Graham so it was on his watch when he asked to go.  We took him and have been pleasantly surprised.  This is the most NATURAL I have ever seen Graham.  He is a good soccer player, but there is something about his running – he seems to be in his element.  And, it is a pure joy to watch him run.  I have never felt so nervous or proud in my entire life.  We are careful with it though –  make sure he does it for FUN and winning is not everything…etc…They sound like common sense things, but what I experienced at his last meet I will never allow to happen to Graham.  At his last meet, which was a XC mile, there was an 11 year old girl there.  Her mom had on a Chicago Marathon Finisher Jacket on.  This girl was in the back of the finishing girls and you can tell she was struggling.  Her mom literally ripped her apart – for all of us to hear.  Her mom told her (yelled at her) that she had GIVEN up and that her form fell apart and she looked like SH*T out there.  I was mortified.  The girl was crying.  IT is exactly what I think is wrong with kid’s sports these days and I was shell shocked.   Graham looked at me (teachable moment) and I just told him, “Just go and have fun and run your hardest out there” since his race was up next.  Win, lose or draw, WHO cares.  Of course it is fun to win – but that is NOT real life stuff.  So, Jerome and I are careful not to focus on that with these kids.  There is plenty of time for that!
  • After my Triathlon season ended, I thought I would want to race Cross.  I actually LOVE Cross and have raced it a few years back.  But, I just don’t have the interest now.  I am usually ALL OR NOTHING type of athlete.  Either I am in to win or I am out to play.  I would have to practice to do well at Cross and get that FIRE to compete.  I just don’t have it right now.  In fact, I don’t have the interest in my bike this fall.  I have ridden my bike 2x since Nationals.  Once up Lemmon when I was there for our anniversary & once this week with Elizabeth on a coffee ride.  Both were lovely, but plenty.  There is plenty of time for the bike. (My TT bike is still in the bike box from Oklahoma)  So, not sure I will Cross this year….too bad because this would be the year (since no later season triathlons), but I am not feeling the love right now.
  • In my off season, I have been thinking a little bit about what I want to do next year and I do not know!!  Jerome is signing up for IMAZ.  He loves the IM and he took this year completely off.  In fact, he drank more beer than I drank water – but Jerome is such a great athlete naturally that when he “flips” that switch, he will be ready to train and race fast.   I am not sure what I feel like I want to do.  That is the great thing about accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish in the last 12 months.  I had 3 goals….#1: PR at the IM and q-fy for Kona (done) #2:  Podium at AG Short Course Nationals (done)  #3:  Podium and win AG at LC Nats (done).  So, I am completely satisfied with the last 12 months.  Now I have to see what excites me for 2013.  I am not sure if Jerome can talk me into IMAZ or not.  One day I will go back to Kona, but not sure I want that now?  I am not sure I want to train for the IM with the kids this age (I LOVE THIS AGE).  Who knows…as corny as it sounds, I am just grateful to be healthy and motivated to be in a position to be EXCITED TO race and get back to training soon!   What motivates me?  I will say that I am really looking forward to not only USMS State Swim Championships in April but also the National Championships for SCY USMS swimming in May!  That is one of my 2013 goals:   TOP 3 at Nationals in the 1650 (that will be aggressive).
  • Speaking of April….I am working on the JHC Triathlon camp for April.  Easter is on March 31st next year, usually the weekend we are in Tucson for camp.  So, once Jerome gets home from China, and we solidify the housing arrangements (in process), I will announce 2013 CAMP.  Look for the announcement on or before November 1st with registration following shortly thereafter.
  • AND, I am seriously considering having blogger/FB camp down in Tucson too.  Not necessarily my current athletes I work with, but my on line friends.  Some I have worked with in the past and miss!  And, others, who I have become friends with.  Nothing organized here but a weekend away of training.  My little condo does not hold that many people, but I am thinking about this for 2013 as well (earlier like February)…..


  1. Jen, I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother!

    I think we need a photo of the new hair.

    Off-season is fun, I’m glad you are enjoying it too! It’s nice to feel no pressure to get on the bike or do something specific.

    Camp! You should make ELF go :)

  2. I agree we need a photo of the hair! I’m sure you look smashing as always. I hope you went up to that woman, and said something smart to her. So sad to see that. Glad Graham is loving running and is doing it on his own.
    Sadly due to work commitments I think camp is out for me next year. BUT I would totally be up for a weekend away of training (particularly if I am west coast based) that I could commit to more last minute (of course with my own accommodations). HUGS!

  3. I have way too many comments to leave on here about this post. So much to say! All in all, a blogger camp would be absolutely fun. If you can swing it, I think you should. xo

  4. I had no idea you were from Kankakee. My first roommate in College was from near there.

    So you started in the small city, and went to the big. I started in the Burbs, and went small.

    I hate traffic.

    Also kinda sucks your hubby has to go to China every quarter. That isn’t a fun flight I’d imagine.

    Oh well, take care, and have fun, and all that other stuff.

    Have a good weekend too. :)

  5. I saw a picture of Graham running on FB and he just looked awesome. What a stride! I hope he enjoys it and continues because it’s an amazing sport – it shaped my life in so many ways!

  6. Seriously interested in a training trip, though I can’t keep up with you.

  7. Yea Jen! IT was so great seeing you in OK! I am already back in the water training for State Swim Championships in April. I will be there this year!

  8. This is a great post Jen. First I was cracking up over the grey hairs and highlights – seriously, you have grey hairs? Hard to believe. Is it us athletes that give you grey hairs? =) Then my heart swelled over the loss of your grandmother and your recognition of how important it is to live close to your family. That is pretty much the only hard part for me about living in Hawaii is being SO FAR away from my family. It is really hard….

    Congratulations on your accomplishments this year!! Good luck with the soul searching re-next year and enjoy the off-season!

  9. I’m sorry about your grandmother – but it is really nice that your family is close and you could all be together, it’s things like that which matter the most. I think it is so neat that Graham is enjoying cross-country (and doing well at it).

  10. Jen
    Just last month I had to switch from a rinse to permanent color to cover up my grays! The rinse which used to last 4 months was only lasting a few weeks and the whole from of my ponytail was gray. So I am right there with you!
    Oh and I’m glad to hear you’ve only ridden your bike twice, I’m maybe at 3x since Sept but 2 were pretty short :)

  11. My condolences on losing your grandmother, Jen. I am very sorry for your loss.

    I can’t imagine you with any other color of hair! It will be so nice to be out of that highlighting/color loop, though. You can spend on the $$ you save on M&Ms! 😉

  12. Keep me posted on the Tuscon friend camp!!!

  13. Hi Jennifer,
    So sorry to hear about your grandmother. My condolences to you and your family.
    Just sent you my coaching packet/forms. Hopefully we can meet up when you visit Tucson if you aren’t too busy with everything else! Take care and enjoy autumn- it’s not here QUITE yet, but are going mtn. biking in Sierra Vista tomorrow to hunt for red and yellow leaves up a canyon!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Off Season

The fall in Chicago has been amazing!  After LC Nationals, I came home and started my off season.  I am sure I could have done a few more races – but I was starting to HATE my bike.  The week leading into LC Nationals if I just LOOKED at my TT bike I wanted to throw it.  THAT is when I know I need a break.   And, my TT bike is still in my bike box – in the basement.

I did not do anything last week.  I had a ton of random things to catch up on.  I wanted to visit my ill grandma, sleep in, eat a bunch if crap and go take the kids to the Pumpkin Farm with my parents, sister/brother & families.  It is one of my favorite things to do in the fall.

On Monday I woke up on Monday – 5am.  Ready to workout.  I had to remind myself to go back to bed and SLEEP!  I did, it only took about 4 days to break that 5am habit.  And, this morning I opened up my eyes at nearly 7am!  Ha, oh, how quickly that becomes a slippery slope!

Tuesday my phone rang at 7:20am.  My phone rings a ton, but 7:20 is rare – it was one of those silent looks Jerome and I gave to one another.  I thought it was my parents with bad news regarding my Grandma.  It was my friend Julia.  Rich, her husband had passed away that night.  I tried hard to control my emotions but that lasted about 5 seconds.

Jerome and I had the pleasure of knowing Rich.  He has come to nearly every JHC camp (in some capacity) and has a deep love of riding bikes.  Jerome and him hit it off instantly.  There was never any hesitation – Jerome and I decided I needed to be at the services for Rich that weekend.

Thank goodness Angela Kidd offered up her place and Zach, Landon and David were kind enough to host me.  Now, knowing that I sat on my A$$ all week and ate nothing that was not brown chocolate all week – I knew the weekend would have me running with Angela.  Thankfully, one week does not make us out of shape – but considering I did NOTHING all week and then found myself with my running shoes on at 6:30am on Saturday for a run – well, it could have been ugly.  Thankfully, the colors were spectacular up in Minneapolis (WOW!) and we did an easier warm up 2 miles and then did our own thing and met back at the house – it was perfect. (Angela mentioned something about a BARRE class – or something silly – and I just went back to eating dessert).

After the run and breakfast (where I demanded oatmeal while she ate some form of FRUIT), we headed to the funeral.  It was one of the most amazing services I have ever been too and it is a wonderful credit to what a great man Rich was.  It was so wonderful to see many of my triathlon fries – what a great community up there!  Seeing Marit and her mom, Kate Oliver, Jen Lenarz, Cathy Y, Julie & Erik Hull, Julie & Brian Mac – what a great group up there to support Julia during this time!  Further evidence about how great this sport is!

I flew out that evening and was at the Pumpkin Farm with my family the next day…perfect way to end a tough weekend (where I ate FOUR apple cinnamon donuts thru the day – YEP!).

And, tomorrow Jerome and I head to Tucson!  IT is our 15th wedding anniversary and we wanted to get away to celebrate.  My vote was BORA BORA, but clearly that did not win and we are heading to Tucson.  LOL – kidding…we need to be prudent…we will enjoy the downtime in Tucson and SUN and heat again!  AND, even Lemmon if I decide to get on my bike. :)   Looking forward to some R&R!


  1. Great update Jen, and glad you and Jerome could be there for Julia. That stuff means a lot.

    You are good people, and I am REALLY GLAD I know you.

    Hope you have a good time in AZ, and Happy Anniversary to you both. Hope I remember mine this year. :) We suck at the anniversary thing.

    Have a great one, and you know I love you. :))

  2. I can’t believe you didn’t mention that you asked to see the dessert menu with the dinner menu so you could pick your meal accordingly! It was great to see you and so glad we could all support Julia and honor Rich.

  3. happy anniversary and you are so awesome to have been there for Julia. Enjoy your R n R…soak it up. It is so rare to have it without kids, without work, without 1 or the orther training…hmmmm can’t remember the last time in my household! xoxox

  4. I love you guys more than I can tell you
    Thanks. Rich says thanks too:)

  5. Angela’s comment cracks me up! Glad you’re enjoying the off season and you had the chance to celebrate Rich’s life! Have fun in Tucson, thank goodness it’s a bit cooler now. :)

  6. “true friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient; it’s about being there when it’s not.”

    *This showed up today and it came to mind when reading this post.

    You are a great friend and I am glad you were able to be there for Julia and the entire family.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *