Showing posts from 2019

4 Steps to Great Instagram Photos

Photography is just one of my many hobbies, which means I don’t have a lot of time to dabble in it, and therefore I am far from an expert! But here are some tips and explanations as I understand them and use them in every day photography for social media.
Step 1: Select a camera All of my photos are taken with one of 3 cameras: Iphone Pretty self-explanatory. The self-timer is great, but you’re still limited to how much you can get in a shot (you’re not going to get a head-to-toe photo unless you have Inspector Gadget arms or are ok with having a giant head). Certain to make you feel like a t-rex taking a selfie. GoPro 7 Ultra wide angle, fisheye look (think rounded horizon). GoPro is awesome for selfies, running, or cycling shots, but not great for capturing detail in the background. It’s also obviously my ONLY choice for situations in which I need a weatherproof camera. Wide angle lens on DSLR Similar to GoPro’s fisheye, in that it allows you to include more of the background in th…

Chattanooga 70.3 Race Report

I came into this race looking for swim redemption, as my ‘17 Ironman Chattanooga swim had been less than stellar. I really took advantage of the moment by taking quite the tour of the river that day (i.e. by swimming anything but straight!).

Chattanooga 70.3 differs from the full though, in that there's a small upstream portion at the start, before you make a turn and go downstream to the finish. I worked hard in training on all-out, race pace starts and quick turnover to prepare for the upstream portion. In a crowd of 3,700 people waiting for the start, I was one of the few NOT cheering when they announced the upstream portion was cut due to the strong current. I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to see how my practice paid off, but you race the race you're given that day.

I wasn’t able to get the big swim miles I would have liked in training, due to nagging shoulder and carpal tunnel pain in my hand/wrist for a month or so prior, so my only goal (once nailing the …

Triathlon Packing List

70.3 Packing ListThis list may be overkill for most athletes, but knowing that I’m prepared for any situation eases my pre-race anxiety. My list is even longer for an Ironman! On the other hand, you can find me throwing stuff together the night before a sprint tri. As long as I show up with my bike shoes, run shoes, helmet, and goggles – I’m ready to race!
Swim: Wetsuit Gloves (to put on wetsuit) Swimskin Triswim (to put on wetsuit and prevent chaffing – spray on body and in shoes) Flip flops Baby shampoo Goggles Spare goggles Long sleeve (cold weather) Water bottle
Transition: Socks Bike shoes Helmet Hand towel Transition mat Sunglasses Ziploc: aleve, listerine strips, tums, chapstick, lucky buckeye, extra ziploc (for ice on course) Saddle bag: 2-80 mm tubes, valve tool, 2 zip ties, 3-Co2, tire levers, dollar bill, allen wrenches Race belt Run shoes Visor Hand held bottle
Post race bag: Compression socks Flip flops Baby wipes Shaker bottle, Rebuild
Nutrition: Nuun (pre-race hydration) Tailwind (3- 70.3; 6-140.6) 3 w…

Week 19/20 to Chattanooga 70.3 Recap

Tuesday, 5/7 Tuesday nights are my least favorite workout- super threshold intervals over an hour with less than a minute break. I feel like half the time I can’t finish them at 100% effort and they only get harder each week. But I nailed last night’s! And even better- that’s the last one I have to do before I get to enjoy the beautiful Chattanooga bike course again! I’ve been reading up, studying the course, and getting a good race plan in my head. Which is usually an anxious mess of random sticky notes here and there Maybe I’ll get more organized this time around!
Wednesday, 5/8
I didn’t have a lot of time between work and our church small group meeting to get my run in, so I decided to just run there! It’s a runners’ small group, but we were mixing it up a bit and meeting at the local tennis courts to learn pickleball before our Bible study (which was quiet the workout and a lot of fun!).
Running point to point makes me feel so accomplished! It’s a nice switch up from the out and ba…

Week 18 to Chattanooga 70.3 Training Recap

I’m a little late to the game on this…. About 18 weeks in fact, since I’m only two weeks out from Chattanooga! I’ve had trouble finding time to update on my training lately, but I post on Instagram short recaps fairly regularly. I thought I might try compiling each of those into one post and adding them here weekly and see how it goes. These are little more than training journal entries, and may not be very interesting initially, as it’s almost taper time for Chattanooga 70.3 on May 19th! However, right after that, I’ll transition into training for a very different challenge: Georgia Jewel 35 miler – an ultra trail run. April 29-May 5th
Tuesday, April 30:Kicked off the training week with my LEAST favorite workout... This trainer ride is the same every week, but each week the recovery intervals shorten. Today was basically 30 min of intervals increasing from 105% to 121% FTP with only two min recovery over one hour. I’m 100% an endurance athlete. I love pain of distance, but I don’t like…

Why I (Try) to Love Mondays

The great thing about all my long runs landing on Sundays? Getting the opportunity to run into a new week with a smile! 
Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.  Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:10 and 12 
Our pastor referenced this verse yesterday and it really spoke to me. How many times do we "number our days" only to try to make them pass more quickly?! Only three more days until Friday, or T-14 days until vacation! The days in between are just a big hurdle we have to survive until we get to LIVE OUR BEST LIVES. 
The above Psalm cautions against exactly this. We read these words, and say of course we know life is short!? After all, isn't carpe diem the unofficial American motto?
But so often we don’t truly process it to the point that we live that truth. We use the uncertainty of life as an excuse to make b…

My Other Expensive Hobby...

Because triathlon isn't bad enough, right?! 
Even as a kid, I can remember having a camera in hand. You know, back when I had to take my rolls of film to the processing center, then wait impatiently for a week to see if any of them had actually turned out!

In 2014, I decided to take that a step further and purchase a used DSLR camera before our family trip to Alaska. It was Nikon’s entry level camera, the D3100. Oh the adventures that me and that hefty dinosaur have gone on! It really should have had its own Garmin to map the miles and elevation changes.From Alaska to the BVI, up mountains and across oceans, it’s been my trusty go-to.
In the past year or so have I been really interested in learning and researching how to take a good photograph. Over the past three years I have learned the kind of pictures I want to take, and also the limitations this camera has (I won’t bore you with all of those details). I post a lot of these photos on my travel/photography IG page: ashmariea…

When It Rains

When it rains, it has a tendency to pour. But, like rivers, we have the opportunity to become stronger than ever during these downpours. We can adapt and create.
If you’ve been following my posts, you know that my 2018 ended less than stellar. In sum- I’ve been out of work, unable to run, and we lost our dear pet a few days after Christmas. I didn’t get off the couch for two weeks. I allowed myself time to be sad, because I think you have to embrace all of your emotions. The danger is dwelling in them. However, I reminded myself to trust that God had a plan and things would get better. 
And they are. I am so encouraged to say that I have been running without pain for a couple of weeks now!! I’m still only at five miles, but I am almost certain that my injury was nothing more serious than muscle tightness and lack of flexibility in my lower legs and ankles. 
Yesterday, I ran with my husband along the river for 3 of the most comfortable miles I’ve had in months. If you live in the southeas…

Shuckstack Fire Tower and Fontana Dam

The last weekend of October 2018, Jason and I made last minute reservations for a 4-day camping trip at Fontana Village and Resort to see the fall foliage in one of our favorite places, the majestic Smoky Mountains.Fontana borders the southwestern edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP), and importantly, is 30 minutes from the nearest cell service or grocery store. A bit of trivia: Fontana Village Resort, established in the 1970s, traces its origins to the early 1940s.The town of Fontana sprung up overnight to accommodate thousands of workers and their families who were hired to construct Fontana Dam as part of the war effort. However, just as quickly as it was built, the town was abandoned several years later as the families moved along to build more dams for the TVA.

The resort took advantage of the town structure, and created a beautiful haven, tucked away just south of the infamous winding highway nicknamed Dragon’s Tail. The campground area is about a mile from th…