Take It to the Limit … One More Time

VA Momentum: SUPTri (first annual), Bridgewater, Virginia
25 Miles Total  
140 Participants
Bib #46

The day came for me to participate in the last of the three big races I set as my healthy comeback goals for 2017. My mind was in overdrive thinking about the bad weather, the nervousness of doing my first triathlon, and a sadness that the major fitness ambitions I had been working tirelessly to achieve were coming to an end. My friends Beth, Sarah and Leslie were with me to also compete in the triathlon. We arrived at the starting point, and got our bikes and other gear situated in the transition areas. Then, we put timing bracelets around our ankles (which looked like house arrest devices).

Beth, Sarah and Leslie had an earlier wave, so they got on their paddle boards and lined up at the starting point for the first leg of the race. The Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) portion was one mile on a section of the North River in Bridgewater. The flash floods the previous night caused the water level to be high. I did my best to focus on paddling my arms off, instead of being distracted by the intimidating rough waters.
SUP Completion Time: 16:22, 1 Mile

I hustled to the transition station to dry my feet, put on my socks and sneakers, and hop on my bike as fast as I could to start the cycling portion. This leg of the race was described as a “beautiful ride through the countryside”. The scenery was indeed beautiful, BUT the hills were arduous and the rain was relentless. I never biked for that many miles in that bad of weather before. It truly tested my spirit. At one point I saw a massive brown cow along a fence line and I swear it was giving me the side-eye. That’s when you know you’re tired! Finally, I saw a woman waving in the distance, and as I approached, she yelled: “good job, you’re in the homestretch!” I felt like crying tears of joy.
Bike Completion Time: 1:30:09, 20 Miles

I made my way to the transition station, threw my bike up on the rack and started running. It felt like an out-of-body experience; my legs were still in cycling mode. This final portion of the race was a technical run, described as a one-of-a-kind run on farm property with switchbacks on rough, hilly terrain. The rain finally stopped and I tried to take in my surroundings and appreciate the experience. I kept repeating to myself, you did it, it’s almost over! When the finish line was in sight I booked it with every last bit of energy I had left. As I reached the end the announcer said, “here comes Kimberly Evering from Fairfax, Virginia, way to go!” Then a girl placed a medal around my neck. Beth and Sarah were there waiting, and greeted me with big smiles and hugs. The best way to end a tough race is to have great friends by your side!
Technical Run Completion Time: 45:16, 4 Miles

My overall finish time for the race including transitions was 2:35:58. I am very proud of my time, given the country hills, pouring rain and fact that it was my first triathlon. There was a charming building on the property called Valley Pike Farm Market, where we could go inside to claim our free finisher beer. I opted for a huge hot chocolate instead. We hung out in the market for a little while decompressing and being goofy, before making the drive back home.

Remain fearless and never say never! My big planned races for the year may have come to an end, but I am not one to say no when my friends invite me to join them for a physical challenge. Sooooo I signed up for …

  • Philly 10K, Aug. 27 — The race is a 6.2-mile loop through South Philly and Center City, passing through two of Philadelphia’s vibrant corridors (13th Street + East Passyunk), past their historic Italian Market, and along 76 city blocks. It’s a sold out race of 4,500 runners.
  • 13 Colonies Ride, Sept. 9 — A Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) annual celebration and 15-mile hilly ride through every Ward of the District and on every avenue named for the original 13 colonies. It’s a sold out race of 700 bicyclists.
  • 2017 National Capital Region 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb & 5K Walk, Sept. 16 — Participants pay tribute to FDNY firefighters by climbing the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center.

I hope you will keep following my journey and that you are encouraged to live a fearless life, doing healthy things outside of your comfort zone!

OrthoVirginiaWestfields Dental

Get a Clue

My friend Jenny asked me in June if I had plans after work on July 17. I said, “no.” She said, “Good, we’re doing something, so mark your calendar.” I didn’t ask her what we were doing because I trust her and I knew that whatever it was, it would be fun. The mystery around the activity intensified as the date grew closer and she began sending me clues as teasers.

The first set of clues she sent me…
Pale as driven snow,
On a wintry morn.
Pure as a crisp new tee,
That has never been worn.
Springy like Santa’s bowlful of jelly,
Stretchy like Spanx that suck in his belly.

My Guess: Taffy Making

The second set of clues she sent me…
Deliciously smooth and cool to the touch,
You want to dive in and just swim through so much.
Unless it’s a hot toasty blanket of ooze,
You pull into strings of long luscious moos.

My Guess: Ice Cream Sundae Festival

The final set of clues she sent me…
It can stretch from your lips to the sky,
Where it makes up the moon or a big pizza pie.
Fit for Little Miss Muffett or Cinderella,
Whoever invented it is a pretty good fella.

My Guess: Bubble Blowing Festival

The evening of the event finally arrived. We met outside of the movie theater, where Jenny revealed that we were attending an Italian Cheesemaking Class. Reflecting back on the clues I thought ohhh cheese, it all makes sense now!

The class was hosted by Caputo Brothers Creamery, led by a husband, wife and their two sons. The event kicked off with a brief movie about Caputo Brothers Creamery. Next, Rynn, the matriarch, gave a dynamic presentation on the history of mozzarella cheese and explained that in the U.S. there is no such thing as authentic “mozzarella”. In 1996, the European Union granted it Protected Designation of Origin. Genuine mozzarella must be made using a traditional recipe that includes water buffalo milk from only the region just south of Rome to just south of Naples. What we eat in the U.S. is actually called fior di latte, which is made from cow’s milk. It is a semi-soft cheese made in the style of Italian mozzarella.

Caputo Brothers Creamery produces the country’s only fermented cheese curds that can be stretched into mozzarella-style cheeses. Rynn taught us how to cook, stretch and make one of the mozzarella-style cheeses using curds from their creamery. Her husband Dave sliced the glorious cheese mounds and their lil helpers, Giovanni (7) and Matteo (5), aka the Caputo Brothers, passed around samples of the incredibly delicious fresh cheese to everyone. At the end of the event, we were all given a bag of frozen cheese curds to take home with cooking instructions. An educational and filling evening!

Bonded by Mud

 

 

Tough Mudder Full, Whistler Olympic Park
12+ Miles
19 Obstacles
12,300 Participants From Around the World
Bib #374707

I eagerly entered the corral at the starting line. The MC gave the crowd a pep talk about how the mentality of Tough Mudder isn’t how fast you can cross the finish line, but rather about pushing yourself and accomplishing something extraordinary. “It’s not about medals,” he said, “it’s about camaraderie.” That’s why IF you complete a Tough Mudder challenge, you receive a coveted finisher headband and T-shirt, not a medal.

I was at the Tough Mudder solo, but I hoped to come across a kind comrade or two for help at obstacles I physically couldn’t do by myself. I never expected it to happen at the second obstacle! The Hero Carry requires a teammate to carry you for a set distance; switch and then have you carry them. A guy with a wild mohawk said he didn’t have a partner. He instantly scooped me up in his arms and carried me, then at the switching point, we linked arms to the end of the obstacle. As we ran to the next obstacle, he introduced himself as Randy. It turned out that he was doing the Tough Mudder as part of a trio with his best friends Trevor and Kelsey. Our teamwork continued and by the third obstacle, Kelsey turned to me and said, “welcome to our team!” That’s how I ended up being adopted as the fourth member of their group.

I was sweating from the physical exertion, but oddly, I also had goosebumps and my teeth were chattering. I’m not sure why I was surprised that a challenge I was doing on Whistler Mountain in Canada was cold!?! It was a mental trip seeing snow on the ground at various points of the course. As Kelsey and I rounded one of the corners Randy pelted us with a snowball!

When we approached the first water obstacle Kelsey advised me to take off my shirt so I would have something fairly dry to put back on. I thought it’s a short sleeve shirt, it can’t possibly make a difference, but I took her advice. She said “hand your shirt to him” and pointed to a man on the side. I was like OOOK, here’s my shirt stranger. We successfully completed the obstacle, got our shirts, and put them back on (it did in fact help and make a difference). Kelsey said, “Oh, by the way, that’s my dad.” I said, “well, this is the most interesting way I have ever met someone’s parent!” Her parents were along the course at certain points as spectators to support her.

The temperature became cooler as time passed and the frigid water obstacles proved to be the most challenging I had ever faced. Unfortunately, I failed three of the water obstacles, which bummed me out. They didn’t count against me in the challenge, but I was very disappointed in myself. I never trudged through so much mud in my life. During one of the stretches of running, I came across a sneaker casualty. Apparently, someone had lost their sneaker in the mud and kept going! There’s definitely a reason why the word mud is part of the name. I ripped my leggings and collected several brush burns and bruises. Randy positively referred to them as our “accomplishment tattoos”.

In Spartan races, it’s a tradition to jump over a fire pit of flames as the last obstacle. Equally scary, Tough Mudder tradition ends with maneuvering through live electrical wires over water pits. It’s called Electroshock Therapy. I proudly made it to the end and earned a coveted orange finisher headband and shirt. Kelsey’s parents were there to congratulate us. Her mom came to my rescue and handed Kelsey a foil-like wrap to put around me. I never thought a thin silver sheet could feel so warm. I looked like a giant baked potato, but I didn’t care.

Just like the MC said, the challenge was indeed about camaraderie. I am grateful that I made three new friends who literally lent me a hand several times along the way, and cheered me on as one of their own. Thank you, Kelsey, Randy and Trevor!   

The Tough Mudder Full was my second big healthy comeback goal for 2017 and my first Tough Mudder event ever. My aim was to finish the challenge in under four hours. I am proud to share that my trio and I completed it in a little over 3 hours and I am now an official Tough Mudder Legionnaire!

The third big healthy comeback goal I set for the year is six weeks away. I hope you will continue to follow my adventures as I attempt my first triathlon, the VA Momentum SUPTri in Bridgewater, VA, on July 29! 

Since the age of eight, I have continuously been presented with challenges in which I needed to be fearless to overcome. That’s how I came up with the theme of living a fearless life for my adventure blog. Each time I felt like I couldn’t make it through yet another life test, I learned that I am stronger than I thought, especially with the loyal support of others.

THANK YOU to my family, friends, community and business sponsors OrthoVirginia, Westfields Dental and Flyte Fitness for continuing to believe in me!

OrthoVirginiaWestfields Dental

Back in the Saddle Again

40th Anniversary TD Five Boro Bike Tour, New York City
40 Miles
5 Boros [Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island]
4 Bridges [The Madison Avenue Bridge, Queensboro Bridge, Pulaski Bridge and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge]
1 Day
0 Cars
32,000 Cyclists From 43 Countries
Bib #10492

For the past 40 years on the first Sunday in May, riders from every state in the nation and around the world descend upon NYC for a bicycling experience unlike any other, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. I found out about the event through my friend Marisa’s Facebook post. Intrigued, I looked it up online and immediately registered for the event after reading the description!

I completed some Spartan challenges, 5K, and 10K races, but never a bike race. This event went beyond the first-time aspect for me. Last summer, on June 29, I flipped off my bicycle and was pinned under it when I hit a camouflaged raised gravel section on a path. I got major road rash down the entire right side of my body and broke my right wrist. A kind-hearted stranger named Gigi picked me up and took me to an Urgent Care. In July, I was put back together by Dr. Daniel Laino, who permanently screwed a titanium plate to my wrist. I then attended regular Occupational Therapy sessions with Karen Popovich, an amazing certified hand specialist at Ortho Virginia.

In February of that same year, I had half of my body cut open for another surgery. I was determined to make a comeback from these two surgeries instead of allowing them to bring me down. I set three major fitness goals for 2017. It seemed fitting that the first event involved cycling. My family and friends were not thrilled by this news, but they supported me none the less because THEY ARE AWESOME. I trained the best I could leading up to the race, fitting short and long bike rides in whenever possible. I also kept up on all the Bike New York Facebook posts and email updates.

I was very nervous going into the event. I had just passed the one-year mark for the first surgery and it had only been 10 months since my wrist surgery. Was I in over my head? Would it be painful? Would I be able to successfully complete all 40 miles?

No. A little. Yes!

I was placed in the first wave of cyclists, which was ideal. I could feel my body shaking as I approached the starting location. I asked a stranger in front of me named Alyssa to take a photo of me for posterity because I’m horrible at selfies. We started sharing brief background stories and the conversation helped to put me at ease. It was Alyssa’s second time doing the bike event. She turned out to be one the coolest people I have ever met! We stuck with each other throughout the race and she would give me heads-ups about what was coming. Aware of my health journey, the fact that it was my first bike race, and my first visit to NYC outside of the Times Square area, Alyssa insisted that I stop at a few key points to take photos for my Instagram collection.

The TD Five Boro Bike Tour was my first big healthy comeback goal for 2017 and my first bike event ever. My aim was just to complete the event, although, in my mind, I hoped to finish it in four to five hours. I am proud to share that I completed it in 3 hours and 40 minutes!

Event Fun Facts:

  • You are required by law to use a bike bell when riding in NYC.
  • Whenever we crossed into a borough people from that area would shout with pride,”What up Brooklyn!”, etc.  Alyssa is from Queens, so when we approached her borough I joined her in an enthusiastic shout-out.
  • People would yell and point “water bottle”, “bike chain” “pothole” in an effort to save someone from getting into an accident. Surprisingly, there were a lot of random water bottles scattered along the route. A seasoned racer told me that it’s common for people to knock their water bottles out of the holders.

The second big healthy comeback goal I set for the year is fast approaching. I hope you will continue to follow my adventures as I attempt my first Tough Mudder Full taking place at one of the top toughest venues, Whistler, BC, on June 17!

No one is truly an island unto themselves on the path to success. These names may not resonate with you, but I could not achieve my goals without the emotional and financial support of Alicia, Jenny, Rita, Gigi, Aunt Linda, Gina, Chad, Beverly, Lito, Angela, Marisa, Tonya, Linda, Robert, John, Melissa, Kim and my first-ever business sponsors OrthoVirginia, Westfields Dental and Flyte Fitness. THANK YOU for believing in me!

OrthoVirginia

Westfields Dental

Tote-Worthy

galotgo_bag

Get your very own limited edition #galOTgo reusable tote bag for only $10 (+shipping for out-of-state)! It’s the hottest accessory this spring/summer!  😉  I am selling the bags to raise funds for big races I am participating in as part of my healthy comeback, and to promote women to live fearless lives through my galOTgo brand!

I was training for a Spartan Trifecta weekend, then, in 2016, things took a turn and I underwent two major surgeries that caused me limited mobility. I felt helpless and depressed. My best friend Jenny encouraged me to turn my mindset around by setting new physical goals. I picked three major races to focus on and have worked very hard to rebuild my strength and mobility through occupational therapy and yoga classes. I found mental strength along the way through my community who are pillars of support and keep me motivated.

The classic black tote has the hashtag on one side and makes for a fun conversation piece as people try to decode it like a personalized license plate. The bag is 12×12.75×8 with an 18″ carry strap and removable plastic bottom insert. The bag is great for:

  • workout clothes
  • beach gear
  • diaper bag items
  • shoes
  • groceries
  • and more!

I keep reusable bags in the trunk of my car and on my coat rack at home for use on the go!

NOTE: If you are local I will deliver bags to you directly; if you live outside of the Northern Virginia area I will ship bags to you. To place an order, please email me at galOTgo@gmail.com

Thank you!

Unexpected Inspiration

Power Your Happy

My good friend Chhayal randomly sent me a book in the mail because she was thinking of me. Yes, I am lucky to have such a friend! The book she gave me titled Power Your Happy by Lisa Sugar is autographed. Bonus! I have a treasured autographed books collection. I know, e-books are convenient, etc., but there’s something special about a hardcover book. I scanned the teaser on the back of the book and was intrigued to start reading it. I began with the Introduction and related to the content so strongly, that I was unable to put the book down! 2016 was a bummer of a year, to say the least having two significant surgeries. Friends recommended a variety of uplifting books for me to read, but I just wasn’t in the mood or open to sunshine and rainbows subject matter. I am not sure if it was the topic of the book, timing or a combination, but I am very happy that I didn’t set it aside. Lisa’s words sparked a fire in me! I readjusted both my personal and career goals, and I now have a fresh outlook and plans for how to achieve these new goals. I didn’t want to mark the book with a highlighter since it’s autographed, so I tabbed all my favorite parts. As you can see from the photo, there are A LOT of tabs!

I recommend you buy and read Power Your Happy, but here are a few excerpts…

“…what you find yourself doing in your spare time is the passion you should pursue. Don’t decide what you want to do with your life; let your life tell you what your path is.”
[This statement helped to take the pressure off the question family and friends frequently ask me — what is my dream job? — by shifting my focus on my passions as a guide to the answer instead of an overwhelming black hole of possibilities.]

“S*** happens — to everyone! You don’t deserve special treatment because you are having a bad day. … It’s how you grow from these catastrophes, big and small, that shape you into who you become.”
[Reading this tough love statement helped me snap out of my pity party.]

“May we walk forward with compassion in our hearts and may we replace jealously with joy. And at the end of the day, always remember that all that you need is vision to see where you are going, strength to get you there, and faith that you will end up exactly where you deserve to be.” – Ian McAndrew, Lisa’s SoulCycle instructor