Author Archives for I Tri Fitness

The Beginning of JoCo Multisport

So where did it all begin?  How did JoCo Multisport come to be and why might this be a team you want to join?   Well, here’s the story.  We think you will want to be a part of this!

A little over two years ago I approached the Flowers Plantation Parks & Rec department about starting a Triathlon Club.  Having just received my USAT Level 1 Coaching certification, I was excited to begin connecting triathlon for beginners in the Flowers Community.   Then Parks & Rec director Coach Kurt Bienas was game and so was birthed the Flowers Plantation Triathlon Club.  A band of 9 triathletes (6 athletes completely new to the sport ) and a new Coach.

FP Tri - Year 1

All athletes completed their sprint triathlon and did so exceeding their own expectations!  Lifelong friendships were made – we were all changed by the intense encouragement and support we all provided to each other!  As a Coach and experienced triathlete, I was amazed at how much being a part of a group meant to me.  Frequently the team heard from me when they were thanking me for coaching guidance and support, that I got more out of our team than they.  The team insisted that we continue our journey for the 2nd year… and so the team grew.

FP Tri - Year 2

Flowers Plantation Tri Club had a roster of 21 strong in year two, with athletes having skill levels from Ironman to new to the sport.  The same amazing team connection was solidified as the team faced adversity and challenges including the almost cancellation of the goal race at Flowers.  The team rallied behind 3 Little Pigs Race Director Martin Tetreault who stepped in 24 hours before the race to save it.   At 9 p.m. the night before the race – the bike rack construction was completed by the team.  We finished the season with 8 new athletes again completing their first race, many placing in their age groups!

The growth of the team and desire to reach beyond Flowers Plantation to connect with athletes across our community as birthed the creation of JoCo Multisport.  There are many tri clubs in the surrounding areas.  Some are quite large and able to offer discounts and other perks that our start up club cannot.  But having been a part of one of those clubs – the distance folks have to travel to engage in the social connection and training for the Raleigh based teams were prohibitive to Johnston County locals.


While we are shedding our FP Kits, wearing great new colors and bearing a new team name this year, the same great team is still at the core of JoCo Multisport.  Also joining the team is a second coach, Coach Brad Farrell from Cirog Rollta.


We believe the amazing support, encouragement, accountability and friendship that comes from being on a team is amazing.  The team support has proven to be the difference maker for many who considered quitting or giving up on their goals.  Having experienced the power myself on my journey to becoming an Ironman finisher, I can attest to the significance of being on a team.  Many times in training and during the race, it was the support of the team and their belief in me that was the only thing keeping me going.


By starting JoCo Multisport – we’d like to bring the triathlon and athlete connection closer to our community.  Many of us are connected with runners, ultra runners, obstacle course runners, triathletes and cyclists.  We have often trained with folks that may be interested in more than just triathlon.  We think that the diversity of a group is what makes it strong.  Folks are able to share their experiences as they have evolved through various athletic achievements.  JoCo Multisport is for all athletes.  While many of us  may be triathletes – we embrace the skills and talents that every local athlete brings to a team.

The end goal… to keep being active.
Keep finding activities and training partners that keep you going.  

JoCo Multisport is that group for Johnston County!  We hope you will join us and forge new friendships and make us stronger as we grow!

Find out more about us at our informational meeting.  Or if you are convinced this is for you… come on and join the team!

Join The Team



Sandra’s Journey to 5K

It’s not my story to tell, certainly not the whole story any way.  But I can share my experience… watching my first friend from childhood (we’ve been friends for nearly 40 years) set off on the journey to a fitter, healthier lifestyle.  She thanks me frequently… but it has been her hard work, focus, refocus, dedication and sweat that got her across the finish line of her first 5K.  All I did was cheer.

i tri man

Sandra would say that she was never an athletic person and probably confirm that physical activity was miserable.  It wasn’t something she enjoyed or gravitated toward.  In fact I believe that exercise was quite painful for Sandra – especially in the years that followed high school into our working life.

Somewhere in her late 30’s, Sandra began a journey of fitness and healthy living that has been truly motivation beyond belief.  You can read about her story here on her blog: Slim Down with Sandee. 

She shared her struggles of losing weight on her blog – and inspired so many folks to begin their own journey.  I remember the days when her motivation was so high and the successes were coming often.  It was so inspiring to watch.  Sandra went through the start and stop cycle that we all go through and over the long haul has made permanent changes that have lasted years.  When she reached out to me last year and said that she wanted to do a 5K – she asked, “would I join her?.  There was no place else I would have been that day.   I was so excited for her.

I share Sandee’s journey – not from her perspective, but from mine.  Seeing my dearest sister begin the journey of running (Couch to 5K plan) was so inspiring.  Having started running myself nearly 8 years prior, I understood what she was up against.  Starting the journey from inactivity to becoming active is a challenging experience.  The body begins it’s process of adaptation – and frankly, it can be quite uncomfortable.  I recall my own loathing of running initially – the frustration, the complete sense that I was horrible at it and that it would never get easier, it would never get better.  It was with this memory that my thoughts went out to Sandra.

She would post her workouts on Facebook – and I recall watching the intervals where she ran longer  grow and walked become shorter… I watched her pace increase, slowly but surely.  She was getting stronger – the numbers were showing it.  The day that she posted that she just finished her run on a 40F rainy day – she attained BEAST MODE in my book!

Sandra's 1st 5K__3.png

Each week she posted… her training sessions on the track.  Minute after minute, lap after lap, running around that track.  All I could think about was how mentally tough she was – out there running around a track over and over and over again…. and she just kept going.  She will probably never know how seeing her workouts made me feel accountable to my own training.  How knowing she was out there busting her butt was so inspirational to me.

When the day for her race finally arrived – she was surrounded by her wonderful collection of loving souls to run with her.  As we warmed up for the race – she asked me which one of my races was my favorite.  I remember trying to think about which of all of the events that I had done was my favorite.  They were each unique in their own way – offering new and different challenges.  None stood out as a favorite… each just different.

When Sandra and I crossed the line of her first 5K – a very hilly and hot 5K color run…. the pride and joy at watching her accomplishment washed over me… my favorite race… was running with Sandra in her first 5K.

Way to go, Sandra!!!  You are a runner.  Now, and forever, running the race set before you… running the race with strength, determination, faith and love.  You are a winner!  You are my sister!

Sandra's 1st 5K

A Triathlon…Who Me?

Perhaps you’re considering a triathlon or have had these thoughts “I could never do that,” or “Who me?”  I’m here to erase your uncertainty and say “Yes you can,” and “Yes you!”

Many folks think of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI when they think of triathlon.  Understandably, it is one of the few televised triathlons and the largest triathlon event in the world.  But triathlon comes in many shapes and sizes, as do triathletes.  It only takes the thought “I can” to start your journey to becoming a triathlete.

i tri man

Most beginner triathletes start with the Sprint distance triathlon, have a hybrid or mountain bike and borrow or rent a wet suit (if it’s an open water swim).  There are many venues for triathlons including indoor events that are held in a pool, on a stationary bike and treadmill.  For the beginner, the sprint distance triathlon isn’t necessarily about sprinting or being fast, it is referred to as sprint because of it’s relatively short distance (usually 15 – 18 miles total) compared to the Ironman Kona (140.6 miles).  For the Elite athletes, of course – the sprint distance is ALL about speed.

The sprint distance is a great distance to enter the sport and learn the skills necessary to complete a triathlon, such as swimming, biking and the details of transition.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Swim

Many years ago I started running.  I ran my first 5K and loved it.  Over the years I progressed to the half marathon distance, but running was always very painful for me.  A friend suggested that I sign up for a local sprint triathlon and I had the same thought, “Who, me?  I could never do that.”  My friend was super encouraging and ultimately, I ended up signing up for my first sprint triathlon – the 2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon in Nanticoke, MD which was a 750 meter swim, 15 mile bike, and a 5K run.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Bike1

Fast forward to 4 years later and I have complete numerous sprint, Olympic distance triathlons as well as several 70.3 Half Ironman distances.

Triathlon is about consistency – which is one of our core beliefs at I Tri.  Stick with it (whatever “it” may be) and year after year you will get stronger, more confident and more satisfied with your fitness level.  You don’t need to have fancy equipment or an expensive bike to step into triathlon (take a look at the picture above and see the beast of a bike I rode in my first sprint).  These items can come if you find triathlon is your passion and can be useful motivational tools to keep you growing (i.e. “if I complete my first Olympic distance, then I will allow myself to invest in a better bike.”)

There is a lot of fun in learning the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon also is more complex in terms of the details of racing and nutrition.  Some of you may find that joining a triathlon club or finding a beginner’s coach is great place to start.  We highly recommend a USAT certified coach to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that self coached beginners frequently make and mostly to prevent unnecessary injury as a result of going out too far too fast.  Having a coach to lay out a personalized training plan and guide you through the specifics of training, fueling and competing in triathlon is money well invested.

Triathlon is for you – you need only have the thought, “I can.”  Take the steps to your first triathlon today – let us help you!  Together we can Tri!


i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.


Food & Fuel

Someone once said to me that no amount of training can make up for a crappy diet. Said differently, what we chose to eat (the types of foods, the amount of foods, the timing of foods) significantly impacts our bodies and can outweigh the hard work we put into fitness training if we aren’t paying attention.

i tri man

As you begin your journey into fitness, you will come to realize that in order to be fitter that you must use both exercise and food together. You will not find sustainable results if you focus solely on food or exercise alone. You can place yourself on a restrictive “diet” and put yourself into calorie deficit to hit a weight loss goal, but your body (heart, lungs, muscles) will be no stronger, healthier or in shape by ignoring exercise. Eventually the restrictions will be unsustainable and you will find yourself on the weight gain path again, quite possibly having lost valuable and precious muscle in the process.

You can set off on an intense and extreme exercise plan. But if you continue to eat excessively or non-nutritious foods, you will sabotage your hard physical efforts and fail to achieve the results you desire. You may find yourself scratching your head as to why you are not looking more like you want to with all of your hard efforts.

Fitness is about balance. It is about finding physical activity that you love and enjoy while taking positive steps with your fuel (your food) to nourish your body properly. Neither of these things is something that you can “fix” all at once. They are both a process. They are both a journey. And they go hand in hand.

Healthy Food

It may very well have taken your body years and years to get into the shape it is in today (quite possibly one you are not satisfied with – or better said “out of shape”); you have developed eating habits and acquired tastes for foods that may be less than nutritious, highly processed and significantly contributing to your out of shape state. Food is a powerful substance – often triggering strong emotional responses (memories) or providing comfort when we are experiencing strong emotions. We use food often times as a drug – to make ourselves feel better or feel less. When we are caught in this cycle – it can be very challenging to break the cycle. Learning to be patient with yourself, take small steps to educate yourself on your food motivations and selections, and how you ultimately want to use food will be key on your fitness journey.

At I-Tri Fitness, we refer to food as fuel. It is a necessary part of powering our awesome bodies. We use it for power. We use it to give us energy. We teach that getting stronger and healthier with exercise also requires that we understand more about the fuel we want to use to sustain our engines. Throughout our website we will provide awesome recipe ideas, healthier cooking tips, and some strategies to help you become more aware of what food means to you, how you are using food and how to overcome some of the obstacles that may you may be facing with food.

Remember, fitness (and that includes exercise and fuel) is not about perfection… it is about what we do most of the time. Let’s work together to make what you chose most of the time healthy and nutritious.

Tears or Sweat…. How will you pay?

It’s 4:30 a.m. and the alarm goes off. It’s dark outside, it’s cold and my body hurts. The bed is warm, the pillows comfortable, and the voices in my head are not happy about what I’m about to ask them to do. Crawling out of a peaceful, restful, comfy bed is difficult. Strapping on the heart rate monitor, watch and lacing up running shoes is not pleasant. Striking out on a 45 minute hill repeat training session while it’s still dark outside is painful.i tri man

I assure you, the physical struggle associated with exercise is less difficult, unpleasant, and less painful than living in an unhealthy, unhappy body – full of sadness and self-loathing. The constant negative self judgement, the mental self-abuse, the eating to numb the pain and the horrible guilt after eating to numb the pain are thousands of times more difficult that putting my warm feet on the cold floor getting ready to exercise.

Life is hard, sometimes unbelievably hard. We all pay the price to survive. The currency is in the form of a liquid salty discharge. We all chose our method of payment. Sweat or tears. We will give up the salt… one way or another.


We can pay with tears in an effort to cope with the unhappiness in our lives, our unhappiness with ourselves, with our bodies. We can eat to numb the pain and suffering and then pay for it with more tears and misery. We can listen to the angry judgmental voices in our head telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t worthy and release the tears to cope with the possibility that those things might be true. This pain last every minute of every day, sleeps with us at night, and is there to face us as soon as we wake.


Or we can pay with sweat from getting out of our comfortable place, our bed, our normal routine and doing the work, putting in the effort, dealing with the challenge and discomfort of pushing ourselves just a little bit farther or faster than yesterday. We can take on the challenge, with sweat beading on our brows, our muscles screaming in rebellion and put one foot in front of the other over and over and over. Those same voices may tell us that we aren’t good enough, but somewhere inside the truth rings out that “Yes, we are good enough!” We take one more step to prove it. This pain is temporary. We do the work. It’s over. And we are free and at peace for the rest of our day.


In the times in my life when I have been unfit, overweight and unhealthy – the mental anguish and emotional pain that I endured was far more difficult than any physical discomfort I felt while competing in a 70.3 Ironman. If you are enduring the mental pain of living in a body that you aren’t happy with – the physical work to overcome the emotional pain is so worth it and so much easier than the pain you are enduring every minute of every day.

You are good enough. You are strong. You can do this.

How will you pay?


Chose to take your first step today.  Chose sweat.
Contact us… let us take that step with you.

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

To Resolve or Not to Resolve

As 2015 comes to a close, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year, pondering our current place in life and considering possibilities for the future. It can be a warm and peaceful time. It can also be a source of stress or frustration if we find ourselves not where we had hoped we would be professionally, personally, physically. There is always the debate over New Year’s resolutions – should we? Shouldn’t we? Are they useful, helpful, meaningful or useless and ridiculous? To resolve or not to resolve, this is the question.

i tri man

There is no perfect answer – it is a very personal thing to many folks. New Year’s resolutions can be a double edged sword. On one side of the sword, it can provide the motivation and spark to kick start a stagnant physical fitness or healthy eating journey – this is wonderful, helpful and energizing. On the other edge, should your resolve begin to fade in March (if not sooner) and none of the things you set out to do are in place, those same motivational resolutions can become the negative judgement that you hold against yourself – emotionally flogging yourself for your failure, lack of commitment, and inability to fix years of issues in a few short weeks. Many times we make giant lists of all of the things we perceive to be wrong or out of balance in our lives. Our resolutions become one giant long “to do” list that places tremendous pressure on us. Three of the top New Year’s resolutions every year are to eat healthier, exercise more and to lose weight.


Long ago I stopped having a body weight goal and began making my resolutions external achievement goals (like a race or new sport). Over the years, I’ve come to embrace the turning of the New Year and time of reflection. Having specific short term and long term goals for the coming year can be very helpful in keeping us on track. The goals need to be measurable and controllable. The goals need to be realistic and attainable. I recognized that by attaining an achievement goal (completing the race or learning a new sport, or completing a former race, but with a better time) that physically I would be improving and getting stronger. If I was getting stronger and improving, then my weight would surely follow. This approach has proven to work very well.

Having goals like committing to go the gym a certain number of times a week or join a new class at your gym are very achievable goals. Goals such as only having desserts on Friday nights instead of every night is also very controllable. You may not be perfect (in fact I’m certain that you won’t), but if you are better than you were last year, more consistent, more consistent for longer, committed to getting back at it after you stumble – those are HUGE SUCCESSES!!

In the moments when you may find that you are off track, not following your resolutions or drifting back to your former habits – those are the moments to be gentle with yourself. Those are the moments to allow yourself to accept that you aren’t perfect – you never will be. It is this fact that can derail us so quickly. We all say to ourselves “No one is perfect.” We will even comfort a friend who may have stumbled or is failing to achieve a goal. We will tell them, “It’s ok. No one is perfect. Just keep trying.” And we all believe that to be true. Yet when we find that we have fallen short of our imagined perfect self, we are cruel and harsh with ourselves. Our inner self talk can be quite painful and relentless. Remember, it’s not about perfection it’s about what you do most of the time. When you realize that you are not headed the way you want, remind yourself that you still have the desire to try one more time. Be compassionate with yourself as if you were talking with a dear friend.

It is the drive and commitment to keep on starting that is the most important resolution you can make.

Happy New Year

Let 2016 be your year of continued resolve – the year you find your external achievement goals that will keep you focused and committed (most of the time). Let 2016 be the year that when you stumble, you smile and remember that all you have to do is get up, dust yourself off and keeping moving forward. Let 2016 be the year that you resolve to always keep trying. And if you’re looking for a little extra support… we can help.

Happy New Year from I-Tri!!!

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

White Powder

I am an addict.  It has taken me many years to realize it, to recognize the addictive behavior, to see in myself a weakness for something that I feel I have nearly no control over.

i tri man

My addiction, like many addictions, is for white powder. It is one of the most wildly abused substances in our country.  It has nearly no negative stigma.  We willingly give it to children and delight in watching them consume it.   Entire holidays revolve around handing it out to people who come to our house.



Now wait just  a minute, you say.  Sugar is food.

Let’s look at the definition of drug.  A drug is “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.”  When we eat sugar, our body detects it in our blood (pancreas) and then releases insulin to help the body remove the sugar from the blood and pull it into the cells of the body.  That is a physiological response.

Let’s also look at the definition of addiction.  From the Free Dictionary “addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance.  It is a progressive syndrome, which means that it increases in severity over time unless it is treated. Substance abuse is characterized by frequent relapse, or return to the abused substance. Substance abusers often make repeated attempts to quit before they are successful.”  Ever tried to not eat dessert?  Ever tried to give up drinking soda or sweat tea?  Did you start strong and then start to notice that you would think about it?  Did your thoughts become so focused on your desire that you get uncomfortable?  Did you feel your body “craving”?  Did you feel yourself trying to resistant and struggling?  Did you know that you didn’t want to eat that cookie or donut or cake but found yourself with it in your mouth anyway?  Well I have.  I’ve found myself surrounded by 20 candy wrappers and stilling chewing the chocolate and feeling wildly out of control and embarrassed. 

I’ve watched myself prowl through the house at night looking for a hit, trying to find anything that would give me my sugar fix.  I’ve thrown things away (half eaten candy bar because I was disgusted with how much candy I had already eaten) and found myself later digging it out of the trash can because “I had to have it”.

Sugar is a very powerful substance.  We are hard wired to like sweets, it was part of our survival strategy thousands and thousands of years ago.  The wild swings in blood sugar that occur when we eat sugar perpetuate the cycle.  When our blood sugar drops, our body reacts thinking we are in trouble and triggers us to “crave”.  Sugar is added to so many foods that we eat today.  I was a food scientist and product formulator in the food industry for nearly 20 years.  We used sugar to make foods more desirable to consumers.  Sugar tastes good.  Remember we are hardwired to seek it out.

There are numerous articles out there with far more details about the impact of sugar on the body.  Some are very scientific and include tons of research.  My intent for writing was not to wade into the details of the effect of sugar on the body, but to point out that if you are attempting to start a journey or have been struggling with your journey for a fitter, healthier lifestyle, your own sugar “addiction” may be getting in your way.  If you don’t recognize it, you can’t change it.  If you won’t admit it, you can’t change it.  Remember, “what gets measured gets fixed.”

I challenge you to take one week and record the amount of sugar that you are consuming.   For this exercise, don’t count the sugar that is coming from any whole pieces of fresh fruit.  If you are eating canned fruit, fruit cocktails, drinking fruit juice – count that as added sugar.  Look for sugar in your beverages, anything that is prepackaged including bread, pasta, cereal, sandwich meat, hotdogs, chips, granola mix, breakfast bars and drinks, coffee, crackers, snacks, chewing gum, hard candy, chocolate.

If you come back with a number that is greater than 25 grams of added sugar per day then you may need to consider that sugar is derailing your hard efforts to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle.

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.