Tag Archives: 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




Every athlete’s (and yes, you are an athlete) power starts in the same place.  Whether we start or stop, run hard, run faster, run longer is all controlled in the mind.

Present Moment

All of your power is in the present moment. 

It was this truth that released me from a lifetime of inner pain and turmoil.  The moment I recognized that the past is over, what is done is done, and that the future is a reflection of what I do each and every moment I was free from my old patterns of thought and behavior.  Right now I affect my path, in this very moment in time.  The past is over.  Yet much of our conflict seems to come from being caught in the past, past habits, thoughts of the past, carrying the pain of the past.

And as much as the past can stall our growth, so can simply wasting time thinking about things that have not occurred.  As I worry about the future, daydream without action my power is sitting idle.

Ghandi said,

“The future is determined by what happens in this moment.”

Your Power is Now

So as I ponder these things, I recognize that our lives are the summary of our choices – a compilation of all the actions and decisions we have made.  Digging deeper, it is easy to see that our lives are a reflection of our thoughts and specifically the thoughts that we act upon.  I have thousands upon thousands of thoughts every single day.  I do not respond to each of those thoughts.  There is a split second in the present moment where I choose to act.  It is at that very instant that I affect my path.  So simple really, yet so difficult to master.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

  • You think thoughts.
  • You choose to act.
  • You act.
  • Your action has an affect.
  • The affect of your action becomes reality.

If we wish to change our reality, we must start at the beginning… we must change the thoughts.

Our thoughts and the patterns that our thoughts take have been shaped and learned from a very early age.  For the longest time, I believed all of my thoughts, and that I had no means of changing the way that I think.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am not my thoughts, I am greater than they are.  I am the awareness within, wading through the thoughts.

Your power is in this moment.  Control the thought, choose to act, change the path.
Believe simply that you CAN.

Sign Up – To Keep Motivated

People frequently say things like “I wish I had your motivation,” or “I don’t know how you keep motivated” as they are struggling with their efforts to get fit. While getting started is often the hardest part of leading a fitter lifestyle, staying motivated is the difference between getting the results you want and finding your way back into the old habits that led you to an unfit lifestyle to begin with. Finding focus is one thing; keeping focus is a completely different animal.

i tri man

Many times a conversation with a doctor, or a long hard look in the mirror will spur the recognition that you need to do something different and will drive you to those first difficult steps of starting. But weeks later, you find that motivation has started to fade or drifted away, the conversation with you doctor “wasn’t that bad, was it?” As humans, we have a great capacity to forget or with time, dismiss things that were once impactful and noteworthy. And if you have been leading a lifestyle that is not resulting in the physical health and fitness that you desire, slipping back into those old habits and forgetting why you wanted to start in the first place can happen to any of us, especially as the challenge of pushing yourself gets harder, long unused muscles get sore, and results aren’t instantaneous.

How do I do it? How do I stay motivated? It has been a process to say the least. Now at 43, I have found the combination of focus and desire that keep me going. It wasn’t always this way. I too had many cycles of start and stop, and start again. It is difficult to start, it is even more difficult to start again because we realize how far we had gotten the last time we started, how much work we had invested and we let it all go; we have to do it all again. For me, in time, the gaps between exercising and eating healthy and not have gotten smaller. What once use to measure months (or years) between starting again is now measured in days off.

Flowers Plantation Sprint Triathlon Fun

Dragging myself to the gym in pursuit of the almighty lower number on the scale did not offer me the pleasure, focus or motivation that would last a lifetime. As long as the scale was moving, I was happy and would continue. But we can’t lose weight forever, and as we get stronger and leaner, there is less to lose. When the number going down on the scale slowed down, so did my motivation. There were days when I would dread the smell of the gym, dread waiting for weights, or couldn’t bring myself to climb on that elliptical one more time.

“So what did you do,” you ask?

I found my focus in races. After much encouragement from friends, I ran my first 5K. It was hard, I was slow, and finished near the back of the pack. But I loved it. I felt such a sense of accomplishment, I loved being with the other runners, I loved feeling like a runner. That first race kicked off a cycle for me of setting short term goals, the goal of running my next event or race. It eventually led to longer term goals, thinking about races of long distances that would require more time to train for and thus kept me motivated. It gave me an identity. I was a runner.

10K Road Race

Signing up for a race, knowing that the date is out there and that money has been spent on it, that my friends know about it, that there is some cool gear and a medal waiting at the end has been the difference for me. It could be the thing you need to help you stick with your program.

Perhaps running isn’t your thing. There are many types of events or activities that you can get involved in. Swimming, cycling, walking, running, hiking, triathlon. Perhaps you don’t know how to swim. That’s ok, learning to swim will give you focus. It will give you some short term goals (I will learn to swim better) and some long term goals (I will be able to swim half a mile without stopping). 2 Mile Swim

Perhaps you have a bike.  There are some great for charity rides that you can commit to doing. These rides often have multiple distances, so you can find one that challenges you but that you can still manage.



Maybe events aren’t your thing. That’s ok too. The key is to find something you truly enjoy doing. Getting results is great, and quick results that often happen after being sedentary for a long time can be motivational. But in time, if you don’t love what you are doing, you may find your motivation falling off when the number on the scale going down slows down. If you truly enjoy the activity you are doing, it could be the difference between sticking with your commitment to live healthier and finding yourself in the dreaded “start again” cycle. Doing something you love will help keep you focused through the plateaus that we all experience.  Remember, it’s what we do MOST of the time that matters.  Doing something because you enjoy it will keep you going back to that activity MOST of the time.  Loving your activity or activities will bring consistency to your fitness journey.

Sign up for your race today. You won’t know how much you love it, until you TRI.

i tri man

From Couch to 13.1 …. to 70.3

Where I started, how this whole thing began.  Take your first step… who knows where it will take you.

Tim Kennard 10 Miler Start

On April 28th of 2012, I ran in the Ocean City, MD Island to Island 1/2 Marathon. It was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget. Over the days that followed the race, many friends and family members congratulated me on my race. My husband expressed great pride in my accomplishment; especially since I beat my goal time by almost 8 minutes.

This post is not about the 1/2 marathon race… but the path that led me to the race. Many of the people I work with assume that I am some awesome runner… that running has come naturally to me, that running is something I have done since I was young. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Those same people think that a half marathon is something that they could never do – an activity that is beyond their reach. They are wrong again.

About three years ago, I reached an all-time personal high for my body weight. Previously a fairly active and fit person (particularly through my high school and college years), life had settled in around me and my level of physical activity had significantly declined. With my decrease in activity also came my emotional eating. I was using food for comfort and to help me deal with times of boredom. I had gained almost 20 lbs. since the time I had met my husband. I felt terrible about my physical appearance and lack of discipline when it came to food.

I remember the day that a friend of mine mentioned a series of 5K races that was held over the summer locally. He was very encouraging and suggested that I should sign up and run. He said “you will love it.” I recall thinking that 3.1 miles was a long way, and that I wasn’t sure I could do it. Throw in the fact that it was a “race” and I was nothing but skeptical and nervous. Later that same week, my husband continued to encourage me to give it a try. So, I took him up on it. I knew I was in no shape to run a 5K in my current state and that I would need to start training.

So began the path to my first 5K. Little did I know it was the start of my path to my half marathon. I remember that day – it was in early April – still fairly cool for the spring where I live. I stepped out in my sweat pants and sweat shirt and some gloves.

I was off down the road with a 2 mile run planned. In my mind here are the thoughts that were racing through:

i tri man

The first 10 seconds of my run: I can do this. I use to run 2 miles all the time in high school. No problem!

30 seconds into my run: Dear God, was it this hard to breathe back then? Gosh my lungs hurt.

1 minute into my run (about 0.10 miles in): This sucks. I hate running. Why am I doing this??

1 minute and 2 seconds into my run: [Stopping to walk / hunched over gasping] Are you F@#*!NG kidding me?


I ended up only covering about 1 full mile that day (and that is probably being generous), more than half of it I walked. It was, hands down, the worst physical fitness activity of my life.

I waited about 3 days before I tried again (because I was so sore and so frustrated I couldn’t bring myself to try again immediately). Day 2 of training was not much better. I got exactly 1 neighborhood block farther than my first “run” before I had to double over and gasp. I covered no more total ground. What I recall thinking that day – “Well, ok, I got one block farther for I had to walk. That’s something.”

What I didn’t realize was how quickly my body would respond to the training when I stuck with it. Within 2 weeks I was able to “run” 1 mile, walk for a bit and then continue running covering about 2 miles. Within 4 weeks, I was able to run (albeit slowly) for 2 miles without stopping in about 30 minutes.

Now…don’t get me wrong. It was very hard. And everything hurt. My feet, my legs, my lungs all experience pain. I remember being very sore. I remember showing a gain in weight after about 3 weeks and feeling frustrated. Folks kept telling me it was muscle, but I sure didn’t feel better hearing that. (I didn’t know at the time that my blood volume was actually increasing to accommodate the higher demand for oxygen that my body was requiring during my training).

I ran my first 5K in late May of that year and posted a time of 36 minutes and 57 seconds. I ran faster in the race than I had in any of my training runs. The energy of the race was exhilarating. Running with other people, even though they were much better runners than me, gave me more energy and resulted in a real sense of accomplishment. The winner of that race ran the 5K in 15 minutes and 22 seconds.

But for me, seeing myself doing better with each run was enough motivation and brought enough satisfaction that it drove me forward. It just felt good to be trying.

I was not a very disciplined runner and during the first year was very inconsistent. There were 10 x 5K races that summer and I ran in about 4 of them. At the end of the season there was a 10 miler.

During the 8 weeks leading up to the 10 miler, I decided to give it a try. I was really not running any faster, but thought that to go that far would be an awesome accomplishment. I ran the race in September of 2010 and thought my legs were going to fall off of my body. It was the most painful running experience I had ever felt. My breathing was fine, I felt like I had more energy – but the muscles in my hips and legs were so fatigued, I could barely lift my legs to walk across the finish line. I ran my first 10 miler in 1 hour and 51 minutes.

First 10 Miler 2

I took the winter off that year (starting right after the 10 miler) and did not start jogging / running again until about late February. That next summer I ran in about 6 of the 5Ks (my fastest was the first one of the season at 27 minutes and 53 seconds) and ran the end of season 10 miler again, finishing this time in 1 hour and 41 minutes. While I was able to pick up my legs this time, I was still completely wiped out at the end of that 10 mile race. The winter came, but I continued to jog about once or twice a week – short jogs of about 2 to 3 miles.

Close to Christmas time another friend of mine suggested a 1/2 marathon to me. I laughed out loud at the thought of trying to run 3.1 more miles after running 10 miles. She continued to encourage me and true to form I accepted the challenge. I looked online for a beginner’s half marathon training guide and followed it. The plan indicated that the training would take 12 weeks. I began my formal training in February of that year.

And so the official path to the half was recognized. I learned a lot, talked to other runners, gained insight about fueling during the race. Each day brought learnings about my body, about my mental toughness, about my how committed I was.

I completed the 1/2 marathon in 2 hours and 2 minutes, (my 10 mile time during the 1/2 marathon was 1 hour and 34 minutes).

I say all of these things not to pat myself on the back, but to let you know that if you just put one foot in front of the other, and stick with it, the beautiful creation that is the human body will respond to your effort.

It won’t happen all at once. It will be hard work. But it is so worth it. The experiences that I have had, the accomplishment that I have felt, the response my body has had (I’ve lost 10.2 lbs. of the 20 lbs. that I gained) – no one can take that away. And there is nothing magical or special about me. I am not a professional athlete. I am not physically gifted. I have simply put one foot in front of the other and done it.

The smallest effort – if done with desire, focus and commitment will pay off. But I warn you now, if you are open and willing to put forth that small effort, be prepared for it to grow into greater effort…. be prepared for it to grow into ideas and challenges of which you never thought yourself capable.

70.3 White Lake Half Ironman

P.S.  Nearly 2 years after writing this post…. I went on to complete my first half Ironman.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think such an amazing challenge would be for me.  My initial ideas did indeed take me places I never thought myself capable….

I am a runner…

Yes, I am a runner….though I am not a good runner. But then, what is a good runner? A fast runner? A runner with amazing endurance? These things are irrelevant to me, the runner, while I am running.

Dewey Beach 10 Miler 2

My husband is also a runner. He is significantly faster than me. He can run farther than I can run. You may conclude that he is a better runner than I. But to me – these attributes are simply descriptive and nothing more. My husband asked me the other day, “Do you enjoy running?” We were talking about how much he enjoyed running. He loved heading out on a weekend morning and just running around the roads, listening to music, looking around and moving.

I thought for a moment and responded with this,

“No. I do not enjoy the act of running. It is very hard and can be painful. But I absolutely love the results of running, so much so that I am driven to continue and to do it again on a new day.”

And I meant every word. Running was horrible when I first started in my adult life. It was so hard, I almost quit. I remember not being able to breathe, I remember not being able to run for more than about a minute before I had to stop. Now, a few years later, I am able to run faster than I did and for longer distances than I did – but the physical challenge is still there. It is a different feeling of challenge, but still riddled with pain and does require a level of mental commitment and focus that pushes me to limits.

Many of my friends and co-workers often seem amazed that I run. They talk about how they could never run and usually start to list a miriad of issues that prevents them from running. While I don’t doubt that they think they can’t run, I am fairly certain that there is nothing magical or special about me that I do run. In my heart I believe the biggest difference is simply in the doing. I have committed to putting one foot in front of the other and just doing it. They have not. That is really the only difference.

Now, I can tell you that there are many “mistakes” that new runners make that prevent them from continuing to run. The number 1 mistake that folks new to running make is that they start out running too fast. If you have not run ever in your life or if you haven’t done it in years, then the reality is that you have no gauge for how fast you are traveling. Most new runners begin their jogging / running at a blistering pace, one that is not sustainable without months (or even years) of training. I think for me when I started, there was a mental image of how fast runners were traveling and I just set out at a pace that seemed like running. Within 30 seconds I was gasping for air, and within 1 minute I was hunched over unable to catch my breath. Entirely too fast.

The best rule of thumb for starting a running program – go slow. You should be able to have and sustain a conversation while you are running / jogging. If you can’t… slow down. You may need to intermingle some periods of walking if you are really out of shape – jog at a comfortable pace for one to 2 minutes, then walk for 30 seconds, then resume jogging. The most important thing – just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Forget about how fast you are running. Forget about how far you are running. Simply move.

Running is a process. It is a meditation. There is a mental aspect that has become the more important / more challenging aspect of running for me. The body will respond to the work that you invest. Your heart will become stronger, your muscles will become stronger, you will become more efficient, and if you are balancing your food / nutrition – you will even lose weight. Some days you will run easier than others, some days it will feel like a burden; it is the commitment to the movement… it is the doing that matters.

Dewey Beach 10 Miler

Me (on the left) running in my 2nd 10 miler.

When I listen to my husband talk about his experience running – I am envious. I desire to feel running the same way that he does. He tells me that it is even more impressive that I find running so hard and I continue to do it.


But … remember… I am a runner.

There is no judgement from the pavement. The wind does not care my direction or pace. The sun lights my path, the stars guide my way.

I am a runner.