Turn my hair PINK and PURPLE for my 70.3 Triathlon

Working towards taking items off a bucket list is a pretty awesome feeling.  Being able to cross item #1 off that list is even better.

On October 26th, that’s this coming Sunday, I am going to compete in the Miami Half Ironman 70.3 race.  This is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling and then a half marathon.  In total 70.3 miles.  I’ve been training hard for about four months now.  Getting up when it is still dark in the morning to swim, bike and run my to work each day to hopefully make it to the office by 9am.  My weeks have consisted of anywhere from 10 to 20 hours of exercise.  I’ve lost weight, purchased a fancy bike, eaten gobs of food and [luckily] managed to avoid major injury.  The worst part, Florida’s summer sun and time away from my family.

With the race so close though, some friends have asked me if I’m racing to support any charities.  Until yesterday, I had not set anything up but…..that was yesterday.

In the past, I have done an occasional race in support of the RSDSA in memory of my sister, Rachel.  The problem with this is that this charity is more a memory of Rachel’s death rather than her life.  In life my sister was interested in three things: helping people, helping animals and doing things with glitter glue.  (I’m sure there was something else but those three are pretty encapsulating.)

Specifically, I remember my sister in her younger years collecting wildlife card files, books she would fill with information about wild and endangered animals.  In her ‘later’ years she and I spent a lot of time working with what was then called the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). The mission was to stop racism and hatred of all types.  Unfortunately, NCCJ has not survived the test of time but the Miami Chapter lives on as the MCCJ.  Most important to the sparkling memory of Rachel’s life was her constant obsession of decorating everything with glitter glue.

For each of the first two items, I’ve decided to create fund-raising pages with The MCCJ and The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN). Their connection to my sister should be obvious to all who knew her.  To memorialize the glitter glue is a bit more difficult so instead of donating do the American Association of Glitter Glue Enthusiasts (gosh, I hope that’s not a real organization) I will instead place one centimeter of glitter glue on my helmet for each $50 donated to the above charities.  And to make sure it is clear I’m memorializing my sister, I’ll use purple glitter glue for donations to MCCJ and pink for donations to WCN.  (If you’re curious, the helmet is black.)

There is one other item about my sister that is relevant.  This Friday, October 24th, would have been her 30th birthday.  So, with only a few days to go we’ll set the fund-raising target at $3,000.  It’s a stretch, I know, but as an incentive if $1,500 or more is raised for MCCJ, I’ll dye my hair purple.  If $1,500 or more is raised for WCN, I’ll die my  hair pink.  If we meet both goals, I’ll be running the triathlon as the Miami Beach version of the villain Two-Face from the Batman comics.

The race is THIS Sunday, October 26th.  I’m not going to do this again.  Click the fund-raising links (MCCJ | WCN), share this post on facebook, and help give my race outfit some serious style points!

Rachel as a bunny!
Rachel as a bunny!

That time I finished a race in first place…and didn’t realize it!

Checking items off a bucket list is always a lot of fun.  Checking an item off and not even realizing can be even more rewarding.

In early 2013 I challenged a couple of friends to walk with me from Washington, DC all the way to Harper’s Ferry, WV.  We did it, unfortunately that item wasn’t on our bucket list.  Several months later, one of those friends challenged the group to another silly idea, competing in a really long triathlon.

We all took the bait.

This past August, six friends and a pair of one year old twins descended on Penn Yan, New York for the Peasantman Triathlon.  The friend who challenged the group to the event was planning on competing in the Steel Distance Triathlon, effectively a half iron man.  His girlfriend and I signed up for the Olympic Steel Triathlon, while Jillian and the other pair of athletes took care of the Half Steel Relay.  We focused on keeping the race low-key and fun.

We all finished our triathlons, some of us in first place.
We all finished our triathlons, some of us in first place.

Fast forward to the end of the race… when the two of us who ran the Olympic distance triathlon got the surprise of our athletic careers…we were first place in our respective divisions.  Despite coming in the bottom half of the overall race field, we cleared the first place position in our divisions and, that means item #46 on the bucket list has been achieved.  I came in first place in a race, it doesn’t matter that I was the only one in my division, my certificate says 1st and so… item #46 has been officially checked off the list!

Just don't ask how many people I had to leave in my dust....
Just don’t ask how many people I had to leave in my dust….

The only problem is that in training for that Olympic distance triathlon (which I WON!), I somehow managed to sign up for a half Ironman race, something I like to call the “Aluminium Man”.  The reason I signed up is that completing the aluminium man (70.3 miles total) happens to have been the first item on the bucket list.  Wonder if I’ll come in first again….

Destination Honeymoons for Frequent Travelers

In theory, I’m planning a wedding. On February 18th my Australian fiancé and I will have been engaged for a year. At the time, I said to him, “I don’t want to be one of those couples who are engaged for years before the wedding.”


In that year, we’ve finished working in South Korea, traveled through South America, and come to the US, where we’re putting together a de facto partner visa application so I can get to Australia.

Big Merino, Australia
Only in Australia.

Once that’s approved, we’ll get down to business on the wedding. Like, setting a date. And deciding which country we’ll get married in. But then you get all the messy details like catering, venues, flowers, color schemes; all the stuff that doesn’t interest me.

So I allow my mind to wander to more fun things.

Like our honeymoon.

Among all of the questions we get about our cross-cultural marriage, people are constantly curious about the honeymoon.

“But you’ve been to so many places. What’s left?”

And that is where they are wrong. There are plenty of places left. And it’s our honeymoon, so I figure we’ve got a license to splurge on some luxury. Right?

So I get lost in travel websites like Exsus, imagining what it would be like to let someone else take over the planning. To sleep in a fancy room with windows and fluffy pillows, have everything paid for in advance so we’re not thinking about the budget every day.  A vacation in pure, unadulterated, luxury.

Drumroll, please: I now present you with my top three fantasy honeymoon destinations.


As in, the whole continent. I haven’t narrowed it down to a country yet, but here are some of the things I want to see:

  • One of those blazing sunsets where the sun takes over the whole sky and multiplies in size to the point where you can’t believe the sun is this big and you’ve never seen it like this before
African Sunset
Like this but BIGGER. Image Credit
  • Animals. Specifically lions, elephants, or giraffes, doing their thing in the wild. The real wild. Not a fancy-schmancy zoo that looks like the wild (although I am a sucker for those, too).
  • Victoria Falls. Though whether or not I’d get into that pool on the edge remains to be seen.
  • Morocco.  Everything in Morocco from Marrakech to romantic and luxurious Casablanca.

That’s it, really. Any suggestions for exact locations are welcomed.

Whale Sharks

Whale Shark
YES. Whale sharks are so romantic. Image Credit

I realize that ‘whale sharks’ is not a country. But I feel like anywhere that has whale sharks has other desirable aspects, like clear blue waters, tropical climates, and secluded beaches. Countries that could satisfy this requirement include Borneo, Belize, Mexico, and Madagascar, but I’m flexible. Ideally, we’d be able to surf there, too, because it’s only fair that the honeymoon be about both of us.


That would be kind of okay. Image Credit

I know. It’s generic, but I’ve never been there. Except for once, in college, when I went to the Bahamas with a group of friends. We stayed at a rundown spring break resort that had crazy happy hour specials and plenty of drunk students crowding the postage stamp-sized pool. One time I got on a bus and the driver was swigging from an open beer.  Taking a trip to the Bahamas or even another island like Anguilla or Antigua would be just plain nice.

I was thinking somewhere a little more swanky for a honeymoon. Not much, but a little.

Help! Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Did you go luxury or backpack?

adventure travel

Taking flight?

That infamous bucket list keeps growing as I cross things off. When I first heard about the Rocketman experience, through an online coupon site that shall not be named, my gut reaction was – awesome. Quickly the jet pack experience was added to our bucket list and just as quickly, the deal was purchased.

I have no doubt that I won’t look as cool or do as many tricks as they do in the video, but I’m still giddy with excitement! This Saturday we’re crossing the newest item off our bucket list, and we promise to share pictures and video with you next week.

So in honor of a bucket list cross-off, how do you add things to your bucket list? I’m thinking about starting a Pinterest board for bucket list items- share yours below if you have one!

New Years Resolution(s)?

I have never been successful with New Years resolutions. Inevitably two weeks later I’ve forgotten about the promises I’ve made to myself and am charting a course into the new year without a thought as to those resolutions. I will tell you a secret…

It doesn’t both me one bit that I don’t fulfill these promises.

I know, it really should bother me, right? I don’t resolve to go places or do exciting things- those type of “resolutions” I reserve for my bucket list.  My resolutions usually involve intangibles that I can’t really be held accountable for – the ever vague and ambiguous “I’m going to exercise more” or “I am going to spend more time with family.”  It wasn’t quantified in the first place so I can be completely subjective in achieving or failing at the goal without any data to back me up.  That’s probably why the resolutions disappear within two weeks.

This year I wanted to do something different with my “resolutions.”  While my concrete goals are reserved in place on my bucket list – why can’t I resolve to cross a few of those off instead of promising myself something intangible and vague.

So out of the 50 items we put on our bucket list last January, we crossed two off this year:

30. Own our own home. (June  2011)

41. Ski (February 2011)

I don’t know how we should rate two, but at least we have a starting point for 2012.

What are you crossing off your bucket list this year?