Y Dub Tri Club

I made it through my first week of the YDubTriClub! Phew! What a great week. I joined to keep myself in shape until the next triathlon. The program is run through the YWCA and each practice is coached by a triathlete. We'll learn injury prevention, bike maintenance and swimming techniques that I have just powered through in the past. I have learned so much and feel so much better already. I can't believe I ever trained alone! Swimming, biking and running with others is so much fun. It pushes you just a little bit more to do even better.

Monday we biked on indoor trainers. It was an hour's worth of getting used to getting our bikes on the trainers and feeling them out. My favorite part: the music. I have never biked with music and our instructor just blared lots of favorites everything from Still of the Night [Whitesnake] to Touch of Grey [Grateful Dead]! Nice!

On Tuesday and Thursday we swam. Drills. Forever. We practiced all sorts of techniques to improve form, function and breathing. On Tuesday we took a baseline time for a 100. I finished in 1:45 [I think]. We'll see if it improves. On Thursday we did more drills: finger tip drags, the swordfish, kickboard, closed-fist freestyle, open-hand freestyle and something called a three-and-threes that helps with rolling your hips when you breathe. If my calculations are correct, we did close to 100 lengths of the pool that day.

Wednesday was our day at the track and Friday is our day for a long run. On Wednesday we did a mile warm-up (with skipping!) and a mile test run. My time for the mile was 7:42. We also did these crazy sprints where you do 20-seconds of mountain-climbers, sprint 50 yards, walk to the start, do 20 seconds of knee raises, sprint 50 yards, walk to start, 20 seconds of squats, sprint 50 yards and walk to the start. Then do it again. Zowie! Today was our long run and I'm thrilled to say that I ran from the YWCA to Pine Valley, around Robert E. Lee drive and back to the Y [about 5 miles]. As Valley girls growing up in that area of town, we lived to ride our bikes around Robert E. Lee drive. I can't believe I ran it!

Did I mention that our training starts at 5:45am? I stole these pictures because it's too dark to take my own. But, here are my top reasons of the week to get up so early to work out: you get to see the stars and the full moon, you get to eat a cream puff from sweet and savory without the guilt, you lose two pounds in one week, and you gain confidence that you stuck with it all week.



Megan's Baby Shower

Megan had her baby...........shower! This past Sunday we celebrated Megan G's mom-to-be-ness with a shower at Cape Fear Country Club. We had a brunch, played Baby Scattergories, created a scrapbook with advice and quotes and opened gifts for Baby Dumay.


Flowers & Favors


Megan & Meade

Virginia, Megan and Maria

Elizabeth, Megan, Alex

Megan & Aron

Megan and Tracy

Alex & Bear

Megan & Maria

Megan & Becka

Me & Megan

Lindsay & Megan


Measuring the Size of Mum's Tum
Elizabeth overestimated a little.

Heirloom Gifts

Baby Boy Bundles

Baby Booties & Caps Handmade by Mama K

Baby Swing from Amelia

Jennifer & Megan

Stephanie & Megan

Megan and Louise [LuLu] Gorham

Megan & Mama K

Amelia & Megan

Hostess Gifts


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Wilmington YMCA Triathlon

I finished my third triathlon this past Saturday! What an amazing experience. Each tri experience has been awesome - but this one was unbelievable. The weather was fantastic and I reached all my goals. But, most important, I was surrounded by people who believed in me and helped me reach the finish line!

The race weekend started on Friday with packet pick-up at Two Wheeler Dealer and a participant meeting at Wrightsville Beach Park. We met Gail & Bob Crutchfield and Julie Stocks and were introduced to their relay team from Whiteville. We paced out the run from the end of the swim at Seapath Marina to the Transition Area. Plus, Neal and I scoped out my spot in the bike racks. Here is a before and after shot.
Above: Friday Night. Below: Saturday Morning
Neal and I arrived at 0-dark-thirty to pick up my timing chip, prep the bike and get to the swim start. The participants were bussed to the Blockade Runner. Neal rode his bike cruiser a mile or so to the swim start.

A little girl spelled out: Go Triathletes! in the sand.
Sunrise on the participants:

Participants crowd the shoreline waiting for their wave to start.

There were 16 waves of swimmers starting about 5 minutes apart. The open athletes are sent first and then most of the other waves are based on age-groups. I think this is the 35 - 40 year-old men. The announcer told them to behave: You are the troublemakers in the bunch, he said, so be careful out there!

Here I am pre-swim. The water was wonderful. It was clear and 76 degrees.
I wore my wetsuit top over my bike/run gear.

Here's what it looks like at the start of the swim!

My official swim for 1500 meters was 26:54! My goal was 28:00 minutes. Yay! I even passed some of the swimmers from the previous waves which was pretty cool. We had to climb up the ladder at Seapath and run from the Marina, through the parking lot and down the Causeway to the Transition entrance. Phew! I was so excited to hear Dad and Joyce and Neal yelling for me when I came down this stretch! The sun was shining and everybody was so excited.

Here I am in Transition 1 (T1). It felt like I took forever to don my helmet, shoes, gloves, watch, hairband, and race skirt, but my T1 time was 2:37. I actually cut my time by 1 minute from my last race at White Lake - which is huge! Here are a few shots and video:

Our 12 mile bike took us over the WB drawbridge, up Airlie Road, to Greenville Loop, back down Oleander to Eastwoood and back to the beach. Dottie Sauer [Neal's mom] cheered me on at mile 2 and mile 9 on the corner of Airlie and Oleander. Kathryn, Suzanna and Jacob Webster were cheering for me a the Lowe's Foods on Greenville Loop, and Anna and Parker had cowbells and pots and pans near the muni golf course! I finished in 43:03! [My goal was 45:00.]

I didn't feel so hot at the end of the bike - I had a stitch in my side and I was simply THIRSTY! [Um....that's what swimming in salt water does...hello!?]. My main goal was to run the entire way...and I did it! Megan and Alex gave me a BIG boost in downtown WB. Hearing Alex say: go Bessie! was awesome! Colin met me at mile 2.5 on the shady side of the course. He ran with me and for a few yards and pepped me up and then we passed Joyce, Dad, Dottie, Anna, Neal, Parker (who gave me a high five!), Amy, Connie, Caitlyn, Emilie and Finn!
Here I am in the home stretch in front of the police station!
Kickin' it in the end. I ended up passing that tall guy! I finished in 31:19 which wasn't my goal time BUT, I ran the whole thing and it's my best time in a Tri yet! My total time was 1:45:56!
After the post-race party, everyone came to our home for the real finish line party. We pigged out on all the stuff I try to avoid during training: chickfila, krispy kremes, gallons of sweet tea and homemade ice cream!

I want to thank everyone for helping me eat so much junk food, but especially for coming to show your support and to cheer me on. I know the other athletes loved seeing you and hearing you, too. I may not have won an award for my finish but I should have won an award for the most fans! You all deserve medals for your enthusiasm and time and interest!
Thank you to Cathy, Shelley (and Ella), Connie, Dottie, Ron, Megan, Dumay, Alex, Gail, Bob, Julie, Kat, Suze, Jake and Mary Jo - you all made this triathlon special. Thank you to Amy and Emilie who created my FIRST triathlon medal. It is now hanging with my other half marathon and 5k medals.
I want to say a special thank you to Dad and Joyce who arrived SUPER early at the race and probably ran as much as I did. They also presented me with beautiful mums and an post-race dinner with all my favorite foods! I so appreciate Anna and Colin and Parker making the trip from Raleigh and chasing me around the beach! You made the race super fun and it meant a lot to have you there. You all helped with logistics at the race and the party - awesome!
And, of course, I want to thank Neal. He is always a G-A-S (gear and support). Most importantly, he keeps me motivated and believing in myself during my training in the days leading up to the race and points out all my strengths and accomplishments in the days following the race. Thanks!

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Summer 2009

Okay! It's been a busy summer and I haven't posted in a while! We've had wonderful visits from family and friends, Parker had his third birthday, Nathan was baptized, there was a concert in the park and an impromptu race in downtown Wilmington! And July isn't even over yet! Here are some of my favorite summer moments:

Masonboro Island on the Fourth of July:
Sunset. Moonrise. Fireworks.

Sonja, Eddie and their boys were here for Independence Day, too! Drew & Nathan pose with their ribbons after the Seaside Club relay races.

The Joneses came to visit.

I kept Parker for one night while Anna and Colin hit Myrtle Vegas for a concert. We hit the pool!

Below: Dedication of the SeaHawk on the campus of UNCW.

Sculpted by Dumay. Engineered by Ace.
Finished by the grace of God.

My name is Parker. I'm three years old!

Above & Below: Visits from Chris and Annie and Todd.

Playing at the Gorhams pier on Banks Channel.

Emery Elise Best was born on June 17, 2009.

Bob Weir and RatDog at the Greenfield Park Ampitheatre!
Front Row!



Memoriam for Jack Greco

This past Monday, I traveled to Greenwood, S.C. for the funeral of Jack Greco. Jack was the father of my childhood best friends, Leanne and Stacie Greco. I have to say, despite the unfortunate circumstances, I had a great trip.

The back roads from I-26 to Greenwood were amazing. If I had had the time to stop in Lexington, S.C., I would have. It had a small-town feel and reminded me a lot of Whiteville. I was blessed by sunny skies, rolling country hills and the Dave Matthews Band channel on XM radio most of the way.

The service was short and very sweet. The officients who eulogized Jack, were eloquent and funny and poignant and loving. They recounted stories of his love of fishing and woodworking and of being a meat-and-potatoes man. My favorite story was of an early morning fishing trip where some Canadian geese flew low over the boat at sunrise. Jack's remark was something like, how can you not believe in God when you see something like that?
Grand Harbor Club House

A reception was held at the Greco's neighboorhood club house. I found Leanne at the front door as she was greeting guests and think I shocked her into tears. She led me to her mom, Diana (who I hadn't seen since my wedding), and to Stacie. Throughout the reception we shared funny stories about Jack and about our childhood antics. I met Adam (again), Karen, Christy, Donna, John, Paulette and the Nobles among many. Plus, I was reintroduced to all the cousins that I grew up knowing from afar (the Grecos were from Massachusetts).

Grand Harbor Pool (that is not Stacie with the Noodle)

I took Donna up on her invitation to stay at her home and was able to visit my dear friends for the evening. After the reception, we went to the club pool. We entertained with some stories from Wilmington: the fires of Pettigrew, the bob-whites club, Ambassador Camp and all of the pet stories we could remember. We had a feast for dinner (honey ham, macaroni salad, spinach salad, sheet cake and homemade chocolate chip cookies) and we browsed a few photo albums: my ninth grade social picture, Anna in a Pac-Man tee and Jams, Leanne's modeling phase and Stacie in the "I am being left out" pout.
After a walk around the block with Leanne, I turned into bed at the Boyajian's (I think that's right). My room was on the bottom floor and the accomodations were divine. Donna collects folk art and my room was heavenly. She had decorated the bath as if you were under water at the lake...complete with turtles and fish and a fishing line bobbying on the surface/ceiling. The next morning I awoke around six to a beautiful red sunrise (reflected in the water on the lake) and a tiny bunny having breakfast on the lawn. I left around 7am for the drive home.

My view on Tuesday morning

Stacie, Beth & Leanne

I went to the service prepared to say a few words that I had been thinking for days and had scribbled along the drive.I didn't get to share my memorial for Jack at the service, so I thought I'd print it here:
I am Beth Andrew from Wilmington, North Carolina.
I had the fortune of growing up down the street from the Grecos in Wilmington about 30 years ago. Leanne, Stacie, my sister, Anna, and I were pretty inseparable during elementary and jr. high years. We practically lived at each others houses. Our parents were loving, brave and very, very tolerant.
My memories of Jack were of him taking us surf fishing at Wrightsville Beach or out to Masonboro in the Stacie Lee. I remember he brought home a confetti person in the back of the HoneyBee car, and of him working on his woodshed night and day. My dad remembers the day he got his shop table - with saws and sanders and planers and vice grips and tools. I think it was the talk of Pettigrew Drive. He also remembers the Christmas day that he received one of Jack's fishing rods and custom lures. A treasure I think he has today.

My sister, Anna, remembers that Jack always had a project: picnic tables, a woodworking shed, fishing rods and lures. We also remember when said picnic table toppled over during a birthday cook-out. Evidently, it wasn't designed for EIGHT pre-teens eating burgers on only one side.

We both remember him cracking us up on many occasions with his Boston accent. We asked him repeatedly to say: let's get in the kah & go get haht dahgs and put them in kahdbahrd bahxes.

The best thing about growing up with another set of parents across the street is that they reinforce the lessons that your own parents try to teach you. I carry two lessons from growing up around Jack. The first - Play is the reward for hard work.

For every boat ride in the Stacie Lee there was a scrubbing and rinsing of the boat and buoys and chairs and rods and reels. For every game of Ain't No Bears, there were pine cones to pick up or pine straw to rake. For every trip to the roller rink, we had to sweep the woodshed or the garage.

My second lesson from Jack might be: value the work you do.
Several years ago, I helped Jack design a very simple website for LureCrafters so he could sell some of his custom lures online. It was a pleasure to work with him as an adult. I appreciated his wit and his patience with me even more. On the day he sent me his pictures of this lures, I was blown away. It was obvious that he had valued each and every lure. The focused effort and attention to detail was evident in every single model. I learned from his example that detailed effort and attention in every project or person - no matter how big or small - is the biggest reward. I know that this is something he has passed on to his girls in their adult life, too. I see it in their work ethic and love of people.

It was a reward to know Mr. Greco and I am thankful always that God brought this family into my life.



Look! I only took 128 pictures of Sugaree today on our trip to Masonboro Island! I think I took 163 last time. I can't help it. She's cute.

"Please stop taking pix and throw the damn ball."



White Lake Tri 2009

I completed my second sprint triathlon on Sunday! It was so much fun. I finished in 1:47:24 which was about 7 minutes faster than my projected goal! Yay for me!

Neal and I started the weekend at the participant meeting at the NCFFA Camp on Saturday evening. We drove to White Lake, NC, which is about 7 miles from Elizabethtown. We picked up my packet, complete with official WLS tee and my race number (133) for my swim, bike and run. We browsed the expo and dipped our toes in the water. It was a beautiful night and the water was warm (about 75 degrees) and I decided that I would be able to swim on Sunday without my wetsuit top.

On Sunday morning, we left Wilmington at 6:00am and arrived at the camp/event site around 7:15. We parked outside the event on Highway 53. Neal and I both biked to the camp. I dropped off my bike and headed to the body marking and chip timing stations. I had to send Neal back to the car to get my water bottle for my bike. One of the secret weapons I learned from Cheryl Osborne (my mentor for the SheRox Tri) was to freeze the water in an insulated bottle overnight. By the time I was on the bike I had some righteous cold water to quench my thirst!

I went back to the bike and set up my gear. My bike was on the outside of the rack which is a huge plus. When you're in a transition area with almost 700 bikes you can get discombobulated. Someone had already marked the outside of the rack with a carolina blue sock, so I marked my bike seat with my cowboy hat.

The next 45 minutes seemed to stretch on forever. The race was set-up in a wave format. The fastest of the fast (elites) go first and every 5-7 minutes another wave is released. The first wave started at 8:00am and my wave of 35-39 year-old women and the Athena division had a start time of 8:32. I stretched, jumped in the water, tested my swim cap, my goggles and my stroke. Repeat.

Fins to the left. Fins to the right.

Trying to relax in the water before my start. The first swimmers have already finished the 750 meter swim and are running down the pier in the distance.

Thinking peaceful thoughts.

FINALLY, the horn sounded and we were off!

I was really excited about my swim despite a shaky start. My left goggle lens was foggy so I had a hard time sighting the first turn buoy. I also started out way left which probably slowed me down BUT, my my stroke was even at the first turn and my last 300 yards were fast!

Here I am running down the second pier after the swim. Those are swimmers in the background getting ready to make the turn at the last buoy.

Neal, my GAS man (gear-and-support) met me a the end of the swim and let me know I was right on pace. He followed me to the bike transition area which I think I raced through in under 3:00 minutes. (My results lump my transitions in with the bike segment so I'm not positive about exact T1 and T2 times). The bike is a 14-mile, 2 lap course around the lake. The course is flat as a fritter but it was WINDY! On mile 5-6 and mile 14-15 I slowed from a 3:32 mph pace to about 4:40mph. Yuck! I literally shook my fist at the wind during the second lap. Overall, I was pleased with my effort on the bike: my max speed was 21 mph and my middle miles were faster than my first lap. I basically did intervals on my second lap: 2 minutes hard and 1 minute recovery. Plus, I passed a 25-year-old with a tricked-out Trek. HA! My estimated bike time (without transitions): 50 minutes.

Headed out of the transition area after the swim. It was a little weird to see some of the elites already back in from the 14-mile bike course and starting the run.

I have to admit, I was not excited about the run. My legs felt like concrete and the heat was, I think it was about 80 and the shade beneath the cypress trees was quickly disappearing. My goal was to run the 3.1 miles in 30 minutes or less. By the time I got into the Waterford neighborhood, my goal was to make it to the turn around, walk for one minute and then run the rest. Amazingly, my pace still registered about a 9:20 pace for the first 1.5 miles despite the fact I was sure that my legs were turning to stone with every step. I walked for one minute at the turn-around and then walked again for one minute at the water station. Honestly, that walk felt really good. Of course, my run finish: 32:04! Argh! Missed it by THAT much. I was discouraged until about 5 minutes ago when I realized that my overall time was faster than predicted. Sweet!

Here I am at the start of the run. See ya, No. 198.

I was so excited to cross that finish line. One thing I love about triathlons is that there are two timing mats at the end of the race. The first timing mat gives your race info to the announcer and the second mat records your finish time. As you run over the finish mat, you can hear the announcer say, "from Wilmington, North Carolina.....Elizabeth Andrew!" I like it!

Sprinting it out at the end!

Swim. Bike. Run. Flop.

Many thanks to Ace - the best GAS (gear-and-support) man ever!

He was so encouraging and fun to see on the course. Love you, Honey!

I think I was even more excited for the OREO cookies at the finish line. Mmmmmm.....tasty. My other favorite part: championship fries from McDonalds (as Neal dubbed them) on the trip home! And, the Veuve Clicquot on Sunday afternoon. Oooh....and the ceremonial Chick-Fil-A value meal on Monday with a large sweet tea. Oh, yeah!!! Can you tell the real reward after a race is food? All the things I forgo during my training I eat after a race. Hooray!

Mark your calendars for the morning of SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19. That's my next triathlon and it's here in Wilmington! It's the YMCA Tri at Wrightsville Beach and there's still time for you to enter! If you don't want to compete with me, you can join EA Sports. Not that EASports it's Elizabeth Andrew Sports! You can be a part of my cheer squad. I would love to have people scattered along the course to cheer me on. It truly makes me faster. Maybe we'll have a party after at the nearest Chick-fil-A! :)





Chicago Adventure

I wrote this more than a month ago and really wanted to wait for Molly's pix. She still hasn't sent them (hint, hint, Molly) so here is a peek at our trip to Chicago:

What a trip! I fell in love this weekend with CHICAGO! Last Thursday, Shelley Cavenaugh and I left Wilmington to join Anna and Molly Thompson in the Windy City. Our main event: the OPRAH SHOW! (More on that in a minute.)

Shelz and I arrived at the "all-suites Omni hotel in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile" around 3pm. After their lunch, Anna and Molly met us in the room and we began our adventure. We went to Banana (as in Republic) and then to Bistro 110 for drinks. After that we went to H&M and Giordano's for deep dish pizza.

We turned in early to prep ourselves for Oprah. None of us could sleep. I think it was a combo of 'I'm too excited to sleep' and the fact that it was 80 degrees in our room. I think we all woke up at least once an hour and we were all wide awake at 5am! We left the hotel around 7:00. We knew this was going to be a great show: a historical inauguration, huge week for the oscars, crazy news about Blagovich.
We arrived at Harpo studios just as the sun rose over the city. We checked our coats, checked in at the front desk and checked all our valuables at the door. They actually had to check my entire pocketbook because it was too big and had too many items deemed dangerous (phone, camera, notebook, gun, I mean gum). We waited in a room full of (mostly) women for about an hour before they called us in by numbers. We sat stage left on the first row!
Early sunrise over Harpo:
Our moment arrived, out walked Oprah and we were part of history. First they talked about hormones and menopause with two call-ins. Then they talked with James Smith - the page one editor of the Sun Times (I liked this part). She ran a piece from the Today show: the Bush daughters' letter to Sasha and Malia Obama. It was my favorite part, but it actually made me like George Bush for a nano-second....ewwww. The best interview was with Viola Davis. She interviewed the actors and director from Slumdog Millionaire (which hadn't even opened in Wilmington). There were technical difficulties with Skype. There was a point during a commercial break that Oprah looked directly at us and said, "Can you understand a word they said?" Shelley and I shook our heads and Oprah kinda laughed and said, "We are fakin' our ass off up here."
After the show, she explained: less than 12 hours earlier, they didn't have a show. Caroline Kennedy canceled. Garth Brooks canceled. Two other ideas fell through. Oprah even suggested that they cancel the show and the audience could have doughnuts and coffee and pictures with her (wouldn't that have been the BOMB?). I got a little teary when she said that they had to show up for the audience. How easy would it have been to give in. They had pulled several all-nighters, traveled to D.C. and back and had everything that could go wrong in one show, go wrong. But they showed up. Even on a bad day.
I had gone in with one question for Oprah (in case I actually got to talk to her): as a woman with the ability to influence so many people, what is your favorite leadership lesson? The indirect answer: show up.
After the show, we hit the Oprah Store. It has all of her favorite things - books, very soft pajamas and tee, lounge wear, cards, etc. etc. Then we posed outside:

We went to Wishbone, which was right around the corner. It was yummy y'all! They actually had real southern food in the heart of Chicago. Okay, the slaw wasn't quite right, but they served a darn good burger, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.
I think we shopped that afternoon (I may have taken a nap through that trip) and we went to Salpicon for dinner. It was unbelievable! We had awesome margaritas, chunky guacamole and grilled tiger shrimp with spicy roasted tomato and chipotle sauce. Yum! The Afterwards, we ended up at Quartino.We mainly went for the zeppole drowned in chocolate sauce. But, we happened to sit next to three women we had seen at the Oprah show. When we introduced ourselves, Germaine, turned to us and said, "Wasn't that the worst Oprah show ever?"
The next morning we fueled up on the most expensive breakfast I've ever been served. Thankfully we had vouchers for our continental style feast.

A view of the Hancock building from our window:
That day was LOOOONG. We hit Michigan Avenue and shopped til I just about dropped. Our fav place might have been the 900 Shoppes because (even though expensive) it was inside! The temps that day hovered around 20 degrees.

That afternoon, Shelz and I visited the Hancock Observatory.

Then the four of us went to Lincoln Park. We shopped and shopped and shopped and shopped and, well, you get the picture. Our favorite place may have been 1154 Lill Studio, Stinky Pants, and Dog-a-holic.

At Vosges. Shopping for Chocolate.

Here I am wondering why the hell I gave up candy this year!

We went to a pub down the street that sold Fat Tire beer. Yum.

Do we look cold? We are. Because it is.......
Because it is freaking 4 degrees (sans windchill):

After the pub, we went to dinner at Cafe Babareeba. An incredibly huge tapas and paella joint with great sangria and more Fat Tire. We played the Four C's game and I quizzed everyone on their answers to the Pivot Questionnaire. Which, in retrospect was a great funny bone warm-up to The Second City performance that we attended at 10pm! It was the funniest thing I've ever seen live. Incredible, smart humor and pratfalls galore. Can't wait to see these actors on prime-time someday. Shelz and I stayed for the improv routine afterwards and it was worth it!
The next morning, we were almost too busy for breakfast.
Our challenge: stuffing our suitcases with all our loot.

She had to stuff all the items below in that one duffel. It didn't work! We had to hit a Marshall's down the block to buy her some new luggage!




It's that time of year and I've spent the last week reflecting on 2008. I know it's been a hard one, a sad one, a long one, a stressful one....but there were plenty of highs to make this year one of my favorite years. Here are a few of my highlights:


my first triathlon
a personal record for a half marathon

pheel the phelps:

i met john bell

yes we can:

a pr for the myrtle beach 5K and the half marathon of shopping:

i lost ten pounds

first ski trip to colorado

I hope you have your own highlights and remember these over the low-lights. May the new year bring you many blessings.






Today was Sugar's first visit to Masonboro Island and first boat trip! She had a wonderful time despite the gray weather and wind. She fetched, she played tug of war with a lost anchor rope, sniffed out a washed up snorkel mask and dug up a conch shell for me. We also watched 40-50 porpoises slowly surface and sink again a few yards off the shore.

Here she is, pooped out after dinner:

Here's a different type of wave:



November 2008

I haven't written in a while, but I have some pix I thought I'd share from November. The pup has been keeping me busy of course, but I have managed to fit it some fun and fitness throughout the month.


This past weekend, I finally coerced Neal into walking the hallowed grounds of Chapel Hill. Actually, back in January, he requested away tickets to the Wolfpack v. Tarheel matchup. We hit the Hill with Tony Stroud and Chris Manning and despite the loss we had a great time. I felt a little teary entering the stadium. After all, I hadn't been back to Kenan since graduation day. I felt a little teary leaving, too. After all, I hadn't had a butt-kicking that bad in a long while.

My highlights (aside from the masked Chick-fil-A man in section 103 - see below): Cook Out Chocolate Malt Milk Shake. Divine.

Above: Beautiful Day at Kenan Stadium. The forecast was for a high of 41 degrees. Below: I thought the Carolina Blue skies were a good omen.

Above: Home Sweet Home
Below: Proof that Neal was Present

Above: The Scoreboard reads 31-10 Wolfpack. Ouch.
Below: Despite Being in the Vistor's Section, We had a Great Vantage Point

Below: ChickFilA Man. I guess he got chilly and decided to conserve heat in the form of his lunch bag. He had to keep rearranging his eye holes. After a drop in Farinheit (or a few more nips of bourbon) he added the blue hair in the second photo for effect.

Below: Neal proudly posing in front of the sign in front of the dorms named after his ancestor: Bryan Grimes.

Above & Below: Post-Game we had a Smithfield's snack and Tony & Chris
tossed the football in our private tailgate party off of Rosemary Street.

Below: Neal's Victory Smile

Here are some pix of Sugar that you may or may not have seen. For other pix, you can visit my Picasa site.

On November 9, 2008, I attempted my second-ever half marathon. I was fairly prepared for it. I still felt in shape from the triathlon and had increased my long runs since September. Still, I was VERY nervous. It turned out to be a great run.

Amy, Colin and I arrived at the Battleship around 6:45am. We stayed warm in the car before the race and I tried to keep my nerves under control. The day was beautiful. I think it was in the upper 40s when we started and warmed up to the mid 50s. The course took us over the Isabel Holmes bridge, through downtown Wilmington, around Greenfield lake and over the Memorial bridge. The best thing we did was park Amy's car at a spot on the lake - and so we had a 5-minute tailgate party/pit stop. We loaded up with water, sport beans and ACTIVEON (apply directly to where it hurts!)
The second best thing: Anna & Dad! They were on Third Street, andLake Shore Drive in the Park. Plus, Dad caught us near Fourth and Greenfield and both found us at the Finish Line. I was really excited that I ran most of the way. I needed a few walk breaks, and my last mile was SLOOOOOW, but I was pretty steady. Plus, I finished about 20 minutes faster than my San Diego time.
Myrtle Beach: HERE I COME!

Below: Here's Colin at Mile 2. He's Smiling. Always a Good Sign.
See how he's running waaaaay ahead of the pack?

Here comes the pack. And here we are - surprised to see Dad & Anna!

Below: Colin at the Lake.

Below:Here we are at the park. Probably a good 20-30 minutes after Colin passed!
We look good but our knees hurt.

Below: Our traditional medal and beer toast.
Amy's Finish Time: 2:21:20
My Finish Time: 2:19:26
Next year, we have to finish faster - this year they ran out of beer shortly after our finish.

Thanks to Anna who was part of our team!
Colin Won! His finish time: 1:17. He finished FIRST in his age group!!!



Dancing with the Stars

I don't normally even watch DwtS, but I do like the finale. Evidently, so does Sugar. We were playing fetch until she crawled into my lap and began to intently watch the show.



Introducing.......Carolina's Masonboro Sugaree

Sunday was the big day! I retrieved our new addition - Sugar - from Carolina Kennels in Gastonia! After spending a few days in Raleigh with Parker, I drove from Raleigh to the Pennells and picked up Sugar for a lengthy ride home to Wilmington. She rode in the crate for a while, rode in my lap for a mile and then found her spot on the passenger side. The trick - crank up the bun warmer!

Her first night was touch and go. She did not appreciate being in the crate - at all. It was her first time in a new place without her brothers and sisters! We wondered if she was part howler monkey - she yelped and howled for about 10 minutes at a time. For the first few hours. She was up around 1pm and I took her out. She yelped and howled again - but fell asleep until just before six! Yay!
On Monday morning, she ate a great breakfast and met Mary Jo and played until she pooped out on Neal's shoe:

We played outside lots, came nose to nose with Shelby and met Susan, Joyce, Dad, Amy, Megan and Shelz! Cain't wait for you to meet her, too!


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Grove Park Inn 2008

Greetings from Asheville, NC. Actually, greetings from Wilmington. We did make it home from our trip to the Grove Park Inn this afternoon and I thought I'd share some pix. We arrived at the GPI on Monday afternoon and spent a luxurious three nights and four days at the hotel, greens and spa.

We had dinner at the Sunset Terrace (the covered porch above) after we settled into our room. Neal had filet and I had the triggerfish. Then we donned our fancy spa robes and hit the mineral pools at the Spa.

The next morning we woke to fog:

By the end of breakfast, the fog began to clear:

And by the time we hit the links, the sun was in full shine:

On Tuesday morning, we played 18 holes at the Donald Ross-designed GPI Country Club. I did not do very well (I haven't practiced in months). But Neal did well. He parred a few holes and didn't lose a single ball. I lost four balls - but only one in the water. I also found a knack for hitting the cart paths.

I think this is the view from No. 3:

Here we are waiting for the group ahead of us:

We were entertained by their slow play all morning.

Here I am (below) posing on the rock at No. 17.
This rock has no significance other than it avoided my tee shot.

Here is Neal at No. 11.

The view from No. 18 will throw off anyone's tee shot.

Here is Neal posing with Donald Ross:

After golf, I jetted off to the Spa for a pedicure. I must say it was the BEST pedicure I've ever had. I was greeted with a glass of champagne and a box of chocolates. The pedicure included the conventional polish and massage, but I was also blessed by a mini hot stone massage and an incredibly comfortable recliner with soothing music in the dark. I felt like I was floating (and it wasn't the champagne). I never wanted to run again and instantly decided that after my next triathlon I might need to recuperate at the Inn.

On Tuesday night, we had dinner with Chris and Raleigh Battista in downtown Asheville. Here they are near (Raleigh did NOT want to go in) one of the GIANT fireplaces in the Grove Park Inn's Great Hall.

We went to Barley's Tap Room and we were treated to beefalo pizza slices and bluegrass. Plus, Raleigh is one of the most talented artists I've ever known. He drew an elaborate concert scene - complete with production lights, band, groupies and lyrics. He also drew a skateboarder playing basketball.

On Wednesday, Neal and I spent most of the day at the Spa. We had a continental breakfast at the Club Level lounge and I headed off to a massage. I chose to have hot stones, deep tissue and reflexology. It was AMAZING.

Neal and I had lunch and hung out at the mineral pools for the rest of the day. Above, I am a tthe outdoor 103-degree hot tub. He had a massage at 1pm and I lunched by the pool (a salad and GPI Chardonnay) and read parts of his book MISSING LINKS by Rick Reilly.

That evening we had dinner at the Club Level lounge. They served drinks and heavy appetizers from 5pm - 7:30pm and we took advantage of the buffalo wings! We went down to the Great Hall and scoped out the view of the sunset from one of the porches.

Here is Neal being silly.
We lit a fancy cigar from our last trip to the Turks & Caicos and watched the sun set.

Here we are trying to take pictures of ourselves in the dark. They said that the Grove Park is haunted and it seems that some of they ghost fairies were playing games with our pictures.

Here is one of the waterfalls at the Spa.

On Thursday morning, we decided to hit the Spa one last time before our departure. Here is Neal at the mineral waterfall massage pool.

Here I am by the outdoor fireplace:

Our view from the Spa. We had the place completely to ourselves for the first hour.

Our Farewell Picture from the Spaaahhhhhh.

Here's a video from our day on the course:

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She Swims She Rides She Runs SheRox!


On Sunday, September 14, 2008, I finished my first sprint Triathlon in Charlotte. I can't believe it's over! Months of training paid off and I finished faster than I projected in each leg of the race. My total time was



Neal and I arrived at the race site at dark-thirty (5:10 am). The full moon was setting and it was pitch black. I have never been so nervous! I got my body marked (No. 19) on both arms and my age on my right calf. The race instructor told us that it may sound official, but that age was essential during the race. "If you are a 40-year-old like me," she said, "and you see someone fly past you on the run course, check out her leg. If it has a big 23 on it, you just let her go on by." I used that advice several times!

Here I am before the sun even came up, prepping for the swim by posing like an Olympian:

We were sent out into the lake in waves. The open division - the fastest - are sent first and then we were sent out according to ages. I think there were 30-40 women in my wave. Each wave wears a different colored cap.

Above and Below: My smile and silliness contradict my fear.

I'm the one in the white cap:

I finished the swim in 19:35 and ran up the hill to the transistion area where the bikes are stored.

I had to remove cap and goggles, rinse my feet, dry off, put on socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, shirt, watch and shades for the T1 transition. I did all that in 3 minutes. (I bet Neal wishes I could get ready that fast every day!)

Then I'm off on the 17-mile bike:

The bike was my favorite part. It was beautiful and fun. The first half was mostly uphill - about 150-foot slooooow climb. For the first of the ride, I heard a lot of "on your left" as some speed demons were passing. Six miles in, I had had about enough of that and decided to hand out a few myself as I passed some cyclists who looked younger and fitter on the outside - but weren't


like me. :)

I finished the bike course in 1:04:52 - about 15 minutes faster than I thought I would. The run was the hardest part of the race. It was a very hilly 3.1 miles on trails. I beat my projected time and came in at 33:33! I will have to say that this was the most encouraging race. Throughout the run I heard, "you're almost at the turnaround", "you're looking great", "it's downhill just ahead." That kept a smile on my face!


The finish party was great. As we crossed the line, they presented us with icy cold water and our finisher's jewelry: a three-strand bracelet with a SheRox charm.

I couldn't have done it without my support team. Cheryl Todd was my mentor for the event. She helped prepare me with encouraging emails and information for every step of the journey. She coached me through the practice swim at Lake Norman last month and kept up with my training (and news of the pups!). She was a great inspiration and she came in FOURTH OVERALL. She REALLY rocks.

I couldn't have done it without Anna, either. She was as nervous as I was on race day! She and Neal both brought their bikes and she was able to catch me at least six times on the route - including mile 15 of the bike and twice on the run! She made me cry lots after the race but she also congratulated me with my favorite bubbly - Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne!!!

I love you, Noonie.

Last, but not least, thank you to Neal. He was my main SAG (support and gear). He kept saying that he believed in me and that I had trained hard and was going to do great (even when I considered going home at about 4:15am that morning). He was the best cheerleader on each leg - I could hear him each time he yelled: BETH, YOU ROCK! I think he does, too.

That afternoon we drove home and I was greeted with brownies and cards (from Dad & Joyce) and Daisies and great Tri stickers from the Websters. I donned my new bracelet (this picture doesn't do it justice) and headed to Trask Coliseum to see SUGARLAND.

They put on a great show and I had the BEST time celebrating! I was on the first row of bleachers and could practically touch Jennifer and Kristian! They were on fire.

They even played the song I was praying for: We Run.

Smells like rain, hits like thunder

A storm is coming, I've got nothing left

So we run, yeah yeah yeah we run

Come undone like a string on a sweater

That you pull but you know better

But doing what you shouldn't's half the fun

so we run .....

It was such a great experience and I can really see myself doing another one! I even found out today that I'm the "cover girl" for the

race photography site

. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive for so many months of me talking Triathlon. I can't believe it's over and so many of you had a hand in my journey. I am grateful for you all.

There is nothing like the JOY of accomplishing something you NEVER thought you could do.

I am a Triathlete. Holy Cow!

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Puppy Love

And they called it......

On Thursday, Neal and I headed west to the Charlotte area for my Tri! Along the way we paid a visit to our puppy in Gastonia. Anita and Paul Pennell welcomed the two of us, plus Sonja (Neal's sister) and our nephews Drew and Nathan to their home to sit with the two-week-old pups.

On Saturday, we had a break in our agenda and visited AGAIN (I couldn't resist). They were peeking through mostly open eyes and starting to scooch around.

You'll notice in these first two pix, all the puppies have different colored collars. In several weeks, the Pennells will choose the dog that best fits our family. We'll be able to look back and see how our dog grew over the first few weeks!
This one is from Thursday:
She stuck with Neal nearly the whole time. It must have been his brown shirt.
Sleepy Girls:
The Countdown is On!!! You can see more pix on Picasa.



Face on Fire

It's official: I have my first triathlon-related injury. I would argue that running into the ottoman after a workout last week was painful enough to count. HOWEVER, running over a jellyfish with your face is far more dramatic. Yes, it's true. During the swim portion of my mini-tri on Saturday I hit what was probably a sea nettle in Banks Channel. It was a beautiful day: calm, warm and sunny. But nobody knew what lurked beneath........ When I turned to breathe on one of the last strokes before I hit the halfway mark, I felt the stings on my face and then it brushed across the back of my left shoulder.

Instead of swimming back, I hoisted myself onto the nearest dock, rinsed myself off and jogged bare-footed back to the Seaside Club. Neal, who was my SAG (support and gear), caked on some Benedryl cream (that expired in 1999) and I decided to finish the second leg of the race - the 15 mile bike ride that ended at home. I reapplied my anti-sting cream (Neal bought some brand-new version on the way home - awwwwww!) and I headed out for the 3.1 mile run!

My face burned for the rest of the day and there's a hint of a red swoosh on my cheek. (Maybe I'll be the new cover girl for Nike). My new mantra: on PHIRE TO THE PHINISH.




Move Your Soles

This video was created by the team at PC3 for our latest message series. This is how I've been training for the Triathlon during the rain. I think you'll love Bob.



Recon Mission - Puppies and Panic

My mission: a recon trip to the Charlotte area to scope out Carolina Kennels and my triathlon course.

PUPPIES: On Thursday I visited Anita and Paul Pennell at the Carolina Kennels in Gastonia. I met Vicki (our mom), Skye, Murphy and Precious. I spent close to two hours visiting in the kitchen with them and I'm so impressed! We talked puppies and grooming and discipline and crate training and whelping.....phew! All the dogs were very well-behaved and not as hyper as I've been led to believe. The Pennells have a similar philosophy to ours: a tired dog is a good dog.

Vicki reminded me a ton of Maggie. She came over and leaned against me and I got all teary! She is due next Tuesday and we'll be able to visit in September when we go for the triathlon. Plus, they will update us with pictures throughout the first few weeks. Our adoption day will be in week 8! Yay! You can check out some pix of puppies here. Right now, the leading name on our list is Carolina's Masonboro Sugaree. (We'll call her Sugar)

PANIC: I am not talking about the southern-rockin'-jam-band-from-Athens, Georgia that we just saw at the House of Blues. I am talking heart-sinkin'-mind-skewin'-fear-pulsin' panic. On Saturday, I was at the Cornelius, NC YMCA for a practice open water swim in prep for the triathlon! There were close to 300 people total and they had us swim out in waves of 40-50 at a time. I was in the fourth wave with my tri mentor Cheryl Todd. When they announced our turn, we waded into the water, got accustomed to the temp and the mushy lake bottom and adjusted goggles and caps. When the whistle blew everyone took off in a moderately mad dash to the first buoy. I felt the panic about 50 yards out. I kept bumping into the person in front of me. I swallowed water. I got a little off course. I couldn't find my rhythm and my breathing was crazy. My thoughts: I'mgoingtodrownthere'sacanoeI'lljusthangontoitorturnaroundI'mnevergoingtomakeit.
Fortunately, the night before Leanne Greco had given me some sage advice: Pheel the Phelps. I had it written on my arm along with PHINISH. I stopped. I tread water. I read the words on my arm. I started the breast stroke instead. I stayed on course to the first buoy. I did the freestyle to the second buoy. I switched up my stroke on the back stretch and didn't have to stop! In fact, I even passed a few people!

After the swim, Cheryl coached me on how to set up for the T1 - the first transition when you come out of the water and jump on the bike. I was also able to visit Latta Plantation Preserve - an equestrian/nature preserve in Huntersville - to test my hill riding and running skills. I can't believe I have a month to go! Wish me luck!