O Angelina

A Girl and Her Dog: Living, Loving, & Enjoying the Little Things


September and October: Some Big Plans!

Adventures, Biking, Events, Running, Sweating, Swimming, Thankful, TriathlonsAngelina OberdanComment

I have two huge events coming up in the next two months: 

  • Richmond Rox Triathlon - September 18

  • Bike MS: Breakaway to the Beach MS - October 8-9

Part of what makes me who I am is that I'm constantly pushing myself, improving my life. These two events will both be physically challenging:

  • The triathlon is a 1500 meter swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. And I'm doing with my amazing friend, Steph! 
  • The bike ride has multiple options, but my goal is to ride at least 50 miles on both Saturday and Sunday. Dan is riding, too, and we're part of the Unknown Bike and Brew Team. (We ride with them almost every Saturday.) 

But I've been training and committed. It is really hard to balance life, work, and training (for example, I started this blog on August 18 and am posting it almost three weeks later!), but I love the training. I actually think I enjoy it more than I do racing. And that's what's important because the race/event will only take a few hours or days, and it takes a really long time to train for them. 

I also really like the adventure of these. The adventure is in trying something new, and while I've done an Olympic distance triathlon before, I've never done a long bike ride over multiple days. 

Wish me luck! 

And if you'd like to help me raise money for Bike MS, click here.

Oi! So Many Bruises! XTERRA Whitewater Center 2016

Charlotte, Adventures, Events, Sweating, TriathlonsAngelina OberdanComment

Have you ever had just a bad race? Before last Saturday, I'd only had one. -- That was the opening line when I started writing this blog about competing in the XTERRA Triathlon at the National Whitewater Center last Saturday, but it turns out the bike leg of my race was the only bad part. The whole race wasn't a complete toss. 

I have to admit that my first bad race was completely my fault. It was 2013, and it actually was also the XTERRA Whitewater Center, too. I'd sprained my ankle the weekend before said-race, and decided I would wait to go to the doctor until after I muscled my way through that triathlon. I was broke as could be, had already invited friends to watch me, and was trying to pull myself up for what I can only admit now was one of the hardest periods of my adulthood (thus far). I didn't finish that race, and not finishing was probably the best decision I made that week. 

And even the half-marathon during which I broke my foot wasn't bad; it hurt. There were some miles that I could barely breathe or not-cry, but my dad was with me, and I knew I had to get back to the post-race wine tasting. I even enjoyed the rest of my vacation. It hurt a lot afterwards. 


Let's just first admit that one of two thoughts neon-signs it's way across your brain when you read that. 


  • Or you think, isn't that the tri Angelina always says she isn't going to do if the weather's bad?"

Yes and yes. And yes, there was a magnificent storm the night before. I did it anyway, and I ate my words; I'm pretty sure I didn't inhale the amoeba though.

Okay, but I was ready, and I was excited. I spent the whole week doing smart things like tapering and trying to up my sodium. (I've been cramping despite hydrating.) I mean look at that sexy-ass game face! And my new tri suit that I was sure meant I would go faster! 

The Swim

And the swim was good! I was the third woman out of the water, and the worst part (which I knew going into it) was that we had to run up from the Catawba to the transition site, which I knew would make my time a little slower than I wanted, but that's okay. 

The Bike: Part 1

I felt good. I was ready. Did mention that? Also, I know this part of the course really well. I knew it was slick and technical, but I just had to stay on my bike and hydrate for the run. 

I didn't stay on my bike, and I didn't hydrate. 

I crashed three-times, fast, all within the first two miles. Not kidding. I have the road rash to prove it. And one of my handlebars tried to imbed itself in my thigh, which it didn't. Thank god for my tough thighs! 

Oh, and I lost the bite-valve on my Camelbak. That was okay because I had a backup water bottle. Then I lost my backup water bottle right about the time I was giving myself a pat on the back for bringing it. 

I decided that every time I had to hobble my way up a damn rooty-slippery hill, I would cheer. Some guy actually asked me if I was racing or out there to help keep everyone going. I took it as compliment. 

The Bike: Part 2

The middle of the bike was fun. It was the least technical and least rooty part of the course. (Don't worry; the race planners threw in every black loop they could to make sure it wasn't too easy.) It would have been perfect for hydrating. Instead I ate all of the fuel I'd brought with me; I figured I couldn't hydrate, so maybe I could bribe my body to make it through the run on sugar, sodium, and caffeine. 

This was the longest part of the bike, so while I road, Dan went on a run and then practiced taking action shots. See below! He good some badass shots. (I did not include the one of the guy whose trisuit ripped. You're welcome.) 

In true goober fashion, when I came out of the woods and saw Dan, I was so happy that I braked! And Dan didn't get a good action shot at all. Fail. I did make a lot of faces though. 

The Bike: Part 3

The last section of the bike was on the National Whitewater Center's East Main Trail, and it was hard. East Main is technical, and there are a lot of climbs. Last year, the course ended with the Lake Loop, which is an easy-peasy green loop. East Main is not that. It is really hard. In fact, when I'm training and I want to do a really hard trail run or ride, East Main is where I go. And it feels endless. Did I mention that it was hard? Did I say I was out of water? Oh, and at some point, my bike started making crunch-clank-crunch noises when I shifted, and then, the noises kept going when I wasn't shifting. That sucked. So I got passed by some people and passed some other people, and I finished that damn bike course. 

The Run

By the time I made it to the run, I was basically thinking, "Well, shit. Who cares!? I'm going to finish this." I knew that I didn't beat my time from 2015; in fact, the swim and the bike took longer this year than the whole triathlon did last year. So I drank a lot of water and moved my feet. I passed some people, and was passed by some other people, and I just kept moving my feet forward. I tried to smile and cheer, and I told the awesome volunteers at the water station "thank you" a lot. I was happy because I was almost finished, and Dan was waiting for me, and my friend, Tamara, was meeting us for lunch. I just kept running. And I have no idea how long it took me or actually how long the run was. 

So I finished.

It took me a really long time. After I finished I was laying on the grass, hoping that against all odds I'd at least placed in my age group by default (I still haven't found the actual results), and a woman I'd passed and then who'd passed me, at least a few times, stopped by and said something like, 

Your attitude was great out there. You really kept me going. There wasn't a time I passed you or you passed me that you weren't smiling and cheering. Thank you. 

And that's what important, right? That's the win. I couldn't race fast, so I had fun. And I tried to help everyone else race well. 

As a kid, one summer, I won the 110% award at my summer swim league. Go Chadwick! The award was given to someone who was always swimming or helping or smiling or cheering. I didn't expect it at all, but it's probably one of the awards I'm proudest of. I just spent the whole summer enjoying my swim team and hanging out with my best friends. 

And I guess I've just been winning that award every race ever since, so this wasn't a bad race; it just wasn't quite the race I wanted it to be.  

Please know that I did go home, rinse off my road rash and cry for awhile. I was disappointed in my performance, and I'm really banged up, but I'm over it. I had a good race. And I couldn't have done it without Dan. Aren't his photographs awesome? 

US Masters Swimming Nationals & Why I Love This Sport

Adventures, Charlotte, Events, Swimming, Writing, SweatingAngelina OberdanComment

Last weekend, I competed at the US Masters Swimming Nationals in Greensboro, NC. 

Okay, that sounds really fancy, and there are some great swimmers there! However, it's an open meet, so anyone can swim, including me. 

I had a lot of reservations: I'm not that fast, I haven't swam a race since I raced with Kate, I didn't have fancy swimsuit, I didn't have qualifying times, I was in a new age group, and it's expensive to travel for a race. However, like most things I do, I drank a glass of wine after work, and went ahead and registered myself for a couple races that I like to swim: the 100 back and the 200 free. (I registered for the 50 free, too, because it's fun and fast. And then I got in as many relays as I could.)

Okay, so I have to admit that I was really hesitant about swimming without Kate. My friend Kate was a fierce supporter and competitor, and the summer before she died, we swam two open water swims and one meet together. And that was the last time I competed in swimming. It was hard to dive off the blocks without her physically there, but I did it. And Kate would have been mad at me if I didn't. 

So two things happened at Nationals that could not have happened anywhere else. 


Maybe this only happens to me, but there are moments in my life when I look around, and I think: "Holy cow! I am part of an amazing group of people! And they like me!" This happened a million times at Nationals.

My teammates are amazing! They swam personal best times, they shredded second off of their sprints, they cheered and cheered for each other. Some of my teammates are trying to stay as fast as they've always been (because they're crazy awesome swimmers), and some of my teammates are trying to figure out what their bodies can do and are swimming better than they ever had. (I'm of the second category.) That's really cool.


I realized that I am really strong! I dropped 35 seconds off of a 200 freestyle in two years! 

Sometimes we work out and we work out, and because we aren't professional athletes, our lives happen, too. After all, eating right every day and working out regularly doesn't usually lead to huge differences,; you don't have moments when you're like "Wow! That salad was really worth it."  It just isn't as immediately rewarding as a huge bowl of fro-yo covered in sprinkles and chocolate chip cookie dough. However, at Nationals, I realized that I am crazy strong! It's awesome that I dropped 35 seconds off of a 200 freestyle. It was my last race of the meet and my happiest. And it was a good reminder that I'm doing something right! 

(Note: I do have a little impingement in my shoulder--because I swam so fast!--but I'll be back in the poll on Tuesday!)