What I think

Here's what I know for sure. I know that I've been sitting down to write for the past few months, 100% unsuccessfully. Why? I guess I can't decide it you really want to hear a play-by-play of a race or if you'd be more interested in reading some life-lesson-like thing I've dealt with, OR if you just want me to be quiet.

The thing is, I'm really good at being quiet. It's kind of my thing. I'd much rather not say anything because I don't feel like what I have to say is important. The less I share, the worse it gets. So, since there's WAAAAAAAAAY too much to catch you up on, I'll spare the mundane details.

If you're reading this, you know I do this thing called triathlons. I took a year off to regroup and catchup on sleep. It took me a solid 9 months before I started to feel human without having to sleep 12 hours a day. FOREAL. That was last year. Since then, I've been training well (actually, better than ever), but life keeps throwing me curve balls. It's been nuts. Do you believe in signs? I do. You know, signs that are more like road blocks and your intuition says you should probably turn back. It's hard to completely trust your instincts, I know. The think is, I am trusting my instincts. Many people close to me feel like I should just throw in the towel because there are so many "signs" that indicate that. Maybe so, but my gut says keep going. My gut says follow your heart. My heart says I put those dreams there for a reason. So, I'm going to keep going. Okay? Okay. I think, you should probably do the same. 

I have 2 races left for the season. Calgary 70.3 and 70.3 WC. Yay!! 

I love the work.

Hey, hi! It's been a WHILE, I know. Trust me, it's not for lack of trying. I have started at least 15 blog-posts since the new year. I'm REALLY pulling for this one.

Wildflower was my first triathlon for 2016, the first triathlon in 7 MONTHS!  Which is to also say, it's been about 2 years since I've actually prepared to RACE a race. My preparation was good, I mean I could find things to complain about, but I LOVE doing the work. Love it.

So, what happened? I didn't finish. A couple of little things, including what could have been mild food poisoning derailed my efforts and I pulled the plug before heading out on the 2nd run. My first DNF EVER!! Truth is, heading into the race I was a little ho-hum about really getting into racing. My goals for the year are not too far fetched, but are going to certainly take some work and dedication and I was starting to question wether it was worth it. You know what I think? I think it's my old friend FEAR. I think subconsciously I was protecting myself from failure and/or success. 

You know what I say to that old friend FEAR? You were never a good friend anyway. You may never go away, but I'm not afraid of you. So there. What I did not expect to come away with from Wildflower was a fire in my belly. Ever since that day, I'm more motivated and driven than ever I can remember being. After racing a local 10k on Saturday, I know I have my work cut out for me, but that's okay. I love the work. What I know for sure is that I'm not a quitter and one day does not define me. 

Onward and upward, my friends. Next, we go to a little race in Victoria on June 12. Holla!

BOMB - Smokey stuffed, bacon wrapped sweet peppers

So, I realize I should have maybe posted these BEFORE the super bowl. But, how was I supposed to know they would be BOMB!?!? Plus, I'm sure you could always use a good sharable appetizer idea that is free of garbage.

Stuffed sweet peppers - 2 ways!

Smoked salmon stuffed, bacon wrapped peppers:

12 small sweet peppers

6 slices good quality bacon

2 oz goat cheese

4 oz smoked salmon, broken up into small pieces

1/2 lemon (juice only)

1 T minced red onion

salt & pepper to taste

pinch of dill and/or other herbs that sound good to you

Smoked pork stuffed, bacon wrapped peppers

12 small sweet peppers

6 slices good quality bacon

2 oz goat cheese

4 oz smoked pork chop (fully cooked), diced into small pieces

1/2 lemon (juice only)

1 T minced red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

salt & pepper to taste

pinch of sage and/or other herbs that sound good to you

RECOMMENDED PREP:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degress. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Cut top off peppers and clean out any seeds remaining. Cut bacon pieces in half. Mix together remaining ingredients (goat cheese, smoked salmon or smoked pork, lemon juice, onion, garlic (if using), herbs, s&p). Stuff mixture into pepers. Wrap each pepper with a piece of bacon, seem side down. Secure with toothpick if necessary. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cook for 20-25 minutes - until bacon is cooked through. 

I'm practically a celebrity!!

Well, I'm not. BUT I do happen to have a LOT in common with one of my favorite celebrities. You see, Gwyneth Paltrow was recently quoted in an interview, saying that safe and clean beauty and personal care is the NEW "organic food". That is to say, many years ago, organic food was weird and unusual. It was ugly and unapproachable. BUT a movement was developed and look where we are today. Well, maybe not so much where I live, but I would say most of the country. Because of that movement, I'm going to say it's safe to assume you try to buy organic foods whenever possible, or at least the "dirty dozen"

Today safe and clean skin care and beauty products are in the infancy stage of what looks to be just as much of a movement (hopefully bigger).

How does this apply to ME? Well, a few years ago, my work career really took off when I became a fruit salesperson at Stemilt Grower's in Wenatchee, specializing in ORGANIC FRUIT. WHAT!?!? Yes, I was part of THAT movement! I spent 7 1/2 wonderful, fulfilling and very busy years of my life there. And wouldn't you know it, TODAY I am part of the safe and clean skincare/beauty movement!!! Just like Gwyneth Paltrow. Right? Right. In this article from the site, it puts the relevance of the situation into perspective. 

It's a LOT, I know. I get it. First we are asked to change the way we eat, getting rid of all the toxic overly-processed foods of our childhood. And now, you mean to tell me that my skincare is toxic TOO!!! For a long time I've known there would be consequences of the stuff I put on my skin, but I couldn't find answers. When I couldn't find answers, I gave up. I bought into mainstream marketing and the idea my best interest was at heart. I assumed if it was able to be sold and mass-marketed it must be "safe". How wrong I was. I am here to tell you there is, in fact, a better way! There are places you can get answers and there are companies out there with your best interest at heart. In fact, I'm lucky to be partnered with a company that lobbies for your best interest. Some day, we hope you won't have to worry. Don't worry, it's not a scary undertaking and there are a lot of resources out there. 

I challenge you to learn more about the seemingly harmless products that you use everyday. A good place to start is EWG's Skin-deep data base that rates products for safety and allergens. Another good resource to help you decipher what those ingredients on your labels are is I Read Labels For You.

Beautycounter takes the guess work out of my personal care products because they adhere to the strictest screening process for safer ingredients in the industry. The more I learn about the industry, the happier I am to be partnered with a company of such high integrity. You owe it to yourself to take action and #switchtosafer. Be scrupulous about the products you choose, no matter who makes them. I would love to help by sending your more information or by being your personal shopper for #saferbeauty #betterbeauty! You can start shopping at www.beautycounter.com/sarahbarkley


XOXO

Sarah

 

OOOOOH. Wait!! ...I mean... P.S.  At Beautycounter we use a "Never List," a list of ingredients that we will never include in any of our products.  Download this list for your personal use and as a quick cheat sheet to check your current products as you consider #SwitchingToSafer.  Click here to download or just take a look at the image posted below: 

Day 12. Running.

And today, I dedicate to running. When I turned 18, I had was inked for the first time. It was the Roadrunner. At that time, I was on my way to college on a track scholarship and I got it to represent what running had done for my life. I had no idea.

Running allowed me to play all kinds of sports. Through high school I played soccer, volleyball, basketball and track, plus softball growing up. I love sports. I love to play. Running is my most authentic form of playing. When people ask me for advice on how to enjoy running more, I'm at a loss. I don't know because I just DO, plus why in the world are you trying to do something you don't enjoy?!?!

I crave running. I crave getting lost in my thoughts for hours. I crave the time to listen to my thoughts. I crave feeling my body move. I crave exploration. I crave being in nature. Whatever else there is about running, I crave that too. Running in the sun, running in the snow and everything in between. 

Yes, Brooks are my FAVORITE running shoes. Swiftwick are the BEST socks ever! I fell in love with those socks a few years ago and have been obsessed ever since. I love the zeros for most runs, the 7in for trail runs (we have a lot of brush) and I love the full length compression for colder runs and recovery. Love them ALL! Plus they have a ton of fun colors. For running clothes, my go-tos are Lululemon tights/shorts (still waiting for Wattie ones!), love my Brooks running jacket, long tanks for base layers and sports bras are a mixed bag of mostly Moving Comfort and Lululemon. Sometimes I don't bother tracking my runs, when I do, which is most of the time, I can't use anything but Polar! I have been an avid Polar user for years because I find the data to be the most accurate and most consistent. My go-to hat right now is my RunWenatchee trucker because it's the perfect shape...I don't even know why it fits my head, but it does. When it's colder I go for my Craft or Athleta running caps because they are light but cozy at the same time, plus my OR mittens or cheap $1 stretch gloves when it's not too cold.  And let's not forget about my favorite running accessory...ok, they're ALL favorites, but the last one on this list is my Bose "sport" headphones. They were a bit of a splurge, but I use the crap outta those things. Running, biking, lifting, phone calls...everything! I've had them for 3 years and they are sill going strong!

Yeah, I know that's all just stuff. Running is my favorite regardless of what stuff I have with me, those things are just fun. 

Anywho. Out of all the things I've done. Being a runner is something I most identify with and the thing that has taken more places than anything else. College in Montana and all those track meets, running races all over the northwest and triathlons all over the states and around the world. I cherish every run I participate in, every day my body lets me run is something I will never take for granted. I am beyond grateful to have such an amazingly resilient body that lets me keep running, to have such incredible people to run with and an absolutely beautiful place to run. 

Beyond. 

Thank you so much - each and every one of you. You keep my heart inspired to believe in my dreams!

XOXO 

Sarah

Day 11. I love to ride my bicycle.

I think I already mentioned this a couple of days ago, but since it's such a big part of my life, I figured it was worth revisiting. 

Just as with swimming, cycling has taken me places I never dreamed. I've raced in triathlons all over the world, done a few stage races and never enough cyclocross races. I love that you can get away from it all in the matter of minutes. I love that you can grab a group of friends and have a fun adventure. I love riding through trees. I love riding on country roads. I love riding through traffic. I love the wind on my face. The freedom of my spirit. I love it all. 

Most of all, I love climbing. I love being in the mountains. I love getting to the top of the mountain and seeing awe-inspiring views. 

I have loved all my bikes, from my first 10-speed, a turquoise Nishiki to my newest tri-bike from Diamondback. Of all the things to invest in for optimal riding experience, I've found the investment is worth it on saddles, shoes and helmets (shout-out Rudy Project). I don't like padding in my gloves and I love jackets and jerseys with a hidden hole for my headphones to feed through. I love stopping for a Coke when I'm REALLY tired. I love getting home after a long ride and feeling rode grime on my legs. I love the crazy looks I get when I run into a gas station in the middle of the day, when it's 110 degrees, to refill my water. I love making rice crispy treats with me and I love take a few bucks to grab a coconut macaroon (and espresso) at Anjou Bakery. I don't like when cars drive too close to me and I really don't like when they say it's my fault. I try to be visible and safe at all times, I ride in a straight line so they don't have to guess what I'm going to do next and I always signal with my arms. I listen to podcasts most of the time, but music only for hard intervals. I love jumping the water when I'm finished. And, I love hot chocolate after my ride, year-round.

Thank you so much all of you who have gone on rides with me and those who have supported me chasing my dreams.

Just like me, I hope you believe that dream is in your heart for a reason. Remember, if you want to catch your dream, you have to chase it. Get out there!

XOXO

Sarah

Day 10. Swimming.

Well, shoot. I almost went to sleep without posting! An hour ago I was all over it, that was before I remembered VS Fashion show was still recorded and before I just took some AdvilPM. Bare with me.

For the final 3 days of my 12 days of Christmas, I would like to honor what have become my 3 favorite individual sports. Yes, I still LOVE team sports, that's why I'm ON a team. I digress.

Up first (obviously) is the swim. I learned to swim 10 years ago at the ripe old age of 26. Growing up near the ocean, I never had a real fear of water. Before that point. That fear came in full force. I spent nearly every swim in tears for the first few years of triathlon. Since then it's tapered off, but the fear still lingers a bit. I will say that I have grown to absolutely love my time swimming. It's peaceful and, well, peaceful.  I used to dread my time in the water because it wasn't productive. While biking or running I could listen to a podcast that is relevant to my work, so I could justify it as multi-tasking. But swimming, was just swimming. Since I've learned to let go of NEEDING to feel "productive" every second of every day, it's made a big difference. That impact is felt in every aspect of my life, but the realization came in the pool.

I love how many beautiful places swimming has taken me. I've swam in China, Australia, Canada, California, Alabama, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Florida, and beyond any place I could ever imagine. 

The water I have tattooed on my arm (and back) represents to me the most tangible representation of a greater power. If you've ever been in the middle of the ocean, you'll know what I mean. When I first learned to surf that feeling was overwhelming. At first a little scary, but almost instantaneously I felt peace. Peace that I could surrender the need to be in control. It also represents overcoming fear. I still remember coming home in tears EVERY night after swimming, and I stuck with it. I'm not much of a better swimming, but I am stronger for it. 

Thank you so much!  Only a couple days left :)

 

XOXO

Sarah

Day 9. Girls and our bikes.

Few things can lift my spirits more than a good bike. Am I the only one that feels like my tail is wagging when I'm on an awesome bike ride? Is that weird? I swear if you saw me, you that kind of happy, you would agree. Part of this happy wagging is in part due to my favorite saddle of all-time ISM. Right now I'm on the ISM Road, but I love them all. Seriously, all of them. It's the only saddle that I can ride for hours and never even feel. They are absolutely wonderful about answering fit questions too, just check out their website.

For the past year, that bike has been my Diamondback Serios. It's a serios tri bike that's so fun to ride! Of course I have the SeriosAF (because I am), but all the levels are the same frame, different components. Win. Win.

Now, I won't lie, the first time I saw this bike, I thought it was a little clunky looking. There were modular adjustments for the stem and the "bento" box on the frame was not something I was accustomed to. After a few rides, all those things fell seamlessly into place and I was happy as a clam! The fit was rockin' and the ride is unbelievably solid!

Do yourself a favorito and check out their website and Facebook page - they are doing a ton of giveaways up until Christmas.

Thank you SO MUCH Diamondback! I've found hours of joy and freedom on my bike this past year.

Since it is the season if giving, should you be so inclined to support a worthy cause, check this out. http://www.projectbikelove.org. Some pretty amazing women are putting together this project to get bikes into the hands of women all over the world, to help them better provide for their families and improve their quality of life. Love.

Onward - 

Sarah 

XOXO

Day 8. I hate buying cars, because car salesmen.

I think a lot of us are in the same boat here. Having a car these days is more-or-less a necessity. A luxurious one to be sure, but necessity none-the-less. We pack our days so full that waiting on public transit or coordinating around someones schedule is not worth the trade-off of having a car payment. But the HASTLE of getting into a vehicle that is going to suit your list of requirements at the price you want, good look. 

Last year, about this time, I began hunting for a new rig that was more reliable and offered a bit more space. Since I had loved my previous Honda Element so much, I had decided that would be a perfect fit. It would be used, so likely cheaper. It would be reliable, after all, it is HONDA. It would have all the space I could ever want. Only to find out they are one of the most HIGH DEMAND used cars on the market, making them incredibly illusive and not cheap at all. After nearly 3 months of searching I finally found one that would work. 

Then a short 9 months later it was totaled. I was bummed and dreaded having to start all over.  By this time, it was even more impossible to find an Element, so I began hunting for yet another perfect car. It sucked. Not only did it take a long time, but I was so tired and irritable from my injuries I feared it was an impossible task. My quest was simple, low mileage smallish SUV from Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Mazda (as per my mechanic's recommendation). With a hard budget. I tried to fall in love with every one I test drove, but nothing fit. 

After going back and forth and eliminating everything that was WAAAAY out of my budget, I had my heart set on a Mazda CX5. When I arrived at the car dealership, they just couldn't get the price down far enough. Bummer. Then, on a whim I decided to look at a Subaru. Wenatchee is, as I've been told, a Subaru town. I figured it must have some merit. I picked a used one I'd like to see, it had just shown up and had super low miles. We drove it around for about an hour, went to my house to see if my bike and bike box would fit inside. Voila. Everything fit! 

Yes, I bought a Subaru. Really what I wanted to tell you about was my experience. I told numerous car salesman to NOT call me, but they did. I told them I wasn't interested in OTHER things on their lots, they didn't listen. Cascade Auto was not that guy. I told them what I was looking for, they showed me what they had. They told me, go drive everything you can and hopefully we can make a deal. If not, ultimately they wanted me to be happy. Boy am I. Luckily I ended up going through them and I couldn't be more proud to support such a high integrity local business. Not only that, but when the decision was made, I told them I had to hurry and get to work. They whipped through that paperwork so fast, it was unbelievable! Needless to say, I think I now know WHY we're a Subaru town. The cars are great, but trusting the person you're buying it from is just as (if not more) important.

Thank you so much. I love my new (used) car!!

Day 7. This is my lab!

Dear Blueseventy,

Thank you for taking the dread out of open water swimming.

Sincerely, 

Everyone who has worn a Helix.

It's been 10 years since I learned how to swim, but only 3 have been somewhat bearable. Seems like it's a common thread for adult-onset swimmers. It just doesn't take easily. 

I spent my first few years of triathlon with hand-me down wetsuits, until I knew I loved the sport. Than I bough a cheep one to get by. THEN I mustered up enough coin for a nice one, my Blueseventy Helix. Game changer. My wish for everyone interested in triathlon is that they are able to start with a NICE wetsuit. You know, one that fits. Doesn't hold water. Doesn't burn your neck. Has thinner material on the arms/shoulders to reduce fatigue. Is flattering - haha, just seeing if you were paying attention. 

I can't speak highly enough about the comfort, fit and performance of my wetsuit. Love.

Speaking of swimming, Blueseventy also has swimWEAR for training - what?! And I love it too! It's incredibly durable, that or I don't swim enough. Either way, they rock! And I've been wearing the same training suit for 2 years... Their goggles are pretty dope too, if you're in to that kind of thing. That didn't really make sense, everyone is in to goggles!

Yes, they are a sponsor, but I would tell you this anyway.

Happy swimming!

Sarah


Day 6. Recover. Rest. Recharge.

If there's one thing we could all use more of, it's time. Time to get all we want to accomplish finished and still have time to sleep. Because, sleep. SLEEP is rad. 

I know, I know, if you are east-coasters, you are not going to be reading this ON Sunday, making this late. But, for me having a slow day is SUPER important. I fight my tendency to follow a timeline and get bummed out if everything isn't my way. We sleep in if possible, make waffles and enjoy the day. Today was no different. We slept and ate a bit, watched the Seahawks game (while I ran on the treadmill) and ran errands (Christmas shopping) before I headed to work. I love it.

In the past (at least 10 years), the thing I neglected the MOST was sleep. Sleep and me time. During that time I tried to convince myself that I shouldn't be tired. If I can still perform well, I must be fine. But I was tired. So tired. All the time. It took me WELL OVER an entire YEAR to recover. I slept 8-10 hours a night AND napped every day. I did, and I feel like a new person. A person I forgot existed. A person with fight, vigor and inspiration. I can't tell you how many people say I look "younger", "so much healthier", "happier", "stronger", "rested", "loved". 

What changed? I learned to listen to myself. I slept when I was tired instead of convincing myself to keep on plugging away because "I shouldn't be". I had quite time when I was feeling overwhelmed. I made lists. I journaled. I took time with friends. I let myself be okay with rescheduling or canceling workouts if I was too tired or life changed course for the day/week - whatever! I learned to be bendy. Go with the flow. Most of all, I learned to not judge how I was feeling. Instead, I honored how I was feeling. I listened to my intuition. 

I know it's not an easy thing to do. it's hard. It takes practice. It takes time. Whatever it takes, it's worth it. I'm not kidding, I feel like a NEW PERSON, who is at least 10 years younger. All it took was a little (lot) of sleep. 

Sorry if you were looking for a gift idea. I guess what you could do is watch somone's kids for a slumber party. Make sure your loved ones are getting some time for themselves. And by goodness, do it for yourself - if for no other reason than it will make you more enjoyable to be around. 

CHEERS to that!

XOXO

Sarah

Day 5. You are what you eat.

Today I would like to honor sound nutrition practices and gut health. I clearly remember my Dad telling me as a kid, "If you want to be a fat, greasy dude; eat fat, greasy food." Needless to say, food was always a big part of my like as well as knowing full well, the importance of being mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. Of course, this mindset, when taken to the extreme, can be quite harmful.

Over the past year, I completely revamped my nutrition game and mindset. I learned to nourish my body every day, no matter what my "training" had in store for me. While at the same time learning how to better fuel my training for better results, energy and recovery. I've always practiced eating real, whole foods, but not in a very balanced way. 

I was able to make changes as well as see and feel how impactful those changes were not only on my performance, but in my mental clarity, energy, mood, sleep, etc. 

It would not be honest of me to tell you I did this all on my own. No, it took a team and a lot of support. I was surrounded by professionals and friends who helped guide these changes and help ensure they stuck. Thank you so much TEAM!! Marni, Flanny, Roxanne, Jason, Mom, Brother, Dad, Cathy, Adam, and all of my friends and family. You are the best.

Not only did I learn to eat in a more balanced way through out the day and how to properly utilize sports nutrition timing and products, but I also realized the importance of gut health and how having a probiotic that works with your body can enhance all of those things. I have found a LOT of success with SoundProbiotics, I recommend trying to find something that works for you.

 

Day 4. Live where you love.

Today is a mini celebration of living in the place that I love! As a triathlete, I spend a LOT of time outside. Because that is an important part of my life and being happy is another important part of my life, I made the choice to live in a place that makes me happy to be outside. Make sense!?

Sleeping pear orchard

In case you didn't know, to me that place is Wenatchee, WA. Really the ONLY thing I don't like about it is not having a decent aquatics center, but I can live with that. Wenatchee is an absolutely stunning place to ride/run/swim or whatever you like to do outside. Plus, it's a lovely small town with super nice people :)

If you are EVER in the area, let me know! If you need a break/vacation/train-cation/ let me know! 

https://vimeo.com/88411706

Not only is the scenery world class, it's home to my favorite things to eat->>> apples, pears and cherries <<<- YUMMMM! In case you didn't know, Wenatchee is the "Apple Capital of the World" and one of the largest cherry and pear growing regions too! The industry holds a VERY special place in my heart. 

If you want to find out more:

http://wenatchee.org

http://adventurewenatchee.com

http://www.pybuspublicmarket.org

http://bestapples.com

Day 3. More sharing.

Yes, today I would like to publicly admit that I am a tree-hugger. Really though, my parents were hippies from so-cal and I was born in Portland, OR. I was born this way.

Growing up in such a gorgeous area, that had been devastatingly clear-cut, I learned early on the impact human consumption can have. I know that a one woman crusade isn't going to save the planet, I promise to do what I can to save as much as I am able. This is why I support business like Wattie Ink, which is 100% Made in the USA. Today I'd like to introduce you to a company new to my circle. Beautycounter. 

Buckle up, this is a bit longer than the first 2. 

For a long period of time, I was a vegetarian because the amount of hormones and antibiotics that went into raising meat was astounding and proven to be having devastating impacts on our health. That was a LONG ASS time ago, folks. It not only shocks me that information such as this has been swept under the rug and ignored, it infuriates me. I want to ask companies WHY they would do this to THEIR CHILDREN and I want to clean out everyone's houses of harmful foods, cleaners and beauty products with potential harmful chemicals. Because they are making us sick. The thing is, over the past few decades, information has become more available, but not much has changed.

I wish these alarming statistics weren't true:

  • In the US, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will develop cancer in their lifetime.
  • Today, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, up from 1 in 20 forty years ago.
  • The US has not passed a federal law regulating the cosmetic industry since 1938
  • The European Union has banned nearly 1400 ingredients from cosmetics and self-care products; the US has banned or restricted only 11 ingredients from cosmetics and self-care products.
  • Autism, ADHD, asthma and allergies (called the 4As) are all on the rise in the US
  • The Food and Drug Association does not require that cosmetics/personal care ingredients or products be approved before they go on the market, and the FDA has no power to recall a product from the market.
  • Women use an average of 12 personal products containing 168 ingredients daily: Teenage girls use an average of 17 personal care products daily. 
  • More than 200 synthetic chemicals, many know to be toxic, can be found in nearly all Americans, including newborns who are exposed to chemicals in utero.

This is not the time or place to be Debbie Downer, so I'll move on. 

Please take the time to educate yourself on the products you use, because I love you. (ha, I sounded like my mom right there)

Oh, so back to Beautycounter.  Beautycounter is an amazing company devoted to progress trust and transparency. Gregg Renfrew launched Beautycounter in 2013 after she learned that companies are openly allowed to use ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disruption and allergies. Our children's generation is the first that is sicker and may die younger than their parents, and she couldn't sit back and do nothing. Our mission (yes, I am a part of it) is to get safe products into the hands of everyone.

A great way to learn if your products are safe or not is by heading to EWG's Skin Deep Database. You will find a TON of info there! 

If you are interested in learning more about Beautycounter, head over to my page. http://www.beautycounter.com/sarahbarkley

AND, if you want to find out EVEN MORE about the mission of Beautycounter (or some last minute gifts/stocking stuffers), what they are doing to help make sure ALL your products are safe (not just theirs), and about some of their incredible products, I am doing on online "social". It will be like we're chatting about the world's problems over a glass of wine, but you don't have to leave your house :) 

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/100125327026557/

Day 2.

That's right folks, we are one day closer to Christmas. Hope that does't TOTALLY freak you out. If it does, don't worry. I'm sure all your relatives will not be too surprised that you waited until the last minute to think of gifts and got them all a sample pack of bars/gels...the ones you cleaned out from the bottom of your gym bag. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

Not to bum you out, but this post isn't about bars or gels. Nothing nutrition related.

No, today is all about SHOES! Jason always complains that I have a shoe problem. I disagree. I think I have only the essentials.

Boots, check. Troenthorp clogs, check. Uggs, check. Brooks running shoes, check. check. check. check. check. check. check. check. check. check. check.

Growing up in Oregon, I was a Nike girl through and through. Those days are long gone as I've found myself in a full-on love affair with Brooks (brooksrunning.com) for the past several years. It breaks my heart every time I have to get rid of a pair. After-all we spend a lot of time together.

Obviously I am partial to the Brooks Ghost for every day training (so cushy), Pure Connect for speed work and racing (light and responsive), and the Pure Grit (traction for days) for dirty days. My mom is partial to the Glycerine and I have been known to love the Transcend for long days on my feet. Lucky for me, I've been a part of the Brooks I.D. program which not only allows me to stock up on my faves at minimal cost, but also some free swag to give away at our RunWenatchee track workouts :)

Don't forget, they have a pretty dope vintage line as well for those recovery days ;)

Another thing I particularly like about Brooks is that they are based out of Seattle, which makes them practically local.

If you are interested but have never tried Brooks, or you just want to try a new shoe, I'd recommend starting with the shoe finder, for me it was SPOT ON. My feet have never been happier.

#RUNHAPPY!!

 

12 Days of Christmas.

Hey friends!  

I think the 12 days of Christmas are supposed to actually end ON Christmas day, but it makes more sense to ME to do it this way. That is to start December 1st. Yep, today. Starting TODAY, I'd like to share with you 12 things I think are awesome. One day at a time. Before Christmas because some of them may double as gift ideas. You never know, crazier things have happened. 

Day 1 - 

Today we (I) are celebrating Wattie Ink. 2016 will be my 4th year as a Wattie and I could NOT be more excited! Every year has been celebratory for sure, but this year it means a whole lot more to me.

What I like about the team is that it's a family, it's my family. When I joined I had no idea there were a tribe of people JUST LIKE ME, spread out all over the country. Crazy triathlon loving, beer drinking, trash talking, hard working, fun loving people that would do anything for one another - despite barely knowing each other. You know, that kind of instant connection you have. The kind where you don't see each other for a year or more, but pick up right where you left off, like no time had passed at all.

Well, not only do they ROCK. All of them. BUT, additionally, you may have noticed they have some pretty bitchen tri/cycling gear. Seriously, it's rad. THE. MOST.  COMFORTABLE. KITS. I have every tried, hands down. Now, I do know that the "Black Friday" sale ended yesterday, but don't let that deter you. No matter the price, as soon as you wear one of these bad boys, you'll wish you had bought more. I know I did. 

Check them out: wattieink.com 

There is always new stuff coming out, so keep your eyes peeled!

 

Redo

As much as I have always believed in fate, I would give my left nut to get 2015 all over again. If you know anything that has happened in the past year, you know it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing. It's been a lot of facing demons, having courage to change, be brave enough to grow, blah, blah, blah. Truthfully, it's actually been awesome. But I was done and had moved on. I grew, I changed, I was feeling good and damn it, I was READY TO GO! I did a race and felt really good,so I picked another. It was supposed to be fun, but I still wanted to do really well. No expectations, just racing for the fun of racing. Really. And I was feeling amazing. Not having pressure was really feeling good. I was seeing paces I hadn't seen in at least a year. My body was responding, my energy was better than ever, my spirits were high and my mind was clear.

Yup, that's exactly when things changed. I was innocently driving to work when struck by another car on the passenger side of my rig. I was T-Boned. It was a crazy collision, not only did it happen fast, but my side airbags deployed so I couldn't see a thing. I heard a bang, smelled burning oil or something and all of a sudden I was in a bubble. My car was totaled, but as I left the scene I felt fine. Little did I know that side impact really took a toll on my head. I ended up with a concussion and whiplash. All of which are so common I thought nothing of it. Until the symptoms set in. Wow. Tired (very tired), headaches, nausea, memory loss, irritability....for weeks!  Ugh! Not only was I feeling like junk, but I needed to cancel my race ($$). This, coming from a girl that prides herself on proving people wrong. I could prove that I was stronger than a head injury. 

But I couldn't. Healing was slow. I felt good enough to do something only to be overcome with fatigue shortly after. i was relegated to short and easy activity, if any at all. Light and noise were bothersome and I could feel the beginnings of depression looming. I mean, if I can't freely go outside and run or ride, it's not long before I start to feel cagey.

Since it wasn't really the end of the world, not a big race, I was able to snap out of it pretty quickly. Sure it's a bummer, but there will be more races. Now I know I can get my butt back into decent shape and I haven't lost my speed, yay! And I get to find a new car, yay! As a matter of fact, I have way too many things to be grateful for to let this slow me down. 

Onward and upward!

XO

Sarah

HELLO. DO YOU SEE ME?

Seriously. What is wrong with people these days!? For MONTHS I've been challenging myself to keep my head up, make eye contact and wave at as many people as possible. Say "hello" and "excuse me" when appropriate. Basically, be a better human being. Much to my surprise, it hasn't made me feel more included. Sadly, I feel even more isolated. The response I've received is complete disregard for my existence or disgust that I would even try to have civil engagement with a stranger.  You would think I'd just give up. Well, if you really KNEW me, you'd not be surprised to hear that I haven't. I won't.

After all this time, it shocks me EVERY DAY that people don't want to even acknowledge my existence. Last week put an exclamation point on my challenge. I'll assume you are like most people and don't follow my every move so I'll back up. Last week I was in a car accident at the intersection of two fairly heavily trafficked streets in my home town. One street was a through street (the one I was on), the other had a stop sign. I was hit by a woman that clearly has no business driving. I mean who would bolt into an intersection if a SEMI TRUCK is blocking your ENTIRE view from your left. Seriously. Anywho, she hit me and I skidded to a stop while watching my wheel roll down the road. Sad day for my car. I got out of the car to make sure they were okay. We both seemed alright and proceeded to call the police and tow trucks. I've never been in an accident, so I didn't know what to expect at all. The whole process was (and still is) a little unnerving. As I headed to the collision repair shop, the BF asked me if anyone has stopped to see if we were alright or to offer assistance. Not. One. Person. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

NOT ONE F*ING PERSON TOOK 3 SECONDS OUT OF THEIR DAY TO MAKE SURE WE WERE OKAY! I'm still shocked and little pissed (obviously). Sure, it's inconvenient that traffic is delayed and you "had places to go"...like I wasn't on my way to work and had to call someone to cover my shift and my boyfriend, who was 20 minutes away, also working, to come get me. 

When did this happen? When did we become so desensitized? When did I become invisible? What has to happen for people to pick their heads up and treat everyone as if they matter. As if they are human. As if they could be your family, friend, co-worker. The thing is, we are. Everyone of us is all those things, to someone. We all matter. I am doing my best to treat others how I would like to be treated, and I refuse to act another way. It sure would make it easier to receive the same respect and acknowledgment occasionally. A little goes a long way people. A little goes a long way.

I am me.

Hello. 

You know how your whole life people say things like, "you can do anything that you put your mind to" and "if you think you can, or you think you can't, you're always right", "just be yourself", "follow your heart", "listen to your gut"...

Am I the only one who has thought for years..."WHAT DOES THAT MEEEEAAAAAN!!!!????"

Let's be clear, I've set goals and followed my dreams, created my own path, but deep down I felt a little lost. Like there's something I'm missing. Now I know it's not giving a fuck.  It's following your dream regardless of what people think of it or you. It's believing that dream is in your heart for a reason. It's trusting that path your on is leading you in the right direction. It's not questioning if/why/how/when. It's living your life without inhibition. It's listening when someone needs to talk and not worrying about what you're late for or not getting done...you're supposed to be listening. You're supposed to be living. You're supposed to be forging your own path. You're supposed to have unique dreams that NO ONE is going to understand.

You may be lucky like me and have a lot of people supporting you in your dreams and goals. It's the best! But it can be suffocating. The pressure of being vulnerable with your dreams and then letting your friends and family down by not achieving them. But it's not them you answer to, it's you. You are the one you're answering to. You are the one worth fighting for. You are.

Just because you're on your own path, doesn't make you alone. It makes you awesome. Being unique doesn't make you weird. It makes you relevant.  

Let yourself be you and be free.

Has it really been a YEAR!?!?

Hello, hola, bonjour! It's been a whole YEAR since my last 1/2 ironman. WHAT!?!? After racing 5 last year (which I loved), I decided (was forced to) to take some time off. That time sent me into a tailspin that lead me to nearly a year off of training and racing all together. I spent my days doing anything but swim, bike, run. I slept, learned how to eat like a human, cried a lot, started lifting weights (putting on 10 lbs - what!?) and learned that letting go is not the same as giving up. 

My 3 months off, turned into 6...then 9. My structured training probably started (loosely) in June(ish), and even with a 1 week "training camp" in Bend about a month ago, never reached more than 1/2 of the weekly volume I was used to last year. 

Going into Santa Cruz 70.3, I had little to no expectations of performance and/or placement. I talked myself into being OK with whatever the outcome was, turning my focus onto the process, enjoying being out there with my peeps, having fun, staying present and executing my nutrition plan. 

We arrived a few days before the race, did a little sight seeing, spent too much time on my feet and eating way more than my nerves would have ever allowed in the past. Race morning, I was calm and not over thinking...leaving me with a lot of extra time and energy. I made it to transition around 5:30, and found myself wandering around aimlessly by 5:45. Too easy. What are all these people doing? Fussing with? It's not that hard. My wave started at 7:10, so I had plenty of time to do nothing before getting my wetsuit on and run around a bit.

pre-swim with Dorris.

pre-swim with Dorris.

Sharks!

Sharks!

I was really looking forward to the ocean swim because I, yet again, had no expectation. Just like with everything else, I had taken the pressure off my swim this year and the added element of the ocean made it much easier for me to stay focused on the moment/survival and not much concern with my time/pace.  I had no idea where I was when I got out of the water, but I was REALLY looking forward to getting on my bike. I LOVE my Diamondback Serios, seriously. 

I might have been a little too excited to get on my bike, I mean the last time I raced was at the world championships, that pace was habitual - oops. The course was hilly, but with the cool ocean air, the effort never felt too hard or uncomfortable, and those views. Before I could think much about anything else, it was over and I was off and running.

I felt GREAT! This race was shaping up to be alright! I stuck with my nutrition and felt pretty amazing (despite a quick potty stop). until about 1/2 way. My effort was noticeable and my knees were killing me from tight IT bands. At mile 9, the pain was too much and I took a walk break through the aide station before continuing the run. This pattern continued for the next 2 aid stations. Finally at mile 11 I came to realize that I had plenty of energy and there was no reason I couldn't run through my discomfort, after all, that's what we're supposed to do. And HOLY SHIT BALLS, I did! YAY - that's a WIN! You see, in years past, by the time I arrived at a race I was so depleted that adversity would completely break me. Not because I was weak, in fact, I was well trained in mental skills and being tough. But I used it all up in training. By the time I got to races I was empty, malnourished, irritable and broken. My race nutrition would keep me going, but my mind would crumble if anything difficult was thrown my way. Not this time. This time I had the energy - and it felt amazing. I felt amazing. 

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to race in Santa Cruz. I'm grateful for my amazing body - every day! I'm amazed at my physical resiliency and strength all the time. How did I get so lucky!?

This year has not been easy, I wouldn't have made it without ALL of you! My family, friends, teammates, sponsors and fans. I love you all with my whole heart! I felt all of you out there. THANK YOU!

Thank you to: Wattie Ink, Diamondback, Blueseventy, Rudy Project, ISM, Speedfil, Powerbar, Herbalife 24, Adventure Wenatchee, Brooks, Swiftwick, The Inner Circle Gym, Arlberg Sports, Ovenell Chiro, Nikki, my Mom Jerri Barkley, my boyfriend Jason Hosking, my coach Robert Flanigan, support crew Marni Sumbal, Roxanne, Cathy Covey and Adam Vognild, and all my Wattie Ink teammates and friends all over the world.

XOXO

Sarah