This Penny Tris

a blog about a mom who tris (swim, bike, run, parent and more)

Sad news April 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 5:00 pm

I hope I’m getting this correct, this is Penny’s husband, Ryan Verdeck writing this. I know she had alot of followers on FB and here with her running and activities. I’m very upset to have to tell you that Penny was killed on Sunday afternoon. She was riding her bike for the first time of the year, she was sooo excited to be able to get out there and start training for the tri season. She was struck by a vehicle. Me and my kids and families are besides ourselves, and don’t know what to do, or where to go next. I just got penny’s phone back and wanted to make sure to let everyone here know. thank you, god bless.

Ryan Verdeck


Goldy’s 10 Mile Race April 17, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 8:39 pm

April 11th, 2015 is the day that I actually tried to race a race while sick. I never really get sick. If I ever seem to feel ill, I usually feel a little crappy, rest and feel better the next day. Well, not this time. I started to feel kind of yucky around the 3rd. I had already planned a cut back/taper to my running for the week so I did that. I only ran 15 miles before the weekend race and hoped it would be enough of a cut back to feel better. I had been going to bed early and resting when possible. I am here to tell you: It was not enough! I woke up Saturday morning feeling horrible. I got ready anyway knowing that Stacy was expecting me and we were planning to go to the Waterpark of America after soccer. I sucked it up and off I went. I got into Stacy’s car and after the first words came out of my mouth she says “Uh oh, you are sicK!” Yes, I am!

We got to the race and waited for the start. I’ve raced this race the last 2 years and this year, they changed the course, I still enjoyed the start area and the beginning part of the race that is on the U of M campus, but they sent us through Minneapolis instead of St. Paul which is a bit more hilly.  We started out and were doing pretty well, I felt good, then the 1:30 pacer was by us and Stacy NEEDED to push to stay with them. She apparently didn’t realize that we started ahead of them, so even if they were a few steps ahead, we were still under her window of where she wanted to be for the day, so she was pushing me to go – ummm nope, can’t hold that pace for 9 more miles, my lungs will give out for sure, so the first big climb came and I told her “I cannot power up the hill, I won’t be able to breathe!” Ok, so she goes ahead and I am thankful. I kept up , but then at the waterstop, she got futher ahead and I never saw her again. I felt fine. I enjoyed the course (Stone Arch bridge again!) And just ran. I watched my pace on my watch and ran my own race. About mile 4, I took my first little walk to take in my Island Boost. I took it on a big climb of a hill crossing a bridge and was happy with that choice. I started running again and I felt pretty good. I knew this part of the course and knew that we had a giant bridge to get over after a little while. I ran until there and then picked a spot to run to before my 30 second walk break. I stayed to the side so I hopefully didn’t annoy anybody trying to push over the hill. I did pretty well once my lungs calmed back down during each walk break. Beside the little lung problem, my body felt good. I think it’s pretty amazing how my body is used to running this type of distance. I also think that if I had been feeling better I had a pr race in me. When we turned and headed back toward campus and I knew the course was downhill followed by uphill, uphill and more uphill, so I walked 30 seconds and started running again when the climbs started to be too much for my lungs. We climbed the last climb and headed toward the stadium where we ran on the field and finished at the 50 yard line. I heard the beep for mile 9 and told myself I would run the rest of the way because I knew it was flat. I did run and as we rounded the outside of the stadium and turned into the tunnel. I sprinted with what I had left and my last sprint pace ended with a 5:23 pace!

I finished in 1:33:25. Just 2 minutes slower than last year, which is great considering how I felt. Here is how my miles worked out:


As you can see, my walk breaks didn’t hurt my pace until that mile 8-9 place, but that was a REALLY hilly mile.

Overall, I am really happy with my race. The medal is really big and nice, the shirt is only ok. It fits good, but it’s a yucky color – oh well I’m wearing it today.


So after that, Stacy and Rick dropped me off at the mall and they headed to a baseball game. I waited for my family to be done with soccer and to come pick me up (they won the soccer game by the way) and then we were off to the waterpark. This seemed like a good idea when we made the plan, didn’t seem so good today!

We arrived at the waterpark and got changed and ready to ride some waterslides. As it turns out, it’s a really busy place and getting a tube is quite a challenge. I think it took us 45 minutes to get some tubes. I sent Ryan and the kids up the stairs to try a different ride and I stood near the lazy river and claimed some tubes. We finally started to float down the lazy river and our day was fun. I had a really hard time with the stairs and my lungs, but I believe that the girls had a good day. We played for a long time and then after supper we waited in line FOREVER for the one family raft ride. As we waited, the pully broke – they fixed it with duck tape and zip ties. We finally got to go on the ride and everybody loved it (ok, love might be the wrong word for me) and we were happy we waited!

We finally talked Claire into leaving there and heading home. I wasn’t tired and my body felt great considering I raced 12 hours before, but every breath was so painful that I just cried in the car. I hope I do not feel like that again any time soon!!

Since I needed to heal my lungs, I took 4 days off from running this week and I only ran 2 easy miles today. I hope I’m on the mend because this not running this doesn’t help with my stress level.

Hope everyone is doing well – what are your plans for spring??


April has begun…That was fast April 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 8:28 pm

I can’t believe that it is April already. This year has gone fast and I’m having a hard time keeping up with blogging. Now that spring has come, I’ll have better running and racing to talk about, so here goes – let’s catch up!

I think the last time I wrote about running was after the Get Lucky Race. If I remember correctly, that went pretty well even if I had doubts the day before. I did knock 15 seconds off from last year. If I could do that at every race this year, I would be pumped! Anyhoo, back to training talk!

I have been lucky enough to get outside for most of my runs lately. I even did an outdoor interval run one day. I’m not going to lie, it was tough! I got all of my intervals in and my average pace wasn’t so bad (I’ll call that a physical win, but a mental struggle). Then last week Monday, I set out at lunch to run and my legs were like lead. I set out for 5, but at the 2 mile turn around and having set a 10 minute per mile pace so far, I turned around, but I made myself do it as a negative split run – get back faster than I got there. I did, the 3rd mile was 9:09 and the 4th mile was 8:17!!! That was amazing! (I will call that a physical struggle and a mental win!) Wednesday was a record high day here in Minnesota. It was HOT compaired to the rest of the days, but it was SO WINDY that there was no way I could run outside. I headed inside and found the treadmill. I went in with a different attitude this time – you will enjoy this and you will get in the 10 miles you were hoping for outside – it helped. I decided on speed intervals instead of hills. It was difficult, but no where near as difficult as most of the other long runs inside. (That one I’m giving a win-win!)

I have been entering a contest for 3 weeks now. There are 3 remaining weeks. The contest is put on by Newton Running and Timex. The prize is free shoes and a new gps watch. Here are my entries so far:



(I had to turn the town upside down for this one!)


I was lucky enough to win a prize as a Semi-Finalist the first week with my HAPPY path. I was very excited. I did not hear anything about EMPOWERED yet, and FEEL THE MAGIC is open until Wednesday. There have been some great entries, but I have hope that I will win one of the weeks. I still have one week undecided on what to run – anybody have an idea??

Last week I made the decision that this week I need to cut back my miles a little before my Goldy’s 10 Mile race next week Saturday. I have been struggling through some of my runs and I think that a little cut back will help me feel refreshed on Saturday.

Wish me luck on being able to cut back on the miles. I’m hoping for 4, 5 and then 6 or 7 Wednesday night instead of 8-9 and then maybe 2 Thursday and rest on Friday. If you take those distances, that is only 15-18 before the 10 mile race on Saturday. Last week I got in 33 miles.

I hope you all had a great weekend – back to work tomorrow!


It Was Me All Along, a memoir by Andie Mitchell March 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 8:16 pm

For my March Biography Book, I went outside the box and picked a Memoir. I was also able to review this book as part of Blogging For Books, which is a website that sends bloggers books to review. Once you post your review of the book, you can request another book to review. It’s a great site that I’m excited to be working with. All of the opinions of this book and any that I review are my own and I am not being paid to review them. **If only I was lucky enough to get paid to read!! Anyway, onto the review.

I picked this book because Andie has struggled with her weight and food and I thought that since I myself have been on a weight loss journey I would probably find it interesting. I did, but I also found it a struggle and kind of sad to hear how she felt and the struggles that she faced. I was never as large as she was and I didn’t consider myself fat, but it is a real struggle when you realize you need to make a change and accept that it won’t be easy.

The book started with her as a child and I instantly felt sorry for her. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother worked many jobs to support them. She felt so alone and turned to food for comfort. It was hard to read this part of the book because it makes you think of your family and how they are. I worry about my children and if they hide emotions from us. (I did reassure myself that my children are happy and I would notice if they were sad and lonely).

As the story progressed and Andie grew older, she accepted herself and her imperfections. I know that feeling. I was relieved to read this part, it seemed real to me. She had what seemed to be a very nice high school experience. She learned along the way and had a wonderful personality and people didn’t treat her as the fat girl. Only on a few occasions did she put herself down, mostly she accepted herself, which freed her of the guilt she felt and allowed for happiness to find her.
As she went away to college, she was accepted (except on a rare occasion) and happy. As the college years added up, so did her weight. When her mom arrived one day, after not seeing her for a while, she was shocked at how big Andie had gotten. It was the look on her mother’s face that told her it was time to take weight loss seriously. She did just that. She lost weight and learned to control portions. She found that she didn’t need the food as comfort. It wasn’t easy. She found doctors that helped her. She was prescribed medication to help. The doctor told her “The medication won’t make you happier or fix any of your problems, but it will help to lift the heavy cloud that is weighing you down and making you feel hopeless.”

She discovered exercise to help her weight loss and to help relax her after a long day of work (here is where it got a little close to home). She enjoyed her workouts and knew that they helped her to reach her goals, but what she wasn’t expecting was the problem: “Although I’d worked hard to mend my disordered eating, now I had to face another truth: I was addicted to exercise.” Thankfully I don’t feel like I am addicted to exercise, but I can understand what she is talking about and I really enjoyed this part of her journey. The other quote that I found hit very close to home was: “The thinness I’d achieved came with its own brand of indignity. It was fear of gaining back each pound, of proving myself a failure, that plagued me. I know that fear, I live that fear.

As she found a career for herself, I enjoyed the book more and more. I may not have know who Andie Mitchell was before I read this book, but I now feel a connection to her. I’m glad I picked this book and would suggest you give it a read too. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

There are a few other quotes I found worthy of a mention:

“When you are big for twenty years, the only twenty you’ve ever know, you’ll kindly not frown upon two decades. You’ll know who you are was formed in there, and that is beautiful. Quite simply, beautiful.”

“ I will always know fat. And love who she was. And know that fat, in itself, is not a bad word. I’ll own it and respect those twenty years. They were hard, but they were sweet, too. I grew up in that body, in that time, in that big, beautiful mind. I will always know thin. And love who she is. And know that even when she feels heavier mentally, she’s freer now. She’s effervescent. Small, but tough.”

You can check up on Andie on her website: Can You Stay for Dinner?


2015 Get Lucky 7k March 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 9:47 pm

This past weekend I ran the Get Lucky 7k race for the 4th time. In 2010, I ran with my brother, in 2011,  my sister-in-law ran it (we didn’t run together) and the last 2 years I ran with my friend Stacy. I skipped one year in there, which happened to work out because the weather was horrible that year. but I have really enjoyed this race each time.
Most of the Minneapolis races are in the same area which goes over the Stone Arch Bridge and along the brick road on the other side and you overlook St. Anthony Falls, and this race is no exception. This is the first race I ever did that was in this area and I have a special place in my heart for this area. Before I started racing, Morgan and I visited the Mill City Museum and went onto the lookout deck and watched St. Anthony Falls and took a bunch of pictures. Morgan loved the view and so did I. We watched runners that day and I thought how I would love to be the runner that got to run there one day. Now I am!!


We got there early and parked with no troubles. I heard from a friend that they waited so long to get in the parking lot that they started the race very late. We walked over to the start before it got too busy. We stayed in the sun to stay warm (Stacy wore short sleeves – burr!) and almost missed the start because we couldn’t hear the announcer. We got into the mass of people and I wondered how we could possibly run in the sea of people. As it turned out, it spread out really well and we only had a couple of places that were congested.



There were actually 1000 less runners this year than last year, but you would never guess when you look at this mass of people.

Before we knew it, we were off. Like I mentioned, it cleared out pretty quickly and everyone seemed to be moving along. After we got around the corner there was a nice downhill and a ton of people walking – really, why start at the beginning of the crowd and walk? I’m all for walkers being out there, but don’t start in wave 1, or even in the start of wave 2 – you may get run into if you do! Then it smoothed out again and it was time to cross the Stone Arch Bridge. I made Stacy look to the side to see the falls – she has never looked around when we are running there, just focuses on not running into anybody! We turned the corner just after some Irish dancers and ran down the brick road. I love and hate this road – love it because it’s pretty, hate it because you have to watch your footing. Turned and ran under a highway and back up and over it (mean people making us run over bridges!!) and turned again and up another bridge. I remembered this one and was amazed at how easy the climb felt, but how congested the race was here.  We bypassed the waterstop and with it some extra runners out of our way. I forgot about the last big climb over a highway, but powered up the hill telling Stacy I’d try to stay with her on it. I did, but when we got to the top, I made myself catch my breath before the final turn. With 1 mile to go, we turned and I felt strong and ready to go. That last mile is a stretch next to the river and it’s nice to look around a little if you have some clearance from the runners around you. We powered past a bunch, even taking one gamble and running on the curb and dodging some slower runners taking up the whole road. It worked out, but we both commented that that was a little sketchy and we shouldn’t do that again, it would be very easy to twist an ankle doing that. My watch beeped the 4 mile and I knew I was feeling pretty good, so I picked up a little. (I hadn’t allowed myself to look at the times on my watch at all durning the race. I only wore it because I have had at least 2 races not have my time because my chip didn’t register).  I didn’t say it to Stacy, I just did it. We kept step with each other and picked up our pace. Our pace for the last .36 miles was 7:46 – that’s fast and awesome!! I was breathing heavy when we finished and I knew I tried, but I didn’t feel like I was on empty, so any doubt I had about my fitness level should really be calmed now.

We ended up finishing in 38:13 which is 15 seconds faster for me than last year!! Stacy was actually 1 second slower than me this year and last year, she was a few seconds ahead of me, so I was happy that she didn’t get to beat me this year 🙂 I don’t compete against her often, but there have been a few times she gets ahead of me, so that one second for me was kind of funny!


The medal that I received is actually from the year I didn’t do this event. The 2015 medals are stuck in cargo on a pier in California and will be shipped out when they arrive. I figure I’ll run the distance again and call it a virtual run so that I earn the two different 7k medals this year – fun, 2 bling for the price of one!!

I hope you are all ready for spring – I know I am. I’ve been spoiled the last week with our warm weather, but today, I ran in the snow! Thankfully, it was light snow and it worked out, but by the time we came out of church (1.5 hours after I was done running) there was actually snow sticking on the grass and my car. I’m lucky it wasn’t doing that while I was running, or my hair would have looked ridiculous for church!!


Spring, is that you??? March 8, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 8:26 pm

Spring, I think I see you, can you stay, please!!!

Well, starting on Friday the weather made a turn for the better. After a snow day from school on Tuesday, I was skeptical that spring was ever going to come, but then we turned the corner and I hope we get to keep it.

I headed out Friday at lunch and was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt. The wind was still a little chilly on my ears, but the rest of me felt great. I made some pretty good time on the run too. All of my miles were under 9:13 and I felt good.

Saturday I planned for 7 and after last week’s sufferfest that was only 5 miles, in the wind so cold I thought I would freeze to death, I was determined to go at least 7. I picked a new path and it was actually 4 miles, so I ended up doing 8. The first 4 were into the wind and I’ll admit it’s a bit of a struggle, but once I turned around, I felt like I could fly! My pace was good throughout even with the few walk breaks I took to survive the run. I was so happy to be outside and I can only hope that the running feels easier once I get used to running outside again.

I think with a forcast like this:


I will definitely be spending my running hours outside this week!

I also have some exciting news for all of you ladies that read my blog. Esprit de She is letting me give 3 lucky athletes an awesome jersey.
All you have to do is sign up for any one of the Nationwide events. (There are events ranging from 5k to 10k to duathlons and triathlons.) They have events in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina, California and Georgia. You must put EDS031 in the promo code box and then email me that you’ve signed up. I am lucky enough to give away 3 jerseys. Check out the website at: Esprit de She

Here’s to a great spring week to all of you!


The Longest Ride February 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — pennyverdeck @ 5:27 pm

I barely finished my book on time. I’m not sure how the month got away from me….ok, I do know (crazy busy life)…but I finished this morning, just in the knick of time.

I chose Nicholas Sparks because he is always an easy read and falls into the romance category. I always like his books, even if they always follow the usual= boy rescues girl format. This one doesn’t really follow his standard, so I was pleasantly suprised. So here is my review, following my “I don’t want to give away the book” plan.


The cover of the book is beautiful (Morgan and I both want the blue boots!!) and inviting. The chapters are numbered and tell you who’s perspective you are reading from. I don’t love books that skip from person to person, but as I get further in, I settle into the rhythm.

It took until the very end of the book to discover what the 3 people the chapters were based on had in common. There is an elderly man named Ira, a young cowboy named Luke and a college student named Sophia. It only took one chapter of Sophia and Luke to get me interested in the rest of the book. I could not figure out why I was reading about Ira though. When I finally got to that part of the book, I had already made some assumptions and they were close, but not close enough. In my opinion that is a good book – keeps you guessing until the end and begs you to keep reading.

I was very happy with how the book ended and pleasanty suprised that it wasn’t the same old same old – boy sweeps in and saves the girl. I enjoy how this author is always very good at describing the surroundings. I would like to visit the area of the country, North Carolina where all of his books are based, because of how he has described it and made it so inviting.

The small amount of romance is just the right amount and doesn’t gush out and make you sick because it’s so unrealistic like some romance novelists. You will be pleasantly suprised, I know I am every time I read one of his books.

The author does an excellent job with his facts and knowledge of the subjects he writes about. He ties his characters toghether in an amazing way at the end. I did not suspect that was how it would end. About 4 chapters from the end, he paints a conclusion and you assume that this is how the story will end and then he sweeps that one under the rug and gives you a completely different story. I love it!

He has many other books too and I have never been disappointed in a single one. Some that I have read are: A Bend in the Road, The Guardian, Safe Haven, The Best of Me, The Last Song, The Lucky One, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook. I know many of these have movies that go along with them, but I have never watched any of them. I always feel like the books are so much better and whenever a friend does see the movie, they always have the same feeling, so I don’t watch them. I have however watched the movie “Message in a Bottle” and that one was good, but that is because I didn’t read the book first.

Have you read Nicholas Sparks, do you love him or hate him?