and eat!

Category Archives: Books

I’m done.  I was actually supposed to be done after the Patriot half aquabike in June, but then, silly me, I signed up to do the Cranberry Oly aquabike.  And in between those two events was a 2-mile swim, and after Cranberry there was a 3-mile swim.  That’s WAY more competing than I usually do.  The weird thing is, I didn’t hate it.  I (dare I say?) kind of enjoyed it!  My self-talk has me saying that I don’t like to compete, that I get too stressed and crazy so it’s not worth it. Maybe that’s not as true anymore.  Maybe it was a defense mechanism that I don’t need anymore.  Granted, I’m not keen on the 4am wake-up that goes along with a lot of races…

SWIM: My last event was the 3-mile Quassapaug Open Water Swim Challenge in Middlebury, CT.  Beautiful location.  I hope the air will be warmer than 48 degrees the next time I do it, though!

Quassy temp  Quassy

Luckily the water was 70.  If I actually train for distance next summer, I might even attempt doing all 3 swims to total 5 miles.

I’m probably done with OW swimming now, so it’s back to the pool.

BIKE: I was really happy (and a bit surprised) to average 19.3 for 26 miles at the Cranberry Oly!  Now I can relax.  Phew.

Cranberry pic

I’m working up to doing a century on October 1st:  CRW’s Cranberry Harvest Century.  It should be pretty.  If it rains, though, I’m out!

READ: Some good books, some crap. I’ll be doing some beach reading soon, since I’m going on vacation.  I recommend The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, and Little Bee, by Chris Cleave.

and… EAT! Nothing very inspiring, although I made a great banana bread recently.  Oh, I borrowed a dehydrator from my local library and dried tomatoes from our garden. Who knew you could borrow such a thing?!  I’m eating dried tomatoes like candy.

On to “off” season.  I get to do more gym classes and computrainer now!  Fun!

Happy Fall

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In the throes of an endorphin-filled haze, I signed up for an event. Not just any event, but one of the bigger, more competitive races in my area:  The Patriot Half IM.  I’m not completely crazy – I’m doing the aquabike (since I don’t really run), but still:  1.2-mile swim + 56-mile bike is pretty ambitious for me!  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may recall that I run hot and cold about racing. Usually cold, unless it’s a swim-only event.

So how did this crazy lapse in judgement occur?  COMPUTRAINER!  Evil.  Painful.  And that glorious feeling of being capable of doing anything when the session was over.  That feeling apparently lasted until I got home and whipped out my credit card to register.  That was in mid-December.  The race has been on my mind ever since.  Now it’s a month away.  Yikes!  Am I ready?  We’ll see!

So what else is new?  In addition to the tried and true swim/bike/(hobble)run, I’m trying to do more regular weight-training.  It’s not as bad as I feared! I had a few sessions with a personal trainer (LOVE my trainer!), and I take some circuit-training type gym classes.  It’s really helpful having someone tell me what to do.

Swim:  My usual pool routine, but now that it’s (finally) getting warmer, I’ll be wriggling into my wetsuit (and 2 caps, and booties – it’s not THAT warm yet) and heading out to Walden Pond and Mystic Lake for some OWS.

Bike:  Ramping up mileage so the 56-mile Patriot course won’t completely destroy me (it WILL destroy me, but I’ll pretend it won’t for the sake of saving face).  I’m riding with my friends again!  It’s wonderful to be outside rather than stuck in spin class.  Computrainer is a whole ‘nother beast from spin.  I went to quite a few computrainer classes at Grace Bicycles over the winter, and I’m pretty sure my masochism has paid off in at least a little extra speed.  That’s the hope, anyway.

Read:  I read everything by Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult, and lucky me, they both came out with new books recently.  The Stars are Fire, by Anita Shreve, and Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult.  Both are really good. I’m not going to give anything away.  Get them.  Read them. I also read a lot of crap, which I definitely won’t recommend.

Happy Spring!  Happy Training!

 

 


 

SWIM  I get this  email in early October:  SwimVacation needs to fill their December trip to the British Virgin Islands and  they’re offering a discount to alums as incentive.  My husband  and I went  on a short SwimVacation trip to a lake in Maine a few years back (see old blog post) thus the email in my in-box.  Lucky us!  We had been  talking about  doing SwimVacation BVI someday, but the trip isn’t cheap so we were dragging our feet and saving some money.  On a lark, I brought up the possibility of signing up – hey, discount!  To my surprise and glee, he said “sure, let’s go”.  So we did.  And here are some pictures to prove it.

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SwimVacation BVI in a nutshell:  get to Village Cay Marina at the designated meeting time, dinghy ride to the Promenade (our trimaran home for the week), stow shoes – barefoot for a whole week ! – settle in, swim at least twice a day *every day*  in beautiful places among the islands, eat (and drink, if so inclined), make new swimmy friends…  As their logo says, “Swim. Relax. Repeat.”  Sun and 80 degree Caribbean water?  In December?  Yes, please.

Check out the SV blog  to see how  it looks  and book your next trip to BVI!  Or Hawaii.  Or Turkey (new trip).  I might write more specifics about the trip in a future blog, but if you want details before then, feel free to ask in a comment.

BIKE  nothing to report.  I haven’t been on my road bike for a while now – just spin classes ().  I plan to try out a computrainer class in January.  I’m scared.  And we’re doing a run afterward.  It just might kill me.  Wish me luck.

RUN  this is  starting to be a more common  category for me:  I’ve been doing more of it (stupid peer pressure).  I did a 5k fun run on Thanksgiving and broke a 9 min/mile pace!  Nothing like the fear of getting lost to make me go faster – I had to keep the people ahead of me in sight.  Cuteness overload warning:  mini pig in a santa suit at the end of the run.

READ  I went through a brief period of bad books, but seem to have come out the other side.  Phew!  I just ready Jojo Moyes’ The Ship of Brides and loved it.  I really like her books.  Now I’m diving into The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Philip Sendker.

and… EAT!  SwimVacation meant I didn’t cook or bake for a week (the food was great, by the way), but I couldn’t resist making  a  chocolate whiskey cake when we got home.

cw cake use for blog

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

I’ll blame our birthdays (mine and my husband’s).   Can’t have birthdays without cake.  I think it’s illegal.

 

And then this happened, too, ’cause, why not?!

cranapplecake.JPG

Cranberry Apple Cake


SWIM  Throughout the Fall, I was psyching myself up to do the New England Masters Short Course Yards Championship.  I was making it to practice regularly, feeling stronger, swimming faster, almost ready to fill in the entry form and BLAM.

1st storm

Let the shoveling begin!

Winter – like 3-feet-of-snow-winter – smacked me upside the head:  practices were canceled, my mom fell and I wanted to visit her more often (can’t blame winter but it caused a change to my workout schedule nonetheless).  Missed practices, stress, worry, vacation (well that was a good thing – I got to do an open water swim with a group in Barbados!).  Sure I still could have signed up for the meet and just done whatever I could, but competing is always a big deal for me.  It’s stressful enough – I don’t like feeling defeated before I even start.  So now I’m getting my swims in when I can and looking forward to the day when the ice melts and the snow goes away.  It’s officially Spring, and perhaps it will eventually feel like winter is over.  And thankfully, my mom is doing better!

Open Water Swim, Barbados

Carlisle Bay, in front of the Barbados Yacht Club

BIKE  Other than commuting and spin classes, not much going on in the bike department.  I went to the basement and visited my road bike the other day.  Actually touched it!  Even thought about pumping up the tires, but really, why bother?  They’ll be flat again by the time it’s warm enough to ride.  Soon?  Last year I got out in early April.  We’ll see.

[RUN – I don’t usually post a “RUN” section   I’m running again!  After taking a long time off (a year?), I’m giving it another try.  I’m hoping the exercises my chiropractor gave me will help my disc stays where it’s supposed to.  Could there be a sprint tri in my future?  Stranger things have happened.]

READ  I’ve read a bunch since I last posted.  The most recent memorable ones are  All the Light We Cannot See,  by Anthony Doerr, and Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.  Two VERY different books.  Both really well-done.

and EAT!  Lots of that going on, but nothing noteworthy, unfortunately.


michelin-tire guy

how I feel on my commute

A friend of mine has a cut-off temperature for outside biking.  At one point it was 60 degrees, although she has been out in lower temps since she told me that.  I think she might have dropped the threshold a few points as she became a more experienced rider.  What’s my cut-off?  I’m not exactly sure, but I think we’re there!  I know I’m not happy riding in the 40s, and it snowed (ok, flurried) over the weekend.  Sure, I’ll continue to commute my 3-4 miles each way to work and swim, bundled up like the Michelin tire guy – unless it’s icy – but I am by no means hard-core enough to road ride through the winter.  Do you have a temperature range?

I did the Rapha Women’s metric century ride over the summer.  FUN!  There’s another one in December.  The Rapha Women’s Braver than the Elements Ride.  NOT SO FUN!  I won’t be doing that one – I’m really not braver than the elements.  I get cranky when my hands and feet go numb and turn funny colors.

So…

SWIM!  My last Walden Pond swim was on September 23rd.  It wasn’t awful in terms of being cold, but I could tell I was done.  I rejoined Cambridge Masters Swim Club and am happily (?) getting my ass kicked in the pool 3-4 times/week.  I need a push every few years – I was due.  I’m curious to see if my shoulders get bigger with the increased yardage and effort.  I’ll keep you informed.  I might even do a pool meet in the Spring.  Oh shoot, now that I’ve said that, I might actually have to do it.  Something I found out:  stroke workout right after spin class doesn’t work so well for me.  Swim fail!

BIKE!  See above.  No more outside riding for me.  I finished the season by joining some friends to do another metric century:  The Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk on October 5th (early and chilly!).  It was my first benefit ride, and I hope to do it again next year.

Calhoun Cancer Challenge

first snack stop

It was a very well-supported ride through a scenic part of CT.  I got out for a few more rides after that, and now I’m adjusting to ~3-4 spin classes/week.  It might be time to put a crappy tire on my bike and set up my trainer, though.  There’s only so much “Maniac” and “Eye of the Tiger” that this former Deadhead can take.  I get gym class music stuck in my head and it stays there for days.  That can’t be healthy.

READ!  The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.  Suspend disbelief and let yourself be taken away.  A Nation in Pain:  Healing Our Biggest Health Problem, by Judy Foreman (friend from Cambridge Masters).  This book explores chronic pain and how it is misunderstood and mistreated and a HUGE problem. It is accessible but still not a super easy read.  I might be working on this one for a while.  Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach.  I just started it.

and EAT!  Fig and Pear Crumbles by Frugal Feeding.  Wow!  Next up:  something with apples since we just bought 3 bags of them at Clarkdale Fruit Farms while in Western MA for Cider Days in Franklin County.

 

bethel maine happy


Last I posted, I had just completed a 3-mile swim at the end of June. My first! Now it’s the end of August and I can check a couple more things off my Summer to-do list.
SWIM! I swam a 2-mile race in CT in July. It was an interesting event: one could swim 1, 2, or 3-miles, or any combination of 1, 2, and 3 miles! I opted for doing only the 2-miler due to time constraints. I was happy with my time – just under 53 minutes – which was good enough for a 3rd place finish overall AND in my age group (40-59).  The water was perfect:  no need for a wetsuit.  Ahhh!  Maybe next year I’ll do a couple of the swims.  Or all 3!  We’ll see how my shoulders are doing before I commit to that.  Oh, the best part?  The buoys were big yellow rubber duckies!  How cool is that?!  ALL races should have such fun buoys.  I wish I had a picture.

Cathy and me w/o our runner

Cathy and me without our runner, Diane

After that, I took a break from distance and swam 1/2 mile in a triathlon relay with my sister (on bike), and another Team EnVision member (for the run). We won! The award was a pint glass. Can’t have too many pint glasses, right?
And finally, the swim that got me thinking about competing in open water races in the first place! This past weekend, August 23rd, was the Race for Swim and Fin in Salem (MA) harbor.

Race for Swim & Fin start

Race for Swim & Fin start

I was worried it would be too cold. It wasn’t – I was comfortable in my wetsuit. I was worried it would be really rough. It was pretty choppy, but not awful.

What was tough was the sighting. The buoys were far apart, so it was too easy to sight on the wrong buoy, which I did for a little bit but figured it out before it was too late. Phew.  There was another small mishap, but I still managed a 1st place

Showing off our medals!

Showing off our swim and fin medals!

finish for women 50-54 (w/wetsuit). I can live with that.

Rapha 100 pic 2014

Some of our Rapha 100 group

BIKE!  In July, some friends and I took part in the Rapha Women’s 100, a worldwide event promoting women and cycling.  Our event was hosted by The Ride Studio Cafe.  We had a choice of distances – 100km or 100 miles – and speed.  We did the 100km at a leisurely pace.  It was a great day of riding with friends.  Next up?  The Honey 100 in mid-September:  100km on cross bikes! It’s an off- and on-road adventure, thanks, again, to Ride Studio!  I heard such good things about this ride last year, I decided I HAD to do it.  And it was a good (?) excuse to buy a new bike!  

Giant Invite 2

Giant Invite 2

After that, I’m joining some friends from high school for a charity ride in CT.  The Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk  takes place on October 5th.  Some of us are doing the metric century (that would include me) and some team members are opting for the 1/2 metric.  90% of the money raised goes to the cause, so I feel good about taking part. I don’t usually do charity rides because I don’t like fundraising, but the obligation for this one is very manageable.  Thanks to everyone who helped me reach my goal!

READ!  I’ve read a lot this summer.  LOVED Chris Bohjalian’s newest:  Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands.  But then again, I love everything he writes!  I’m currently reading Sally Ride, by Lynn Sherr, and Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira.  Both are great.

and EAT!  Unfortunately, I have discovered Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core ice cream.


SWIM!  I’m hoping to do a 5k swim “race”, maybe 2 of them, over the summer.  The first opportunity is on June 21st (Mashpee Super Swim), the second is in August (Race for Swim & Fin).  We’ll see.  I got a 2-mile swim in yesterday, so doing 3 miles in another week could happen…  I’m a little nervous, not so much because of the distance, but that it could be choppy, and the water might still be a little chilly.  I wore a shorty wetsuit yesterday and was shivering for quite a while after being in the water for an hour.

Yes, I’m a bit of a cold wimp – I think the water temp was around 73F

I figure the 3 miles (3 x 1-mile loops) will take me a about an hour and a half.  I just want to settle into a forever pace and not blow out my shoulder (thus the quotation marks around race).

BIKE!  I signed up to do the Rapha Women’s 100 on July 20th.  I’ll be doing the 101km ride through Ride Studio Cafe with some friends (unless it’s raining).  It’s my anniversary, so that’s my husband’s present to me:  I get to ride all day.  I’ve got the best husband ever!

READ!  Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.  One of the best books I’ve read in a while.

and Eat!  nothing too exciting in the eating department, but we have greens coming up in our garden and it’s grilling season!

I LOVE SUMMER



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