and eat!

Category Archives: Travel

Actually, I’d spread SwimVacation love even without swag, but I’m not going to pass up a cool t-shirt!

swimvacation2

Working the Team EnVision booth, promoting TE and SwimVacation

Hopper, the owner of SwimVacation sent out an email asking for “ambassadors” to wear SV gear, pass out SV caps, and basically talk about the awesomeness of SwimVacation while at swim-related events.  It just so happened that I was due to represent my tri team at the yearly expo, Tri-Mania Boston, around the time his email went out.  Score!  I could do double-duty while working my hour at the Team EnVision booth.

So…  if you have any interest in swimming in amazing places, check out SwimVacation.  The trips are small, so every swimmer can swim as much or as little as s/he wants. Sign up for a trip you won’t forget or regret.  My husband and I went to the British Virgin Islands, but there are also trips to Hawaii and Turkey (new in 2016).

Every trip has it’s own feel depending on the makeup of the group, of course, but you can look at the SwimVacation Blogs to see what generally happens on a week in swimming paradise.

Next opportunity to pass out caps?  Hmm, there are some 5k swims I might do this summer.  That’s just the population I need.

swimvacation1

SwimVacation!


 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


In February, when we were buried under 3 feet of snow, I just about lost it.

1st storm

Let the shoveling begin!

So I announced to my husband that we were going on a bike trip.   As soon as possible.  To Mississippi where it was sure to be warm and snow-free. Schedules were consulted and “as soon as possible” turned out to be May.  I was kind of hoping for April, but as long as we had the trip booked, I could live with waiting until May.  That gave me a chance to ride outside a few times before hitting the Trace since the snow finally melted and it wasn’t freeze-your-feet off cold anymore.

VBT van

VBT van loaded up and ready to go!

We have been on a couple bike trips before, and felt that the Natchez Trace trip with VBT would fit the bill.  Not too far to travel, a decent amount of miles/day (mostly flat), and CHEESY GRITS and BISCUITS!!! Yum.  Not that it was all about the food, but…  ok, it was somewhat about the food.  Comfort food.  Thank you, I’d LOVE a glass of sweet tea. Mint Julep?  Sure!  Gator bites?  If I must.  Taste like chicken and not worth the stomach real estate, though.

The Trace

Natchez Trace, Mississippi

Vicksburg National Military Park

Vicksburg National Military Park

It was a really fun trip with a great group of people.  The Natchez Trace makes for some nice biking.  Mostly flat with gradual rolling here and there.  Very few cars.  The trees form a canopy for a lot of the way so if it’s sunny there’s shade.  We got our hill work in when we went off the Trace and visited The Vicksburg National Military Park.

Now I have a good biking base.  My swimming has suffered a little, but that should come back pretty quick.  I’ve been swimming at a couple local ponds since the beginning of May – full wetsuit, booties, 2 caps (but I should be able to lose the booties and 1 cap soon) – and even running. It’s starting to feel like summer:  the best time of the year!  In my purple

VBT trip to Natchez Trace

VBT trip to Natchez Trace

haze of optimism (mania?), I signed up for a sprint triathlon.  It’s just way too easy to pull out a credit card and sign up.  I just hope I don’t regret it.  Happy playing and racing, everybody!


Now what?  The race season is over – and has been, for me, for a couple months already.  My husband and I went on a VBT cycling trip to Croatia in mid-September – it was fantastic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And now it’s Fall in New England.  There’s still outdoor riding to be done, but it’s definitely getting colder, and I’m not sure how many layers it’s worth putting on! – especially when my feet turn a funny shade of yellow and/or purple, even with shoe covers!  So spin classes and gym classes here I come.  I’m still trying to venture out of my comfort zone (once in a while) so this might be the year I try a step class.  I just hope there’s enough room around me so when I go the wrong way I don’t take anybody out like I almost did in cardiokicks (not pretty) a couple weeks ago.  And there’s always the pool.

SWIM:  trying to get to the pool 3-4 times per week.  That’s the goal, anyway.  Sometimes it’s only 2xweek.  I didn’t swim much while on vacation, so I’m just starting up again.  I do ~2000-3000 yds each time – more often 2k than 3k!  Here’s a fun swim workout I did today.

BIKE:  hoping for a few more rides outside before heading indoors to spin class hell.

READ:  The Shell Collector:  Stories, by Anthony Doerr was a really nice collection.  Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple, was a fun quick read.  I’m into Claire Messud right now.  I read The Woman Upstairs – wow what well-described rage!, and I just started The Emperor’s Children.  I really like her writing.  I’m looking forward to reading Survival Lessons, by Alice Hoffman, one of my favorite authors.

and eat! I haven’t been that inspired lately.  But I did manage to make jam bars and peanut butter squares (yum), and vegan banana biscuits (from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner) recently.


or

A Day at the Races,  Ironman Lake Placid.

My friend and tri team director, Kristi, raced in Ironman Lake Placid this past weekend so a few of us from Team EnVision went to cheer her on.  I had never been to, or even considered going to, a race of this magnitude prior to meeting Kristi.  I had no idea what to expect.

Navajo Lodge, Lake Placid, NY

Navajo Lodge, Lake Placid, NY

Kristi had rented a house – a big house – in Upper Jay, NY, and invited family and friends to give her logistical and moral support for the couple days before, during, and after the big day.  Wise decision.  She had time to make the 5-hour drive to Lake Placid, settle in, have a couple days to relax (?!) (there was tubing practically right outside the door!), take in the super-charged atmosphere, and deal with the logistics of the race.

And wow, talk about logistics.  2700 athletes, 3000 volunteers, and who knows how many friends and family members, all descending upon a rather small town in upstate NY.  Picture 1970s Tyrolean ski chalet-themed kitch and you’ve got Lake Placid.  I thought it was kind of cute, but the town has definitely seen better days.

Members of our group had been arriving since Thursday, We (4 of us) got to the Navajo Lodge late Saturday afternoon in time for a nice pre-race dinner with Kristi, her parents, girlfriend, and friends.  All of us were ready to cheer her on through the race the next day.  All together, there were 11 of us + a very well-behaved baby.  By Saturday evening all of the details, big and small, had been attended to.  Gear had been dropped off including 2 “special needs” bags full of race-day nutrition and things that might be needed during the race. These bags were available to participants on the course:  one bag at the end of the first bike loop and the other at around mile 11 on the run.  A far cry from the tris I do where I only need a water bottle and maybe a Gu in addition to my swim/bike/run stuff.

run special needs bags

run special needs bags

I can’t believe how calm Kristi appeared.  Everything was in place.  She had done the work – and more work – throughout the previous 9-10 months.  Up early to train, eating well, figuring out what worked and didn’t work for multi-hour bike rides and runs, inviting friends to keep her company on all or parts of her workouts.  Focus, clarity, dedication.  Through all sorts of weather, and personal ups and downs, she put in quality effort and rarely complained.  The day was finally here and she was ready.  I guess there’s a calm that comes from knowing you’ve done everything you should have and could have, and you just have to see how it will play out on that one day where it all has to come together.

Race Day

Kristi heading out

Kristi heading out

Kristi was up and out by around 4:15am.  I was going in a car leaving at 5.  Another car of supporters was heading over a little later, say 6:30, and the final part of the entourage left the Lodge by 8 or so.  Parking, while not a total nightmare, could have been better marked.  We parked on a side street rather than in a specified lot, since there weren’t any signs for the lots…  Maybe it was because we were so early.  At any rate, the town was already crawling with people.  We had our team tent set up where we could hang out and watch the swim (from a little distance), and see the cyclists pass twice and runners pass 4 times.  Perfect.  Kristi knew where the tent was and could expect to see us at certain times during the race.  AND, since the weather was calling for rain, we had shelter.

Swim start

Lining up for swim start

The pros went off at 6:20am followed by the age-groupers at 6:40.  The rolling start was new this year:  participants self-seeded based on estimated swim time.  I think it made for a much safer, and probably quicker, swim although the purists grumbled about tradition.  I don’t know.  If fewer swimmers suffer concussions and avoid drowning by toning down the melée, is that a bad thing?

napping and waiting

napping and waiting

Our day, as spectators, was largely spent hanging out at the tent, napping, estimating the times Kristi would pass by, and cheering everybody on. Cowbells clanging!  The Team EnVision tent was one in a long row of team tents so it was a very busy place.

Between Kristi’s bike loops I had time to get in the water and swim the course.  The coolest thing about the swim is the permanent cable marking the route.  Just follow the golden thread for 1.2 miles.  And, if you’re doing the race, do it again.  Once was enough for me – I had more cheering to do!

13:34.26 after the event started (official time: 13:27.47), Kristi ran down the chute to hear those very important hard-won words:  “Kristi, you are an Ironman!”

We (partner, family, friends, and teammates) couldn’t be more proud of her.

Kristi finishing IMLP

She did it!


Swim:  Results are up from the USMS one-hour swim.  I was 30th in the women’s 45-49 age-group.  Not bad.  Then we went on vacation (ahh, warmth – our winter escape from New England) and I didn’t swim for 2 weeks.  Wow, getting back in the water and moving with anything like speed or grace was tough.  It IMG_0141took me about a week to convince myself that this whole swimming thing was a good idea.  Then last week I swam 5 days in a row, so I think I can say I’m mostly back now.  Phew.  Sometimes I really wish that my favorite exercise did not involve being cold and wet.  I find that February and March are tough for me motivation-wise.  Do you have a time of year that’s hard for you?  I’m making myself go through the motions – go to gym classes, get to the pool, put one foot in front of the other… I’ll get there, I just hope it’s soon!

Bike:  We got home from vacation to deal with the aftermath of a blizzard.  We were actually delayed in Chicago a couple nights because we couldn’t get home.  So after 2 weeks of lazing in the sun in Baja, we had to shovel.  Or, more accurately, my husband ran the snow-blower while I unpacked and did laundry.  I shoveled a little…  ugh.  No bike commuting for a bit – the roads were too icy and narrow.    And after being away and warm, I’m having a tough time biking in the cold.  I rode (commuted, that is) in temps in the teens before vacation, but I think now it needs to be in the 20s at least!  Another month and I’m hoping to get out on my road bike for some real riding.  Spin classes just aren’t the same, but I’m trying to go at least twice/week.

Read:  The trashier the better while on vacation, right?!  I cruised through about 5 books while lying around the pool, none really worth remembering although Oxygen, by Carol Cassella, was pretty good and a little more substantive than say, Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven (which I think I read in a day).  If you’re into silly dog humor, Thereby Hangs a Tail is just plain fun.  Now I’m working on Freud’s Sister, by Goce Smilevski.  We’ll see how that goes.  Never mind that one:  couldn’t get into it.  Now I’m reading Swim:  Why We Love the Water, by Lynn Sherr.  Much better!

and EAT:  nothing compares w/fresh flour tortillas right from the tortilleria!  But that seems like a distant memory now, so I’ll have to console myself (and husband) with “kitchen sink” cookies.  AKA your basic toll-house chocolate chip recipe with other stuff that I find in the drawer.  This batch was by request with the following additions: molasses (back off a little on the sugar, and add maybe a couple Tablespoons molasses), white chocolate chips (so use fewer choc chips), dried cranberries, chopped nuts (walnuts were handy, sometimes I add pecans), some shredded coconut.  Yum.  I better get back into my exercise routine or I’ll be in trouble!


I never thought I’d say “nice” and “chain letter” in the same sentence, but here goes.  I’ve been nominated for a Liebster award by I swim (and now iTri too!) – thanks, Mo! – which seems like the blogger’s take on a chain letter, but a nice chain letter.  If the idea of blogging is to get yourself out there, why not ask questions to learn more about each other and promote those sites that we find interesting?  It’s like saying “Tag, you’re it!  Tell us who you are and why you decided to speak out.”  I’m pretty sure I won’t fulfill all of the requirements (let’s say “suggestions”), but blogging is kind of a free-for-all so I can do whatever I want.  So there!

liebster-blog-awardLike any award nomination, there are rules.  I’ll state the rules cited by my nominator (and her nominator), because cutting and pasting is a lot easier than thinking and typing:

  1. Add the award icon to your blog
  2. Link to your nominator to say thank you
  3. Each blogger should post 11 facts about themselves 
  4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create 11 questions for your nominations to answer
  5. Choose 11 up-and-coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, go to their blog, and tell them about the award.

Wow, that makes for a LONG blog entry.  Forgive me, but I’m going to post fewer than 11 facts about me, and might cheat in other ways, too.

  1. I turned 49 in December, but will be racing as a 50 yr old this coming tri season (wonder if it will help)
  2. I quit swimming competitively at 15 and took about 10 years off – 18 years before competing again.
  3. I considered being a mental health therapist, but couldn’t sit still w/o falling asleep, so I became a massage therapist instead – much more active!
  4. I lived in at least 10 different places in the SF Bay Area in the 10 years I was there (’84-’94)
  5. I’m the youngest of 4, so I’ll always be the baby
  6. My commuter bike was stolen from my office and I found it a month later, locked to a pole, a block from my house
  7. My husband and I recently decided not to replace our 2nd car so we’re sharing one.  We’ll see how that goes…
  8. I’ve had a few motorcycles, but my bicycles always got more use, so I no longer ride (obviously wasn’t much of a motorcycle rider anyway!).

Mo’s questions for me:

  1. Why do you blog? I hadn’t planned on it, but my husband signed up for a wordpress class so I joined him.
  2. What sport(s) did you do as a child? swimming, gymnastics (I was terrible), more swimming, field hockey
  3. What’s your favourite colour and why? It was always blue, but I’ve branched out into purple.  There’s no “why” to it!  It’s a visceral reaction.
  4. In a world with no technology, what would you do for a living? I could probably keep doing what I’m doing!
  5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?  Flying.  It just seems so cool
  6. What motivates you?  food, and too much food!  And friends
  7. Chocolate or cheese?  Chocolate more than cheese these days.  Cutting down on cheese consumption
  8. Do you always shower before swimming?  No, not if I can get away with it
  9. What did you want for Christmas that you didn’t get? World Peace?
  10. What are your plans for 2013? Winter escape at the end of Jan., do a couple swim races, tris, and a bike vacation in Croatia (in September)
  11. Would you ever shave your head for charity? Sure, in summer, and if the charity actually got anything for it!

11 Questions for whoever wants to answer them, since I don’t know 11 bloggers w/fewer than 200 followers except the ones that have already been nominated.  Anyone can answer!  I’ll tag some blogs that I think have fewer than 200 followers.  I can’t always find the number of followers on blogs, though.  Sorry if you’ve done this already.

  1. What food/snack/drink do you find hardest to resist?
  2. Who is your favorite author?
  3. What is your most vivid childhood memory?
  4. Would you rather be hot or cold?
  5. If you were to do a tri relay, which leg would you do?
  6. What’s one goal you hope to achieve in 2013?
  7. Do you walk around while brushing your teeth?
  8. Dogs or cats?
  9. What household chore do you dislike the most?
  10. What’s your idea of a perfect day, that you can realistically have (but maybe not every day)?
  11. How often can you make your perfect day happen?

Jennovafoodblog

Women.cyclists

Pipe Down Piper

The Write Space

The Wonder of Walden

Intrinsic Fitness



%d bloggers like this: