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It’s official.  I completed my first century ride on October 1st:  the CRW Cranberry Century.  101 miles to be exact.  Don’t forget that ‘1’ – the last mile is always a killer!

It was a beautiful ride in Southeastern Massachusetts.  We cruised the rolling hills of Miles Standish State Forest, saw cranberry bogs, and had our 73-mile stop at the very picturesque Mattapoisett Harbor.  Mattapoisett

It was about 45 degrees when we started out (brr!), but warmed up into the very comfortable mid-60s.

Charles River Wheelers (CRW) puts on a great ride. Plenty of snacks at the well-placed aid stations – it was like doing 4 x +/-25-mile rides.  I found it really helpful to think of the day in segments.  And there was pie – Petsi’s piesPetsi’s bourbon chocolate pecan pie – at the end.  I think I’m in love.

Huge thanks to my two riding partners, Michelle and Melaney, for making sure I didn’t bail out in favor of the 66-mile ride (I admit, I was tempted), and for making the ride so pleasant.

Will I do it again?  Sure!  Or some other one.  Now that I’ve done it, I think I can do it again!

Riding home afterward, the conversation turned to food, as it often does.  Michelle mentioned stuffed peppers.  So I made a couple.  Yellow peppers stuffed w/a brown rice mixture of onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, edamame, cheese, various spices, salsa, random other stuff… More cheese (can never have too much cheese).  See for yourself!

 

(photos, other than the peppers, thanks to Michelle)

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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


My first (and only?) half IM aquabike is done, and I’m pretty pleased with how I did.

patriot results

1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike

It was drizzly on race day.  Not ideal for biking, but I only *almost* wiped out once.  Go me!  I call that a success.  I might write up a race report.  I might not…

More pictures through the Capstone Photography site. For some reason I look happy.  Must have been the endorphins!

 

Patriot photo 2017

 


Tomorrow!  I guess this 1/2 IM aquabike thing is really going to happen.  June 17th had to come around sometime, after all.  Am I ready?  Eh.  We’ll see.  Shady and I are going to see the Wonder Woman movie today – maybe I can channel WW’s awesomeness during the race.  After race reward planned?  You bet!  We’re going to see Dead & Co. Sunday night.

Patriot packet

Wish me luck (I’ll just wish myself luck, since I don’t think anybody reads this anyway)!


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!

 

 


I’m done swimming outside, and my long bike rides are coming to an end with the colder weather, so I’m back at the gym, checking out Harvard’s group ex classes.  Every year I tell myself I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone (at least once) and try a new gym class. So far I’ve tried 5 new ones!  And I will probably continue attending 2 of them.

Balletone!  No.  I flunked out of ballet once already (ok, I was 5, but still).  At least there were some moves that could be called exercise as opposed to only floaty graceful arm movements.  Requires more choreography than I care for.

Zumba! No.  I guess I can see the appeal, but by the time I figured out the moves, the class was over and I didn’t even raise my heart rate or  sweat.  Actually I never did figure out the moves, and I felt more  uncoordinated than usual.  I’ll stick to straight forward exercise, thanks.  No need to sugarcoat it for me.  I do love to dance, but the deadhead in me doesn’t do well with specific moves  or being told what to do.  Maybe that  says more about my problem with authority? 😉

Aqua Fitness! Fun, but unlikely to do again.  If I’m in the water, I’d rather be swimming laps.  I can see doing it in a pinch, though, or with a group of friends.

HIIT Cardio!  Yes!  Clear, obvious exercise.

Barre!  Yes! I was a little worried that it would be too much like ballet, but the class seems to cull the exercise part  from the dancing part.  I can work with that.  Lots of small movements that really focus on specific muscles.

What’s your favorite class?  What should I keep an eye out for and try next?

And in eating news…  my mom and I made cookies when I visited recently.  They’re safe and secure in the freezer so they won’t disappear before Thanksgiving.

 


I bought 6 pairs of goggles, one being my old safety – Tyr Nest Pro – so I’ll be giving feedback on the 5 new-to-me pairs, compared to the Nest Pros.6-goggles

This is a pretty dry, boring post, so I’m posting  my unscientific, totally subjective, “conclusions”  in the next paragraph (if you even care to read that much).  After that, I blab about  my impressions if you want  to delve further into my goggle obsession.  Don’t be surprised by random sentence fragments.

The takeaway – it turns out that I bought basically 2 types/styles of goggles:  ones like the Nest Pros that sit  a little wider on the face and fit slightly more outside the  eye socket, and ones that are lower profile -and better for racing, but maybe not for open water – that fit more inside the bony area (but not as much as eyeball-sucking socket rockets).  From my experience with the Tyr Special Ops, polarization isn’t worth the extra cost.  None of the goggles I sampled  were as comfortable as what I’ve been wearing, so I guess I’ll stay in my Nest Pro rut!

nest-pro

Tyr Nest Pro

How I’m reviewing.  I wore each pair at least 2 times.  Mostly in the pool, but I tried the polarized ones in full sun in  open water. I tried them all with my Finis DUO MP3 player

Categories:

  • fit/feel on 3-point scale: OW!/OK/I’m wearing goggles? Right away feel, over time feel (at least 1000 yds), and taking them off/putting them back on) feel
  • best suited for pool or open water or both? Competition vs fitness – stay on w/push off and dive? peripheral vision?
  • can I use my Finis Duo with them?

Zoggs Phantom Elite – “OK” Similar to Nest Pros, as long as I get them placed perfectly.  Even then, I noticed a slight headache  after wearing them a while.  I started to feel pressure (pain) on my cheekbones after ~1000 yds when I added  my DUO.  No pain w/taking them off. Good peripheral vision.  Suitable for OW swimming and fitness.  zoggsI’m less sure about using them for competition.  The eye area profile isn’t super high, but I felt some downward pressure on the googles, and the strap folded over when I pushed off the wall.  I’m not confident they’d stay on for a dive start.  I’m not that great at keeping my goggles on anyway, but I’m sure that says more about my technique than the goggles!  Still, the folding goggle strap caused by a strong push-off would be a problem (for me) unless I wore a cap over them.

Tyr Special Ops 2.0 polarized – “OK” and almost “I’M WEARING GOGGLES?” but not quite.  Comfortable.  No pain w/taking them off.  Feel very much like Nest Pros, but a little more substantial, special-opspolarization didn’t seem to help.  I actually felt like I couldn’t see as well when swimming right into the sun. Good peripheral vision so good for OW, but I wouldn’t pay extra for the polarized ones.  I only wore these in open water, so I don’t know how they’d be w/push-off, or dive, but I doubt I’d be able to keep them on. OK w/DUO.

Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 – felt “OK” right away, but not so great after ~1000 yards, so maybe the rating should be “OK-“?  Hurt taking them off. REALLY hurt w/DUO attached.  Low profile, so they don’t catch with a strong push-off.  vanquisherI imagine I’d be able to dive with them.  Peripheral vision is not that great, so I wouldn’t wear them for OW.  Even though they’re not the most comfortable goggles, I’d wear them for pool competition.  I might wear them for practice, but since my side vision was somewhat limited, maybe not.  I like to see where my lane-mates are! Extra nose-pieces included in the package so you can adjust the width.

Blueseventy Element – “OW!”  Not horrible for short periods. Hurt taking them off. I can blueseventysee racing with them since they stay on well w/push-off, and probably would with diving.  Not comfortable with DUO.

 

Tyr Black Hawk Racing – “OW!” at first.  I had to fiddle with them after about 500 yards, but once I got them situated they were “OK”.  Low profile, didn’t move w/strong push-off, and would  probably be fine with diving. Hurt a little less taking them off than the Blueseventy and Vanquisher goggles.  Not comfortable  w/DUO. Extra nose-pieces included in the package so you can adjust the width.black-hawk

 

 

So there you have it!  As a reward for getting this far, here are a couple pictures of the Madeleines I made recently. Yum.Madeleines 2.jpgmadeleines



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