and eat!

Tag Archives: vacation

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.

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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.

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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!


Winter is finally making its presence known here in New England.  Gone are the days of swimming at Walden Pond, then going for a ride in the surrounding suburbs of Concord, Carlisle, Lincoln, Weston, etc., maybe following that up with a run… Oh, wait, that “run” part never really happens.  Well, maybe once in a while.  So now that I’m in the pool and either at a spin class or on my trainer (HA! that’s a lie, my trainer isn’t even set up yet), I’m thinking back to happier, warmer, swimming times: most notably in Greece and the British Virgin Islands.  And Maine.

Leverick Bay, British Gorda

Leverick Bay. Home base for SwimTrek BVI

Until a few years ago, I never knew swimming trips even existed.  I had heard of organized multisport vacations and bike vacations, of course, and learn-to-swim instructional trips, but nothing for those of us who just want to SWIM.  And then I stumbled across  SwimTrek.  Someone had written in to a swim magazine asking about sun protection because she was going on a SwimTrek.  I HAD to know what she was talking about.  A year or so later, I found myself in the British Virgin Islands.  Here’s a link to the article I wrote about my experience for GoNomad.com.
Soon after that trip my husband became proficient at distance swimming (he was jealous after I got back from BVI and felt he was missing out on swimming across Walden!), and we did a SwimTrek to Greece.  Incredible.

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This past summer, we spent 4 days on a lake in Maine with SwimVacation, another excellent swim tour company.  SwimVacation also offers a trip to BVI and just added Hawaii to their roster!

Maine Lakes SwimVacation

Taconnet on Great Pond. SwimVacation Maine

A nice thing about these trips is that they’re very welcoming.  A base level of fitness is important to get the most out of the trip, but you don’t have to be a competitive swimmer – the swims are NOT races.  It’s great if you can make the distances, but from what I’ve seen, there’s always a boat nearby for anybody who gets tired and needs, or just wants, a ride.

Ahh, maybe I can daydream winter away while I save up for my next swimming adventure – I’m thinking Croatia.

Read:  still working my way through Singing Boy.  I will either finish it or fling it soon.

Eat:  I tried Frugal Feeding’s Vegetable Mash.  It’s really good – even with my misreading of the recipe (!) – but I’m still not crazy about parsnips. FF’s pictures are amazing!  Next up:  carrot and coriander fritters.



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