Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday top 5

Here's a little list - taking notes from my favorite poet, Todd Colby. You can check out his work HERE. it's a great way to appreciate little things every once in a while.

1. Snow falling softy on a Sunday morning
2. Kona Coffee in my sweet Italian percolator, chased by a cup of herbal tea and hot cider from the farm down the road.
3. Walks with Luna - every day is a new adventure - she can smell the same tree day after day and it's like she's just discovering it.
4. Pandora Radio - - I can't get enough of this, esp. when NPR turns into crappy talk radio during the day.
5. Worn out zoot ultra sneakers - they are like slippers and I was so excited when I got to retire them!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy bike

My bike post ride in the guest room (aka the bike room). It feels good to be active again (and burn off some holiday calories). As a vegetarian it's stuffing and pie for days.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Update - everything is ok

Even more to be thankful for today - we heard from Liz and her boyfriend - they are OK.

Many thanks for sending all of your positive thoughts and wishes. Their plans took them elsewhere which may be why the embassy was having so much trouble tracking them down. All of that drama is forgotten now that we know they are ok!

Happy Thanksgiving all and many, many thanks for your love and support.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts and prayers

Today's post was going to be very different, but I wanted to keep you all updated. Today in India there were a number of bombings and specifically, attacks on Americans. American frequented hotels were bombed as were local police stations in what NPR is calling a distinctly plotted attack.

One of the hotels that was bombed was by the Taj Majal - the hotel my sister and her boyfriend have been staying in. We have been unable to reach them or the hotel and the US Embassy has not identified any of the 200 + dead and injured. There is also no information on hostages. Right now my family is waiting, because that's all we can do until the Embassy compiles a list.

Trying to stay positive and hold it together and I will update you all as soon as I find out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Still beaming after Franti

And I can't stop finding beautiful, positive messages surrounding me. When I train, I connect to nature, I connect to myself. When I'm not training I focus on connecting to others. It's taken just over 3 weeks of off season to begin feeling human again. As we near thanksgiving day, I'm more and more thankful for my friends and family. No matter what path I choose, they are all there to either cheer or strap on their boots and trek it with me. You are all super-fabulous!
In other news, yesterday was a fun day. I met with coach E-Rock in the afternoon and had a great chat about goals, my athletic history, and the most common athletic pitfalls (to which none of us are immune). It was a great chat and the open dialogue between Eric and myself will make this a great coach-athlete relationship. I feel comfortable asking questions and confident in his answers. A few days ago, he asked me to write down a list of goals/points of weakness/etc. At the top of my list was to commit myself completely to his coaching. I've printed out the goals and they are sticking to my fridge. (another goal is about healthy eating - damn you dark chocolate pudding snacks!).

After the meeting, I went to the horse farm to do afternoon chores for my family's 13 horses. As soon as I walk into the barn, I'm greeted by a chorus of nickers. It is the most heart warming, silly sound! It was dark when I arrived, but a lovely and mild 45 degrees outside. I tacked up Little Cass(Casanova, aka the little poe, cass, super little poe, supernova - and so on) and we danced in the moonlight. The sky was clear and the moon shone bright enough to light up the ring. After a bit, I turned on the ring lights and it was a flashback to our days competing on the national and international stage. We spoke silently - a language all our own. He was relaxed and supple and it was one of the most wonderful rides I've had. I retired Cass years ago and yet at 23, he's still as limber, energetic and acrobatic as ever. We mostly trail ride, but every once in a while, I'll bring him back to the ring and we'll pull out all the stops - seamlessly drawing together challenging movements. It is at those moments of perfect harmony I believe I can do anything.

People said Cass and I would never excel in the sports of Eventing or Dressage. He was a pony without papers - no fancy bloodlines to speak of and he is tiny. A little silver being with long white eyelashes. We worked for years, with coaches that believed in us and we believed in ourselves. When we gained recognition, I never said "I told you so". The satisfaction of accomplishment was enough. I want that again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh happy day!

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Daily dose of cute

Just another day at the office - with a 110 lb puppy in my lap. Yup - she's 9 1/2 months and getting bigger!

We will make our way to meet coach E-Rock this afternoon.

Congrats to all at ironman arizona! It was a day of PR's! Woohoo!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Power to the peaceful

Franti was everything I could have asked for and more.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Day is Dawning

"yonder come day, day is a breakin', yonder come day, oh my soul. Yonder come day, day is a breakin', sun is a risin' on my soul"

My big sister is away in India with her boyfriend (soon to be my brother in law - YAY!), so I've been supervising her students riding and covering her share of barn chores. It's a blast and I'm happiest in the sunshine and around my horses. As Sam found out last night, I'm also happier when I've had something to eat.

In talking to one of the moms, she made a comment - "you are just like that pony of yours - energetic, but laid back - every day is a new day, no grudges, no negativity." It was a nice reminder. The past few months have been tricky - a journey on re-discovering and appreciating all aspects of my life. I think I'm a naturally happy person - I think upsets should be temporary. My family still jokes that I've only been angry 3 times in my life. Which is really true. If I'm angry or upset, it usually lasts 3-5 minutes and then I'm over it. Dwelling on negativity or upset does no one any good.

Years ago, my polar opposite of a sister, gave me a birthday present(now she just gives me presents and attaches what she'd like for her birthday with it - yup, $500 north face coat - hope you are staying warm in India, Sis!). She usually gives a serious and gag gift. The gag gift a few years ago was a self help book called "happiness is a choice". I almost died laughing. An entire book on how to choose to be happy. Might be me, but I feel like happiness isn't some transient thing or even something you can choose or force. It is a state of being - you either are or you are not.

All of this got me thinking on my friends - many of the people that I love the most are complicated personalities. Anna for example - Anna banana aka AnnaChrist is one of the fiercest competitors - angry and intense. She scares people and I love that - yet we get together and the world cannot stop us - or shush us.... not even that angry guy w/ his dowdy wife on the airplane! Anna is confident beyond measure and it's her friendship. The friendships I have that make me confident and happy. Making others happy makes me happy. Waking up to my puppy or a warm smile makes me happy.

So come on day - I can't wait to see what's next.

Oh, and I promise, dear readers, I will start training again soon! I'm sitting down with Coach E-Rock on Monday and you will all get a close look into my 2009 season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All I can see is Red

"He's been pretty much yellow and I've been pretty much blue. But all I can see is red, red, red all the time." -Fiona Apple

In my bedroom that is. I just finished painting that room - phewph! 2 more rooms to go. Can't wait for the grand unveiling.

This morning I actually did yoga again. It is the first time in 2 weeks I've done something more than a few dog walks. The body was hurting from all this painting - yes, I am totally pathetic. You won't find me complaining about holding onto my handlebars for 112 miles, but ask me to hold a paint brush for a few days and I'll go on a diatribe about how my hands feel like that of a 112 year old woman.

It's fun to delve into other professions, but man-o-man, am I happy I'm not a painter. I love it and it's satisfying to see my home coming together - happy also to help friends - but it's hard work. messy, fun, hard work.

Luna is a multi-colored dog. A neighbor asked me when I was going to bathe her and I flat out said I was not bathing her until after I was done. 1 more color to go.

This house is happy and bright and every time I look at a room I've finished, I smile. This place is mine. Just mine and I love it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snuggle time

The weather has turned cold and who better to snuggle with than my little Poe? Training has been put off for another week. Too much fun to be had. Too much work to do and oh yea, I have no desire to ride my bike. Maybe Monday. In the meantime, I'm getting back to discovering my favorite things. It's glorious. .
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Getting back on the healthy eating train.

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It's my race and I'll hawk if I want to, hawk if I want to

Howdy y'all! Well, I'm still not training yet, so I've been filling my time with lots of administrative work. While you plan your race calendars, please consider doing something good for your health, the health of the environment and the local and global community. You can do all of these things at once by supporting the 2009 EndureIT MultiSports Eco-Friendly Charity races.

Here are the dates:

3rd Annual Nutmeg State 1/2 Marathon and 10k Sunday April 26th

9th Annual Lake Waramaug Sprint Tri Friday June 19th

3rd Annual Nutmegman 1/2 Iron Sunday September 20th

Information can be found HERE and reg will open shortly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Because Michael Asked Me To

Well, that and I owe you all a new blog post. Sorry y'all - being gross makes me giggle... I think that's why miss Kate Seiler and I are such good buds!

So the off season continues with lots of fun and social stuff. I'm painting the new place and that is a chore-and-a-half. 9+ foot cielings and just massive wall space makes for a tough job - that, and the blinding white that is currently on the walls. 3 coats of paint and the white is still showing thru. On my 3rd gallon of paint - goodness! Can't wait for the unveiling when I finish it up!

Last night I met up with my girlfriend, Aubrey. Aubs is an amazing athlete, Ironman and just an awesome chick. She is living with my good friend Ken. Girl's night out meant Ken had to stay home alone, wondering what we were up to. Don't worry Ken, it's not like we were up to any trouble - hah! It was nice to catch up and nourish our friendship - it seems most of the time we see one another we are either doing a race or running one. It was a novelty to sit down and just chat. Well chat AND order dessert - god, I love dessert - dark chocolate mousse - I'm still thinking about it!

More painting and lots of business admin. fun today. Tonight is a Peruvian dinner party - pictures to come!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Your daily dose of gross

While vegging out tonight something fell on the floor. Yup, that would be a big toenail. First time I've ever lost that particular nail...gosh, I used to have pretty feet - now they are just blisters on top of old blisters framed with short toenails. At least they are painted anna-christ fast black!

Someday I'll have pretty feet again, but for now, I'd rather they were tough and always battle ready!
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One for the morning.

Off season means no swimming/biking/ running, but it also means lots of dog walking in the new trails behind our house. Buenos dias!!
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One for the morning.

Off season means no swimming/biking/ running, but it also means lots of dog walking in the new trails behind our house. Buenos dias!!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's you know who!

So as many of you know, I modeled for Cannondale's 2009 catalogue - well, apparently I'm also on the website: HERE

It's fun being in multiple places as the same time... b/c apparently I was also at Interbike for Diadora/Cannondale - tracking down those pictures - will post them soon!!

So this is....

This time of year, I find myself thinking and saying things that begin with the words "So this is....".

For example: "so this is how everyone else eats" or "so this is how it feels to only take 1 shower a day instead of 3". It's a strange sensation and I have to say, I'm happy to have this for about 2 weeks and then get back to crazy athlete land. There are so many projects that I let collect until the off season - painting walls, moving things from storage, getting my year end tax documents ready - getting next year's races ready!

I think with Ironman and long distance racing in general, it is so much of what defines us throughout the year. Social plans are made around workouts (and energy levels). Meals are determined by nutritional guidelines and calorie counts. I forget that not everyone functions and works and lives while training 20-30 hours a week. Granted, my work is very flexible, but it's pretty cool to sit back and appreciate what we all do - riding bikes for hours, running for hours and swimming and being functional people on top of it with families, jobs and time for some fun.

So I'll take another week like this one - my hair is happy to be free of chlorine and my feet, well, those look permanently gnarly, esp. after the double Ironman... pretty feet are on the list of "to-do's". Yes.... before and after pics to come!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rise and Shine

"Sticks and stones have broken my bones
but words hurt even more
and I wonder why
when all I feel is love inside.

So I'll rise,
rise and shine for me." - Poe

It's been a hectic weekend in Mandy-land - lots of fun with new friends. Team Teany is officially united - we have a squad of 10 girls that are going to rock the house this year. We are a CRCA team and so much more. It is a team with a purpose - a team with not just an awesome roster, but an awesome vibe. Supportive spouses and significant others make social visits a blast and it is truly inspiring to be around these strong chicks. Strong in life and strong on a bike.

We have many things in the works - yes, we'll do more than just race - like give back to our sponsors that give to us. Give back to the community in which we live. Give back to one another.

All I can say is I am psyched and for the first time, I can't wait for my off season to be over so I can go train with the team.

On another front - tomorrow is a big step in a new direction - and it feels really good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Where I lay me down to rest

I am now the proud owner of a queen size bed set! Not too soft, not too hard - just right! Luna is very excited!
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Off Season - part I

I've been thinking of posting about my off season - though "thinking" implies that I'm actually able to do so right now. I'm always surprised by my level of fatigue when I actual let myself rest.

It was a post by my friend and mentor, Eric Hodska, that got me thinking of the best ways to describe an off season. Eric is a scientist in a lot of ways - he studies sport, athletes and everything in between. What is great about Eric is, you ask him a question and get a bulleted answer - so thorough and in-depth that he explores avenues you hadn't even thought of. It's pretty cool to call him friend!

Eric breaks down an ideal off season. I definitely agree with his philosophy - though I think some take longer than others to decompress and feel rejuvenated for the next season. My first off season was about 8 weeks long - I had no desire to do any swim/bike/run... over the years, it has gotten progressively shorter, and this year I am trying the 2 weeks totally off then 2 weeks active recovery formula. It's something Jimmy and I discussed last year and yet I still took 4 weeks completely off.

The off season for me ends up being about business - catching up on business and all of the social fun I've missed. This year it means a lot of life changes and I'm hoping the fresh start will be good for all areas of my life.

The off season means fun food, drink, lots of massage/acupuncture, doctors visits and rest. Sleeping as much as I can and just getting the body and mind to come back together. I don't know if it's the intense focus required all year that makes me so mentally useless right now, or what, but the only signals my brain is sending are request for Food, Sleep and - well, let's not go there.

I'll embrace the simple-creature-ness for these 2 weeks, then it's back to life, back to reality.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Tears of joy and pride filled my eyes when our new president was announced. I can honestly say for the first time in 8 years, I have renewed hope for our country, our world and our future. I'm excited to see our country united again - YES WE CAN!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Homemade apple pie

Seriously yum. Making whipped cream now!
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Luna got a bone and a walk out of the deal, not bad!

If you haven't done so already, go vote! Polls are open until 8 PM
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On our way to vote.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

We've only just begun

2008 has been a year of lessons, that's for sure. I've mentioned before that I was thrown for a loop when I qualified in the spring for Kona. Achieving a long-term goal before many of my short term ones left me a bit up in the air. I opted to still race lake placid and I had thoughts of doing florida (both races I signed up for in 2007).

As you all know, I was having the 10:30 day of my life when I was crashed out at mile 86. It was a huge blow to my confidence and it took me a while to climb out of that upset and dissapointment. It was an email from amanda lovato that got me out of the slump. She suggested I try on my big girl undies. I did. They still fit and I toughened up.

Yesterday was an experiment. This year I did 3 ironmans within a 4 month span, 2 of those within 3 weeks. The advice from the coaches? "You've got nothing to lose". I went in with an open mind, hoping for that 10:30 time, but having no real expectations.

When I spoke with Jim today, I said, "well, now we know I can't do ironmans back-to-back". His response: "not yet. Give it a few years". Pretty cool to have someone believe in you like that. I really appreciated that neither John nor Jim told me no - they both supported my desire to try.

I felt great going into this race, snappy, fit and relaxed. Had a great practice swim 2 days before and had a renewed desire to crush it.

Race day came and I was excited but relaxed. Joey was awesome, giving my bike one last tuning and bearing with my pre- race silence - contrary to popular belief, I get quieter, the more focused I get before a competition.

The swim felt better this year than last, still rough, but much more enjoyabe. I knew I wasn't my snappy self when I exited the water in the same time as at hawaii - really slow for me. With a wetsuit and the salt water, I should have been faster, it was a tip off to the day ahead. The bike had a honkin' headwind the whole day. Cheating was rampant and I went back and forth as to whether I should hang with a group or stick to my own race. Each time I thought of sitting in to gain some relief, a ref would come and penalize a peleton of 80 - I took it as a sigfn to stick to the iron-code. The first 40 miles I averaged 22 mph abd I payed for it, blowing up and essentially soft-pedaling until mile 86 when my nutrition (ahem caffeine ahem) kicked in. I picked it up going home and had a camera man eztra for those last 12 miles.

I was happy to be off the bike, very happy. I started into the run and the first 7 or ao miles clicked by slowly , but comfotably enough, it's ironman, it's always painful. Then around mile 9 I began melting down. By mile 11 I was stumbling, then I lay on someone's lawn for a good 20 minutes before getting up and run walking my way to the start of lap 2. I've never had to wlk during a marathon before, not even to throw up. I was in deep trouble. I went into panic mode - ice, gatorade, cola, water, cookies...lots of cookies. I then atarted thinking about everyone that supports me and I vowed to finish. I walked the aid stations, but kept moving forward.

My time was way slower than last year and I was just about 10 percent off where I'd like to have been all day, but some days aren't about pr's or splits, they are about testing your limits and seeing what you can do. I made it to that line and felt better post race than I ever have before.

Now I'll shut things down for a bit and get my 20090goals in order.

Huge thank you's to my coaches Jim ortel and John Hirsch for letting me learn the tough lessons and never limiting me.

My parents - esp my mom who has this ironman thing down.

Joey - my super ninja mechanic - thank you for not getting sick of me - I'm so psyched we're friends and I will def pay your support crew expertise forward. You will rock ironman!!

Thank you to my sponsors: xterra wetsuits, block island sport shop, perfect 3 nutrition, cannondale, louis garneau, bear naked granola, elizabeth braverman horse training.

Many many thnks for your patience and support this experimental season.

Next year def includes st croix, ironman lake placid and plenty of cycling races with my new team...more on that soon!!
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Continuing the tradition with the victory mug

Well, I learned a number of lessons yesterday, more on that later. I didn't post the 10:30 I was hoping for, but I made it to the line. No upset, no disapointment. Thank you for all the support and I'll post the full report later!
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