Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Life on the Farm

About a week an a half ago, my Mom's farm help was hurt in a ski accident - he ran into a tree while skiing at night. He's on the mend, but in the meantime, someone had to fill in and pick up the slack at the farm. My family has 10 horses at the farm right now - and that means mucking 2x a day, putting the horses out in the turnout, bringing them in, feeding them, putting hay out (when it's snowy or wintery), throwing down and stacking hay, filling and hauling water buckets (and the troughs and pumps are frozen, so you need to haul it out to the field too) and so much more. It is wonderful spending time with the animals, but you can imagine, spending day after day caring for them, it can be tiring, not just mentally, but physically.

My mom has severe tendinitis and carpal tunnel in her wrists that make even simple tasks painful. Add on that each horse produces upwards of 500 lbs of poop a day and you've got a lot of lifting! To be honest, I should have been helping my mom more often. We all are spoiled with the help she has. Paul and his Dad are great and they help out most mornings, of course, that doesn't mean my mom ever has the day off. She's there before 7 AM and then back at 12 to bring them in and then back at 5 to feed and do afternoon chores. The few times my parents have gone on vacation I've house-sat and done chores. Trying to be my mom for a day is exhausting - doing it for a week gives me a whole new appreciation of what she handles. Not only does she manage her own work, life and my Dad's work - along with the rest of us (A wedding, a house being sold, a house being bought, a new apartment, new boyfriends) - she also manages to take care of all these horses and dogs and make it look easy.

The point of all this rambling is, that when my mom called me last week to tell me about Paul, I didn't wait for her to ask me to help her. For just about 2 weeks now, I've been doing chores with her. Yea, it means early mornings and about 3 extra hours of exercise, but I love it and it means spending extra time with her. My Mom never asks for anything in return for taking care of my Dog and horses while I'm in Spain. She never asks for anything in return when she stays up nights talking with me about races, wall colors or life. I owe her a lot - a lot more than a few hours on a snowy morning. Truth is, a lot of people dread turning into their mothers and I could only be so lucky as to be anything like her.

Happy Snow Day, y'all!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tri-Divas and Spinathon Magic

On Saturday I loaded up the car with Gatorade, coolers, snacks and some gym clothes in preparation for a day of spin-bike riding as part of the Wheels for Warriors fundraiser.

Laurie (Miss Lali - lali-pop - lali-girl) Wilkinson, a New Milford native has two sons in the military. She is a rockstar and someone I am entirely excited to call 'friend'. Laurie has been organizing this spinathon fundraiser for a few years now and when I left on Saturday, she had raised over $96,000 for the program in this year alone. Pretty incredible!!

It was a fun experience, especially since I have not been on a spin bike in years. It's a very empowering experience - a lot of fun and a great way to catch up with friends. Many of the Tri Divas were there - a group of lovely ladies that train and race together! They are always supportive of my events - not just racing, but volunteering. I could not do without these girls. So Saturday was great fun - and a great workout. I had originally planned to ride all day, but with a cold coming on at the end of last week, Eric and I came to a compromise and he let me do 2 classes.

Next weekend there is another spinathon and I might just force myself to do it!

Pics to come soon!

Again, way to go Laurie and the whole Wheels for Warriors team! You are doing great things for our wounded soldiers. You don't have to support the war, but always support our troops.

Friday, January 23, 2009

One Day at a Time

On race day, I often think back over the training I've done leading up to that point. I focus on workouts where I felt fantastic, strong, confident. Where my swim or pedal stroke was smooth, where my run-stride felt effortless. I think about the fun things I've seen or experienced while training. Back in the Winter of 2006 I was training for my first Ironman at Lake Placid. I graduated from BU a semester early and with that Spring Semester free, I took off for Europe.

Treading water at the start of Lake Placid, I thought back to some of my favorite experiences - swimming outdoors in the middle of the Winter in Vienna. Meeting and face-to-face my online friend, Andy and touring the mountains of Southern Spain with him. Coming up that last switchback on the Puerta Del Sol climb and seeing the Mediterranean sea from it's high peak.

On race day we think of the cumulative. The "big picture" of the past months of our lives. But each day is different. Each day should be different. This year, I've been working hard to shift my perspective. I have a coach that believes in me. I have an amazing support system that does as well. Taking one day at a time is important (esp. when you wake up with sniffles). I'm constantly being reminded by Eric of this take one day at a time idea - if I'm not feeling up to a workout or something isn't perfect - don't sweat it. If I am supposed to have an easy workout, but feel like ramping it up, go for it and we'll change the next day. There is this great sense of freedom and liberation - and with it, I can feel frustration leaving me like a strong exhalation.

As I'm building up this season's race and life schedule (yes, they do go together), I'm finding that not only am I happier at work and in training... I'm happier in general because I get to have a life too - and live it, one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To Twitter or Not

Recently I've gotten a number of emails from people telling me to Twitter. For those of you who are not familiar with Twitter, it is like a mini blog - usually one word to one sentence updates that are then posted on the site and, if your "followers" have chosen, the update will be sent to their phone or email. Think of it as a gmail or facebook "status" that people don't just see if they check it, but are actually forced to read, like getting an email or text message.

Updating a blog daily (or Monday-Friday as I've now decided to do), definitely takes some effort. Some days I just don't think I should write. Do you really want to hear me complain about filing my year-end taxes or scrubbing the toilet? Didn't think so.

My Grandmother always says, "You don't write to say something, you write because you've got something to say." I don't believe that quote actually belongs to her, but hell, she'll take credit for it, damnit.

My worry is having too many lines of high tech communication open at once - and what that means. At this point, I keep in touch with people like everyone else - emailing, texting, writing the occasional wall post on facebook. My fear is that with all this typing, I'm slowly moving away from REAL communication - i.e. talking or seeing my friends. Are all of our blog posts, updates, status changes and twitters helping us to start a conversation with someone or negate it?

Are we really communicating, or are we just finding ways to multitask, alert everyone to what we're up to all the time so we really don't have to ever really communicate at all?

Yup, it's a twisted world between these blonde braids, but as someone who loves talking more than anything else, I feel like I need to preserve some talking points. Mind you, as much as I share here about my days, nights, training, diet and the like, you can bet there's a whole lot I'm not telling you... so let's put on a pot of tea and gab.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Moto Show Pics!

Sam on the bike he wants...does that mean you're getting rid of your current bike?Some were too big, others too small. This one was just right.
Captain Cannondale. Not sure that helmet really goes with a fast moto.
On a sweet Vespa - this thing can go 100 mph!
Dirt bike fun. Daddy Long Legs had to wait for about 10 kids to sit on this bike before getting a chance.
Trying out a SWEET 50 dirtbike. Totally ready for the X-games. Think I can bring my purse?
Crotch Rocket - All speed. Wanted to ask if they come in pink.
The sweetest bike ever - rockabilly, graffiti styling. Unfortunately it was done in sharpie marker w/o being sealed and from people touching it, the artwork was rubbing off.

30 Feels Tropical (and other ways to tell you are from New England)

I've decided that blogging should be a Monday-Friday activity. I don't get a chance to read any blogs on the weekends, so I feel like there should be some official announcement made to all bloggers - that it's ok to take a hiatus.

This weekend was a blast - totally organic and awesome. After Thursday's camping excursion, I wasn't planning on spending time at the Tarrywile lodge for a few days (not that it isn't lovely, but I do technically have a house of my own to take care of). Friday brought cold temperatures. It was 3 degrees at my house with a wind chill of negative 10 and it was even colder when I ventured North to take care of the horses that afternoon. I had a run on my schedule and I now eat the words I spoke: "there's no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate gear". Well, turns out, sometimes not even three pairs of tights, wool socks and a down vest will keep you warm. I had a short hour run on my schedule as a recovery workout and headed out on a fun loop around the farm. The first mile was brutal. If I had balls, they would have frozen off. The rest of the run was fine, but I think it was only because I had frozen my brain and lost all nerve and mental function.

After de-thawing, the invitation came for a night out w/ the 'rents. Proving just how awesome (read: as crazy as me) Sam is, he went along with my idea, when I said I wanted to hike from my house to the restaurant. No matter that it's now dark and even colder than the 2 degrees with -10 windchill it was during the day. After dinner, a ride home was offered and he didn't even blink when I said I wanted to walk home instead.

Saturday's schedule called for a 90 min. or so run with hill repeats and a 2 hour bike/snowshoe/ice skate/ski. I got up and had intentions of doing my run early, took about 20 steps outside and texted the boy - "Think I can run at C-dale later too?"

I never thought I could be an indoor workout person, and yet, here I am. For the 3rd weekend in a row, doing my workouts indoors, on the treadmill, rollers and then trainer (I can ride my rollers for a max of about 1hr-90 minutes before that achy, ooof, I've-been-in-the-same-position-too-long feeling sets in). Blasting music that can only be described as 'not suitable for children' and watching old bike race footage (we're talking from late 80's - 90's), the workouts seem to go by wicked fast. Maybe it's the change of scenery, the company or some other factor, but the important thing is, the workouts are getting done and I'm psyched to be doing them!

Saturday night, it was all we could do to get our crippled bodies home from the workout and get some food - FAST! Starvation central led to some fun impulse buys at Carluzzi's market and we took on the task of making thai curry again. This time we added veggie spring rolls and dumplings to the meal and it was fantastic. The final product was amazing. Chef Bear Claw (my nickname for Sam and also what his safe cutting technique is called) suggested we cook each part of the curry separately, then mix together in the wok to finish. The result was better than any food I've payed for at a thai restaurant. This recipe is def. going in the book!

Sunday morning was not rainy and there were no banana pancakes to be had, but there was a pot of tea and some great company with Ron (a C-dale designer) joining the Tarrywile mix. After breakfast and some snow-watching, we suited up and drove into NYC for the Annual Motorcycle show. The show was at the Javits Center in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood - near the Intrepid museum and the Hudson River. Camera in tow, we checked the future of motorcycles and had a lot of fun people-watching.

I was completely out of my element, but it's fun seeing people as passionate about motorcycles as I am about triathlon. Sam-boy is a Ducati rider and before I could even ask "where to first?" I was being led to the big red Ducati floor display. Mind you, I've never ridden a motorcylce before, but there we were, trying to find one I liked. After checking out a variety of options - from dirt bikes, to crotch rockets, 4-wheelers and scooters, we made our way back to the Ducati booth so I could sit on the sweetest moto of all. Cherry red and just my size. Man am I in trouble, because that felt gooooooood! Horses, bicycles and now motorcycles...I guess there's a natural tendency for things with a great deal of power and speed. I think I just found my new inspiration for racing this year!

That night after the show, we tooled around the neighborhood for a bit, bought bagels (and a dozen to thank my parents for watching Luna) and made our way South to pick up Joey before heading home. That night, the boy and I made our way to Erin and Erik Eagleman's adorable house (btw, if you are in need of a furnished rental in a great Danbury location, email them!). These two are awesome - great athletes and some of the sweetest, funniest people ever - not to mention great cooks! Erin and I have been talking about getting together for a long time and it was great to chat and enjoy an awesome meal... I'll have to post Erin's recipe for Curried Squash served over quinoa - it was a great meal for warming the stomach and the spirit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter Camping

I'd write about last night's adventure, but Sam did such a brilliant job for me... check it out HERE.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Body Fat (such an alluring subject)

Yesterday I ventured down South (well, to Southern, CT) to have a face-to-face meeting with Coach E-Rock

The plan was to talk training - where I'm at, where I'm going and have my body fat tested. The goal is to get the body fat tested every 6-8 weeks from now on to determine my progress. After tea and lunch, I noticed Eric fidgeting with the body fat calipers - moment of truth baby! How fat have I gotten since my last Ironman?!

Eric did a multiple-point test, factored in body weight, age, etc. and while driving home, I got the results of my test. 13 % body fat. My response to Eric, "So what does that say about me right now and what is a safe percentage to aim for?". In 2007 after Ironman Lake Placid I had my body fat tested and it was 10.7 % funny thing is, I think I'm a bit leaner now, despite just starting my training again (and some extreme holiday excess - what can I say, I love wine!).

In any case, Eric said that most fit women are between 19-25% body fat. My 13% puts me in the 90th percentile. My goal body fat is right around 11% and not much lower (otherwise you risk a loss in bone density, amenorrhea (loss of your period) and other lovely female problems). My body weight right now is a whopping 115 - lord, how did that happen?! That's a good 15 + pounds more than I was in Hawaii.

In other words, I just came up with a new goal - lower my body fat, lower my body weight and stay healthy doing it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dog is my copilot

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Monday, January 12, 2009

And on Monday, she rested

Well, resting from S/B/R. Today is my off day and although no tri related workouts are on my schedule, I have plenty happening that's keeping me running around. In a few minutes I'll head North to Washington to bring in the horses at the farm, from there, it's more meeting and preparations for Spain and this year's events.

Tonight I'm having a girl's night with my Aunt Linda and I have two calls with artists that I will be modeling for. Add on some laundry, vacuuming and the day is pretty full.

Thankfully, Luna is passed out on the couch. Back to back big hike/snowshoe/run days make for one tired pup (and one happy Mom - yes, I'm aware I sound like a crazy dog person when I say that).

Tomorrow it's back to training, the cleanse continues and I meet Coach E-Rock about upcoming training, goals, diet and.......bum, bum bum: a body fat test.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another dinner masterpiece

Dating a former chef has its perks! Cooking together makes for a good relationship and a good meal.
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There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate gear

This line is from a pro-roadie friend of mine. He splits his time between road cycling in the summer and competitive skiing in the winter. I think if you love the outdoors and you love your training, nothing will stop you from getting it in.

My run focus continues as coach E-rock has me running 6-7 days a week. I'm loving it and for the first time since I was really fit, I had a great run. One of those effortless runs where your legs just go. The run ended up being a night-time woodsy run. No headlamp, no flashlight, just the moonlight and the snow lighting my way. It was eerie and as I ran, the wind picked up, knocking down trees and branches. I felt light and fast and fit.

It is now day 6 of the cleanse diet and I'm feeling good. I've lost 4 lbs already and my energy is consistent again. Yesterday with the big storm coming in and black ice covering the roads, the call was made to train at Cannondale. On any particular weekend day, the office is just as full as if it were a normal workday. The C-dale gym is a fitness mecca (and the trails behind the office are amazing too!). I did something I've never done before and got in my "long ride" on a combination of 1:30 on rollers and the rest of the time on a trainer watching the 2003 Tour-de-France.

Then I strapped on my running shoes and worked the treadmill. It was a blast and as someone who is anti indoor workouts, it was something refreshing and different. Personally I love running in the cold, but it was fun to sweat a bit more and just crank inside. Checking out my form and saying thank you Eric - the Cleanse has gotten rid of that little extra holiday jiggle... I'm pretty close to being able to slice fruit with my hip bones and elbows.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


On NPR the other morning, there was a guest that cited this week as the worst of the New Year. Stress returns as we all return to work, well intentioned New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside as a busy life resumes....well, that's partly true.

When I heard the story it got me thinking about all the cliches we tell ourselves to keep plugging away. Rather than be down on these statements, I think they can be useful and helpful (when used in moderation, of course!). For me, the recent phrase has been "Life is what you make of it". With that in mind, this year, I hope to keep my friendships alive throughout my training. Last year, my training related goal was to never say "I have bad legs" or "I'm just not feeling snappy today". I tend to take the previous year's solution and add the new one on top of it. A few years ago, my training resolution was to never walk during a run (save for the emergency bathroom stop!). This year, I want to find balance again. I want to train and race as hard as I possibly can, but I think I will do that better, if I can balance some time in away from s/b/r. I thrive in a positive and warm setting and with the help of Coach Eric, it is definitely attainable. The motto for this year is a quote I love from Isadora Duncan - "Live your life Sans-Limites" (Live your life without limits).

It's cold and freezing rain is falling outside, but there is still a swim and a run to do. Happy training this new Year and I hope you all can set some great new goals and mottos to fuel you thru the seasons!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Thai red curry with bean sprouts instead of noodles...mmmm tofu, veggies and super spicy!
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Monday Musings

It's Monday - again. Not sure how that happens. Thursday morning, Monday seemed so far away and yet, here it is again!

Today is the first day of the infamous Eric Hodska "Cleanse" diet. 2 weeks to get his athletes back on track, break bad habits and hopefully develop some good new ones. It's 8:30 AM and I'm starving already. Ok, ok, Eric said "no bitching" so I will try to keep my hunger crankiness under control.

Yesterday I made a breakfast to remember... think of the last supper, but then move it a few hours earlier, and add cinnamon rolls. Yum. I'm a super breakfast person, no matter what workout I have on the schedule any particular day, I have a big breakfast (sometimes multiple) and then I'm set until dinner. Yesterday Sam broke out the remaining H&H (famous Jewish bagels from NYC) bagels, we made scrambled eggs with swiss cheese, chopped tomato, hot pepper, cilantro, fake bacon, fruit, coffee/tea (yup, bottomless cups, just like any fine establishment!) and to top it all off, we made cinnamon rolls. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but this morning, I am seriously missing it.

2 weeks. I can do this and I'll be better off if I stick to it with no cheating.

Today I'm finally back in the pool again - E had me starting my run focus and it went really well last week, save for a few hiccups. Lots of fun was had and I had plenty of company for my adventures - a night hike on Thursday followed by "Marley and Me" - not the greatest film of the year, but I cried like a baby at the end and realized as bad as my dog is, she's not THAT bad. Her new nickname is Lucifer - promptly given after she chewed off my turn signal knob in protest when I left her in the car while I grocery shopped.

Friday brought a high temp of 17 degrees, but somehow I convinced the boy to go ride bikes with me. Outside. On slushy, icy, nasty roads with wind chill in the negatives. It was a blast and I had the added benefit of riding behind a cute roadie butt! The ride took us from Cannondale out around Redding and other towns. It was just beautiful and the cars were really courteous. Somewhere near home, there was a road that had not been cleared at all. Covered in about 5-6 inches of snow, ice and slushy mess - and Mr. Super-Cross rider and I accelerated into it. I'm addicted to that just on the verge of being out of control feeling and this was a blast.

A few years ago on a similar ride, my buddy Sean gave me the best advice for riding in bad conditions - he said," Don't death-grip, just hold your bars loosely and you'll find your line and traction." So that's what I did. It worked and then just as I got back on clean roads, I stopped paying attention for a minute and landed on my ass. Cracking up, it didn't occur to me that maybe I should be worried about falling on my ass in front of my new boyfriend. I hopped back on my bike, but it seemed instant that Sam was at my side, checking to see if I was ok. Wow.

We gingerly rode home and huddled around a space heater to warm up. I still had a run to do and with a cold, wet ass and a face frozen into a stuck-on smile, I was losing mo-mo fast. We were already at Cannondale, and as much as I hate treadmills, I had an oddly enjoyable experience running in the C-dale gym. No music, no tv, just running. I varied the workout and it just flew by! I finished the day up with some yoga and core work (be prepared my lovely Spain campers!) and then went to find S. I heard music blaring and made my way to the shop where my bike was on a stand, sparkling like I have never seen it sparkle before. He appeared from a back room, cog in hand and I swear, it was the sexiest thing I've ever seen in my life. Ok, well, maybe not the sexiest, but it was definitely a site to see!! I hopped on my bike yesterday and it ran smoother than it has in months. My poor road bike. I promise to be better with the new Super Six that's on it's way... any ideas for what I should do with my current road bike?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Making Resolutions all Year Long

2009 will be a good year. It is already off to a great start. New Year's Eve brought snowy weather, but that didn't stop 60 people from descending on my new home to celebrate the New Year's coming! Old friends and new came together and many new friendships were born in the process.

I left a book out at the party, asking people to write their New Year's Resolutions - they were everything from the hysterical to the poignant:

"I will have more sex with my wife"
" I will actually stick to that diet instead of telling people I am...then eating brownies"

I asked people to leave them anonymous and it was a fun experiment.

Food and drink was aplenty and at about a minute until the New Year, we turned on the TV to do the countdown and watch the ball drop. I got to ring in the New Year in a spectacular and special way - surrounded by those I love!

New Year's Day the overnight guests of the Booth House feasted on yummy blueberry pancakes and reminisced about the party. A day later and we're all still in recovery mode, but with a bike and a run on the schedule, it's up and at 'em.

Sunday is the start of the infamous Eric Hodska "Cleanse" diet. 2 weeks of breaking bad habits. I've roped Sam into doing it. Might be payback for his beating me at Texas Hold 'Em last week. Just sayin'.

Happy New Year everyone!!