Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today was a jam-packed day - there week before traveling is always mayhem - mine was filled with some fun mis-filings by my accountant. They had me scared that I'd face penalties, but a call to the CT Department of Revenue Services ended up surprisingly pleasant! Greg at the DRS was SO helpful and walked me through the process of doing what my accountant was [apparently] incapable of! Wheph - at least that's a bit of relief. I'm waiting on my accountant for a few more documents and hopefully I'll have everything squared away by Friday (when we fly far, far away for Italy!).

In other news, training is going well - swimming is finally coming along. After a crappy swim on Saturday where I called Eric and told him that I'm fat and slow, things turned around and I was swimming fast (relatively) and effortlessly (again, relatively). I got in a bunch of long muscle strength sets on a 1:15 pace and it was exactly what I needed to get my mind right again.

Today I went for a super run - it was hilly and snowy and beautiful. About 10 minutes in, as I ran in the oncoming lane (on the side of the road, of course), I heard a car coming up behind me (on the opposite side of the road). I didn't think anything of it, until I heard them swerve and just as they passed me; drove through the nasty slush in the center of the road....Soaking me in nasty slush. I was so shocked, I stopped in my tracks and threw my hands in the air.

A few guys in a moving truck were about to pull out of a driveway and saw the whole thing. They asked if I was alright and if I wanted them to go hunt the car down... nice offer, but I declined.

It's amazing what a little empathy will do for a person. Rather than cry about my inadvertent (er, intentional!) shower, the fact that someone took the time to smile and ask about my condition put a smile back on my face. The world is filled with good people, (and a few crappy ones), just as I thought.


A nice apple with almond butter. Super yum!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No Such Thing...

As bad weather!

It's snowing like crazy out here - but should that interrupt workouts? Heck no!

The pool is open, running is more fun in a winter wonderland and as for the bike - well, I got to reward myself with a bunch of DVR'ed programs! Oh yes, that's my reward for indoor riding - some great TV watching (sans-commercials, yes, that is ironic given my ad-history).

You can't say the weather interrupted your workout when you've got rollers or a trainer. You can dress as well (or poorly, depending on your cycling fashion sense) for indoor riding and if you've got a TV (yea, music doesn't cut it anymore), life is even better!

Come Friday, we'll fly far, far away to the land of beautiful cycling. Home to some find cycling craftsmanship and arguably, the best riders in the world. Certainly, the best wines in the world (yup, all you Frenchies are def. going to flame me!).

Ahhh... a few more days... I hope I don't run out of shows to watch!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Dark chocolate and nutella blondies. Recipe courtesy of the lovely
ladies of the Expat Kochen. I add protein powder to mine for a little
dose of healthy :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day, Sam!

"I've been crazy for you since the day we met..." - The Veronicas

I can't help but love Valentine's day and what's better than waking up to the one you love. What's better? That same lovely person making breakfast...and cleaning up after breakfast as you lazily sip tea (that he has made and served you) while listening to NPR and reading the New York Times Magazine and Sunday Styles Section.

Yes, if I were to believe in heaven, this would be it. I'm blessed with Sam's love, support and devotion every day: His warm smile and comforting embrace.

There's a quote from Marilyn Monroe where she says something to the effect of, "If you can't handle me at my worst, you certainly don't deserve me at my best." - Of course, I'm more of a Mae West girl, myself. "When I'm good, I'm very good. When I'm bad, I'm better."

During my long run today, I couldn't help but reminisce on what has become my new "normal". And I put that in quotes because it is so far from being average or normal. Sam was there for me before I knew I needed him. He was there for the most hellish period of my life and he has been there for what I believe are some of the best moments of my life. Whatever I give back to him is a pittance compared to what he has given me.

So this is what love's supposed to be, eh? I'm counting my blessings and I'm sure you can guess which one I'm celebrating today!

Happy Valentine's Day, Sam. I love you a bushel and a peck... plus many pecks!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sorry for the....

Hiatus, but it's been a busy week - lots of new and exciting things will soon be on their way to BraveMandy! A new web designer, new sponsor agreements and much more excitement to come! I promise to update soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The machine

Is ready for action. Sadly, this is all you are allowed to see of the
famed Cannondale shop!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


So, you know how I fell off the proverbial [healthy food] wagon yesterday? Yea, my indiscretions payed me back all last night and most of today. And they did not taste good the second time around.

Sometime around midnight I felt a grumblin' and ran to the bathroom. My lovin' man slept soundly (and the dog, too) as I wretched for hours... Around 2 AM I decided my knees needed a break and I moved the bathmat into position for my repentant act.

This morning, I thought I was in the clear. I took the dog for a hike, put on NPR and proceeded to make breakfast. And then things turned bad again...

I'm not sure what it was that set off my tiny tum, but I know I won't combine that concoction of food for a while! Thanks to the irritation, I opted to shorten today's workouts, but I did get them in... onward and hopefully my food will not come "upward" again!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Falling Off the Wagon

It happens... sometimes... I'll admit it.

I don't want it to happen. Well, maybe I do.

Who am I kidding? Of course, I do!

I'm a healthy eater. I prefer fresh fruits to anything and if you ask me my favorite food, I'll tell you it's salad. Of course, that's only one of my halves speaking. The other half wants dark chocolate, muffins and cookies. And Wine... lots of really good wine!

I wouldn't say I "suppress" the unhealthy eater in me - I generally don't want or crave any bad-for-me foods... but occasionally, I fall off the wagon in a major way. Today started off well enough - a balanced breakfast before my swim. That's about where the good eating choices ended...

My 1 hour drive home took me past Dunkies and well, that egg and cheese on a croissant with orange juice was just too irresistible...and for the first time in who knows how long, I got a donut. I wanted it. There's no other reason that went into it. I simply wanted it. So I got it.

I didn't feel guilty at that point knowing I had hill-repeats to run, a horse to ride and a dog to exercise. Of course, what happened after all of those activities cannot be reversed: An afternoon snack was in the "healthy" range, until someone decided to offer me a muffin. Forgive me dear readers, but how could I say "no" to a coffee-cake muffin, prepared to perfection?!

I've decided that rather than feel badly about falling off the wagon, I should be happy - I obviously needed to feed my hormonal (or whatever it is) craving. Sugar is not a necessary part of your diet, but it can bring its own happiness...meanwhile, my friend Kate is yelling at her computer screen reading this. :) And I'm sure I'll get a note from Eric reminding me I have a few more pounds to lose.

All in good time, and now that I've rewarded myself by being bad, I can get back to being good again (for a while, at least)!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"You've got to trust your instinct, and let go of regret. You've got to bet on yourself now star, 'cause that's your best bet...The first could be the last, so just get off of your ass." - 311

I was lacking motivation a few weekends ago. Something that is rare for me. I tend to consider myself a highly motivated person. I enjoy my work and my workouts. When I'm not feeling like doing something, there is usually good reason (or some really major fatigue).

A few weekends ago the freezing rain was falling and I was more inclined to curl up with the boy and the dog than I was to go out for my long run. A quick call to Eric got me hopping to!

He reminded me that sitting on my a$$ is exactly what the competition would LOVE for me to do. I've got big goals for the season and in order to achieve those, I need to put in the work now. Eric instructed me to not run long outdoors, but instead, do a speed workout on the treadmill.

Those of you that know me, know that I am not a fan of the "dreadmill", but this would be fun. I always like to see how fast I can go without falling off the back (something my good friend Cappie has done!! :)

Eric's point was that getting in a workout is important. Getting my motivation back was also important. Burning myself out and taxing the body physically and mentally in the rain was not a priority - as Eric put it, "You will have plenty of long workouts to get in while it's raining." Good point - most of my long rides and runs for the past 2 years have been in rain, hail and thunder and lightening. They are epic workouts that leave me pumped up rather than drained, but they also come far closer to my key races.

January is not the time to struggle mentally - it is not the time to overtax your physical and mental capacities. January and February should be base-building, confidence-building months where you make deposits into the piggy bank of race preparation. Making withdrawals now would only serve to leave you with a deficit later on.

Of course, all this talk is useless if you simply sit on your butt. The point is to find your motivation, build and nurture it without over-taxing yourself. As the song says, "You've got to bet on yourself". "The first can be last" and so you better, "get off your ass".

Monday, February 1, 2010


(Makin' da yummy food)
Belgian Fest was in full-effect on Sunday as the Cannondale crew prepared to watch Timmy Johnson and J. Driscoll (and a few Belgians) race the Cross World Championships. We crowded into the Tarrywile (aka Mantown) and got to work!

Home-made Belgian Waffles (and homemade Belgian brew), whipped cream, blueberry compote, syrup, brownies, homemade frittes w/ sauces, Belgian stew and lots and lots of Belgian Ales.

The race was epic to watch and I cannot wait for 2013 when the World Championships comes Stateside!

It was a wild weekend - birthday parties, charity events, a Uconn basketball game and SO much good cheer... oh yea, and some GREAT training!

This whole "keeping the balance" thing is working for me (so far). Lots and lots of running with swims, bikes and strength fun peppered in makes for a good base-building season!

I also just found a long-lost friend who is now a Dr. living in Oahu... I told him I'm going to be back to the big Island to see him this Fall and I don't break my promises.

(Super-Friend Murray perfects the art of making Belgian waffle batter while drinking Belgian Beer)