Looking Back on Three Years…

If you are unfamiliar with blogs, wordpress to be specific, you may be surprised to know that the blogger receives certain notifications for things: when someone likes a post, when someone subscribes to the posts, how many posts have written, etc etc.  I just received a notification congratulating me on three years of blogging.

Has it been three years since I began this?

This lead to me looking at the first post I ever wrote:

Bonjour!

Upon reading it I could not help but chuckle to myself. It is incredible how much ones life can change in as little as three years. Relationships with people evolve and fade away….Skills are developed; interests are gained. Outward appearances may change; a new haircut, new clothes…New home.

But despite all of the “new” things that have happened in the past three years, my core has remained constant. I’ve embraced everything life has brought my way–including trials of sorts that I managed to work through– and have not only grown as an individual, but as an athlete and nurse.

In the first post, I wrote that I wanted to try a triathlon, and that I actually did, even if I did not finish it, I try-d (like that play on words?)

This blog, which began as a way to track training and recount nursing stories, ended up being a diary of my life, and that of the lives of those I love.

And for that, I’m grateful.

Cheers to three years!

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Our (County) Fair is a great (County) Fair…

…Don’t miss it, don’t even be late….*

Yup, it is that time again, the one time of year I wish I did not like in Rhinebeck: Dutchess County Fair time. It is this time when traffic seems to quadruple, and flocks of people from all ends of the earth congregate in one place.

I do not know why I seem to go every year, especially when it is so costly and I grew up amongst farm animals and the agriculture displayed at the fair. But, I did, and have the proof. Below is what I saw…

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My man followed in his mothers blue ribbon winning footsteps by dominating the home brewers/hops category.

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Kevin's Blue Ribbon Hops: Best in Show

Kevin’s Blue Ribbon Hops: Best in Show

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The fair is no place for people watching their weight…It is required that you partake in greasy, unhealthy food.

Anyone need a monstrous cinnamon bun the size of Luxembourg?

Anyone need a monstrous cinnamon bun the size of Luxembourg?

Fried foods galore

Fried foods galore

To be honest, one of the main reasons I return to the fair is to people watch. Ever wonder why so many fair goers wear sunglasses? It isn’t because of the sun–it is so they can secretly stare at everyone else.

Converse Family

Converse Family

Do you know your trees?

Do you know your trees?

Despite my displeasure of seeing the poor animals cooped up, I suppose they were showed more lovin’ than they would on a farm…

Making friends

Making friends

Goat love

Goat love

The fair is a place where big butts are required.

Shleepy sheepie

I love big butts and I cannot lie…

It's nap time all the time at the fair

It’s nap time all the time at the fair

Who you lookin' at?

Who you lookin’ at?

My all time favorite tent, however, is the agriculture displays. I love flowers!

My favorite multi-colored floral room

My favorite multi-colored floral room

* Growing up, Rogers and Hammerstein musicals were the only movies my mother allowed us to watch. I know all musical songs by heart.

“I Guess That Means We Can Start Running”

…Were the words  of another duathlete as a distant shot-gun went off at last Sunday’s Wheel and Heel Sprint Tri/Duathlon. I was at the front of the small pack of athletes eyeing my competition, wondering how we would know when to start running. *By competition, I mean others in my age group; specifically, one young woman who really concerned me from the start. I knew she was good just by the stretches she was doing pre race. Hardcore running stretches. At one point, she even had a roller and was rolling out her legs. My warm up, on the other hand, was merely a couple skips and play “air punching” with Kevin. I think I need to seriously reconsider how I stretch before races. For one thing, I’ll be bringing my own roller to my next race. Next minute, we were off.

I should get first place for most awkward photo...My concept of stretching before a race (sporting a new Mtn bike jersey)

First place for most awkward photo! This is my concept of stretching before a race

The 2013 Wheel and Heel Sprint Duathlon had a different course than last year’s event. Last year, the first mile sprint was up a nasty hill (almost like the Healthy Ulster duathlon in Ulster County). This year, organizers decided to be nice, and have runners go up a hill, only this time the hill was not as steep. Having hills at the start of a race is a theme for New York Triathlon events in the Hudson Valley.

My competition...She even looks fast.

My competition…She even looks fast.

Right away I knew the sprint would not be my best sprint as I felt that my legs were tight (probably because I didn’t roll them out first). But I did my best, and was able to complete it in under eight minutes. I continue to be awestruck by anyone who can run a sub seven minute mile.

The bike portion was not what I remembered it to be, in fact, I believe it is different than last years race.After about four miles, there were four miles of steady climbing. Throughout the climb, I was challenged by another duathlete who I’m guessing was double my age, in his orange jersey. He simply would not ease up and let me pass!  At different points, both of us would sprint ahead of one other, only to slow down again after burning legs (atleast on my part). Finally, I was able to pass him, but he did not make it easy. Psh, you thought I was competitive against women my age? Puh-lease. I’m more competitive against older men who aren’t even in my age/gender race category! Back to the course….It is not an easy sprint course.

Don't mind the triathlete running into transition...I know it is difficult to do

Don’t mind the triathlete running into transition…I know it is difficult to do

The problems of sunglasses: they can fall off your face easily

The problems of sunglasses: they can fall off your face easily

The last leg of the race was also shorter than last years by a mile. It started off similar to the sprint; you had to run up a hill right out of transition; and I will continue to blame my tired legs on the fact I did not roll them out pre-race.  I guess I have a way of showing the exact opposite of the exhaustion l felt by cracking jokes with each volunteer I passed…Perhaps some people would consider my jokes more like the crazy exclamations of a dreary, exhausted, semi-prepared-for-an-event participant. Knowing I was far behind Miss Intense Racer, I did not push myself as hard as I could, and walked (gasp!) some parts. We all have times when we have walked portions of a race, right?

Despite painfully exhausted limbs, I was able to finish four minutes slower than Miss Racer, and place third overall in the Women’s Duathlon. As I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion, the best part of a race is when you cross the finish line 🙂

I'd like to thank my mascot, a rubber chicken I found in my car, for my race success

I’d like to thank my mascot, a rubber chicken I found in my car, for my race success

A week after the race, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can still practice sprinting, and really should practice sprinting up hills if I wish to continue participating in New York Triathlon events. That would probably be to my benefit, don’t you think?

Other Thoughts

Last month, Fats in the Cats, a local mountain biking club, was looking for a new t-shirt design. As the weather was crappy for a couple days, I decided to dabble in t-shirt designing. I was under the impression I could draw something, scan it in, and submit it. But, they needed specific formats for the t-shirt submissions. Lo and behold, Adobe Illustrator has a trial free edition that I was able to download. Now, give me something medical, and I can probably do it. As for computers, I would consider my knowledge to be basic. I am no graphic artist by any means. I did fool around for a couple hours and figure out how to make lines and fonts, and submitted a design that ended up being chosen as one of the new t-shirts. A picture of my design is below. The other design is on the pint glass. Holy crap was his design freaking awesome. I may not be a computer graphics wizard, but I know super computer graphic skills when I see them. And that guy has some skill-z.

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Innocent little mountain bike rider

Enjoying a post-race beverage in a new club pint glass

Boom! Power to the pedal…Freaking amazing design.

And Even More of Molly’s Nonsense

If you are familiar with this blog, you may have race about my addiction to registering for races. Well, as of late I have been debating on doing another half marathon in September on one of the weekends I have off from work. (My other weekend off I am registered for an olympic duathlon…Now that will be a story in itself). I took my charge card from my wallet to register, and decided to “sleep on it.” The next morning, specifically the morning of the Wheel and Heel race, I could not find the card anywhere. Family members know the desperation I had in finding my card. Who knows where it disappeared to during the twelve hours it was not in my grasp. I came to the conclusion that the race gods, or perhaps it is the anti-race gods,were against my compulsive race-registering, therefore are to blame for my lost card. Since the episode, however, I do have a new card, and have signed up for the half….Not even anti-race gods can stop me.

 

30 before 30

I just came across this list I had started earlier this year (before my birthday in May) and decided to finish the list and post it. 🙂

Last year I thought about a list of things I would like to accomplish before my 30th birthday. I accomplished most, but many of the things I wanted to accomplish I simply forgot about :-/ As I am soon to turn 27, I decided to make another list–a more accieveable list, with more amount of time.  My priorities changed when I started working at my current place of employment, and I actually started exploring different avenues of life and living.

1. Complete another marathon.  Shires of Vermont Marathon on my 27th birthday!

2. Make homemade nut butter(s).  Have made almond butter and peanut butter.

3. Make my own milk (nut, oat, or other).

4. Compete in a mountain bike race.

5. Go vegan completely for one month.

6. Try vegan baking (eeek! Baking without real butter and eggs?) Done! Vegan and non-vegans have approved.

7.Take a yoga class.

8. Read a book in one month.

9. Try a new recipe at least once a week for a year (progress can be seen at my “That Vegan Girl In Sneakers” page)

10. Go on a weekend biking trip.

11. Bike 100miles a week. Done! The week of August 27th, 2013…Strava is the entity that knows I actually completed it!

12. Run 5 miles in 40 minutes or under. Done! Sept 2nd 2013 during the Mad Dash 10k…Read about it here!

13. Compete in all 4 New York State Triathlon Series events.

14. Go on an overnight hiking trip.

15. Run a 50k race, or try a half ironman again.

16. Host a dinner party, shower, or other fancy event.

17. Take a cooking class.

18. Submit my writing to a publication of some sort.

19. Refresh my climbing skills and take a rock climbing clinic.

20. Go on a spontaneous adventure.  I consider our trip to Canada a pretty spontaneous adventure.

21. Crochet a blanket.

22. Have someone take my photographs, naked, and not worry about my appearance, whether I am not in shape or not.

23. Go to New York City during Christmas time.

24. Throw away my scale.

25. Go to a broadway show.

26. Get new glasses.

27. Go back to school/apply for graduate school.

28. Take a stretching class

29. Move into a house with the love of my life.

30. Start my own business (whatever that may be).

Are there things that you would like to accomplish?

Spontaneous Canadian Adventures

Adventure:

Noun: An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

Spontaneous:

Adjective: Performed or occurring without premeditation or external stimulus

For the most part, I would consider myself a planner; I plan days off, with checklists of things that need to get done. Days at work are planned around specific duties which must occur, i.e. med passes, preparing patients for procedures, etc. There are few instances in my past that I can recall where I have been spontaneous– my spontaneous trip to the Kingdom for a day of biking, or spontaneous hiking adventures in the Catskills. However, the majority of my life is pretty much planned out, with few changes in my daily routines.

A couple weeks ago, Kevin and I realized we had 10 days off. Well, techinally, I had ten days off, and he had some extra vacation time he could use.  Brainstorming of what we could do (how about another mountain bike trip in Vermont?), Kevin said, “How about Canada?”

Yeah, Canada…A place we had never been (well, except for nine years ago when I was looking at universities up there). We purchased a guide book, but then life became life, and a trip became an afterthought. Was it possible to plan a trip to Canada, when you would be leaving to go there in less than two weeks?

Mid way through the week, I gave him a call and said, “Why not? Let’s do it.”

Five days later, we were off. No plans on what to do, no reservations of places to stay, no expectations, simply a full tank of gas and a map of New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia.

The first two days of the trip involved driving. We did have somewhat of an idea of where to go: head to Bangor, then head to Nova Scotia, and end up in Prince Edward Island. (If you ever are in Bangor, there is an amazing “out of the way” joint that has great seafood, called  Mclaughlin Seafood Inc. Truthfully, it is outside of Bangor, off the beaten path, but has amazingly affordable seafood).

Fresh Maine lobster roll. Delish.

Fresh Maine lobster roll. Delish.

We arrived at Saint John an hour later than expected–as we did not realize that we actually skipped ahead an hour during our ride from Bangor to Saint John–and took a ferry across the Bay of Fundy. For your information, the bay of Fundy has some of, if not the highest tides in the world. It also has lots of whales. Unfortunetly, Kevin didn’t get to see any whales on the ferry from Saint John to Digby, NS.

Canadian Dollars are see through!

Canadian Dollars are see through! Yes, I’m a dork

First Canadian Coffee...a Small, black, no sugar. I then realized we are no longer in the USA.

First Canadian Coffee…a Small, black, no sugar. Todo, we are not in America anymore.

Due to the uncertainty of weather in Nova Scotia, we ended up staying in a cheap motel our first night in Yarmouth, a seaside fishing town on the south-western shores of NS. It was our introduction to the fog, which we’d be seeing for the majority of our trip.

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Pretty flowers

Pretty flowers

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Fog

Fog

Rudders...Yarmouth's own brewery

Rudders…Yarmouth’s own brewery

The next day, due to impending rain, we decided to head to Nova Scotia. On our way, we stopped and did a couple road rides, the first starting in Shelburne and riding along the seaside (you can check out a link to rides here ).  I had decided to bring my cross bike on the trip insead of my road bike, as we were unsure what the roads would be like, which was a major mistake. Having only ever ridden in three times, I was not used to the fit of the bike, causing major shoulder and back pain. My tip for you if you ever decide to go on a trip where you will be riding your bike for long periods of time: bring a bike that your body is familar with!

More fog...And a lighthouse

More fog…And Sandy Point lighthouse (can you see it?)

Little house by the sea

Little house by the sea

A rail trail outside of Shelburne

A rail trail outside of Shelburne

We decided to stop and ride around the peninsula to end up at Peggy’s Cove, therefore stopped again and headed out on our bikes. However, late into the ride, we realized we were riding along Aspotogan peninsula, the little peninsula next to the peninsula which was home to Peggy’s Cove. Ooops. We had great views, non the less, and discovered Nova Scotia is actually quite hilly.

Stopping for views of...fog

Stopping for views of…fog

Takin' a break

Takin’ a break

Required selfie with fog in the background

Required selfie with fog in the background

The fog lifted!

The fog lifted!

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In Halifax, we decided to stay at Kings University, a part of Dalhousie University, as during the summer, they rent out dorm rooms. It was more expensive than a hostel, but cheaper than a hotel/ B&B. I must admit, it was interesting being back in a dorm….Using dorm showers…Etc. But, it was clean and safe. Actually, I think it was interesting staying at my first choice university nine years later.

Co-ed dorm living? What???

Co-ed dorm living? What???

I feel like I should be a student again.

I feel like I should be a student again.

This is what a biker's burn looks like.

This is what a biker’s burn looks like.

The student at the “front desk” of the dorm suggested an affordable seafood place called Phil’s Seafood. I decided to try seafood, since, hello, I am in seafood heaven. This place was amazing. Many seafood restaurants in cities charge an arm and a leg for fresh seafood (tourist traps, basically) but this place was incredible. So good we ended up going back a second night. Cheap, and mouthwatering food. Even Kevin, who is a skeptic when it comes to seafood, developped a love for scallops. (Mind you, after our trip, he will never eat scallops again so that he can “remember the scrumptiousness of what fresh scallops taste like”.

Moosehead...My new favorite beer...Waiting for fried seafood goodness

Moosehead…My new favorite beer…Waiting for fried seafood goodness

The most expensive breakfast ever...

The most expensive breakfast ever…But look at the presentation

With incredible wind, we opted out of biking and spent the day sightseeing in Halifax and Peggy’s Cove. I swear, it is impossible to be overweight if you live in Halifax. From the waterfront to Citadel (a historic fort) or to any other part of the city, you need to walk up hill.

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market...AMAZING

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market…AMAZING

Yummy local granolla bars

Yummy local granolla bars

Coolest name for a restaurant!

Coolest name for a restaurant!

 

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

The most photographed lighthouse in the world

The most photographed lighthouse in the world

It was windy

It was windy

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Ofcourse, it turned sunny after we left...

Ofcourse, it turned sunny after we left… By the way, the waves are huge

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Smiling

Smiling

From Halifax we took the ferry from Pictou to Wood Island in Prince Edward Island. If you are a cyclist, Prince Edward Island is the home of the Confederation trail– a cyling trail that goes from one tip of the island all the way through the island to the other tip. It is well groomed, with bathrooms along the way, and places to stay for cyclists. One day, I want to return and ride the whole trail. There are also trails that extend off the main Confederation trail to other areas. Not to mention, the coastal provincial parks have bicycle lanes. Talk about an amazing tourism industry catered to cyclists! If only other places in the United States would learn from the Canadians.

Soaking in some rays on the ferry to PEI

Soaking in some rays on the ferry to PEI

Cape Bear lighthouse--the first lighthouse to receive SOS signals from the Titanic

Cape Bear lighthouse–the first lighthouse to receive SOS signals from the Titanic

First ride along the coast of PEI, from Wood island

First ride along the coast of PEI, from Wood island

The Confederation Trail!

The Confederation Trail!

Riding along the Confederation Trail. I prefer if my jersey blends in with the surroundings.

Riding along the Confederation Trail. I prefer if my jersey blends in with the surroundings.

We did treat ourselves one night to a B&B in Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, which felt like a 5 star hotel after dorm living and motel living.

Colorful houses in Charlottetown

Colorful houses in Charlottetown

If you are ever in Charlottetown, and want some fresh, amazing, mouthwatering seafood, you must go to Water Prince Corner Shop– it is not one of those “all-you-can-eat expensive lobster dinner” places. It’s big with locals, and I know why.  had the most scrumptious Prince Edward Island mussels. (C’mon, you have to have PEI mussels IN  Prince Edward Island!

Ahmazing

Ahmazing

PEI's own Beach Chair lager

PEI’s own Beach Chair lager

Cows Ice Cream-- the best in PEI

Cows Ice Cream– the best in PEI

Due to a forecast of rain, we ended up driving more than cycling. We did make it to North Rustico, and decided to chance rain and ride through Prince Edward Island’s Provincial Park to Cavendish–famous for Ann of Green Gables!

Crazy that the sand is red

Crazy that the sand is red

North Rustico Lighthouse

North Rustico Lighthouse

Lobster traps

Lobster traps

Riding from North Rustico to Cavendish through PEI's Provincial park

Riding from North Rustico to Cavendish through PEI’s Provincial park

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Bike lane!

Bike lane!

The red cliffs of PEI

The red cliffs of PEI

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Kevin looking for more whales.

Kevin looking for more whales.

Crabs! On a red sand beach

Crabs! On a red sand beach

Sea greens: incredible sources of minerals and vitamins

Sea greens: incredible sources of minerals and vitamins

Kevin was a trooper and went to the Ann of Green Gables historic site with me.

Ann of Green Gables house!

Ann of Green Gables house!

Looking for seashells

Looking for seashells

Eat your mussels to get muscles!

Eat your mussels to get muscles!

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Our last stop was Summerside, yet another coastal town. It wasn’t too thrilling, but had a nice rest-over before our 13hour car ride back to the US.  (If you ever decide to drive 13 hours in a day, God bless you! I do not think I will ever be able to do a straight 13 hr drive ever again.)

All in all, it was an incredible trip, and our spontaneous adventure ended up being a blast. Now, after knowing a bit more about the territory, I can assure you there will be another northern adventure in the future.

When was the last crazy post written?

August 2013
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