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.

IMG_3131

Pretty flowers

Pretty flowers

IMG_2085

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!

IMG_3151

IMG_2103

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

IMG_2261

IMG_3206

IMG_3219

IMG_2274

Ofcourse, it turned sunny after we left...

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

IMG_2271

IMG_3194

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

IMG_3270

IMG_2377

IMG_2376

Bike lane!

Bike lane!

The red cliffs of PEI

The red cliffs of PEI

IMG_2388

IMG_3271

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!

IMG_2383

IMG_2367

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.

Advertisements

Redemption

Is there a race that you have a love/hate relationship with?

I do. It’s the Ulster County Duathlon.

The Ulster County Triathlon/Duathlon was my first ever multi-sport race in 2010. It was back when I did not even own my own bike, nonetheless actually ride a bike. But, I thought it would be fun. I remember showing up at the race having no clue what to do–how to set up my bike–nor what the course was like. My mother was visiting at the time, and knowing she would be up early,I  gave her a call to see if she would come watch the race (in other words, I was scared out of my mind, and needed to borrow a watch to wear). The bike I borrowed was in okay condition, but I had numerous chain issues, and am pretty sure I had only ridden on it once before.  I finished it in a reasonable time, and despite the not-so-friendly course, embarked on this “journey” of multisport training. I loved it when it was over.

Finish of my first duathlon ever...Before I even knew they actually had triathlon shorts you could wear and not bike shorts...

Finish of my first duathlon ever…Before I even knew they actually had triathlon shorts you could wear and not bike shorts…

In 2011, I did the race again. Emotionally, it was the worst race I have ever completed (except for Mooseman). Now, looking back, I know why it was so miserable: lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and sheer exhaustion before you start a race is pretty much a recipe for disaster. It took me 43 minutes to run 3.5miles. I walked most of it. After the race, I could only beat myself up for the poor performance. I hate the course. I swore I would never do it again.

This year, I wanted to redeem myself. Prove to  myself that I could actually complete this race in a decent time (in other words, finish it in the time it took me the first year I did it). And redeem myself I did.

The course for the duathlon is tough in terms of sprint courses go. You start at the bottom of a hill, and the first mile is a sprint up the hill. Some athletes ran the mile a little over six minutes. I have no idea how that is possible, considering the fact you are running up. The bike is two 9-mile loops, with some rolling terrain. I think it might be the most difficult bike course out of the duathlons I have done in the area, plus the fact the transition area is at the bottom of the hill that you just ran down. (The bike course is also four miles longer than the other courses). The last run starts, again, at the bottom of the hill. Despite a decline, the majority of the first two miles of the 3.5mile out-and-back course is uphill. Sounds like fun, right? I’m pretty sure I complained about how much I hate this course half a dozen times with others.

I finished the race eight minutes faster than the first time I tried it. That may not seem very fast, but to me, that is an improvement…Where I found I improved most was on the runs, and for that I must admit it and thank Strava for keeping me running.  I finished the first mile in 7:42. May not seem fast, but considering I was sprinting up a hill, for me, that was awesome. Especially since I had a wire metal thing that decided to stick to the bottom of my running shoe mid-sprint and annoy the crap out of me (thankfully it fell off the shoe on its own).

Running back down to transition

Running back down to transition…And checking my watch.

The bike portion went okay. I think recent runs-then-bike rides on my days off helped my body become accustomed to riding right after running. There was one section where I was trying to pass another racer, who just would not give in. Finally, we reached a climb and I had to pass him. Of course, while doing so, he stated, “Maybe you need to clean your gears, sounds like shifting is a problem.” I responded, “Yup, probably.” As I sped up, I heard the guy exclaim, “You are making me look bad now!”

To that, I could not help but smile to myself and shout, “Sorry!”

Finishing!

Finishing!

I finished less than two minutes after the duathlon women’s first place winner. I could beat myself up for walking up the hills during the last run leg, or ask myself why I did not push myself more on the bike, but for the first time I decided to give myself a break from self criticism and say, “Good show, Mol. Good show.”

….And that is the best feeling in the world.

Second place overall for the Women's Duathlon

Second place overall for the Women’s Duathlon

A huge thank you to all of the race volunteers, law enforcement directing traffic, medical staff, and New York Triathlon organizers for a challenging but rewarding race.

And a big thanks to Mr. K.J.Young for being the best supporter out there, race swag thief, and official team photographer. 

Below is a link from a local newspaper regarding the race:

Area Athletes Score Top Honors at Healthy Ulster Triathlon, Duathlon

Another blog? And my thoughts on Strava…

I decided to dedicate another blog to satisfy my love of cooking/baking, separate from this blog…I forgot how “tough” it was starting this blog a couple years ago. Below is a link. It is a work in progress–of course, the wonderful weather has delayed my work on the blog, as my priorities revolve around outdoor activities rather than blogging 🙂 Feel free to check it out!

That (Vegan) Girl in Sneakers

Views from Overlook Mountain, taken last week on a hike

Views from Overlook Mountain, taken last week on a hike

For the past couple months or so, probably starting February when I started running more in preparation for the marathon, I began using Map My Run to follow my progress. I do have a very expensive Garmin watch and heart rate monitor, but do I use the $350 watch? Nope. The watch still works though…Maybe I’ll start wearing it again now that I feel guilty about never using such an expensive watch. Anyway, Map My Run is a great way to log your progress–the app is free, which is also awesome. However, many of my biker/runner friends use Strava. I used this app maybe twice last year, then deleted it…Not really sure why I deleted it. If you are unfamiliar with Strava (which, I doubt you are if you are up to date on cycling apps), it is basically the same thing as Map My Run. However, there are segments where you can actually “race” other riders (or runners). These segments are usually hills, but can also be segments, like a long, flat road that people use for time trials, etc. The fastest people are called “Queen” or King.” The program then places you according to your time compared to other peoples times. You can also analyze your performance online.

A couple weeks ago, I downloaded the app again. Let me tell you, I think I have actually seen a difference in my cycling. That, or I’m actually focusing more on my rides and pushing myself harder. Perhaps it is the latter. For the first time in a couple years, on my ride, I didn’t simply say (to myself), “Ack, it’s a hill. I’ll go slow.” Nope. My new mantra while going up hills is “Power up!” Pushing myself has definitely improved my tolerance to pain and burning thighs…As well as lead to me beating my “nemesis” female cyclists (road and mountain) whom I have never met.

Strava can also be used for runs…I’m pretty sure it was the reason for one of the fastest 5miles I have ever done.

View of sunset behind the Catskill Mountains

View of sunset behind the Catskill Mountains

I need to warn you, though. It is not always reliable, as I found out today after my run (trying to beat the time I managed for the “fastest 5” mentioned above), when it stopped recording for some reason mid run–and I swear I made a new PB on that run. Grrr! Frustrating! Ohh well, I guess it simply means I will have to do the run again.

Another possible negative regarding the program is it hinders your ability to “go with the flow” if something happens mid run (or mid ride). For example, I ran into an acquaintance on a run once, and had to stop to say hi. I feel it would have been rather impolite to run past her saying, “Sorry, can’t stop–I’m Strava-ing now.”

What are your thoughts on Strava? Is there another app or program you use to keep track of rides or workouts?

 

 

Lazy Weekend Days

I know earlier this spring I made it a goal not to have weekends that were spent doing nothing. But, after what seems like a chaotic month composed of meetings, work, classes, and races, this weekend was spent being lazy. By that, I mean it was spent around the area, spending time with my man, and, least we forget: bikes and running shoes.

What shoe problem? I have no shoe addiction whatsoever. #asics

What shoe problem? I have no shoe addiction whatsoever. #asics

On days off, I’ve been able to engage in some solo time at 909 (a local mountain biking area) learning which paths went where (as well as paths to avoid). Finally, I could show Kevin some local trails he was unfamiliar with. He was able to help me work through some technical parts I’ve been unable to manage (rather, too wimpy to attempt while riding alone). Somehow, he always managed to get ahead of me. I think I need to ride with him more often– I tend to push myself harder physically and mentally when riding with him (and others in general)–mostly, though, in order to keep up with him.

IMG_1884

Dutchess County Trees

A shot by Kevin, whilst waiting for me to catch up.

After showing being lead through trails at 909, it was imperative I introduce Kevin a place I stumbled upon last summer where we could cool off post ride…Ahh, the refreshing nature of rivers during the summer. It’s during the summer when I reconsider taking up triathlons–simply because of the cooling aspect of the swim portion.

Kevin, also a water mammal

Kevin, also a water mammal

Returning to my water roots

Returning to my water roots

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about road bikes.

IMG_1846

IMG_1851

My Deutsch jersey, thanks Mom!
My Deutsch jersey, thanks Mom!

IMG_1860

Kevin stopped next to a sign thinking it needed to be posted in the blog. Alas, I already posted the same sign three years ago here!

We lounged on the porch of the “country house” as Kevin calls it, escaping the heat and humidity, catching up on good reads, and fixing bikes. Life is all about bikes.

Ice cold fizzy water and lemon...The best on a humid, hot day

Ice cold fizzy water and lemon…The best on a humid, hot day

IMG_2765

Taping the handle bars of his newly acquired Serotta

No blog post is complete with an awkward photo taken of you.

No blog post is complete with an awkward photo taken of you.

The evening brought cooler temperatures, and outdoor dining opportunities.

I'll allow for him to have his hot dogs this time.

I’ll allow for him to have his hot dogs this time.

IMG_2786

I missed our after-dinner walks around the neighborhood

Sunday morning, we were able to take a  trip to the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, a small but quaint market I had not had a chance to visit until this weekend.Kevin’s favorite part was his falafel. Mine was organic local mint tea–a much needed refreshing drink on a humid day.

Local cider

Local cider-wine

Waiting in the sun for a falafel

Waiting in the sun for a falafel

Musical greatness, stopping in town from New Orleans

Luke Winslow-King, musical greatness, stopping in town from New Orleans

IMG_2808

Mmmm bread.

Mmmm bread.

IMG_2759

The weekend ended with thunderstorms, sweeping away Northeast humidity…For now.

IMG_2804

This Spring I’ve Been…

IMG_2521

Running early in the morning.

IMG_2547

Strolling in the late afternoon.

IMG_2573

Planting.

Who said women can't build walls? Before and after

Who said women can’t build walls? Before and after

Repairing stone walls.

A new daffodil species?

A new daffodil species?

IMG_2557

IMG_2558

Taking in spring beauty.

IMG_2495

photo

Soaking up some vitamin D with furry friends.

IMG_2537

IMG_2536

IMG_2585

Exploring local trails.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

IMG_2562

Celebrating holidays.

IMG_2544

IMG_2523

Creating messes in the kitchen.

Homemade peanut butter- never buying PB again

Homemade peanut butter- never buying PB again

Juicin' up a storm

Juicin’ up a storm

Making things from scratch.

IMG_2510

Sporting spring stripes.

Bagpipes, Bagpipes, Playing Loud and Clear

P1000307

It’s that time again! Duathlon season in the Hudson Valley (semi) officially started this past weekend in West Hurley with the Trooper Duathlon, a duathlon dedicated to three New York State Troopers who lost their lives in the line of fire. It is different than other New York State Triathlon series event because it is a time of reflection of those who perished, and a time to really reflect on how fragile life is. Before I begin, I would like to thank all of you New York State Troopers, Police, and other emergency responders for everything you do. You are the reason we are safe today, and also a big reason to why I drive my car within 5 miles per hour of the speed limit.

After competing in the duathlon as a team last year, and wanting to continue the legacy of the Valley Girls, at first I was on a quest to find a female I know in the Hudson Valley area who would enjoy being on the team with me. Little did I know, there are not that many people I am aquainted with who were willing or able to do this race. (My teammate from last year was out of town).

Then I thought about Kevin’s sister, Meg, who is a Collegiate Cross Country coach. Tada! A runner! When asked if she would do it with me, she said yes!

Now, all you internet readers, remember how a couple posts ago I said that Kevin had running in his genes? Running IS in his family. This girl is a running beast–in the positive sense of beast. You immediately know this when she is off doing her stretching.

Hardcore warm up and stretching

Hardcore warm up and stretching

She finished the North Face Endurance Challenge 50mile race last year, which is, like the name, an endurance challenge. During her college running career, she ran in the NCAA Championships, and awarded a bunch of awesome titles, that you can read about here.  Thank you, Vassar Athletics webpage for allowing me to stalk info on your coaches. 

My stretching...Not sure what zone I am in.

My stretching…Not sure what zone I am in.

Meg finished both two mile segments in about 13minutes each.

P1000311

Having competed in this race twice before (last year with S.Z.B. and in 2011 as a one-woman team ), I failed to remember how absolutely horrible Dug Hill Road is. If you are unfamiliar with this road in West Hurley, thank your lucky stars, because unless you have a vehicle, or are being towed by something, you do not want to know it.

Starting the bike

Face of determination…starting the bike

It is basically 3 1/2 miles of uphill. The first three miles are straight uphill. Okay, okay, the first couple hundred feet are a rolling incline. But then it goes up. And up. Even when you think you are at the top, it is still rolling in an upward direction. The first eleven miles are fine, and you can even build speed, boosting self confidence. On numerous occasions, as my lungs flamed (why? who knows), I found myself thinking, “Man, this is a piece of cake.” Come Dug Hill, all positive self-talk plummets. Inbetween labored breathing come grunts and groans. And bless John McGovern, who played his bagpipes half way up the hill. But, really? I love bagpipes, but in the middle of Dug Hill, when I am already spewing every curse word know to man, you decide to play the bagpipes? Who, who, who enjoys hearing bagpipes when they are near death trudging up a goddamn hill? It’s as if tricking you to think you are at the end of the bike course, when you still have miles to go.* We are in West Hurley, not riding into a Scottish sunset with the theme of Braveheart in the background.

...And ending the bike, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on

Face of defeat by the hill, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on

Hence, I forced myself to the finish, bronchospasming, with remenants of my breakfast inching up my throat. I felt that no rides this season have helped prepare me for this. To be honest, I’ve spent more time running this year than years in the past when biking has taken priority. Marathon “preparation,” i.e. running, has a hold of me, full grip. The only thing keeping me from walking up Dug Hill was knowing an athlete was waiting for me, so that she could start her last leg of the race. To my surprise, I beat my best time on the hill by one minute.

Meg (pink) looking strong

Meg (pink) looking strong

Meg finishing strong...And as it looks, me ducking out of the photo to hurl

Meg finishing strong…(I’m not hurling to the side, I swear!)

Another differing aspect of the race than other races I have been to is the post-race food spread. A BBQ, salads, sweet foods, beverages…If I was not still feeling ill from the ride, I probably would have indulged in the amazing food.

Lo and behold, we took first place for the Women’s Relay Team. The Hudson Valley Girls did it again! (S.Z.B, you were missed)

First place Women's Relay Team

First place Women’s Relay Team

A fellow mountain biker and incredible athlete asked me how my training was for the marathon, and if I felt prepared. I’m pretty sure I just stared at her, as my “training” for this marathon (in less than two weeks, mind you) has encompassed six mile runs and a couple 13 milers. She said my training should be “winding down” now…And, I guess if the last time I ran longer than six miles was the half marathon in April, then, yes, my training is winding down. To be fair, I have developed an even greater love of mountain biking, and so on days off, I’ve wanted to save leg strength for rides as well.

Training

Basically, my training for the past couple weeks can be seen below, in the exact same sequence:

Wake up, inhale coffee, catch up on The Real Housewives, or other Hulu classics (What WAS Tamara thinking inviting Vicki to her gym?

Go for a run…Attempt to Strava the run, give up on Strava, and use Map My Run instead

Drink more coffee–usually iced, usually black

Go for a mountain bike ride, or road ride (I need to start spending more time on the road, as it is duathlon season)

Attempt to blog, but end up browsing potential races instead, then realize I have loads of errands to do

Prepare dinner

Meet up with Kevin and go for mountain bike ride #2 or walk (depending on my legs)

Eat, sleep,work

One would think that these upcoming races will be pieces of gluten-free cake, right?

Well, we will see….That is, if I survive this marathon.

*It was a nice touch, though. And, John McGovern is a triathlete wonder. In retrospect, it was pleasant having my attention diverted from the pain I was in.

It’s a Beautiful Day

Mother Earth decided to skip spring and head straight into summer weather. Two days ago the weather was in the 20’s. Today it hit mid- 70’s. Okay, okay, it is still spring. But what a difference! I ran in shorts and a t-shirt today for the first time since before Christmas! Not to mention, rode in similar attire. It’s about time!

I just got back from my first group ride of the season–last year, the first one was in the beginning of March– and it’s great to be riding with a bunch of riders through the woods. The fact that the sun now sets around 7:40 adds to the greatness. Group rides means spring is really here.

Riding at Taconic 909

Riding at Taconic 909

In the sneakers category, I’m trying to decide on whether to run the Lake George Half Marathon in two weeks…It’s my next weekend “off” and would be a lovely weekend away; affording an opportunity to go back to a place I used to spend summers. It would also allow Kevin and I to do some more exploring of the area–which is something we’ve decided we need to do more, as there is a plethora of activities and sites in our area that we have not explored.

Last weekend, we ventured to Stockbridge, MA to visit the Norman Rockwell museum. For any art enthusiast, or American who may be familiar with Norman Rockwell, this museum is fascinating. During the summer, you can visit his last art studio (we were unable to visit it as, despite the lovely weather, it isn’t quite summer yet).

Kevin next to Norman Rockwell's 1965 Rudge--Kevin has the same one at home

Kevin next to Norman Rockwell’s 1965 Rudge–Kevin has the same one at home

Norman Rockwell (front) riding his Rudge through Stockbridge--a painting he composed

Norman Rockwell (front) riding his Rudge through Stockbridge–a painting he composed

Norman Rockwell: incredible

Norman Rockwell: incredible

We also checked out a special church…Kevin had to see it…It was on his “Bucket List” (well not really, but he acted as if it was). I grew up where we had Thanksgiving on a day when my mother did not work and had time to bake a feast, so when he mentioned a Thanksgiving song, I was at an utter loss as to what he was talking about. Perhaps you know?

Arlo Guthries's "Alice's Restaurant"

Arlo Guthries’s “Alice’s Restaurant”

I do not see the connection between the song and this building, as this is a church, not a restaurant….But I obliged in Kevin’s desire to take a picture.

On the food aspect of life, I’ve realized I love baking (which may have already been apparent to those who read this blog–sometimes it takes me a while to realize things). I baked my first donuts for Easter–Carrot cake donuts with cream cheese frosting!

My colleagues at work have been quite happy with my love of baking, as they are the main recipients of the end products. I have yet to meet a healthcare worker who does not devour fresh baked goods when offered to them.

IMG_2330

Carrot cake cupcakes with marzipan carrots

Carrot cake cupcakes with marzipan carrots

Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream

Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream

Caught in the act of my baking craze

Caught in the act of my baking craze

…Who knows, perhaps when the spirit moves me, I’ll add recipes to this blog as well.

Outside of biking, running, and baking, I was able to plant seeds in the garden today. Like last years crop, I hope to have sugar snap peas and sunflowers. I decided to add wild flowers in a patch where my carrots did not grow last year.

Lastly, I’ve been experimenting with fashion. I’ve been wearing:

IMG_2333

Fancy flats

photo

And fancy hats.

Spring Has Sprung!

I think spring has finally arrived in the north east. Yay!

Kevin and I were able to go for our first spring mountain bike ride this morning. Actually, it was our first mountain bike ride together thus far this year. Better late than never.

Shedding layers after shredding dirt…Not used to high- 40 degree weather.

P1020855

Kevin catchin’ some air on his $50 Ted Wojcik from 1990.

P1020864

As they say, pictures speak a thousand words…

P1020863

P1020857

P1020883

P1020867

Indoor Trainer Workouts

Outdoor riding is not always possible–due to weather and sunlight (or any excuse people make for riding indoors). The original reason for purchasing my indoor trainer was sunlight (I wrote about it here). Since I now work day shifts, most of my riding is outside (weather permitting…Is it spring yet?) However, interval training is still done mostly inside where I can focus more on the actual intervals. I decided to simply compose a post of seven indoor training workouts I do, to help those of you who might wonder what to do when riding inside! Unless specified otherwise, all workouts are approx. 60 minutes.

WU= Warm up

MS= Main set

CD= Cool down

ES= Easy spin

RI: Rest interval

HC= High Cadence

BG= Big gear

Z= Heart rate zone

Long Intervals

WU: 10-15:00

MS: 2x (2x 8:00 as 5:00 Z2/3:00 Z3) take a 5:00 ES between sets

CD: 5-10:00

Long Intervals II

WU: 5-10:00

MS: 3x 10:00 as (5:00 Z2/5:00 Z3)

5:00 ES between each interval

CD: 5-10:00

High Cadence Pyramid

WU: 10-15:00

MS: 4 x :30>100rpm then  :30 ES

1/2/3/4/5:00/4/3/2/1   >100rpm

(Z 2+ – 3-) 2:00 RI between all intervals

CD: 5-10:00

HC/BG

WU: 10-15:00

MS: pick a gear to get your HR into upper Z2 and low Z3

6x 4:00 ( 2x 1:30 HC/ :00 BG) with 2:00 ES b/w the 4:00 sets

HC=100rpm, BG= 70 rpm

CD: 5-10:00

Turbo

* Do with front gear elevated about 4-6 inches

WU: 10:00

MS: 4 x (5:00 Z2/ 5:00 Z3)  with 3:00 RI b/w the intervals

CD: 10:00

Turbo II

* Do with from gear elevated about 4-6 inches

WU: 10:00

MS: 4 x 7:00 as ( 4:00Z2/ 3:00 Z3) with 3:00 RI inbetween

CD: 10:00

HC turbo intervals

WU: 10-15:00

MS

8-10 set as :30 seconds >100rpm /  :30 easy

then do: 5-6 sets as 2x (1:30>100 rpm + :30 BG or increased wattage. HR  Z2+ 3-) take 2:00 ES RI

CD: 5-10:00

I will continue with other workouts later…Food is calling my name! Happy (indoor) training!

Kevin tryin' out my indoor set up

Kevin tryin’ out my indoor set up

Differences Between European and American Ways of Life (just to name a few)

After a whirlwind two weeks in Europe, I’m back to reality. Returning after spending three years away from Europe allowed me to see it with a new set of eyes, so to say. As Kevin said to me the first day we were in Luxembourg, “You are so natural here.” It did feel odd being back at first, but then, yes, I must agree with him. It felt natural to be back home. The French and German barely ever used in the States came back right away, and mannerisms changed. I’ve got to say, a lot of Europeans know what it means to live. They’ve got it down. How? Let me give some examples. If you have been abroad, you might agree (or disagree) on some of the following points.

Food

There are no “All-you-can-eat” restaurants, or never-ending breadsticks and salad refills at restaurants. When you go to dine at a restaurant, the table is yours for the evening. You sit, talk, and can easily spend hours at the restaurant. This gives you time to reflect on what you are eating, and taste the food. You are not rushed. Why is this a good thing? Well, it gives you more of an awareness of the distinct flavors, and aromas of what you are eating. It is also good for your body, as it gives your body time to know when it is full. With the American “all you can eat” mentality, they are shoving unnecessary (and in many cases, unhealthy) food into their bodies. The non-stop refill of breadstick bowels never gives the body time to say “I am full.” Yes, obesity is on the rise in Europe, but not nearly to the extent in America. I feel the manner in which Americans eat contributes to this. Lunch times tie into this– Europeans spend more time eating their lunch,unlike many Americans who gobble their food within minutes, often times eating at their desk. I am guilty of this. And it is such a horrible habit to get into.

The food I had was amazing. Everything was fresh. Not everything I ate was healthy–I’m sure I had more cheese and bread and beer/wine than is necessary–but, those foods are eaten in moderation overseas. I do admit, however, from now on, those items which I ate in excess will not be eaten for awhile, mostly because Kraft cheddar cheese just doesn’t compare to fresh country goat cheese. Also, because of training which commences tomorrow 🙂

Activity/Exercise/Transportation

Let me tell you a little side story. When I moved back to America for university, and my first year out of university, I did not own a car. Infact, I did not learn how to drive until I was 22. I specifically moved to a place where I could use public transportation. I also walked everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean it. I owned a shopping cart, and lugged shelving units, a printer/scanner, a mirror, new luggage…Everything…In that shopping cart. The closest target was 2 miles away along a busy highway–And I would walk there, with my cart, as the metro did not go to that. Trader Joes was about a mile from my apartment, as was the gym i belonged to. And, the walks to places never stopped me from going there. This is very similar to European life. In the Netherlands, where instead of walking, people bike. It was amazing how many bikes there are.

A bicycle parking lot outside of Delft's train station (The Netherlands)

A bicycle parking lot outside of Delft’s train station (The Netherlands)

There are bike lanes everywhere. I noticed that in Luxembourg, bicycling is becoming much more prevelant in the city than it was when I lived there. People are able to rent bicycles, and then park them at different locations.

One of many rental stations found around Luxembourg.

One of many rental stations found around Luxembourg.

They created bike lanes. I know certain cities in the United States haves developped bicycle transportation systems, I only wish more would do so. With all this activity, people are fitter, and healthier as a result. Imagine breathing the fresh air on your daily commute to work instead of being in a stuffy car? (I do realize not all places are commutable via bicycle and cars are necessary–even cars over there are smaller, more economical, and simply more practical. Tell me, how is a Hummer practical in a city? After my recent trip back, I’m going to make an effort to bike places more– bike to my local grocery stop, or into town for errands–to only use my car when I need to use it.

A bicycle in Amsterdam--notice two children can sit on it

A bicycle in Amsterdam–notice two children can sit on it

Environmental issues

In Luxembourg, a couple years ago, grocery stores stopped having plastic bags for people to pack their groceries in. They started selling reusable shopping bags. Actually, many other places in Europe did the same thing. If you were without a bag, there were plastic bags, but you had to pay for each bag. I know that my local Stop and Shop is attempting to get people to use reusable shopping bags, and give you a discount when you do bring your own bag. But it still pains me to see people bagging their groceries–sometimes double bagging– their groceries, when it is simply completely wasteful, and does the environment harm. I know stores over in the US are doing their best, but if I were them, I would cut out the plastic bags altogether. That way, people are forced to use reusable shopping bags. If different countries can do it, so can we.

Along with reusable bags is recycling. Where I live, you can recycle certain things. And communities are making an effort by providing people with recycling bins. But so much more can be done…I do not want to bore you will my ramblings on recycling, because I do have quite a few thoughts on the subject.

I could go on and on with other differences. Are there things where you live which you love, or would love to see change?

I agree 100%

I agree 100%

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

When was the last crazy post written?

December 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Sign up to receive updates on my adventures by email.

Join 73 other followers

Monthly Archives of my nonsense