Winter Re-Boot

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. ~ Jim Rohn

Truth be told, I’ve been having a lot of GI issues as of late. Abdominal cramping, feeling bloated, horrid gas, and the rest of the issues that goes along in that category. There is no such thing as TMI for a nurse. And skin issues. I’ve been breaking out more than I have since I was a teenager. And lack of energy….The list goes on.

The stresses of work and working a ton has reeked havoc on my healthy eating attempts. No time for lunch at work, or too little to eat during the day lead to a ravenous person once I got home after my long 12+hr shifts. Of course, eating a large meal late at night (by the time I usually get home it is after 8pm), enjoying a bottle of beer to help unwind after a stressful day,  and then heading to bed right after did not encourage a very restful sleeping pattern, either.

This cycle seems to have continued for the past couple of weeks. I started off January feeling quite pumped up about getting back on a “healthy” eating regime. I did not want to start the year off only eating healthier, but actually listening to my body– taking days off from exercise to give myself time to recover from either long days at work, or hard workout days. Instead of watching movies or TV shows on the internet right before bed, I wanted to start reading again instead; have a more solid, restful way to relax prior to sleep.

And, even though I might be physically fit at the moment, my body feels unfit. In a nutshell, I feel “gross.” I know my past demons have lots to do with how I feel about my body and body image. But those few couple of days that I nourished my body, I did feel more positive about myself. Now, after weeks of chaos, I yearn for that positive feeling again. Enough with this “Ohh, I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow,” and continue to eat junk food and highly processed foods believe that the next day I would “start” again. The longer I go treating my body with disrespect (which includes not eating when I probably should be eating, or eating junk food instead of food that my body needs in order to function), the more negative my body image becomes.

So, for the next two weeks (heck, I may feel so amazing at the end that I want to keep on with this way of eating), I am going to give my body a break from the havoc I have caused. I am convinced my GI issues and skin problems, etc, stem back to what I have been eating (okay, maybe stress might be another trigger). I’m going to nourish my body. Re-boot it. (I dislike the word “cleanse” as it resembles juice cleanses).Treat it the way it should be treated: like a temple. If everything I put in your mouth ends up being used by each cell, why would I want my cells to be fed chemicals, heavily processed, and unhealthy foods? If everything I eat eventually becomes a part of me, I want the foods to be highly nutritious; high in minerals and vitamins. Foods that help the body cleanse itself naturally from the toxins I have been consuming.

No, I am not saying I am going to go start drinking juices all day. I’ve figured out that juice cleanses are just overpriced ways to help people think they are being healthy, when in reality, for three days of drinking juice only, you are depriving yourself of healthy fiber. Okay, maybe some people like juice fasts, and good for them! I am simply not a fan. I think it helps those eating disordered thoughts that tend to plague my brain at times. I will attempt to have normal meals, and listen to my body. When I am hungry, I will have a snack. When I am not hungry, I will not eat. Easier said than done for someone who tends to ignore her body’s cues. Before a long, hard workout, I will fuel my body the best way I can. And after, I will have a post-workout snack. The little voices in my head may not like to hear this–“you cannot have a post-workout snack if you have something before the workout,” but, you know what? Screw them. In order to properly train for this half IM in June, I not only need to be well trained, but I need to be well nourished. That was one of the reasons why I was unable to finish my last half IM– I had no knowledge of nutrition and was not giving my body the fuel it needed in order to complete a race of that distance. I guess I feel I have become unaware of my body and what it is telling me. I want to become in tune with it again.

This will not be easy– it takes time to unlearn habits I’ve developed. But I am going to try. I know many out there say that it takes thirty days to get rid of a bad habit. Psychologically, it will be difficult as I will have to find other ways to de-stress after work (how have I come to believe that I “need” a bottle of beer after a stressful day at work in order to relax?) However, I am going to stick with two weeks at first, because I’ve found in the past I can become quite fed up with myself if I mess up or slip up (back to my black and white thinking: you either succeed at something, or you fail at it) and I do not want myself to get discouraged or overwhelmed with the thought of doing this for three weeks.

What exactly does this re-boot involve? Basically, it involves eating whole, clean foods. No sugar or artificial sweeteners like splenda. No alcohol. No coffee (I figured out I will actually save money by not going to Dunkin’ Donuts for my “Large black coffee with one Splenda” everyday that I go to work). No gluten (in hopes to dissipate this GI distress). No dairy (pretty easy for me, since I do not eat much dairy anyway–but the no ice cream will be difficult).

And when I eliminate these, I will introduce new healthier alternatives.

I figured I will post more frequently with how the weeks are going (and to keep myself accountable) and supply recipes of my favorite meals 🙂 Whatever works, right?

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“…life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” Paulo Coelho

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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?

This Spring I’ve Been…

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Running early in the morning.

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Strolling in the late afternoon.

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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?

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Taking in spring beauty.

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Soaking up some vitamin D with furry friends.

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Exploring local trails.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

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Celebrating holidays.

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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.

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Sporting spring stripes.

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.

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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:

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Fancy flats

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And fancy hats.

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%

She Lives!

Nowadays, it is rare when I find myself wide awake in the early hours of the morning. Late night midnight or early two am runs have not occurred in over a year now.After tossing and turning, I decided to get up and do something productive since I could not sleep. And what better way to beat insomnia than write a blog post? Yes, I do realize it has been for-e-ver since I have written.

Mother nature has been acting rather odd as of late.  From digit-freezing weather to giving us a glimpse of springtime, only to take that glimmer of reminiscing how amazing spring is away from us. I did go out on a couple road rides bundled up as a riding ninja, but not as much as I have been riding in the past due to the fact I lost one of my beloved lobster gloves. Bad circulation + riding in freezing temperatures = me unable to use my hands for a couple hours post-ride until they thaw…Which is an incredibly painful process. Spring, please come soon.

I was able to, however, capture a couple awesome shots of the frozen land.

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Trail run

Trail run

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Frozen ride

…So was Kevin on weekend days when I had to work.

A little too close to the ridge for my comfort.

A little too close to the ridge for my comfort.

Due to the lost glove, I’ve been spending more time on the trainer (ugh), and Kevin actually purchased rollers so he could ride indoors.* Note: He once told me that he would never ride indoors. I’m pretty sure he was jealous of my indoor riding and wanted in on the fun. I even captured a moment of him trying out my set-up before he realized what he was missing.

Caught!

Caught!

In between working way too much ( it IS possible for this girl to turn into a workaholic), my baking adventures continue, as evidenced by the photo below. If colleagues decide I should quit nursing and bake all the time, I guess the baked goods are noteworthy.  That, or I’m just a lousy nurse–I prefer to think the former.

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Since I do not like cupcakes/cake, Kevin has been an eager guinea pig to test my creations before they head to work. In the meantime, I’ve become a fan of making smoothies (which is a post in itself) in an attempt to consume healthy things. Below is one with almond milk, peanut butter, banana, blueberries, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds. Vegan/vegetarian friendly and ohh-so-delicious, especially post workout.* I’m looking for protein powders to perhaps add, if anyone has suggestions of a good type/brand?

Mmmmm

Mmmmm

On the subject of nursing, nursing outside of the workplace has actually come in handy numerous times. For example, having your bag with scissors and tape allows for improptu Valentines Day gift wrapping in your car. I can also just lounge in–clean– scrub bottoms when I am too lazy to even put on sweat pants on a day off. Now that, there, is just plain LAZY lazy.

Well, I suppose I should try to get some zzz’s in before Kevin and I head to Europe later today. Yup, going back to my homeland! When I return, photos from the trip will be shared, and training for races will resume.

Happy February everyone!

Post script: Since writing this, I found my second Lobster glove!

 

Riding High and Riding Low

Working as a nurse, or in any profession where you are scheduled to work every other weekend, one tends to savor the weekends they do have off. Of course, being the person I am, I decided to go to work on Saturday (they were short staffed) missing what might have been one of the most gorgeous autumn days we have had to date. I recall seeing a fellow colleague who rides and having a short conversation about how devestating it was being inside with the perfect riding conditions just outside.

Yes, the weekend was cut short, but I was able to bring X on my northern Dutchess County/ Southern Columbia County folliage tour (or as I call it “foilage”) the next day as we had planned on doing the day before when I chose to go to work instead (smacking my forehead). Ok, I promise, these are the last photos of trees for this season. The weather was not as amazing as the day before, but it was still enjoyable. And, I need to give my riding companion credit for taking some of the photos. Obviously, the tour guide cannot do everything. 

Sheep

Nourishment is key on long rides. One whole serving of fruit in this.*Note: the caps are a hazard to children under three.

Sometimes the tour guide gets a little lost….

…And you cannot forget the mountain biking, which I definitely feel I am improving at. I (for the second or third time since “the incident”) made it over bridges that I have a fear of biking over. I was on cloud nine at the fact my tires moved swiftly over the bridges, effortlessly. I was so excited at the fact that afterwards, continuing on my route, I ran straight into a tree and fell. I guess with the “biking highs” come the “biking lows.”

I’m pretty sure another key point of mountain biking is actually trusting the bike. Like when you rock climb, to trust your feet. For heavens sake Mols, your mountain bike has FULL suspension! I realized that having a death grip on the bars makes it harder for the bike to move the way it wants to move. And the less control you attempt to have over the bike, the easier it is to actually move over obstacles.

My ultimate riding motivator at Jockey Hill

Someone created something new at Ferncliff

Mountain Biking Bliss

Part Two: Baking/Cooking

In an attempt to continue on my “Fall baking challenge” I have succeeded in creating a couple more fall-themed baked items, they are not, however, on the list I mentioned in one of my posts.

Yesterday after the realization I had forgotten my muffin tin that I needed in order to bake the maple cupcakes I had planned on, and frantically searching X’s cupboards for a baking dish of any kind, I decided to bake a maple cake with maple frosting instead. This cake recipe has real maple syrup in both the cake mix and frosting versus other recipes I found which used maple flavoring.

During the kitchen raid, I proceeded to find a handheld mixer which, I swear, is some sort of psychotic mixer whose slowest speed caused a hurricane of butter and sugar to splatter the walls of X’s kitchen.

As some of you may know, I dislike cakes and cupcakes. But if you like pancakes, this is the cake for you (thank you to The Baker’s Daughter website for the recipe). The aroma of maple pancakes filled the kitchen after I took the finished product out of the oven. I was caught in the act of frosting the cake–the part of cake decorating I am still working on.

Yup, frosting the cake.

Maple Cake, with Maple Buttercream drizzled with maple syrup

The finished product was, if I may say so myself, pretty incredible. And, if one of X’s co-workers shows up with some of the cake in his mouth saying, “Your girlfriend is a keeper,” than I guess it really was a good recipe.

Lastly, I need to tell the world that there are a couple food items my man can make which are drool-worthy (the pita chips for one, that I mentioned in a previous post). The other is guac (which I might have mentioned, but actually have a photo), home made pizza, and his grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty hard to beat. But, I did manage to make my first quesadilla ever, and think it turned out well (okay okay, make-shift quesadilla…more like a grilled cheese in-between two tortillas).

Perfect post-47mile ride snack for X

And now, X’s creations….

PS. For the record, let it be known to the world that for the first time in months, I got dressed up in something other than scrubs or athletic attire for a “night out on the town.” At 6:30pm after dinner, exhausted, I kept asking X how long we had to wait until it was “socially acceptable” to go out on a Saturday night–knowing that usually I’m in bed by 9pm now a days (complete opposite of years in the past, huh?) anything later than 8pm causes me internal stress…Okay, slight exaggeration. Anywho, going out, blow drying my hair, and “dressing up” is such a rarity, not only X is surprised, but, apparently, family members are as well: “So, I guess Mol cleans up pretty nicely, doesn’t she?”

After an Attack by a Dog…

….I realized my fear of dogs chasing me while biking is a valid fear to have.

However, dear readers, this is not about the dog attack. But, before I do start, do not fret; the bite did not break skin, incase you were worried. It did “freak me out,” and, increase my speed. It has always been something that has caused my heart rate to increase: when a dog starts to chase you on a bike. I’ve heard of it happening to other people, but never to me. I guess I can now say that it has, indeed happened to me.

I thought, as I sit here waiting for my homemade pita chips to cook in the oven at 1am (something my man has always made…watch me, and I will probably screw it up), I thought I would continue this post I began before work. And  as a warning, if you are someone who hates trees, or leaves, or nature, you might want to stop reading this now–although there is more than just photos in this post.

Knowing the weather later today would be rainy, I decided to wake up early and get a road ride in before work–mostly because I wanted to document how amazingly stunning it is in Dutchess County at this time of year. And, after todays ride (and a recent mountain bike ride), I think I am gaining the strength I lost from Lymes back, which is awesome. I plan tri training sometime in the near future, once work settles down and I don’t work an insane amount.*Note: since writing this, I have signed up for some running races on my weekends off! 🙂 **Second note: going for a 30 mile road ride before working a 9hr shift where you are on your feet for about 98% of those 9 hrs with no breaks whatsoever, isn’t the best idea in the world. Ohh how I love nursing.

View from Ferncliff fire tower

Onteora Lake in the fall….

As for the baking, I did manage to make cinnamon buns with maple frosting, however forgot to add the yeast (perhaps a sign I’ve been working too much?), but was successful at making one of my recipe goals: homemade pumpkin pop tarts, which are pictured below, before I added a glaze. They were delicious.  I am pretty sure once (1) my schedule settles down and (2) the weather turns horrible, my baking will increase.

Mmmmmm

In addition, I made caramel marbled apple bundt cake which turned out as shown below:

It looked good in the pan…Not so appealing on the ground

Yes, I dropped in on the ground. Kitchen mishap. Major bummer, because it smelled delicious. Probably  would have tasted yummy, too.

Alas, the pita chips are finished, and it’s time to get some food…I hope this finds you happy, healthy, and well!

Flavors of Fall

Mid-mountain bike ride break at “the Beaver Pond”
*Note: this is the name the Geuss family nicknamed the pond.

In my last post I briefly touched upon my appreciation of spices in the kitchen during fall. To be honest, it is more than an appreciation. Cooking in the fall (and winter) is a love of mine. I melt inside when I smell a pumpkin muffin baking in the oven; I drool over the scent of a fresh apple pie, tears of joy run down my cheeks when I bite into a warm, soft apple cider donut.

Okay, so maybe the last one was a bit much, considering I dislike donuts and cakes. But, unless you are made of cold stone, the smell of them will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.  Not to mention warm, homemade gingerbread with moist maple cream cheese frosting…Ouu that’ll knock your socks off.* Even fall beverages make me giddy as a school girl. Ginger tea, and pumpkin spice lattes–the one flavored coffee I can tolerate? (However , I just researched the nutritional content of this beverage, and upon learning that it cannot be made “skinny,” resulted in a very sad Molly walking out of a Starbucks with no beverage in hand…I think the Barista thought I was nuts…Not to mention it was the first time I have been in a Starbucks in a couple years). Then, of course, there is the pumpkin ale. Mmmm.

Hmm, maybe my lust over fall baking/drinks might be making my man jealous…

Anyway, the baker in me, for some odd reason, seemed to have disappeared for awhile. I remember going on baking sprees in college and the first couple years living alone, where I’d bake cookies, brownies, muffins, different type of cookies, cupcakes…You name it….And, this would happen in one afternoon, usually the day before a final exam or something highly important in my life. Of course, living in a house full of females who would faint before they dared eat one of my baked goods (that, or spend hours at the gym on an elliptical), did not help disperse the plethora of sugar and spice I had created. Then again, I developed friendships with all the males I knew. Seriously, guy+ unbelievable homemade cupcake= friend for life. Note (mainly to my man if he reads this): don’t worry, I no longer speak to any of these guys…Or girls for that matter.

Once the stresses of college and work left, my baking dwindled to an odd cake or cake pop here or there, or the batch of brownies for nurses at work (whose famous last words are always: Ouuu brownies? I shouldn’t…I’m on a diet…Well, I will start the diet tomorrow and consume three servings over the course of a morning. I admit it, I have said those words too).

This fall, however, is different. Maybe it is because of the man, and my female internal instincts to make sure her man is well fed and nourished. Or maybe it is because I cleaned and organized my closet and realized how much baking ingredients I actually own. Who knows really. What I do know is, I want to experiment with the different flavors of fall this year. That means, go out of my comfort zone and create/bake new foods I have never baked before. No, I am not in college (however, am studying for the GMAT to apply for school) and I no longer have hundreds of hungry male college friends to feed (that was an over exaggeration). But, I do have my man’s work and work colleagues who now give me an excuse to bake for, as well as stressed nurses at work.

It has already begun…Pumpkin bread. The pumpkin cookies mentioned in my last post. Halloween, or should I say, ‘a-month-before-halloween-halloween’ themed cupcakes for the man’s work (who actually witnessed an almost “Molly Baking Spree” last night when I made Orange cranberry bread, and spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting–also for his work friends).

The cow teapot says they are “Moooooocho bueno”

I have a long list of other things I want to try baking this season, including:

Homemade pumpkin pie pop tarts

Apple cider cupcakes with caramel frosting

Pumpkin pecan cranberry cupcakes

Pumpkin pie from scratch…meaning, puree my own pumpkin

(which I have only done once in third grade under adult supervision)

Apple caramel scones

…And the list continues, but I do not want to overwhelm myself right now, or cause you to drool on your keyboard…Sorry did I say ‘you’? I meant ‘I.’

To finish this post, I must give credit to my man, who makes amazing homemade applesauce. Many months ago, I, myself dabbled in the art of applesauce making, under his strict supervision that is…In other words, I only cut the apples, and he did the rest. After taste testing two different sauces made by different types of apples, I have concluded that Shizuka (say that really fast**) apples make  hands down amazing applesauce! Well done, K.

Winning applesauce is on the right…Please ignore the “finger-dipping” marks.
Neither were made with additives or coloring…Nor the harming of anything except for apples.

Happy fall cooking!

*Yes, I do associate gingerbread more with winter cooking.But, that is a post in itself.

** I really have no idea what happens when you say “Shizuka” really fast, but if you actually did when you read this, I am secretly laughing inside.

Week 6 of 13

My appologies for notkeeping up with my usual weekly training plans :-/ Life gets in the way. Never too late to write the plan for this week though,huh? And since it’s Monday, I had a day to relax from my race (I talked about that in my previous post). I talked to my coach about my disappointment in my time, especially my sprint running, and she replied, “I know you were a bit disappointed wth your time at the sprint tri/du. You haven’t been training for speed. So, as an endurance athlete–you did fine!” Great words for me to hear. And, truth be told, training for endurance events are completely different than sprint events. A 20mile ride followed by a 6mile run in a race is much different than a 56mile ride followed by a half marathon. I need to keep reminding myself that.

Ohh! So the plan for the week of 6/25

Tuesday: 

1. Swim= ladders, total=2700 yards

warmup = 900 yards 4 x 100 as (25 yards right arm /25 yards left arm then swim 50).  :10 RI on all. swim 200 easy then  6 x 50 fast with :30 RI.

main set = 1600 yards (at 2:00 pace per 100)

100 (:15 RI)  / 200 (:20 RI) / 300 (:30 RI) / 400 (:40 RI) / 300 (:30 RI) / 200 (:20 RI) / 100

 cooldown = 200 yards as you like

2. Mtn Bike ride 120min

Wednesday

run = speed  50min

Warmup first then:

8 x 800m (fast) with 2:00 RI between

Thursday

bike = long hill repeats. 6% grade  (repeat)

From the bottom of 299 and 44/55 to trapps bridge in New Paltz might work well) Climb seated 50-60 rpm. Zone 3.  recvoer 7:00 easy spin.  Do total of 3 times. (if you are in the Hudson valley region. If not, fint a 6% grade hill that is 3-4miles in length, and follow the rest of the instructions). I am not a fan of these, just FYI 😛

Friday

Bike=LSD + run

60mile ride +transition to 30min run

Saturday

OWS (yaaaah!)

+ optional hike or mtn bike ride

Sunday

Run: LSD

12miles

I hope that is useful! I recently found, upon trying different supplements on rides, a food (yes, actual food) that my stomach can handle on long rides. Yes, I admit it is a bit weird, but I’ve found I have no stomach discomfort or feelings of intestinal cramping (or feelings of nauea) when eating these:

Baby food

Yes, I admit it. I consume organic baby food on rides.No judgement, please.  But it’s easy to fit in my pocket, and there are different types (apple, pear….) and you can take “sips” a little bit at a time. I’m sure I could technically make this with my blender or juicer and put it in a small bottle, but it has been effective (and you know you are getting good nutrients!).

I wish you a healthy, happy, fun training week.

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