One Year and 112 Posts Later….

My original plan was to write on the same exact day when I had started this blog in the first place, but life and work got into the way (like always) and tonight i decided to sit down and reflect on the “blogging” world, since I’ve had mine for over a year now. Insane how fast time goes by!

I started this blog originally about my biking, running, and nursing. Over time, I started writing on different topics- most related to those three topics, and then some random topics about nursing, relationships, food and little insignificant things that popped into my head which I felt a need to relay to other people. On that note, I just made the most amazing Vegan Banana Bread with Carob powder swirled through, and carob nibs throughout the bread. Mmm. No, I’m no longer vegan, but when you run out of eggs and milk, and have vegan margarine and soymilk in your refrigerator, then you can create any type of vegan baked goods possible. And, they are actually pretty healthy for you! Thank you, Post Punk Kitchen (great website for vegan baking, FYI).

Vegan Banana Bread with Carob chips

A lot has happened within my year of blogging–it’s interesting to start a blog, and even more interesting when some people subscribe to it, which, no doubt about it, makes you feel good about yourself because they obviously think your blog is awesome. One of my first blogs was about my new Scott road bike (ahh, I love that bike) which is still one of the main focuses of my life. Last August, it had been years since I had entered a pool.A year later, I have no problem swimming in open water. Infact, this morning, there was no better place to be than Lake Onteora while it was raining, and have the whole lake to yourself. Just the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the lakes top  while you swam in complete silence. A year ago that thought would have freakend me out. Heck, in May swimming in open water freaked me out. Now, it’s incredibly scenerene and peaceful. Just you, the drops of rain, and the water. No better feeling. (Okay, well, maybe there is a better feeling).

Favorite time to swim at Lake Onteora: daybreak, and when it is raining

I don’t want to write the same things as I wrote in my Reflections of Two Years  post. But, even more has happened since I wrote that post. I managed to survive two of the worst storms New York has seen in years (the one in January when I had a little accident shoveling) and then this past tropical storm which lead to the destruction and devistation of communities I’ve come to know quite a bit within the past few months, esp, in the catskills. Unless you live in the area, or know the area, you would never know how much damage was done by Irene. Not only down south, but  all the way up through Vermont. If you feel the desire to help those communities out, including Windham mountain, you can check out a website http://www.catskillmtn.org/initiatives/windham-chapter/donate.html to help them repair and rebuild the area.

Flooding in driveway after Irene

Within this year of posting, I had started working night shifts at the Kingston City Hospital. I love my coworkers to death ( if this is redundant from prior posts, I apologize). I was able to absorb an enormous amout of knowledge working there, especially working night shifts.  I must admit at this time, I might be going through a quarter year crises as in what I want to do with my life. Do I stay in the area, or relocate somewhere different. It would be the perfect time to go someplace different, or make a change in my  career ( no offense to Kingston City Hospital, but I don’t think I’ll be abe to work there forever).  Working in an intensive care unit has it’s stresses (major stresses), but after being there  a year an a half, I’m thinking there might be something else out there for me to do. I’m not sure what, or where whatever it is I want to do may be, but I’m looking. I used to hate change. But now I’m ready for it.

I developped a stronger bond with any Scott Bikes. I have two– the scott contessa spark (so pretty!) and my CR1 Team. Although, I think i might need to branch out to other brands of bicycles (gasp!) when it comes to my cyclocross bike, which I plan on purchasing at some point, and a TT bike, since, there are other brands out there with pretty decent products for those people like me who may have a (small, but healthy) addiction to anything bicycle related. Within this year of blogging, I developped a love for mountain biking with my mountain biking baby (contessa spark) whichI had always wanted to do in the back of my mind, but never really did it until April of this year. It is completely different than road biking, and actually helps training/cross training for triathlons. And ofcourse, I have already written about that subject.

I love my Scotts!!!

I must admit, with work being insane, and working night shifts, and the crazy rain we have had as of late, I have not been able to be out training as much as I would have liked. But, the Vassar brothers du/tri is next week (which, I am not at all prepared for but, whatever) and I need to get back into the biking-running-swimming mode .  Deep down inside I still want to compete a full ironman race. And, for a while, I thought I had to do everything right now. I had to complete a HIM, I had to do this and I had to do that. But, I have my whole life ahead of me to do things– I am only 25. One day it will happen. One day. I’m not that easy of a person to give up on something I’ve wanted to do for years. And if it doesn’t happen, well, no big deal. There are bigger, more important issues in life I’ve needed to deal with, and am sure, will come my way.

Within this year of blogging, I’ve been blessed to meet amazing friends, some who are incredbily patient with my poor mountain biking skills, others who are incredibly patient and I never leave their company without knowing more about the hunting world. I’ve had friends come and help  fix the flooding in my garage…Tell me how to start the John Deere lawn mower when I was pretty sure I had broke it (oops). And then come and kill spiders for me (I can deal with snakes in my house, but have an incredible fear of spiders.) And I can’t forget about some others who would never tell me to shut up and give great advice on relationships, and life (who is a fabulous baker and if you need someone to bake you a fantabulous, delicious cake, let me know, cause I can hook you up with this incredible woman), when I’d go to them in tears not knowing what to do. Or spend their two personal days driving up to New Hampshire with me to cheer me on for my first attempt at a triathlon. Everyone knows who they are. Thank you. Each one of you has a very special place in my heart.I know, I know, I’m corny.

I’ve learned how to use a bow and arrow, and, might I add, am quite good at it.

First attempt at archery

I went on my first ever road trip/vacation by myself in the United States, and being lost outside of Albany during rush hour was more stressful than getting lost in Slovakia on their public transportation system, where I could not communicate with anyone or read their written language since their alphabet is so different than ours.

But, anyway, we shall see. I tend to take one day at a time and  blog when I feel like it (yes, I know, it’s been awhile since I have blogged) to share useless information that is on my mind…And do want to take advantage of every possible opportunity that comes my way.

I cannot believe it is a year since I started this.

And, to finish this, I leave some songs for you.

Thank you S.F. for putting the above song in my head

And one that played on my Pandora station which I hadn’t heard in awhile.

And, some White Stripes, because I just learnt to play it on my guitar.

And lastly, yes I have a very ecclectic sense of music, just….because.

I hope this post finds you safe, happy, and after reading any of my posts in the past, might have sparked some inspiration for you to try new things which you never thought you’d do. This past year I realized nothing is impossible. It may be strange, and difficult at first, but if you try, and continue to work hard, the task you have at hand is possible.

Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory….You have to leave your city of comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. – Alan Alda

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This Isn’t About Running, or Swimming, or Biking?

No, it isn’t a post about either three of those topics. Nor about sneakers, or nursing. Is it possible for me to write about a different subject? My fascination (some might call it more of an “addiction”) with endurance sports has been interrupted by the new addition to the household– a guitar.

I was surfing the internet yesterday–a daily occurance in my life when I am not working, or training, and an add for guitars popped up. I found myself for the first time looking at a non-athletics related site. As I looked at the different pictures of fine intstruments, I felt a sudden longing to play the guitar again. It’s been a couple years since I’ve plucked the bronze strings of the guitar, and I’ve mentioned my first guitar briefly before here. My lust for the musical instrument lead me to search for music stores in the area, which, thankfully, there are plenty of, especially in the Woodstock area. Who would have thought there is a plethora of music shops close to a music festival mecca?

When I entered the small music shop, I could not help but smile when I saw a couple of people strumming away in the corner, trying out some tunes on guitars. Man, it’s been too long since I’ve played. The selection was not massive, but I was not planning on purchasing Gibson’s 1942 J-45 Legand. No no, I was on a mission to find a basic, smooth, beautiful six stringed instrument. After a couple of minutes gazing up at the guitars hanging, my eyes fell upon a Ibanez. And not just a plain Ibanez. A mahogany/deep red Ibanez. I was never a big fan on colored acoustic guitars in the past, but times have changed, and I’ve changed.

Filled with anticipation and excitement to play with my new toy, I found myself cross legged  in the middle of my kitchen floor trying to open the dusty chest of musical knowledge that I had stored somewhere in my brain. To my pleasant surprise, I remembered how to play Blackbird, one the first songs I ever learned how to play. Well, technically, I think the first song I learned was Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight”–the only reason I remember that is because I had a teenage crush on the person teaching me how to play the guitar at the time. Wow, was that a long time ago.

After spending too much time playing into the wee hours of the morning, serenading my sleeping cat, and fingertips that were incredibly raw and sore, I managed to learn how to play Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” and successfully find the key to unlock that dusty musical chest I had forgotten about.

Should my bike be jealous?

Observations by a Land Mammal Turned Amphibian

Yes, this land mammal is returning to her water roots, and finding amphibian life more complicated and difficult than she remembered. It seems like just yesterday I was starting my swim career at Pax River’s swimming pool. Boy, how times have changed.

Nowadays, between 3:30 and 4:30pm, you will likely find me spending time trying to grow gills at the pool. I was hoping my recent dates with chlorine would show some improvement in my swimming skills by now, but, I still seem to dread pool time, and continue to feel a need to gasp for air with every stroke and after each maneuver in the water. My attempts at flip turns are useless, and yet fifteen years ago, I could do them with my eyes closed.

I was discussing my swimming frustrations with my coach today who stated matter of factly, “You can’t be so hard on yourself, you just started swimming again.”

Dorothy was right, I can’t expect to be Nathalie Coughlin after a few sessions at Bard after a thirteen year swim hiatus. The only thing is, you cannot tell a perfectionist like myself perfection is hard to reach. “You have to give it time.”

Man, I really hate it when people tell me to “give it time,” even though I myself am guilty of telling others to do the same. Will I really be able to swim 1.4 miles by June without having a cardiac arrest?

I suppose “time” will tell.

Some observations I’ve noticed about swimming thus far:

1. Goggle marks around your eyes, and cap marks on your forehead, are not very sexy. Nor is wearing your swimsuit inside out, for that matter.

2. The black line at the bottom of the pool does not extend all the way up the sides of the pool.

3. Swimming hurts your thighs just as much as hill work on a bike. Try swimming 800 yards with a kick board.

4. I have not felt upper body fatigue like after a swim workout since my rock climbing days.

5. I’m hungrier after a 45 minute swim session than two hour bike ride, and have weird cravings for Ritz crackers after my time in the water.

Non-swimming related observations:

1. Brick workouts are painful, but an important part of multisport race training programs. They remind me of a quote about running: “running is like mouthwash, if you can feel the burn, it’s working.” Need inspirational/motivational quotes?Just ask.

2. Tears freeze to your cheeks when riding in cold weather. So do the other liquids that might come from your face, like your nose. Note: checking your reflection before going into a store after a ride in cold weather is strongly advised by yours truly.

3. I could easily own a European club with all the dance/techno/trance music on my workout playlists.

4. If compression socks are God’s gift to the recovering calves, then imagine what compression pants and shirt are to the body.

Miscellaneous Music Notes

Great tune for getting you out the door

JBT, bringing back memories of mishaps with Australian friends, is good for sprinting

And for a steady incline

When was the last crazy post written?

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