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Back to normal life.

Maybe it’s the red eye flight I took on Sunday night (which allowed for a whole 2 hours of sleep) or maybe it’s the amazing vacation in Utah I just had. Whatever it may be, I just can’t focus on anything right now.  My head is in a cloud!

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It’s always so hard to return to ‘normal life’ after vacation.  While there really is no place like home, it’s easy to get caught up in vacation mode and just forget about it all.  Todd and I had the opportunity to ‘escape’ last week to some of the most beautiful places on the planet (more on that later) and I feel very lucky.

While in Utah, we didn’t watch the news once, I didn’t check my work email (ok maybe a few times) and we just completely disconnected from ‘normal life..’  It felt fantastic.  Sure I missed home, but I didn’t miss the stress (really I just missed my dog).

It’s funny, as soon as the plane touched ground in Boston, my home, life all of a sudden became stressful again… we need to go grocery shopping, back to work, back to emails, the house is a mess, so much to catch up on… ahhh. Going on vacation makes you realize that life can get so repetitive, so mundane, if you let it. The days fly by, the weeks blend together… I find myself always wanting it to be Friday.  And on Sunday when we got home, those feelings hit me again… I like to call this post-vacation depression.  Kind of like the post-race blues feeling, I am definitely sad that my long awaited vacation is over.  I don’t have any more vacations planned for the rest of the year, damn I’ve even used up all of my vacation time at work.  While I am trying to be positive, it’s hard to come back from an ‘epic vacation’ all while sitting in a cubicle with harsh florescent lighting.

I find that after vacation, I’m always reevaluating my life, specifically my work life.  Am I happy with my job? Do I need to do something more fulfilling?  Can I find a job with more flexibility?  a job where I am outside more? I don’t know what the answer is, but I wish I could figure it out! Until then, I will try and be happy with vacation being over and focus on the positive… like being able to cook my own healthy meals again and getting back into a training routine!

How do you cheer up after getting home from vacation?


Utah Bound!

Tomorrow afternoon, Todd and I will be on our way to Utah for a week-long vacation!

I am really excited about this trip, since I haven’t really had a vacation all year (an Ironman is not really a vacation…).

My college friend, Annika, is getting married in Park City on September 27th,  and we’ll be exploring some of the National Parks during the week prior to her wedding. This means, that in addition to exploring some bad-ass, beautiful National Parks, I’ll get to end the week with a fun wedding on a ranch with some of my best college girlfriends! Doesn’t get much better than this!

Here’s the plan…

Fly to Salt Lake City Saturday (tomorrow)

Sunday morning, wake up early and drive to ZION NATIONAL PARK.  Zion is about a 4-5 hour drive from Salt Lake City.  We’ll be camping in Zion for 2-3 nights and doing lots of hiking and exploring. My friend is lending us a lot of her camping equipment, which helps us big time! It’s hard to plan a camping trip that’s across the country.

I am drooling at the thought of some of these hikes we have planned in Zion:

 The Narrows

Angels Landing

Observation Point


After 2-3 nights in Zion, it’s off to another gorgeous place, BRYCE CANYON for more hiking!

On the hiking itinerary:

Fairland loop

Queens Garden Loop

Weather looks to be in the 80’s during the day and the 60’s at night.  Should be perfect for outdoor activities and camping.  My friend who just got back from there said it’s definitely a dry heat, so hopefully it doesn’t feel too hot. It’s always hard to travel when you are following a training plan, but I hope that hiking is a good sub substitution for running and biking.

After Bryce, it’s back up north to Park City, where we are renting a lovely little condo (HomeAway is the best).  While in Park City, the plan is to so some trail running and possibly mountain biking.  We’ll have a few days before the wedding on Saturday to explore.  I am BEYOND excited to explore these trails! Park City boasts an extensive trail network of over 400 miles of public access trails designated exclusively for non-motorized recreation.

Um I think I will want to move here…

On Saturday my friend gets married on what should be a gorgeous ranch and on Sunday night we fly home to Boston. Should be an EPIC vacation!  I look forward to sharing lots of my photos when I return.

Have you ever been to Park City? Zion? Bryce? Suggestions welcome!

Have a great weekend!




THREE FILMS… Continuing with the YOU Challenge

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I’m finally back with my ‘You’ Challenge! Today I’m talking about three of my favorite films.

10 day you challenge

I’m not a huge movie/film person, since I don’t really have time to watch them (and I have issues sitting still). However, thanks to Ironman training, I did get to watch a lot of movies on the trainer- yay for Netflix on my iPad! I also prefer watching a TV series versus a movie.

When it comes to genre of films, I tend to like the sappy, romantic chic flicks and the ‘feel good’ Comedy films.  I absolutely HATE scary movies and cannot watch them, ever.

If I had to pick my top THREE films of all time… here they are:

Love Actually

I just love this movie in every single way.  I love how it takes place at Christmas, the adorable British accents, the love story… everything. My favorite time of year to watch this is around the holidays by the fireplace.


Sixteen Candles

This is definitely a ‘throw back’ 80’s film, but it’s hilarious. You just feel so bad for Sam (Molly Ringwald) and how awkward she is!


Tommy Boy

A comedy classic that I can never get enough of! If this movie doesn’t make you laugh, something is wrong with you:)


There you have it.. what are some of your favorite movies?


Race Day Planning – Ironman Edition

I’m finally back for Tri Talk Tuesday! Looking forward to connecting on great tri related topics with Courtney and Cynthia!

Today’s topic is: Race Day Planning! Specifically when it comes to IRONMAN racing.

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Having just completed Ironman Mont Tremblant one month ago, I’m familiar with planning for a race day. For IMMT, I had goals and expectations, but not a set ‘Race Day Plan.’ My several months of consistent, focused training was my plan… I just had to execute it on race day! And of course, I had some ‘ideal’ split times in mind.

Here are some tips for planning your race day. Most of these relate specifically to an Ironman, but you can apply them to almost any race as well!


Set realistic goals for race day
Be true to yourself… know your limits and what you are capable of. It helps to go by previous race times and set goals from there. I also found it helpful to look at my long bike rides and runs to get an idea of where my heart rate was. I used this as a parameter for my race day. Keep training data and monitor your racing and training ‘averages.’ For example, my longest training ride was done at ‘Ironman heart rate’ i.e. Zone 1 for 100 miles… my pace was 18.5. I knew that I would not be able to go MUCH faster than this during the actual race , especially with the Marathon at the end.

Treat the Ironman like a long training day
The Ironman is not meant to be an all out race, by any means. I went into IMMT thinking of it as a very long training day.. this took the pressure off it being a BIG race! I raced just like I trained and this set me up for a happy, comfortable race all around.

Know your heart rate zones and stick to them as best as possible
For the Ironman, this typically means staying in Zone 1 (for me that’s 130-140 bpm on the bike and 140-150 bpm on the run). Before my Ironman, I asked my coach what the effort should feel like, and he said it should feel like a 4/10  perceived rate of exertion at all times. I really focused on that 4/10 during my race and did regular check in’s with myself. If I felt I was higher than a ‘4’ I backed things off… same went for if I was lower than a ‘4’ I pushed it a little harder.


Every race won’t always be a PR, but you can sure as hell try
To be honest, I go into a lot of races wanting to ‘PR’ I mean.. who doesn’t?! Everyone loves a PR! However, know that you can’t always PR… there will be races that are slower than you wanted them to be… and that’s ok!

Things can and WILL go wrong… prepare for it.
Whether it’s fixing a flat tire, drastic changes in weather, dropping your nutrition, etc… plan for it! I made mistake of not wearing my arm warmers during the bike ride at IMMT. I paid for it and I was freezing for the first 30 miles. Ask yourself what you will need in case of emergency on race day.

Amen! It is better to be prepared than worried or anxious or scared! This is part of my school philosophy.

Consult a Coach
I can’t emphasize enough how much it helps to have a coach for an Ironman, or any long distance race. Coaches can help you not only with training, but with race day execution! I don’t have a 1 x 1 coach (I wish!) but I have a coach that gives me my training plan and provides feedback to any questions I have… this is what is critical for race day prep!

What are some ways you prepare your race plan?!


My Life and Body after Ironman

It’s now been a month since IMMT, which is hard to believe! My body and my life are almost back to normal post Ironman, well almost…

Be patient and tough someday this pain will be useful to you

‘Patience is a virtue’ someone once said…but seriously, in life, I have no patience.  I swear the person who came up with that phrase was not an athlete. The whole recovery post-ironman thing was physically and mentally challenging!  My mind wanted to exercise, but my body was saying woah, woah slow the heck down.  I made it a point to listen to my body and take things sloooow at first.  I knew that rushing back into things would set me up for injury and I did not want that.

I must say, it took longer than I thought it would getting back into training post Ironman race.  I knew I would have to give myself time to recover, but little did I realize how long it would take to feel ‘normal.’  It took about three plus weeks to feel like I could train like myself again.  Here is a little break down of how I recovered and got back into the swim/bike/run life.

The week following the Ironman:

DOMS and more DOMS. Light hiking, walking, easy spinning on the bike (5 days post race), VERY light running the weekend after the race.  This was a true recovery week!

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Second week post-IM:

Lots of biking, lots of swimming, a little bit of running. At this point, two weeks post race, I still had to pay attention to the fact that I was still RECOVERING and even though my mind wanted to run, I just had to take things easy.  I had no plan to follow, so I just went with what I felt like, at a conservative effort.  During my workouts that week, my heart rate wanted to be really high even though I was putting out minimal effort.  I heard this happening to other athletes post IM, and my coach said it was normal.  It was just really weird to have my heart rate be in a Zone 2, when I was working at a recovery pace.  The little running that I did felt VERY slow, slower than my normal recovery pace.  For me this was around a 9 minute mile.  My legs did not want to go fast, at all.  I listened to my body and went slow.  I kept having to convince myself that I just did an Ironman two weeks ago and it was ok to go slow! Plus my legs literally could not go faster.  Oh and I did make the mistake of going on a long hike at the end of the second week (11 miles of hiking to be specific). Not the best idea because the downhill totally crushed my quads.  I paid for that hike the whole entire week following… ouch.

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Third week post-IM:

Almost back to normal! I reintroduced more running during the third week post IM.  Again, just doing whatever I wanted for workouts, as long as it wasn’t anything too crazy.  I was biking more, swimming more and going on longer runs. It felt great to be getting in my running ‘groove’ again.   I also started to incorporate more CORE work, something I was slacking on as my IM got closer.  Running started to feel almost normal at this point, and my legs finally had more life in them!  My pace was finally where it was before my IM, yay! One thing that did pop up is my left patellar tendon started to get extra cranky.  I think I have some muscular imbalances that I need to work on… time to strength train again!

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Fourth week post-IM:

This was last week, and I must say I felt like myself again.  I did some extra-long runs, which was very therapeutic since my grandmother passed away suddenly. Running is definitely great therapy for when you’re feeling sad.  I ended up running a lot last week, and near the end of the week I was really starting to feel it… my coach said to back off a bit, so I did.  Over the weekend, I did a long bike ride (50 miles) and we did a short hike (4 miles) yesterday.  It’s been nice doing whatever workout I felt like.. i.e. not focusing on an exact heart rate, distance, etc.

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 What’s up next?

After coming off of the Ironman, I definitely had a case of the ‘Post IM Blues.’  It’s hard not to feel sad when the BIG event is over… and now you are home recovering and feeling sorry for yourself.  I had so much free time, but yet I couldn’t work out much.. I was going stir crazy!  It was also really hard not to want to sign up for another Ironman.  I gave myself a few weeks to think about my 2015 plan.  This past week, about a month since the IM, I signed up for Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2015 AND I submitted my qualifying time to the 2015 Boston Marathon!  I hope to hear any day now if I’ve been accepted (I plan on being accepted since I finished 11 mins ahead of the minimum qualifying time). Initally I thought about not running Boston this year, but it’s so easy to sign up when it’s right in my backyard.  Also, I figured third times a charm. This will be my third consecutive Boston.


For the remainder of 2014, I have two races planned.  I will be racing the Scituate Duathlon on Oct 5th (my first one! 2 mile run, 10.2 mile bike, 2.3 mile run) and I will be running the Manchester NH Marathon on Nov 2nd. My training plan for both races started today!  It feels good and back on a plan:)