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life, pregnancy

a new journey: announcing baby k

I’ve been keeping sort of a big secret for several weeks now…

I will be doing a different kind of “training” this year.

We’re having a baby!

Oh.My.God this is really happening!

The truth is, I had actually signed up for Ironman Lake Placid, but kept it on the DL. I bought the race insurance, hoping I wouldn’t have to race it because I’d be pregnant. I’d be lying if there wasn’t a bit of me that hoped I could still race.  Maybe I would get pregnant right after the Ironman? I thought. But then again, there is never going to be the “perfect time” to have a baby. I could continue to race for another year or two, try to get to Kona again, put the baby plans on hold… but then what? Someone once said to me, “You will not look back thinking, I wish I had raced more before baby.” Instead, you will probably think “I wish I’d started sooner.” The thing is, racing will always be there, but I can’t always have a baby. Plus, we had no idea how long it could take, because you never know until you start to try. Lucky for us, the trying part did not take very long.

To our surprise, by the third month of “trying” we got pregnant.  I consider us to be very lucky that it took such a short amount of time, since apparently there is so much that goes into actually getting pregnant. Geesh!  My entire adult life I had been trying to avoid getting pregnant and actually getting pregnant seemed so… complicated.  I was worried that my level of intense exercise would impact my fertility, but my OB reassured me that this should not play a role. However, I was training less than peak Ironman training and was in “off season” training when we got pregnant. I’m 33 years old and I’m sure age was also on my side too.

On a quiet weeknight in December, just a few days before Christmas, our lives forever changed us as a couple –  I took a test and it was positive! Since that day, I have been thinking about how I am growing a tiny human inside of me.  A teeny tiny human, who is now the size of a peach apparently.

When we found out,  I was 4 weeks and 3 days along. This was EARLY.  Brian and I didn’t want to get too excited about the pregnancy because it was so early and I know many women who had  miscarried before 12 weeks (end of first trimester).  So we kept it a secret, between just the two of us, for another 8 weeks.  Keeping such a big secret was hard! On the other hand, it was kind of fun to have this be “our little secret”for a little while. As of today, I am 15 weeks along and we have shared the news with all of our friends and family.  Thank you to those of you who have shown the love on Instagram and Facebook!

While I’m so very exited, there is also a lot of fear. By reading this,  it might seem like I’m not being super positive about being pregnant, but I’m just being honest. Everyone has different concerns when they are pregnant, and these are mine at the moment.

So here we go. 

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life

2016 in review

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Hello 🙂

A lot has happened over the exciting year that was 2016.  I thought I would share a recap of my year (in mostly photos).

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In 2016…

I tried new things.

learned how to snowboard – talk about humbling.

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Got SCUBA certified – very cool experience and so happy I did it.

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Swam, biked and ran A LOT – All while training for my fourth Ironman

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Trained with my favorite training partners all over Arizona, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts

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Got faster and stronger – setting BIG PR’s and getting on that podium!

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Travelled to a whole lot of places (for training, racing and pleasure)

Florida for a few training weekends (March)

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Raleigh, North Carolina (June)

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Sonoma, California (July)

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Vermont

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New Hampshire

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Speaking of travel… Brian and I traveled to Australia in September and had the trip of a lifetime

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Raced a lot – with lots of heart and courage 

3 Half Ironmans (70.3 Raleigh, Patriot Half Iron, IM 70.3 Worlds Australia)

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1 Ironman – Vineman

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B2VT Ride – 2nd place Queen of the Mountain!

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And finally… the best moments of the year…

Got Engaged! – While at training camp in Tucson, Arizona

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Got Married to the love of my life – October 15.  Alton Bay, New Hampshire

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I have a feeling 2017 is going to be amazing. 

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life

on being mindful.

This post might come across as rambling thoughts… but I hope it helps you.

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If I could think of one potential drawback to being a long distance triathlete it would be, that I spend a lot of time in my own head. A lot of time.

Hours upon hours alone, with just me and my thoughts.  This can be both a blessing and a curse.  On the positive side, it allows me to work on mental toughness. On the negative side, if you are a worrier and have anxious tendencies like myself, it can be detrimental.

One thing you might know about me is I have a problem with worrying. I worry about the past, the present, the future – all the time. I worry about what’s next. I worry about what happened years ago. I make up stories in my head. I will spend my time in the pool swimming laps, going through negative spirals in my head, for example. I recognize this isn’t healthy nor is it fun, and I am committed to working on it. All this worrying and anxiety leads me into a tailspin and to be honest, it’s f*cking exhausting.

I realized I wasn’t being present. For example, in daily life it was all about “what’s next.” After work I have to do x, y, z and this and that.. and then it’s bed time aaaand then repeat the next day… and the next day… All of this worrying is not healthy and a lot of it as to do with not being able to “let it go” when it comes to a lot of things in my life. It was to the point where I got used to this way of living…. until I couldn’t take it anymore. Something had to be done.

So, why is it so freaking hard to just be PRESENT? To just let things go……….. to just breathe….

While I don’t have answer for you, as to why it’s so difficult to “live in the moment” … so cliche right? (I feel like so many people say this phrase but aren’t actually living it). I do know what has worked for me thus far, and it has made a difference in this little head of mine:

Mindful Meditation. 

I have committed to daily meditation and this has been a GAME CHANGER.

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At first I thought mediation was something only yogis did.  I thought it was kind of weird? I thought I didn’t have time for it, I was too busy.  Being an athlete, I have always been determined at everything I do.  I am in peak physical shape and proud of it. However, my mental health was starting to crumble and it wasn’t just affecting me, it was affecting those around me. I decided that in order to be happier, I had to work on my mental health too. I am now just as determined to work on my mental health as I am my physical health.

The thing with meditation is, you have to practice it, DAILY for it to actually work.  It’s can’t be a half ass thing that you do every once in a while. You have to work at it, you have to commit. The more you meditate, the better you get. It’s that simple. Or is it? Not so fast.

I meditate for 10 minutes a day. 

Funny how 10 minutes a day of meditation can seem like a lot of time. I used to think “I don’t have time for this” but it’s 10 minutes. That’s it.  If I can run for an hour AND swim after work, I can meditate for 10 minutes a day. What meditation teaches you is, to not shut out the thoughts in your head, but to let them come in, and then just go back to the breath. Anxiety is an emotion, it’s part of life, and shutting it out creates even more resistance. I am working on just letting my thoughts come in, and then letting them go……

What has helped me the most with my meditation practice is the headspace app.  It has been life changing. For anyone that is looking to get into meditation, I highly recommend it. It walks you through guided meditation and I have found it to be extremely helpful and the driving force in my mediation journey.

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Here’s a good example of how it’s helped with my racing:

At the Raleigh 70.3 a few weeks ago, my anxiety was at an all time low. Before the race start, I sat on a rock by myself, and just breathed. For the first time in a long time, I was not wheezing and having trouble with my asthma during a race… could it be? All of this time thinking it was my “asthma” that was the root of the problem, could it just be that I was really anxious? I think it’s a good possibility. I practically didn’t need my inhaler when i finished. Are you kidding me? This was awesome.

Recently, I have noticed a big shift.

all of a sudden the things that  used to bother me, bother me less

I process things differently in my mind

I have learned to just breathe.

The hardest part is “letting go” of certain stuff, but I am working on it. that’s all I can ask of myself. 

I used to care about what other people thought about me and place tons of value on it.

I used to care so much about what people thought about my decisions in life, especially those who are close to me, to the point where I wasn’t making decisions I should have been making.

I used to need reassurance for EVERYTHING.

I used to be anxious. all. the time. I’m getting better.

And I’ll leave you with this…


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life

why i’ve been so quiet

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When I started this blog, I started it with the word courage in mind.  At the time, I was thinking about the courage it takes to do BIG things as an athlete.  The courage to do things that are out of your comfort zone, like an Ironman.

Little did I know that I would need this courage in my life outside of triathlon.  Life is Hard. Now I get it.

I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but I just wasn’t ready.  I wanted the time to be right where I could write again, where I could write about why I’ve been so quiet. There were days where I started this post and then stopped after a few minutes… I have been thinking about if I would write a post about this… when I would write a post about this… but today I feel ready.

I could talk about Kona and recap the race and the experience, but that will come later.  Life comes first.

So here goes nothing….

In a matter of two months, in the following order:

  • I raced one Ironman – IMMT

  • I achieved the ultimate dream when I qualified for Kona

  • I Filed for divorce 

  • I put our house on the market

  • I trained for my second IM in 8 weeks

  • I raced and finished Kona

  • I started a new job.

Yes, you read right. I am getting a divorce.

and this is why I have been quiet.

It was August 18th, my D date, just two weeks after our third wedding anniversary. This was the day I had the hardest conversation of my entire life.

I had just raced Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Muscle soreness in my quads was still present.  I was still on a giant high after achieving the ultimate dream of qualifying for Kona, yet I couldn’t be happy and celebrate.  This was happening. Divorce was happening. Everything else seemed irrelevant. And then there I was… alone in my quiet living room, wedding photos on the walls… Feeling more alone than I had ever felt before.

And since now I’m over feeling ashamed and embarrassed about it, I’m going to talk about it.  Mostly because I know I am not the only one going through this and there are most likely other women (and men) who can connect to my story.  Also, I want to talk about it since it helps with the healing process.

I’ll be the first to tell you- no matter what the circumstance, no matter who initiated it, divorce plain sucks. It really fucking sucks.

Throughout the past few years, I have done a lot of growing and changing.  I have evolved into a strong confident woman.. I have found a sport that I love, a lifestyle that has become part of who I am.  Through this process of “growing up” I realized that I was not happy in my marriage, and I was never going to be fully happy. And when you aren’t happy, you try and convince yourself that everything will be OK, just “give it time…” I kept feelings to myself, lead everyone in my life to believe things were just “perfect.”  I had a great man who treated me very well, who supported me and my triathlon lifestyle. We bought our cute little house in the suburbs. I had the beautiful wedding of my dreams in my parents backyard. We got a dog that we both loved very much. I did everything that I was “supposed” to do by the age of 31.  But there was one thing missing, one very important thing, I was not happy and I knew in order to be happy, I had to leave.

The hardest part about my divorce is, it’s hard to explain. Over the years we just grew apart from  one another.. . I changed..  lots of stuff changed….  I made the choice that I was going to walk away and have the courage to do just that. It would have been so easy to stay….maybe have a child, maybe not… continue to have an OK marriage.  But I realized I am stronger than that, I deserve to live the life that I want to live. EVERYONE does. Life is not about settling, it’s about making the best of the time you have on this planet.

And while all of this has been happening, something VERY good has come from it.  I have met a man who lights up my life.  I have never, ever been this happy. The kind of love where you feel electricity when the other person is nearby.  This man and I connect on levels I never thought were possible with another human being. I have never laughed this much, smiled this much. So this is what it feels like?! When you know, you know. 

I have been private for a while about all of this, in respect of my ex and also to give myself time.  I was afraid of what people would think of me, scared of the criticism I would get. But I am at the point where I just don’t care.  If you support me, fantastic, if you don’t, well I don’t need you in my life.  I compare divorce to dealing with death… there is a mourning period, a time to grieve, a time to move on.. people say the same things to you as when a loved one passes, because they don’t know what else to say besides: “I’m sorry.”  Some people avoid you all together because they don’t know what to say. It is in times like this, you find out who matters and who does not.  If you really want to grow up fast, I suggest divorce, it works wonders.

Thank you to the people who love and support me. Thank you all for understanding the much needed break from blogging I needed to take. Now you understand.  I hope I can help others realize that no one is making you stay in something you don’t want, but YOU.

XO,

Kristin

life, train, tri

Vermont Training Camp 2015 RECAP (and lots of pretty pictures)

First of all, I have been slacking on the blog posting train.  Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s okay…. finally I’m back!

Today I’m finally talking about my training camp in VERMONT a few weeks ago, that totally changed me as a cyclist!

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Location:

Camp was located a three hours drive  north of my home in Mass to Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Vermont.  The thing that’s really cool about living in New England (and something I take for granted) is that you can be in a different state, with completely different landscapes within a few hours drive. I am very lucky to have both the ocean and the mountains right at my disposal. I have never really spent a lot of time in VT, so I was happy to get the chance to spend a weekend up there. I was reminded of why it’s called the ‘Green Mountain State’…. all I could see for hundreds of miles was green:)

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Each of our bike rides passed through the Green Mountain National Forest (just gorgeous). We rode by several farms, cattle pastures, maple syrup stands, country homes… it was quintessential Vermont. It’s hard to put into words, or even into photos what I experienced during my hundreds of miles of riding in VT. You really have to go there to experience it for yourself! Oh and I should mention there are HILLS, LOTS of HILLS. Hills so steep I couldn’t believe it! If you want hill training for an Ironman, go to Vermont, your power meter will thank you. 

Weekend Totals:

288 miles biked with 25,000 Feet total elevation gain.

Some hilly running miles

& 5,000 yards of swimming

 

Day 1: Thursday

103 Mile Ride

App Gap, Middlebury Gap

10 Minute Recovery Run

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Day 2: Friday

Swim 3,000 yards

Bike 85 Miles

Brandon Gap

Run 30 minutes

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Day 3: Saturday

Swim 2,000 yards

Bike 100 miles

App Gap,  Brandon Gap, Rochester Gap

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Day 4: Sunday

Rainy Day gym workout with plyos!

The crew:

I was joined at training camp by Coach Jorge and some of my Age Group Elite Teammates i.e. fast cyclists, swimmers and runners. This group included the speedy Czech Chick AKA my friend Jana, who I tried to keep up with all weekend! There were about 6-8 of us on any given day, a great mix of people!

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Agenda:

Each day started with a swim in the beautiful outdoor pool at Sugarbush.

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Next up after swimming, a big breakfast (all the pancakes!) and then time to digest while getting our bikes ready to go. Digested or not (ha) it was time to ride for 5-6 (hilly) hours followed by a run.

After our long bike ride, we were all exhausted and it was time to eat ALL THE FOOD before hanging out and relaxing before bed. There were lots of laughs plenty of team bonding. I LOVED training camp!!

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Training camp in Vermont made me not only fall love with biking but understand biking more than ever before.

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What I learned at camp:

Spinning my wheels like a hummingbird (cadence 95-100 RPM), is NOT the most efficient way to cycle.  Still working on this, but getting closer. Most of my rides were dialed in at 85-90 RPMs.

Cornering while going down hill is still scary, but I learned better technique. Clenching my breaks and upper body only makes it less safe.  During camp I got to practice being more relaxed going downhill and cornering.  One of the tips I learned was not to break on the corner, but just before, and most importantly, to relax the body as much as possible.

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I realized that I wasn’t working hard enough (before) attending camp.  I wasn’t feeling that burn in my quads, I was just ‘comfortably’ riding.  “So this is supposed to be uncomfortable?’ Similar to running, riding your bike isn’t supposed to be pleasant all the time.  It might burn and it might hurt, but this is what will make you stronger. It may have taken 5 years to realize this, but now I GET IT.  In order to get better at cycling, I need to make it hurt a little. Oh and did camp make it hurt!

In order to keep up with the strong cyclists at training camp, I was going to need to put out more power and work harder.  The thing is, before camp I was scared to push on the bike. Perhaps it’s because I had a knee surgery four years ago and my brain is still being ‘cautious’ with pushing on the pedals.  I think in my mind I was always scared of getting injured, so I didn’t want to push too hard. Also, coming from a running background, I wasn’t sure how to bike and I was never coached for it, until now. Riding with your coach and teammates is something you can’t put a value on.

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I’m actually a fast cyclist. I got to camp last Thursday thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with my teammates. These were people I had rode with on the weekends and often got separated by about five minutes.  I would start with the group and they would lose me.  I thought the weekend of training would be the group riding together and me all by myself.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was not only able to keep up, but I was very strong going up the BIG Vermont hills… HUGE confidence booster!

I gained confidence. This was definitely the most important takeaway from camp.  Practice makes perfect and I think to think I’m well on my way to a successful Ironman one month from this Thursday!

Have you ever participated in a training camp? Would love to hear about it!

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