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IMMT Training: Fla Keys Style!

“live in the sunshine. swim in the sea. drink the wild air.” -Emerson

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Last week was lovely in every single way. I trained outside, soaked up the sunshine and drank the salty air… oh and I actually relaxed! The Florida Keys in the dead of Winter is where it’s at!

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101 things… all about me

I loved reading 101 things about Kecia, Erin, and Kristen and thought I would jump on the bandwaggon. The funny thing is, I thought this list would be difficult since 101 seems like a big number, but it was actually pretty easy.

Without further ado, here’s more than you ever wanted to know about me…



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Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 28 Weeks // snow and more snow

Ok the snow around my neck of the woods (Masachusetts) is getting out of control! Yesterday we received another FOOT of snow, on top of the two feet we received last week.

And THIS is how I feel about it all…

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According to the National Weather Service, as of 1 p.m. on February 2, Boston set a new record for the snowiest 7-day period, at 34.2 inches.We live just outside of Boston and our snow totals have been even higher than this.

This crazy weather is no doubt affecting my training. Running outside gets way more dangerous in the snow… especially when combined with narrow roads and snowed in sidewalks. While I do love adventure and fresh air, I also treasure my life and I don’t want to get into an accident of any kind.  While it is frustrating to have to do most of my training indoors, I still make sure to get outside for safe puppy walks with Oliver.  I did get outside for one run this week, around a plowed area, which helped get my fresh air fix.

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a day in the Whites: Cannon Mountain


Last Saturday I ditched my bike workout for a hike instead! I could not have been happier with this decision, coach approved of course:) Truth be told, if I were not training for an Ironman, I would probably hike every single weekend.

We were a little weary of the conditions, since it was supposed to snow Saturday in Massachusetts, but saw that in New Hampshire conditions looked pretty calm, so we took a chance. The White Mountains (aka The Whites) are about 2.5 hours from where we live in Mass, so the conditions can vary drastically from one location to the other. Usually it’s more stormy in the mountains, but this time it was the reverse.  We lucked out with temps in the 30’s, no wind, and perfectly well-packed trails. Even though it was a cloudy day, visibility was still very good. It’s always a gamble when  you hike in the White Mountains (or any mountain for that matter).  Of course, it’s nice when you have one of those ‘bluebird sky’ days, but sometimes the cloudiest days make for the most beautiful hikes…and the starkest contrast. This was the case with Cannon on Saturday!


We picked Cannon mountain because it’s known for it’s views, challenging trails and it’s a convenient location with lots of parking (right off the highway). Also we had never done this hike before and we are working on our 48 list. The plan was a 9:30 AM start with Todd, our friend Steve and our two pups.

Cannon is also a Ski Mountain, but where you hike is on the other side (not up the ski slope:)) I had always heard the conditions on Cannon can be very treacherous (steep trails, high winds), so we lucked out with the conditions we had on Saturday.

Here are some facts about Cannon Mountain:

Cannon used to be the home to the Old Man of the Mountain site until it collapsed on May 3, 2003. The mountain appears to be ‘layered, like an onion, due to its exfoliating granite dome formation.’


Elevation: 4,100 feet

36th Highest 4,000 footer in New Hampshire (out of 48)

There are a few different ways to hike up Cannon. We chose the Lonesome Lake Trail to the Kinsman Ridge Trail.  This trail approach was 3.1 miles one way, equaling 6.2 mile round trip.

Mount Cannon NH White Mountains, Kinsman Range, Mt Cannon, Cannon Ski Area, Old man of the mountain cannon, aerial tram cannon, Kinsman Ridge Trail


Here’s a flashback… This is a hike we did  this past Summer (Mt Liberty and Mt Flume) where we could see Cannon from the Summit. The rocky mountain face behind us is Cannon:

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At the start of the hike, the Lonesome Lake Trail climbs moderately, until you reach Lonesome Lake. When we got there, we were literally the only people at the lake, it was so peaceful!

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It was approximately 1.2 miles from the Lafayette Campground parking lot to the lake.  It actually climbs quite steadily the entire way to the lake, which I wasn’t expecting (ensue quad burning). We enjoyed a quick snack and continued on our way towards the Kinsman Ridge Trail.

The Kinsman Ridge trail continued on for 1.9 miles until reaching the Cannon Summit. Honestly, this trail did not really let up, AT ALL until we got .5 miles from the observation tower. At some points it was straight vertical and it felt like it was the steepest trail I’ve ever hiked (seriously). We wore microspikes over our hiking boots, which helped with traction.  Snowshoes weren’t needed as the trail was completely packed down. We had wished we brought out more serious crampon spikes for the VERY steep and icy sections.  Todd actually had to carry Oliver at some points because it was too steep for the little guy! It was almost too steep for us too, ha! When the trail is super steep like this, it’s a constant calf stretch, at least it feels that way.  I’m also pretty sure I was working at a high heart rate for most of this hike, definitely anaerobic most of the time going up.

Total elevation gain over the hike (6.2 miles round trip) = 2,350 feet! That is a lot of climbing over a short period of time:)

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day… it’s more fun with a go-pro and a selfie stick! The Summit has a great look out tower, which made it extra special. Views were 360 degrees and we had a clear view of Franconia Ridge in the distance.

Franconia Ridge


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Snowy pup… Oliver is wearing his Ruff Wear Quinzee jacket over his Ruffwear Cloud Chaser Jacket.  For his little paws, we have Pawks socks underneath, with PAWZ rubber booties on top.  I’m happy to say we’ve finally found the perfect combination for keeping him a warm & happy pup!


Observation tower happiness


Lonesome Lake


“I’ll look back on this and smile because it was life and I decided to live it.”


The way down was A LOT faster than the way up.  Partially because we slid on our bums going down for some of the steep sections… dangerous, but fun!  I don’t think I could have gone down without sliding on my a$% for part of the way.  I actually slipped at one point, while trying to walk down the trail and ended up crashing down, my leg whacking against a tree. Luckily I just walked away with only some scrapes and bruises.

Winter hiking can be dangerous, and you have to be so careful (and VERY prepared). Conditions can change within an INSTANT you need to have extra clothing and supplies on hand. We keep our water in our packs this time of year so it’s doesn’t freeze.

After four hours in the woods, we reached the parking lot.  What a fantastic day it was! We reached out 37th 4,000 footer (Oliver reached his 34th!).

Until we meet again White Mountains… 🙂







Countdown to Ironman Mont-Tremblant: 29 Weeks // feeling the burn!

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Ok now I am starting to feel the burn! Which is sooo much better than feeling aches and pains. All of my rehab work must have done it’s job, because now I can struggle through enjoy my workouts without pain… focusing on the workout itself and the BURN that comes with it.  That VO2 max kind of burn when your insides feel like they are on fire… I love it!

Mantra of the week:

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Last week was a tough week! It’s interesting how things are put into perspective, depending on what point in the season we are in. If I were to do last weeks workouts (in July) I would think it was an easy week. But for right now, this is not the case. I have learned to live in the now and embrace the training as it comes:) and where I currently stand with my fitness and strength, last week was TOUGH, no doubt.

I have started to pick up more difficult bike workouts and my runs are getting longer. This has left my legs feeling heavy, like yesterday when I felt like I was sinking at Masters practice. I ended last week with a beautiful hike on Saturday in the White Mountains, which I will recap later… so much fun!

Here is what I was up to… and what caused that burning feeling…


  • 14.5 Total Hours
  • 15,000 yards swam (8.5 miles)
  • 3.5 hours biked
  • 16 miles ran


30 minute recovery run… easy peasy.

Physical therapy/ rehab exercises. My PT cleared me from having to go back and said I have made great process in my strength (hips + glutes) hooray!


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Swim drill day!

2,000 yards, kick drills, pull buoy, ankle band, swim smooth drills. I actually learned through one of my drills that I am not exhaling enough in the water. I always thought I was exhaling properly, until I read this about exhalation. You are supposed to exhale for the entire time your head is in the water (bubble, bubble, breathe). I was exhaling for maybe half the time. Oops! I also focused a lot on bilateral breathing during this workout.

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Bike- Anerobic sets (my favorite… seriously)

I turned up the heat in the basement and sweat it out for an hour… hurt so good! Since raising the saddle on my bike, my quads are getting less fatigued and my knees no longer ache during the ride, or post ride.  I also have noticed I’m incorporating my hamstrings a lot more than before.

WU: 20′ @ Z1, 5′ as 30′ @ Z4, 5′ @ Z2
MS: 4 x (3×20 sec @ all out, 40 sec @ Z1 or lower as recovery) – 3′ @ z1 as rest between sets
CD: 6′ @ Z1-Z2


Swim 3,100 yds at Masters Practice

Stretching and foam rolling + PT exercises (bridges with band, clamshells, single leg squats, squats with band, etc)

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40 min EASY run outside. I ran in the dark and it wasn’t too icy, which was a bonus! I kept a steady 8:20 min mile pace, and was happy to see my pace in the ‘low’ 8’s… it’s been a while! Side note: working on finding a better headlamp, because I’m currently using my camping headlamp, which does not stay on my head. Can anyone recommend a good one?

At the end of my run, I was scheduled to do 3 x 10 second hill sprints! I found a moderate hill at the end of my route and did some sprints for the first time since probably July! It felt amazing.

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Swim drills! 2,050 yards

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Lots of ankle band and paddles work. I love using paddles in the pool. I find now that my technique has improved, I am actually using paddles properly and not overusing my shoulders.

Pilates class during lunch for one hour.  This class seriously kicked my booty. The instructor had use the Pilates ‘ring i.e. evil torture device.  I was really feeling the burn! If you have never seen it before, it’s literally a ring that you squeeze with your arms or legs while doing core work, think of it as extra isometric work while doing abs:)

1:00 bike ride, VO2 MAX work (using the RPE scale and watching my heart rate)
WU: 25′ @ z1-z2, 5′ ON/OFF as 10 sec @ z4/ 50 sec @ z1, 5 ‘ @ z2
MS: 10×30″ (30″ z1 rest) @ z5
10′ @ z2
CD: 5’ @ z1-z2

I was a sweaty mess after this one….

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I was tiiiired by the end of this workout… especially after swimming AND Pilates earlier in the day. My legs felt heavy and the sprints totally crushed me.


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40 min easy run outside… took it nice.and.slow.

Looking at my pace in the 8:30’s can be a little frustrating, but I need to remind myself that I am GETTING there.  Once day I’ll be back to my old self… one day I’ll be running in the 7’s again.  I just need to be patient…


Hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Cannon Mountain 6.2 miles round trip (2,350 ft elevation gain!).  This hike marked out 37th 4,000 footer in New Hampshire (out of 48). I can’t believe how close we are getting to the finish!

Coach gave me the thumbs up to hike instead of bike, so I was happy! Weather conditions were optimal and this was certainly a great workout… super steep. More to come about this hike, including lots of photos!!

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Masters swim practice! 1.5 hours, 4,100 yards

Again, loving Sunday swim practice lately. It starts at 7:00 AM every Sunday and it’s a great way to get the day started.  It can be hard to wake up at 6:30 on a weekend day, but I am always happy when I go.
One set at practice was 2 x 400 pull (descending pace for the 2nd one) holy arms!

How is your training going?

Any tips for being patient after an injury?