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CURRENTLY 11/21/14

The past three weeks have been pretty good to me. I’ve been in off season mode, with a lot of free time to do basically whatever I want.  This post is a great opportunity to tell you what I’ve been up to! I always love reading Erin’s CURRENTLY posts, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and try one for myself. Thanks Erin for the inspiration! It also makes for a fun Friday post (thank God it’s almost the weekend).

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Off season officially ends on Monday, when I will start my base training plan for the Boston Marathon and beyond. This is it folks… I won’t get a break like I’m in right now for a VERY long time. Probably not until after Ironman Mont-Tremblant in August, yikes! I have been in off season for almost FOUR weeks. This means for about an entire MONTH I have had no structured training plan, including one entire week of rest in the beginning. I am excited to get back on a plan again!

Here’s what’s been up to….

Reading // The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain by Claire Davies. This book was recommended to me by my triathlon coach and I am loving it so far. My goal is to start self-treating myself more often this season and I think this book is the ticket! I am sick and tired of spending money on things like acupuncture, chiropractor, massage, etc… only to find these things are band aids. Often it’s not the joint that’s the problem, it’s the tissue surrounding the joint i.e. trigger points. If you have never done trigger point therapy, you need to read this book, it’s fascinating. My goal is to do mostly my own body work in 2015!

Cooking // Since I haven’t been training for 2+ hours/day, this leaves me more time to be in my kitchen! I love to cook and during the downtime I have been making everything from bison chili to kale chips to apple crisp. I’m pretty sure my hubby has been loving this too:) I still cook when I’m training, but I tend to keep it simple.

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Swimming // I think I have turned into a fish over these last three weeks. I have been to every Masters practice at 5:30 AM (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Each practice averages 3,000 yards (so ~ 27,000 yds in three weeks). I also just started a swim stroke clinic last Sunday, which I am very excited about! While I know I am a decent swimmer (1:07 Ironman 2.4 mile swim) I know I have things to work on to make me more efficient! The clinic is put on by head QT2 Coach, Jesse Kropelnicki (he is the PRO coach for QT2… his athletes include Beth Shutt and Linsey Corbin to name a few). Over the next three Sunday’s I will go to the clinic and learn how to improve my stroke. There are only 5 other people in the class so it feels like a private lesson. I will keep you posted on my progress.

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Pondering // Life. All of this free time has me thinking about REAL life a whole lot more… specifically when it comes to my career. Working on a lot of soul searching lately… we’ll see where it takes me. Hopefully somewhere good!

Feeling // Motivated. I am more than ready to pick up a training plan again and get started on 2015! I haven’t ran in over three weeks now, giving myself an extra break. My knee is feeling better, but I am definitely nervous about running again. I have been strength training a lot (glutes, hammies, hips) and taking pilates (major core work) which I think should benefit me once I get started again! I feel good!

Mountain Climbing // With no structured training on the weekends, we’ve been hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire a lot! If there’s one thing I’ve really loved about off season it’s having my weekends back. Sure, I love biking and running all weekend long ( I honestly do) but I also LOVE hiking. When I’m in season it’s really hard to find time to hike, so I’m taking advantage of this time.

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Loving // Stich Fix. I had my second Stich Fix ever delivered this week and I got some great pieces from it! I love fashion, and Stich Fix is such a fun way to find out about new styles. If you have never done it before, you should… so.much.fun. (I was not given free clothes to say this… I wish;) )

(Polka dot shirt and skinny pants both from stitch fix)

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Favorite quote of the week // Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”  — Lovelle Drachman

 

"Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures," Quote Print #wildvoz

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north and south kinsman hike: mountains make me happy

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My favorite time of year to hike is right now, November, when the trails aren’t crowded and there is a stillness in the air.  There is just something about November solitude in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that makes you feel alive.

On Saturday we hiked for the second time in two weeks! Since I’m still in my off-season, I’ve been taking advantage of not having a training plan and getting to the mountains as much as possible. Hiking is BY FAR my favorite off season activity. Hiking during the season can be difficult because of all of the biking on the weekends and also, it can lead to overuse of quads (which I have already).  Then again, there are also benefits to hiking during the triathlon season (variety, anaerobic work) and I might actually try and do more of it next summer while training for IMMT!

Over the weekend, we decided to hike North and South Kinsman Mountain.  Todd and I hiked North Kinsman years ago, but never combined it with South Kinsman i.e. peak bagged. South Kinsman marks our 35th (out of 48 total) 4,000 footer!

North Kinsman Mountain circa October 4 years ago

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Several mountains in the Whites are close enough to one another that you can ‘peak bag‘ them, meaning tackle multiple peaks in one day.  North Kinsman is about 0.9 miles from South Kinsman, so we decided to add it onto our hike, keeping in mind that it would add almost two miles to the day. Sometimes the mountains aren’t that close to one another, and we still peak bag them… for example, we have hiked mountains that are three miles apart from one another. We often don’t make our peak bagging decision until we reach the first summit, where we reassess how we are feeling and what the weather conditions are like.

This time around, we took a different trail, the Mt Kinsman Trail to the summit of North Kinsman, then over the Kinsman Ridge trail to the summit of South Kinsman. We had a 9:30 start time with our friend Steve and his dog Aspen.  It was a COLD morning with temps in the mid 20’s to start.

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The Mt Kinsman trail was beau-ti-ful and covered in snow.  Not only was it beautiful but it was quite challenging.  Not super steep, but literally a steady climb for about 3 straight hours.  The good thing is, even when it’s very cold outside, as long as you have layers on and are moving at a good clip, you don’t get cold at all… it’s when you stop moving that things get cold!

Oliver did really well the entire day, the little champion that he is:) The snow wasn’t deep enough to warrant him wearing actual booties, but we did put protective wax on his paws… it makes a big difference for him! We love Mushers Secret for Mr Oliver’s lil’ paws.

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For about 4 miles we climbed, until we reached the North Kinsman Summit.  The funny thing is, we didn’t realize it was the summit and just kept walking towards South Kinsman.  We completely missed the lookout on the way up, but got it on the way back down! Oops:)

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The walk along Kinsman Ridge between the two summits was gorgeous.  The sky was blue and the sun felt warm on our skin.  Luckily we had sun, because otherwise it would have been realllly cold. From the Kinsman Ridge trail, you could see view of Franconia Ridge in the distance.

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Once we reached the South Kinsman summit, we had 360 degree views all around us.  South Kinsman (4,358 feet) is slightly higher than North Kinsman (4,293 feet). We also had the summit all to ourselves, which was awesome.  Although temps were in the teens, the sun was out and we were able to eat our PB & J sandwiches while taking a break.

Fun on the South Kinsman Summit:

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If you are wondering what we have on our feet, they are Micro Spikes and they are life changing! They slip easily over your hiking boots and allow you to hike in icy/snowy conditions, while giving you tons of traction. No slipping and sliding with these babies on. We use these in early winter, and will then transition to snow shoes and cramp-ons (more serious spikes) in mid-late winter.

We are also wearing blaze orange hat because it’s peak gun hunting season in New Hampshire… better to be safe!

Potential Christmas card here? 😉

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I was so excited, I couldn’t resist making a snow angel:

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We didn’t stay up there for too long, since it was quite chilly to say the least…

Soon we were on our way back down, back over Kinsman Ridge and towards North Kinsman.  Of course we couldn’t go back down without stopping at the amazing look out point on North Kinsman.  Just wow! Mountains look so much cooler with snow:)

North Kinsman Summit

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After taking some pictures and enjoying the view, it was time to head down the Mt Kinsman Trail…

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Going back down is always the hard part… it just always seems to take MUCH longer than going up…

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With 9 miles down and 1 mile to go, we decided to each have a hard apple cider… best idea ever! I have never had an alcoholic drink on a mountain before, and honestly, it was a game changer! It helped all of us get through that last mile. A nice way to celebrate the end of a long hike. I love this Downeast Cranberry Apple Cider!

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And eventually we made it back to the car… 6 hours and 10 miles later…

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No day hike is complete without a stop at our FAVORITE sandwich shop on the way home… Biedermans Deli in Plymouth, NH.

Post hike food coma, well deserved.

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I Mustache You Some Questions

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Happy Friday! I’m doing something fun and different today, thanks to the lovely Jennifer! I was tagged by her to answer some questions…. here goes nothing…

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  1. “Lil Kris”… a college nickname.  I was the smallest of 3 Kristin’s in our dorm and the name stuck all through college.
  2. “Kristano”… my dad’s nickname for me when I was a child
  3. “Honey”…what my husband always calls me
  4. “K”… because sometimes it’s easier than saying ‘Kristin’ 🙂

Four jobs I have had:

  1. Dog kennel worker… I’ve always loved dogs (although cleaning up poop wasn’t too much fun)
  2. Personal trainer (my college degree is in Exercise Physiology)
  3. Physical therapy aide
  4. Marketing/office job (trying to get out of cube life, eventually)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Love Actually
  2. Billy Madison
  3. Sixteen Candles
  4. In Her Shoes

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. Following Atticus by Tom Ryan
  4. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

Four places I have lived:

  1. Massachusetts (born and raised)
  2. Virginia (for college; JMU!)
  3. Gold Coast, Australia (study abroad)
  4. (I’ve only lived in three ‘places’)

Four places I have been:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Fjii
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Belize

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. Outside… anywhere outside.
  2. On top of a mountain… especially the White Mountains of New Hampshire
  3. Camping in a beautiful forest
  4. Swimming, biking or running… OUTSIDE.. did I mention I love being outside? 😉

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Seafood… period
  2. Anything from a fast food chain
  3. Cottage cheese and cream cheese… both creep me out
  4. Watermelon… I hate the texture

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Guacamole (I could live off of it)
  2. Anything with Kale
  3. Pink Lady Apples
  4. Pizza… my guilty pleasure

Four TV shows that I watch:

  1. Modern Family
  2. Amazing Race
  3. New England Patriots Football… does that count?
  4. Anything on HGTV

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

  1. Getting closer to finding a career that I love
  2. Running my 3rd consecutive Boston Marathon in April!
  3. Training for Ironman Mont-Tremblant
  4. Racing Ironman Mont-Tremblant for round #2! Hopefully setting a PR:)

Four things I’m always saying:

(I blame each of these on being a triathlete)

  1. “I’m hungry”
  2. “I’m in a rush” because I always am…
  3. “I’ll be five minute late..” bad habit..
  4. “I need to train”

Four People I Tag:

  1. Abby
  2. Cassie
  3. Sara
  4. Lee

Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear your responses to any of the questions above.

 

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with rest comes reflection.

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Rest week is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard stuff!

I found rest week to be more difficult than an intense training week. I am programmed to move and sweat like crazy… so to do nothing, well, it was just frustrating.

The first couple of days it was really strange not to wake up and exercise. Taking a shower without sweating beforehand is a weird feeling for me! Something felt like it was missing. Although, the extra minutes in the morning did lead to perfect hair days at work all week:)

Rest week meant: extra doggy walks, cooking new recipes, cleaning, organizing, painting my nails… etc… anything to keep my mind busy! Staying busy was the KEY to my sanity.

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I felt like this all week:) I was rubbing off on Oliver.

Even though I stayed busy, it was still a mental battle:

I felt….

Sluggish
Challenged by the body image demons
Lazy.. I guess that’s the same as sluggish?
Bored
Antsy
Irritable
Disgusting
Overall… it was a struggle for my emotions!

My only saving grace was that rest week fell on the same week as my birthday. Talk about perfect timing! It lead to me feeling ‘less guilty’ about eating extra dessert and drinking more wine:)

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Sangria & Spanish Tapas for my 31st!

During my downtime I also did a lot of reflecting. When I started to feel negative emotions coming on, I thought about how I DESERVED the downtime and I earned it. I thought about the days back in June/July when I was training for 16-20+ hours a week. Most importantly, I focused on the year ahead. I even signed up for my Half Ironman focus race, Eagleman 70.3 in Maryland!

 

The week surprisingly went by fast and before I knew it, it was the weekend. On Saturday, we hiked Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire. This 7.5 mile, easy/moderate hike was perfect after doing nothing all week. It was a beautiful day to be outside! Winter has made a comeback in NH and there was snow and ice on the trail.

I think you can tell by these pictures how HAPPY I was to be outside and hiking!

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Thinking ahead…

My #1 goal is to stay healthy and strong in the 2015 season. Right now I am in my second week of not running, and I have even contemplated making is 3-5 weeks of no running. My knee is still a little tender and I don’t want to push it, it’s not worth it. Perhaps some deep water running is in my near future?

For the next couple of weeks, I will just train at my leisure. This will include going to Masters swim practice 3 x week, biking on the trainer, and light strength work. The goal is to even go on a few more hikes in November, including this weekend coming up!

I know time will go by fast and before I know it, I will have a structured training plan until AUGUST. Yes August!  Time to just sit back and enjoy the ride on the easy train until then:)

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Hello Off Season

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First of all, thank you to those of you who sent encouraging words after I announced I was not racing this past weekend. When I was feeling down in the dumps about it on Sunday, reading your supportive comments helped me to feel better! I know deep down I made the right decision, but it’s never hard to back out of a race, even when you are 100% sure it’s the best idea. I know this decision has put me in a better place for the 2015 season and now I am fired up and hungry for 2015!

This week starts my official ‘off season.’ I am in complete REST mode for this entire week (the struggle is real… not a fan of rest). Let’s just say it’s been weird opening up my training email each morning and seeing this:

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The only type of exercise I will be doing is walking the dog and going for 20-30 min walks during my lunch time. Speaking of walking the dog, I had a beautiful walk at the park with my mom and Oliver on Sunday. The temperature has definitely started to feel like November around here (mid 40’s) and the air is crisp… I love it!

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How I feel about off season…

Well, it kind of sucks. Let’s just say I’ve never been good at taking at break from exercise, or even taking it easy.  I need my daily endorphin rush and without it, I feel like something is seriously missing. On top of not knowing what to do about all my free time, I start to feel pretty gross. I know I should enjoy the downtime, since I deserve it, but it’s certainly a mental battle.

While the desire to exercise is definitely physical, there is also a HUGE mental component… it’s a true addiction.  It’s easier for me to train 20 hours/week at high intensity than it is for me to rest and not train.  I truly think off season is more difficult than the actual in-season training. There is nothing I hate more than doing nothing. Honestly, if i didn’t have a coach telling me to take an off season, I probably wouldn’t even be taking a break right now.  For example, two years ago when I wasn’t being coached, I did Crossfit on the days where I should have been resting… very bad! This time however, I am listening and being smart about off season, as hard as it may be.

I have no structured plan for THREE whole weeks. My next training cycle will start on the week of November 24th, which will be base training for the Boston Marathon.  I basically have a month of no structure and I’m kind of dreading it. I thrive on structure! Then again, I do look forward to getting strong and healthy while giving my body a break from the swim/bike/run life.

What does off season look like?

  • Week one: This week = total REST. I’m treating myself to a deep tissue massage for my birthday (which is Friday!). What a great week to rest, birthday week… a perfect coincidence.
  • Week two: Light workouts. I’ll introduce some light biking and swimming back to my schedule, but no running. I’ll also focus on body work and some strengthening exercises from my chiropractor. The focus right now is isometric strengthening of glutes, hips and hamstrings! One exercise I’m focusing on is holding a DEEP lunge, while firing up my hamstrings and glutes, NOT my quads. As you can see it’s HARD and it burns!. Please excuse my pasty white skin in this photo:

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  • I am taking a full two weeks off of running to give my knee (and body) a break.
  • Week three: Continue with light, random workouts. Reintroduce running while keeping things easy.
  • Week four: Start the BASE phase of my training for the Boston Marathon. I’ll start up REALLY easy though, no high mileage for a while.  I might even do some deep water running.

What does off season mean for fueling?

The focus will be on eating healthy, real food… but also not stressing too much about a perfect diet. I emailed my nutritionist about what I should be doing for ‘fuel’ during this off season period. She told me it’s actually OK to not follow a strict diet during these few weeks and that I can break the rules a little bit. She even recommended eating whatever I wanted during this period and that gaining some lbs could benefit the start of my 2015 season.  While I don’t plan on that happening, it’s good to know it will melt right off.

This is where the mental struggle comes into play. I’m already having to deal with and fight the body image demons. Given this ‘rest’ period, some of my body image demons are trying to return. Without exercising at a high level, I tend to feel gross about myself and dwell on the fact that I’m not training. I need to realize that I won’t get ‘fat’ over a few weeks and that I will return back to my crazy exercising self in no time. Realizing this can be REALLY hard for someone like me, who’s struggled with distorted body image.

So much free time! What do I do with all of it?

  • Lots of doggie walks with the hubs and Oliver
  • Clean and organize the house i.e. finally hanging things on the walls that have been in a pile for months

 I love this print given to me by my parents after finishing IMMT- it’s finally on the wall!

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  • Cook… A LOT. This past weekend I cooked a bunch and loved it! I even baked dessert for the first time in probably a year. Before Ironman training, I used to bake all the time. Off season and Fall are the perfect combination for baking! I baked an apple oat crisp and it was delicious: recipe HERE.  I substituted coconut sugar for brown sugar and added some walnuts.

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  • Get more sleep. During the season, I wake up at or before 5:00 AM during the week. During the off season, my wakeup call is 7:00/7:30 AM. This means I’ll be getting close to 8-9 hours of sleep a night versus 6-7 hours during the season. Bring on more shut eye!
  • I might get a little cranky. I need my exercise and the endorphin rush, without it, I get a little crabby.
  • Try and stay mentally tough. It’s REALLY hard for me to rest and relax. I am trying to tell myself that I need an off season to be strong in the next season. I mean even the Pro’s have an off season… I should too!
  • Just enjoy the free time. My goal is to enjoy the extra hours in my day and truly make the best of it. I know this will all pay off in the end…

 

And just for fun.. Oliver’s Halloween costume! Batwestie!

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how to do you battle the body image demons when you can’t exercise?

Any tips for surviving the off season?