Sunday, July 29, 2012

2nd Annual Chunky Dunk Duathlon

My friend Sara did the Chunky Dunk Duathlon last year and when I started really working out she started trying to get me convinced to do it with her this year. After constant pestering I finally gave in and registered, which coincidentally was also about 1 day after their registration even opened. I was even part of the first 50 to sign up and got a t-shirt! So now that I had actually registered for it I figured I should start training. The running part was fine, well if you take into consideration that what I consider running is not what most people think is running but I am ok with that. That only meant one thing that I needed to start swimming! So Sara so graciously offered to help me since swimming is her strength. We went our first day and when I was finished I thought 'Oh my god what have I agreed to?' I went a few more times with her and then my swim training coincided with the LiveSTRONG at the Y program so it worked out well. I then started swimming on my own and I guess you could say the rest is history!

So fast forward to race day. We got up and were at Allen Albee Beach at 7:30am and got in line to pick up all our race stuff. We got our timing chips, bibs, t-shirts and best of all we got our race numbers written on us in sharpie for the swim portion.
We found a spot on a picnic table to setup our transition area and got everything ready. Finn (Sara's Boxer) had decided to chew her swim cap while they were out yesterday so I offered to give her mine. Well technically it was hers anyway because she let me borrow it months ago when I started training, it was only fair.

They called all participants down to the beach for a group shot before the race.

We headed back over to get ourselves ready because we were in the first wave starting at 8:30am. I really wanted to use my garmin watch for the swim portion of the race and since it is not water proof I had planned on putting it in a plastic bag under my swim cap. Sara had the swim cap so I went to plan B, that's right it went into the bra. Not the way you would think though I was afraid if it was in the front it wouldn't get signal so I figured out a way to put it in back, that was an interesting experiment. but it ended up working. We got our goggles, ear plugs, watches all on and we were ready to go. It was time to head to the water. We each crossed the start and walked into the water.

Everyone was in the water and you will be happy to know that this was probably the only time that I did not pee in the water! The horn sounds and we are off. Getting to the first buoy wasn't too bad I only veered off once and not too far. When I turned left around the buoy and then left around the next buoy I thought "Yes I am home free I just have to make it to the beach now." Ha that was correct it however seemed to take FOREVER. I tried my hardest to swim the crawl for most of it with the occasional breast stroke to rest and check I was still on the right course. On the way back to the beach every time I did the breast stroke it seemed as though I hadn't moved at all. I had no idea how long it was taking me but my goal the whole time was to always be able to see Sara. She is a much better swimmer than me so I knew there was a slim chance I would catch her but as long as I could see her I was happy but it still pushed me. After what seemed like an eternity I finally made it to the beach. The swim part was over!

Swim Time: 24:34 (my best time ever and new PR!)

I ran up the beach trying to take as much off as possible before I got the transition area. I even managed to lap my watch and get it out of my bra before I got to the table. Sara was already getting ready to put her sneakers on so I got to work.

I had decided to wear my shirt from First Descents for the run so that they would be represented and because I am working to raise money for them as I train for my triathlon. I had no idea how difficult it would be to put clothes on while you are wet. my shorts weren't too bad but getting my shirt on was quite the feat. That was fun to witness, I'll admit I got stuck once or twice!

 I got my socks and shoes on grabbed my watch, sunglasses and water and I was off for the run!

Transition time: 3:52 (longer than I wanted but I will have to work on it)

I was pretty confident for the run but I didn't know how tired I was going to be from the swim. I started out with the plan of run 1 minute walk 1 minute I was able to do that for quite a while. I ended up having to adjust it to 30 second intervals. I caught up to Sara for a little bit and then I was off. A little while later I rounded the turn around and was headed back. Thank god I was almost done and I was making great time (for me anyway). I passed Sara shortly after the turn around, we did a high five and cheered each other on at which point she told me "you better go faster or I'm gonna catch you." I thought 'oh shit I better hurry.' I stuck with the 30 second intervals the rest of the way regardless of how I felt. Well until I got to the 3 mile marker and looked behind me and I couldn't see Sara. She tricked me!! Well then again she was trying to motivate me so I say a huge Thank You to her for that! I ran the last 0.1 mile with a little more gusto. I couldn't believe the time I was making I was worried my husband wouldn't be at the finish line to take my photo because honestly I wasn't expecting to be done for at least another 5-10 minutes. But they were all waiting stationed at different parts of the run onto the beach. I crossed the finish line!!

I was so excited to be done and to have finished 10 minutes earlier than my goal!!

Run Time: 42:09 (The fastest I have ever done a 5k and I was tired!)

I then waited for Sara so I could get some pictures of her crossing the finish line and of course get a hug in!
We did it!

I can't thank Sara enough for getting me to do this as well as being so supportive through my whole training and just life in general. It is because of her that I even started doing anything related to exercise in the first place! While we were getting ready for the race there were a number of people who talked to her because of the blog she wrote last year about the first Chunky Dunk it inspired them to do it this year. So she is just inspiring left and right!! I also wanted to thank my husband and my mother for not only supporting me in my daily life but for coming up to New Hampshire for the weekend to be there for me during the race. I was so glad to have them there! And of course thanks to Sara's mom for letting all of us stay at their house on the lake for the weekend to do the duathlon! I had so much fun and I have made so much progress now I know I will survive the swim and run part of the triathlon I just need to focus on the cycling part.

After the race we all wanted to go to breakfast so we got dressed in our race shirts and since it the was the Chunky Dunk Duathlon we took a fun picture!
Swim: 24:34
Transition: 3:52
Run: 42:09
Total: 1:10:34

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sailing Heals

I was doing what I do an a continuous basis everyday checking my email. I saw an email from my oncology nurse practitioner so I immediately opened it. The email was telling me all about a new program she had heard about called Sailing Heals. They had recently partnered with Mass General Cancer Center! The basics of the program is that cancer patients get the chance to escape with a day of sailing! They offer four different places in Massachusetts to sail from, Marblehead, Marion, Buzzard Bay and South Dartmouth. The great thing about it is that not only does the patient get to sail but they get to bring a guest or two. After perusing their website I was very excited so I immediately submitted my application online requesting a sail from Marblehead.

That is the beginning of my sailing adventure. A short while later I received an email response from Trisha the Executive Director of Sailing Heals letting me know that they had a sail date of June 27th out of Marblehead and that I could bring 2 guests with me. I was so excited I decided to ask my friend Sara if she wanted to come since her and I have similar interests and everything else I have gotten the pleasure of doing through my cancer recovery journey I have done with others or on my own. She was immediately over joyed there only lied one small obstacle in our way. You see we both also work at the same school so it's quite tricky for us to get the same day off under normal circumstances. As it turns out we had the added problem of Sara's co-teacher was off for that week. As it turns out we have a fantastic assistant director and she worked her magic for us to be able to have the day off. June 27th actually worked perfectly because Lewis also had the day off so we would all be able to go together.

Now fast forward to the following Monday and I get another email from Trisha telling me that the weather for Wednesday doesn't look good and that they don't sail during thunder storms so that she regretted to tell me they would have to move the sail to Thursday. Which then presented the same problems as before. However once again our assistant director made it possible for us to go. But Lewis had to work on Thursday and could not get the day off so I invited my mother instead. The entire rest of the week we were filled with excitement as none of us had ever gone sailing before so this was to be quite the adventure!

We needed to be in Marblehead by 11:30am so we headed out around 9:30 just to make sure we had enough time to get there since it is an hour and half away. We did hit a little bit of traffic but nothing too bad and we arrived right on time.

We found a place to park and walked over to The Corinthian Yacht Club!
We walked out on to the porch to find a lively bunch of people as well as beautiful table setup for lunch with an amazing view!
As you can see we all got neat little gift bags in addition to the experience it self. That was a fun little surprise! We all sat down to a fantastic meal. It started with clam chowder which for those of you who know me know I usually don't like clam chowder but this one was actually pretty good and I ended up eating it all! Shocking I know. It was followed my a lovely salad and sandwich. Although I don't eat salad the sandwich was delicious! It was great to be able to sit and eat while we got to know everyone including our captains! 

Then it was time to head out to sea! We were so excited and ready to go! We called for our ferry to go out to the sailboat and made our down to the dock.
We all loaded on to the ferry and headed out!
There were two sail boats going out that day so we dropped the first group off at their boat.
Then we came upon our boat The Thistle!
We got on to the boat with our captain Ken and his wife Pat, Trisha, my Mother, Sara and myself! I was so excited we even got to watch them set everything up and then we headed out. But don't for a second think that meant the work was done because it wasn't. Ken quickly put people to work, including Sara!
Once the sails were up and had caught the wind Trisha was free sailing!
We sailed along for a while and then guess what? It was my turn at the helm! I was extremely nervous and excited all at the same time! But Ken was incredibly helpful and told me exactly what I needed to do and how to do it. It took me a while to get the hang of turning because it is a slow process but I got it down!
I look like a natural but my mom looks like she might be slightly nervous. :)

I got to steer for quite a while and it was nice because I had total control over where we went but I also learned how to read the "roads" that are setup for boats, which boats have the right of way and different sailing terms like head up (means turn towards the wind). I also got to here all about Marblehead and because I steering really had time to listen and take in the beautiful scenery that was around me. We even got to sail around Misery Island.

Then we had to head back. So once again Sara was put back to work with Trisha's help!
 As we were heading back into Marblehead harbor we got to really enjoy all the boats around us. We even saw the Boston Yacht Club! This was probably the cutest boat we saw because it looks just like a toy tugboat that a child would have in their bathtub.
After we got everything all closed up on the Thistle we called for our ferry back. It was so much fun being out on the water so we were sad that it was over already! We got a great view of The Corinthian as we came back to the dock.
After we all got back to the club there was a buzz about how much fun we all had as well as thankfulness to not only Trisha for the program but to our captains who volunteered their time and boats for all of us to be able have this experience! When we had all finished sharing our stories we got together for a group shot!
I had a lot of fun. Being out on the water is a truly amazing experience! Not only is it time away for yourself but also time that you can spend with those whom you are closest with but often don't get to share a laid back/relaxing time with. This trip made me fall in love with the water and boats even more than I already had. I definitely would love to sailing again and I think this program is phenomenal! If you know any cancer survivor who you think would benefit from this please let them know about it. The great thing is that you do not need to be affiliated with any of the partnering hospitals because the program is open to everyone! Also please check out their website and consider donating to keep this program up and running. And of course if you or someone you know has a sailboat and would like to be a volunteer captain they are always looking for more sail boats!

Thanks again to Trisha, Ken, Pat, The Corinthian Yacht Club and of course everyone else at Sailing Heals for an experience I will not soon forget!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fruit Gone Bad!

So I don't know about any of you but I always buy fresh fruit and will take it along as a snack, add it to my yogurt or cereal or use it as a side to a meal. However it never fails that I some how never use it fast enough before it spoils. I absolutely hate throwing food away so I try and find a way to use it without having to throw it in the garbage. (I thought about starting compost but I just don't have the mind to wrap around figuring out how to do it). 

I decided that I needed to figure out what the one meal my house never seems to have time for is? That would be breakfast! We are not morning people so trying to have some breakfast before leaving the house usually doesn't happen so I came up with a muffin recipe. The great part about it is, there is no flavor to it so whatever fruit you happen to have you can add to it and the batter will absorb that flavor. YUM!

So I happen to always over buy strawberries. And since I decided to bike to the farm stand yesterday and squished a carton of strawberries in my backpack on the ride home, I figured what better way to use them up!

Muffin Recipe:
1/4 C. Canola Oil
1/2 C. Milk
1 Egg
1 3/4 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Chopped Fruit

-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place paper liners in a 12 cupcake pan.
-In a small bowl combine oil, milk and egg. Beat Slightly. 
-In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
-Toss in chopped fruit and stir to coat with flour mixture.
-Pour in wet ingredients and stir together.
-Fill all 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes or until tops bounce back from touch.
-Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan to finish cooling or serve warm!

They come out fantastic! They are so tasty too!
I have substituted apple, blueberries, cherries and peaches and they always come out delicious. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Happy Tasting!