Monday, July 22, 2013

Arguing Against Moderation

My mother, in all her infinite wisdom, has one thing wrong.  She always used to tell me, and probably still will, that I should remember to do everything in moderation.  Too much of a good thing, she would likely argue, turns it into a bad thing.  I, respectfully, disagree.

Here's why.  If you don't like something in excess, why waste your time doing it (or eating it) in moderation?  I hold the firm belief that the fastest way to figure out if something is worth doing is by doing absurd amounts of it.  Country music songs for example.  Sophie and I have a habit of listening to songs on repeat.  Some say this is stupid.  The nay-sayers argue that we will "just get sick of it faster."  But if it really is a song I will love for the rest of my life, no amount of listening to it will make me sick of it.  So, listening to it in excess is the best way to determine which songs I really love.  Easy.
Two things I love in one picture: Pink AND maple flavored things.  I made this cake for a little dinner we had at the Caldwell's.
 Using this logic, I've discovered I really love the color pink.  I have a ridiculous number of pink outfits.  It's girly, stereotypical, and always in excess.  But I like it.  And every day I wear pink, I feel just a little happier.  Same goes for maple.  There can never be enough maple flavor in anything.  And the only way I figured out I love maple is by putting it in everything.  Like the above maple bundt cake with maple whipped cream frosting.
Megan and me probably at mile 45. We got really tired, but still managed to get the biking done in under 5 hours! Cruising.

Smiling after 100 miles.. excessive miles but loving every one (except for mile 67-not fun for me).
 Road biking.  In the past 8 days, I think I've done 11 hours of road biking.  This is a little above normal levels, due to my participation in the prouty, a 100 mile bike ride starting in Hanover.  100 miles is in excess--but I was still smiling after 100 miles, so I must really like biking (although I did have a sore bum).  Just yesterday I did a 3.5 hour road bike with the SMS training group, and I can honestly say I enjoyed the entire thing.  We had a great group with a lot of people, so conversation was never dull and never absent.
The Carins!  Soph, Packer and I built one.  It wasn't nearly as cool as some of the other structures, but still pretty neat to help the cause.
 Rocks (hi Isabel).  Although I hold no where near the love of rocks Isabel holds, I can appreciate them.  On Route 30 in Vermont a man started building carins (the stone structures you see above) in memory of his dog.  He would spend hours building them, and eventually the Bondville population caught on and started helping him.  It was truly amazing and inspiring, and a great example of something in excess being completely necessary and happy.
Red looking for some breeze during the "hot week."  I, like Red, don't like heat in excess.  And having a week straight of it was a pretty fast way to figure that out.
 But not everything in excess is good.  A prime example of this is the absurd heat wave we experienced last week.  Every day was practically a million degrees with 2000% humidity.  I could take one day of this, but having it every day for 5 days proved to me that tropical climates were not my thing.  Training was sweaty and gross, and I couldn't walk any where without breaking a decent sweat.  Luckily, there are ways to combat excess.  We started workouts at 8 in the morning to try and avoid the worst parts of the day, and at night we made a plethora of summery meals (i.e. a lot of grilling and cold salad type things).  It's raining today, which is also not good in excess, but one day here and there is much appreciated :)
Henry being goofy.  This is immediately following his successful remembrance of his Exeter email password.  Val intelligently pointed out that most passwords are case sensitive, something Henry had evidently forgotten.
 But back to positive excess.  I miss my Minnesota family, and because I'm not experiencing an excess of it I miss them even more.  I recently facetimed (I can use technology.. yes) with them, and they are doing very well.  Henry is attending Exeter Academy in the fall for a PG year, and I'm really excited to have him out East next fall.  I still won't get an excessive exposure, but better than nothing.  Absence, as it turns out, really does make the heart (hart...punny) grow fonder.
Isabel and Soph.  I've also had a lot of exposure to them this summer, and because I still want to be with them I'd say an excess of Caldwell's is something I like.


GET IN MY BELLY (Megan style).

 Probably the biggest argument against moderation comes in the form of blueberries.  Sophie, Isabel, Megan and I went blueberry picking yesterday, and probably picked around 20 pounds among the 4 of us.  For the first part, I had a "pick one, eat one rule."  This morning, I swear, I woke up with a little blue tint to my hair.  Yet even after eating probably 5 pounds yesterday, this morning Soph and I made waffles with a blueberry topping.  So, I obviously love blueberries.  And no better way to figure this out than eating 7 pounds in two days.
Erika, Soph, and me before some really hard level 4 uphill striding intervals.  They were really hard.  

Rudy project helmets (and safety)..both things better in excess.
Finally, training and friends.  If I didn't enjoy training and my training buddies (and best friends) so much, there is no way I could be doing the amount of training I've done the past two weeks.  We've had a big two weeks of volume and intensity, but (most) every day I leave the workout really happy.  And, this week we have an easy week.  Recovering is part of training, so I will probably do a lot (maybe even an excess) of recovering this week.

Good things don't always need to be in moderation.  So with that, I probably will go snack on some more blueberries.

hugz and kissez

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I like (love) adventuring.  Adventuring keeps things interesting.  A life without adventures, would, quite frankly, suck.  Luckily, I've done my fair share of adventuring the past couple of weeks.

One of the adventures involved driving up Putney Mountain Road to Megan Killigrew's (Dartmouth ski team graduate and future teacher of english to 11th grade kids (!)) graduation party.  Driving can always be an adventure, but this road was ridiculous.  There really is only room for one car--but obviously it is a two way--and the steepness is ABSURD and the road is windy and bumpy with absolutely no room for error.  If a car comes the other direction, you both would have to play chicken and wait for the other person to back up to one of the few "extensions" into the woods.  And then god forbid a car comes along as you're backing up..scary stuff.  But adventurous none-the-less.

This is Michaela.  She is going to be a junior at Dartmouth next year and is also on the ski team.  She spent the last term in Spain so I'm really excited that she's back!

The Boys (Left to Right Ben, Simi, Andy, and Skyler).  They coordinated their outfits very well, without even calling and planing.  Or so they say, I'm not convinced.

Michaela and Austin!

Isabel and I had semi-matching skirts/outfits.  Twins!

Some Dartmouth Women Skiers (Left to Right: Michaela, Megan, Me, and Julia)
After Meg's party, I drove (less adventurously) to Hanover.  One of the highlights of last summer (which I spent at Dartmouth) were the over distance runs.  It worked out that the weekend I was in Hanover, the team was running Franconia.  It was beautiful.  And definitely an adventure.  In part because it was unclear at what point it would start thunder storming.  We have had so much rain the past couple of weeks.  So. Much. Rain.  But it remained lovely for us on the ridge, and afterwards we stopped for ice cream!  
At the top of Franconia.  

This is the ice cream I got from Fat Bob's.  I really like sprinkles.  But normally ice cream places only put sprinkles on the top, but Fat Bobs did a wonderful thing and put some surprise sprinkles on the bottom.  Good move, well done Fat Bob.

People in the East are also really into jumping into bodies of water.  It's not really my thing, but I do enjoy tagging along and watching (most) people make total fools of themselves trying to do flips.  Simi is not one of those people.  Skyler, Simi, Ben and I on an off afternoon went to the quarry near Manchester, VT.  It wasn't very crowded (because it was raining naturally) but there was a group of die hard jumpers who probably thought Simi was a god.  They even tried to imitate him, and they failed.  I was a little worried one of the guys was going to hit his head on the rock trying to flip.  He didn't, but he should probably remember to always adventure within rational boundaries. 
Simi about to do some amazing trick, probably.

Skyler wasn't quite as excited about this adventure.  It was raining and not super pleasant outside.

Because it has been raining so much, the trails around Stratton are more like streams.  We had a longish run up Mad Tom Notch (I think that's the right name) and by the end everyone was completely coated in mud.  But it did make the 2 hour run go by a lot faster, because I kept trying to avoid the largest mud puddles and just hit the smaller ones.  Adventure runs go by a lot faster than a 2 hour pavement pounder. And are a lot more fun.  Especially with good company.
Isabel really excited pre-running adventure.

Isabel and me being fierce after our adventure through the rain forest (or the AT trail in Peru, VT..pretty much the same thing)
 For the fourth of july, Isabel and Sophie abandoned me.  Isabel went with David (and is still actually there) to his family's place in upstate New York (I think), and Sophie went to Nantucket with Dan.  It's ok though, because Hanover isn't far away so I went up there for some more adventures.  We went and explored the ledges with the intention of swimming, but the water was way too high and quick (thanks to all the rain) so instead we just kind of hopped around on the rocks and threw them.  It was beautiful out however, so a lot of fun.
Boys and Backpacks ready to throw rocks at other rocks at the Ledges near Hanover

It was really pretty driving home from Hanover on the 4th.. I feel like this could be the cover of a country album.
 The last two weeks have been pretty big weeks of both training (a lot of intensity and also a lot of volume) and adventuring.  All of this training and adventuring is tiring.  I've been getting better at recovering correctly, but I still get pretty antsy and want to just get up and go do something.  So to counter that I've been trying to do a lot of reading and in general just enjoying life and the sun (whenever that comes out).

Skyler's dog Brady.  This picture has nothing to do with adventuring or recovering, but it is adorable.
 Other great ways to recover correctly include (but are not limited to) fireworks and eating food.  We've had a lot of good food lately.  Sverre brought home raspberries from his parents house, which were amazing and gone way to quickly.  We also made s'mores at Andy's cabin, which I hadn't had in a long time, and were still delicious.  Also, as it turns out, both of the Annies (myself and Annie Pokorny) have things we love to make...Annie P makes waffles and I make muffins.
Fireworks are lots of fun, minus the mosquitos.

Jessie trying to achieve the coveted golden brown.

Annie Pokorny's waffles (she made them, I ate them)

My muffins.  Blackberry, Raspberry, Dark Chocolate Oat.  Quite delicious.
It has been a great two weeks of adventuring, and on Saturday I'm biking 100 miles for the Prouty, a ride sponsored by the Norris Cancer Center to help raise money to cure cancer.  A great cause, and undoubtedly the ride will be another great adventure.

hugz and kissez

Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 things I love about now

As Erika so subtly pointed out to me this morning (and my mom as well.. maybe not a coincidence) it has been 10 days since the last post.  Completely unrelated but at the same time not, one of my favorite movies is 10 things I hate about you (  So, inspired by Erika's day counting, and the aforementioned movie, I've decided to compile a list of 10 things I love about now (because love is so much more fun than hate).

1. Recovering outside.
Gus did remind us that laying in the sun isn't recovery, but every once in awhile is just fine.  I'm pretty sure that maximum recovery also involves getting sufficient stock piles of Vitamin D, and I'm currently in no shortage.  I've also finally attained a non-ghost like appearance, so when I stand in front of a clean white wall I don't just blend in.  Although I do still occasionally enhance my "tan" with the occasional neon article of clothing (well ok all the time).
Paddy and me "recovering" after a long ski
 2. Amazing views.  
This is from "lookout point" on Equinox Mountain, which Annie and I ran (ok mostly walked) up for an easier day of training.  It's so funny having another person named Annie around, and is requiring some more specific naming.  I'm also not still not used to saying my own name out loud, but I'm psyched that she's here and she makes an excellent training partner.

The Two Annies
 3.  Not crying
A couple days ago we hopped into some skate speeds (my favorite workout) with the REG camp currently happening at SMS.  It's an awesome time--lots of people all running around and skiing really fast.  That said, it makes me feel really old because I remember going to REG camp and that seems like a really, REALLY long time ago.  But back to not crying... so during the speeds I had my first ever crash.  I had just been waiting for the day I totally ate it, because before that day I had only experienced one minor crash 2 years ago.  But immediately after that minor crash I was giggling because I literally fell over Isabel, but then I looked down and saw that my thumb was bleeding, and started sobbing.  This fall was much worse, but I didn't cry.  I just put on my big girl pants and finished up the speed session.  Sometimes that's what you have to do--put on the big girl pants and keep on keepin' on. Although putting on pants still hurts.  Good thing its dress season!
 4.  Isabel
Every day I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to have Isabel as a  constant companion.  She is the most wonderful, genuine, happy, supportive, loyal and beautiful person I think I know.  Love you boo!
Vermont Wildflowers are beautiful.  After a double pole workout in Weston (where there a lot of big hills) I made Isabel get out of the car and go frolic in them.  It didn't take much convincing.

 5.  The Super Moon
A couple of nights ago the world experienced a super moon.  According to Wikipedia, a super moon is when a full moon is closest to the earth, resulting in the largest apparent size of the moon.  It's technically called the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun System.  Our Power was out for the night, so Isabel and I took the opportunity to stay up and look at it!  It was awesome, the iphone doesn't do it justice.  In addition we saw a lot of fireflies, and apparently fire flies "light up" to attract mates during mating season, and that the light created by fire flies is the only light that doesn't emit energy because it is a chemical reaction in the bug.  Fun Fact courtesy of Isabel!  Isabel and I are going to hunt fire flies later this summer.

The SUPER moon.
 6. Swimming (or in my case sitting next to the snow making pond, observing).
Following lots of big sweaty workouts (like the L3 bounding up Stratton Mountain we did today--a ton of fun in part because of the huge group of people--so cool!) a lot of time we head to the snow making pond.  The water is very clean and a superb temperature, and maybe by the end of the summer I'll make it in.  Sophie beat me too it--she went in today!  Which is rare because normally we are the two sitting by the edge dipping our toes in :) Speaking of Sophie...
Jordan Fields--or Fields of Dreams as we affectionately call him--came to visit us from Woodstock, VT for a couple of days.  He was a PG last year in the fall, and we sure miss having him around.  Caption: Hidden Tiger, Crouching Fields.
 7.  Soph's Back!
Sophie just got back from a 5 week western adventure.  She was in Bend with the US Ski Team (which she is now a part of...yay!) and then 3 weeks in Park City, Utah training.  I'm glad she had such a fun time, but I'm glad-er that she's back here.  Similar to Isabel, I love Sophie for all the same reasons.  Must run in the family.
Isabel is also really excited that Soph (or Doph) is back.
 8. Red the Cat
I love Red, one of the Caldwell's cats.  The other cat is named Dudley Rose, and so far neither of them have been eaten by the fox.  Hooray!  Red likes to lay outside with me, and he apparently even has interest in being a cover girl.  He's so majestic, he could probably start their first feline-friendly line.  
He's just a little bit tired.

But always ready for the camera.
 9. Rainbows!
Just towards the end of strength yesterday, we all looked outside and saw not only a rainbow, but the lowest rainbow I've ever seen AND both ends of it.  Sorry to say there wasn't a pot of gold, but we still felt lucky.  And we are lucky--all of us get to spend the summer training and hanging out, and appreciating all the wonderful things Vermont has to offer.  I was also feeling especially lucky, because I have an easy week in strength.  I've been working really hard at putting on some muscle in my legs, and I think its paying off, but its always nice to have an easy unload week.  The arms are next.  I'll probably feel them tomorrow after the double pole intervals we have planned (likely in the pouring rain).  But after rain there are often rainbows, so it all comes full circle.
If you look closely, or imagine really well, you can see two rainbows.  But the bottom one is clear.  The weather here has been very strange.  Really hot and humid in the morning, followed by massive thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Makes afternoon training a little questionable, so it's always nice to have strength scheduled.

 10.  Sports Bra Tan Lines
Maybe this is weird, but one of my favorite parts of summer is getting a sports bra tan line.  And every year its kind of fun to see how long I can keep it into the winter.  One year it never even went away.  Some people hate them, but I just embrace it.  T-Shirt tan lines, on the other hand, I am not a fan of.  So I avoid those at absolutely all costs.

And on a final note, today is Sverre and Lilly's 26th wedding anniversary!  Congratulations, and thank you so so much for having me.  I miss my Minnesota family and home very much, but feel very lucky to have another place I can call home on the East.

And now Sophie and I are about to do another thing I love...bake some muffins. 

hugz and kissez

Monday, June 17, 2013


It's summer time! and it has been awhile.  But regardless it IS back--Adventures with Annie (hi soph and erika).  And I'm back training with the lovely SMS T2 team in Stratton, VT. My living quarters, have, however, greatly improved since the fall.  Instead of the infamous lift line, the Peru Caldwell Family, headed by the ever gracious Lilly and Sverre Caldwell, are putting me up for the summer.

Peru Caldwell house staple: The Piggly Wiggly Morning Coffee.  This was taken on the first sunny day in actually 4 days. Instagram worthy, filter choice debatable, but the coffee was amazing.
The Caldwell's lawn is filled with beautiful wildflowers.  The orangey-tangeriney-sunshiny-happy colored ones are my favorite.  Which is strange because there are pink wildflowers too.
Oscar (a Dartmouth teammate) enjoying the first day of sunlight.  Getting his bronze on.
Living in vermont for the summer, I've been exposed to a slightly different scene then normal.  For one, the boys chop woods for the fire place in preparation for the (hopefully) cold winter ahead.  For another, some of the biggest news in the town of Peru is that Marvin, the postmaster, is leaving.  Everyone is really devastated by his departure, as he was very nice and showed everyone the stamps before purchase.  Also, on a more personal note, he figured out I was living at the Caldwell's for the summer and is advising the incoming postmistress that any mail addressed to a "Ms. Hart" should be forwarded to the Caldwell's box.  I met Marvin briefly, and am very saddened by his departure.  The incoming postmistress has a lot to live up to.

Picture not staged.  But do notice Austin's impeccable forward lean.  Power application double pole practice.  No wonder vermonters are so fast at skiing!
Another difference from past summers is the presence of wild animals.  Isabel ran into a bear on her run one morning, we saw a porcupine waddle (and it was waddling, he was so fat and so slow), and there has been a fox trying to eat Dudley Rose and Red (the two Caldwell cats).  The fox roams around the perimeter of the house, and actually got a little taste of Dudley Rose right off of the back terrace.  The boys are trying to kill the fox, and Austin actually threw two kitchen knives at it one time.  Needless to say, he didn't even come close to hitting, much less killing, the fox.

Austin may be terrible at killing foxes with kitchen knives, but he is good (well better than all of us) at horseshoes. In the backyard the Caldwell's have a horseshoe pit, and this afternoon we all played.  Rather Austin and Isabel "played," while Oscar, Dave and I just tossed horseshoes and hoped for the best, and also looked out for each other's incoming throws.  Regardless of ability level, the game was taken very seriously.
It's unclear what Oscar is celebrating here, seeing as I think he, Dave, and I scored a combined 2 points.

David showing his "impeccable" form

I tried many different techniques, none of them proving to be very effective.  As it turns out, hand eye coordination is not my thing.  I'm a little embarrassed by this picture, but it aptly depicts the game.

Austin, who is actually good (well better) at the game, shows the proper technique.  According to Austin, "It is all about being one with the horseshoe."

Sometimes it was unclear who got the points.  Everyone got involved in the decision making process.  Here Oscar shows his decision making face. Cute.

Then Oscar got ahold of the phone.  Selfie!

Photography by Oscar.  Yeah Iz!

And then in typical Vermont fashion, it went from beautiful, sunny, swimsuit weather to thunder storming.  Metal horseshoes and lightening together are not a good idea.

It wouldn't be a complete blog without the mention of both food and training.  Training so far has been going well.  We've done some speeds, and some light intensity, a lot of strength, and so far one OD.  I'm decently tired, as I think my training in the last week and a half about equals the amount of training I did in the entire month of May.  School this past term was tough--I was talking an extra class to supplement my winter courses, and I was really focused on just recovering, running the Vermont Marathon, and getting psyched for summer training.  So I'm looking forward to hopefully a lot of sunny days filled with lots of fun training, but so far nothing huge to report on that end.  Other than the fact that I hate double poling.
A nice big group of boys starting out the 2.5 hour classic OD

The girls!

Another typical Vermont thing: covered bridges.  An artsy shot of Annie Pokorny and I with maybe an hour to go in the ski.  We had a really nice ski and I am looking forward to many more!

On the baking end I've also been slacking on a little bit.  After getting to the Caldwell's from Hanover, I've been doing a lot of reading and a lot of relaxing.  BUT I did make some cupcakes (really good cupcakes if I do say so myself) for a big gathering that Lilly hosted with some of the Stratton skiers.  They were vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream frosting, with a raspberry for garnish.  I think that simple cupcakes are better than crazy ones, and I think these were just about perfect.  Although Gus would have preferred more raspberries.  And I would have preferred muffins, but not everyone feels the same way about muffins that I do.
Cover of my future cookbook.  Lilly liked how the raspberries matched my dress!  Actually not planned, but a happy coincidence.


It's sunny again, and I think I might go learn to chop wood.
My best friend Isabel.  We are going to be spending the summer together (again!) and I'm so excited.  She's obviously really excited too.

hugz and kissez