Friday, May 23, 2014

Swimming Fun & Retiring My Favorite Suit

I'm ready to retire my favorite swimsuit as of late, my sweet n' sassy cupcake suit, a sad day indeed! However, the stretched out elastic and faded suit serves as a great reminder of the swim miles I've logged over the last several months and the progress I've made in the pool.

See that happy face? I never thought I could look so happy in the water!

Swimming has certain changed over my college days. I loathed those swim sessions and only dragged myself to the pool so I could survive the swim portion of triathlons. It's really no fun to flounder around in the water during a race...

These days, I'm feeling more and more confident in my swimming skills and anxious to log some longer sessions in the pool. Whereas before I was struggling mentally to get through a 1500-2000yrd total workout, my main sets these days are closer to 1500yrds and I'm pushing 2500yrds for my total workout. Months of working on swim form seems to finally be clicking, I'm gaining a little more power and definitely A LOT more endurance in the water. 

Me with the 50m long-course pool behind me.

Last week I completed 1500 yards of continuous swimming, which really was 1500m, oops! In doing so, I enjoyed the long course pool at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, a newer facility in our area and a gorgeous one at that!!

At a more recent swim session, I ran into my friend, Kati, who is an avid swimmer. She had just finished 2 miles of sprints and was set to do a mile continuous swim for her cool-down. For her 27th birthday, she set out (and successfully completed) 27 miles of swimming in one week. Kati, you are quite impressive! Anyways, she mentioned how swimming is her sanctuary and quiet time, an activity that she does to unwind and relax. On a good swim day, I couldn't agree more. The 'silence' that the pool provides can really allow you to just step away from the world for a while, and the rhythmic strokes through the water is as soothing and therapeutic as it is great cardiovascular exercise. While cycling and running provide similar benefits, there is still a certain level of environmental awareness you must maintain for the sake of safety (though one reason while trail running in solitude is far greater than road running for relaxation purposes).

Work has been long and challenging over the past few weeks, and usually that means swimming gets swept to the back burner and workouts get missed. Somehow though, I've kept up with my swims and actually have been looking forward to them. It's been my "me" time, my hour of solitude and a key component of stress management and balance. Swim progress + stress management = not a bad combination!!!

On the agenda today is a coffee date with a friend, a long run, a longish swim workout and hopefully plentiful R&R in between. Oh, and it's a long weekend... Hard to beat that!

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tips For Making Healthy Smoothies (And TWO Recipes!)

I love a good smoothie and there are a thousand reasons of why I think they're ahhhhh-mazing. As the temperature keeps rising and we move towards summer, they're showing up all the more in my daily routine and essential in cooling me off while staying hydrated.

While I try to not drink my calories, smoothies are definitely the exception. Depending on how you make one, it can be jammed packed with vital nutrients-vitamins & minerals- that keep my body healthy. They're a great way to prevent fruit from going to waste, to up your fruit/vegetable and fiber intake or to get in some quick calories post-workout to jumpstart recovery. They are easy to customize, travel well and perfect for the busy on-the-go professional or athlete. And because they're in liquid form, smoothies are more easily digestible, making them ideal post-workout as a recovery meal or snack.

Last week I gave my monthly Food for Fuel Series talk, Spring Smoothies, to our independent living residents and this topic was a hit! Here's a quick summary of what we talked about, plus two of my more recent favorite smoothies:

The base of a smoothie is typically a fluid or yogurt. While I prefer soy milk or almond milk, some people like to utilize coconut water, green tea, fruit juice or cow's milk. Making smoothies with Greek Yogurt as a base is an easy way to boost protein.

Pairing fruit together for a smoothie is the perfect way to customize it for your individual taste buds. Just remember that different fruits contain different vitamins and minerals, so variety is the key to success! I love a combination of berries, banana w/ chocolate or PB, tropical fruit, strawberry-banana-kiwi or oranges/clementines. 

Smoothies are the perfect platform to consume certain functional foods you may not typically eat alone. Just throw them into the blender and watch them disappear into the colorful abyss. Potential additives include: mixed greens, maca, ginger, protein powders, unsweetened cocoa, avocado, flaxseed mill or chia seeds, nut butters or nuts and greek yogurt. Be careful, however, to keep portion size and overall calories in mind when it comes to all those extras!

The following recipe is a bit of a makeover of another smoothie I posted last year, my simple tart cherry recovery smoothie. Check out the link to read more on the benefits of tart cherries for recovery and fighting muscle soreness. Berries in general are a great source of antioxidants which help fight inflammation and prevent chronic disease.

While I love my original cherry smoothie, this one is bursting even more in terms of antioxidant/ nutrient value through the addition of chia seeds and an extra serving of berries, plus incorporates my favorite protein powder right now (Trader Joe's Chocolate Hemp Protein). I chose to stick with red fruits (cherries and raspberries), but you can substitute whatever you have on hand or desire. It makes for a great post-workout antioxidant blast that provides easily digestible carbs and quality protein for optimal recovery after hard efforts!

Cherry Berry Chocolate Chia Smoothie

8oz vanilla soy milk (or choice of 'milk')
2 tbsp tart cherry concentrate or 4oz cherry juice
3-4 frozen cherries
1/4 c. frozen raspberries (or other berry)
1/2 banana
1-2 tbsp chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp chia seeds

Mix until smooth. Enjoy within 30-45 minutes of harder effort workouts for optimal recovery.
Or for breakfast... that works too!

This is my favorite "dessert" smoothie, which I enjoy from time to time. A little splurge for breakfast, why not? The bananas contribute to providing this with a smooth, creamy texture, so be sure to keep some frozen bananas on hand!

The Chocolate & PB Lover's Smoothie

8oz vanilla soy milk (or choice of 'milk')
1 serving chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 c. uncooked oats
1 tbsp PB
A dash of cinnamon
A drizzle of honey or agave nectar

Blend & enjoy!


Want more information on making healthy smoothies? Check out the Prezi presentation that I created to go along with the talk I gave. I also found the following blog posts/resources to be a huge help:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Meet My Friend Bosu

I've had numerous people ask about my lifting routine, what I do in the gym to supplement and support my normal training. So, I will try to post a little more about this subject! Note that all opinions are my own, I am not currently a personal trainer but WAS in college and have about 10 years of weight lifting experience behind me. 

I'm back on the gym more regularly now since my marathon in March and overall, my focus is a bit different these days. Before it was heavy weights, focused muscle groups and exercises, but I have been growing weary of that routine and from a time management perspective, it just doesn't work for me! Whereas the focus over the winter is building strength, lifting too heavy of weights at any one workout can really hinder my ability to complete workouts effectively. So my focus as of late has been maintenance of strength and an emphasis on injury prevention. To accomplish this, I wanted to branch out and utilize some new equipment, challenge my body in different ways and streamline my workouts by utilizing multiple muscle groups at once.

So, meet my friend Bosu.

Bosu is a great friend. He assists me on my workouts, pushes me in different ways and is helping me to become more 'balanced.' Hehe.

I originally started playing around with the Bosu ball per the recommendation of my husband to build the lower body stability necessary to stay injury free. By engaging and strengthening accessory muscles, my larger muscle groups receive greater 'support' and stay happy.  For example: I battled chronic hip pain from May 2012 to Summer 2013... While stretching and loosing was once piece of the puzzle,  I needed an effective strategy for strengthening the accessory muscles that stabilize the hips to prevent future strain and flare-ups. 


Simulate or recreate those scenarios via utilization of a non-stable platform while completing standard exercises. The Bosu ball challenges my balance while engaging my core and accessory muscles more so than a flat surface would. It adds interest through the challenge of staying upright and the need to stay focused to do so. And because it's difficult to utilize overly heavy weights on the Bosu, I feel as if I'm getting a great workout without the residual fatigue heavy lifting create. 

What do I do on the Bosu, you ask ? Here are a few of my favorite exercises utilizing the Bosu ball, some recommended to me by a former personal trainer and many which were recommended by my Physical Therapist hubby:

  • Simple Balance Exercise: Stand on the rounded side and end age your core while balancing on one foot. You can simply elevate the one foot slightly above ground or bring it up towards your knee to hold a 'tree' pose. 

  • Toe Taps: Thanks to my personal trainer for introducing me to this last fall! Place the flat side down and do quick toe taps to the center of the ball for 30-60 seconds. For added challenge, try rotating around the ball as you've so, switching directions halfway. This is great for strenthening calves!

  • Single-Leg Dead Lifts: A challenge in itself to do on flat ground, this one requires focus !! Try it without hand weights first then slowly progress by adding in hand weights. 

  • Squat with Overhead Press: Standing on the Bosu adds an extra dimension of stability, engaging my core and glutes more. The addition of the overhead press makes this a great full body exercise.

  • Push-Ups: Put your feet on the flat portion for a great upper body exercise with increased core engagement. Or place your hands on the rounded side for added upper body challenge and to engage those triceps more!

  • Bridges: Put you feet on the round part of the Bosu and drive your hips/glutes up. The instability adds extra challenge to those glutes, which will in turn work to better stabilize your hips!

  • Lunges and/or Step-Ups: You can either stand on the ball and do reverse lunges (step back, alternating legs) or do forward lunges stepping onto the ball.

  • Extended Planks: Place you hands on the rim of the flat side and hold your plank. Hard enough on flat ground, this one is quite fun!!!

  • V-Sit & Hold: Sit on the round side of the ball and bring your legs and chest up yo firm a V with your body. Probably one of THE MOST challenging core exercises I've done. 

Okay, time to tackle the day! Have a great Friday/Weekend ya'll!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

27th Birthday: Cheers to Health & Happiness (and Good Food!)

Monday I celebrated my 27th Birthday!

I'm another year older and hopefully another year wiser?

My "goal" for my birthday was to have a low-key day and eat some good food. Really, I'm not too hard to please! Give me a good cup of coffee, a comfy couch and a cute doggie to cuddle with = happy Kristen!

I opted to take a half day from work and enjoyed a leisurely morning of milling around the house, listening to some country music and taking the dog for a short walk... I kicked off the day on an extra happy (and indulgent) note by skipping my normal green smoothie in lieu of waking up to a little something sweeter:

PB, banana and chocolate smoothie w/ an extra large dash of instant expresso :D
Me thinks more mornings need to start this way!

After work, the hubby, pup and I packed up our picnic basket (most awesomest wedding gift ever) with dinner and headed over to the Virginia Tech Horticulture Garden. We ordered sushi to go and enjoyed a peaceful picnic to the sound of crickets and flowing water. Okay, and kids running around on a scavenger hunt, lol. It was nice to eat and not rush, to watch the sun as it began to set and then stroll around campus to enjoy the evening air. Simple and PERFECT.

Yes it was a Hokie themed picnic. Duh! :D
Each year the hubby asks me what my "goals" are for the up and coming year. I have goals, dreams, ideas... I post them here pretty often. Those are things I do and are part of who I am, but I am learning they do not define me. I love my athletic goals, my career, this blog, all things running, etc. Yet above all, the pursuit of health and happiness continues to be my top priority in whatever shape or form that may come. I am blessed to have a family that cares for me and supports me, to be healthy, to be able to afford good food... to live in a town that I LOVE. Goals are good to have, birthday gifts are fun, but at the end of the day, all I need is everything I already have.

We have too much fun :)

Cheers to another birthday, another year of striving towards continued health and happiness, taking one day at a time and cherishing each moment.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Recipe: Cashew & Date Fuel Bites

I've talked a lot about what I eat day to day, but what about how I fuel during my training? As I move forward towards summer, training volume is expected to pick up. This weekend I have both an 80 minute run and 2.5 hour bike session on the agenda, both which will require some fueling throughout to get me through successfully!

With the rising temperatures, I definitely rely mainly on fluid calories to meet both my hydration and energy needs. But fluids alone get a little boring and I like to include some solid calories throughout! I've written before about how to pick out the best energy bar at the grocery store (see post here), which is a great and convenient option but often not the cheapest. More recently, I've been experimenting with making my own date-based energy bars from home and am LOVING the result. I have a few varieties I've made but today I am going to share the basic recipe which I adapted from Food52.


2 cups dates
2 cups cashews
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
(or dried fruit of choice)


Preheat oven to 350 F and toast your cashews for approximately 5 minutes. Let cool before transferring to your food processor. Now toast your coconut for approximately 3-5 minutes (watch it so it doesn't burn!) and set side.

Meanwhile, blend your cashews to form a nut-based flour (note: thanks to friend Kati for the tip of doing this first!). Next, add your dates, dried tart cherries and pumpkin seeds into the same food processor and continue to blend until it becomes moist and starts to come together. Transfer mixture into a mixing bowl and fold in the toasted coconut by hand. Form into balls, or line a small baking pan with parchment paper and press into bars. Note, you may find it best to use a paper towel to absorb excess oil while pressing (naturally expressed from the cashews). Place in an airtight container in the fridge! These mini snack bites are packed with nutrients and concentrated energy and are naturally sweet...perfect for fueling any ride, run, pre-gym or just as a snack!


To end this post, I have to give a huge shout out to the peeps of UltraVT. As the school semester comes to a close, many individuals are graduating and/or taking jobs that will be pulling them away from SWVA, including the team's co-founders Rudy and Guy. For those who are moving on: you will be missed tremendously! For those who are staying: I am looking forward to see where you take the team next! I had the opportunity to enjoy two great runs with the team this past week and I am thankful for both great runs and fellowship with friends.

Enjoying an end-of-semester team dinner at what I think is VaTech's BEST dining hall, D2, post-run on Thursday.

Have a great weekend, enjoy those workouts and fuel well!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

RD 2 Be: The Dietetic Internship!

I am random sometimes with my posts. Have you noticed? This one has gone unpublished for many months and I decided today would be great day to put it out there. Two years ago around this time, I graduated from my dietetic internship through Virginia Tech! It was a memorable experience and one I truly enjoyed. I was blessed with many wonderful, gifted preceptors who molded me into the RD I am today. I want to share my internship experience so that others will know what to expect in the future.

Logo credit to Carlene Thomas
I completed my internship through Virginia Tech, which actually has two internship classes: one based in Blacksburg and one based in Northern Virginia. While I was actually located in Winchester, VA during the internship (75 minutes west of the central class site of the internship), the internship director was more than accommodating of my situation and used it to broaden the horizons of the program... all of my rotations were based in and around Winchester, with many being in walking distance of my home. Lucky me!

I was married and returned from my honeymoon exactly 2 days before the start of the internship. Yes, it was stressful. The internship began with a two week orientation which went over internship expectations, a review of clinical nutrition, and general skill-building activities. That left me driving to NOVA (2+ hrs round trip) every day for two weeks. Not fun, but it was temporary and I pushed through it! Here's a quick overview of what I did for each of my rotations.


I completed my 16 week clinical rotation at Winchester Medical Center. While my main preceptor was the Director of Nutrition Therapy, I worked with each of the dietitians for 1-2 weeks to experience a little bit of everything: NICU and ICU, post-op, diabetes, oncology and renal nutrition. During my clinical rotation, I also gave a case study presentation on pancreatitis after following a patient extensively for 6 weeks (yes, that's how long they were hospitalized!). It was pretty neat following a patient from being tube fed in the ICU to giving them nutrition education prior to their departure!


I completed two, one-month long community nutrition rotations, one at a WIC Clinic (Women Infants and Children) and the other at the Valley Health Wellness Center. Of course, I adored working at the wellness center, where I did individualized nutrition counseling for a variety of things from eating disorder patients to weight loss to heart healthy eating. Some unique activities I participating in included a book review and presentation on Intuitive Eating; the design and implementation of a display on the benefits of exercise for youth for a local wellness festival and a talk show radio interview on healthy choices for the new year. At the WIC clinic, I spent the majority of my time shadowing nutritionists who would work with program participants to provide nutritional counseling in regards to healthy weight gain during pregnancy, healthy weight gain for their young children, prevention of anemia, etc. I also played a role in the initiation of a community breast feeding program and a local initiative called 9-5-2-1-0 For Health!, which aimed to reduce overweight and obesity rates in youth in the Shenandoah Valley.

Food Service

My Food Service Management rotation was spent with Frederick County Public Schools. I assisted with menu design and analysis, food production, scheduling and ordering and designed and implemented a themed meal at a local high school. It was in the production of this theme meal that I truly gained an appreciation for food service and solidified my love for food preparation (whether it be for myself or others!) I was able to spend some quality time in the kitchen while preparing for my Pi Day (3.14.12) Themed Meal, which included fresh made pizzas, whoopie pies (yum!), quiche and chicken pot pie. It was a ton of fun!!

(L) Interns pictured volunteering at a food pantry in D.C. (R) Pics from my Pi Day theme meal.
During this rotation we also visited PolyFace farms near Staunton, VA as an internship class. This was definitely a unique opportunity to be hands on with the production of food straight from the original source. I truly gained a greater appreciation for the energy and resources it takes to produce happy, healthy animals while maintaining an environmental friendly farm.


With our program we were able to choose a two week elective rotation. Naturally, I choose to return to Blacksburg for my elective and worked with the Director of Sports Nutrition within the Virginia Tech Department of Athletics! Yes, this was an amazing experience and I'm thankful I had the opportunity to experience it for a short period (while visiting Blacksburg of course!) Among other things, I conducted body fat analysis of athletes with the Bod Pod, worked in the Nutrition Oasis providing post-workout fuel, completed a case study, researched approved supplements and provided nutrition education and counseling to a football player.

Scenes from VT Athletics during my sports nutrition rotation.
The internship was without a doubt stressful at times, but I enjoyed the opportunity to experience many different areas of dietetics. Working full time and then coming home to assignments was a challenge, but it went a long ways in solidifying discipline, professionalism and stress management skills. I also really enjoyed our internship class... what I fine group of ladies each with ton of talent and passion for the profession. They totally made the internship experience top notch and I enjoyed hearing more about each interns' rotations on a weekly basis. Before we knew it, nine months had flown by and it was time to graduate!!!

Best intern class EVER!

If you're an RD 2 Be, here's my advice: applying and getting into internships is definitely a stressful process and you WILL work hard, but you'll also have a ton of fun. Get to know your fellow interns, they are your allies! Be involved and network, network, network! Find a project and make it your own. Communicate and always pay attention. Keep an open mind and use the variety of experiences to decide where your passion lies. Above all, remember the big picture and don't forget to have some fun!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Race Report: Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Triathlon

Saturday I "toed the water" at Smith Mtn Lake State Park for a sprint triathlon (750 yrd swim, 20k bike, 5k run). Now, for someone who is used to racing long trail runs and road marathons, a sprint triathlon seems as foreign and opposite as it gets! But it was fun and a great way to get back into "tri mode" to prep me for the season ahead. It was a great day of racing for me, and not just because I placed well, but because it was an awesomely fun day overall filled with smiles, laughter, community and catching up with friends.


The Friday before the race, I realized I had done very little in terms of getting my gear ready. I had not tried on my wetsuit in 6+ months, my tri-cycling shoes were missing clips and my bike dirty and in need of a tune up. I had no idea what "uniform" to wear nor what other gear I should bring along. I had not though about or practiced transitions in quite some time either... yikes! Thankfully coach sent me his transition guide and packing list and it was in fact helpful in getting me to actually think about this race and get somewhat prepared!

I guess I could of worried about it all, but I didn't... Friday night I put my clips on the correct pair of cycling shoes and did a few practice runs of my mount and dismount. The husband helped me pick out a uniform and we decided on his team USA uniform from way back in 2007. Yes, we fit into the same clothes... it's very convenient actually.

Saturday morning we hit the road early to make the 1.5 hr drive to Smith Mountain Lake State Park. I am glad we drove up the morning of. I slept well in my own bed and with a later starting time of 9am, we did not have to rush one bit. Actually, the drive was one of the highlights of my day. On top of witnessing a beautiful sunrise across the mountains, we sang along to some of our favorite songs and enjoyed the one on one time. It was a successful, though unintentional, race prep strategy. I arrived fully relaxed, happy and ready to take on the day.

Obligatory pre-race pic with my bike.
I now understand why those team USA suits are so expensive... it felt so nice to race in!!

Busy transition area as racers prep for the day.
It was nice to keep this race low-key: I kept my transition area (TA) simple with minimal equipment and since it was a short race nutrition was also not complicated. After getting my TA set up, I stood around and was like "Ok, what now?" I spent a few minutes on the bike practicing my mount-dismount and making sure everything was proper working order. Afterwards I suited up and made my way down to do a short swim warm-up in the chilly lake... Thanks to Juliana for keeping me company otherwise I may not have ;) Though, being the wimp that I am, I didn't put my head under water prior to the race start. 

With Miss Juliana

Swim Start

Swim: We listened to the National Anthem and shortly thereafter the women were off in the second swim wave. I personally thought my swim went exceptionally well. Granted, I wasn't the fastest out of the water, but I swam strong for me, kept in line with the buoys, stayed calm/relaxed and navigated the crowds well. I quickly forgot about the temperature of the water and found a good groove. Considering this is only my 2nd open water swim in maybe 3+ years and how much I hate cold water... I am HAPPY.

That's  me! ^^                 

T2: Exiting the swim is probably my least favorite part of tri's...and more especially when it's an uphill run to the TA! My legs don't function well after swimming and honestly I feel like an awkward combination of a marshmallow with jello legs trying to run (waddle?) in a wetsuit! How's that for a metaphor? Anyways, I did enjoy the crowd support as I made my way up from the beach. Other than struggling to get my wetsuit off over my timing chip, it was a decent transition.

Bike in hand off to complete the 12.4 mi bike!

Bike: The bike was fun, but it hurt! My quads and hamstrings were pretty tight and we had an uphill to get out of the park to start. I am slow to warm up as it is and simply felt like I had no strength in those early miles. After the first turnaround point though (~3 miles), my legs woke up a bit and my competitive drive kicked in. I focused on picking off racers and keeping my cadence high. I didn't wear a watch for the race and in hindsight, I'm really glad I decided not too. It was great to put 100% of my focus into the racing environment and to being in tune with my body's effort cues rather than relying on data! As I approached the 2nd turnaround point, I caught up with fellow Hokie/One-on-One athlete Juliana (whom I warmed up with) and it was fun/motivating to volley back and forth throughout the remainder of the ride.

After turning back into SML State Park we had about a mile of FAST downhill finish. It was FUN but also a bit chaotic/tight when passing other cyclist, while sharing the road with those already on the run and getting out of my shoes to prepare for dismount.

Me chasing down Miss Juliana while a fellow Hokie athlete heads out on the run!
T2: There was a short, steep downhill approaching the dismount line which was absolutely tricky, especially when you're in a group of 3-4 other athletes. Nonetheless, I did my flying dismount while keeping full control of my bike and maneuvered past the other athletes and flew through TA to my rack. T2 has always been a strong point for me and is  my favorite part of the race! It went exceptionally well and I was in and out in a flash passing 2 females in the process (I think)... My official T2 time of 0:39 ended up being the 3rd fastest among all the racers, woot!! It pays to keep things simple.

Run: The first mile of the run is a steady climb say the least I was not too enthused!! While I bolted out of the TA, my legs quickly locked up on me and the water I consumed on the bike tried to come back up. I reminded myself quick steps until they loosened up (thanks Coach!) I was greeted to more cheers in the first half mile and my husband informing me I was the 6th overall female... these both gave me a bit more pep in my step. After about a mile I found my stride and began to make up ground and seek out runners ahead. I turned the corner and the worst of the run was over, thankfully!! I passed one lady to move into 5th overall and remember feeling strong. The downhill finish was a blast and even more so because I was able to see and cheer on fellow racers and especially those Hokies!

Last half mile of the run

As I approached the finish, I didn't know what to expect for a time. I ended up finishing in 1:20:05, 5th overall for the ladies and 1st in my age group. After the race, it was lovely to just sit around and soak up the sunshine and hang out with friends and enjoy the post-race atmosphere. Food, friends, awards and a beautiful view overlooking the lake... yes please!!

I think the hubby has told me how "proud" he is about 50 times since Saturday.
Picking up my 1st place AG award!
Racing is fun but it is certainly more enjoyable when you do so with friends and support. I am thankful for my husband and coach being there to cheer me on and see me race!! It's really cool to see the two people who've supported my training the most see me in action and more especially on a good day =)

With the team One-On-One Endurance crew... all who did exceptionally well! Photo By T. LeRoith

So now it's time for rest and recovery and to take on a new week. Happy Monday all!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Little Victories: Why May Is My Favorite Month!

May is favorite month of the year!

Why? Well what's not to love about May?

Spring is in the air and warmer temps mean more time outside, which makes my heart happy.

Hanging out in the sunshine this past weekend... and yes, me hanging upside from a tree.

Soon the students will be done with their spring semester (you did it!) and then our town will become a little calmer and quieter.

May means many flowers are in full bloom. I recently visited the VT Horticulture Plant sale and picked up some flowers for our yard plus veggies for planting! We most likely won't have a yard garden this year, but will be continuing with our mini planter garden from last year.

The start of our vegetable garden (left), flowers from the hubby at my workplace (top)
and flowers for our yard (bottom)

It has been almost perfect weather for riding and running. The triathlon season kicks off or me with my first race tomorrow, the Smith Mtn Lake Sprint Triathlon. It should be a lovely day once I escape the frigid water and get on my bike!

From a recent easy ride in the valley
May is also my birthday month! My birthday falls closer to the middle of the month yet I like to celebrate all month long. Because why not?

Standing in front of Apple Orchard Falls... from the PL 50k this past weekend.

May also brings the anniversary of this blog, which is now two years old! Wow how time flies!!!

Anyways, let's move on to some little victories to wrap up April and set some goals for May:

Little Victories: April

  • Sleep has greatly improved this month, thank goodness!!!
  • I've had some great weight room workouts, many using the Bosu ball for stability which has been a very positive change to my routine. I hope to have a post on that soon!
  • I've found my groove with swimming again and am getting more comfortable with longer workouts (a very good thing with a 750 yrd open water swim in tomorrow's race!)
  • My Serotta has been putting in some good miles, including a 40ish mile ride a few weeks ago.
  • As for meal prep... it's coming along ;) I am finding that keeping the fridge well stocked with healthy grab n' go like foods is working best for now.

Goals for May

  • Keep the husband well fed (that can be a goal right?) I'm sure he would appreciate it with his training about to ramp up for the summer. 
  • Exploring new routes: I tend to ride/run the same routes consistently... I think some variety would be good for my routine!
  • Increasing my fruit and veggie intake... I've sort of been slacking at this!!! 5-10 servings a day is the goal for plentiful nutrients and antioxidants, etc to support training
  • Get my supplementation routine in order. I don't rely on supplements to support my lifestyle, but after attending a sports nutrition lecture at the VAND conference, I am looking at making some changes to optimize energy, recovery and overall wellness.
  • Stress less: April was a stressful month for me at work and I desperately need more of a laid back month ahead. I work with students pretty consistently but am planning on giving myself a short break from that before resuming mentorship over the summer.

What are some of your favorite things about the month of May?

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