Energy Drinks

This year I have changed my main focus of mountain biking. Up until this year, I just focused on staying on my bike without clipping a tree or wiping out on a turn or even (this is embarrassing) falling up hill. I honestly tried to just get around the loop without getting really hurt. I had no technical skills, walked over most logs, and floundered over the rocky sections. My goals for this year are to improve my technical skills, rocks, logs, sharp turns, and roots, and improve my endurance.

I am competing in the NUE race series this year, which are long endurance races ranging from 45 to 101 miles. A huge part of making it through these races, like any endurance event, is nutrition and hydration. My brother, Heath, constantly tells me to drink more water and eat before I began to fade. I set a timer in my head to drink every 20 minutes to help prevent the hole I dig for myself. Eating while I ride is hard, especially while mountain biking because it is hard to take your hands off the bars through the sharp turns. For me, I  usually have to stop to eat, which can work on a casual ride, but is not great for a race.


Heath and my dad use Infinite energy drinks to get through their long days. They create custom formulas based on their needs while they ride, how flavorful, how much you sweat, if you cramp up, if you retain water, and much more. This drink can also be made to stop you from needing food while you bike, which is a huge plus for me. I usually drink Gatorade for longer and hotter rides to help keep me going and encourage me to drink. I finally decided to try Infinite for myself! I made and ordered my custom formula just a few weeks ago. I got to try it out some this weekend because we got to go for some longer and harder rides, and I am looking forward to see how it affects my riding!


Our ride Saturday was really broken up because rode to breakfast and then to a bike demo. We biked to a nearby park where there was a Scott and local shop (Race Pace) riding demo. Sneakily, we changed our road pedals out for SPD mountain bike pedals that morning so we could try some demo bikes! I got to try a Scott Spark 930 and 27+ which were both awesome bikes to ride. This was my first time riding a plus bike, and I loved how easy it was just to cruise over the logs and smash through the rocks. It was a great confidence boost. It was also so easy to change how much suspension I had making it great for rocky sections fully open, long climbs part way open, and road sections being locked out. I really enjoyed riding these bikes!

On Sunday, Heath and I went for a nice ride before the misty rain set in. We got to take his dog, Oakley, out with us, which always makes the rides more fun. He loves to run and can keep up really well. Although, he does cut some of the corners!  

The Weekly Update

This week has been a little bit hectic. My mom was really sick for most of my time home, she even spent a day in the hospital. I was happy that I was home because I was able to take care of her while my dad was at work. Luckily, she is doing better now and getting her normal spunk back! We are traveling to Charleston next weekend to run a 10k and she needs to keep running. We have also overpacked our itinerary, which is typical, so she needs to be at full strength! The rest of my time home was spent playing with Dizzy and Kiwi, relaxing, and biking, both indoors and out.

IMG_0464

I am not really ready to go back to school this weekend. I have really enjoyed just relaxing and being my family. I also am getting really nervous about graduating school as it flies towards me! I want time to slow down. Speaking of slowing down, Dizzy turned six years old last week. She acts like a puppy so much of the time, full of energy and always ready to play. I don’t notice a difference in her age until she is around Kiwi, who just turned one.

 

IMG_0755

ONE // With all my future travel plans, I was in the market for some new luggage! I came across this design that is perfect! My phone always dies while traveling because I listen to music constantly while traveling.

TWO // With sports at the forefront of most people’s minds, this comment by a coach really stood out to me! Sports play a huge role in our lives, whether we are young or old, and we learn so much by our coaches and professional and collegiate athletes.

THREE // I weirdly skipped a year of college and never technically graduated, so graduating this year is a huge deal to me. I am so excited to share this news with my friends and family. I love this post with the cutest graduation announcements and I cannot wait to send mine out! I need to slow down and wait because March is just a tad bit too early!

FOUR // I am not someone who would say they have anxiety, but I definitely overthink and over craze about everything in my life. I can be meticulous to a fault, driving people around me a little nuts at times. This article got me thinking and is a good read!

FIVE // Heath and my dad were so lucky to get to travel to St. George, Utah for the opening NUE race. I am beyond jealous of where they were able to ride. The trails sounded amazing. I hope to get the chance to ride here some day! You can check out his race report here!

Thirty Days of Wholesome Eating!

Today marks the end of my Whole 30 challenge, and a challenge it was! I gave up sugar, sweets, grains, legumes, and so much more, to get back my stomach. Food becomes so much more than something that we nourish our bodies with. We use food to get us through the hard times, when we are bored, when we are sad, when we are celebrating, and all the times in between. It can be such a positive thing or such a negative thing. I know I can through so many ups and downs, even in just one day. Through this experience I learned so much about myself over these 30 days.

17190588_1318341608242754_2317217581313370002_nimage

One thing I was really able to accomplish was to stop drinking soda. I use soda as a crunch to get through my really hard days at school. I sometimes needed a pick me up craving something sweet and something with caffeine. I became much better at preparing for my day to prepare for this time (usually around 3-4PM). I made sure to have water nearby, always fresh and cold, and I would drink this instead. I began to realize that I really didn’t need it and got through my day. This is something that I really wanted to kick and I am really happy I was able to!

I rediscovered my love of fruit. I know this sounds really weird, but I have started eating a lot less fruit over the last months for a variety of reasons. It is so hard to keep fresh fruit around without it going bad. I feel like every time I get a box of blackberries or raspberries, they are moldy within 24 hours. And I really, really loathe wasting food, it really bothers me! I began getting fruit more regularly, allowing me to get less fruit at a time and having some always around. I kept it readily cut in the fridge to eat and snack on, replacing my old junk food. Now, I crave fruit all the time and freak out when I don’t have any around. My favorites right now are oranges and mangos!

Making breakfast at home has become much easier than I remembered. I used to rely on bagels for breakfast because they were easy to eat. You can get them anywhere, and they last for a while once they are made, which can be key in the morning in a hectic hospital. Making a wholesome and filling breakfast added only about fifteen minutes to my routine, and I felt better throughout my day and actually full. I started making eggs in the morning with bacon and avocados. I really enjoyed mixing these up with added things like mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, and spinach.

Lunch was definitely my hardest meal. At school, we don’t always have the most time for lunch. Sometimes, we only get ten minutes to eat before moving on to the next thing. You don’t get to enjoy your lunch, you kind of have to just shovel it in. If you forget to pack a lunch, you really don’t have the time to get something good for you either. You have to just get what you can, which is not always good for you. I had to really plan what I was going to do for lunch. I have a problem where I get bored of food really easily, making salads hard to pack every day because the toppings begin to bore me. I kept mixing up my toppings or I would buy a salad from a local store. I definitely noticed a difference when I wasn’t eating junky foods for lunch.

The second hardest thing for me was not snacking at night. I have a routine where I come home, ride my bike, and then walk the dogs. After all this, I eat dinner. I have to be careful not to eat everything in the kitchen while I wait for dinner to cook because I am usually way past being hungry at this point. After dinner, I usually relax and watch some TV to unwind. This is when I eat whatever I can find in the kitchen. Kicking this habit has been really hard. I had to keep healthy snacks, like carrots or bananas or apples, readily available to snack on. Or, I brushed my teeth to stop me from eating. Both options worked in their own ways.

I am currently for some long distance mountain bike races. Luckily, I only had one race during these last thirty days and it was only 24 miles. Anything longer and I would have needed to eat something along the way. Foods that are easy to eat while biking are not Whole 30 approved! I was afraid of feeling guilty for cheating on the Whole 30 while training and riding these long rides, which definitely made my long rides a little harder. My brother definitely got after me about needing to eat more while riding!

Overall, I really enjoyed this journey. I learned how to have some self-control. I mean, I went out to eat and didn’t devour the entire bread basket. That’s a win in anyone’s book! I found foods to keep around the house that feel like a sweet treat without me eating a pint of ice cream. There are somethings I am looking forward to having back and adding back in to my diet, and others I am happily going to continue to avoid and not rely on! All in all, I feel so much better with a ton more energy!

Haulin’ Auss

This past weekend, I have had these two crazy dogs to entertain. Over the past months, these girls have developed quite the relationship. They love to play, but they also love to herd and be the boss. It is always a battle of who can get up the stairs first or who can get more love from one of us or who can run faster to get the ball. It can be nerve racking making sure one of them, of one of us, doesn’t get hurt. They seem to get tunnel vision and forget that there is a world around them. But, we love them anyway!

img_0153

The best part about these girls is that they are always ready to do whatever or go where ever. This past weekend we met my friend, Caitlin, and went for a walk around Centennial Lake. By the time we got back to the car, Kiwi was walking at almost a normal pace. They were just so excited to be out somewhere different. The sun began to peak through the clouds by the end of the walk, which was really nice to absorb.

We have also been spending a lot of time at Kinder Farm Park, a local park just around the corner from our house. There are a ton of walking trails and ever some farm animals to visit! It is just a beautiful place to visit, and it is a great place to walk the dogs. These girls are sure getting plenty of outdoor time, and they get home and just crash. Nothing is better than seeing your dogs take a hard nap and really sleep. It is such a great feeling knowing they had a wonderful and exhausting day. Sometimes I feel that the more we do with them, the more in shape they get which is why it gets harder to tire them out!

 

Road Riding

This weekend it was finally nice enough to ride outside. The snow ruined any mountain biking for week because the trails are still melting and will take a while to dry out. My brother came home for the weekend, and he always pushes us to ride longer and harder, which is both a good and bad thing. The weird thing about this weekend was the bike choices. I rode my normal road bike. My brother, Heath, decided to ride his hardtail mountain bike, and my dad decided to ride his road bike that is setup with bigger wheels for more rough terrain and is a 1 by 10. All in all, we looked odd riding together, and my road bike was the heaviest bike.


The biggest problem outside was the wind. When you ride inside on a trainer, you are not exposed to the elements and real world. You get used  to low stress and little handling. You don’t have to worry about cars, turns, potholes, wind, puddles, traffic lights, or anything else. And it was pretty windy this weekend, giving us what felt like mostly head winds. The best thing about riding for real outside is the changing scenery. This gives you something to look out, which really helps pass the miles with ease.

On Saturday, we did one of our normal loops, clocking in about 45 miles. This ride took us through Crofton, Davidsonville, and Annapolis before heading home. We rode through some nearby farm lands, which is full of nice rolling hills. My favorite part of this ride is when you ride past all the old, beautiful farm houses full of so much character. When we took the turn for home, I opted for the easy way home that didn’t take us up terrible hills. I didn’t drink enough or eat anything. I just didn’t think I could make it through that part of the ride well. The boys were disappointed because they love to hear my whine.

On Sunday, we wanted to get a long ride in, and decided to ride from our house back towards Ellicott City. We rode the B & A trail from our house that way to meet Ron, one of our family friends that we bike with all the time. Then, we headed even farther west on Frederick Road where the hills just rolled and rolled. I knew I needed to keep up on my water and food as I biked knowing we were going for five hours. I had one bottle of Gatorade to help encourage me to drink. It can be really hard to drink when it isn’t hot, or even warm, outside. Heath and Ron really pushed the pace, making us work extra hard, leaving my legs with a nice burn by the end of the ride. We ended up with 70 miles at the end of this ride, a nice way to end the weekend and start my week!

We have some nice rides planned for the rest of the week to clock as many outdoor miles as we can. We have my first NUE race planned at the end of April in Cohutta for the Big Frog 65, and I want to be in good shape for it!

The Weekly Update

I was so disappointed by this week’s snowstorm! I was on vacation with no where to be and wanted an excuse to snow me inside by the fire place, but I woke up to the freezing rain hitting my window on Wednesday morning. I looked outside and could still see the grass peeking through the snow. There was enough snow for kids to sled at a nearby park, and we also saw a snowman (the warm snow was great for packing). Dizzy still loved the small the amount of snow we got and enjoyed doing donuts in the yard!

One of my goals for while we are home is to make sure Dizzy has the best possible time. I know how hard it is for her when I am so busy with school working long hours. It is so easy for me to see how I am doing with her Whistle activity monitor. We got Kiwi one for her birthday and I know my sister has been struggling to make sure Kiwi hits her goal everyday. This week I drove down to visit my sister, Paige, this week and pick up her dog. She has some busy weeks and weekends ahead and needed someone to watch Kiwi. It is perfect for me because I am on vacation!

It has been great spending some time with my parents this week. My parents have a weird work schedule where they work sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. I like it because there is usually someone home with me to hang out with or do things with! My dad is always ready to do bike activities while my mom is more ready to relax, play with the dogs, or work on the house! It’s a great balance for me. Pretty soon, I will be moved out and on my own and I won’t get to spend as much time wit my parents, so I am cherishing this time with them!

Here are some things I am loving this week!

It’s Prom Season! // How cute is this? These two kids met during cross country and he used that as a way to ask her to prom! I cannot imagine how long it took him to plan out the route to make sure it spelled prom.

Envy of Artists // I wish I was an artist or had any artistic ability. I love looking at art and seeing what other people can create. I find watching the Lilly Pulitzer print designers paint really soothing! Here is a video of their new painting at The Breaker’s in Palm Beach!

March Madness // March Madness has officially begun! I stumbled across this highlight real from all the best game winning shots over the years. It is no secret that I love the Terps and was rooting for them in their tournaments this year. Check out this bracket and pick your winner or just follow along with the tournament!

Cute Sneakers // I have been on the hunt for a pair of sneakers for everyday wear that don’t look like your wearing your running shoes and mom jeans. I couldn’t pick a final pair, until I found these new Tory Burch sneakers with the cute ruffles! Now, I just need to pick a color.

Pass the Heinz // 50 years ago Don Draper proposed an idea for a Heinz Ketchup ad that was passed up. Now, they used his idea for a Mad Men inspired commercial. Such a fun way to combine the two with this new ad! (I cannot wait to have some french fries once I finish the Whole 30).

Happy Birthday to My Best Friend

Today is the day I get to celebrate my best friend all day! She turns six today, which blows my mind! It feels like just yesterday that I picked her up and brought her home. She was so nervous and shaking, and she smelled terrible. My mom asked us why we picked her. Little did she know, that she would become the best dog. My mom tries to steal her all the time.

This past year we have done a lot! We have covered a ton of miles in the woods mountain biking and hiking. We got a new member added to the family, still trying to decide if we like her or not (just kidding, Kiwi). We tried to adopt a Norwich terrier, but my parents are preventing it. We traveled to Snowshoe, WV and got snowed on in October. We traveled out to Breckinridge, CO, the farthest west she has ever been! And we are finishing up our last year of school, ever! Here are some photos from the past year.

Life is so much better with her by my side, and I would never want it any other way!