Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Friday, November 8, 2019

Final Days of Fall and New Habits

For the first time in my memory, I was not ready for fall when it arrived. I’m normally excited and cheerful, welcoming of the new season and ready for cooler days and vibrant colors, but not this time. This fall is colder than normal, and there is so much precipitation. It has been snowing, so winter is actually here. Halloween was canceled for most kiddos in our area because of a winter weather advisory, and we have actual accumulation and children sledding into the streets. Hallelujah.

However, I am thankful that I made it into the woods on the most beautiful fall day of all, and I played Poohsticks with my children. The foliage was vibrant, and little critters were scurrying under leaves. There were even some bugs buzzing around, but I understood it would be brief.

Fall and Winter Habits and Aspirations
Mind, Body, and Spirit: What have I been doing?

Mind: Audio Book During Commute and Paperback During Lunch

I have started reading The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman (the original author of the book Practical Magic which was made into one of my favorite movies.) So far I love the balance of historical events with mysticism and feminism. I hope it turns out to be amazing as I’m in the beginning chapters right now.

I’m also reading Willful Disregard by Lena Andersson. It’s translated from Swedish, so I am finding the writing more interesting than most romance novels. Her writing is captivating and I can’t wait to finish it. I’m not in love with the story itself, but I’m still intrigued, which I think says a lot about the writing style.

Body: Running and Yoga

I have really started to love running again, and I love it so much that I switched up my routine by focusing on running, taking a break from the bike, and entering my first 10K! I wasn’t on the podium, but I was successful and finished well. It was the coldest running I had ever subjected myself to for outdoor running as the 31-degree day surprised me, but it was very motivating, and if I hadn’t needed to skip a few long runs I would’ve signed up for a half-marathon happening the first weekend of December.

Now, in early November, I have decided to focus on the indoor bike trainer with a shorter amount of time dedicated to running. I’ve also found an early Saturday morning yoga class; I have been neglecting group yoga even though the community energizes me.

Spirit: Podcasts and Yoga

In the car, usually on my way to work, I like to listen to podcasts. One of my favorites is Endurance Planet. The most recent episode is an interview with Sanjay Rawal. I loved it and recommend it for all people, but especially those who love running and are familiar with meditation. I started meditating frequently over one year ago, and I appreciate the spiritual connections made with running, and how Sanjay speaks about your feet praying to the ground.

From the Podcast’s Website: “Sanjay Rawal is a filmmaker and runner. His most recent film is called 3100: Run and Become, which documents a small but mighty race in New York every year in which people spend nearly their whole summer running roughly 60 miles every day consecutively on a 1/2 mile block until they reach 3100 miles, taking them on a path to self-transcendence.”

My goal for this winter is to stick to my healthy habits, such as moderate running and getting on the bike. I also want to make sure that I prioritize my yoga and meditation practices because those help me stay centered and happy. I want a happy and healthy fall and winter, so when I’m reborn in the spring I can become a better version of myself.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

My First Triathlon and Summer Bugs

Our summer is going by too quickly. First, it was slow to get started; the crops were the farthest behind I have ever seen. When I looked out into the farm fields, all I saw were dirt fields, until the last week in June. Sprouts began to appear around the 4th of July or that week prior. It was cold and very wet. 

I’ve overcome some crazy stuff this year, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this warm weather we are supposed to have and I’ve plotted out some goals to achieve in the fall. Here’s an overview of my triathlon and a glimpse at my mountain biking season.



Over this past winter, I decided two things: 

  1. I wanted to try a triathlon,
  2. I wanted to do more cross-country mountain biking.

I worked on my base level of fitness throughout the winter and started jogging once per week in roughly April, but once the weather finally became warmer in early June, I ran into some roadblocks. It started the day after I ran a 7:40 pace 2-mile race at Walleye Weekend. I came home from a 13-mile bike ride--that I never felt right during--and I threw up in the toilet. 

Walleye Weekend

The stomach bug persisted for the next 10 days. I missed a mountain bike race. I was weak from the illness and had high anxiety due to not being able to eat. My training was affected, but once I was able to eat a full meal, I was back to my training plan, and it was the right time to start my triathlon training.

I was sitting at my desk on a Wednesday afternoon, less than two weeks after my stomach flu, and I started to feel dizzy. The dizziness persisted; I felt sick as well. I was uncontrollably dizzy and left work as soon as the dizziness wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t drive at all. The vertigo lasted for two weeks but was never as bad as that first Wednesday attack; I was able to hop on the trainer and get in a couple sessions over the next two weeks, but I wasn’t able to run or ride much of my mountain bike. 

After feeling better from that incident, I fell a gentle fall (or so I thought) on my mountain bike, and I hurt my neck. As it turned out, I was unable to move my head from right to left for about two weeks. When all was said and done, I was left with just two weeks of swim training. I decided to do the triathlon, anyway.

For my first triathlon, I chose the sprint distance. I also chose an outdoor course with a pool because I have minimal swim experience. The sprint distance choice ended up being a good decision for me because of the amount of time I had to train.

The Triathlon

Things I Did Well

  • I invested in running shoes with elastic laces, so I didn’t have to waste time in transition between the bike and run. My transition time was only 40 seconds.
  • I paced myself enough to run a fast enough 5k. (Perhaps I paced myself too much, though.)
  • I was patient with myself through all the sections.
  • I had fun 90% of the time.

About the Swim (10% of the time)

  • I did not enjoy the pool swim; it was crowded and people were often swimming towards me, which caused panic. I should have trained with people in crowded situations. I plan to do an open water swim next time.
  • I had to wear a swimming suit because wetsuits weren’t allowed in the pool. I used a towel to change under in the transition area because I had no other choice. That was a faux pas, I think. I believe it was expected I swim in my triathlon kit and be wet on the bike. My transition time was over 4 minutes which really sucked because my swim pace was also slow.
  • I was honest about my race pace in the pool for registration, but I was made by officials to do an extra lap, plus I was legitimately the slowest person in my lane. It was defeating and I’m not sure if my race partners were honest about their times--or perhaps they performed well under pressure that day. Regardless, I learned I don’t want to do a pool swim again.

About Running

I learned through all this that I really enjoy running. Over the past few years I’ve matured and gained some mental toughness that will help me run farther distances. I have now run close to 7 miles and felt like I could have pushed myself to complete that distance at a faster pace, so I’ve decided to sign up for my first 10K in October! I’m so excited to turn my focus to running for the fall.

I could see the finish line!

Cross-Country Mountain Biking

This was a subject I breezed over in this post. Mountain biking is going well; I like it. I have a hard time now with the start of the race--I feel a lot of anxiety and pressure to do well. I started the season doing well and feel like I need to maintain that level of fitness throughout the year.

The most important part, though, is that I like it a lot recreationally. I enjoy getting on my bike for some alone time. That’s the most important part. I like mountain biking because I can move at a seemingly fast pace, in the woods, in nature, and safe from being hit by vehicles. I enjoy the uphill climbs and feel like I do pretty well on those. I had a hard time balancing the triathlon training with mountain biking. It would have been easier if I chose road biking, but that’s not where my interests are right now. 

Red Flint Firecracker: 1st in age / 6th overall

Public Service Announcement

If your kid is sick, do whatever you’re able to keep them out of daycare. Seriously. I think the whole reason I was sick for the whole summer was because my kids brought home a stomach bug from school.

Future Plans

I hope to post more often! I will be happy to share some fitness plans and goals this coming fall.

Until next time,