Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Tropical Transition

Which of these things is not like the other?
I have officially completed my slow and gradual migration to colder temperatures.  My tropical transition trip has really been fun.  I started by leaving Kauai (very hard task) to go to Santa Cruz, CA to film a promotion with Specialized Women.  I always ask myself 'why am I leaving paradise?' but filming with my teammate Kate Courtney took my mind off the dilemma.  We had so much fun.  We shot for a day among the big redwoods.  I can't divulge details until the commercial is launched, but it involves Kate having it together and being able to go to the bathroom in the woods really easily.  I don't have as easy of a time and I spent the whole day taking a long time to go to the bathroom and throwing my clothes frantically around the redwoods.  I'm excited to see how the final product turns out.  If having fun determines the quality of the piece, it should win an oscar.

 Kate taking a break during filming

 Can anyone spot me?
 Marin Sunsets

One of the many views from Mt. Tam
After the Friday filming, I went up to Marin with Kate to stay at her parents house and get a good weekend of training in.  I absolutely fell in love with riding around Mt. Tam.  This should be expected since it's the fabled birthplace of mountain biking, and it's absolutely gorgeous scenery of rolling hills and ocean.  We spent Saturday doing hill intervals up Mt. Tam.  Twice in that same day, I had an occurrence that has rarely ever happened.  Kate and I were pulled over switching layers at a look out, and a car stopped and a woman said "Congratulations on your title.  You're Lea, right?"  I was shocked and humbled that someone recognized me.  Then, on the same ride, a car slowly drove past and a guy said my name and said he was a big fan.  It's quite the cycling party on Saturdays on Mt. Tam.  I realized that I train in relatively remote places; literally on an island and on a land island called Vermont.  It was different and fun to be inside the buzzing hive of California cycling.  On Sunday, we went on another epic ride through the mountains and toward the coast.  Kate's mom and super soigneur, Maggie, picked us up at the beach to complete a great point to point ride.  I love point to point rides.  I squeezed in one more ride up Mt. Tam before hopping on a plane Wednesday evening to Salt Lake City, Utah for Outdoor Retailer.

I met the great folks at L.L Bean for the Outdoor Retailer trade show to help them get the word out about their great, new gear.  The first day, I met with the women's product designers and walked through the entire show to observe what all the other companies were up to.  We talked casually about what we liked, what we would like to see added to the L.L Bean line, and what was trending.  It was a really neat experience to go behind the scenes of the first steps behind some of the L.L Bean women's active lines.  These are literally the places where ideas are born and pieces are created.  The next day, L.L Bean held a press lunch event complete with New England charm.  They served Maine Lobster Rolls and invited the press to see some new pieces.  L.L Bean has made a beautiful signature stand up paddle board that I was drooling over, and they really have some new outdoor gear and color combos that I can't wait to get my hands on.  Not to mention, I was completely obsessed with specially designed L.L Bean hats they made for the event.  Fingers crossed that I can get one of those because I will never take it off.   I feel so proud to work with a company that is a really a collection of good people that embody core New England values on all different levels.  In every single way, it was such a great experience.

 Darn Tough Socks was representing VT well at the show by handing out my favorite; maple cremee with bacon topping
 Teva was handing out sandals to personalize so I made my mom a pair of new cheering shoes
 Look!  There was snow at OR.  These ladies are behind the great women's active line at L.L Bean
 This was the fastest form of transportation at OR 
 LL Beanies.  My favorite
 Clif Bar has some amazing product coming out in february.  REAL food.  The Mango Banana and Ginger Beet were my favorite at the show but the pizza could be awesome after I'm three hours into a workout
 Naturally, there was a llama at Outdoor Retailer.  Wait…what?

 L.L Bean's signature SUP.  If there was water, I might have paddled it right out of there

Now, I finally made it home Vermont.  I gradually eased into the colder temperatures.  Even yesterday, it was a nice, sunny thirty degrees.  I have to admit, nothing could really get me prepared for the ten degrees that greeted me today at Sabe's nordic race in Lake Placid, NY.  But, I got out there and reveled in the beautiful contrast that is my life.  I exist in two places that couldn't be more different and both are so special in their own ways.  Whether it be the beach or fresh groomed corduroy, I am so incredibly lucky.

Go get out there and smile.  This is what it's all about.

Thanks for following!


 Hanging with my sister in VT!
This was the best Reuben I've ever had at ADK Cafe in Keene, NY.  Homemade sauerkraut, pickles, bread, and what they call 'soviet sauce'

Monday, January 12, 2015

Staples…yea…we got that

 View from our studio
  Mountain Bike ride on Kolepa Ridge, Kauai

 Kona Sunset.  It never disappoints. 

Life is never boring.  A couple of days before Christmas, Jojo and I went surfing with our friend, Lauren.  I need to put 'surfing' in quotations for myself.  Both Jojo and Lauren are the real deal and went charging out in the decent waves at Kealia without a second thought.  Kealia is a beach break, and I find it like surfing in a washing machine.  It's not exactly the most relaxing activity.  On this particular day, I was frozen on the beach debating if I should go out or not.  Finally, after twenty minutes of standing up and sitting back down, I just said to myself, 'I just have to get over it and go for it'.  Turns out, I didn't necessarily need to go for it.  I got past the break and then kinda bobbed around for awhile enjoying the amazing water.  Then, again, I thought I should at least go for a wave and worked up the courage.  I remember catching it and trying to stand up.  Then, I fell and I was tumbling in the whitewash when my fin knocked me in the head.  I scrambled up out of the whitewash trying to get ahold of my board.  I was completely out of it since it wasn't as easy as it usually was.  I paddled to shore as quick as possible and knew I got whacked.  

Luckily, Jojo was on the beach, and I walked up and said, 'I really hit my head'.  The blood just came gushing out and down my chest.  My green sports bra turned red.  Heads bleed a lot.  The life guard was immediately there and wrapped gauze around my head.  I looked like a zombie vampire that crawled out of the ocean.  We drove five minutes up to the emergency room, and they stapled me right up.  I opted for no numbing because that is apparently more painful that the actual staples.  By the fourth staple, I was ready for the stapling to be over, and the doctor put two more in.  I slept for two whole days and nights.  I didn't look at any screens, didn't read anything, no movies, no working out, and no socializing.  This is the proper concussion protocol. One needs to give their brain a rest.  If one nails this recovery, especially in the first couple of days, the healing is vastly improved.  I took it easy in terms of working out for a week, but I felt pretty solid after those two days of complete rest.  I came around just in time for Christmas.  It was another reminder of how much gratitude I have for the ability to move and train.  Add use my brain into the mix, and life is really great. 

Our friends visited the island for two weeks so we had many adventures with them.  Jojo and I have been hitting the strength training hard.  I got my staples out just in time to ring in the New Year.  It's way better to start 2015 without metal in my head.  We are currently in Kona for a short Petterson family vacation complete with amazingly clear water, skies, and the best snorkeling I've ever experienced.  I wanted to ride up Mauna Kea, a mountain that peaks out at 14,000 feet from sea level, but it's snowing up there and I'm not prepared.  This peak is seemingly the hardest climb in the world.  It climbs for fifty miles, and now it has climbed to the top of my to do list.  Mauna Kea, I will be back.  

Hope everyone is starting 2015 off right. 


 I think Jojo got the right size gelato
 A little slice of paradise Jojo and I discovered
 There they are

 Ringing in the New Year on the beach!

 I went for the Strava Queen of the Mountain Title on the Waimea Canyon Climb (1.5 hr).  I got it back, and here is the crew celebrating at the lookout
 Sunset on the Na Pali Coast after an awesome hike
 Waimea Canyon View
 Pila'a Beach, Kauai
View from mountain biking on Kolepa Ridge

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Lot to Be Thankful for

 Waimea Canyon

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season; delicious food, family, and, hopefully, a time to be grateful.  This year, I have an extraordinary amount to be thankful for, and I'm taking the opportunity to soak up the gratitude.  It's so easy to lose sight of how lucky we are to be healthy. Even at nine months post operation, I find myself slipping back into taking my health and the ability to move for granted, but there are certain landmarks that give me clarity.  The day before I left for Kauai, I was able to go for a nordic ski in Smuggler's Notch in Vermont.  Smuggler's Notch is a paved hill climb through a notch in between two mountains.  This road is at a higher elevation so it's usually the first place to get snow.  It's also closed in the winter, and it's the first place snowmobilers go to ride or 'groom' the trails.  This is a beautiful spot, and it was so great to be able to sneak in a ski before going tropical.  It was also the first time I was able to ski since hip surgery in January, and I missed out on a lot of skiing last year.  Snow is one of my favorite things.  
Smuggler's Notch
Then, I flew to Kauai to meet Jojo and her family to kick off our annual Kauai adventures.  It's been especially wonderful this year because we have our own place to live and a car to drive around.  This is way easier said than done (the rental market is completely flooded here), but we found a great spot with a big wave surfer as our landlord.  It was really meant to be.  We have been really squeezing all the life out of every Kauai day that we can.  We are full into our strength training block and have been spending a lot of time at the gym.  I even discovered a hip hop dance class at the Kauai Athletic Club every week, and I LOVE hip hop dancing.  I love it.  We've been bike riding around Kapaa, cruising our usual routes and saying hello to the island.  We spent Black Friday surfing kinda choppy, small waves which I still managed to get housed on and knock the wind out of myself twice.  But, it was still so much fun to get out in the water and catch some waves in a bikini.  A sea turtle even came to say hello to me.  We've been indulging in the usual tropical fruit; star fruit, papayas, and pineapple.  It's been awesome, and I've been so excited to get back in my groove on the island and with training. 

Today was the best day on the island yet, and it really made me appreciate being on this island. Jojo and I rode up Waimea Canyon on the west side of the island.  This is a 2.5 hour, seventeen mile climb that ascends up the side of a canyon, much like the Grand Canyon of Kauai.  It is spectacular.  We were even treated to perfect, new pavement.  After that epic ride, we drove to one of the most remote beaches on the island, Polihale.  The last time we were there was two years ago when we slept on the beach under a full moon.  It was as beautiful as I remember.  Jojo became superwoman, we tried to save a couple of water soaked bees, and generally frolicked around until sunset.  On the way back home, we went to the best saimen house I've ever been to, Hamura Saimen.  It's very local and authentic.  We took today by storm, and I'm loving life.  Kauai adventures are to be continued.  

Take advantage of the ability to move and fill up your days!  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. 


 Waimea Canyon Overlook from the top


 I'm grateful for my Superwoman, Jojo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Strength Block

 Hello Philly!  Here to get sore!
NYC from the train
This past week marks the official beginning of training.  I traveled down to see my strength coach and hip rehab ninja, Bill Knowles, at HP Sports in Philadelphia.  For the past couple of years, Bill was based out of iSport in Killington, Vermont so I was lucky enough to just drive down there for the day.  This was the first time I traveled to see him and, thus, spent three days strength training with him.  It was completely awesome as usual, and his new space is unbelievable.  Half the area is rubber lifting mat and the other half is a bouncy gymnast floor.  It's divided straight down the middle with a long trampoline and gymnast mats. The potential to do fun strength training in that playground is endless.  I started prepping for this strength camp two weeks ago so I would not completely embarrass myself.  Because of this, I thought I wouldn't get too sore, but, man oh man, was I wrong.

The first day, we worked on a lot of legs and mid body with resistance cords of all shapes and sizes.  I felt great and left feeling confident.  I woke up the next morning to my quads and mid body starting to get a bit sore, but I still thought I had this.  Then, we hit the legs again hard with some explosive plyo work (which is new and I'm really excited to add this to the program).  We also did one of the hardest lifts I've done on my arms.  I half hobbled out of there the second day and returned the third day in full on hobble mode.  Every single muscle in my body was sore, and this is not an exaggeration.  Bill is so thorough that even my forearms were sore.  Muscles were sore I didn't even know I had.  I couldn't sit down because anything resembling a squat brought tears to my eyes, and I had a hard time picking up a resistance cord that I dropped on the ground.  It should be noted that we didn't even go through the full workout.  It was just one or two sets to get the technique down.  That being said, I'm really excited to get going with this new and inventive strength routine…as soon as I can walk properly.  I swear I'm an Olympian.  No really.  I am.

I'm a big fan of cheesesteaks so, when I was in Philly, the birthplace of the cheesesteak, I had to take full advantage.  I went on a mission to try and compare two of the fabled best cheesesteaks in town, Pat's and Gino's.  These two joints are literally across the street from each other.  When you order, you have to be prepared.  It was reminiscent of the soup nazi in Seinfeld.  I went to Gino's and ordered "one wit onion and american cheese" (proper ordering lingo).  It was pretty good, and I had to compare it to Pat's.  I ordered a Philly favorite, "one wit onions and wiz" which means with Cheese Whiz.  Yes, when in Rome…I had to get back to the hotel to beat the traffic so I didn't stick around to eat it.  It, luckily, fit perfectly in the side door console in the rental and I was off.  In my opinion, I liked Pat's better.  The second cheesesteak had a more generous offering of meat, and I had the option to get it with onions AND mushrooms.  They both were delicious but Pat's won the cheese steak off.
 My mom even got a great jacket from L.L Bean 
 L.L Bean Retail Therapy.  Oh yes. 
 These Bean Wellies should be perfect for the Kauai Mud.  Bring it. 
 One of my favorites from today.  L.L Bean flannel
This is my favorite from today.  This classy L.L Bean hoody is wicking and quick dry.  It's fashionable performance. 
I took the Vermonter train eleven hours back home on Saturday.  It was a long trip, but it was definitely more relaxing than driving for seven hours, and it provided a whole new perspective of that part of the country.  It was really cool, and I would definitely do it again.  Especially since Amtrak has wireless internet, I could get a lot done.  Today, my mom and I had some retail therapy to tackle my soreness.  Two weekends ago, L.L Bean opened a new store in Burlington which I am thrilled about.  It was packed opening weekend, and it was hard to really shop.  But, today, it was a bit more calm so my mom and I could thoroughly shop all the amazing offerings.  We went wild, and I completely gave my winter wardrobe a makeover.  I am so excited.  Thank you L.L Bean for making amazing pieces of clothing.  Their signature line is stylish and their active line is functional.  It seemed to do the trick because now I can walk smoothly, and I even bent down to pick up a couple of hangers today.  I wouldn't say it was pretty, but I could do it.  Retail therapy works every time.

I'm off to Kauai soon, and I'll be dispatching island adventures shortly.

Thanks for reading,

 Mission Cheesesteak: Gino's
 Mission Cheesesteak: Pat's

 Riding Trains
 View from the Train