Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 7 (Oct. 17)

So … I survived my first swim meet!


#WannabeSwimmer reporting for 50m butterfly duty!

General training notes: to prepare for Saturday’s swim meet, the goal was to make it to the pool three times beforehand. (In past weeks, we’ve been slowly building my swim volume and frequency, so three workouts was feasible.) However, I definitely felt sore from hiking last weekend, which translated to sub-par swim sessions. Friday’s workout was especially sluggish so I wasn’t sure what to expect on Saturday—but it went well!

Monday – p.m. run

Easy shake-out run after work

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Let’s hope a not-so-great swim on Tuesday leads to an OK one on Saturday. It had been four days since the last time I hit the water, and I definitely noticed. Anyway, we’ve started sprinkling in more IM work during these freestyle-focused practices, and my body was toast after the 2,200m workout.

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy 5.5-miler to kick off the day

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another IM-heavy practice with plenty of starts off the blocks. Fingers crossed I don’t bellyflop on Saturday!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

In hindsight, I should’ve slept in because my body felt like total junk. Granted, it’s tough to recover and turn around for a second challenging swim practice in 12 hours, but I really wanted to get in the water one more time before the meet. I only swam an hour and logged 2,500m.

Saturday – 10th Bearcat Masters Invitational Meet

I didn’t bellyflop. I didn’t finish last. It was a great day in the life of a wannabe swimmer! Recap to come, but I had a blast swimming all the freestyle events (50m, 100m, and 200m), plus the 100 IM and a few relays. I even won the 50 in my AG!

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy 8.5-mile run with one of my tri buds

What did you do this weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 6 (Oct. 10)

For the second weekend in a row, I escaped the concrete jungle.


Eight miles + four hours = one incredible view at Slide Mountain

The time, the destination was the Catskills, and the fall foliage, weather, and hiking did not disappoint.

General training notes: before heading to the Catskills, I logged some solid workouts this week, specifically in the pool. We’ve slowly built my swim volume throughout the past few weeks, and I’ll log a few workouts before this Saturday’s meet—which will be my first one ever! I’ve been told my event list is aggressive (50m, 100m, and 200m freestyle, plus the 100 IM and most likely a 4x200m freestyle relay), but ignorance is bliss, a.k.a. I don’t know any better. It will a learning experience, and I’m pumped.

Monday – p.m. run

Nearly six miles after work

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy 3.5 miles before work, plus a surprise IM masters practice. (Tuesdays are typical freestyle while Thursdays are IM.) As the lane worked through the main set, I thought about how far I’ve come both physically and mentally as a swimmer. Sure, an IM practice isn’t my favorite thing, and I’ve altered these types of sets in the past (by swimming freestyle when the workout called for stroke work). But on this night, I didn’t think twice about it; I just did it.  Also, during my first few IM practices last year, I had to ask what “IM order” meant, or which stroke I was supposed to do when. On this night, though, I led the lane. Whether I’m becoming faster is one thing (which I feel like I am), but I’m also excited about the mental/knowledge aspect of this progress. Something that originally scared me big time is now normal, although still challenging. To me, that’s what this sport is all about.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Up until this point, I’ve avoid morning swims because of the logistics involved. But since I have a meet coming up—and since Earl wants me to swim five days this week—I put the hassle aside and got my butt to the 6 a.m. practice. And I was so glad I did. Not only did I get to see my Bearcat tri buds, but I also completed an endurance-focused workout that was a perfect follow-up to Tuesday night’s harder session.

Thursday – off

My family visited for a few days, and we hung out Thursday evening.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I didn’t realize how much I missed these morning practices. I need to keep playing around with the timing of my commute (what time I need to leave the pool, what time the nearest train comes, etc.), but in the future, I should be able to be in the water for nearly 75 minutes of the 90-minute session. Aside from underwater drills—where you hold your breath and swim underwater for a predetermined length, a.k.a my nemesis—I felt great in the water and finally got a Bearcat masters swim cap. The hay is in the barn, and I’m as ready as I’m going to be for next weekend’s meet!

Saturday – hike in the Catskills

There’s nothing like escaping the concrete jungle for a fall foliage weekend north. The four hours and eight miles of hiking were absolutely perfect.

Sunday – a.m. run and hike

Easy six-mile shake-out in the Catskills, plus another hike

What are some of your favorite fall activities?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 5 (Oct. 3)

OK, OK—I have a legitimate reason for the delay this time: I spent the weekend in Arizona.


One of my friends ran her second ultra and asked if I wanted to tag along. Since I’ve never seen an ultra—or been to Arizona—and had an extra day to take off due to August’s Olympic mayhem, I was able to swing it. In short, it was an amazing experience, and I have a newfound respect for folks who go that distance and run more than 26.2 miles in one stint.

General training notes: overall, this past week ended up being a down week in terms of workouts, intensity, and overall mileage due to my trip to Arizona. Oh, I registered for my first swim meet! I’m still very much living the #wannabeswimmer life, and next weekend’s competition will take me completely out of my comfort zone. I can’t wait!

Monday – p.m. run

Logged about six easy miles after work in the park

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another packed practice with eight people in my lane, so we stuck to shorter sets of 50s and 75s—and I led the lane!

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy 4.5 miler in the park

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Tough 2750m IM practice

Friday – off

Travel to Phoenix

Saturday – a.m. hike in Canyon de Chelly

While my friend ran 34 miles (gah!), I went to the White House Trail Ruins in Canyon de Chelly and completed the 2.5-mile hike. Between the climbing and altitude, it took more out of me than anticipated, and I spent a few hours that afternoon napping and streaming Ironman Kona on my phone.

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy shake-out after my friend’s ultra and before we headed home

What’s the last trip you took? Would you ever do an ultra?

2016 In Review and What Comes Next

As per usual, this post is a few weeks late, but I like to think the delay led to greater reflection, conclusions, and headspace.

After enjoying seven days of zero physical activity, Sloth Week concluded on Labor Day Weekend. I actually went home for the holiday, and it was nice not to have workouts hanging over my head. It was also nice to eat my way through the New York State Fair: fried pickles, falafel, frozen chocolate-covered bananas, mmm. This gluttony and inactivity eventually ended, though, and once back in NYC, I spent a week reintroducing my body to exercise. And a few weeks ago, my coach and I met to review the 2016 season and map out off-season plans.


First things first: we had a solid 2016 campaign. This was my first year having a coach, and it revolutionized my training. It eliminated the guesswork of putting things together piecemeal-style—which I did in 2015—and it gave me peace of mind. All I had to do was follow the plan, trust the process, and the progress would come.

Progress definitely occurred this season. I had some great races. (I had some not-so-great ones that I worked through.) Other opportunities arrived too. I got a new job. I moved. I worked something like 20 days straight for Olympics. Above all, I matured this season. Thanks to Earl’s guidance, I took a long-term approach to training, keeping the big picture in mind and recognizing how the short-term affects the long-term. Each training cycle, each week, each workout, each interval has its purpose. Rather than obsess about making it fast, I focused on execution—how precisely can I execute each interval, workout, week, and training block. Numbers are absolutely important, but I’ve found that by honing in on the execution, the result takes care of itself. To paraphrase John Wooden, when you focus on the little things, that’s when the big things can happen. And, of course, this outlook transcends triathlon.


Every day is National Coffee Day for me, but …

In this light, the 2016 off-season will be about further enjoying the process and savoring the journey.  From now through early November, I have free reign to do what I want. So far, that’s been swimming (I know!), running (I know!), and rowing (who am I?). Not sure if this is an identity crisis or transformation, but I’m having a lot of fun. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.


Good vibes and good shoes

This means 2017 will look different from a racing perspective. As Earl says, I’m simultaneously on the brink and in a weird limbo: still tapping in to my short-course speed and almost ready to make the jump to racing a 70.3. With this in mind, we’ll aim for “experience” outings, or endurance events that will test me in new ways and provide the foundation for long-course racing. We’re talking about masters swim meets, open-water swim races, and running races. Of course, there will be some tris too, but Nationals will not be the “A” race this year. The plan is far from concrete, but overall, we’re looking to build my endurance portfolio.

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 4 (Sept. 26)

Today in sidewalk wisdom:


Quotations like these pop up on the concrete here in New York City from time to time. I usually see them when I’m starting or finishing a workout, and it gives me something to think about while I’m running or it resonates with me. For whatever reason, I’m more receptive—to ideas, to opportunities, you name it—after a solid sweat session.

General training notes: the big news this week is due to chemical problems, my pool was closed for a few days. (Remember last week’s abbreviated practices?) Swimming and I are at a great place now, so it was a bummer to be out of the water for a week. Luckily, though, the issues were resolved, and it reopened on Saturday. I’m still digging my rowing classes, and running continues to go well. All good things to report!

Monday – a.m. run

Easy four miler in the park with a few pickups

Tuesdayp.m. swim with Bearcat masters p.m. run

Remember last week’s chlorine issues? Well, the swimming gods conspired against me: the pool is closed until further notice. The news broke during work, so I went straight home after, changed into my running stuff, and met one of my friends for five easy miles in Central Park. Hey, you gotta take what the defense gives you.

Wednesday – p.m. run and EngineRm workout

After work, I logged an easy 2.5 miles in Central Park before my 75-minute endurance rowing class at EngineRm.

Thursdayp.m. swim with Bearcat masters p.m. EngineRm workout

Continuing to rack up the meters at EngineRm and took a 45-minute class after work

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. EngineRm workout and run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another Sportz Saturday for the win: I started the day with a 45-minute rowing class and an easy five-mile run in Central Park with a few friends. We went to brunch after, and then I hightailed it … to the pool because it finally opened! Even though I had been out of the water for a week—due to factors beyond my control—this swim went well. We did a lot of freestyle technique work and longer intervals, and I practiced my dives off the blocks. I nailed all three!

Sunday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

There was a half-marathon in Central Park that one of my friends was doing as a training run, so I met up with him for part of the race. I’m slowly increasing the distance of my long run and logged 8.5 miles this week. Later that afternoon, I went to the pool for a 1.5-hour IM-focused practice with the Bearcats. I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up—after a long run and doing butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke work—but I made it through the entire practice and tailed 4,000m.

How do you adjust workouts if and when facilities close?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 3 (Sept. 19)

This week started with summer weather and finished with fall temperatures.


Signs of fall in Central Park

Thank GAWD. The humidity in NYC has been unbearable for the past few weeks—and entire summer, really—so I was psyched when I got to wear a t-shirt and not a tank top for my run today.

General training notes: I have a post drafted that details my off-season plans, but in essence, it comes down to doing (or not doing) the sports I want—and lately, that’s been swimming, running, and rowing. (My bike and I are taking a break. Don’t worry, we’re fine. We just need time to miss each other.)

Monday – a.m. run

Easy three-mile slog in the rain and humidity

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

An over chlorinated pool lead to a shorter, 40-minute practice. (We usually swim for an hour.) Since there were eight of us in the lane, we stuck to shorter intervals like 25s, 50s, and 75s. I tried my best to hang tough for the full 60 minutes, but the chlorine made my lips and lungs burn, and I couldn’t stop coughing.

Wednesday – p.m. run and EngineRm workout

Easy 2.5-mile warm-up before a 75-minute endurance class at EngineRm. My former Work Husband (from my days living #TheRabbitLife) came, and we had a blast.

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

The pool was closed all day in an effort to rebalance the chlorine levels, and even though it was slightly better than Tuesday, it was still far from ideal. Nonetheless, I survived the IM practice.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy 4.5 miles to start the day, plus 4000m in the pool with the Bearcats. We did a monster 5×200 set with both paddles and pull buoys, and it’s safe to say paddles are not my friends. On the bright side, I nailed all three of my dives off the blocks.

Sunday – a.m. run

I met up with one of my tri buds for an easy loop of Central Park, and the weather was perfect: right around 55 degrees and sunny. I love fall running!

Has fall weather arrived for you?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 2 (Sept. 12)

It’s always tough to return to work after a holiday weekend.



For me, anyway, this week dragged by.

Monday – off

Tuesday – p.m. run, swim with Bearcat masters

Another day living the run-commute life. After work, I did a lower loop in Central Park before running downtown to my pool for a total of four miles. Since I was already wearing workout clothes, I did my first dryland session ever (for the non-swimmers, it’s basically a 30-minute warm-up) and then completed the freestyle-focused practice with my Bearcat buds. Running to swim practice? I’m having an identity crisis/transformation this off-season!

Wednesday – p.m. EngineRm workout

Wowza, this 75-minute endurance row was tough. The “main set” (not sure if that term is used in rowing) was one 15-minute block followed by descending intervals and a 1K time trial at the end.

Thursday – off

Slept in and had real-person plans after work

Friday – p.m. run

Originally, I planned to run before work, but … sleep won. (It never wins during the season!) It’s finally cooling off here in NYC, and by the time I made it to Central Park around 6 p.m., the weather was perfect: hovering around 70*F and sunny with no humidity. I kept running until I felt like stopping—er, really, until I got hungry—which led to 5.75 miles.

Saturday – a.m. run-row “brick” (run in Central Park and row at EngineRm); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I’ve missed sportz Saturdays. First, I did a short 1.5-mile warm-up run to EngineRm before I took a 45-minute class. Although I picked up the general concept relatively easy, I felt like things really clicked today, and I can already see improvement in my numbers and stamina. After running a few errands and doing productive adult things, I went to my first Bearcat distance freestyle practice of the season. It was a tough one: 1.5 hours in the water and 4,150m covered. I felt great in the water, and hopefully I can keep this momentum up as the off-season continues.

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy and 5.5 miles in Central Park with one of my friends while folks training for November’s TCS NYC Marathon did 18—wowza!

Are you gearing up for a fall race/event?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 1 (Sept. 5)

Just as quickly as my seven-day period of inactivity began, Sloth Week ended. It was a smashing success, giving both my body and mind a break from triathlon.


Summer sunsets in the 315

But all good things eventually conclude, and this week, I reintroduced exercise to my routine. Since my coach and I are meeting this upcoming week—to review 2016 and plan my off-season—I was left to my own devices. However, I know we’ll focus on swimming and running from now through December, so I made an effort to devote time to those disciplines and set a precedent for the next few months.

Monday – off

I went home for Labor Day Weekend and spent Monday traveling back to NYC (and reading “Boys in the Boat.” It’s so good.)

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy shake-out run in the morning (3.6 miles), plus my first Bearcat swim practice of the fall season. I’m already doing much better than last year as far as swimming goes because I didn’t avoid the pool for three months. Success!

Wednesday – p.m. EngineRm workout

Fueled by the Olympics, my new obsession is rowing: a total-body workout that actually favors taller humans? Sign me up!


The phrase Engine Room refers to the middle seats in an eight-oared boat (3, 4, 5, and 6) that are typically occupied by the most powerful rowers.

Earl and I talked briefing about rowing before Nationals, and he recommended EngineRm, an indoor erg facility that caters to athletes. I took a 101 class after work and then joined an hour-long endurance workout. I am totally hooked.

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Again, it’s all about doing better than last off-season: not only was this workout my second time swimming this week, but I also did the entire IM practice as prescribed. Things got a little dicey when it was time to do the butterfly, but we’ll get there. It was a shorter practice in terms of time and distance (one hour and 2,200m), but that’s fine considering it’s the start of the fall season.

Friday – p.m. run

Easy four-mile run-commute home

Saturday – a.m. run-row “brick”

I ran the scenic route through Central Park to EngineRm as an abbreviated warm-up (1.6 miles) before class. I loved the workout we did because it was structured similarly to a VO2 max set on the bike: we did five intervals of 1:15 “on” and 45 seconds active recovery, and we increased the intensity/stroke rate each time (think building the effort). Then we repeated the set again with the goal of improving our numbers. In case it isn’t clear, I am really digging rowing. The actual motions and technique remind me of swimming, and so far, the workouts we’ve done are similar to what I do on the bike.

Sunday – p.m. attempted run-swim-run brick (run to the pool, swim with Bearcat masters, run home)

In addition to rowing, I am currently obsessed with run commuting. Since it takes about 45-50 minutes to get to my pool via public transportation, I figured it would be worth a shot to see if I could get there more quickly by running—and it was a success. I’m sure I can make my route more efficient with additional trial and error, but it took about 30 minutes today. (With run commuting, especially in a city, it’s important to manage expectations: between the pedestrians and traffic lights, you aren’t going to be setting any PRs, but it’s a great way to get in a few extra easy miles.) The pool was closed today, though, due to an emergency, so no swimming, unfortunately. But I ran back home and logged close to seven miles.

How do your workouts change when you aren’t training for a specific event?

16th Annual Cazenovia Triathlon Recap

My 2016 racing season officially ended a few weekends ago at the 16th Annual Cazenovia Triathlon, my favorite local yokel race. This was the first swim-bike-run event I did four years ago (wow!), and when possible, I love going home and doing it again.


… and also relaxing at home

Although I had a satisfactory outing at Nationals, it always lights a fire inside me. Racing alongside stellar athletes is both humbling and motivating; and even though an August event is late in the season for me, I always want to race one more time afterward. Luckily, we were firing on all cylinders at work with the Olympics so I accrued a few comp days and used a handful to head home to the Syracuse area for a long weekend.

Since we eased off the gas post-Omaha—the “A” race was over, and work was nuts—I didn’t know what to expect from my legs. But because I had a tough swim and run at Nationals, I was primarily concerned with those two disciplines. (The bike would simply be what it would be, especially since I had not been on my tri bike post-Nationals.)


I really need to get a Tailwind t-shirt so I can change after the race like everyone else.

Overall, it was a good day: the choppy swim and windy bike equated to tough conditions, but I felt good about the outing I pieced together—and any day you find yourself on the podium is a good day.

Swim – 800m – 15:26

It seems like the swim course changes every year, and this time around, the 300 or so athletes faced a “C”-shaped out-and-back route. Unlike Omaha, the swim was wetsuit-legal, and the water was choppy, which I liked because it separated the field. At 8:30 a.m., my wave of women 39 and under was released, and I immediately surged to the front of the pack. Since it was only a half-mile swim—I usually swim twice as far in an Olympic-distance race—I decided to kick as if I were at a masters swim practice, a.k.a. much more frequently. There were six buoys out to the turnaround point, and I hit my first group of dudes at buoy three. (Luckily, it wasn’t a Wall of Dudes.) Given the wind and chop, I was happy with the course I swam and how I paced it: I settled in after the first 200m or so, and then I started to push again after hitting the turn around buoy. One girl in my wave tapped my feet around the 500m mark, so I threw in a surge in an effort to get some separation. She tapped me again around 700m, and that’s when I really started to push. I really wanted to be first out of the water!

Transition 1 – 1:21

Mission accomplished!


Thanks for the photo, Dad!

She was just a few seconds behind me, but I saw her sit down in transition so I knew I would be the first woman out of T1.

Bike – 14 miles – 45:11

As soon as I mounted my bike, my legs let me know they did more work than usual during the swim. It took a few miles for me to settle in, and during the process, one pocketfriend zipped by me. I let her go because I didn’t want to burn all my matches in the opening miles.


Even though I know the course well, I always forget how hilly it is; it’s like Quassy in the sense that it punches you over and over again. (And you feel the effects more if you’re 5’10” as opposed to 5’.) So like Quassy, my plan was to “cover up” and be conservative on the hills and make my moves on the flat portions. There’s a monster hill about halfway through, and the woman who won the sprint race outright (she beat all the dudes and ran an 18-min. 5-K off the bike) zoomed by me. I was able to hammer the last few miles, though, and as I passed one dude, all he said was, “Wow.”

Transition 2 – 1:00

As I rolled in, I knew I was the third female overall, but that placing didn’t affect my race plan. I just wanted to run a solid 5-K—and hopefully not get passed.

Run – 5-K – 23:24

The theme of this race was definitely, “I forgot how hilly this course is!” and the run was no exception.


The hill in the opening mile punched me hard, but I was able to rebound and settle into my target pace from there. The 3.1 miles passed by quickly—and I wanted to keep going?

Official finish – 1:26:46

Even though this was a slower day compared to last year, my coach would remind me to focus on the feeling and not become emotionally attached to the numbers. Like Nationals, I felt much more in control and comfortable with the effort I was putting forth. Better yet, I had tangible goals that centered on execution (i.e. kick more during the swim, be a “boxer” during the bike, etc.). Precise execution would lead to a good day, and that’s what happened.


Aero is everything.

I’ve become better at this process throughout the season: remaining mentally sound during a race and executing precisely and confidently. I’ve matured a lot as an endurance athlete this season (season recap post to come), and I’m excited to build on this progress during the off-season.

Triathlon Training Log – Week 39 (August 22)

Well, that’s it. My 2016 triathlon season is officially in the books.


Nice view up here. Wonder what it is like a little bit higher …

Thanks to the Olympics, I accumulated a few comp days at work, which let me come home for a long weekend, spend some time with the fam, and do the 16th Annual Cazenovia Triathlon.

General training notes: Since I was still recovering from work—and because I had the local yokel sprint on Sunday—we kept training light this week. Nothing hard, nothing strenuous: just enough to keep the body moving and the legs fresh.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

After disembarking the early morning bandwagon pre-Nationals, I struggled to hop back aboard this week. I did three loops of the Reservoir in Central Park that were peppered with fartleks, plus one mile at projected local yokel pace for a total of seven.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy-ish 70-minute ride with lots of cadence drills

Thursday – a.m. run

This four miler was a total slog, but on the bright side, I saw a few friends in Central Park.

Friday – off

Travel home

Saturday – shake-out run and tech ride

Easy 10-minute jog, and I rode my bike up and down the driveway a few times to make sure everything felt OK. My front brakes were rubbing, so I paid a quick visit to Syracuse Bicycle for an adjustment (and to see my people).

Sunday – 16th Cazenovia Triathlon (800m swim, 14-mile bike, 5-K run)

My final race of the 2016 was a sweet one: I cracked the overall female podium for the sprint! That means a lot because this was the first tri I did four years ago, and it’s super motivating to see the progress I’ve made. Race report to come!

What’s new with you? How did your workouts go?