Monthly Archives: August 2012

Skinnyman Triathlon Checklist


1.  Ride the updated bike course—check!


1.5.  Treat myself to a post-bike iced coffee—check!

Yesterday morning, my mom and I drove to Skaneateles, NY so I could ride the updated 11-mile bike course. (She’s the best, I know.) Luckily, we drove it before I headed out on my bike; a wrong turn at the beginning of the route took us off the course, and my mom’s iPad saved the day.  Overall, the ride seemed relatively easy (famous last words, right?) and very forgiving for a newbie rider like me:  Its short distance (most sprint triathlons contain bike courses of 14-18 miles) and moderate terrain (only two true climbs) will hopefully make for a fast ride.  Plus, it contains some flat stretches, so I’ll be able to coast if I need to back off the pace.

2.  Pick up race packet at Syracuse Bicycle—check!

2.5.  Admire swag—check!

Not going to lie, I kept my fingers crossed that the Skinnyman swim caps would have fun designs, especially since the Cazenovia Triathlon ones were plain.  And check out this loot!  You can never have too many drawstring bags, and there were a few sample products I’ll actually use inside.  I’m excited to try the Chia Running Food and the Tierra Farm organic trail mix.


3.  Repair small tears (again, sigh) in wetsuit—check!

The glamorous life of a triathlete.

4.  Paint nails to match swim cap—check!

For the Cazenovia Triathlon, I thought it would be fun if my nails matched my swim cap, so I painted them green.  And since I have purple nail polish, I figured I might as well continue this tri tradition.

5.  Organize and pack tri gear—check!

Last time, I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to bring a change of clothes—oops. (But since I live less than one mile away from the race site, it wasn’t a big deal.) Tomorrow, however, I will not want to make the 40-minute drive home while wearing sweaty gear, so I’m bringing a clean bra, t-shirt, and pair of shorts (plus my “emergency kit,” which contains deodorant, body spray, and antibacterial hand gel).

6.  Check bike and pump tires—check!

Everything felt A-OK on yesterday’s ride, and I pumped my tires this afternoon; I’ll check them again tomorrow morning.

7.  Get quarters for parking meters—check!

Street parking will be available, and after checking the village of Skaneateles’ website, it looks like I’ll have to pay to park tomorrow even though it’s a Saturday.  Boo.

8.  Set wake-up call—check!

It seems like yesterday I was a young college sophomore whose night on the town ended at 3 a.m.  And that’s when I’ll be waking up to do a triathlon tomorrow morning.  Things sure have changed.

Tell me about your race-day preparations.  Do you take care of everything ahead of time, or do you complete things the morning-of?

Skinnyman Triathlon Bike Course Changed—Again

Hiya, friends!  I hope your final week of summer (wow!) is going great so far.  Let’s zip through some food highlights because I have important news to share:  Remember how race directors changed Saturday’s Skinnyman Triathlon bike course? (They created an alternate route due to road construction, which is totally understandable.) Well, the route has been changed, yet again.  More on this in a second.


Yesterday’s eats were uneventful—another 2-ingredient pancake for breakfast and a leftover black bean enchilada for lunch—except for evening fare.  My sister Margaret returns to college on Friday to begin her sophomore year (yikes!), so we went out to celebrate her second-to-last-dinner at The Brewster Inn.


We were running late, so I didn’t snap any original pictures of the restaurant.


I haven’t been to the Brewster in two or three years, so it was nice to revisit.  The lively atmosphere, coupled with good wine and great company, made for a fun meal.  Since all entrees came with house salads, I upgraded mine to an avocado and lobster creation.

Maybe the phrase “work of art” would be more accurate.  Check out this presentation!  And yes, standing tall in the middle is crispy piece of bacon.  Delicious!  For my main meal, I ordered the cedar smoked salmon, which came with an English cucumber salad and mashed potatoes.

I order seafood whenever I eat out, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a fish snob. (Probably because it’s my go-to meal when I’m cooking for myself.) With that said, this salmon tasted outstanding—cooked perfectly and lacked the super sweetness I was anticipating. (Its sauce contained maple syrup.) I also had a few nibbles of Margaret’s vegetarian-friendly ravioli (“orgasmically good” in her words) and Ellen’s chicken francaise (super tender), and overall, our meals were delicious.


I just can’t get enough of two-ingredient pancakes.

The original version (one medium banana and one large egg) doesn’t have a lot of staying power, so I added a scoop of Jay Robb protein powder.  Adding another dry ingredient makes the flapjack less moist (and dries it out, big surprise), but it’s nothing some blueberries and PB can’t fix.  In the future, I might try adding an egg white or maybe a little almond milk for more moisture.

Skinnyman Triathlon Bike Course

OK, onto the bike course update.  On Monday, I learned about the first route change, which occurred due to road construction.  After hearing this news, several members of the CNY Triathlon Club Facebook group biked the new course and shared their insight with the digital community:  It contained lots of climbing, and overall, it was a very technical course that would challenge newbies (gulp); one experienced triathlete even said it would be impossible to take advantage of the two downhills because both were followed by hot-turns.

(Everyone suggested riding these portions very conservatively and feathering the brakes, or breaking lightly, on the pitch down.  “Make sure your front and rear brakes work,” one triathlete wrote.)  Overall, everyone who rode the route encouraged others to do so before race-day, and they also urged all participants to exercise extreme caution; several club members predicted this technical course would lead to more crashes than usual.  Here’s an elevation map of the 15-mile course.

Luckily, race officials heard from triathletes who practiced the course and decided to revise it again.  Basically, the hilly and technical four-mile section was cut out, so the course now looks like this:

Much better!  Everyone in the Facebook group seems very pleased with these changes, and I have to hand it to the race officials:  They listened to feedback and responded accordingly.  Granted, I know this can’t happen for every triathlon, but it says a lot that organizers were open to input so close to race-day.

Anyway, I’m off to test-ride the course, and then I’m heading to Syracuse Bicycle to pick up my race packet.  Have a great day!

The American Way of Eating Book Review

Have you ever discovered a great book when you weren’t looking?  I have my mom to thank for this review—if she hadn’t picked it up from the library, it would’ve taken me much longer to find Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating.

Tell-all books about food fascinate me—I read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation in 10th grade and immediately stopped eating anything that warranted the question, “would you like fries with that?”—so after thumbing through McMillan’s book, I knew I’d read it.

Brief Summary


“What if you can’t afford nine-dollar tomatoes?  That was the question award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan couldn’t escape as she watched the debate about America’s meals unfold, one that urges us to pay food’s true cost—which is to say, pay more.  So in 2009 McMillan embarked on a groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America.  For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor to examine how Americans eat when price matters.

“From the fields of California, a Walmart produce aisle outside of Detroit, and the kitchen of a New York City Applebee’s, McMillan takes us into the heart of America’s meals.  With startling intimacy she portrays the lives and food of Mexican garlic crews, Midwestern produce managers, and Caribbean line cooks, while also chronicling her own attempts to live and eat on meager wages.  Along the way, she asked the questions still facing America a decade after the declaration of an obesity epidemic:  Why do we eat the way we do?  And how can we change it?  To find out, McMillan goes beyond the food on her plate to examine the national priorities that put it there.  With her absorbing blend of riveting narrative and formidable investigative reporting, McMillan takes us from dusty fields to clanging restaurant kitchens, linking her work to the quality of our meals—and always placing her observations in the context of America’s approach not just to farms and kitchens but to wages and work.

“The surprising answers that McMillan found on her journey have profound implications for our food and agriculture, and also for how we see ourselves as a nation.  Through stunning reportage, Tracie McMillan makes the simple case that—city or country, rich or poor—everyone wants good food.  Fearlessly reported and beautifully written, The American Way of Eating goes beyond statistics and culture wars to deliver a book that is fiercely intelligent and compulsively readable.  Talking about dinner will never be the same again.”

Product Details

Publisher:  Scribner

Publication date:  2/21/2012

Pages:  336

My Review

Overall, The American Way of Eating struck a perfect balance of investigative reporting and historical information.  While giving the reader insight into the individuals she met, McMillan relays background statistics to set the stage—did you know hydrogenated fats were invented in France?

The book’s organization works to its advantage.  McMillan didn’t complete her legwork in the published progression, but presenting her findings in this manner—field to store to plate—moves the narrative along in an appropriate manner.  Again, in each section, she provides both narrative and facts; for me, there were several points that started to drag due to an information overload, but it seemed like McMillan knew my attention was wavering because she soon transitioned back to narrative.  Hands down, it was McMillan’s interactions with people in the fields, stores, and restaurant that kept me reading.  Her coworkers came to life, which kept me engaged and interested in a way that the historical information didn’t.  That’s not to say it wasn’t relevant, but I’m definitely out of “college reading mode,” and all the data and statistics shocked my system.  If you’re interested in healthy living, cooking, eating, and investigative reporting, you’ll love this book.

Have you read The American Way of Eating?  What did you think?  Have you read similar types of books?

An Unexpected Change

When I logged into Facebook yesterday afternoon and headed over to the CNY Triathlon Group, a post about this Saturday’s Skinnyman Triathlon caught my attention:  Race officials revised the bike course.  I immediately clicked to the race homepage for more information.

I also received an email last night.

The new route spans 15 miles, making it longer than the original 14-mile one.  After studying the route and plugging it into, I’m a little nervous.  Well, there’s good news and bad news.  The good?  I feel much more comfortable on the saddle now than I did one month ago for the Cazenovia Triathlon.  During my training for this tri, I’ve also made biking a priority, and I’m definitely a stronger cyclist.  The bad?  It looks like the Skinnyman ride will be more challenging than the Cazenovia course.  Not only is it longer, but it also has tougher climbs.  Here’s a look at the Cazenovia (top) and Skinnyman (bottom) elevation profiles.


According to my training plan, Thursday’s 45-minute bike will mostly likely be my last workout before race-day, so I’m going to make the trip to Skaneateles and ride the course. (Taking a “test drive” to the area will also give me peace of mind; there’s nothing worse than getting lost and arriving late to an event.) Although it will take more than 45 minutes, riding the route before the race will let me take note of the terrain changes, practice the climbs, and ultimately develop a logical game plan.

Mid-Afternoon Snack

Around 4:30 p.m., I mixed a bowl of blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, and Seitenbacher muesli.

It hit the spot!


It’s been a while since we had spicy shrimp with cilantro and lime, so I was pumped to see it back in the rotation.

And the obligatory bowl of frozen grapes.

Workout – Bike-Run Brick

Since I’m back to bricks, this morning’s double workout included a 9-mile bike around Cazenovia Lake, followed by a 30-minute run.  It looked like the skies would downpour at any time, but luckily, the ride was rain-free.  I did, however, get to practice cycling in somewhat slick conditions; it rained last night and early this morning, so the roads weren’t completely dry.  Like I learned during the Iron Girl Chalk Talk at Syracuse Bicycle, I deflated my tires a bit and stayed away from painted lines on the road.

Before heading out on the run, I slipped on my calf compression sleeves—I totally forgot to put them on for the bike ride—and wow, they made a world of difference.  Granted, it was still challenging running on less than fresh legs, but my calves felt OK.


As I neared the end of my run, I started brainstorming breakfast ideas. (Does anyone else do this?) Although I considered making a smoothie, I ultimately chose a three-ingredient pancake.

I combined one medium banana, one large egg, and one scoop of Jay Robb protein powder, mixed everything together, and cooked it on the griddle.  I also topped it with a little bit of PB and some blueberries.

Have you ever registered for a race that changed its course days before the event?  How did you handle it?

Back To Bricks

Hey, hey!  Is it really Monday and the last week of August?  Where has the summer gone?


Since I had a swim-bike brick on the docket, I fueled up with a “real meal” before working out.

Around 7 a.m., I toasted two Kashi waffles and added PB and banana slices, plus my second cup of coffee.

Workout – Swim and Bike Brick

With the Skinnyman Triathlon fast approaching, I’m squeezing in two efficient brick workouts before tapering for a few days.  First up was a 25-minute open-water swim (OWS), which ended up lasting about 15 minutes.  Wind and choppy water made for tough conditions—there were even white caps on the waves—and my mother-turned-spotter urged me to call it quits.  The two loops I completed challenged me more than my 45-minute swim on Saturday, so I wasn’t about to argue.  At the very least, I now have experience swimming in choppy water, but hopefully Saturday will bring triathlon-friendly weather.

For the past few days, there has been road construction along part of the Cazenovia Triathlon bike course, so I opted to bike around Cazenovia Lake twice for a total of 18 miles.  Aside from some flashbacks to the 4th of July 10-miler, it was a scenic and uneventful ride.

Post-Workout Snack

Did you know today is National Banana Lover’s Day?

To celebrate, I whipped up a banana smoothie.

One frozen banana, chia seeds, 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats, one tablespoon of flaxseed meal, one scoop of Jay Robb protein powder, and 1 cup of almond milk went into the blender.  It tasted good, but I missed the addition of some PB.


A few hours later, I started to assemble my midday meal.

One veggie burger topped with one scrambled egg and spinach, plus roasted carrots and red peppers.  Definitely a random bunch of items, but it tasted great.  I also had some cantaloupe for dessert.

What’s your favorite way to eat, prepare, or cook with bananas?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of August 26

Hey, everyone!  Can you believe it’s Sunday already?  Weekends always seem to go by too quickly.  Last night, my extended family—grandparents, aunts, and uncles—went to the Canal View for dinner.

We love going there with G&G, and it was nice to have the entire gang along. (We may have polished off the restaurant’s supply of chardonnay.)

On the workout front, I have a busy week ahead—t-minus seven days until the Skinnyman Triathlon!

Like last week, I will be using the Empire Tri Club sprint triathlon plan as a guide.  Technically, I’m supposed to be tapering, but I’ll feel better if I complete a couple of bricks (like swim-bike and bike-run).  With this in mind, here’s this latest edition of Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I will post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – 25-minute open-water swim (OWS); 45-minute bike (most likely the Cazenovia Triathlon course)

Tuesday – 25-minute bike (about half of the Cazenovia Triathlon course); 30-minute run

Wednesday – 30-minute OWS

Thursday – 45-minute bike

Friday – off or 15-minute OWS

Saturday – Skinnyman Triathlon

Sunday – off or short run

Do you have a race this week?  What are your training goals this week?

Snapshot Saturday – The New York State Fair

Happy Saturday, everyone!  Any fun plans for the weekend?  Yesterday afternoon, we went to The New York State Fair, and these pictures are perfect for this week’s edition of Snapshot Saturday.

What’s your favorite food to get at the fair?  I managed about two bites of the deep-fried Oreo before passing it off to my sister (so good, yet so rich), and the cinnamon roasted almonds were my favorite eat of the day.

Protein Smoothie Mishap

Thursday afternoon got a little messy thanks to a protein smoothie mishap.

During the process of pouring her concoction from the blender into a glass, Margaret managed to spill three-quarters of her smoothie all over herself, some cupboards, and the kitchen floor.  Zelda was all over this green mess.  Can you blame her?  After all, she just took what the defense gave her.


Once Zelda we cleaned up, Margaret and I started preparing dinner.  While I cut and seasoned veggies for roasting, she made a homemade BBQ sauce, which we used to marinate seitan (say-tahn) kabobs.

A wheat-based source of protein, seitan works well in dishes that center on meat, making it perfect for this vegetarian-friendly meal.  I’ve had it only a handful of times—I vividly remember first meeting seitan in the form of vegetarian sloppy joes—and it’s fairly easy to prepare.  Interestingly enough, a lot of vegetarians don’t like its “meaty” texture, which makes sense:  these BBQ seitan bites tasted similar to popcorn chicken.  Margaret and I even convinced our meat-loving dad to try a piece.  He didn’t exactly enjoy it, but we’re proud of him for giving it a shot. (We can’t get him to try tofu, though.)


Since today is my rest day, I had a leisurely morning and fixed myself breakfast later than usual.  I really wanted to incorporate banana into my morning meal—Kodiak Cakes with banana slices sounded perfect—but since we’re out, I settled for a veggie scramble.

Two scrambled eggs with spinach and red peppers, plus a slice of Ezekiel bread.

After breakfast, I headed outside to do some reading.

I started The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan two days ago, and I can’t put it down.  Look for a book review within the next few days!


After yesterday’s trip to Chipotle, I really wanted to visit the chain again, but I settled for a panini.

Ezekiel bread made another appearance, this time accompanied by turkey, spinach, hummus, and some red pepper slices.  I also had a bowl of watermelon.

Plans for the rest of the afternoon include visiting The Great New York State Fair, and a fried Oreo might be in order.

Are you a vegetarian?  Do you like vegetarian sources of protein?  Have you ever tried seitan?

First Trip To Chipotle

Hi, everyone!  First off, I loved reading your comments on yesterday’s post about Ryan Gosling; I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s slightly obsessed.

OK, so back to regularly scheduled programming.  Before talking about the awesomeness that is Chipotle, let’s wiz through the past few hours.


Last night, my parents, sister, and I went to Circa.  Since the restaurant changes its menu every week or so—which ensures both seasonality and true locality—we try to go a few times a month to try ever-changing entrees.  I hoped the menu would feature salmon, and I got my wish.

This was my first time having the ivory version of this fish, and the tomato and cilantro sauce complemented the salmon’s mild, buttery flavor.  Perfectly crisp, the corn cakes were also delicious.  Last night’s dinner is easily one of my top meals I’ve had there.


Even though I went to bed relatively early, I had a difficult time waking up this morning.  Knowing temperatures would only continue to rise—today’s projected high is 80 degrees Fahrenheit—I bribed myself out of bed with some java.  Never underestimate the power of two cups of coffee and a baller playlist (very similar to my half-marathon one.) Once I had some caffeine in my system and synched my iPod shuffle, I laced up my sneakers and hit the road.  I ran for time today—about 40 minutes—and covered 5.25 miles.


After a sweaty run, overnight oats in a jar sounded perfect. (And luckily, I did the prep work last night.)

Plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup of almond milk, cinnamon, blueberries, and chia seeds went into the jar.


Onto the moment you’ve all been anxiously awaiting.

And Ellen with the photobomb.  We had quite a few errands to run today—Bed, Bath & Beyond, Office Max, Barnes and Noble—so when lunchtime rolled around, we decided to go to Chipotle.  I honestly don’t know how I’ve never eaten at this Mexican chain; this branch opened a few years ago, and when I studied abroad in London, I managed to make it inside a Chipotle without ordering anything.  And now that I’ve enjoyed a meal, I can see that was a huge mistake.

I went with the vegetarian burrito bowl:  brown rice; black beans; peppers and onions; medium-spicy sauce; guacamole; and lettuce.  Holy yum!

Have you been to Chipotle?  What’s your favorite dish to order?

Edited to add:  I received an email this afternoon that said Fitness and Frozen Grapes is now featured on this site.

Feminist Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling?!  Where?!

I’ve had a crush on this silver screen cutie since his days in Remember the Titans, so when I heard about Feminist Ryan Gosling, I was all over it.

I took my fair share of Women’s Studies courses at college, and I’ve read 40-50 percent of the theorists mentioned, so I appreciate the witty academic humor that underlies these “flashcards.”

Anyway, while shopping with my mom and sisters yesterday, I spotted Feminist Ryan Gosling The Book in Urban Outfitters, and you better believe I bought it!

Since I may have read all of the digital flashcards, I love how the book includes some new ones.

And Ryan Gosling’s face, of course.

Oh yes.


I “slept in” until 6:40 a.m. this morning and enjoyed two leisurely cups of coffee before making my morning meal.  Since a bike ride was on the schedule, I went the waffles-bananas-PB route.

Perfect pre-ride fuel.

Workout – Biking

Sunny skies and temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit made it a perfect morning for biking, and I met up with my friend Laura—she actually helped me find a wetsuit way back when—for a leisurely 18 miles.  We chatted about triathlons the entire time, and hopefully, we’ll be able to ride again next week.

Post-Workout Snack

I’m totally slacking on pictures lately.  When I got home, I made a protein smoothie with one frozen banana, one huge scoop of PB, cinnamon, and one scoop of Jay Robb vanilla protein powder.  I then proceeded to inhale it and forgot to take a photo.  Oops.


About an hour later, I made a salad for lunch.

I actually prepared the base yesterday (spinach, edamame, salmon, and red peppers) before we decided to give Catina Laredo a try, so I zapped the salmon and some leftover veggies.  Plus a peach for dessert.

Question of the afternoon:  What’s one funny thing–article, book, bumper sticker–you’ve read lately?