Monthly Archives: March 2013

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of March 31

Happy Easter, friends!

2013-easter-eggs-easter-bread

I hope you get to spend the day with friends, family and loved ones.

My trip home to Syracuse was short and sw-EAT:  yesterday morning, I met up with MB and one of her running buddies (another Ironwoman nonetheless) for an easy 45-minute run before I grabbed breakfast with two of my cousins.  Then, my aunt and I went to Syracuse Bicycle and Fleet Feet to do some MuckFest mud run shopping.  At Syracuse Bicycle, I stocked up on cycling socks, water bottles, and even bought a pair of toe covers and a black Patagonia vest. (Hey, it was on sale.) The shop was recently renovated, and it’s very impressive.  Yesterday afternoon, my family watched the Syracuse-Marquette game, and the Orange won—Final Four, here we come!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Marquette vs Syracuse

[source]

We enjoyed a sinfully delicious Easter breakfast this morning before we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for Easter “dinner”—and then I hopped on a train and am currently en route back to New York City.

So now that it’s officially Sunday, you know what that means:  It’s race week!

nautica-south-beach-triathlon-seven-days

This time next week, I will hopefully have completed my first triathlon of the season—and will be celebrating accordingly with my teammates!  Race week, race week!

As you know, I didn’t blog about my workouts at home, but my final push before the taper went well:  on Friday, I had a solid swim that included a 15-minute time trial.  My wetsuit was quite the topic of conversation, and the old ladies at the local pool loved me! (And some of them knew me when I was little.  Oh, small towns.) That afternoon, I completed the best tempo run I’ve had thus far.  Not only did I hold paces below my designated splits (don’t yell at me, coach!), but I also felt strong mentally.  This was the first tempo run I completed solo this training cycle, and it was a huge confidence builder—I proved to myself that I can push harder and hold a faster pace than I thought possible.  Disclaimer:  The tempo run occurred in the cold (roughly 34 degrees Fahrenheit), which is basically the exact opposite of what Miami’s weather conditions will be like.  Here’s to hoping powering through snow and hail (no joke!) will help me be mentally tough come race day.

And as previously mentioned, I met up with MB and her running buddy on Saturday.  They had 10 miles on the docket, so I tagged along for 45-minutes or slightly more than five miles.  Thanks for a run fun, ladies—and for not dropping me!

Overall, I couldn’t have ended this week on a better note workout-wise, so I will do my best to embrace the taper so I’m locked, loaded, and ready to do work.

Time for Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I 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 – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Tuesday – a.m. bike (outside with team)

Wednesday – a.m. indoor cycling with FTE; a.m. run off the bike

Thursday – a.m. swim with FTE

Friday – easy a.m. swim/run or off

Saturday – easy open-water swim and bike with FTE

SundayNautica South Beach Triathlon (0.5-mi. open-water swim, 19-mi. bike, 4-mi. run)

How was your Easter?

Home Sw-EAT Home

Hello, hello from Upstate New York!

3:29-lake

Even though spring has officially arrived, the lake remains frozen.  Before I left practice Wednesday, my teammates said I should drill a hole and hop in for some open-water swimming.  It sounded like a great idea to me, but my mom shot it down—ha!

Anyway, it feels so nice to be home!  My tiny hometown is basically the exact opposite of New York City, and although I love living there, I do like escaping the concrete jungle every now and then.  My train yesterday arrived almost an hour late—you’re killing me, Amtrak!—so lunch was on my mind. (Not that there’s ever a time when I’m not thinking about food, but you get my point.) Luckily, my mom had some Easter grocery shopping to do at Wegmans, so we went there for lunch.

3:28-wegmans-sushi-vegetables

Holy cow—I’ve missed Weggies so much!  I planned to get the citrus tofu roll, but it wasn’t available, so I went with a spicy tuna roll, plus a side of roasted mushrooms and asparagus.

For dinner, my family went to Circa, our favorite local restaurant.

byob-circa

Luckily, my sisters and I “like” Circa on Facebook, so we knew there wasn’t wine—and alerted my parents, so we came prepared!  Salad and turkey mole for dinner.

3_28-dinner-circa

Mmmm!

Breakfast after my swim this morning was my standard spinach and egg white breakfast sandwich, and I enjoyed a delicious bowl of homemade black bean soup after my tempo run.

3:29-lunch-black-bean-soup

Black bean soup never photographs well, but trust me:  To.  Die.  For.  I also chased it with an orange.

3:29-orange

Speaking of orange, Syracuse beat Indiana last night and advanced to the Elite Eight—woohoo!  I’m so happy the Cuse-Marquette matchup will start at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon; the past games have tipped off around 9:40 p.m., which is past my bedtime. (Seriously.)

I’m going shopping with my sister now—enjoy your Friday!

Do you certain meals or visit certain restaurants when you’re home?

My Teammates Made Me Do It

Happy Thursday, friends!  How’s your day going so far?  I kicked things off with a workout green smoothie before I hopped on the train home to Central New York.

3:28-green-protein-smoothie

It felt strange to wake up early and not work out, but today’s a rest day.  Well, a semi-active rest day if you consider hauling luggage to the train station strength training.  Which I totally do!

3:38-luggage

A few weeks ago, I bought this TYR transition backpack, and it’s been super clutch.  I’ve been eying triathlon transition backpacks for a while, and I knew I’d need one before Miami (in t-minus 10 days!).  Not only does it have plenty of room for my triathlon gear, but it also has space for snacks.  Priorities.

Speaking of triathlons, you’ve heard read about how much I love my teammates.  I’m incredibly lucky to be training with Full Throttle Endurance, and I feel so blessed to have this support system of friends who truly get it.  Not only do they push me during practice—I wouldn’t be improving as quickly if I trained solo all the time—but they also challenge me when it comes to races:

“C’mon, Carrie—sign up for the Timberman 70.3!  It will be fun!”

“Carrie, do the Brooklyn Half!  A bunch of us are racing it.”

“Carrie, come to 70.3 Rev3 Quassy!”

Although these all sound tempting, long-course events don’t align with my triathlon goals right now; I want to go fast (for me) before I go far.  Anyway, even though I’ve risen about this positive pressure, I did give in and sign up for a race that I wouldn’t have under normal conditions:  Escape to the Palisades on May 5.

escape-to-the-palisades

Since I live in New York City, I wouldn’t register for a short race that requires leaving the Big Apple; extensive travel plans to run 3.1 miles doesn’t seem worth it to me.  So why will I make the hike to Jersey for a 5-K?  A ton of my teammates signed up—and we plan to bike the 15-plus miles to the race site, run the 5-K, and then ride through more of Jersey before we head back across the George Washington Bridge.  So, basically, this will be like a bike-run-bike brick with some eating and drinking. (Hey, it will be Cinco de Mayo!)

Yes, we’re nuts.  And yes, I’m excited.

Have you ever been “peer pressured” into doing a race?

My First Ride in Central Park

As I mentioned yesterday, Sunday morning marked my first time biking in Central Park.  If you’ve been reading for a while, then you may remember my last outdoor ride occurred on the West Side Highway in October, and I’ve been pedaling away on my indoor bike trainer for the past five months.

cycleops-fluid2-trainer

I absolutely love my CycleOps Fluid2.  It’s perfect for doing intervals and spending time in my saddle (as opposed to one on a spin bike), but I was pumped to ride outside—even if the temperature hovered around freezing.

3_24-bike-ride-central-park

Yeah, I totally questioned my sanity at this point.  But then I remembered my teammates were riding outside too, so it must be OK.

Before making my 2013 outdoor debut, I had to invest in cold-weather cycling gear.  Yes, I’m from Central New York; no, cold temperatures don’t bother me.  But if it’s around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’re riding outside at a moderate pace, then you will need to bundle up.  And as a biking newbie, I have the bare minimum when it comes to apparel:  two jerseys and three pairs of shorts. (According to my coaches, our Full Throttle Endurance cycling and racing kits arrive next week!) Last week, Andrew sent an email that included the gear we’ll need until May, which included items like gloves, bike shoe covers, and fleece-lined cycling pants and jackets.

twitter-cold-weather-cycling

Since I have some vintage Under Armour tops and bottoms from my high school field-hockey days, I didn’t need to buy bottoms and tops.  And a while back, I ordered a Headsweats snowflake performance beanie, which I wore under my helmet.  Basically, the only items I needed to purchase included heavy-duty gloves and a warm jacket.  So after Saturday’s swim and brunch, one of my teammates and I hit up Paragon Sports to build our biking wardrobes.

cold-weather-cycling-gear-collage

Neon’s in this season, right?

Dressed for outdoor cycling success, I headed to Central Park yesterday morning for a beginner ride.  Again, I’ve been biking for about 10 months, so I’m still a noob, and Andrew said that people with less than two years of experience should attend this session.  It took me about 15 minutes to arrive at our meeting spot, and as I traveled uptown (in a green bike lane, so don’t worry, Mom!), my muscle memory took over, and it didn’t seem like my last outdoor ride happened five months ago.

For the first 15 minutes, Andrew briefly went over biking basics like shifting, breaking, signaling, and turning.  This portion served as a review for me—but it’s always good to hear this information again—but I did learn an important turning technique:  you should look ahead to where you want your bike to go, not where it is headed immediately. (I guess more mistakes and crashes happen when rides look immediately in front when turning.) Andrew also addressed riding in a pace group, and before long, we were off!

Seven triathletes comprised our group, including one advanced rider who lead us through the first loop of Central Park while Andrew coached.  This was my first time riding in a true pace group, and during the entire ride, I kept thinking about Syracuse Bicycle’s Women on Wheels rides and how lucky I was to be able to essentially learn to ride in a safe and welcoming environment.  My cycling technique and experience are limited, but I was so grateful to have basic knowledge and skills I learned from these meetups.

Anyway, back to group riding.

Andrew circulated this link last week and told us to study what the pros do.  In essence, he wanted our front tire as close as possible to the (back) tire in front of us, a technique known as drafting.  Although this type of riding isn’t legal in USAT-sanctioned events, it’s effective in group rides because it’s safer, allows riders to share the workload, and makes it possible for riders to hold higher paces.  From this first outing, I learned two important aspects of group riding:  never break hard (coasting and feathering the breaks should be options one and two before full-out breaking) and trust the rider in front of you.  Honestly, the idea of riding so close together was a little unnerving, but I didn’t let myself get nervous—as soon as you do, you’re done.  And besides, I trusted my teammate in front of me, so I kept my eyes locked on his back tire.

So the ride went smoothly until the five-minute mark.  There was a crash (not me, don’t worry, Mom!), but thankfully everyone was OK.  As we looped around Central Park, my teammates and I took turns holding the line and setting the pace, and we also practiced signaling and did some hill work too.

ironman-melbourne-meredith-kessler

Professional triathlete Meredith Kessler doing work on the hills of the Ironman Melbourne bike course, aka what I want to look like.

I definitely held my own out there!  A few minutes into the ride, Andrew rode up next to me and said I was strong enough to push a bigger gear; I made the necessary adjustment and immediately felt much smoother and more efficient.  I also may have received an earful for pushing the pace too much when I was out in front—whoops! (But I guess that means my indoor trainer rides have paid off, right?) After the first 6.2-mile loop, the girls in our group got dropped, but I “broed out” and rode with the guys—that’s how you improve!  There were obviously points during the ride that were tough, but for the most part, I felt fresh, strong, and composed, especially when we climbed hills.  I even caught myself beaming several times because I was so happy to be riding outside with my teammates.

Around 8:40 a.m., Central Park started to get crowded (there was actually a duathlon and bike race in progress), so Andrew said our official team ride was over, but I ended up doing another loop with two teammates.  Yes, my toes were numb, but it was 100 percent worth it.

What are some of your cold-weather workout gear must-haves?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of March 24

How can it be Sunday?  This weekend flew by!  My Saturday started off with my normal Full Throttle Endurance swim session and brunch at my teammate’s apartment, and then one of my teammates and I went shopping for cold-weather cycling gear—and this morning, I rode in Central Park for the first time!

3_24-bike-ride-central-park

Had to post the awkward selfie.  Unpictured are my heavy-duty gloves, Under Armour pants underneath my cycling shorts, and two pairs of socks.  Yes, my toes still froze.

I didn’t crash like my Chinese horoscope predicted, and I didn’t get dropped—woohoo!

After today’s ride (detailed post will go live tomorrow), I feel much better about tackling 19 miles (after a half-mile ocean swim and before a four-mile run) in 13 days.  Yep, less than two weeks until my first race of the season.  This past week, my emotions have been all over the place—excited, nervous, anxious, you name it.  It’s great to know my teammates feel the same way, and we’ve been really good about reeling in each other when someone gets too stressed.  Obviously, we talk about this upcoming race quite a bit, and during the next two weeks, I will make a conscious effort to focus on aspects I can control:  my training, my recovery, and my fueling/nutrition.  Yes, there are things that worry me:  how will I handle the heat and humidity?  Should I buy a sleeveless wetsuit (aka my current obsession concern)?  Do I need to fuel during the run?  There’s something to be said for addressing these thoughts, but constantly thinking about these race-day conditions isn’t productive.  My mantra until the 7th?  Control the controllables.

Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I 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 – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE) and strength train

Tuesday – a.m. bike (outside with FTE or inside on trainer) and strength train

Wednesday – a.m. indoor cycling with FTE; a.m. run off the bike

Thursday – off

Friday – a.m. swim

Saturday – a.m. swim and a.m. run

Sunday – off/easy run

How do you deal with pre-race jitters?

Six Things Thursday

Hey, hey—happy (throwback) Thursday!

tbt-high-school-basketball

I’ve been sitting on this high school basketball picture for a while, and I finally uploaded it to Instagram today.  Miss those glory days!

Anyway, this post is all over the place, which makes for a perfect list.

1.  Wednesday’s edition of heat training for Nautica South Beach went pretty well.  During the Full Throttle Endurance indoor cycling workout, I wore three layers (Under Armour, short-sleeved t-shirt, and long-sleeved t-shirt) and noticed a few key things.  Aside from the obvious (warming up quickly, sweating more, etc.), my heart rate rose quicker during power intervals and took longer to drop during recovery efforts.  This was probably due to a combination of rocking the extra layers and pushing myself more—t-minus 16 days, so it’s crunch time!  Honestly, though, the heat didn’t take its toll until mile three of the run off the bike.  I had to work harder to hold my steady pace, and I was so tempted to take off a shirt or two; I was uncomfortably warm for sure.  Stripping won’t be an option in Miami (need to have some decency, right?), so I pushed through. (Side note:  We talked about the run during our bike workout, and Andrew said four miles have never felt so long.  Gulp.)

2.  My appetite and grocery bills have increased exponentially this week.  Case in point:  My supply of roasted sweet potatoes that normally lasts five days disappeared last night. (Who could’ve eaten them all?) This warranted a trip to Whole Foods, and I also picked up more spinach, almond milk, and protein powder.  Seriously, where is all my food going?!

roasted-sweet-potatoes

Can’t wait to have this fresh batch tonight!

3.  This afternoon’s swim workout wiped me out. (I tagged along with another FTE training group this morning for a 40-minute tempo run and waited until the afternoon to hit the pool.) My training plan called for an endurance swim with longer intervals, so I wrote this down beforehand:

3:21-swim-workout-endurance

Swimmers, would you call the main set an endurance swim?  The 30 seconds of rest was too ambitious, though.  After the first and second 500s, I bumped it up to one minute.

4.  I’m so excited to go home for Easter!  This will be my first trip back to Central New York since January, and I can’t wait to see a certain greyhound.

zelda-coat

Let’s hope Zelda will pull me through a tempo run or two.

5.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness has begun!

march-madness-2013-final-four-atlanta

[source]

Syracuse plays Montana tonight, but I’m not a fan of the 9:57 p.m. tipoff—that’s way past my bedtime! (But really.)

6.  For my fellow Downton Abbey fanatics, have you seen Dan Stevens’ new look?

dan-stevens-brown-hair

[source]

I definitely don’t hate it!

Did you fill out a bracket for March Madness?  What are your plans for Easter?

Training For the Heat

Happy Tuesday, friends!  How was your day?  I kicked things off this morning with a 75-minute indoor bike trainer ride.

3:19-indoor-bike-trainer-ride-heat-training

At first glance, this setup looks like a usual ride, but I made an important change today:  I wore an Under Armour top, which is normally reserved for chilly outdoor runs.

So why rock cold weather gear during an indoor spin?

One of my main concerns about the Nautica South Beach Triathlon (in t-minus 18 days!) includes the heat.  Since I grew up in the tundra Central New York, freezing temperatures don’t bother me, but high humidity is a different story.  Basically, aside from high school field-hockey practices (and the very end of a few long runs this past summer), I don’t have any experience working out in the heat, and I have no idea how my body will respond.  Obviously, I can’t become totally used to warm temperatures during the upcoming weeks, but I do want to get a rough idea of how my body will respond—and how much I can push.  This morning’s ride was a little toasty, and during tomorrow’s Full Throttle Endurance indoor cycling workout, I plan to wear more layers.  And even though my normal spot isn’t next to a fan, I need to choose a seat that’s in the middle of the room that has zero chance of getting a breeze.  Andrew also suggested spending some quality time in the sauna, so I’ll probably camp out there Thursday and Friday post-workout.

Breakfast

My appetite has been out of control the past few days, and this morning was no exception.

3:19-breakfast-overnight-oats

Post-biking and strength training coffee, water, and overnight oats.

Lunch

I haven’t been posting pictures of my meals because I eat literally the exact same thing every day.

3:19-lunch-spicy-black-bean-quinoa

Spicy black bean quinoa that I almost forgot to photograph with an unpictured side of carrots.  A strawberry banana Chobani served as an afternoon snack.

Dinner

The usual suspects made appearances tonight.

3:19-dinner

Baked salmon seasoned with EVOO, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, lemon pepper, and a sprinkle of basil, plus some peas and roasted sweet potatoes.

Do you prefer warm or cold weather?  Any tips for preparing for hot and humid races?

Tri-Mania Expo and NYC Half

As I mentioned yesterday, my friend Laura and her roommate Katie visited New York City this weekend for the Tri-Mania Expo.

tri-mania-nyc

Remember back during the Hurricane Sandy era when I ran with New York Runners in Support of Staten Island?  Dr. Jordan Metzel who organized the initiative spearheaded yesterday’s event, so I knew it would be legitimate and worthwhile.  Anyway, after completing a morning swim with some of my Full Throttle Endurance teammates, I went uptown to Columbia University for a day of trigeeking out.

tri-mania-nyc-seminars

The seminars fell into four general themes:  Optimizing Your Life in the Water; Optimizing Your Life on Land: Maximizing Your Run Performance; Triathlon Topics: Some Nuts and Bolts; and Hot Topics in the World of Triathlon.  After each the final presentation in each category, the experts participated in a panel discussion and answered audience questions.  The agenda also included a coaches roundtable and interviews with some reputable and high-profile individuals (most notably Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and Editor-at-Large of Runner’s World), plus a keynote presentation from Dave Scott, a six-time Ironman World Champion.

I arrived a little late from the pool, so I missed the first speaker.  My favorite presentation of the day was probably from Dr. Paul Weiss who addressed how to master open-water swimming anxiety.  He had me laughing out loud!

tri-mania-nyc-open-water-swimming

He also relayed some helpful tips like doing the catch-up drill to prevent being kicked in the head while in the open water.

Between sessions, we explored the vendor area (no pictures, my bad!) and trigeeked out big time.

tri-mania-nyc-triathlete-magazine

Can’t beat being on the cover of Triathlete magazine!

Other random tidbits of information I found interesting:

-During an Ironman (2.4-mi. swim, 112-mi. bike, 26.2-mi. run), triathletes burn 8,000-11,000 calories.

-Although it’s important to be flexible (especially in terms of riding in aero), it’s more crucial to be strong, aka triathletes need to strength train on a regular basis.

-Triathletes should train to run, not run to train.

-When riding in the saddle, the engine must be in the right place to maximize power and efficiency, aka triathletes need to get a professional bike fit.

During his keynote speech, Dave Scott talked about defining success.

tri-mania-nyc-dave-scott

His point about enjoying and relishing in the journey of training really resonated with me.  According to Scott, triathletes spend 95 percent of their time training and five percent racing.  We train to compete, and in order to swim, bike, and run at the level we desire (keep in mind triathlon draws perfectionists/type-A people), we log a lot of time to prepare our races.  If you don’t love it—truly love it—those laps in the pool, hours on the trainer, and minutes on the ‘mill will seem absolutely miserable.

I obviously love racing, and since moving to New York City, I’ve really fallen in love with the triathlon lifestyle.  Most mornings, I wake up before my alarm (that’s set for a time most would consider ungodly early) because I’m so excited to swim, bike, or run.  I’m also lucky enough to train with teammates who feel the same way:  we embrace our early bedtimes, and most of look forward to hitting the hay because we’ve been awake since 4:30 a.m. we’re so pumped to get after it the next day. (So guilty, so not sorry.) And above all, we support each other because we get it.

nyc-half-full-throttle-endurance

Even though we have different strengths, weaknesses, and race schedules, we’re friends, teammates, and each other’s biggest fans—so spectating the NYC Half on Sunday was a no-brainer.  Two of my teammates raced (one of whom PR’ed!), and three of us decided to cheer them on.  Hey, if you can’t run as fast as they can, then you can at least watch, right?

The race began at 7:30 a.m. with one loop through Central Park before the course headed south along the West Side Highway and finished at South Street Seaport.  Kudos to everyone who ran—the temperature hovered around 30 degrees!

nyc-half

My teammates and I planned to see the start and then make our way downtown and stop at several mile markers so we could see our runners multiple times.  That didn’t exactly happen, though.  We grabbed breakfast and plenty of coffee at Whole Foods, and by the time we arrived at the mile 12-13.1-area, one of our teammates had finished.  Fail. (On the bright side, we’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves as spectators at the Brooklyn Half!) At that point, we hung out at the finish and waited for the others to come in.

And I just realized how sappy part of this post sounds–whoops!  Hopefully some of you understand what I mean.  And if not, then please don’t make fun of me–ha!

Have you attended a sport-related seminar or expo?  What did you think?  Do you prefer racing or spectating?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!  Did you do anything to celebrate?  If spectating the NYC Half counts, then yes!

nyc-half-full-throttle-endurance

I love my teammates–congrats to the boys who had great races!

My friend Laura and her roommate Katie visited this weekend for the Tri-Mania Expo, and we had a ton of fun yesterday trigeeking out.

tri-mania-nyc-triathlete-magazine

Full-fledged post coming your way tomorrow!

Anyway, t-minus 20 days until South Beach—ahhh!  I can’t believe how quickly it’s approaching.  Andrew sent an updated schedule, which basically prescribes more training hours.  Overall, my teammates and I will be pushing this week and next before we taper for our first race of the season.  Bring.  It.  On.

Time for Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I 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 – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE); a.m. swim

Tuesday – a.m. bike (outside with team or inside on trainer) and strength train

Wednesday – a.m. indoor cycling with FTE; a.m. run off the bike

Thursday – a.m. run; a.m. swim

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE; a.m. strength train

Saturday – a.m. swim or bike (outside) with FTE; a.m. run

Sunday – off

Did you complete a St. Patrick’s Day race?

Syracuse Basketball at Madison Square Garden

As I’ve alluded to on the blog, I’m obsessed with collegiate basketball and basically live for March Madness.  I played quite a bit back in the day—from third grade through sophomore year of college, so 12 years—but what else was I supposed to do growing up in Central New York?  Well, I could’ve taken up cross-country skiing because it snows basically six months out of the year, but I digress.

high-school-basketball

Friday flashback–why not?

Even though I retired about three years ago (no regrets!), I still love watching the game, especially when my boys at Syracuse University take the court.  I’ve been bleeding Orange for as long as I can remember, and my devotion to the team truly solidified when my immediate family lived with my grandparents during our house renovation project.  As a seventh grader, I would watch each game with my grandparents:  my grandma would braid my hair, and my grandpa would yell at Craig Forth.  Good times!

craig-forth-syracuse

[source]

I got his autograph at Chili’s!

Over the years, I’ve attended lots of Orange games, including a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit courtside in the Carrier Dome.

subballcourtside

Courtside seats granted us access to the hospitality suite, aka unlimited sangria.  Oh, and Chris Joseph talked to me.  I almost died.

So really, it should come as no surprise that when I faced the choice of cleaning, doing laundry, and working on a freelance assignment or going to the Syracuse game at Madison Square Garden (MSG), I chose the latter.

big-east-basketball-tournament-ticket

You need to take what the defense gives you, right? (One-hundred percent intended basketball pun.)

My uncle Jim and a few of his friends came to New York City for the Big East Tournament, and we went out to dinner Wednesday night after Syracuse put away Seton Hall. (Hey, an outing I didn’t blog about—shocker!) Anyway, the group had an extra ticket to Thursday’s showdown against Pittsburgh, so when uncle Jim offered me the seat, I took him up on the offer.  Obviously, I will never say no to watching a Syracuse game, and plus, I’d never been to the Garden.  This series would also be the last time SU plays in the Big East Tournament. (The team moves to the ACC conference next year, and since this isn’t a basketball blog, I’ll refrain from sharing my two cents.)

Anyway, I spent the bulk of the day spectating games—first Cincinnati-Georgetown, then Syracuse-Pittsburgh—and “broing out.”

syracuse-pittsburgh-basketball-big-east-tournament

Hanging out with the boys and analyzing the game is good for the soul!  My friends in real life can attest to the fact that my inner jock comes out when I watch games, and I’ve been known to yell at the TV and get into heated debates with fellow spectators. (That’s why scheduling my indoor trainer bike rides has worked so well–it keeps me under control and takes the edge off my anxiousness!)  I also tend to ignore everything that isn’t game-related, so if Syracuse is playing, then I won’t respond to your question, tweet, etc.

It was so cool watching the game at MSG!  Situated at center court, our seats gave us great views (not that there’s a bad seat in the Garden), and the crowd’s energy was contagious.

big-east-tournament-madison-square-garden

I like to think the Orange needed our support because they almost threw away the game, but ultimately won 62-59.  The team faces Georgetown tonight, and even though I won’t be at the game, you’ll probably be able to hear me cheering—ha!

Are you a sports fan?  What’s your favorite sport to watch?  Do you enjoy “broing out”?