Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tough Love

Approximately 1.75 laps into this morning’s team bike ride in Central Park, I got dropped.  I hung tight with the all-girl “racing team” group during the first 6.2-mile loop, but as we powered up Harlem Hill for the second time, a gap began to emerge.  I couldn’t find the next gear (both figuratively and somewhat literally), and even though I fought to maintain contact, the distance slowly grew until two of the three girls were out of sight.

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Too bad the snazzy red grip tape didn’t help.

This was the first time I’ve been dropped, and it stinks.  A lot.  Defeat, frustration, inadequacy.  Yes, it’s a cycling/triathloning rite of passage, but that doesn’t make it any better.

Prior to getting dropped, I received feedback and lots of tough love from one of my coaches.  As the ladies and I took turns pulling or leading the pace line, he yelled and told me to get off the hoods and use the drops. (This lower position helps the rider conserve energy and be more aerodynamic.)

deruyter-lake-triathlon-bike1

Throwback from the DeRuyter Lake Triathlon–this is hood riding.  The drops are the white, lower sections on the handlebars.

I hesitated before holding the drops—recent wipe out, anyone?—and even though I eventually got there, he totally called me out:  “You’re afraid of your drops!”  Afraid?  Meh.  Anxious?  Yeah.  Hey, I’m a biking newbie.  But it ended up being fine.  During this part of practice, he also barked at helped me with shifting and general technique, but I was on my own once the group separated at Harlem Hill.

After completing the third loop solo, I pulled over at our group’s meet-up spot, and my coach and I developed a rough game plan.  Bottom line:  I need to spend more time in the saddle.  The best way to improve as a cyclist is to ride, so that’s what needs to happen.  Based on my Nautica South Beach results, I knew my bike needed work, but what I haven’t totally accepted until recently is it’s where I have the most room for improvement (read:  this is where I need to improve).  Yes, I want to get better across the disciplines, but as of now, the bike has turned into my new triathlon “Achilles heel.”  Point blank, our group rides in Central Park prove to be the most challenging, and I feel the least confident in the saddle, which is mainly due to inexperience.  And most triathletes will tell you the race is won on the bike, so if I want to put myself in a position to do well in August, then I need to make logging miles a high, high priority.  And for what it’s worth, I tried playing the newbie card—which is true because I’ve been riding for less than one year—but my coach didn’t buy it.  His response?  “When you’re on the podium, you’re no longer a beginner.”  He had more nice things to say, but we don’t need to go into that … moving on …

So what’s the plan?  Since Montauk is only 10 days away (yaya!), I’m not changing anything for the time being.  Afterward, though, my coach recommended removing my aerobars for the group rides in Central Park, which will make it easier to use my drops (aka he’ll force me to use my drops).  Then for weekend riding, I should reattach the aerobars and practice.

And just so this post isn’t all about biking …

Breakfast

Post-ride, I inhaled this bowl of overnight oats that included banana, frozen blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, almond milk, old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon.

5:28-breakfast-overnight-oats

It hit the spot, but I’ll definitely need a snack before work.

How do you handle tough love?

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

Hiya, friends!  How’s your Memorial Day Weekend been so far?  After yesterday’s swim, I went straight to work.  We weren’t super busy (thanks a lot, rain), but two of my teammates stopped in during my shift, which helped the day pass quickly.  Luckily, the weather shaped up today, so I rode in Central Park with some teammates.

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I had my bike tuned up at Zen Bikes yesterday, and the guys regripped my handlebars—love the pop of red!  And in semi-related news, t-minus 12 days until Mighty Montauk!  Coming off recovery week, I feel fresh, energized, and ready to attack this week’s workouts.  Chelsea Piers is operating under holiday hours tomorrow, so we won’t have official team practice, but I made plans to meet up with my running buddy to tackle Central Park’s hills.  I’m coming for you, Montauk!  Here’s this week’s edition of 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; a.m. strength train

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE

Wednesday – a.m. brick workout with FTE—indoor cycle and run off the bike

Thursday – off

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

Saturday – a.m. swim with FTE

Sunday – a.m. (long) bike

How did your workouts go this week?  Do you usually take a rest day during the week or weekend?

What Do You Eat In A Week?

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends!  Do you have any fun plans?  I’m working Saturday and Monday, but I hope to get in a longer bike ride with some teammates on Sunday.  Fingers crossed the weather cooperates.

A few weeks ago, Jen at Peanut Butter Runner wrote a post about Mary Roach’s book Gulp.  In an interview with NPR, Roach said the average American eats about 30 different foods per week.  This statistic changes if you’re traveling and eating outside your home, but she said 30 is the average for most of us.

I started thinking about my personal eating habits, and as you know, I’m such a creature of habit.  There is some variety in my diet, but I mostly eat the same snacks and meals.  Hey, I know what I like!  Here’s a look at what I typically consume each week:

Breakfast

1.  Egg whites

2.  Spinach

3.  Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread

what-do-you-eat-in-a-week-breakfast

4.  Greek yogurt

5.  Oats

6.  Bananas

7.  Strawberries

8.  Blueberries

9.  Chia Seeds

10.  Kale

*Protein Powder – technically not a “whole food”

Lunch

11.  Quinoa

12.  Peppers (red, orange, yellow)

13.  Black beans

what-do-you-eat-in-a-week-lunch.jpg

14.  Carrots

15.  Apples

16.  Turkey

17.  Avocado

18.  Almonds

Dinner

19.  Salmon

20.  Tilapia

what-do-you-eat-in-a-week-dinner.jpg

21.  Peas

22.  Sweet potatoes (roasted)

23.  Sushi

Dessert

24.  Frozen grapes

25.  Frozen mango (specifically from Trader Joe’s—so delicious!)

26.  Dark chocolate

Snacks/miscellaneous

27.  Almond butter

28.  Peanut butter

29.  Almond milk

30.  Salsa

what-do-you-eat-in-a-week-dessert-snacks

So, I clock in at the average of 30, which is a pleasant surprise considering my day-to-day meals look very similar.  This can be attributed to food-prep Sundays; it’s so easy to roast a ton of sweet potatoes and make a batch of spicy black bean quinoa and eat it throughout the week.  Also, since starting triathlon training in January, I’ve discovered my body responds well to these foods, and that’s one of the reasons I hesitate to branch out.  I should also note this is an extremely “clean” week for me.  Mighty Montauk is only two weeks away, so I’ve made a conscious effort to fuel accordingly.  When I don’t have a race right around the corner, items like Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (currently my ultimate demise) will definitely make the list.  Anyway, as the saying goes:  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I do need to experiment more in the kitchen, though; you know what they say:  “Variety is the spice of life.”  I would argue cayenne pepper is the ultimate spice of life, but that’s beside the point.

What do you typically eat each week?  Are you a fan of meal-prep Sundays?

Shoe Training Graduation

Hello, Friday!  Whew, this has been a busy week—lots of working and working out, and this weekend will be more of the same.  Fingers crossed New York City doesn’t see another monsoon.

5:23-flash-flood-warning

Yep, it absolutely poured yesterday.  The streets flooded, and the subway system shut down.  At least it wasn’t snow, right?

Anyway, I don’t want to rehash a previous post, but about one year ago, I attended a graduation ceremony that looked like this:

hws-graduation-2012

Upstate New York.  Four hundred and seventy eight graduates.  One diploma.

And Tuesday night, I officially graduated from JackRabbit shoe training!  No ceremony this time, but I did receive a swag bag stuffed with goodies.

jackrabbit-shoe-training-graduation-bag

Just a little different from last year:  New York City.  Five graduates.  One baller goodie bag.

jackrabbit-socks

Aside from the freebies—everything from sweat-wicking socks (do not wear cotton ones, friends!) to calf compression sleeves to a Polar heart rate monitor—this loot also means my JRab training has ended.  When I first accepted this job, I knew the learning curve would be tough, but manageable, and the company’s training program worked really well.  After completing several online training modules, I shadowed some of my coworkers while they did shoe fits.  Watching them in action and learning how they select sneakers proved to be really helpful, and I also attended two in-person shoe training classes with our head shoe buyer:  one devoted to the biomechanics of running, and another that addressed the construction of running sneakers.  In a short period of time, I’ve learned so much about running from a physiological perspective, plus how sneakers work to make the activity enjoyable.  And that’s the bottom line:  the proper pair will make running much more fun!  Speaking of sneakers …

jackrabbit-shoe-training-graduation-shoe-certificate

Let’s call this voucher for some free Sauconys (woohoo!) my “diploma,” OK?  And maybe this five-plus pounds of nutrition products could be my tassels?

jackrabbit-nutrition

Woohoo for #runnerd goodies!

Have you attended a non-academic “graduation” of sorts?

Currently

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I have a busy day ahead of me—a long shift at the running store and shoe class tonight—so let’s keep it simple with a survey.  Sound like a plan?

Current Book(s):  Aside from my pre-bedtime magazine reading that includes Triathlete and LAVA magazines (#trigeek), I’m also working my way through Savor:  Mindful Eating, Mindful Life for book club!

runners-world-triathlete-magazine-savor-book-club

Most nights, I get through one chapter before falling asleep.

Current Music:  My most recent workouts have been sans music, but here three of my favorite high-energy jams.

“Can’t Hold Us” by Mackelmore

“My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy

“Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch

Current Guilty Pleasure:  My Paleo chocolate chip banana bread.

paleo-chocolate-chip-banana-bread

It may have disappeared in less than four days.  Just sayin’.

Current Nail Color:  No polish right now, but you better believe my nails will be red for the Mighty Montauk Triathlon!

Current Drink:  Water.  So exciting, I know.  My second cup of coffee will happen momentarily, though.

Current Food:  Post-ride (during which I got “called up” to ride with the ladies on the “racing team!”), I ate my standard spinach and egg white breakfast sandwich.  However, four Central Park loops (about 24 miles) means breakfast number two is only a matter of time.  It’s super humid today, so a smoothie sounds perfect.

Current Favorite Show:  Well, you know I’m obsessed with Dan Stevens, and I’m always down for some Downton Abbey.

the-heiress-broadway-dan-stevens

I also get sucked into Say Yes To The Dress and Sex and the City marathons.

Current Needs/Wish List/Indulgence:  I’m combining these three because they’re connected.  Since I only have one team cycling kit, I need another; therefore, it’s been on my wish list.  And the online team store reopened, and even though this may not qualify as a typical indulgence, I treated myself to some new pink gear.

fte-pink-cycling-gear

I even opted for the (unpictured) bib shorts—who would’ve thought?  Ha!

Current Blessing:  My supportive and loving (and goofy!) family.

jersey-boys-broadway-nyc-family

Hopefully they will visit again soon!

Current Outfit:  One thing I love about working at a running store?  A laid-back dress code.  I usually wear jeans and a race or JackRabbit t-shirt.  And sneakers of course.

Current Excitement:  My big-girl promotion still makes me giddy (I have my first conference call today–ahhh!), and I’m also counting down the days until Montauk.  Only 17 days until race day!

Please play along in the comments!

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of May 19

Hey, hey!  Did you have a good weekend?  On Saturday, I swam with some Full Throttle Endurance teammates—and listen to this awesome update:  I shaved 20 seconds off my 200-yard time trial!  Yes, that’s twenty seconds!  Woohoo for progress!  After the workout, it was time for work, and later that evening, I met up with my friend Sarah for thin-crust pizza and frozen yogurt.  No photos, but it was super delicious.

Anyway, time to get down to business.

mighty-montauk-triathlon-countdown

T-minus 19 days until race day!  The Mighty Montauk Triathlon will be the next event for a bunch of FTEers, so this upcoming seven days will be devoted to recovery; next week, we’ll push, and then the following week will be taper time.  Much like the Nautica South Beach Triathlon, I’m feeling anxious and uncertain—in terms of stringing together a solid bike and run off the bike—yet somewhat ready to tackle my first Olympic-distance event (1-mile swim, 22-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run).  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. strength train

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE or a.m. run and strength train*

Wednesday – a.m. brick workout with FTE—indoor cycle and run off the bike

Thursday – a.m. bike with FTE or off*

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE; a.m. run

Saturday – a.m. swim with FTE

Sunday – a.m. bike

*Rain is in the forecast for this entire week, which affects the probability of riding outside.  I’m crossing my fingers the predictions are wrong.

How do you plan to stay active this week?

Foodie Friday – Smorgasburg and Madison Square Eats

Happy Friday, friends!  We made it to the weekend!

muckfest-ms-mud-run-boston-start

Along with the MuckFest MS Mud Run card my aunt and uncle sent yesterday, they also passed along a CD of race photos.  I love this one!

Since the blog has lacked food photos lately, I thought I’d share a few noteworthy eats from the past week, starting with Sunday’s trip to Smorgasburg in Brooklyn.

smorgasbord-brooklyn-menus

It’s highly possible the maple bacon on a stick happened.  And it may have been absolutely delicious.

Anyway, Sara and I spent the afternoon grazing and hanging out, and I tried South Indian food for the first time.

smorgasbord-south-indian

I ordered a Masala Dosa, which tasted like a rice pancake and packed a nice kick thanks to the spicy potatoes.

And last night, I went to Madison Square Eats with some teammates.

madison-square-eats

[source]

Situated in Madison Square Park near the Flatiron Building, this outdoor market showcases 28 of New York City’s most popular restaurants—think things like Korean BBQ, comfort food, gourmet Mexican street food.

madison-square-eats2

[source]

My evening of eating started with a margarita and—wait for it—a lobster BLT from Red Hook Lobster Pound.

madison-square-eats-red-hook-lobster-pound

Disclaimer:  The margarita came from a different vendor.

lobster-blt-red-hook-lobster-pound

Lots of flavors worked together—lobster, bacon, chipotle mustard—and this was easily the best BLT of any kind I’ve had in my entire life.

Rounds two and three included a chipotle pork taco from Calexico and hazelnut and tiramisu gelato from Eataly, and unfortunately, both went undocumented.  Eh, you win some, you lose some.

And on a semi-related note, I spent this morning making my staples:  sweet potatoes wedges and spicy black bean quinoa.

5:17-meal-prep

Have a great weekend!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?

My First Big-Girl Job Promotion

Hiya, friends!  I feel like I haven’t talked to you in forever!  As you can tell from my absence, it’s been a busy week, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Here are some highlights:

1.  Hello, Saucony Kinvara 3’s!

saucony-kinvara-3

These new sneakers carried me through two runs this week:  Wednesday’s run off the bike and today’s speedwork.  I’m tempted to #shoegeek out and share the details, but I’ll spare you. (Unless you come to the store for a shoe fit, then all bets are off!) I will say, though, it’s an extremely light and comfortable shoe, and I plan to use it for speedwork and racing only.  On a related note, does anyone know if Lock Laces come in orange?

2.  Speaking of racing, I officially signed up to volunteer for Ironman Lake Placid in July.

ironman-lake-placid

One of my teammates is tackling the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run, so another one of my teammates and I decided make the trip, volunteer at the race, and support him.  We also plan to turn it into a fitness-cation of sorts, meaning we’ll bring our wetsuits, bikes, and running shoes.  When in Rome Lake Placid …

3.  My aunt and uncle sent the sweetest card from our MuckFest MS Mud Run escapades.

muckfest-ms-mud-run-card

In total, our team raised more than $8,300 for the National MS Society.  Way to go, Mighty Mucks!

4.  And now for the big news—I got my first big-girl job promotion!  I’m the new Community Outreach Coordinator for JackRabbit Union Square!

jack-rabbit-staff

Since day one, this job has really clicked, and I absolutely love it:  doing shoe (and wetsuit!) fits, talking about training goals, and helping people discover healthy living.  I’m excited to take on more responsibility, and in this position, I’ll be in charge of brainstorming, planning, and organizing community events like yoga classes, informative workshops, and basically getting JackRabbit’s name out there.  There are a few ideas I’m kicking around already, and did I say I’m so excited?  Oh, and I get a company email address and business cards.  Woohoo!

Tell me about your first job that clicked.  Did you love it immediately, or did you grow to enjoy it?

One Year Ago Today

Today—May 13, 2013—marks one year since I graduated from college.  How is this possible?

Graduation

What I really want to know is where the past 365 days have gone.  Life at Camp Hoho—filled with classes, papers, and weekend shenanigans—seems like both yesterday and several years ago.

bestfriendsIt’s so strange to look back on college as a past experience:  During high school, the number one goal was to do well and get into a good institution; and during college, the number one goal was to do well and graduate with a degree.

graduation-parents

Anyway, graduating from college marked a huge transition.  This is when I started blogging and gave triathloning a shot, and I moved from my tiny hometown in Upstate New York to New York City in October.  My big-girl internship started in January.

As I adjusted to these changes, I didn’t blog about what I was experiencing.  Basically, going from college life to the real world was much more challenging than I anticipated.  The high-school-to-college change wasn’t too difficult for me, so I expected a similar transition, but I really missed living with my best friends, having my support system of mentors at my fingertips, and being in an academic atmosphere.

And to further complicate things, my big-girl internship wasn’t what I expected either.  After college, I envisioned myself working for a diet and fitness publication.  However, things in the office didn’t click, and I came to the realization that the field wasn’t for me.  This was a huge, somewhat scary discovery because it essentially took me back to the career drawing board.  Where do I go from here?

Aside from the support of my family and friends, one constant throughout this journey has been triathloning.  I gave it a tri try last summer, became totally hooked, and started training with Full Throttle Endurance in January.  The sport has become a lifestyle, and I rediscovered how much I love being part of a team.  Between training, traveling, and racing, you spend so much time with your teammates and coaches, and it’s like having a second family.

nyc-half-full-throttle-endurance

This sounds dramatic, but I have no idea how I would’ve coped with these changes without FTE.  Waking up and getting after it in the pool, in the saddle, or on the track gave me a sense of purpose, and even though I struggled to figure things out work-wise, I could always count on my teammates to start my day off on the right foot.  Having this excitement and positivity every morning during a time of change made a world of difference.

escape-to-the-palisades-5-k-full-throttle-endurance

Anyway, moving away from the sappy stuff, if you told me that one year after graduation I’d be living in NYC, training for triathlons, and working at a baller running store, I would’ve given you a skeptical look.  Big Apple life?  Sure, that’s been part of the plan all along.  But doing tris and fitting people for running sneakers?  Not really on the agenda—but I absolutely love it!

12:10-jackrabbit-sports

I’ve been working at JackRabbit Sports for about one month, and I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of coworkers.  Even though I’ve had several internships, this is the first group of colleagues I’ve really clicked with.  Everyone lives an active lifestyle—running, cycling, triathloning, doing yoga, you name it—and we truly want to help others discover healthy living.

The little things have also made a huge difference.  I’ve been given a lot of responsibility since day one, my training has been expedited, and after every shift, at least one of the floor mangers or assistant managers thanks me for coming in and doing a good job.  Obviously, I don’t need this feedback, but it’s nice to know you’re valued and appreciated.  My coworkers also treat everyone as a friend.  After closing the store Saturday night, we hung out for a beer or two, and one of the floor managers invited me on a long bike ride. (She and a two others are training for the Musselman, a half-Ironman that takes place in my college’s town.) These things have never happened at any other job.

So one year after graduation, I feel like I’m finally starting to figure things out, and I’ve found “my people” in terms of my social life, work life, and triathlon life.

What were you doing one year ago today?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of May 12

“What day is today?”

“Today is Mother’s Day!”

Yes, I’m 23 years old and still make Full House references.  The show is applicable to everything.  Plus, John Stamos.  End of discussion.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there!

mother's-day-collage

And a little fun from this afternoon’s Smorgasburg visit.

i-luv-mom-smorgasborad

Now it’s time to switch gears and talk workouts.  A bunch of my Full Throttle Endurance teammates and coaches are off biking in Italy this week—yes, really—so there are no official organized team workouts until Wednesday morning.  However, a few of the non-Italy goers made plans to link up, so I’ll be running and biking with teammates Monday and Tuesday.  Here’s this week’s edition of 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; a.m. strength train

Tuesday – a.m. bike; a.m. strength train

Wednesday – a.m. brick workout with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)—indoor cycling and running off the bike

Thursday – a.m. bike; a.m. run

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE

Saturday – a.m. swim with FTE

Sunday – a.m. easy bike or off

How did your workouts go this week?  Did you do anything fun for Mother’s Day?