Monthly Archives: July 2013

Back From Ironman Lake Placid

Greetings, friends!  Long time no chat, right?  Just popping in quickly to let you know I made it back to New York City from Lake Placid—and I did not sign up for Ironman Lake Placid 2014 for those wondering. (Although I’d be lying if I said the temptation wasn’t there.)

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Filled with swimming, biking, running, plus some volunteering and spectating, my weekend was absolutely incredible, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

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Returning to the “real world” has been tough, but I should have everything settled by tomorrow, so expect a recap (or two or three) then.

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Have a great Wednesday!

Packing for Lake Placid

Hey, friends—happy Thursday!  Is the week flying by for anyone else?  Although maybe it’s because I leave for Lake Placid today—woohoo!

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Even though I signed up for body marking and wetsuit stripping at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse last July, Ironman Lake Placid will be my first time volunteering this year. (Side note:  how did Syracuse take place more than one year ago?!) I’m traveling with one of my teammates who’s volunteered at Placid before (five times to be exact, so she has the weekend down to a science!), plus another friend who’s tackling the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run.  And being supportive triathletes, we made signs and t-shirts last night.

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Shhh, it’s a surprise.

Anyway, I finally got down to packing for the long weekend, and unsurprisingly, I’m bringing more workout clothes than “real” ones.

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Here’s what I’m packing:

For swimming – swim suit, wetsuit, BodyGlide, flip flops, three pairs of goggles (really), plus way too many swim caps.

For biking – my too heavy road bike, helmet, cleats, water bottles, biking shorts and jerseys.

For running – shorts, tank tops, Garmin, only one pair of sneakers. (I know—I’m proud of me too!)

Miscellaneous – sunglasses, sunscreen, lots of socks, etc.  Oh, plus a bag filled with snacks and nutrition.

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Hey, it’s going to be a long drive!

And like I said, I will have some “real” clothes, but I’m crossing my fingers that t-shirts, sweat pants, and running shorts will be the unofficial dress code.

Talk to you in Placid—and have a great weekend, everyone!

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of July 21

Happy Sunday, friends!  Did you do anything fun this weekend?  On Saturday, I completed my first true workout since Sunday’s debacle:  a three-hour, 45-mile bike ride with a few teammates.

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A little Christmas in July action.

We ventured across the George Washington Bridge (my second time, and I felt much more comfortable—progress!) and rode around New Jersey.  My teammates are currently training for Timberman 70.3 in mid-August, and since I need to spend more time in the saddle, I was game for a long (for me), steady ride.  It was so nice to escape the city for a bit, and even better, it wasn’t extremely hot!

Somehow, I rallied and went to work.  And it was totally worth it because we received the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 in SU colors!

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Alex, I know you understand!  And yes, I wore this shoe during my entire eight-hour shift.  And yes, I may buy it.

OK, enough sneaker talk.  Looking ahead to this week’s workouts, it’s back to structured training.  It was nice having a mid-season break, and it definitely helped me recover from Sunday, but I felt “off” all week; I missed powering through tough workouts and seeing my teammates, so there’s no doubt I’m ready to resume normal training.  I’m also pumped to volunteer at Ironman Lake Placid this weekend!

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Back during my high school basketball days, my team traveled to Lake Placid for a tournament, but I didn’t completely understand the significance of the area, in terms of the 1980 Winter Olympics—or triathlon of course.  I’m road tripping with one of my teammates, and we plan to do lots of swimming and biking (and maybe some running) before volunteering on Sunday.

Here’s what’s on the docket this week.  Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday, 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 with FTE; a.m. strength train

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

Thursday – a.m. swim; a.m. run; a.m. strength train

Friday – Lake Placid

Saturday – Lake Placid

Sunday – volunteer at Ironman Lake Placid (off)

Have you traveled to volunteer at a race?

A Silver Lining

Greetings, friends!  Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post.  Obviously, Sunday’s race was a very scary experience, but I learned a lot.

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From what more experienced triathletes said (*cough* Victoria *cough* Katelyn *cough*) blowing up is the nature of the sport, as is figuring out nutrition.  Looking forward, I plan to sit down with my coach, discuss the meltdown in detail, and start to develop a new hydration plan for the run (and potentially the bike).  And speaking of Sunday’s episode, a race representative called me yesterday at work to make sure I was doing OK—and to let me know that since I didn’t cross the finish line (womp, womp), I qualified for guaranteed entry for next year.  Woohoo for a silver lining!

My road to redemption officially began this morning, although it almost didn’t.  I was tempted to sleep a little longer, but then I remembered this video that went viral (in terms of my teammates) yesterday.

So the run happened.  It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t far, but I got it done.

Seeing as this was my first “workout” since Sunday’s race, there clearly hasn’t been any swimming, biking, or real running.  So what have I been doing?

Drinking … smoothies. (Hey, I was severely dehydrated and all.)

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It’s been so oppressively hot in New York City that smoothies sound super appealing.  The one I had this morning (look familiar, Alex and Hollie?) contained kale, spinach, frozen banana and blueberries, protein powder, plus lots of almond milk.

Cleaning … because I’m OCD just because.

Baking … because I’ve been bored.

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Paleo chocolate chip banana bread, anyone?

Admiring tri bikes … because a girl can dream, right?

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On sale at Zen Bikes.  And it’s my size.  Just sayin’.

Doing laundry … because it’s somewhat therapeutic.  And needs to be done.

Shopping … sort of.

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Uh, where were these when I was in college? (OMG, I sound so old!)

Hope you’re having a great Thursday!

13th Annual Aquaphor New York City Triathlon (Partial) Recap

All righty, let’s get to it.  On Sunday, I attempted to complete my fourth swim-bike-run event of the season, the 13th Annual Aquaphor New York City Triathlon.

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To say I felt pumped, nervous, amped, and anxious would be a huge understatement.  I couldn’t wait to race on my “home turf,” and the stakes were higher:  This event would boast the most competitive field to-date (in terms of my age group, women 24-under), and it also served as a team competition.  Based on how well triathletes placed in their age groups, their respective teams earned points, and the team that accumulated the most points would win.  My racing season has gone well, so I really wanted to deliver for the team.  Plus, the NYC Tri would be my final tune-up race before a certain event in August, so I really wanted to finish off this first half of the season strong.

I’ve written a few times that my coach says if you don’t pass out or throw up after a race, then you didn’t push hard enough.  And sorry if this is TMI, but let’s say I covered all my bases—and recorded my first DNF.  Here’s how it went down.

Swim – 1500m – 18:10 (2/36)

Prior to this race, I heard nothing except negative things about swimming in the Hudson River.  However, I went into it with the ignorance-is-bliss mentality:  Most likely, this would be my fastest swim ever because of the current.

In the week leading up to the race, my coach and I talked extensively about my game plan, and we knew having a strong swim would set the tone. (As I get further into this triathlon journey, it’s become more evident the swim is where one of my strengths lies.) Right from the start, I needed to push.

The swim was a time-trial start, so groups of 20 athletes were led onto the pier and jumped into the water every 15 seconds.

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[source]

Back in 2011 when it was the Nautica New York City Triathlon.

Age group placements determined starting times, and my wave began around 7 a.m. (More than 3,000 triathletes competed, so there were two different transitions:  yellow and red.  My wave was the last to go for the yellow, and following a 20-minute break, the red transition participants hopped into the Hudson.)

In terms of the swim course itself, my coach and a few teammates gave me some pointers, so I situated myself in a favorable spot on the pier.  As soon as I jumped in, I noticed the current (the official water temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit):  I felt like I was flying!  I kept my strokes long, focused on gliding, and barely kicked.  Unlike past races, I allowed myself to smile once and be grateful for the experience, but then got down to work.  As I caught up to waves that started before me, there was some bottleneck action, but I navigated it fairly well.  I also really liked how there were meter postings along the left side of the water, so every 300m, 600m, etc., you knew your progress.

Toward the end, I started to kick more to ready my legs for the run to transition, and I caught up to the group (women 35-39) that started three waves before me.  Needless to say, I exited the water feeling high on life.  I was really happy with the swim.

Transition 1 – (~0.5 mi. run) 5:16 (2/36)

Another part of the race my coach and I talked about was the run from the swim exit to transition 1 (T1).  Depending on where your bike rack was located, each triathlete had a 400-800-yard barefoot run on concrete.  My goal for T1 was to strip off my wetsuit and pick off as many people possible on the run.  It was definitely painful, but I knew what to expect thanks to my Trial By Fire experience; I knew what running right after swimming would feel like, and I knew how to work through it. (And for what it’s worth, I passed the girl who beat me out of the water in T1.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was first in my AG heading out on the bike.)

Bike – 24.8 mi./40-K – 1:26:58 (5/36)

The race plan for the bike was to push the pace without burning out, and for the most part, I executed.

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Even though I hoped for a faster split, this is definitely the strongest and most confident I’ve felt during a race.

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As the ride progressed, I worked my way up the waves, so by the time I rolled in to transition 2 (T2), I was alongside women who started nine swim waves before me.

Transition 2 – 1:36 (3/36)

Got in, changed gear, and got out.  No messing around.

Run – 6.2 mi./10-K

At the start of the run, I had a feeling I was in a good spot in terms of my AG.  And now, since reviewing the data and splits, I know I was in first place—until I blew up.

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For the run out of T2, we exited at Riverside Park at 72nd Street and ran one mile before arriving at Central Park.  Once I hit the hill, my quads immediately locked up.  Then and there, I knew the run was going to be a suffer fest.  In hindsight, this should’ve been a warning sign; this exact thing happened at Nautica South Beach before I hit the wall, but luckily, the run was short enough (only four miles), so I could power through.  This run, however, went from bad to worse—and fast.  My pace slowed big time, and even though I dumped water on my head at every aid station, I refused to walk or take in nutrition.  In hindsight, this was not a good decision. (In the past, when I’ve taken in fluids on the run, I’ve experienced stomach cramps.) Around the mile-two mark, two girls in my AG blew past me, and I knew catching them was out of the question.  However, when a third girl tried to make a move, my competitive side took over, and I surged ahead.  We matched pace for a bit, and around mile four, I surged again and hoped it would put enough distance between us.

It was around mile 4.5 that I collapsed.

The next few hours were a dizzy and hazy blur:  riding in the ambulance (with one of my teammates who was a few minutes behind me on the run), getting tests done, etc.  The doctors said I was severely dehydrated, which means I should’ve been fueling on the run.  I hung out in the hospital for a few hours as they pumped fluids into me, and two of my teammates stayed with me for a bit.  I was released later that afternoon, and one teammate brought me some clothes, and another picked me up and drove me back to my apartment.  My mom also made the trip to NYC, so I’ve been under her watchful eye since Sunday evening.

Since the race, I’ve received so many texts, emails, and Facebook messages, and it makes me feel truly blessed and grateful to have such a supportive and caring network of friends, teammates, and family.  If this had to happen, then at least it occurred in NYC, at a race where plenty of people were present.

I’m well on the road to recovery now, and I’m starting to feel more like myself.  No workouts for a few days obviously, but I’m slowly easing back into my normal routine.

So what did I learn from this race?  The importance of knowing your limits—and when you can keep pushing and when you need to back off.  This race also makes it necessary to reevaluate my nutrition strategy during the run, especially on hot and humid days. (The heat index was 107 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Oh, and in terms of the team challenge, Full Throttle Endurance came in second place—by one point.  And I know that one point is on me.

And this may be too soon, but you can bet I’ll be back at this race next year on a quest for redemption.

Have you ever fainted or passed out while exercising?  How did you handle it?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of July 14

So … Happy Monday, friends!  As you know, I had the 13th Annual Aquaphor New York City Triathlon yesterday.

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No smiling this time around.

Long story short, it did not go as planned:  I made it through the mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, and about 4.5 miles of the run before I passed out to due to severe dehydration and wound up in the hospital.

I’m well on the road to recovery now (and my mom is here!), but needless to say, working and working out will not be happening for the next few days.  I do plan to write a partial race recap; prior to blowing up, I was having a decent outing.

Anyway, on the bright side, the team is taking a mid-season break this week, which means no organized workouts.  And that definitely will make it less tempting to get back into training too soon.  With this in mind, I’m not mapping out workouts for this week.  I plan to take today, tomorrow, and most likely Wednesday completely off, and then I’ll assess things on Thursday and go from there.

How do you know when to push and when to back off during workouts and races?

Kona Kase Review

TGIF, friends!  Any big plans for the weekend?  As you know, I’m gearing up for the 13th Annual Aquaphor New York City Triathlon this Sunday—and suffering big time from taper crazies.  I know the main priority should be relaxing and trusting my training, but that’s easier said than done.  Plus, lots of triathletes have visited the store for last-minute purchases (including wetsuits!), so I’m constantly thinking about the race.  Sunday needs to hurry up and get here!

Now changing gears completely, a few weeks ago, I received a sample Kona Kase thanks to my involvement with FitFluential.

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You’ve probably seen these boxes pop up on the blogsphere, and what sets Kona Kase apart from other subscription snack services is its focus on nutrition products, specifically for those designed for endurance athletes.

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My stash included popular products—like one Clif Shot and KIND Bar—plus new-to-me fueling options.

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The first item I sampled was Halfpops, or crunchy, partially popped kernels of popcorn.

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Yeah, I demolished this bag in less than five minutes—delicious!

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Two other favorite snacks included this OneBar, a portable fruit bar, and an 18 Rabbits granola bar.

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And the best bar in the box?  The Doctor Will Bar, hands down.

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The creamy peanut butter worked well with the crunchy pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and the cranberries, cherries, and coconut added a touch of sweetness.

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Please disregard my chipped nail polish.

Overall, Kona Kase really impressed me.  As an endurance athlete, I valued the variety of variety of nutrition products, especially in terms of their ingredient lists; I could pronounce everything, which is huge, and everything tasted real.  It gets two thumbs up from me!

What are some of your favorite things to eat pre- and post-workout?

Severe Case of Taper Crazies

Hiya, friends—happy Thursday!  How’s your week going so far?  Mine’s been filled with working and working out—and suffering from a severe case of taper crazies.  As you know, the 13th Annual Aquahphor New York City Triathlon takes place this Sunday.

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T-minus three days (for those of us counting)!

Obviously, I’m pumped and excited to race, but this tapering stuff has been tough.  Physically, I hate shutting down workouts feeling strong, and mentally, I’ve been all over the place.  One second, I’m confident, and then next, I start questioning everything:  is my training adequate?  Did I bike enough?  Should I have strength trained more?  And plus, I don’t feel like myself.  I’ve been quiet and reserved at work, yet anxious and on-edge. (Thanks for the pep talk yesterday, Patrick!) Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been doing and thinking this week.

My appetite has disappeared.  Friends, this is huge.  Yes, my workouts this week haven’t been as long or intense (hence the phrase tapering), but my hunger seems to be non-existent.  This is weird and isn’t like me at all.

‘Drink more water.  Drink more water.  Drink more water.’

‘How fast should I run during the half-mile trek from the swim exit to transition?’

Because workouts have been shorter, I’ve had free time every morning this week.  Which is also weird.

‘Should I hammer on the bike?  Maybe after the turnaround point …’

‘How will I handle the inevitable heat and humidity?  Can I run strong and not blow up?’

Sleeping.  Lots of sleeping.  My “grandma hours” have become even more exaggerated, and I feel tired all the time.  Case in point:  I crashed hard after work yesterday, started to fall asleep while watching the news, and tucked myself into bed at 8:20 p.m.  I didn’t wake up until this morning’s 6 a.m. alarm.

‘What will it be like running Central Park clockwise?  Is it harder or easier than counterclockwise?’

‘Will everyone have fun at the post-race party?’

Workout

So remember how I fell asleep at 8:20 p.m. last night and woke up at 6 a.m. this morning?  The only reason I didn’t hit snooze was because I made plans to run with a teammate.  We took to the track and completed a one-mile warm up before we alternated between steady and solid efforts:  three laps steady, one lap solid.  Repeat for three miles.

Breakfast

I wasn’t hungry after the workout, but polished off a bowl of overnight two-hour oats anyway.

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And now it’s after 2 p.m., and I should start to think about lunch.  Again, not so hungry.

How do you feel during the days leading up to a race?  Have you experienced taper crazies?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of July 7

Friends, hello!  After a great 4th of July weekend at home, I’m now back in New York City.

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And to think this Wegmans caffeinated goodness almost didn’t make it through airport security. (And yes, sushi happened for lunch.  Obviously.)

It was really nice to escape for a few days, and unfortunately, I didn’t get to hit up a ton of my favorite Syracuse spots like Target, King David’s, and Syracuse Bicycle.  Oh well—at least there’s Labor Day weekend, maybe?

Even though I was home without access to my bike, I still completed most of my planned workouts.  Here’s what I did this past week:

Monday – rest

After doing Stamford (and drinking way too many gin and tonics to celebrate), my coach said athletes who raced should take the day off.  No complaints!

Tuesday – a.m. bike with Full Throttle Endurance and strength train

Since it’s getting lighter earlier now, our outdoor team rides have been bumped back 15 minutes.  Woohoo for extra sleep!  Anyway, two tempo loops with our pace groups were on the docket, and then I rode another easy one with a teammate.  Plus some full-body strength training for good measure.

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

Whew, this main spin set kicked my butt.  Basically, we started off riding five minutes at 75 percent (of our maximum heart rate), then four minutes at 80 percent, three minutes at 85 percent, etc., all the way up to one minute at 95 percent.  And then we repeated the ladder.  Needless to say, the run off the bike was short (a little more than two miles).

Thursday4th of July Foot Races (5-K)

This is the “race” I briefly wrote about yesterday:  one mile warm up and most of a 5-K course at tempo race.

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In hindsight, I probably should’ve done a cool down mile or two.

Friday – a.m. run and open-water swim

After a five-mile “recovery” run, I hit the lake for some open-water swimming.

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For 20-ish minutes, I focused on sighting and swimming steady/solid intervals.

Saturday – a.m. speedwork

My coach said to do Monday’s prescribed speed workout on Saturday, so I ventured to my old stomping grounds for some quality track time.

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Back at my old stomping grounds for lots of 800m’s, plus a handful of 200m sprints for good measure.

Sunday – a.m. open-water swim

Another 30 minutes in the open water to practice sighting, plus some steady/solid intervals.

And guess what—it’s race week! (I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot recently.) I can’t believe the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon is this Sunday.  It seems like such a long time ago that I threw in my name, played the waiting game, and found out I got a spot.  This week, the team will be tapering, which means shorter workouts with no intensity sets and zero strength training.  This also means I need to mentally prepare for the taper crazies.  Here’s the “game time” version 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 with FTE

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE

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

Thursday – a.m. easy run

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE

Saturday – off

Sunday – 13th Annual Aquaphor New York City Triathlon

How did you stay active during this past weekend?

Home For The 4th (and 5th) of July

Hiya, friends!  I hope your long holiday weekend is going great so far!  On Wednesday, I hopped on a flight home to Syracuse, and I’ve been fully enjoying Central New York.

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A little different than New York City, right?

My first stop after the airport was Wegmans.  Obviously.

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I have yet to find sushi that even comes close to this in NYC.

While home, I needed to complete a tempo run, so I signed up for my hometown’s 4th of July 5-K.

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I debated whether or not I should write a race recap, but honestly, there isn’t too much to say.  I did a quick warm-up mile on the high school track, and excluding two big hills at mile one and two-ish where my pace creeped up to 8:1X, I hit and held my tempo pace.  Official finishing time was 23:36 (7:36), which I’ll take for not “racing.”  Shortly after, I took Zelda for a “recovery jog.”

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Good news—the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras can withstand both road racing and greyhound walking!

Anyway, later that afternoon, my entire family—aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—came over for 4th of July festivities.

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My uncle’s girlfriend’s mother made this patriotic fruit salad, and I had to try really, really hard not to put away the entire spread.  The fruit was delicious, but it was the dip that proved to be my demise: fluff and cream cheese.  Yum!

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Other shenanigans ensued.

And yesterday, I completed a five-mile recovery run before hitting the pool.  I mean LAKE!

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Words cannot begin to describe how much I missed open-water swimming here.

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My 20-minute “workout” consisted of a 10-minute warm up and 10-minutes of intervals.  I swam steady to a predetermined point, then swam hard back, and repeated this cycle.  My mom and dad spotted me, and this was the first time since last year they’ve seen me swim, bike, or run—and they were floored.  They said I looked like a completely different swimmer.  Woohoo for progress!

The rest of my day consisted of napping outside and trying not to get sunburned.

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My extended family eventually visited for round two of festivities.  No pictures, but I will say we polished off a bottle of limoncello and citrus-flavored vodka.

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?