Monthly Archives: December 2013

Building My 2014 Triathlon Race Calendar

Happy last day of 2013, friends!  Have fun (and be safe!) celebrating tonight.

Speaking of 2014, t-minus one week until structured training begins—yikes and woohoo!  Before Thanksgiving, my team held a meeting to identify potential races (both short- and long-course ones) and get a rough idea of which distances folks want to race.  So far, I’ve registered for only two (South Beach Triathlon in April and USAT Age Group Nationals in August), and the list below includes some contenders.

South Beach Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, April 6

Distance:  Classic (0.5-mile ocean swim, 19-mile bike, 4-mile run)

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Well, duh, of course I’ll do the race again!  This was my first swim-bike-run event with Full Throttle Endurance, and I had a blast!  Also, since training begins in January, it will be nice (read: motivating) to have an early-season race on the calendar.  Like last year, I signed up for the classic distance, and I can’t wait to use my Slice on the bike course.  I’ll also be going after that run with a vengeance.

Rev3 Quassy

Date:  Sunday, June 1

Distance:  Olympic

This one’s on my radar.  Everyone seems to rave about Rev3 events, and plus, I’ve heard this is one of the toughest Olympic-distance courses in the country (as is its 70.3 race).  So why wait to pull the trigger? …

Mighty Montauk

Date:  Saturday, June 7

Distance:  Olympic (one-mile swim, 22-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

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… because Montauk was so much fun last year!  The course itself left a lot to be desired, but that’s mostly due to Hurricane Andrea rolling in and causing some damage.  Like SoBe, I want to take on this race with another year of training and see how much I can improve—especially on the bike.  Even though I’m young enough to get away with racing back-to-back weekends, I know my performance at both will be affected negatively; it’s about quality, not quantity.

Pat Griskus Triathlon Series

Date:  Saturday, June 14

Distance:  Olympic (one-mile swim, 25-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

Here’s another new one.  I haven’t heard too much about this race, but since it takes place in Connecticut, the course probably contains a ton of hills.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, June 22

Distance:  Olympic

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Another great race from 2013!  Even though the bike course KICked my butt, I loved the atmosphere; as a charity race, this event had more of a fun, laidback vibe, and plus, the volunteers were awesome.  Not to mention this tri constitutes a day-trip (as opposed to a weekend away) for NYCers, which is a huge plus.  Honestly, I’d do this race again simply because I can sleep in my own bed (#realtalk).

Sherman Triathlon

Date: mid-July

Distance:  Sprint

So this is an interesting one.  It’s a Full Throttle Endurance-sponsored race in Connecticut, but it didn’t occur last year.  My coach argues this is one of the hardest sprints in the country (“The run course is brutal!”), so if the race takes place, then I’m in.  Plus, I could not find another short-course event in July.

Musselman Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, July 13

No, I’m not making the jump up to the 70.3 distance yet, but a few of my coworkers are looking for a July half-Ironman.  If this works for everyone, then I’ll head back to my old college stomping grounds and play Sherpa for the weekend.

Ironman Lake Placid

Date:  Sunday, July 27

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No plans to touch the 140.6 distance for another 10 years, but I will go back to Placid and Sherpa for my teammate; she’s tackling her first Ironman!

New York City Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, August 3

Even though I obtained an automatic entry after what happened, I did not register; “The Big Dance” is the following week, and my coach basically forbade me from doing both.  However, I will be there in full force to Sherpa, volunteer, and cheer for coworkers and teammates—should be a great time!

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date:  Saturday, August 9

Distance:  Olympic

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Hands down, this will be my “A” race for 2014.  Last year, I approached this event with a laidback attitude; I wanted to soak everything in, savor the experience, and let race-day happenings fall where they may.  The game plan will be different in 2014.  I know what to expect, I know the competition will be stiff, and I know I’ll feel like I belong.  And I cannot wait to attack the course with another year of training.  Bring it on!

Timberman 70.3

Date:  Sunday, August 17

Another half-Ironman, another opportunity to be a Sherpa.  I will eventually make the jump, promise!

ITPMAN Darien Triathlon

Date: TBA (September 14, 2013)

Distance: Sprint (0.5-mile swim, 15-mile bike, 5-mile run)

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One last hoorah before calling it a season?  Sign me up!

Have you finalized your 2014 race calendar yet?  How many times do you plan to race?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of December 29

Hiya, friends—and happy final few days of 2013!

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Zelda was upset she didn’t get a mention in the Christmas discussion, and she hopes you enjoyed the holidays.

Seriously, where did this year go? Have you made plans for New Year’s Eve yet? Things over here are up in the air, but my coworkers and I plan to do a resolution run together on New Year’s Day. (Hey, we’re runners who work at a running store; what do you want?) Here’s a look at the final full week of 2013 in workouts:

Sunday – off

My parents and I hit the road early and beat the traffic home to Upstate New York.

Monday – a.m. 45-minute run

Strange things happened on this run: it was 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In Central New York. In December. And there was some precipitation. It was rain. In other inexplicable news, I found myself at my high school track and did some 400m repeats and promptly wanted to die.

Tuesday – a.m. 30-minute run and 50-minute swim

There was some serious #rage when I arrived at my local pool only to discover the lifeguard had called in sick. Making the most of the situation, I drove home and headed out for a short 30-minute run—and then bummed around until the next lap swim time frame. Luckily, a lifeguard showed up, so I spent about 50 minutes in the water. (I also saw one of my old basketball coaches in the fitness center. Gotta love being home for the holidays, right?)

Wednesday – off

Christmas Day nap won over a Christmas Day run. (I blame the Christmas Day breakfast mimosas.)

Thursday – off

Another travel day back to NYC.

Friday – a.m. impromptu brick—30-minute indoor bike trainer ride and 20-minute run; strength training

I know, right? My first official bike-run brick since September—and it went pretty OK. First came some easy spinning on the trainer, and instead of immediately hitting the weights, a novel idea crept into my head: Hey, why not run a little bit first? I braced myself for the inevitable pain train, but it didn’t really arrive. That’s a surprise—let’s push it! During the 20 minutes on the ‘mill, I progressively worked my way down to what will hopefully be my default “off-the-bike” pace in 2014. Yes, I know spinning (as opposed to hammering) made it easier to hit this pace, but you can’t have a good run without having a good bike—and this was the strongest I’ve felt during a brick in a long time. Perhaps I’m getting more efficient on the bike. One can only hope, right?

Saturday – a.m. easy 20-minute run

The endorphin rush after Friday’s brick made me feel invincible—and brave enough to attempt the previously impossible: changing my tires. One hour (and zero swear words) later, I successful removed my trainer tire from my road bike, installed its normal tire, removed my normal tri bike tire, and put on the trainer tire. This means in theory I should be a-OK if I flat during a race (minus the 15-minute “rest period” if you will).

Anyway, I planned to make my maiden indoor voyage on my Slice Saturday morning, but I woke up to a flat tire. And after 30 minutes of struggling to remove the tube (and breaking a tire lever in the process), I threw in the towel and went running instead. Don’t worry—a trip to the bike shop happened after work, and the problem was solved.

So … here we go:  The last week of freedom the offseason.  Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

Sunday – a.m. indoor bike trainer ride … ON MY SLICE

Monday – a.m. swim; p.m. indoor bike trainer spin-out and maybe upper-body strength training

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class

Wednesday – Resolution Run with my coworkers

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

Friday – a.m. run and strength train

Saturday – a.m. indoor bike trainer ride

Will you complete a resolution run for the new year?

Real Talk: Part II

Merry belated Christmas, friends!

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For those who celebrated, I hope you spent plenty of time with loved ones.  My family hosted Christmas Eve dinner; we had 11 people over for our signature surf ‘n’ turf meal of steaks and lobster tails.  And On Christmas Day, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house for our annual Yankee Auction and hung out for a few hours.

As usual, my time at home seemed too short, and I’m currently en route back to New York City.

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I’ll miss drinking coffee by the Christmas tree every morning.

Anyway, since I have a few hours to kill on the train, I figured it’s time for another random, real talk post—because honesty is always the best policy.

Our store’s holiday party, specifically the flip cup tournament, served as a turning point for my relationship with a few coworkers.  Let’s just say most people now understand how I received my “party warlord” nickname.

Speaking of work, store traffic lagged last weekend, so we capitalized on the downtime and did some community outreach.

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Hey, if another retail store hosts a grand opening, it can’t expect us not to crash it.

Is it a deal breaker if a guy has a tattoo that’s grammatically incorrect?

My normal, 23-year-old life officially ends on January 6 when triathlon training begins.  I’ve really enjoyed being a “real person” these past few months, but I’m also ready to start seriously swimming, biking, and running again.  Let the countdown to South Beach begin!

In related news, I will train with the five-day-a-week program this upcoming season.  The three-day-a-week group served as a great introduction to structured workouts, but to continue improving, I need to swim, bike, and run as much as possible—and with people who are better, more experienced athletes.  During the last month of this season, I basically transitioned to the five-day-a-week cohort, so I know what I’m in for, but the first few weeks of practice will be brutal. (I also agreed to do social media work for the team in exchange for training.)

My latest Netflix binge?  Parks and Recreation.

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Why did it take me so long to watch this show?!

My Slice and I are currently facing a dilemma.  We have yet to take the maiden outdoor voyage, and I want to see how it rides—and practice being in aero and not falling.  At the same time, I also need to get comfortable in this position in terms of breathing, shifting, etc.  Honestly, my best bet would probably be to switch my trainer tire from my road bike to my tri bike, but that would eliminate the option of outdoor riding for the foreseeable future.  Triathletes and cyclists, what would you do?

Talk to you from NYC!

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of December 22

Greetings, friends!  As usual, I planned to post this recap yesterday, but my parents and I road tripped home from New York City.  They arrived on Friday with a special delivery:

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Hello, Slice!  I hoped to ride it Sunday morning, but I didn’t think it would be smart to make my maiden voyage in the rain.

In semi-related news, my workouts this week went OK.  For whatever reason, I couldn’t make two-a-days happen.  After all, I sign my life away in two weeks, so I might as well rest as much as I can, right?

Sunday – p.m. 50-minute bike trainer ride (on my road bike) during the Syracuse game

I’ve received a few questions about what I do while on the trainer.  No matter what, I always start with a 10-minute warm-up (in my small ring) and end with a 5-10-minute cool-down.  For the next 10-15 minutes or so, I do shorter intervals:  two minutes solid, one minute easy; three minutes solid, one minute easy, etc.  My “main set” is simple:  find a gearing that’s hard, hold it/make it hurt for 10-15 minutes, then take 3-5 minutes to recover, and repeat.  As you can see, it’s rare for a workout to last longer than an hour, and I would rather get in saddle, push it, and cool down instead of pedaling for hours on end.  Not that there’s anything wrong with longer rides, but these shorter workouts make more sense given my projected race schedule.

Monday – a.m. 50-minute run and upper-body strength training

Running consistently has been a challenge, so I made an effort this week to hit the pavement frequently.  I kept this run easy in preparation for Tuesday’s CompuTrainer ride and only did upper-body lifting to save my legs.  It was a wise choice.

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This week’s threshold Tuesday contained a power test.  First, we warmed up for 10 minutes and did some high cadence drills before we completed a five-minute wattage test.  Our instructor said we should attack this test strategically and be “in the red” the whole time.  I broke up the five-minute effort into two, two-and-a-half minute sections.  I took the first section out too aggressively, so I didn’t increase my gear until minute three, and then I had to dig deep and hang on.  My average output clocked in at 270 watts.  We spun out for 10 minutes and then tackled a 20-minute time trial.  Like before, I broke it into four, five-minute portions.  This time, my first two sections were on the conservative side, but I was able to hammer for the final 10 minutes and post an average output of 230 watts.  Cyclists and more experience triathletes, how do these numbers look?  One thing to take into consideration, our instructor said, included our lifestyle choices for the past few weeks—i.e. if we’ve been going to holiday parties, eating and drinking differently, not getting enough sleep, etc.  Guilty, guilty, guilty.  On the bright side, I now have wattage ballparks for these workouts, and there’s nowhere to go except up.

Wednesday – a.m. 40-minute swim

Do not go more than one week without swimming.  Just don’t do it.  Yes, I should know better, but biking has sounded so much more appealing.  I faced the music and dealt with extremely sloppy warm-up laps and flip turns.

Thursday – a.m. 50-minute indoor bike trainer ride

This ride looked similar to Sunday’s one.

Friday – a.m. 40-minute run and strength train

Saturday – a.m. 30-minute run and strength train

Sunday – off

Since I’m home for the holidays, I’m not sure how much swimming will happen, but I plan to run everyday.  Here’s a rough idea of what I want to accomplish this week.  Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

Sunday – off

Monday – a.m. run and hopefully swim

Tuesday – a.m. run and hopefully swim

Wednesday – a.m. run

Thursday – p.m. indoor bike trainer

Friday – a.m. swim

Saturday – a.m. indoor bike trainer

What are you doing for the holidays?

My 2013 Running and Triathloning Recap

… but mostly triathloning.

Can you believe 2013 is coming to a close?  As part of Miss Zippy’s yearly roundup, bloggers post their “year in running” recaps, and since both Jen and Jamie shared their reviews, I decided to follow suit.  Below are some 2013 highlights.

Best race experience

Whew, starting with a toughie!  Three races stand out from this season, so I’ll briefly talk about each.  Going in chronological order, my first swim-bike-run contest of 2013 was the Nautica South Beach Triathlon.

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As my first official race “flying” the Full Throttle Endurance colors, this event served as a benchmark; it gave me an accurate idea of where I stood in terms of my training and showed which areas needed more work.  Due to the waves, the swim was hands down the most challenging one I’ve completed, but I put together a decent bike and run to take second place in my age group.

nautica-south-beach-podium

Another reason I loved this event?  I got to race, cheer for, hang out with my teammates!

Taking place in late June, the Stamford KIC It Triathlon was another favorite.  The race had an edge in terms of logistics:  located close to New York City, a.k.a. no overnight stay required.

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The event’s atmosphere made it one to remember too.  The volunteers and crowd support were awesome, and even though the bike course kicked my butt, I loved almost every minute.  The pictures from this race speak for themselves.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-bike-course

Last but certainly not least was USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee.  This was my first trip to the “Big Dance” of short-course racing, and wow, what an experience:  perfect venue, ideal course, and an exciting atmosphere.

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I got my butt handed to me, but I loved racing and hanging out with my teammates.  I can’t wait to get back on this course in 2014 and see how much I can improve!

Best run

During the end of my season, I used to run long with one of my pace group teammates as she prepared for Timberman 70.3.  These outings were always fun; we slowed the pace, chilled out, and talked literally the entire time.  And during my half-marathon training, I had a lot of quality runs with my coach and teammates.  Gotta love going long, right?

In terms of best run off the bike, I finally started to get close to the lactate threshold “sweet spot” at the Darien ITPMAN Triathlon.  Giving credit where credit is due, my coach yelled at me, which helped a lot.  And I also wanted to leave everything on the course; after all, it was my last race of the year.

Best piece of new gear

OK, so I’m obviously pumped about my Slice (my parents bring it tomorrow!), but since I didn’t use it this season, I’ll go with my wetsuit.  As a wannabe swimmer, I need all the help I can get!  My new saddle comes in at a close second.  Again, I didn’t race on it this year, but it’s made my offseason CompuTrainer/indoor bike trainer workouts so much better. (For the trigeeks, I went with the Cobb Gen2.)

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

This has been drilled into my head:  “Shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.”  The principle of taking short, quick strides has revolutionized my running.  I’ve become a midfoot striker, which has alleviated nearly all of the calf pain I experienced last year.  Also, reminding myself to run this way makes it easier to turn over my legs, maintain an ideal cadence, and overall hit and hold paces coming off the bike.

Most inspirational runner

Between teammates and customers at the store, I see inspirational runners everyday.  One woman does stand out, though.  Earlier this month, she stopped by to get a pair of sneakers because she just finished chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.  She used to run half-marathons all the time, but things changed with her diagnosis.  Even after everything she’s been through, she absolutely radiated positivity.  We had an hour-long shoe fit and found two options that would help her start running again.  Working with folks like her in this component of my job make me feel like I’m actually making a difference.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Swim, bike, run, improve, repeat.

How did your year of running/triathloning go?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of December 15

Hiya, friends!  Not going to lie, I really didn’t want this weekend to end.  ‘Tis the season for holiday gatherings, which I’ve been able to fully enjoy thanks to the offseason.  As you know, my triathlon team hosted its party Thursday night where I received the award for Most Improved Cyclist; and on Friday, some of my coworkers and I completed our annual Fun and Sexy Run.

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Plus, there were two parties on the calendar Saturday night.  Needless to say, I’m enjoying being a “real girl,” and it will be tough to transition back to my triathlete ways in a few weeks.

Speaking of, this week proved to be a mixed bag in terms of workouts.  Even though I logged some quality sessions, I deviated from my original plan and sort of fell off the swimming wagon.  Meh.

Monday – a.m. 45-minute bike trainer ride

I wanted to try the new-to-me Cobb Gen2 saddle before Tuesday morning’s CompuTrainer class, and immediately, I noticed a huge (read: positive) difference.  It’s going to be a tough saddle to top, but I hope to try the Cobb V-Flow this week.

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. 40-minute easy shakeout run

As per usual, another butt-kicking class for Threshold Tuesday.  We warmed up and completed shorter intervals before tackling our main set:  one 15-minute effort and one 10-minute effort at our wattage threshold.  I still have plenty of room for improvement, but I’m already starting to notice a difference in terms of overall strength and average wattage.  We’re doing a true threshold test this Tuesday, and even though I’ll be riding the pain train, I’m excited to see what kind of effort I can produce.  Oh, and I went running on a whim after work.  Figured it would be a good idea to turn over my legs and jumpstart the recovery process.

Wednesday – a.m. 40-minute bike trainer ride

Another day, another ride on the trainer.  Starting to notice a pattern?  Like I wrote last week, I’ve been enjoying the offseason biking a lot and honest prefer it to running right now.

Thursday – off

So we had an early morning team photo shoot for our calendar.  Really.

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And I planned to swim afterward.  However, the master’s program took over the pool, and honestly, I could not motivate myself to run so I took an unplanned rest day.  No regrets.

Friday – a.m. 20-minute bike trainer spin out and strength train; p.m. run

OK, so the fact that I chose to warm up for my strength training on the trainer as opposed to the ‘mill speaks volumes.  Just saying.  Also, since we had our Fun and Sexy Run at night, I knew some running miles would be logged.

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Fun and sexy times had by all.  Without getting into the backstory, the girls dressed up as “fun”—lots of neon, sparkly headbands, and bright compression sleeves.  And the boys did “sexy”—shirtless with three-inch split shorts.  Since we started running around 9 p.m., there may have been some adult beverages consumed beforehand.  Anyway, we ran through Central Park, took some photos by the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and basically bopped around midtown yelling, cheering, and ringing cowbells.  Oh, and not only did we take a bunch of ridiculous pictures, but we also crashed a bunch of tourists’ photos—and a lot of them asked for photos with us too.

Saturday – a.m. yoga

Yep, waking up was tough, but our free in-store yoga class was worth it.

Sunday – 45-minute bike trainer ride

During the Syracuse basketball game, of course.

Here’s what I have on the docket this week—let’s Write It Down, Do It Up:

Monday – a.m. run and strength train

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class; p.m. run

Wednesday – a.m. swim; p.m. indoor bike trainer

Thursday – a.m. swim; p.m. indoor bike trainer and strength train

Friday – a.m. run and strength train

Saturday – a.m. run

Sunday – off

How do you make time for fitness during the holidays?

Most Improved Cyclist Award

Happy Friday, friends!  First, thanks for your comments on my previous post.  I cannot wait to start riding my Slice, and even though there will be a learning curve, I’m excited to take the next step in my triathlon journey.

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Thanks for sharing, Syracuse Bicycle–you guys are the best!

Speaking of biking, I have some exciting news to share.  Last night, my team hosted its holiday party, which very similar to an end-of-the-season sports banquet.  Do you remember those from high school and collegiate athletics?  Players, coaches, and sometimes parents would gather at a restaurant, eat some delicious food, and reminisce about the season with slideshows, speeches, and awards.  If you swap a restaurant for a bar and food for booze, then you’ll have an accurate description of our gathering.  Anyway, before the karaoke portion of the evening began, my coaches handed out some awards, and I was pleasantly surprised:

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Most Improved Cyclist “Jamis Award” (our bike sponsor)

Woohoo!  I figured if I were up for an award, then it would be most improved swimmer. (Because I’m all about the flip turns these days.) But as soon as my coach made a comment on the recipient’s bike that “weighs as much as a Volkswagen,” then I knew it was me.

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The best coaches you could ask for.

Even though I got my road bike after graduation last year, this season was my first one in which I truly trained; and it’s no secret the bike was my Achilles heel this year.  Yes, I knew the basics thanks to Syracuse Bicycle’s Women on Wheels program, but it took time in the saddle to develop confidence and muscle memory.  Over time, the bike went from something I “had to do” to something I “wanted to do.”  I loved riding long on the weekends, and although I had some humbling workouts in Central Park, those sessions pushed me and helped me improve.  And this offseason, I’ve made the bike a priority, and honestly, I’m enjoyed it more than running right now.  But I digress.

Anyway, I’m honored and humbled to receive this award.  In the triathlon community, my team is known for having some powerhouse bikers.  Yes, we have baller athletes who excel at all three disciplines, but we do a lot of damage in the saddle.  And knowing that I’m moving in that direction is awesome; it’s all about personal progress.

Let it be known this upcoming season will be the year of the bike.  Watch out, 2014:  I’m coming for you—on my new Slice!

My First Triathlon Bike

The secret’s out:  While home for Thanksgiving, I visited Syracuse Bicycle three times in two days and officially joined the speed club—hello, 2013 Cannondale Slice 5 105!

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Sigh, what a beauty.

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Basically since the start of the season, my coaches have been on me to get a time trial/triathlon bike (TT).  Even though I knew this purchase would be necessary, I waited.  The last thing I wanted to do was learn how to ride a new-to-me bike during the season, and plus, in terms of finances, it was advantageous to hold off until after Kona; that’s when older (2013 and 2014) models go on sale.

Anyway, I didn’t blog about what happened behind the scenes of my bike selection process, so here’s a summary.

Researching, aka envying others’ bikes

Yes, I love my road bike.  Yes, I know it’s about the engine and not the car.  But I experienced some serious bike envy this year—especially at Age Group Nationals.

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Lots of staring occurred, but I didn’t truly start my research until October.  At first, it was informal:  simply talking to teammates and coworkers, asking which bike they ride, and figuring out why they chose it.  From these conversations, I slowly developed a passing knowledge for components and started to read up on a few brands.  By the time I went home for Thanksgiving, I had narrowed down my selection:  I wanted an entry-level ride, preferably a 2013 Trek or Cannondale (but I wouldn’t say no to Felt or Cervelo).

So why entry level?  At this point in my triathlon career, I don’t need the latest and greatest in terms of bike technology; and because I’m relatively inexperienced, the difference between entry-level components (like Shimano 105s, which are perfectly fine) and those that cost more (like Dura-Ace) probably wouldn’t be incredibly noticeable.  Not to mention I have an unexplainable fear of riding a bike that’s too good for me.

With this in mind, I wanted a bike with a baller frame; down the road, I reasoned, upgrades to components could be made.

And why Trek or Cannondale?  I ride a Trek roadie, so trying the brand’s Speed Concept TT made sense.  And my coworkers talked up Cannondale’s Slice big time.  Not that it matters, but four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington rode a Slice.

More researching, aka taking what the defense gave me

With my TT options narrowed down, the next step included calling Syracuse Bicycle, explaining my situation, and seeing which models would be available.  Over the phone, we determined a 54 cm TT frame would most likely fit. (I’m 5’10” and ride a 56 cm road bike.) It’s an odd size to begin with, and since the shop held its annual winter clearance sale, a lot of inventory had been cleared out to make room for 2015 models.  There was one option:  the 2013 women’s Slice 5 105.  Bingo!  I read up more on this bike specifically and knew that barring some sort of catastrophe, this would be my new ride.

Seeing the Slice

On Friday morning, I brought my cycling shoes and shorts to Syracuse Bicycle and hoped to test ride the Slice.  In typical Central New York fashion, we got a ton of snow, so riding around the parking lot wouldn’t work.  Another factor I failed to consider included the seat post; unlike road bikes where you can adjust its height, seat posts need to be cut on TT bikes.  This combination meant it wouldn’t be possible to get a good feel for the bike before buying it.

This made me uneasy at first, but I remembered a handful of my teammates and coworkers bought their bikes without riding them. (Maybe this is normal?) And this would’ve been my first time on a tri bike, so it would’ve felt awkward anyway.

At this point, I relied on my research:  Cannondale makes one of the most versatile, high-quality frames on the market, so getting fitted and dialed in wouldn’t be a problem.  I also heard Cannondale bikes work really well for riders with long legs.  And on a vain note, the red matches my team race kit—and we know it’s all about looking good in race photos.

Fitting

With the bike purchased (a big thank you goes out to Santa for my Christmas present for the next five years!), the next step included getting a general fit.  As cyclists and triathletes know, there are several in-depth fitting processes options (which I eventually plan to do), but a general fit offers a good starting point.

2013-womens-cannondale-slice-5-105-syracuse-bicycle-fitting

First, the seat post was cut, and then David, the fitting technician, determined how much the aerobars needed to be cut.  The cockpit area—including the aerobar width—fit perfectly, which David said is very rare.  During this process, I swapped the stock saddle for the Bontrager Hilo RXL, and pedals, a water bottle cage, and mount for my Garmin 310XT were also installed. (Although I’m thinking about getting a straight-up bike computer so I’m not fumbling around in T2.)

Riding

TBD—the Slice still lives in CNY, but my parents plan to bring it down to New York City in a few weeks.  When it arrives, I’ll put on my trainer tire and start riding it during CompuTrainer classes.  The sooner I can become comfortable in this more aggressive position, the better—because my first race of the 2014 season is only four months away!

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of December 8

Happy Sunday, friends!  Did you enjoy the weekend?  After a long week, I rallied, turned into a real girl, and went to a coworker’s apartment-warming party last night.

jackrabbit-wine

We had a blast!  And drank all the wine.  As you know, I’m all about YOLO-ing now because priorities will change come January 6.

Speaking of … you know those weeks when you complete killer workouts?  This was not one of those weeks.  This post-Thanksgiving period proved to be tough, and I seemed to be playing a never-ending game of catch-up.  Let’s call it an unintentional down week.  You win some, you lose some, right?

Monday – a.m. swim

This wannabe swimmer threw down flip turn after flip turn.  Success!  After doing some tech work, I focused on 100s and 200s and couldn’t believe how much my times dropped; around 10 seconds shaved off my steady 100 pace. (Real swimmers, is that normal?)

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class

Like last week, this class kicked my butt.  My saddle was really irritating too, which made it even more challenging to hit and hold my power numbers.  The instructor approached me after class and passed along the information of a bicycle service that offers saddle-testing services.  I’ve never been crazy about my current saddle, so the offseason will be an ideal time to sort this out.  This week, I’ll be testing the Cobb Gen 2; next week, I’ll have the Cobb V-Flow.

Wednesday – a.m. swim

More flip turn success.  Let’s hope I can pick up riding a tri bike this quickly—ha!

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Basically, this “speedwork” session lacked speedwork.  I warmed up and then attempted some 400m repeats on the ‘mill, but my legs refused to cooperate.  Darn you, offseason.

Friday – a.m. run

Yet another bout of speedwork without a ton of speed.  A few teammates and I met for an indoor run; we warmed up for one mile and then settled into a tempo pace.  Like Thursday, I tried to hold on, but my legs said no.  Luckily, everyone felt the same way, so we shut it down after a mile.  And then “recovered” in the hot tub for 30 minutes.

Saturday – a.m. Pilates

Whew, even though this class claimed to be a restorative one, it was challenging.  I’ve been pretty diligent with my corework this offseason (#corewhore—right, Hollie?), but these isometric movements got the best of me.

Sunday – hopefully hitting the indoor trainer or running easy

Here’s what I have on the docket this week—let’s Write It Down, Do It Up:

Monday – a.m. swim; p.m. indoor bike trainer

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class; p.m. run

Wednesday – a.m. run and strength train

Thursday – a.m. swim; a.m. indoor bike trainer and strength train

Friday – p.m. run

Saturday – off/a.m. yoga

Sunday – easy a.m. run

Do you plan workout recovery weeks or take them as necessary?

Real Talk

TGIF … seriously.  It seems like count down mode never ends—first keeping track of how many days until Thanksgiving, and now crossing off box after box in my planner until Christmas.

On that note, you know I’m all about keeping it real over here.  Sure, this post has no definitive common theme, but in the words of Hollie, it’s real talk time.

Yet again, my workout motivation has vanished.  I blame being home for Thanksgiving and playing catch-up this week.

planking-zelda-napping

And spending too much time with Zelda who naps while I plank.  What a load!

Also, maybe the fact that my season officially starts in one month (yes, exactly one month) can be credited with some of this motivation zapping?  After all, if I’m going to skip workouts, then I may as well do it now—because it definitely won’t fly in 30 days.

as has my endurance.  So I attempted two speed workouts this week—and bombed both of them.  Darn you, offseason.  No, you can’t maintain peak fitness year-round, but I don’t feel good about where my run stands as of right now.  Not to mention my first race of the season is exactly four months away.

But I get to be a “real girl” for another month.  Holiday parties and team gatherings comprise my social calendar for the next few weeks, and you better believe I’ll YOLO now because January 6 looms overhead.

Why couldn’t I go to The Running Event (TRE)?  Every year in Austin, runnerds from across the country gather at this conference/trade show to geek out and talk about the industry for a few days.  Our higher ups attended.  I’ll get there one day.  Gives me something to shoot for, right?

My coworkers are the best.  With the pre- and post-marathon booms behind us, traffic at the store has slowed, which is normal for this time of year (until the holiday shopping starts, of course).  Since we’re not cranking out shoe fits constantly, there’s time to complete several projects that get ignored during the busier months—and opportunities to talk and get to know each other better.  Without getting too sappy, I feel blessed and grateful to be surrounded by these folks; they truly care, they truly “get it,” and they’re so much fun to be around.

On that note, I’m off to work—have a great weekend!