Monthly Archives: May 2014

Triathlon Training Log – Week of May 18 (Phase Two, Week 20)



If only my day include biking and cookie eating.

Two-thirds of my Memorial Day work weekend marathon have been completed, but Monday will be the busiest of the three days. The end—er, BBQ—is in sight. Time to power through!

General training notes: Overall, it was another productive week of training. And I also realized Pat Griskus takes place in less than 21 days. Wahhhh! In the past 48 hours—and what will probably continue during the upcoming weeks—my confidence has swung from one extreme to the other. One minute, I feel prepared, and the next, I remember my hill training hasn’t been ideal. Luckily, though, Coach Pat says three weeks is enough time to reap benefits from doing hillwork. Time to dial it in!

Monday – a.m. swim and run

The week began with a 3,500-yard swim that contained some killer intervals: 5×100 on 1:30 sandwiched between two tech sets. And we ended with another 5×100 set. As a wannabe swimmer, I didn’t know exactly what split to expect, but my lane held 1:25s. We also did some 50-yard sprints for fun. A steady five-miler followed and then I ate all the eggs for breakfast.

Tuesday – a.m. brick (bike and run)

Tuesday brick day! The workout called for biking three steady loops of Central Park (about 18 miles) and running one lower loop (about 1.7 miles). As the “captain” of my cycling group, I was tempted to push the pace, but I followed orders and maintained the prescribed pace. Same thing on the run: I wanted to crank it, but ran smart and locked into my steady pace. Counting my warm-up and cool-down loops, I logged 41 miles—very solid!

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

The weather was good Wednesday, so we did speedwork on an outdoor turf field: 2×1600 and 2×800. The first three repeats went well, but since I didn’t hydrate, my legs locked up during the final 800m. Yes, I should know better. My calves gave me problems during the swim, which was probably due to not hydrating during the run and doing all the flip turns (#wannabeswimmer).

Thursday – a.m. swim and recovery run; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

My “do-all-three” Thursdays have returned! I logged 3,500 yards in the pool, and then—get this—ran in Central Park. I know, right? Since my schedule is flexible on Thursdays, these “long,” easy runs will happen in the park for the hills. Oh, and get this: an easy six miles were on the docket, but I ran eight. That’s a new long run for this training cycle! I ran easy, felt good, and kept going. It’s funny how workouts go well when you follow the plan.

My training day concluded with a power hour class at Tailwind Endurance. The CompuTrainer was set to erg mode, so instead of pedaling and holding specific wattages, the contraption automatically dialed into my power numbers (so no shifting gears). The first 20-minute block was slightly below functional threshold power (FTP), and the next 10 minutes were slightly above FTP; we also had two, four-minute VO2 max blocks, but I shut it down early. My legs were fatigued from my run, and plus, I Friday’s Central Park ride would be a hammerfest.

Friday – a.m. bike

Whew, this was a killer ride—and this is the workout I mentioned in the bulldog story. It was frustrating to stick with the group for nearly the entire workout and then get dropped during the last attack, but that’s how you get better. Counting my commute to the park and warm-up and cool-down loops, I completed 48.6 miles.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. brick (bike and extended run)

My coach and I chatted this week, and one aspect of my training that’s been lacking includes bricks. Yes, I do the Tuesday team one, but it’s on the shorter side. (I run three miles tops off the bike.) Since I’ll be doing Olympic-distance races this season, I need to be comfortable doing 10-Ks. Well, comfortable with being uncomfortable—and that’s exactly what happened today. There was a bike race in Central Park, so I hit my indoor trainer for a 60-minute ride and headed outside for a five miler immediately after. And I was happy with how the run felt; as usual, my opening pace was a little aggressive, but I backed off and settled into a rhythm. And the five miles flew by!

What are your Memorial Day plans?

The Bulldog Story

During my high school basketball days, my team had an intense rivalry with another powerhouse. We didn’t play in the same league, so we only faced each other during sectionals—and the other team always won. As an eighth grader, I remember watching my future varsity team face this Goliath during sectional finals. We lost, and two of my teammates and I made a pact that we would overthrow the powerhouse.

Fast-forward to senior year; we won our bracket.


#GloryDays #LivingTheDream

The powerhouse Spartans won theirs, and this match-up would determine which of us would advance to state competition.

The week before this battle was extremely intense both physically and mentally. We listed to Tom Petty constantly during practice: “Well I won’t back down …”

To this day, whenever I hear “I Won’t Back Down,” I’m transported back to my crackerbox gym. There’s the Hello Kitty radio, the blocking pads that smell like 300-pound wrestlers (no offense to the 300-pound wrestlers out there), and of course, my coach hooting, hollering, and occasionally swearing. Dammit, Red! Finish strong!

During this build-up, one of my assistant coaches told us the bulldog story: a scrappy, undersized bulldog keeps trying to fight another bigger dog, and even though it loses every time, the bulldog proves relentless and keeps coming back. And one day, the bulldog wins. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

And who would’ve thought the basketball bulldog story would prove relevant six years later? And to biking of all things.

Toward the end of last season, I finally realized the bike needed to become a priority, so I logged more time in the saddle and did my best to hang with my team’s all-girl group during our Central Park rides. At first, I got dropped. All. The. Time. But I kept going back.  Thanks to these outings–plus lots of indoor trainer time and CompuTrainer classes at Tailwind Endurance–I’m now one of the fastest girls on the team.

But that isn’t enough. As a “biking bulldog,” I want to hang with the boys (and pass them if possible!).


Yeah, this t-shirt will probably happen. #chicking

A few weeks ago, one of the Full Throttle Endurance coaches invited me to ride with his group. Was I intimidated? Oh yeah. Two of these guys went to London for the World Championships. Did they push me? Yes. I was working well above my threshold when we hammered on 9W. Did I get dropped? You bet. Will I ride with them again? Absolutely.

It’s all about taking the good and the bad from each workout—and trying your best to apply it to the next one. Case in point: The next time I “broed out” and rode with the guys in Central Park, I remembered my 9W sufferfest, knew I had the strength and power to push through, and stayed with them for 24 brutal miles. That was good.

But today was bad. My Race of Truth time barely placed me in my current group. Basically, I’d either be the “captain” of the next group down, or I’ll have to work to stick with these guys; and I want to get better, so that means working. And I put in major work today. I was so close to hanging on during our extended hill attack around mile 15-16, but I couldn’t close the gap. You win some, you lose some—but that’s how you get better:  training hard, training smart, and trusting the process.

Are you a “bulldog” when it comes to your workouts, occupation, or other obligations?

Taking a Breath

Hi, hi! Just me popping in for an update. As per usual, it’s all over the place, and that’s indicative of my life right now.

For the first time since the holidays, my entire family spent some time together. The troops rallied for a last-minute Mother’s Day celebration, and we hung out for a few hours and enjoyed a delicious brunch.


Smashed avocado toast for the win!

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll add this “meal” served as my appetizer. Hey, I biked 50 miles. Toast—even with deliciously creamy avocado—was not going to cut it.

My team goes to Italy for a four-day cycling trip every year, so a few coaches and teammates were absent from practice last week—and my coach sort of left me in charge. No, I wasn’t coaching workouts yet, but I was dealing with all Full Throttle Endurance logistical matters: answering random questions, sending emails to confirm practice, etc. Basically, all the day-to-day operations. And after working in this capacity for one week, I have even more respect for my coach. Seriously.

Speaking of logistical concerns, this past week centered on the Brooklyn Half expo. You know how it takes a village to raise a child? Well it takes a store to facilitate a successful expo showing.


The entire week felt surreal: hanging out in Dumbo, working at an expo for the largest half-marathon in the country … was this real life?

Do you ever have work meetings where you brainstorm creative ideas and leave feeling energized and ready to tackle anything? That was me on Wednesday. It reminded me of an endorphin rush that follows killer bike sessions and brutal speedwork. Minus the sweat.

I got my teeth cleaned Friday morning. After looking at my not-so pearly whites, the dental hygienist asked if I drink a lot of coffee—and red wine. Woah. I mean, yes … but for health benefits.

In addition to my FTE responsibilities, my party warlord status meant I also needed to make brunch reservations and organize a team drink up meet up post-Brooklyn Half. Everything worked itself out, but there was some added stress—sending emails, waiting for responses, and deciphering emails in an attempt to figure out if someone was actually coming. Since I’m a type-A person, I can roll with these punches, but I’m grateful my next party-planning shindig isn’t until the New York City Triathlon in August.

One highpoint from my workday? Doing tricep dips during a conference call. Hey, it’s called multitasking.

Do you multitask during meetings?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of May 12 (Phase Two, Week 19)

Gasp, I’m coming up for a quick breath of air—and a brief training check-in. I totally owe you a post, and as you can tell, I’ve been busy. Thankfully, I thrive off activity, so even though this was a stressful week, I much prefer it to being bored.


Representing JRab at the Brooklyn Half expo—so hot, so many hours standing, so much fun.

General training notes: This week marked one month until my next racePat Griskus on June 14. Since post-South Beach, my mentality has been “I don’t have another race until June,” and it has seemed far, far away. But now, that’s obviously next month, so it’s time to get dialed in! Overall, this week’s sessions went well; Monday’s run was tough thanks to last Sunday’s hammerfest with the boys, but I recovered relatively quickly.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

As stated above, my workout week started on a rough note. Both the Friday and Sunday rides caught up with me, and my legs felt totally trashed. I planned to run five easy miles, but shut it down after three and a half. Triathlon centers on enduring and pushing through, and even though I hated bagging a workout, I know it was the right choice.

Tuesday – a.m. brick (bike and run)

… and this is why it’s important to train smart. My legs felt fine the next morning, and this bike-run (and some extra bike for good measure) brick went well. I rode about 18 miles, logged a progressive 5-K run, and then hopped back in the saddle for a cooldown. When all was said and done, I completed about 37 miles, which is a solid weekday ride for me.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

It’s no secret my run isn’t progressing as quickly as I would like—which is totally my own fault because biking has become my favorite discipline—but I nailed this speed workout. And I don’t remember the last time I felt this good in terms of the “doing work-to-pace” ratio. Basically, my effort level felt on the low side for the splits; like I thought I’d have to work harder to hit the numbers I was hitting. Anyway, we started with a one-mile warm-up and then did 3×1200 with 200m accelerators after each 1200. My coach put me in charge of my group, and I was able to lock in and hold the faster-end of the pace he dictated. And above all, it felt manageable; like I could’ve cranked out one or two more 1200s.  Nothing too notable in terms of the swim:  2,850 yards with lots of bilateral and hypoxic breathing.

Thursday – a.m. swim and recovery run

Because of the Brooklyn Half expo, my normal Thursday training day was nixed: to make the most use of my time, I stayed in the city and logged a 2,600-yard swim and six-mile recovery run. In past weeks, five miles has been a good shake-out run distance, but with Pat Griskus coming up, I want to log as many six-and-change runs as possible.

Friday – a.m. spin

Boo for being rained out. Not too much to report: just 75 minutes on the spin bikes. Le sigh.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. bike

Because Griskus (starting to notice a theme?) has brutally hilly bike and run courses, my training will see more–surprise, surprise–hillwork. A few teammates and I went over the bridge and opted for hill repeats. Basically, we climbed one monster hill that spans about one mile, coasted down, and repeated the process—four times. It was one of those sessions that totally twists your insides, but I’m pumped to do it again next weekend! The ride clocked in at 46 miles by the time I got back home.

So the main takeaways from this week? Train smart and hit the hills!

Hillwork: love it or hate it?


Triathlon Training Log – Week of May 5 (Phase Two, Week 18)

Exhausted from training and working; we’re all hands on deck for the Brooklyn Half this weekend. Cannot think of a catchy intro. Just keeping it real.

General training notes: As you know, I’ve been focusing on the bike this season, and when I saw this quotation from, it resonated with me.



Not only have I been logging long (for me) weekend rides, but our group outings in Central Park have also helped me interact with teammates I didn’t really know with until this year. When you’re working together in a pace line, putting in some solid miles, and getting extremely dirty (see below), you bond.


Nope, not freckles.

Or at least that helps me form connections with people.

Monday – a.m. swim

Since I ran and biked Sunday, I just swam. Could I have pushed it and hit the pavement? Yes. But would that have been a smart decision? Probably not. And besides, as I neared the end of the 3,500 yards, my legs definitely felt fatigued from the previous day’s mileage.

Tuesday – a.m. brick (bike and run)

Even though I felt great during the brick, the workout ended up being an organized chaos clusterfest. Yes, we did the Race of Truth last week, but each group contained a wide range of paces. So when we started with two steady loops, it was totally subjective. My group’s pace made me frustrated—it felt like a spinout, aka slower than steady—so when two of our teammates passed us on Harlem Hill, I left the group and rode with them for the last three-ish miles. Yes, I know you don’t ditch your group, and I got an earful for doing it, but I felt good and wanted to go faster. And coming off the bike, I felt really good—so I dialed into my tempo pace for the first mile and then eased off the gas a bit for the last 0.7 nugget. Overall, I did not execute this brick according to plan, especially the run portion, but I felt good enough to push it.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Since it’s finally warming up, we’ll be doing speedwork outdoors on a turf field. We cranked out the workout relatively quickly: 2×400, 2×800, 2×400. And like last week, my butt felt like it would fall off, which apparently means I’m doing it right. As per usual, the 3,300-yard swim contained a lot of pulling—and luckily no hypoxic breathing sets.

Thursday – a.m. swim and recovery run; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Normally, this would be my long-course swim day, but since my team is off biking in Italy (seriously), those of us who stayed behind skipped going to Connecticut. I “bro-ed out” and swam with the boys before I logged a six-mile recovery run in the rain. There’s something therapeutic about running in the rain; I just zoned out and ran easy.

Friday – a.m. bike

Holy cow, this was such a good ride! Logistically, the night before was stressful because we were trying to decide if the ride should happen due to rain/park conditions. It poured all night, so the roads were slick, but you never know what conditions you’ll get on race day, so you need to be ready for anything. Anyway, we had a small group in the park, and one of our coaches moved me up a group and told me to ride with the guys—and I hammered and hung with them!


Now I want to make my cyclocross/XTERRA debut even more!

We basically cranked four loops, and it was awesome; everyone had solid handling skills, everyone took turns pulling, and I didn’t totally get dropped on the hills. And when all was said and done, my ride ended up being 50 miles. Not a bad way to start a Friday!

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. bike

You know how some days you can “bro out” and hang with the guys? This was not one of those days. My legs were still fatigued from Friday’s ride, and this 45-mile outing tested me mentally and physically. Simply spinning out seemed tempting, but what if my legs refuse to cooperate during a race—like during Nationals? Even though sticking with the guys was out of the question, I focused on the controllables: my cadence, my breathing, and my mental game. In the words of my high school basketball coach, I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and just play ride.

The workout got logged, and although it could’ve gone a lot, a lot better, it gives me confidence that I can buckle down and get it done even when I don’t feel anywhere close to 100 percent.

Do you have any tips or tricks for staying positive during tough workouts?

2014 Escape to the Palisades 5-K Recap

What a solid training day! On Sunday, fifteen of my Full Throttle Endurance teammates and I completed a cross-state brick workout: We biked across the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey, ran the Escape to the Palisades 5-K, and then biked more before heading back to New York City.


If you’ve been reading for a while, then you may remember we did the same race last year. Which means I knew exactly what to expect during the first quarter mile—a steep climb that makes you question your existence. With this in mind, I took time to warm up and do some dynamic stretches (unlike my Red Hook Crit pre-race routine). And since it was about 50 degrees, I raced sans baselayer, which proved to be a wise decision, especially because I run hot.

Escape to the Palisades offers three distances: 5-K, a new for this year 6-K trail run, and the half-marathon, which draws the most people. Roughly 200 people toed the 5-K start line, and even though I finished second female overall last year, I didn’t think about the possibility of placing. Honestly, I feel like you’re jinxing it if you go into a race with the expectation of winning—slash, I don’t feel comfortable with thinking that at this point. Anyway, I focused on my goals: holding a 7:10-7:15 pace after the hill and being mentally strong throughout.

When the race started, the FTE boys took off, and I tried to keep two in my sights. And I also took the lead right out of the gate. The pace I dialed into was hot (for me 6:45 min./mi.), but I wanted a cushion for the climb. As I hit the hill, I shorted my stride and focused on turning over my legs: shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker. At this point, one girl passed me. Hey, more power to her if she wants to surge up that hill. I maintained my pace, controlled my breathing, and ended up passing her back.

After climbing the hill, the course ran parallel to the Hudson River and took us through a wooded area; it felt very Zen and actually reminded me of running at home in Upstate New York. Not to mention it was an out-and-back course, so it was easy for me to shut off my brain and simply run. Aside from the occasional “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker,” there were zero thoughts in my head. Basically, it seems like my mental game improves with each race.

With that being said, though, this was also the first race where strategy played a role. About a minute before the guys appeared from the turnaround point, the girl I dropped on the hill made a move—and I answered. Well, sort of. I stuck on her shoulder. Go ahead. Let her set the pace and do the work. Tactically, I think this was a smart move; I don’t have the speed yet where I could’ve surged and lost her for good, so I simply stuck with her. And it felt like my speedwork pace, so I knew it would be somewhat sustainable.

Anyway, when the guys came back, one of them yelled, “take her now, Carrie! Take her now!” And then she turned around and realized I was there. We ran together through the turnaround, but I knew this couldn’t continue. My kick isn’t where I want it to be, and plus, I had a hard time hammering the downhill last year. Cardiowise, I was fine, and my legs felt decent, so I made my move and hit the pain train. For a brief moment, I let myself entertain the thought of winning.  I knew it would hurt—and I knew I could tolerate it.

As I took the downhill, I thought my legs would fall off. I also thought about rolling down the hill instead. But I was doing it. I was finishing strong and holding the lead.


Yes, these are d-baggy pictures to post, but I would be surprised if I ever break the tape again. I would like to point out the clear midfoot strike in the first picture. #runnerd

Official finishing time – 23:56 (7:43 min./mi.)

For what it’s worth, everyone who raced with a Garmin measured the course at 3.35 miles, which changes my average pace to 7:09. This run felt like a seven-and-change effort—definitely closer to a Red Hook Crit level of pain than South Beach.

Honestly, I felt very conflicted at the end of this race—happy, obviously, but also a bit unsettled. I’m still trying to figure out why, but here are my two main takeaways: First, I can string together three solid miles where I’m mentally strong. Two, I can run hard and smart; this race proved I’m getting better at allocating energy, managing efforts, and deciding when to push and when to maintain.

What goes through your head during a workout or race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 28 (Phase Two, Week 17)

Hi, all—happy Sunday! And May the 4th be with you!



Disclaimer: I only know about this because of my coworkers. I have never seen a Star Wars movie.

General training notes: The past three weeks of training hit me Monday, and I was glad to ease off the gas and embrace recovery week. Aside from Wednesday’s speedwork, my sessions this week maintained volume, but backed off intensity, especially my run workouts. My steady runs were steady, and my easy ones were easy—and I felt great during and after! Isn’t it funny how that works?

Monday – a.m. swim and run

This was the first workout since pre-South Beach during which I felt incredibly flat. Yes, I logged the yardage, but it was frustrating; I had to work a lot harder to hold paces, and overall, I felt like I was fighting the water, which is never an issue. Luckily, the easy four miles after went better.

Tuesday – a.m. bike

Originally, our Race of Truth should have taken place, but the forecast called for rain; the evening before, my coach pushed this time trial to Friday, but of course, the skies and roads were clear the morning of. A small group met in the park anyway, and we did a warm-up loop before we broke up into smaller groups for three additional loops.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

I don’t know what happened here, but yes, I did speedwork during recovery week: one-mile warm-up, 6×800, and one mile cool down. Three repeats seemed good at first, but since I felt good, I pushed and got the last three done. And my butt felt like it was going to fall off, which my coworkers said is a good thing. Next, I hit the pool for a 3,100-yard swim that contained lots of bilateral pulling sets and work with fins.

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and recovery run

The highlight of the long-course swim wasn’t the actual workout, but what we saw on the drive back to the city.


That doggie needs a helmet!

As per my usual Thursday routine, I took a power hour class at Tailwind Endurance (hills and a threshold/VO2 max set) and logged a five-mile recovery run. It was incredibly hot and humid, and my sweating-to-working ratio made zero sense.

FridayRace of Truth (aka a.m. bike)

Dun dun duuuun! Here’s the premise: Bike one loop of Central Park (6.2 miles) as fast as you can. And if you use a triathlon bike, then you’ll be given a 45-second penalty (because everyone rides roadies during our group outings). And athletes are released every 30 seconds, so there’s no drafting.

After talking to one of the coaches at Tailwind, I decided to treat this time trial like a power test; both last about 20 minutes, so it’s all about building and maintaining efforts. Since I don’t have a power meter—and since my bike computer wasn’t working—I used perceived exertion as a guide: Out of the gate, I built to a 7.5-8/10, and really dialed into the 8 after climbing Cat Hill. I maintained this effort to Harlem Hill, and although I didn’t attack it, I pushed, and then tried to hang on for the last bit. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a Wall/Team of Cycling Dudes, so I wasn’t able to lay down the hammer as much as I would’ve liked, but I definitely left everything on the course. And get this: My time last year was 19:07, and I clocked 16:53 this year! It’s all about progress! And since our elite female and I “smoked the girls” (in the words of my coach), he booted us from the all-girl group, so we’ll both be riding with guys.

Saturday – off

Sunday – bike-run-bike training day, including Escape to the Palisades 5-K

Folks, this may be the new best day ever. Our group of 15 biked across the George Washington Bridge, and some of us ran the 5-K while others did hill repeats. I’ll probably write a race recap because … I won overall for women! And then we biked more. I closed the day with around 4.5 running miles and 50 biking miles. Sweet!

How did your workouts go this week?

I’m a Triathlon Model

Hi, hi! Contrary to my absence on the blog and virtually (see what I did there?) all forms of social media, I am in fact alive. Since returning from South Beach, I’ve been totally slammed.


Take me back, SoBe–I want more freckles!

I have absolutely no complaints. Work is going well, and training is going really well. Excuses aside, I owe you a catch-up post.

I’ve been to Brooklyn twice in recent weeks—for work. That’s two more times than I’ve been there all year. But really. I attended a launch party for the Brooklyn Triathlon and had a meeting with one of our clubs. Making the trek across the bridge, walking up from the subway, and facing infinite rows of brownstones, I love the neighborly Park Slope atmosphere. It seems more relaxed, but there’s no way I’m cool enough to live there. My pearl earrings and L.L. Bean jacket don’t belong.

I made my debut as a (triathlon) model. Triathlon season has arrived, and the store received shipments of swim-bike-run apparel. (2XU, Zoot, DeSoto, oh my!) And two coworkers and I somehow got recruited to be models. For the record, I assumed these photos would end up on Facebook. I did not expect to see my face plastered on the store window.


Mildly embarrassing, but kinda cool. And if you check our homepage, we’re on the slider too.



My team logged its first outdoor brick workout last Tuesday. Fifty degrees, no precipitation, and no morons tooling around the park lead to a solid ride. And even better, I hit my 5-K pace—and felt OK.

Tomorrow, our infamous “Race of Truth” takes place. Basically, it’s an all-out effort for one loop (6.2 miles) of the park, and the times set the cycling groups. Although arbitrary for me (my coach makes two all-girl groups), the race still comes with bragging rights, so I want to beat my time from last year.

In wannabe swimmer updates, I’m almost exclusively doing flip turns. There were a ton of reasons I avoiding doing them during practice—hitting lanemates, losing that extra breath that comes with open turns, etc.—but I finally woman-ed up and started doing them no matter what. And I’m almost at the point where I don’t have to think about it. Also, according to this article, I’m arguably a swimmer: waking up early, having huge shoulders, smelling like chlorine.

Sunday will be an epic training day—and I can’t wait! Last year, a bunch of my teammates biked over the bridge, ran the Escape to the Palisades 5-K, and then biked some more, and we’re doing it again this weekend.

What’s new with you?