Monthly Archives: January 2015

Game On!

Oh, Winter Storm Juno. As a native of Central New York, I really want to tell everyone to calm down; but I do understand the city cannot handle half a foot of snow.

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Eerily quiet and beautiful walk home by the High Line

And I’m all for an adult snow day.

Anyway, apologies for my lack-of-blogging phase. It’s been one of those months—seriously, how can January nearly be over?!—where I’ve been firing on all cylinders all the time. But since I’m hanging out and hunkering down today, there’s no time like the present. So fill up your water bottle, top off your coffee, and, well, hunker down for some updates.

As far as work goes, I’m nearing the end of a transition. I don’t talk about JackRabbit a lot, but for the past few weeks, I’ve been moving away from the outreach/event planning stuff to the digital editorial/social media side of things. Yes, this is a vague description, but these responsibilities are more along the lines of what I want to do long term. I’m working on several projects now (#vagueblogging), and in the words of one coworker, “you have a voice, and it matters a lot.”

Some of my BFFs/Girls’ Club colleagues have transitioned too, which is bittersweet. I’m pumped for them—after all, they’re doing big things!—but it stinks because a lot of “my people” won’t be around any more. It’s tough when your inner circle changes, and yes, I realize it’s incredibly rare to work with your friends.

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Rabbits at the Rescue Mission!

Thankfully, not everyone is leaving. This should go without saying, but the people I work with and the community we foster are why I love (working at) JRab. And on the bright side, I’m becoming friendlier with higher-ups, which is good. (Sidebar: One of my teammates recently wrote about transitions too.)

My triathlon training is undergoing a transition too. This came up in my off-season recap, but basically, my mindset, motivation, and outlook have totally changed. I’m enlisting different resources (Coach Pat, Tailwind Endurance, etc.), and I’m cutting out the toxic aspects of my training. “Toxic” may be a little harsh, but I can’t think of another word right now.

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Non-toxic decaf almond milk cappuccino

For better or for worse, certain people and atmospheres alter my internal dialogue, and although it’s OK during races and tough workouts, it is not a narrative I want to hear all the time. Last year, I needed this tough, in-my-face coaching, but I’ve matured as an endurance athlete. I’m getting better at using mantras, finding that “second wind” on my own, and basically tapping into what motivates me.

Who knew running fitness translates to semi-decent swimming? I mean, it makes sense. Both are full-body activities. And people will aqua jog if they’re injured and can’t run. But if you told me I’d not only survive, but swim somewhat respectably during my first 3,000 yarder since August, I would not have believed you. But that’s exactly what happened. And I threw down some semi-respectable times for the 100- and 400-yd. time trials.

My new obsession is escaping to a cabin and writing, writing, writing.

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Up, On, and Over

Ever since going to New Paltz, I’ve been craving more trails, more nature, more outdoors—basically, the polar opposite of New York City. Coincidence my quarter-life crisis is coming up?

Overall, though, 2015 is off to a solid start. I’m pumped to see what it brings, and in the mean time, I’m continuing to work hard and dial everything in. Game on!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Jan. 19 (Week 3)

Every week, I plan to pop in with a non-training-centered post. And clearly, I fail to do this every week. It will happen, though—promise.

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Waaaaah, t-minus three months until the first race of the season!

General training notes: I’ve mentioned this before, but this season, I’m making an effort to reformulate how I approach training, how I train through sessions, and how I define success. And it’s recently come to my attention I focus way too much on the numbers, specifically watts. Earl, my all-time favorite Tailwind Endurance coach, and I have talked about this a lot throughout the past few months, and this week, he said something that really resonated with me: “Don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers. Focus on the feeling.”

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

This workout took place prior to the conversation above, but I totally nailed this session: Ten minutes at our wattage “sweet spot,” then five minutes at threshold; ten minutes back at the sweet spot, then five more minutes at threshold on erg mode. After work, I ran an easy 4.5 miles outside and completed a pull-heavy swim workout for a total of 2,700 yards.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

I executed Coach Pat’s speedwork really well. During the 6x800s, I felt completely in control—and comfortable with being uncomfortable. Closed out the morning with some upper-body strength training and corework.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Yes, this power hour also occurred before that pivotal conversation, but this workout went really well too. First, we completed a gear pyramid—basically adding resistance every minute until we were “mashing”—and then did three, four-minute intervals during which we started at tempo and then increased our cadence to build our wattage to VO2 max. And then Earl and I talked about not becoming emotionally attached to numbers.

Thursday – a.m. run and p.m. swim

I’m really at a loss because these long runs pass so quickly. Those 8.5 miles were done in no time!

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Thanks for a great morning, Central Park.

I hit the pool after work for an easy, 1,500 yards.

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Hands down, this was the toughest Tailwind class to date. The CompuTrainers were set to erg mode, and we started with short (three-, five, 10-second, etc.) sprints, before the intervals increased in duration (one, two, two-and-a-half-minutes, etc.). Obviously, the longer efforts became less intense—except for the 10-second sprint in the middle of an eight-minute threshold block, which totally broke me. After that, the intervals grew shorter, and we finished with sprints. Bottom line, I hung on, but it was not pretty.

Saturday – a.m. swim with Full Throttle Endurance, run, and strength train

Gotta love Saturday Funday: easy-ish 1,700 yards with the team, steady 45 minutes on the treadmill (too much snow and slush outside), plus 30 minutes of strength training and corework. And one game of PIG on the basketball court.

Sunday – off

Do you become emotionally attached to things easily?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Jan. 12 (Week 2)

Three feelings I’m feeling right now? Sleepy, hungry … and incredibly motivated. All valid, by the way—because it’s the second week of official training.

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Mannequin graveyard at work—because only the strong survive

General training notes: Honestly, swimming and biking didn’t get me super psyched this week. As you know, swimming and I have a complicated relationship. Finding motivation to get to the pool has become easier since the season started, but I just don’t get the endorphin rush from crushing swim workouts—and chasing that feeling is a big reason I love triathlon. In terms of the bike, it’s been touch-and-go, and this stems from the lack of emphasis/volume. I can’t run and bike all the miles, but I do need to find a balance—ASAP.

Monday – a.m. swim with Full Throttle Endurance and run

I don’t remember doing the butterfly this time last year, but whatever: 3,000 yards in the pool with lots of butterflying and breast-stroking, plus an easy 4.5 miles on the ‘mill while listening to the #RRP.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Dun-dun-duuuun: 8x600s for speedwork. Since I’m ramping up the swimming and biking, Coach Pat said we’ll have to back off the running just a bit. That being said, the workout went well as far as executing and hitting paces goes. But I need to remember if and when run progress slows, it’s OK; it’s about the process.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

After a mildly disappointing power test last week (it’s fine—I’ve moved on), I really wanted to get after it. While a few folks did the test, I completed an overgear/hill workout, which was perfect for building leg strength. And that also happens to be exactly what I need to do throughout the next few months. Thanks to running, the endurance is there, but I need to get my cycling legs back. Anyway, I was not happy about the ordered 65 RPMs (depending on who you ask, 90 RPM is ideal, and I’m a 93-95 RPM girl), but it was actually OK.

Thursday – a.m. run and p.m. swim

Decent 8.5-mile long run in Central Park, plus an easy 1,500 yards in the pool after work.

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

About those cycling legs … maybe they’re coming back. I mean, the coach asked if I plan to do any bike races in Central Park, which is probably a good sign. Anyway, we did an interval pyramid of sorts: three minutes, two-and-a-half, two, etc. all the way down to three seconds. After these sprints (I hit 535 watts!), we increased the efforts in increments back to three minutes. The shorter the effort, the more intense it became. And erg mode kept me honest; I hung on until the second-to-last effort, hit the wall, and somehow managed to get back on track for the final one.

Saturday – a.m. swim with Full Throttle Endurance, run, and strength train

BIG training day that began with an unexpected time trial in the pool. After a longer warm-up, we raced 100 yards all-out, rested one minute, then did a 400-yard time trial. This format resembles the bike power test (five minutes all-out, 10 minutes rest, 20-min. time trial), so I knew how to pace it—and how much it would hurt. In a surprise to no one, I have the top-end speed (1:10 for 100 yards), but I need to work on the endurance (5:40 for 400 yards). But, I’ll take those results for swimming a total of 14 times during the off-season.

Next up came a 45-min. steady run on the treadmill, which went well, plus some upper-body strength training and corework. And hoops—I shot some hoops too.

Sunday – off

Who you rather have top-end speed and be super fast or have endless endurance and be able to go long?

Training Log – Week of Jan. 5 (Week 1)

Week one of 2015 training is officially in the books!

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Clearly, Zelda couldn’t be more excited.

General training notes: Three cheers for surviving the first official week of training! Even though I’ve been logging quality workouts throughout the off-season, I didn’t think returning to officially official training would be too bad—but the load definitely hit me Friday afternoon as I struggled to keep my eyes open at work. The perpetually sleepy (and hungry!) feeling is back!

Monday – a.m. swim with Full Throttle Endurance and run

Game on! First came 3,100 yards with Full Throttle Endurance in the pool, plus four easy miles outside. Whew, I forgot what it feels like to run on post-swim legs—sheesh!

Tuesday – a.m. run

Dynamic stretches with the team, then Coach Pat’s speedwork: 6×200, 2×800, 5×200. Does it make sense to say I liked the 200s?

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Dun-dun-dunnnn: functional threshold power (FTP) test. Because I’m nuts, I was actually looking forward to hitting the pain cave and identifying concrete numbers for training, but my execution wasn’t precise. For the five-minute blow-out effort, I averaged about 270 watts, and after resting for 10 minutes, I averaged 220 watts for the 20-minute test. Yes, testing circumstances were less than ideal (mainly not-100 percent legs from speedwork), and yes, I hoped for a value closer to 225-235, but this is an OK starting point. I mean, it’s January!

Thursday – a.m. run and p.m. swim

Easy 8.5 miles in 9-degree weather in Central Park.

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Total bliss.

Like I said, I’m still playing around with my training schedule, and I do like swimming (easy) after work. It’s a great way to decompress and shake off the day. Two-thousand yards, most of which I pulled.

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Tough ride. I find erg mode workouts challenging because there’s absolutely no room to deviate from the identified wattage. For 90 minutes, we warmed up, sprinted, recovered, and logged lots of VO2 max efforts. My legs felt awful, but I was able to hang on for most of the ride. This was a tough week for the bike, and my confidence has definitely wavered. However, I confirmed my endurance is there (thanks to running), but it’s the leg strength that’s holding me back right now.

Saturday – a.m. swim and strength train

Highlight of this swim: an actual swimmer asked if I used to swim competitively! Solid 2,450 yards, plus about 45 minutes of strength training and corework. And I shot some hoops for good measure. Old habits die hard.

Sunday – a.m. run and strength train

Forty-five steady minutes on the treadmill, plus too many pushups. And corework.

How did your first official week of 2015 workouts go?

Final Thoughts: 2014 Triathlon Off-Season

See ya in nine months, off-season! It’s been real. It’s been fun—a lot of fun. I’ve relaxed, recharged, and reconnected with non-SBR folks. I’ve embraced sleeping “in” and staying out “late.” (Both relative terms, by the way.) I enjoyed the finer things in life, including but not limited to wine, margaritas, and my grandma’s Venetian cookies.

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After Christmas, my grandma sent me back to the city with close to five pounds of cookies.

Suffice to say, it’s been an indulgent four months.

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Like I’m going to not eat this.

Between eating dark chocolate covered pretzels and drinking RumChata, I actually have done some legitimate work and confirmed some theories regarding said work. For example, I can drink two pineapple margaritas (or were they mango?) the night before speedwork and still string together solid repeats. (Just don’t tell Coach Pat!) In all seriousness, though, I’ve learned and improved more during this downtime than any previous off-season. Let’s recap, shall we?

I’ve embraced “me time”—and loved it. Yes, I trained with Full Throttle Endurance during the season, but for the past four months, I’ve done the majority of my workouts solo.

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Snow and solitude

Don’t get me wrong. There are benefits to training alongside others—more motivation, increased accountability, consistent feedback—but I’ve enjoyed swimming, biking, and running alone.

I’ve always been an independent, intrinsically motivated athlete. Even when playing team sports (field-hockey, basketball, and softball) back in the day, I always completed off- and pre-season workouts whether or not teammates wanted to meet up and do work together. Being dedicated and dialing in has always been non-negotiable; it has to get done. (And “it” means training, work, you name it. If you’re going to do it, then really do it.) To me, this trait is normal. But this off-season, I was reminded it isn’t “normal” for everyone. Countless times, teammates watched in awe as I did speedwork solo. “I could never do that alone” and “how do you push yourself?” became regular comments.

What this means for 2015: I’ll do a portion of my training solo. This off-season highlighted my discipline and independence. At first, I wasn’t sure how tougher, lung-busting workouts would go—especially speedwork—but as I’ve rocked 400s, 800s, and 1200s, I’ve proved to myself I can function and thrive solo; I don’t need a group to get the training done. With this renewed confidence, I will continue working with Coach Pat during the tri season. Sure, I’ll probably “lone wolf” the majority of my runs, but I’m OK with it.

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Another thing I’m totally OK with: a vendor bringing branded wine to an event.

I’ve expanded my circle of friends, coaches, and mentors. Even though I did most of my running alone, I didn’t totally isolate myself: I volunteered/ran with Back on My Feet (BoMF), and I logged miles with friends; I frequented Tailwind Endurance for CompuTrainer classes and continued to build relationships with athletes and coaches. I feel very fortunate because there are so many trustworthy and knowledgeable people in my triathlon arsenal.

What this means for 2015: I’ll continue to build these relationships. Last season, I was all Full Throttle all the time. Monday through Friday, I plugged away at the gym with coaches and teammates. This year, it will be different. Yes, I’ll still race for the team, but I will continue to cultivate the relationships I’ve built and “diversify” my triathlon arsenal. Joining a masters swim team may happen (#wannabeswimmer), being a Tailwind regular will continue, and running actual races will most likely occur.

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“Cross training” while trail running in New Paltz

I’ve become better at being discerning with my training. Everyone chooses to do something different with their tri downtime. Some do yoga, some do CrossFit (ugh, don’t get me started), and some do nothing. (And there’s nothing wrong with that.) But as teammates perfected their butterfly and raced countless IMs for fun, I ran—a lot. This was not a popular move; and there was some pressure to stop running and start swimming. But I knew my training time would be better spent in my running shoes than in my TYR swimsuit. And spoiler alert: Even though I swam less than 15 times during the off-season, I’m still the lane leader for fast lane number two (but forever a #wannabeswimmer). And since my current easy runs are about a minute faster than they were during the season, I’d say I had a productive off-season.

What this means for 2015: I’ll do what’s right for me. Last year, I simply followed the team plan and did what everyone else did. And for the most part, it worked; I had some solid races, including a decent showing at Nationals. But in order to keep improving—becoming faster, growing stronger—I need an individualized plan with specific, structured sessions. This means I’ll be more “selfish” in regard to my training, and it will be an added bonus when my workouts sync up to team ones.

I feel like my best self when I’m training. All right; brace yourself for some left field action.

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Even more New Paltz trail running

I’ve become a total fangirl of Rich Roll and his podcast, the RRP (Rich Roll podcast). He’s a plant-powered, ultra-endurance athlete and bestselling author of Finding Ultra, and in his podcast, he sits down with the best and brightest paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, creativity, and entrepreneurship. His goal is simple: to educate, inspire and empower you to discover, unlock, and unleash your best, most authentic self. Seriously, check it out. Anyway, one universal theme that’s discussed during these conversations is self-actualization—identifying what constitutes your most authentic self, using your energy to actualize yourself, and then going out and affecting change. Honestly, I’m still figuring out what my most authentic self is exactly, but I do know I feel like myself when I’m swimming, biking, and running—not only with consistency, but also with purpose.

What this means for 2015: I’ll rededicate myself to the process. Since hopping aboard the RRP wagon, I’ve done a lot reflecting—on myself, on my goals, on my career. And bottom line, my most authentic self includes triathlon—specifically training with conviction.

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And it’s kinda cool seeing myself on the store’s wall.

Sure, racing is fun (a lot of fun), but during the season, I took the process for granted. It was all about pushing and performing, and I lost sight of purpose: growing not only as an athlete, but also as a person, and waking up with the goal of becoming better. There is a finite timeline to chasing tangible athletic accolades like swim, bike, and run splits. Sooner or later, something will give. But the desire behind this drive should remain constant, and that’s what needs to be tapped into when the going gets tough. Essentially, my training itself will not change too much—but my mindset and motivation have already shifted. I’m not totally sure where this will take me, but that’s why it’s called life, right?

Overall, I’ve matured a lot throughout the past year—both as a person and athlete—and 2015 will be much different. But I’m ready to see what it brings!

Training Log – Week of Dec. 29 (Week 52)

‘I’m at the base of the mountain running uphill.

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‘You’re either running for the top, coming down, or you stand still …

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‘The way up, the way on, the way up, on, and over.’

General training notes: As the last week of the off-season, these past seven days have been bittersweet. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed doing my own thing throughout the past four months—especially focusing on the run—but I am ready to officially start training for 2015 races. (Post coming soon!) For the first few weeks of January, I’ll be playing with what has become my normal off-season training schedule. The run volume seems to be at a sweet spot, but the swimming and biking need to gradually increase.

Monday – a.m. run

Four miles with BoMF, plus four easy official ones

Tuesday – a.m. run

Coach Pat’s speedwork took the form of some difficult 4x1200s. I hit the first two, deviated by a few seconds on the third, and totally blew up on the fourth. Womp, womp. But as he pointed out, I’m not a machine—but we’re working on changing that. Ha!

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Our “resolution ride” contained an interval countdown: five minutes at endurance, four minutes at tempo, three minutes at threshold, two minutes at VO2 max, and one minute all-out. I’m coming for you, 2015!

Thursday – p.m. run

Fun, peaceful, and perfect trail run in New Paltz with some friends.

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It was painful to wake up after “sleeping” for four hours (hey, it was New Year’s Eve!), but it was totally worth it. I took it easy and did 7.5 miles. And I only say “easy” because most people logged double-digit runs. You know you work for a running store when …

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

The coach split up the long- and short-course athletes for this ride, and I almost jumped ship because they rode the Ironman Lake Placid course! Instead, I took on the Rev3 Quassy Olympic course, which is known for being extremely hilly and challenging. This ride served as a final check-in point before doing FTP tests this upcoming week; the goal was to ride based on effort and see what numbers we put up. For the 26.3-mi. course (not sure where the extra two-ish miles come from), I averaged 220 watts and 20 MPH, which blows my mind because (a) 220 watts felt extremely manageable and (b) I’ve never averaged above 19 MPH during a race—you know, when I was actually racing. This is a huge confidence boost going into in-season training; even though the bike has not been my primary focus during the off-season, I’m already starting at a stronger, more efficient spot.

Saturday – a.m. swim and strength train

Easy 1,700 yards in the pool, plus upper-body strength training and corework

Sunday – a.m. run

Steady 45 minutes along the dark and dreary West Side Highway. Where is the sun?

Does a new year mark a fresh start for your fitness goals? When’s your first 2015 race?