Monthly Archives: April 2015

What I Ate In South Beach

In addition to doing some swimming, biking, and running in South Beach, I also did a decent amount of eating. Under normal circumstances, this would not be blog-worthy (considering how often I go grocery shopping). However, the number of delicious meals I enjoyed pleasantly surprised me, especially since I’ve done this race twice and have frequented a lot of Miami restaurants. Bring on the noms!


I love diners. I mean, there’s never a wrong time for breakfast food. During my five days in Florida, I visited not one, not two, but three different diners.


First up was Fort Lauderdale’s Floridian, which came as a recommendation from my friend’s aunt. (Like last year, we stayed in Fort Lauderdale for a night before heading to Miami for the official start of race weekend.) The two of us met one of my friends and his mom for breakfast, and we ate a ton of eggs and drank all the coffee—and became “sponsored athletes.”  Our waitress found out we were doing the triathlon, and she told the owner who hooked us up with these baller trucker hats. We seriously considered wearing them on the run a la pro triathlete Luke McKenzie.

On Saturday night, ten of us invaded Puerto Sagua, a Cuban diner on Collins Ave. in Miami. Two years ago, I went there for breakfast, so it seemed fitting to go back. No photos, unfortunately, because I inhaled my grilled tilapia, black beans, and rice.

And on Monday morning, my friend and I visited the super retro 11th Street Diner.


My metabolism always kicks in the day after a race, so I feasted on a veggie-packed omelet, toast, and not one, but two chocolate chip pancakes, my go-to side order at diners.


Two words: Naked Taco. That’s me all day, ha! Two more words: lobster enchiladas.


We also ordered chips and guac, but we passed on the mojitos and margaritas with a race coming up the next day. Full disclosure: our waiter gave us a shot of a fruity tequila-laced concoction, which I took one sip of.


My typical post-race indulgence is a burger, but since there were no burgers to be found at drag brunch—crazy, right?—I went all-out at supper. Did I just type ‘supper’? Yes, it’s called supper at Yardbird, a southern-style eatery my teammates have hit up every year—and now I know why.


Mamma’s chicken and biscuits, fried green tomatoes with bacon, and blackberry bourbon lemonade, plus unpictured shrimp and grits comprised the best post-tri meal I’ve ever had.


Our waitress was impressed we did a triathlon. Or maybe we got this dessert because my teammate knew the manager.

Train hard, race hard … and eat hard!

When you eat out, what’s your favorite type of food?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 20 (Week 16)

I’m baaaaack!



General training notes: Aside from the tops and balls of my feet, my body felt extremely recovered coming off Sunday’s race. I’m not sure if this says more about my fitness or my lack of being able to push on the run. I’m also pleased to report I returned to NYC nearly sunburn-free. (My theory is the SPF 85+ actually worked. Plus, the race was wetsuit illegal, so there was no neoprene to take off. For me, taking off a wetsuit removes a lot of sunscreen.) Even though I felt fresh this week, the bike and run intensity decreased a bit.

Monday – off

Spent all day in the Fort Lauderdale airport. Good times.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Four easy miles on the West Side Highway and 2,500m with the Bearcats—and I found myself in the middle of the second-fastest lane. When I swim with faster folks (a.k.a. actual swimmers), I can hang during the longer sets (200m or farther), but I can’t tap into that top-end speed yet for the fast 25s, 50s, and 100s. It’s also extremely humbling to be going all-out on a 25m, and a girl in the fast lane beats you–and she’s doing the butterfly. #wannebeswimmer

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This was my first ride post-race, and I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel during this hill workout. Thankfully, the tempo-to-threshold builds of varying duration on four-, five-, and six-percent gradients went OK.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run

Burn, baby, burn: 5×1 min. at VO2 max; 3×5 min. at VO2 max; 5×1 min. at VO2 max. During the one-minute efforts, I made a conscious decision to “gear up” and drop my cadence to build leg strength. I’m still not crazy about “grinding it out” at 80-85 RPM, but it’s becoming more natural both physically and mentally. (I also think my FTP is a little higher, so I should test again soon.)

After, I hit the West Side Highway for five easy miles. Coach Pat said to run easy, but I smiled to myself when I unintentionally hit my goal off-the-bike pace a few times. What a difference heat/humidity (or a lack thereof) makes!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Tough 3,700m swim with everything—kicking, pulling, 200s—except butterfly. Thank GAWD.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

During this two-hour ride, we faced the hilly Ironman France course, which made the high-cadence, low-cadence, and tempo efforts even more … “fun” and interesting. Fingers crossed it will be warm enough to ride outside next weekend!

How long does it take you to recover from a race?

2015 South Beach Triathlon Recap

This past Sunday, I officially kicked off my 2015 racing season at the South Beach Triathlon: I raced the classic distance (0.5-mile ocean swim, 20.7-mile bike, and 4-mile run), took second place in my new age group (female 25-29), and finished sixth female overall!


Any day you find yourself on the podium is a good day.

Although I’m bummed about missing the top AG podium spot—and cracking the top five—by 36 seconds, I’m satisfied with this outing; it confirmed training is going well, and it helped me learn an important nutrition lesson. And it proved I have zero patience for Walls of Dudes.


Even though this is my third year truly training and racing triathlons, I’m still figuring out how to navigate the taper. Especially for a shorter race, it’s important to stay sharp and not become a total taper sloth. With that in mind, I’d classify the week before the race as a “mini taper”: my swim workouts remained the same; my bike workouts were on the easier side, but still contained tougher efforts; and my run intensity decreased.


Another reason I love Tailwind Endurance: personalized race-week workouts.  Unpictured:  peptalk.

My confidence and mental game came and went during my mini taper too, especially after Wednesday’s CompuTrainer ride with VO2 max efforts didn’t go incredibly well. Earl knew I was feeling all the feelings and gave me a peptalk: “Confidence is a choice. You need to choose to be confident.”

One more pre-race happening that’s worth noting: Saturday stressed me out more than I would’ve liked due to bike mechanical issues. During bike unload at the team trailers, my rear tire had gone flat, and I needed a special-sized tube. One of my teammates went to the bike shop for me to get a new one, but it immediately blew out again when I rode. So then I wheeled my Slice over to the shop where a cute mechanic told me the rim tape was installed improperly, which caused the tube to puncture. There was also a hole in my tire. Seventy-five dollars later, everything was fine. Luckily, this didn’t affect my race, but it proved I need to step up my bike geek game.

Anyway, on Sunday morning, as I stood wetsuit-less the sand, I started to get in my own head–and immediately shut down those doubts.  I am locked in and ready to rock.  I’ve got this.

Swim – 0.5 mi. – 14:02 (1/43 AG, 3/249 women overall)

*Last year – 15:04 with wetsuit

Since this year’s race took place two weeks later than the 2014 one, a major concern for a lot of folks centered on wetsuits, especially because wearing neoprene was barely legal last year. I brought my Helix to Florida just in case, but assumed the swim would be wetsuit-illegal. Which is was.  Which benefited me as a strong swimmer.  Yahtzee—now people can’t hide in neoprene!

As outlined in my race goals, I wanted to set the tone early and race from the front, so I made sure I was one of the first four women in my age group to enter the water. (It was a time trial start, and groups of four were released at a time.) And immediately I hit a Wall of Dudes, a fixture that would remain constant for most of the race. (The Clydesales, males 35-39, and males 50-54 all started before my age group.) My basketball instincts kicked in; I made moves, created space, and swam over dudes when necessary—and settled into a rhythm. Smooth and strong. Smooth and strong.

As I came out of the water, I sensed it was a 14-15-min. swim, and my instincts were spot on.

Transition 1 – 2:47 (2/43 AG, 3/249 women overall)

I felt like Andy Potts coming out of the water. #fangirl


Dudes, watch out—I have watts to make!

Bike – 20.7 miles – 1:00:04 (3/48 AG, 7/248 women overall)

*Last year – 1:04:39

All right, let’s talk watts. Everything about the bike made me excited: another year of training, another year of experience on my Slice, and fun toys like an aero helmet and race wheels. And although it would’ve been awesome to go all-out, I knew my run would suffer. But I aimed to break an hour, and although I rode with a bike computer, I rarely looked at it. Instead, I focused on the feeling. And the feeling was awesome. I felt smooth and strong, I stayed mentally engaged, and I read and reacted to the course without having to think: I pushed on the hills, “touched” my VO2 max effort, and then settled back in; I shifted and surged seamlessly. It was really cool to execute a strong ride where everything felt natural.



The only times my mental game wavered was went I approached a Wall of Dudes. Like last year, the course was extremely congested, and it’s hard to execute your race when people ride two or three abreast. Yes, I was totally that athlete who yelled, “on your left! On your left! On your left!” And more often than not, those individuals would not move. In the moment, I became extremely frustrated because their actions (or inactions, rather) were affecting my race. Luckily, I was able to calm down, refocus, and make the best (and safest) moves, but unfortunately, this is probably a problem I’ll have to get used to.


Navigating the Wall of Dudes.  The struggle is real.

Anyway, around mile 15 or so, and another woman in my age group appeared. I wasn’t sure if she was doing the classic or Olympic, but I couldn’t take that chance. All right—lock it in. We played leapfrog a few times, and as I surged, I caught up to one of my teammates who hasn’t seen me ride since last year. “Holy s***, you’re strong!” he exclaimed.

With about 10 minutes left, I tried to take a gel, but as I ripped open the top, the perforated part didn’t catch properly. My double latte goodness didn’t come out. In the moment, I figured it wasn’t a big deal. It’s only a four-mile run. I’ll be fine. Plus, the same girl made a countermove and passed me—and I didn’t want to lose time trying to take a gel.

As we rolled into T2 seconds apart, I wished the bike was longer. But then I realized something: I can run. I’ve got this.  I’ve never felt this confident coming off the bike, which is huge progress. (All thanks to you, Coach Pat!)

Transition 2 – 2:13 (7/43 AG, 20/249 women overall)

Got stuck behind a Wall of Dudes wheeling bikes into transition. Nothing I could do there.

Run – 4 miles – 32:48 (4/43 AG, 18/248 women overall)

*Last year – 30:54

As I headed out on the run, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me. Not only did the woman in my age group beat me out of T2 by a few seconds, but the cloudy skies also parted and revealed a raging sun. (After the race, locals said it had been record-setting heat.) Luckily, one of my teammates who was spectating ran with me for a few seconds and helped me settle in to my target pace. Like on the bike, I wore a Garmin, but didn’t look at it too much: focus on the feeling. I’m working, but it feels sustainable. Don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers.


What is my left leg doing?  Ha!

Within the first mile, I reeled her in, and we matched strides for a few seconds. Smooth and strong. Smooth and strong. At this point, I wondered if I should cruise with her or if I should make a move. Although I feel comfortable controlling the race on the swim and bike, my confidence isn’t quite there on the run yet. But I didn’t want it to come down to a sprint; I needed to put on a little pressure. I was able to create a gap, and as I hit the turnaround at mile two, my splits were on track. I spotted her about 20 seconds back, and I knew I’d have to hang tough for the final two miles. I was executing, and it was my race to lose.

Around mile 2.5, my energy levels tanked. My legs felt fine, but turning them seemed impossible. Why didn’t I take my gel?! She eventually caught me, and we ran together again for a few seconds. As she slowly started to pull ahead, I knew that was the move. I had to match it, or it was over. And I couldn’t. Her lead ballooned, and even though I could see her the entire time, that second wind—that double latte—never kicked in.


And the last half-mile was on the sand again, which was awful.


Official finishing time – 1:51:52 – 2nd in age group (25-29) and sixth female overall

*Last year – 1:56:11

Going into the race, I knew if I executed and everything lined up, I knew I’d be around 1:50 and crack the top five, but Sunday was not that day. Both the controllable nutrition hiccup and uncontrollable heat/humidity worked against me, but any day you get on the podium is a good day.

So what did I learn? My triathlon training arsenal—consisting of the Bearcats, Tailwind, and Coach Pat—is solid. Which I’ve known all along, but it’s a huge confidence booster to confirm I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. It really takes a village, and I’m very grateful for the folks surrounding me—coaches, mentors, and friends. This race also highlighted the importance of sticking to the nutrition plan and remaining composed when facing tough conditions like heat and Walls of Dudes. In all seriousness, though, I’m satisfied with this race, and I’m pumped to keep working hard and improving. Bring it on, 2015!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 13 (Week 15)

Greetings from Fort Lauderdale!


No, I’m not here, unfortunately. There’s been some weather/flight drama today, so I’m camping out at the airport until my flight leaves later tonight. *Fingers crossed*

General training notes: As we all know, tapering can be the worst—depending on who you ask. For me, it’s tough to ease off my normal training load, especially because I get jittery and start obsessing over everything. (I’m so fun to be around.) That being said, though, this semi-taper period has been the most effective one yet. Coach Pat had me back off the run volume a bit, and my Tailwind folks kept my bike workouts easy. Surprisingly, I looked forward to my swims because I had the green light to do the workouts as prescribed.

Monday – a.m. run and swim with Bearcat Masters

Easy four miles solo and 4,000m with the Bearcats

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Steady four miler along the West Side Highway with a few race-paced efforts in the morning, plus a tougher-than-expected 2,550m swim with the Bearcats. My lane cranked the pace during our broken 100s, and I struggled to hang on. Bottom line, it could’ve gone better, but the engine got worked a little bit, which is good—don’t want to totally shut it down during taper.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Dialed back the watts a bit: lots of spin-ups to keep the legs fresh, then four, three-minute blocks (two minutes at tempo and one minute at VO2 max). I was not anticipating the harder efforts—I figured there’d be some threshold work—and my legs felt awful. And I started freaking out and obsessing. And then Earl reminded me I should not feel good on Wednesday because I will feel awesome on Sunday.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Easy 40-min. spin

Friday – off (travel to Fort Lauderdale)

Saturday – a.m. easy run, swim, and sort of bike

Ten-minute run with some race-paced efforts sprinkled in, an easy 15 minutes or so in the open water with some teammates, and then I attempted a bike tech ride, but there were lots of issues (busted tubes, holes in tires, etc.). Again, I started freaking out, but after one new tire, two tubes, and additional rim tape, everything was sorted out.

SundaySouth Beach Triathlon

Race report coming soon, but it was a pretty successful day.


Second place in my new age group (F25-29) and sixth female overall!  Missed first place—and cracking the top five—by 36 seconds, but it was a solid outing and I learned/confirmed a lot.

2015 South Beach Triathlon Goals

So here we are: T-minus four days until the South Beach Triathlon, my first race of the season. Woohoo! I’m pumped to fly down later this week, avoid getting sunburned, and, of course, see how my training has progressed so far.


Locked in and ready to rock! Wheels from MB (thank you!), tune-up by Zen Bikes, and (hopefully) all the watts from Tailwind Endurance.

Out of curiosity, I revisited my pre-race goals from last year’s SoBe outing. Aw, Carrie, you sound so cute. So young, so excited. Obviously, I’m psyched this year too, but I’m at a totally different spot mentally: This will be my third time taking on the 0.5-mile swim, 20.7-mi. bike, and 4-mi. run, so I’m shooting for process and performance goals. These specific, tangible objectives equate to improving time from past races, and more importantly, these factors are relatively controllable. And if I execute precisely, then hopefully it will lead to solid outcome goals.


And if not, that’s OK. After all, it is April; I’m not trying to peak.

Even though there are certain splits I’ll be chasing, I plan to race hard, race smart, and above all focus on the feeling (and not become emotionally attached to the numbers).

Swim: get out in front and find a pack (a.k.a. draft)

Honestly, I have no idea what my race pace is at this point. From swimming with Bearcat Masters and in a metered pool (as opposed to yards), I’m definitely faster and fitter than last year. But how will this improvement translate to 800m in the open—and most likely choppy—ocean? Slash will it even translate at all? There’s only one way to find out. #WannabeSwimmer

Last year’s swim was decent, but I didn’t swim strategically; after rereading my race recap, I remember spending a lot of energy maneuvering around people and never linked up with a group. Things will probably be different in my new age group, though. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hang with the lead pack, dial in to a perceived “race pace” (whatever that means), and conserve energy by drafting as much as possible. Obviously, I want to swim faster this year, but even if my split stays the same, I’ll probably come out of the water feeling fresher—which means I’ll have more juice for the bike and run.

Bike: be aggressive and burn a few matches

All right, #letstalkwatts: Having another year of training, knowing how to handle my tri bike (SoBe was my third time riding it), and coming to the saddle with a more fit engine, I should be able to do big things. Thus far, all of my watts have been made at Tailwind Endurance with access to a power meter; and since I will not be racing with power, my main focus during the 20 miles will be finding that comfortably uncomfortable feeling. Earl and I have talked strategy and time goals for the past few weeks, and he’s also the one who prescribed those “fun” bike-run-bike-run-bike-run bricks. These workouts have helped me figure out how hard I can push on the bike and still run afterward—and how it should feel. Focus on the feeling; don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers. Basically, I plan to burn a few matches on the bike. After all, I have a whole box at my disposal; I just need to be smart and strategic about using them. And I cannot leave my run on the bike course.

Run: work through the first mile and hang tough

For the past two years, I have not been able to string together four solid miles off the bike. This was probably due to lack of run volume, and I definitely came off the bike too aggressively. But thanks to Coach Pat, my run is the best it’s ever been. And since I’ve done a few road races and completed the abovementioned “fun” bricks, I know how my off-the-bike pace should feel. I know how the opening mile will shake out. And I know I can sustain it. Focus on the feeling.

Let’s do this—I’m coming for you, Miami!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 6 (Week 14)

Well, well, well. It’s almost that time.


No, not almond milk latte time. (Although I’ll always say yes.) T-minus one week until South Beach!

General training notes: I say this a lot, but this was another productive training week. Aside from Thursday epic energy crash, I’m feeling smooth and strong across the disciplines. Let’s hope this translates next Sunday!

Monday – a.m. run and swim with Bearcat Masters

Easy four miles solo and 3,800m with the Bearcats

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Working on locking it in with 8x500s, plus some upper-body strength training and corework

Wednesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run at Finish Line PT)

Another “fun” bike-run-bike-run-bike-run brick to dial in race pace efforts—and I was feeling all the feelings. For bike effort one and two (both 12 minutes on erg mode), I held my FTP and hit my off-the-bike pace pretty easily, but round three was tough. My legs refused to turn over, which forced me to decrease my output and adjust the erg accordingly. My inability to execute the final set bummed me out, but Earl gave me a peptalk after: it’s all about perspective, and now I know how it feels to burn too many matches on the bike; so when and if this feeling arises on Sunday, I’ll know to back off. Plus, on the bright side, I have a target wattage range and feeling for race day too. Focus on the feeling; don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers.

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

While the rest of the class did VO2 max intervals, Earl put me on the other side of the studio, pulled up the SoBe course on YouTube, and instructed me to ride at tempo for an hour. The ride itself felt great, but as soon as I got home, I was ready to go back to bed—even after my standard post-workout cup of coffee. My coworkers noticed I was dragging all day at work, and after talking with Coach Pat, we decided to scrap the planned 45-min. steady run. (I’m guessing the fatigue resulted from Wednesday’s brick; Earl said it would take about 24 hours to recover, and even though I felt fine the day of, clearly, he was right, ha!) This was the first workout in …. a very long time I consciously chose not to do, but it was the right move. Case in point: I went to bed even earlier than normal and slept for 10 hours.

Friday – a.m. run

Awesome seven miler in the morning, and later that afternoon, I saw Isang for a pre-SoBe full-body sports massage/flush-out. Aside from some tension in my neck, there were no hotspots, and she even asked if I’ve been doing yoga because I’m so flexible. That totally made my day.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Two-hour blissful endurance ride at Tailwind:  there were a few threshold/climbing efforts, and we rode for 45 minutes on the Ironman New Zealand course. After refueling with coffee, eggs, butternut squash soup, and maybe one blueberry muffin, I swam 3,700m with the Bearcats.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Another blissful two hours in the saddle. We spent the first hour doing 10-15-minute blocks of cadence work, and for the second hour, we rode a course that contain various endurance and tempo efforts.

So what’s the game plan from now until Sunday? Wednesday’s killer brick was my last hard bike/run workout, so my rides and runs this upcoming week will be easy with some race-paced efforts sprinkled in to keep my legs sharp—and to remember what it feels like. Since swimming is low impact, I will not be altering those workouts, and I plan to do an easy open-water swim Saturday morning with the team before the race. But, as they say, the hay is in the barn; I won’t become any faster between now and Sunday, so it’s time to stay loose and trust my training.

When is your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 30 (Week 13)

To all who celebrate, happy Easter!


I’m hopping (get it?) on a train shortly to see my sister (she turns 22 today, yikes!), so let’s keep this recap short and sweet.

General training notes: Solid, solid training week. In the water, on the saddle, and on the pavement, I feel the best I’ve ever felt across all three disciplines—fit, smooth, and strong—and I’m excited to see how this translates at South Beach in two weeks, ekkk!

Monday – a.m. run and swim with Bearcat Masters

Three easy miles on the West Side Highway and 3,000m in the water—and the Russian swim coach said women shouldn’t do triathlons. “Do something gentle,” he said. What the what?! I gave him a hard time, obviously, but he’s so old school it’s not worth it. Just make me a better swimmer—and what I do with that swim is up to me.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Coach Pat is making me faster! Felt smooth and strong during my 16x200s, and then I ran circles along the indoor beach volleyball court to get ready for SoBe. Dun-dun-duuunnnn. After work, I swam 2,600 easier meters with the Bearcats. Shout out to my lanemate for letting me “practice” drafting, ha.

Wednesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run at Finish Line PT)

With SoBe coming up, I want to dial in my race paces, so Earl suggested doing a fun bike-run-bike-run-bike-run brick: twelve minutes on erg mode, immediately followed by a one-mile run at race pace; repeat two more times. Unsurprisingly, I felt much more comfortable on the bike, but I was able to lock in my race pace by the second round. Overall, though, it went extremely well.

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

Killer VO2 max class: five, one-minute efforts; three, five-minute efforts; then five more one-minute efforts. At lunch, I snuck away for 45 minutes steady outside.


Locking it in with Lady Liberty in the distance

Note to self: run later during the afternoon; there were way too many people.

Friday – off

Unplanned rest day due to pinkeye

Saturday – a.m. run and CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

What to do on 4/4? Run on the Williamsburg Bridge with friends/ultrarunners for four hours of course.


I got to run with Coach Pat! Er, technically, run the same route as him. He obviously lapped me during his 32-plus mile run. As the underachieving triathlete, I logged only 10.

After refueling with a cinnamon raisin egg sandwich (delicious!), I headed to Tailwind for a two-hour blissful endurance ride. We did a bunch of endurance to threshold efforts and then rode a course for 35 minutes. This is also when I reviewed Wednesday’s brick with Earl and discovered I should’ve set the erg 30 watts higher. So that’s why the workout felt so good. Back to the paincave on Wednesday …

Sunday – off

T-minus two weeks until SoBe—time to lock it in!

Are you celebrating Easter?