Monthly Archives: August 2015

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 24 (Week 34)

Please pardon the delayed training log.


I was traveling, exploring Utah, and taking full advantage of being a real person—bring on the triathlon off-season!

General training notes: Last weekend’s Cazenovia Triathlon marked my final swim-bike-run race of the 2015 campaign, so this week served as my first official week of the off-season. Coach Pat and I debriefed both this most recent event and the season overall and developed a game plan for the upcoming three months. (Full post to come.) In the mean time, I’ll be taking the next few weeks easy before slowly increasing my running mileage. After all, November’s Philly Half will be here in no time!

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training

Easy five miles on the West Side Highway

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and strength training

With no tri coming up, I was left to my own devices in the saddle. After a 10-minute warm-up with single-leg and high cadence drills, I did 3×10 min. builds and increased gear or cadence every three minutes. As I enter the triathlon off-season, these workouts will serve a recovery/cross-training purpose; I’m not trying to increase my FTP, log serious VO2 max efforts, etc. I finished up the morning with some push-ups and corework.

Thursday – a.m. run

Huzzah, the humidity finally broke! These four miles actually felt easy.

Friday – off

Unless a few hours of dancing at a wedding counts, this was a rest day.

Saturday – hiking

At Zion National Park, I embarked on my first true hike, a 5.4-mile roundtrip loop to Angel’s Landing.


The route made me earn those views, though; the park guide classified it as “strenuous,” and even though I cranked it out in three hours (the guide bills it as a 4-5-hr. outing), my hip flexors are still sore as I’m writing this post Monday morning. Honestly, I’m more sore today than I have been after any race this season—ha!

Sunday – off

Exploring/travel day back to NYC

Do you have any fun trips coming up?

2015 Cazenovia Triathlon Recap

This past weekend, I experienced a pretty sweet homecoming at the Cazenovia Triathlon. Held in my teeny tiny hometown, this sprint-distance (0.5-mile swim, 14-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run) event was my first multisport race in 2012, and upon finishing, I was instantly hooked. In 2013 and 2014, this tri took place the same weekend as USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals so it didn’t make my race calendar. This year, though, I was able to swing it—and I notched a big PR: I placed 15th overall, 5th female overall, 1st in my age group, and I shaved nearly 20 minutes off my 2012 finishing time!


All photos courtsey of my Mom!

Even though I registered for this race in January, I kept it on the DL. I told myself if I had a strong showing in Milwaukee, then I would mostly likely feel OK with ending the season and not doing it. Nationals didn’t quite go as planned, and although I’ve come to terms with what happened out there, I did not want that outing to be the final one. Coach Pat and I have talked at length about Milwaukee and developed a game plan for this race, which was to have fun and hopefully notch a big PR—mission accomplished!

Swim – 800m – 14:41 (6th female overall)

2012 time – 18:43

Unlike the triangular 2012 course, the route this year was a simple out-and-back.


My wave contained several age groups (women ages 16-39), but I could pick out the “actual swimmers” pretty easily. Right off the bat, I hopped on one girl’s feet and drafted off her for the majority of the swim. I didn’t feel as smooth as I did at Milwaukee—probably because I didn’t warm up—but I was able to find my groove quickly. The best part was hearing my parents cheering for me as I came out of the water.


They said I was number three, which I felt good about considering my strongest of the three disciplines was next up.


Time to make watts!

T1 – 1:27 (6th female overall)

2012 time – 1:59

Not making excuses, but this was a slower transition because we had to walk our bikes up a hill to get to the mount line.


I haven’t attempted a shoeless, flying mount yet, but that could’ve saved me some time. Maybe this is something to start practicing.

Bike – 14 miles – 44:23 (6th female overall)

2012 time– 54:15

Obviously, I wanted to smoke the bike, but within the first few miles, I could tell my legs didn’t have the “pop” they did for Milwaukee. Plus, this was a hilly and somewhat technical course so I adjusted expectations. I don’t feel great, but this isn’t the “A” race; let’s still put forth today’s best effort.

As I climbed one of the opening hills, I saw a dude wearing longer shorts (i.e. not tri apparel). As I passed him, he called out, “Hey, Carrie Stevens!” I turned around and realized it was one of my high school classmates! You know you’re doing a hometown race when …

Anyway, the rest of the bike was uneventful. I passed one of the girls who beat me out of the water and played leapfrog with another. She broke away, though, and beat me into transition.

T2 – 1:00 (6th female)

2012 time – 1:36

Again, due to the hill, I was cautious.

Run – 5-K – 23:39 (7th female overall)

2012 time – 28:20

I know this run course very, very well—part of it takes place on the 4th of July 5-K route—so I was mentally prepared to deal with the brutal hill about a mile in.


And the hill coming out of transition

My pace dropped big time, but I was able to hang tough and settle back in at the top. I was also able to hang tough mentally when an older woman caught up to me as we neared the turnaround at mile 1.5. Her breathing indicated she was working a lot harder than me, so as she made her move, I hopped on her shoulder and challenged her to keep the pace. Ultimately, I was unable to stay with her, but I played the game (and played a little defense) and threw down a 7:05 for my final mile, which felt a lot better than I thought a 7:05 would feel.


Am I a runner?

This confirms that top-end speed is there, but I need to be mentally strong enough to tap into it.

Official finish – 1:25:11

2012 time – 1:44:52



I couldn’t have asked for a better “homecoming.” I was able to string together a pretty solid race, and being able to see and feel the improvement has totally reenergized my triathlon outlook. (And this progress transcends triathlon.) The overall podium is within reach, and I’m knocking on the door. Let the hard work continue! And this off-season, that once again means focusing on the run … more to come … and I’m coming for you, 2016!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 17 (Week 33)

Soooo … I returned to my hometown this past weekend for some swim-bike-run action.


It was a pretty good trip.

General training notes: Bittersweet would be the best way to describe this final, official week of triathlon training. It’s been a memorable season (recap to come), but I recognize it’s time to shut it down and be a normal person for a few months. Anyway, my body felt OK this week. Swimming continues to feel more fluid, and biking always feels smooth. That running stuff, though; it’s hit or miss. We’ll work on that during the off-season.

Monday – a.m. run

Steady 40 minutes along the West Side Highway

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Everyone has been coming out of the woodwork, which means a total of eight people packed into the lane. And that resulted in a short-interval focused practice with lots of 100s, 75s, 50s, and 25s. I kind of felt like a jerk because after we went through the main set twice and logged 2,400m, I was really warmed up and ready to go—but that was the entire practice.

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy four miles along the West Side Highway

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Although the set didn’t look bad—5×1 min. at VO2 max, 4×1 min. at VO2 max on a hill, and 4×30 sec. all-out sprint—the lack of rest made it tough. Usually, we go into complete recovery mode between intervals, but for this workout, we stayed between 70-80 percent of FTP.

Friday – a.m. run

Easy five miles along the West Side Highway

Saturday – off

SundayCazenovia Triathlon

Ended the season on a high note: finished the sprint as the fifteenth person overall, 5th women, and 1st in my age group!

What’s coming up on your training/racing schedule?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 10 (Week 32)

Nothing too noteworthy to report here …


Just taking the recovery process seriously after Nationals.

General training notes: As the week after my “A” race, this span centered on active recovery. My legs felt like lead at the beginning of the week, but by Thursday’s CompuTrainer workout, they loosened up and felt normal. Like I said, nothing noteworthy—just getting back into it.

Monday – p.m. run

I got back form Milwaukee on the late side, so I opted to sleep in and do my easy 50-minute run in Central Park after work. My legs did not feel good, but I feel the most sore two days after a race so I knew it was normal.

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

No speedwork the week after a race, so again, I got to sleep in and do work after work in the pool. Swimming and I are in a good groove, and those 2,000m flew by.

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy four miles on the West Side Highway

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

My bike wasn’t back from Milwaukee yet, but I hopped on my roadie for some VO2 max intervals and FTP blocks. Surprisingly, my legs felt decent.

Fridaya.m. swim off

So the lifeguards didn’t show up. So swimming didn’t happen. So I had an unintentional rest day.

Saturday – a.m. bike

Easy and solo 45-mile ride

Sunday – off

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

2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Recap

Milwaukee, you really know how to humble and inspire an athlete. Last Thursday, I headed back to Wisconsin for my third consecutive trip to the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.


Yes, I bought race photos.  No, I have no idea what my leg is doing.

As always, competition came standard: between Saturday’s Olympic-distance race and Sunday’s sprint, about 4,000 folks put their training to the test.

Even though my season saw transition—I “aged up” into the 25-29 category, plus I broke off from my former team and did my own thing—and adversity—when I sustained a bike crash—training went well overall, and I had a great pre-“A” race build. In the week leading up to Nationals, I felt fit, strong, and ready to rock.

Plus, since this would be my third time swimming, biking, and running at this venue, I knew what to expect. It almost seemed routine: once I arrived in Milwaukee, I went into autopilot, checking into the hotel, wandering to the public market for fresh produce and green juice, retrieving my race packet and bike. Like my most recent trip to Lake Placid, I was flying solo, which gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. This was perfect and helped me stay loose, relaxed, and focused.

Race-day conditions proved to be perfect too: overcast and about 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it was windy, it was not hot and humid like last year, and thankfully, the weather held steady for my 8:55 a.m. start time. My training/fitness, the course itself, and weather conditions were the perfect PR combo.

I’ve given this race a lot of thought. Initially, I was not happy with my performance. My not-so-good run overshadowed the solid swim and decent bike I executed. All I could think about was the mental breakdown I had on the run. But after talking with my coaches, we figured out what happened and where improvement needs to happen. And above all, I am not tying the success of a season to a single race. Here’s how it went down:

Swim – 1500m – 24:28 (55/141 in AG)

Even though swimming and I have a complicated relationship, I knew it would be a strength during the race. And plus, since I’ve been training with a masters team this season, I was excited to see how much time I could shave off from last year.

Aside from the 63-degree Fahrenheit reading, this portion of the race was relatively uneventful. The start was not as chaotic as I anticipated—maybe because Kingston was such a zoo—and I was able to surge ahead, settle into a groove, and actually draft effectively. (One of the perks of aging up?) I felt smooth and strong the entire time and could not have asked for a better swim. I even passed dudes who started before my waves and caught a few of the older women too, so I knew I was executing fairly well. My goal was 24-25 minutes, and I nailed it.

Transition 1 – 2:54 (59/141)

I was high on life coming out of the water and immediately picked off a few girls ahead of me during our long run to transition. My heart race was though the roof, though, so I calmed down and eased off the gas. In T1, a lot of the bikes were gone already, so even though my swim felt great, I assumed it was a middle-of-the-pack time and knew my work would be cut out for me on the bike—let #Hammfest2015 begin!

Bike – 40-K (24.85 miles) – 1:09:38 (38/141)

As the strongest of the three sports, the bike was where I planned to go for it.



There was an unrelenting headwind the entire ride, but I stayed in aero for 95 percent of the time and focused on the feeling. And I felt invincible. There were a ton of people in front of me, and I passed a bunch of girls (and only two passed me).  Above all, I felt confident: I knew I could push, I knew I could hang tough, and I knew I could execute.


Locked in

Aside from one of my contacts falling out due to the wind and one 42-year-old dude hitting on me, it was an uneventful ride. My mental game was on-point, so even if anything notable occurred, I don’t know if I would’ve noticed. As I approached transition, I felt like I executed precisely and really thought I rode a 1:07, which was my goal. When I looked up my split post-race, I was a little bummed; one of my coaches even said a 1:05 was doable. If it hadn’t been so windy, then I think a 65-67 ride would’ve happened.

Transition 2 – 1:31 (56/141)

This felt like the fastest, most efficient T2 I’ve had all season: I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my stuff, and got the heck out of there.

Run – 10-K (6.2 miles) – 53:18 (107/141)

Remember how I rode my way to the nearly the top quarter of my age group? All those girls ran me down—and then some. Sigh. There really isn’t much to say. I was trained to run a 48. The first two miles were on pace, and I was able to hang tough mentally. But each time a pocket-friend passed me (and there were a lot of them), I came out of my headspace. There goes another one. Man, she’s fast. Look how smoothly she’s running. Nope, get back in it. Run your race. Focus on the feeling.


Unfortunately, being run down is nothing new. I wish I could say it didn’t affect me. Even though I knew it would happen—it’s a national championship, and a lot of these girls simply don’t have weaknesses—I did not mentally prepare for the constant stream of girls effortlessly passing me. At first, I was able to regroup. But being run down wore me out mentally, and after 2.5 miles, I could not get back to my headspace. “Mentally checking out” is not the right phrase, but based on how dialed in I was during the swim and bike, I know I was not in that headspace for the majority of the run.

Overall finishing time – 2:31:50 (63/141)

It’s been five days, and I’m still feeling all the feelings.


Overall, I had a solid swim that set up a decent bike: I rode my way from 55th to 38th, which is great; I played my strengths, and both these times are faster than last year’s splits. However, my mental game during the run (or lack thereof) is unsettling. But instead of sulking, I’m ready to regroup, refocus, and rededicate myself to the process. And that’s exactly what this sport is all about: progressing and trusting the journey.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 3 (Week 31)

Race week, RACE WEEK!


These decorative bikes lined the streets of Milwaukee. Good omen for race day? Meh.

General training notes: For as sloth-like as I felt last week, I turned a corner on the taper front this week. All my workouts felt great, and I could feel the pop in my legs. The hay was in the barn and ready to be set on fire!

Monday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy four miles, plus some pushups and corework

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Ten hours of sleep (yahtzee!) and 2,400m with the Bearcats after work. Our main set included 10x100m of varying speeds (odds were 25m underwater, 50m build, 25m fast while evens were 50m at 200m pace and 50m fast). Finding these different gears was a great last swim before Milwaukee.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

#TaperCrazies: my main set for 3×4 minutes at race wattage. That was it.

Thursday – off

Unintentional day off due to travel, bike pick-up, etc.

Friday – a.m. run

Easy 20-minute shake-out run

SaturdayUSAT Age Group National Championships

Any day you can toe the line of a national championship is a great day, but this was not the race I hoped for. I had a solid swim and decent bike given the unrelenting headwind, but I couldn’t hold it together on the run. And even though my swim and bike were faster than last year’s splits, I barely eked out a faster time overall due to the run. Sigh. Train, race, and learn—and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Sunday – off

How do you bounce back from an unsettling race?

Ironman Lake Placid 2015: Flying Unattached

A few weeks ago, I once again fled New York City and retreated north to Lake Placid for the iconic Ironman weekend. If you’ve been reading a while, then you may remember I’ve been on-site for this 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run in both 2013 and 2014. Even though it’s become a staple trip, this adventure ended up being much different.


Let’s recap quickly: in 2013, a friend and I went to train, volunteer, and cheer for one of our fellow teammates. After the race, my friend registered for the 2014 event, and I jumped at the chance to venture back and be her Sherpa. In 2014, my primary focus centered on fulfilling Sherpa/emotional guardian duties, so not a lot of training got logged.

This year, I knew the most people doing Ironman Lake Placid—there were 12 people loaded into my tracker app—but I was not “responsible” for anyone. Of course, I told everyone I’d be available, but typical Sherpa duties like going to packet pickup and organizing gear backs did not apply. I could do whatever I wanted—swim! Bike! Run! Sleep!—whenever I wanted. Case in point: upon arrival on Thursday, I took my time unpacking before heading to Mirror Lake. The lake was there. I was going to swim whenever I was going to swim—but I 100 percent would, of course.


It was absolutely ridiculous how happy I was swimming here. #ThisIsOurLab

There was no schedule, and although I did a little work, the only real structure I had centered on my workouts. Friday ended up being a monster training day that resulted in an unintentional 66.2. Doesn’t have the same ring as a 70.3, but it was still a solid day: fifty-six miles on the bike course, nine miles on the run course, and 1.2 miles in Mirror Lake. Saturday saw another loop both the bike and swim courses. Hands down, this was the most productive training block I had in Placid (aside from WorkLiveTri Camp in June), and there’s no way it would’ve happened if Sherpa-ing had been my number one priority. Plus, it was perfectly timed because Nationals (a.k.a. #Hammerfest2015) was two weeks out.


As seen on my long run.  Definitely not in NYC anymore.

Placid always helps me get some quality headspace: chilling out, reflecting on life, and getting my creative juices flowing. Since I was doing my own thing (and not acting as a pre-race logistics coordinator), I was truly able to enjoy the physical and mental distance from the city. Even though I worked everyday, it still felt like a vacation. Case in point: my boss told me to go ride for a few hours and start thinking about an upcoming project. Brainstorming … in the saddle … in Lake Placid. Yep, I’m definitely working for the right people.


Total bliss

From a pre-race standpoint, this trip clearly panned out differently. Not better, not worse. It was just incredibly different.

Onto race day.


As a volunteer, I had an absolute blast. Not surprising, of course, but it was the most fun I’ve had as a wetsuit stripper.


Race French braids for race day … even though it was not my race … yet.

I recognized folks from previous years, and I also peeled off a ton of neoprene—and have the battle scars to prove it! One of the highlights of the day was being tipped a wet and sandy dollar bill for my efforts as a wetsuit “stripper.” I also spotted all of my friends exiting the swim so it was a great morning.


As a spectator, I experienced the normal Ironman race-day emotions—inspired, worried, humbled, anxious—and enjoyed the day as friend and fellow athlete and not as an emotional guardian. Don’t get me wrong; there were tough moments. But for the most part, everything was less intense than last year, which makes total sense. After all, in 2014 I trained with them everyday so I was more emotionally invested in their race. That simply wasn’t the case this year. Even though I tracked my now Ironpeople obsessively, that all-consuming connection didn’t exist. I obviously cared, but it was nice to watch a race without that amount of heightened emotions.

Finally, you don’t go into Ironman weekend with any expectations, but my people this year were the most outwardly grateful. (I say “outwardly” because it isn’t in everyone’s nature to say “thank you” multiple times.) One of the most memorable moments was when my friend entered the Olympic Oval, made his way to the finish line, but stopped, gave me a hug, and thanked me for being there.  That selfless act was easily a highpoint of the weekend.

Every though taking on the Ironman there tempts me every year, I did not sign up—and I will not for another 10 years. This will absolutely be my race, but it’s not time for it yet. So rest assured, folks; I’m stick with short-course events for the foreseeable future.

Change has defined this season, but Placid always reminds me why I do what I do: I feel alive when I swim, bike, and run, and I feel like the best version of myself.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of July 27 (Week 30)

So this was a week—training and otherwise—that happened.


Sometimes, you just need to double-fist Doughnut Plant doughnuts after seeing “Trainwreck.” (Hilarious, by the way.) This may have been round one of two.

Why I thought I’d be immune to taper crazies is beyond me. For the first time this year, I’m truly backing off the volume and intensity in preparation for a race—and it’s awful. My body absolutely needs the rest, but it did not cooperate at all this week.

General training notes: Keeping it real and honest—I felt like total garbage this week. Slow, lethargic, weak, basically the exact opposite of how you want to feel heading into a race. Luckily, coaches in my triathlon arsenal calmed me down: “What did you do last week?” Essentially a half-Iron on Friday. “What did you do on Sunday?” Stood on my feet for 15-plus hours in the sun. “What did you do Monday?” Drove five hours from Lake Placid back to New York City. Workouts rarely reflect what you did the day before; rather it’s the sum of everything you’ve done for the past week. And both coaches said they would be concerned if I felt better than total c-r-a-p this week—because I’m supposed to feel awesome next week.

Monday – off

Unintentional day off. I hoped to run upon returning to the city, but I got sucked into work. Hey, life happens.

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

Coach Pat’s 20x200m went great! Physically I hit faster splits than the ones prescribed, and mentally, I proved to myself I do have that top-end speed. It’s just a matter of trusting myself, tapping into it on race day, and not being afraid of a little pain. Speedwork took its toll, though, and since my body felt incredibly exhausted (see reasons above), I opted out of the planned masters workout.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This was an incredibly frustrating ride. My legs were dead, and I struggled to maintain my FTP watts for the six-minute intervals. After the second set of four, it became a mental battle. The coach also noticed my pedal stroke wasn’t smooth (again, due to the reasons listed above), so instead of grinding through the fourth repeat, I simply spun out for 15 minutes or so.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This final VO2 max ride could’ve gone a lot better too. Although I tapped into the top-end power for all five of the one-minute intervals, I struggled to maintain an even output during the two- and five-minute blocks.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters; p.m. run

This was the worst swim I’ve had in a while. Starting to notice a pattern? I felt like a total sloth, and it didn’t help that the main set centered on IM work. (On Friday mornings, it’s usually straight freestyle.) I cut my losses around 2,000m and shut it down.

Around 11 a.m., I headed to Central Park for a long run in an effort to get used the heat. First, Victoria informed me we’re looking at cool and potentially rainy race-day conditions (Yahtzee!). Second, I don’t know where this run came from, but I felt great. Like earlier in the week, this was a huge confidence-boosting run. Even though it’s been a tough season run-wise, the fitness is there. Again, it’s all about tapping into it next Saturday.

Saturday – a.m. bike

Locked in: easy 45-mile ride with a few race-pace efforts.


Unpictured: Smashfestqueen kit and iced coffee

Fingers crossed I feel this good on race day!

Sunday – off

All right. The hay is in the barn. See you soon, Milwaukee!

How do you usually feel during the week leading up to a race?