Category Archives: Travel

How to be a Triathlon Sherpa

Hello, friends!  How’s it going?  On Monday night, I arrived home from New Hampshire where I stayed for the extended weekend to watch my teammates kick butt and take names at the Ironman 70.3 Timberman (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run).

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Let’s just say that squeezing 13 people into one house for three days was one for the books!

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View from the back porch.

Even though a sprint triathlon took place Saturday, I didn’t race mostly due to logistical constrains because my bike wasn’t back from Milwaukee.  However, just because I couldn’t swim, bike, and run didn’t mean I wanted to miss the weekend, so I make the trek to Gilford and assumed the role of triathlon Sherpa extraordinaire.

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Carbo-loading with waffles–in solidarity, of course.

What’s a “Sherpa” you may ask?  Prior to triathloning, I had never heard of the term used this way.  Hailing from the Himalayas, the Sherpa people are known as elite explores; in fact, when travelers visit the area, it’s common for them to hire the Sherpas to show the way.  Because of this, the Sherpa has become a slang word for guide.  Sure, it was a minor technicality that this was my first time visiting the Lake Winnipesaukee area.  And yeah, I have yet to complete a long-course event.  But I stepped up to the plate and did my best to make sure my teammates had the best experience (read: zero stress) possible.  Here’s what my Sherpa duties entailed:

Navigating, driving, and generally helping during transportation trips.  On the way to New Hampshire, I enlisted Google Maps to help me in my role as navigator, and on race morning, I drove one car of soon-to-be half-Ironpeople to transition.  Also, when our house ran out of food after the race (#triathleteproblems), I went to the grocery store with a teammate.

Acting as a sous chef during meal preparation.  Keeping 13 people fed isn’t a small task, and an advantage to renting a house for the weekend included having access to a kitchen.  One of my teammates is an incredible cook/baker—case in point:  He brought one batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies and dough for two more—and he took charge of grocery shopping and food preparation.  In an effort to help, I chopped, stirred, coated, and supervised.

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Supervising grilled cheese production.

Hey, I wasn’t racing!

Being on doggie duty.  Say hello to Hudson the schnoodle!

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This fur baby belongs to two of my teammates, and he joined us for the weekend.  On race day, one of my teammates and I tag teamed and took turns holding the leash, giving him water, and keeping him occupied and out of trouble.

Spectating.  In typical type-A fashion, I downloaded IronTrac to keep tabs on everyone.  It worked well because one, I knew everyone was accounted for and two, it helped us gauge when we would see people.  One of my teammates and I bounced back and forth from the swim exit to a high-traffic area close to transition where we could see people returning on the bike and heading out on the run.  Plus, since the run was a two-loop out-and-back course, we saw everyone twice.  Next year, I need to bring a cowbell!

Have you helped out friends or family during races?

USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Recap

All right, friends.  As you know, I’m back from Milwaukee where I competed in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships on Saturday.

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Going into this race, I knew it would be a humbling experience.  Yes, I’ve done fairly well at events this season, but Nationals gives triathletes a chance to toe off against the best of the best.  For my age group (20-24), this meant racing against collegiate division I triathletes who’ve been swimming, biking, and running forever and who receive scholarships to do so.

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With this in mind, my goals for this race included savoring the experience and simply competing.  Getting on the podium—and honestly, finishing in the top 20—wasn’t a realistic objective.  Plus, Saturday marked exactly one year since I completed my first sprint triathlon; it’s crazy how quickly it passed and how much I’ve progressed—and as this race indicated, how much room for improvement I still have.

Swim – 1500m – 28:19 (47/77)

Let’s get the bad out of the way:  This was hands down my worst swim of the season.  Period.

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Once it was finally time for my wave to start (our projected time was 9:40 a.m., but we didn’t enter the water until after 10 a.m.), I situated myself on the right of the first yellow buoy, and in hindsight, this wasn’t the wisest move; it was congested, and I would’ve been better off getting a spot on the far left, even though it would’ve resulted in a few extra yards.  Oh well—train, race, and learn.  Anyway, as soon as I started, I knew it wasn’t my day in the water; I had trouble getting into a rhythm and defaulted to drafting off slower swimmers.  On the positive side, it was a nice course that boasted ideal conditions:  The water remained calm and notched a refreshing 69 degrees Fahrenheit.  And as you can see from the map above, part of the swim took us under a bridge, which was lined with tons of spectators—and lots of cowbells.  Swimming this section was my favorite part, but I was more than ready to get out of the water.

Transition 1 – 2:28 (35/77)

Even though I passed a few girls on the run to transition, it felt like I slugged through T1.

Bike – 40-K – 1:17 (51/77)

Write this on the calendar:  I did not enjoy the swim, but I loved the bike.  Who am I?

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Prior to the race, I heard this course would be flat and fast, which proved to be accurate for the most part; aside from a handful gradual “hills” (basically on-ramps to highways) the course was a hammerfest. (Not that I hammer, but you know what I mean.) So here are the positives:  This is a 40-K bike PR for me (19.1 MPH), and it’s also the most comfortable I’ve felt in the saddle.  And even though I had an equipment disadvantage—I’d say more than half the girls in my AG had tri bikes—I held my own.  In fact, I picked off a lot of girls who had TT bikes.  “It’s the engine, not the car,” right?

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Contrary to what my facial expression may indicate, I had fun on the bike.

Finally, I threw caution to the wind and took a gel at the halfway point, which was my first time taking in solids (i.e. anything besides my PowerBar Perform mix) on the bike.  No, I didn’t practice, so I really shouldn’t be surprised it was difficult to get down.  This is an area that calls for experimentation in terms of timing and actual nutrition (gels vs. shot blocks).

Transition 2 – 1:41 (43/77)

Like T1, T2 wasn’t great.  As I grabbed my run gear, I noticed my Garmin had turned off, even though I powered it on before the race started. (I always turn it on and leave it in transition, and it’s never been an issue.) However, when I tried to turn it on, the screen flashed a low-battery warning and then shut off.  So I would be running the 10-K based on feel.  All right.

Run – 10-K – 49:25 (35/77)

Like the bike course, the run was basically dead flat, and it was nice running without a watch and adjusting my pace based on how my body felt.

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As usual, it took two miles for me to find my running legs, and I also maintained a conservative pace for the opening 5-K.  What I didn’t expect were the mind games and self-doubt that flooded my head:  What happened during New York City could happen again; can I run six miles after that swim and bike?  I know I’ll work through these thoughts as I race more after NYC.  When I had reconstructive ACL and meniscus surgery in high school, I would think about my repaired knee all the time—during practice, during games, etc.  But after playing through it for a while, the negative thoughts slowly disappeared.

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Anyway, I was lost in my head for a while, so when I reached the turnaround point and realized how strong I felt, I started to pick up the pace.  During the closing miles, I also saw one of my coworkers who eventually caught up and passed me.  He’s super fast, and seeing him was a great boost!  I rode this high to the finish line, and I picked off four or five girls in my age group along the way.  This is also an off-the-bike 10-K PR for me.

Official finishing time – 2:39:46 (43/77)

Basically, I finished in the middle of the pack.  There were some fast girls (swimming in 18-20 minutes, biking in 1:04-1:10, and running the 10-K in 37-40 minutes), and aside from my swim, I’m happy with the bike and run.  Fingers crossed and knock on wood I’ll be back next year–I would love to take on this course with another year of training under my race belt!

Random Thoughts from USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

Hey, friends!  How’s it going?  It’s been a while since my last post, but there’s a good reason:  This past weekend, I traveled to Milwaukee for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

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Oh yeah–four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington gave me that medal.  I totally freaked out and acted like a fan girl. #noshame

More than 2,700 triathletes participated in the Olympic-distance event (1.5-K swim, 40-K bike, and 10-K run), and the field was one of the most competitive ever.  I’m working on the race recap, but I want to share some random thoughts from the trip.

Friendly triathletes and great atmosphere—I don’t want to leave!’

Really, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Everyone was excited, chatty, and outgoing, and it seemed like every time I found myself in a hotel elevator I walked out with a new friend.  And even though we were competing—there were 28 age-group national titles up for grabs, plus slots on Team USA for the 2014 World Championships—the vibe wasn’t intense or off-putting; maybe it’s because I’m coming from New York City, but it was so nice to walk around, make eye contact with others, and say hi.

‘Milwaukee is a great venue.’

Even though the Olympic race started late (more on that in the recap), the city did a great job hosting this event overall.

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Everything—transition, restaurants, etc.—was within walking distance, the weather on race day was perfect (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with basically zero humidity), and the course was flat and fast.

‘Everyone looks so fit.’

OMG—so many lean and chiseled triathletes, but what do you expect from some of the country’s best age groupers?  Also, the fact that I didn’t strength train during the taper didn’t help, and I stuck out a bit in my age group.  Although there were other tall women, I was the tallest, and a lot of the girls were tiny—like 5’3” and nothing but skin and bones.  I had a major flashback to my basketball days; it felt like I was a forward again competing against point guards.

‘I need a new bike.’

I experienced major big envy all weekend.  Between aero helmets, race wheels, and five-figure tri bikes (seriously), I felt totally out of my league.

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There were some other roadies there, though.  In fact, on race morning, one USA Triathlon official was checking transition setups and after looking at mine, he commented on how many road bikes were there.  Zing.  I tried not to take it personally.

‘I can’t believe how far I’ve come in one year.’

Yes, I wanted to have a good race this past weekend, but I also made it a priority to savor the experience.  Not everyone gets to do this event (there are a few ways to qualify), and I felt truly blessed, grateful, and humbled to have the opportunity to compete.

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Plus, race day marked exactly one year to the day I completed my first triathlon.  Talk about coming full circle!  This progress—going from a local tri to a national event—highlighted how much I’ve improved and reminded me how much I’ve grown as an athlete and person.

‘I have the best team ever.’

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Enough said.

Ironman Lake Placid 2013 – The Experience

… And more than one week after going to Lake Placid to train and volunteer for the Ironman, I finally have the final recap to share.  Hey, life happens.

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First, you can’t talk about the Adirondacks without mentioning how breathtaking it is—greenery everywhere, blue skies (and Mirror Lake), plus its atmosphere seems calm, relaxed, and peaceful.  Basically, it’s the polar opposite of New York City.  Not to mention Placid is a triathlete’s Mecca thanks to plenty of places to swim, bike, and run.  By the second day there, I felt like I was home.  Is it too early to start thinking about retirement?  Ha!

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Two, even though my teammates and I were there to train and race, we had so much fun hanging out together.  Sure, we see each other nearly every day at practice, but sweating for a few hours is much different than chilling for five days.  Plus, this weekend allowed me to experience the fun part of triathlon again.  Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely love training, and my season has gone well, but there have been pressure and expectations, which I know comes with the territory.  Aside from the New York City Triathlon, I’ve been able to rise to the occasion and perform, but in Placid, the vibe was totally different.  Being around the (non-competitive) community reignited my passion for the sport and reminded me there’s more to racing than getting on the podium.

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My now-Ironman teammate had a lot to do with this calm, confident approach.  In the days leading up to the biggest endurance event of his life, he appeared to be relaxed, excited, and dialed-in (which is the exact opposite of what I’m like).  He trusted his training, and during the race, he truly savored the experience.

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As you can see, he was all smiles.  Anyway, I’ve done my best to emulate his approach this week, and I can honestly say this is the calmest I’ve been before a tri.

Three, watching triathletes of all shapes, sizes, and abilities swim, bike, and run their races was so inspirational.  Both the bike and run courses are spectator-friendly, and it was so cool to see the age groupers zip by on their bikes and chip away at the marathon.  I’m at the point in my triathlon career where I can’t fathom biking 112 miles and then running 26.2, let alone doing an open marathon.  These athletes have my utmost respect.

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And watching my teammate and countless others cross the finish line to those priceless words—‘You are an Ironman!’—was absolutely awe-inspiring.

Finally, it should come as no surprise that even though I did not register for Ironman Lake Placid 2014, I have decided the race will be my first Ironman.

Ironman Lake Placid 2013 – The Volunteering

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday’s post discussed the workouts I did in Lake Placid, and today’s post details the volunteer experience.

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As you may remember, I volunteered at the Ironman Syracuse 70.3 last year and loved it, so when my teammate told me she goes to Placid every year to volunteer, I jumped at the chance to make the trip.  We spent five days in the area, and it was my first time visiting in six years.  Back during high school basketball, my team played in a tournament there.  I hadn’t heard of triathlon at the time, and we didn’t get a chance to truly explore and experience the village.  I blame the chaperones—ha!

Anyway, it took 4,000 volunteers to help the race run as smoothly as possible.  Believe it or not, the volunteers actually outnumbered the athletes! (Three thousand triathletes registered, and close to 2,700 raced.)

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Serious bike envy.

A few months ago, my teammate signed us up for “gear bags out,” a shorter shift that lasted slightly less than an hour and a half.

Here’s how it worked:  After the triathletes exited the water and jogged to transition, they grabbed their bike gear bags, entered the changing tent, and made necessary clothing changes for their 112-mile ride.  Then, volunteers working inside the tents slid the bags (now filled with swim gear) back outside.

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From there, 30 or so volunteers organized the bags in numerical order and then placed them back on their respective racks.

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Even though our shift was short—we finished in a little less than an hour and a half—I loved being in transition; a true hot spot and high-traffic area, this location lets you see everyone coming in from the water and heading out on the bike.  Not only do you get a front-row seat of the actions, but you also get to help the triathletes—you can beat it!

Plus, completing a shorter volunteer shift gave us plenty of time to spectate!

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More on that in a bit!

Have you volunteered for a race?

Ironman Lake Placid 2013 – The Workouts

Hiya, friends!  As promised, here’s the first of a few recaps from my trip to Lake Placid this past weekend.

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One of my teammates completed the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run, and another volunteered and spectated with me.  The three of us made the five-hour drive from New York City to Lake Placid Thursday morning, and we agreed heading up earlier would be better; this was confirmed when my soon-to-be Ironman teammate whizzed through paperwork, packet pick up, weigh in, etc. once we arrived.  More on that in a later post.  Here’s what my workouts looked like:

Thursday – Rest/pack/assemble bike rack.  My teammate who wasn’t racing and I must’ve been quite the sight: two girls sprawled out on a side street trying to put together a bike rack.  We eventually figured it out, though!

Friday – One loop of the swim course (1.2 miles) in Mirror Lake and 50 minutes on the run course.

Oh my gosh.  Words cannot begin to describe how much I loved these workouts.

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Want to know why it’s called Mirror Lake?  Because you can always see the bottom.  This swim was the farthest one I’ve officially completed in open water, and I soaked it all in; the calm water, the shining sun, and the breathtaking scenery when I sighted (which wasn’t that often because the buoys are attached to a silver wire that lines the bottom of the lake, so as long as you follow the wire, you’ll stay on course).

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Prior to this trip, I knew Lake Placid would be my first Ironman (in about 10 years maybe, ha!), and after the swim, there was no question.

Afterward, I headed out for a 50-minute run on part of the marathon course.  Again, oh my gosh:  running with mountains in the distance and under a clear blue sky—can you ask for anything better?  I probably looked like the biggest goon ever because I couldn’t stop smiling!  Like the swim, it was incredibly therapeutic and reconfirmed my desire to do this race.

Saturday – One loop of the bike course (~56 miles).

This Lake Placid long weekend resulted in two personal distance records:  my longest OWS and my farthest bike ride yet—about 56 miles thanks to one loop of the Ironman bike course. (There are a few lollypop turns, but my teammate and I didn’t do all of them; we guessed our total mileage was in the 50-54 ballpark.)

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Going into this ride, my teammate and I decided to do it for fun, so we wouldn’t push the pace, we’d take breaks when needed, etc.

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Ride fueled by PowerBar, ha!

We also planned to chalk the course, so we knew we’d be stopping at least four times.

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My teammate’s nickname is “Double D” or “DD” for short.

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Goofing off, ha!

Although the swim and run tempted me to sign up for the 2014 race, the bike proved to be a reality check.  Overall, it’s the discipline where I have the most room for improvement, and this course cannot be taken lightly—it’s tough, it’s hilly, and the wind can play a huge factor.  For any Ironman race, if you don’t respect the course and the distance, you’ll pay for it, and if you don’t pace the Lake Placid bike portion the right way, then you’ll definitely blow up later.  Even though I enjoyed the ride, it’s safe to say at this point, I’m not ready mentally or physically to make the jump to long-course events, which is totally OK.

Sunday – Rest/volunteer/spectate.

Detailed post to come, but wow, what an incredibly inspiring day!  My teammate finished in 12 hours and 11 minutes, which is an impressive time for his first Ironman and for this course.

Monday – One loop of the swim course with some easy/solid intervals.

I had to get back in the water one last time.  Even though I enjoyed Friday’s swim, this outing meant so much more after seeing the race.  Yeah, Ironman Lake Placid will definitely happen one day.

After watching or volunteering for a race, have you been tempted to sign up?

Back From Ironman Lake Placid

Greetings, friends!  Long time no chat, right?  Just popping in quickly to let you know I made it back to New York City from Lake Placid—and I did not sign up for Ironman Lake Placid 2014 for those wondering. (Although I’d be lying if I said the temptation wasn’t there.)

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Filled with swimming, biking, running, plus some volunteering and spectating, my weekend was absolutely incredible, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

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Returning to the “real world” has been tough, but I should have everything settled by tomorrow, so expect a recap (or two or three) then.

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Have a great Wednesday!

Packing for Lake Placid

Hey, friends—happy Thursday!  Is the week flying by for anyone else?  Although maybe it’s because I leave for Lake Placid today—woohoo!

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Even though I signed up for body marking and wetsuit stripping at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse last July, Ironman Lake Placid will be my first time volunteering this year. (Side note:  how did Syracuse take place more than one year ago?!) I’m traveling with one of my teammates who’s volunteered at Placid before (five times to be exact, so she has the weekend down to a science!), plus another friend who’s tackling the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run.  And being supportive triathletes, we made signs and t-shirts last night.

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Shhh, it’s a surprise.

Anyway, I finally got down to packing for the long weekend, and unsurprisingly, I’m bringing more workout clothes than “real” ones.

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Here’s what I’m packing:

For swimming – swim suit, wetsuit, BodyGlide, flip flops, three pairs of goggles (really), plus way too many swim caps.

For biking – my too heavy road bike, helmet, cleats, water bottles, biking shorts and jerseys.

For running – shorts, tank tops, Garmin, only one pair of sneakers. (I know—I’m proud of me too!)

Miscellaneous – sunglasses, sunscreen, lots of socks, etc.  Oh, plus a bag filled with snacks and nutrition.

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Hey, it’s going to be a long drive!

And like I said, I will have some “real” clothes, but I’m crossing my fingers that t-shirts, sweat pants, and running shorts will be the unofficial dress code.

Talk to you in Placid—and have a great weekend, everyone!

Race Preparations for Nautica South Beach Triathlon

Happy Friday, friends!  This time tomorrow, I’ll be in Miami for my first triathlon of the season—woohoo!  In completely unrelated news, Syracuse plays Michigan tomorrow night.

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Unfortunately, the tipoff is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. (so approximate), so I won’t be able to watch the game; early to bed for an early morning filled with swimming, biking, and running!

Speaking of Nautica South Beach, I briefly mentioned my race-day preparations yesterday.  As a type-A person who thrives off making lists and organizing in general, I figured today would be the perfect time to share the behind-the-blog logistical stuff that’s required for any race, especially an out-of-state triathlon.

Early January – I officially registered for the race.  Wow, that seems like such a long time ago!

Early February – I took care of airline, hotel, and trailer transport stuff.  I lucked out because Full Throttle Endurance owns three bike transportation trailers, so I didn’t have to go through a third-party.  Plus, I personally know the guys who drive down and handle the bikes, so that’s definite peace of mind.

Early last week – This shouldn’t surprise anyone:  I made a rough itinerary of each day’s activities, along with a race-day packing list.

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Obviously, there were items I forgot the first, second, and third time I thought about race day, so I’m glad I drafted it so early.

I also printed a hardcopy of the race packet.

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Not a ton of information, but at the very least, I know which direction to swim, bike, and run.  That’s half the battle, right?

Monday – After work, I headed to Zen Bikes and had my indoor bike trainer tire removed.  Because I’ll be riding outside from now on, it was time to reinstall my road tire.  I even saw one of my teammates at the shop who made the eerily accurate prediction that our race kits wouldn’t make it to Miami.  Well played, sir.  More on that shortly.

Tuesday – Around 7 p.m., I went to the Performance Center at Chelsea Piers for the second part of my bike fitting with Ann Marie.  During my first fit, she added a new saddle and saddle post, which have made a huge difference in terms of speed, efficiency, and comfort.  This time, she added new aerobars (Profile Design T1 Plus for my fellow trigeeks), and even though we talked about replacing my stem, it wasn’t necessary.  I plan to blog more about this second fitting, but here’s a sneak peak.

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[Photo courtsey of Ann Marie]

Pretty legit looking, right?  Honestly, I’m a little worried about using the new bars for the first time on race day, but I’m not technically “racing” SoBe, so it will be OK I hope.

Wednesday – Bike-loading morning.

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See you in Miami!

After our indoor cycling session, a teammate who isn’t racing this weekend gave me her tri top to borrow as a backup.

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Good thing, too—even though we ordered our race and cycle kits a while ago, there was a mix-up, and long story short, our gear is currently somewhere in Oregon.  Needless to say, we won’t have it by Sunday.  I owe my teammate big time!

Gentlemen readers, feel free to skip down to the Thursday section now.

So I tried on the top yesterday.  It fits surprisingly well, but it’s literally the most unflattering thing ever.  One, I don’t look good in white because I’m so pale.  So there’s that.  And two, I have virtually no boobs to begin with, but the top totally mashes anything that had a chance.  Womp womp.

Thursday – Since I won’t be in Miami for our team’s scheduled bike pick up, I handed off my pedals to one of my teammates.

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As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll write a full-fledged post that details the bike-loading process and what I learned, but basically we had to remove our pedals just in case something happens to the trailer and/or our bikes.  Thankfully, nothing has ever happened, but as a precautionary measure this ensures we’ll be able to install our own pedals on any bike and easily clip in and out.

I also started packing.

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So.  Much.  Stuff.  And this is all for the race.  I’ll also have to lug around a suitcase with my “real” clothes.

Friday – After an FTE swim this morning, I took care of last-minute tasks like printing my plane tickets, organizing my snacks and nutrition (yes, there’s a difference!), and painting my nails to match my sneakers and race kit.

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As per tradition, I like my nails to match my swim cap, but since I don’t know which color that will be yet, I went with this sandy red.

All right, friends—have a great day, and I’ll talk to you from the beach!

How do you prepare for trips, events, and races?  Do you make lists like me?

Two Years Ago

On Jan. 5, 2011, two years ago today, I woke up at an ungodly hour, went to the train station, and rode five and a half hours to New York City; I caught a cab to JFK airport, boarded a flight that headed across the pond, and “woke up”—I didn’t really sleep—in London’s Heathrow Airport.

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Two years ago today, my semester abroad in London began, and it changed my life.

Unlike some of my classmates, I didn’t live with a host family, but rather stayed in a dumpy cozy flat our program owned.  For four months, I slept in a bunk bed, my first time since sleep away camp.

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Unlike some study abroad programs, London didn’t offer rigorous courses, but rather classes that were city-specific like “Food, Society, and Culture,” which examined the history of British food and “Sporting London,” which examined the future host of the 2014 Olympics. (I’ll be the first to admit “studying abroad” is a misleading term; there really wasn’t any studying.)

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I didn’t go abroad with my best friends or even close friends, but rather with 11 other students, some of whom I knew of (but didn’t really know), and others whom I never spoke to prior to the trip.  People from my college know just how wack and cray atypical the 2011 London Study Abroad Program eventually became, but even with some tough times (to put it mildly), I still:

Took a day trip to Stonehenge.

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Listened to Colin Firth talk about “The King’s Speech.”

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Turned the big 2-1.

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Posed for some funny pictures, including this one at Chelsea Football Club.

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Went to Wales for a long weekend.

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Visited Wimbledon.

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Traveled to Windsor Castle (and Oxford, Warwick Castle, and Stratford-upon-Avon) when my parents visited.

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Escaped to Bath, England twice—first with friends (we went to the Roman Baths), and then again when my aunt and uncle visited.

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Spent a weekend in Paris, France.

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Walked Abbey Road.

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And enjoyed some shenanigans.

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Two years ago today, I was a junior in college.  I didn’t consider myself a runner, and I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue sports or diet and fitness journalism.  While abroad, though, I began running again, hurrying home from my internship so I could log miles in Hyde Park.  I also became interested in food and nutrition—and realized I didn’t want to write game recaps ever again.  People say how pivotal studying abroad can be, and 730 days later, I can honestly say I don’t know if I’d be starting my big-girl almost job on Monday (woohoo!)—or swimming, biking, and running—if I hadn’t lived in London.  It’s like the art of the trajectory: “Retiring” from basketball gave me the green light to study abroad, which lead me back to running, which in turn sparked my interest in learning about food, nutrition, and healthy eating; as they say, the rest is history.

Where were you two years ago today?