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Random Training Notes From Jan. 13 (Phase One, Week Two)

Hi, friends!  Please pardon my absence—it’s been a busy, busy week.  I’m off today, though, so I finally have a few minutes to catch my breath and reflect on training and non-training happenings.

I forgot what it’s like to have very little free time—and I love it.  I thrive off being busy, so I’m in my element now:  spending three hours at the gym in the morning, plus putting in more time at work to facilitate evening events.  We’re in the midst of our annual Resolve campaign—it’s all about helping our customers make and stick to their new year’s resolutions—and it’s a big deal.  And I’m not just saying that; it’s the biggest project I’ve worked on so far, and I want it to be successful.

Mentally, I’m trying really hard to “trust the process” of base building, but it’s tough.  I know the volume and intensity will pick up eventually, but I want to push now.  To keep myself in check, this has become my theme song:

Yeah, Selena Gomez probably wasn’t singing about slowing down in terms of base building, but it works.  #sorryimnotsorry

I feel.  So.  Good.  On my bike.  Getting used to shifting and building my “aero” endurance has been (and will continue to be) a work in progress, but it finally felt like things started to click on Tuesday morning.  Not only do I feel comfortable holding this position, but I also don’t have to think as much about gearing.  And after Thursday’s workout, my Tailwind instructor even said how relaxed and dialed in I look.  Let’s hope this translates when it’s game time in South Beach!

Remember my promotion to the fast lane last year?  Well now that I’m training with the five-day-a-weekers, I’ve been served another piece of humble pie:  I’m back in the medium lane.  Basically, the fastest lane contains our elite men and folks who swam in college, and fast lane number two has our elite women and top age groupers.  My coach says time and time again “no one wins practice,” but I’d love to swim in fast lane number two by the end of the season.

I’ve made foam rolling a priority this season.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most diligent when it comes to post-workout recovery, but I have been foam rolling two or three times each week.  Yes, I’m young enough so I can get away with not doing it.  And yes, I bounce back quicker than a lot of my teammates.  But it’s wise to instill this habit now so my future 33-, 43-, 53-, etc. year-old triathlete self can still swim, bike, and run as much as she wants without issues.

The coach at Sunday’s CompuTrainer ride commented on how I was “riding solo” (because one of my teammates usually comes with me).  Yep, that sounds right on so many levels. #singleasapringle

“Powerhouse” hasn’t been a word that’s described me since basketball—until the aforementioned CompuTrainer class.  As per the standard class structure, we completed longer efforts, and I was able to hit and hold my functional threshold power (FTP) number as an endurance effort.  Anyway, after the ride, I was talking to another athlete, and she told another coach I’m a “powerhouse.”  And he simply nodded.  Guys, I’m getting better!

Which song is your guilty pleasure now?  How often do you foam roll?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of December 8

Happy Sunday, friends!  Did you enjoy the weekend?  After a long week, I rallied, turned into a real girl, and went to a coworker’s apartment-warming party last night.

jackrabbit-wine

We had a blast!  And drank all the wine.  As you know, I’m all about YOLO-ing now because priorities will change come January 6.

Speaking of … you know those weeks when you complete killer workouts?  This was not one of those weeks.  This post-Thanksgiving period proved to be tough, and I seemed to be playing a never-ending game of catch-up.  Let’s call it an unintentional down week.  You win some, you lose some, right?

Monday – a.m. swim

This wannabe swimmer threw down flip turn after flip turn.  Success!  After doing some tech work, I focused on 100s and 200s and couldn’t believe how much my times dropped; around 10 seconds shaved off my steady 100 pace. (Real swimmers, is that normal?)

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class

Like last week, this class kicked my butt.  My saddle was really irritating too, which made it even more challenging to hit and hold my power numbers.  The instructor approached me after class and passed along the information of a bicycle service that offers saddle-testing services.  I’ve never been crazy about my current saddle, so the offseason will be an ideal time to sort this out.  This week, I’ll be testing the Cobb Gen 2; next week, I’ll have the Cobb V-Flow.

Wednesday – a.m. swim

More flip turn success.  Let’s hope I can pick up riding a tri bike this quickly—ha!

Thursday – a.m. run and strength train

Basically, this “speedwork” session lacked speedwork.  I warmed up and then attempted some 400m repeats on the ‘mill, but my legs refused to cooperate.  Darn you, offseason.

Friday – a.m. run

Yet another bout of speedwork without a ton of speed.  A few teammates and I met for an indoor run; we warmed up for one mile and then settled into a tempo pace.  Like Thursday, I tried to hold on, but my legs said no.  Luckily, everyone felt the same way, so we shut it down after a mile.  And then “recovered” in the hot tub for 30 minutes.

Saturday – a.m. Pilates

Whew, even though this class claimed to be a restorative one, it was challenging.  I’ve been pretty diligent with my corework this offseason (#corewhore—right, Hollie?), but these isometric movements got the best of me.

Sunday – hopefully hitting the indoor trainer or running easy

Here’s what I have on the docket this week—let’s Write It Down, Do It Up:

Monday – a.m. swim; p.m. indoor bike trainer

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class; p.m. run

Wednesday – a.m. run and strength train

Thursday – a.m. swim; a.m. indoor bike trainer and strength train

Friday – p.m. run

Saturday – off/a.m. yoga

Sunday – easy a.m. run

Do you plan workout recovery weeks or take them as necessary?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of November 17

Whew, this weekend flew by.

11:17-sanibel-island-florida

In case you couldn’t tell from my Instagram feed, I spent the weekend in Sanibel, FL with my family.  It was a quick getaway—I left Thursday morning and returned this afternoon—but definitely worth it.  Sanibel always rules, and the trip came at the perfect time:  leaving chilly, 30-degree New York City for sunny, 75-degree southwest Florida?  Sign me up!

11:17-sanibel-island-beach

As it goes on vacation, I had the best intentions to complete several workouts.  Not only did I bring my running gear, but I also packed my swimsuit, goggles, and bright orange cap for some open-water ocean swimming.  The ‘rents vetoed that plan, unfortunately. (They said something about sharks?)

On the bright side after weeks of procrastination, my trainer tire finally found its way onto my bike.

Monday – a.m. run

Tuesday – a.m. swim; p.m. 30-minute bike trainer ride

Wednesday – a.m. strength training; p.m. 30-minute bike trainer ride

Thursday – a.m. 40-minute bike trainer ride

Friday – a.m. beach run

Saturday – off/a.m. beach walk

Sunday – off

Clearly, the bike got some love this week, but I slipped on the swim and run.  Now that all three sports have returned to the fitness arsenal, I’ve decided to start scheduling my workouts like I did during the season.  Sure, I may switch one day with another, but overall, I do need to be smart and strategic in terms of allocating my training time.  With that being said, here’s this week’s Write It Down, Do It Up:

Monday – a.m. run and strength train; p.m. bike trainer

Tuesday – a.m. swim; p.m. bike trainer

Wednesday – a.m. run and strength train; p.m. bike trainer

Thursday – a.m. swim; p.m. run and strength train

Friday – a.m. bike trainer

Saturday – a.m. yoga

Sunday – off

When you go on vacation, do your workouts tend to slip?  How do you hold yourself accountable?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of June 30

Yet again, I planned to publish this post last night.  And yet again, life got in the way.  Maybe this should simply become a Monday feature?

Hiya, friends!  How was your weekend?  As you know, I traveled to Connecticut for the Stamford KIC It Triathlon, my second Olympic-distance event.  Even though there’s plenty of room for improvement, I had a good race.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-first-place-age-group

First place in my age group (female 20-24)!  Recap coming later this week once I track down some pictures.

Anyway, here’s what my race-week workouts looked like:

Monday – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Another phase of our training official began Monday, which meant another two-mile time trial on the indoor track.  The official times haven’t been circulated yet, but I do know I broke 14 minutes—my final time was in the 13:5X range—which is a solid 20 seconds faster than the last time trial.  It’s all about progress!

Tuesday – a.m. brick workout with FTE—outdoor bike and run off the bike

Since a ton of Full Throttlers were racing Stamford, we did a shorter outdoor brick:  two steady loops of Central Park and about three miles off the bike.  For the run portion, I wore my new Mizuno Wave Sayonaras.

mizuno-wave-sayonara

Full review to come later this week, but I’m really digging this shoe.

Wednesday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride—NYC bike course

The Aquaphor New York City Triathlon is two weeks away, so I registered for a CompuTrainer class with another teammate and rode the bike course. (You can read more about CompuTrainers here.) This was my first true CompuTrainer ride, and it was tough.  Really tough.  In terms of the race, I do feel better because at the very least, I know what the course will feel like, where the flats and hills are located, etc.

Thursday – off

My cousin came to visit, and we had so much fun hanging out, catching up, and bopping around the city.

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE

Light swim in preparation for Sunday’s race.

Saturday – a.m. bike and swim with FTE

I met a teammate for an easy nine-ish-mile ride in Central Park and then did a light swim.  Even though some people rest the day before a race, I get so nervous not doing anything, and I always worry that I’ll forget how to swim, bike, and run!

Sunday – Stamford KIC It Triathlon

I’m really excited for this week’s workouts mainly because I’m heading home for the 4th of July—woohoo!  This means a tempo road race is on the docket, plus lots of open-water swimming.  You better believe I’m bringing my wetsuit home.  Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE and strength train

Wednesday – a.m. brick workout with FTE—indoor cycle and run off the bike; a.m. strength train

ThursdayCazenovia 4th of July 5-K

Friday – run (maybe speedwork depending on how my legs feel) and open-water swim (OWS)

Saturday – run and OWS

Sunday – run and OWS

What are your fun, fit plans for the 4th of July?

Book Club: Savor Review

On Sunday afternoon, the book club Jen and I organized met for our first discussion in Central Park.  For the month of June, we read Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung.

fj-book-club-logo

It was a gorgeous day (and the rain held off until the very end), and Jen, Emily, Lynette, and I enjoyed some typical healthy living blogger eats like kale and grapefruit salad with hazelnuts, homemade muffins, healthy “mock”-a-mole, and Kashi cookies.  Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures, but we did get one of our group.

fj-book-club-central-park

Thanks for a great afternoon, ladies!

Brief Summary

From Amazon.com:

“Common sense tells us that to lose weight, we must eat less and exercise more.  But somehow we get stalled.  We start on a weight-loss program with good intentions but cannot stay on track.  Neither the countless fad diets, nor the annual spending of $50 billion on weight loss helps us feel better or lose weight.

“Too many of us are in a cycle of shame and guilt.  We spend countless hours worrying about what we ate or if we exercised enough, blaming ourselves for actions that we can’t undo.  We are stuck in the past and unable to live in the present—that moment in which we do have the power to make changes in our lives.

“With Savor, world-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and Harvard nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung show us how to end our struggles with weight once and for all.

“Offering practical tools, including personalized goal setting, a detailed nutrition guide, and a mindful living plan, the authors help us to uncover the roots of our habits and then guide us as we transform our actions.  Savor teaches us how to easily adopt the practice of mindfulness and integrate it into eating, exercise, and all facets of our daily life, so that being conscious and present becomes a core part of our being.

“It is the awareness of the present moment, the realization of why we do what we do, that enables us to stop feeling bad and start changing our behavior.  Savor not only helps us achieve the healthy weight and well-being we seek, but it also brings to the surface the rich abundance of life available to us in every moment.”

Product Details

Publisher:  HarperCollins

Publication date:  3/9/2010

Pages:  304

My Review

During our discussion, we spent a lot of time talking about mindfulness. (Surprise, surprise!)

“The Chinese character for ‘mindfulness’ is ‘nian.’  It is a combination of two separate characters, each with its own meaning.  The top part of the character means ‘now,’ and the bottom part of the character means ‘heart’ or ‘mind.’  Literally, the combined character means the act of experiencing the present moment with your heart.  So mindfulness is the moment-to-moment awareness of what is occurring in and around us” (Nhat Hanh and Cheung 68).

Specifically, we said how difficult it is to be 100 percent mindful and in the moment while eating because it means no multi-tasking—no TV, no laptop, no smartphone.  Our society that demands and arguably glories completing multiple tasks at rapid speed, so it goes against this ideology to slow down and focus on only one action.  This is easier said than done, but when we fully engage with our food, then it’s less likely we’ll overeat, which is the main premise of the book.

Remember Sandy Hook

remembrance

remember-sandy-hook

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Book Review

During Hurricane Sandy, I had the chance to catch up on my to-read pile of books.  Prior to the storm, I had been sitting on What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami for a few weeks, and honestly, waiting to read it worked out nicely.  I couldn’t put the book down, and not just because there wasn’t anything else to do post-Sandy.

This book is easily one of the top five books I’ve read this year—if you read one book between now and the end of 2012, make it this one.

Brief Summary

From Amazon.com:

“An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.  While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami decided to write about it as well.  The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer.  By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.”

Product Details

Publisher:  Vintage

Publication date:  8/11/2009

Pages:  192

My Review

Centered on the act of running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running strikes a balance between past and present.  Murakami didn’t pen this text during one allotted timeframe; rather, he wrote each entry, each chapter as events transpired in real time.  He does, however, use tense shifts—transitioning from one moment to the past and back to the present—to orient the reader before he shares stories.  And although running is the common denominator, each anecdote delves into other topics like writing, family, and triathloning (which was a pleasant surprise!).  Overall, I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it.

Since his book is a memoir, Murakami acts as the narrator, and his voice can make or break the audience’s experience.  Identity-wise, the author and I have similar interests (running, writing, triathloning), so we shared common ground before I opened the book.  When I began to read, Murakami pulled me in with his honest, yet articulate prose, and as I turned page after page, his writing struck me as flawless.  In terms of tone and sentence structure, he nailed it:  It was descriptive and prose-y at the right times, and it was raw and concise when appropriate.  And not to get all Writing-and-Rhetoric up in here, but it’s so important to note how rhetoric affects memoirs—it isn’t just what is being said, but how it’s being said.  Case in point:  Murakami and Kristen Armstrong, author of Mile Markers, have a lot in common (runners, Boston qualifiers, ultramarathoners, etc.), but it was Murakami’s effective and appropriate use of rhetoric, specifically ethos and pathos, that allowed me to connect with him.  Even though he’s a seasoned runner with noteworthy accolades, he appeals to a wide-range of individuals—writers, runnerds, trigeeks, you name it.

Seeing as how I nodded and mmhmm-ed in agreement throughout the entire book, I’ll share a few of my favorite quotations. (And it was a challenge to narrow down this list.)

“Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits:  that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life—and for me, writing as well” (Murakami 83).

“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth giving it your best—or in some cases beyond your best” (Murakami 97).

“There’s one thing, though, I can state with confidence:  until the feeling that I’ve done a good job in a race returns, I’m going to keep running marathons, and not let it get me down.  Even when I grow old and feeble, when people warn me it’s time to throw in the towel, I won’t care.  As long as my body allows, I’ll keep on running” (Murakami 149).

“… learning from experience is what makes the triathlon so much fun” (Murakami 179).

Discussion Questions:

1.  Murakami’s memoir centers on running and writing with a little triathloning sprinkled in.  Which subjects/topics would comprise your memoir?

2.  Before becoming a novelist, Murakami owned and operated his own bar.  If you could leave your current job and embark on a new profession, what would it be? 

3.  When you “talk about running,” which words and phrases come to mind?

Wetsuit: 1, Carrie: 0

Today, I started to wage a war against the water component of a triathlon.  Last week’s 400m open water swim (OWS) at Jamesville Beach totally kicked my butt, and after taking time to lick my wounds, I’ve developed a game-plan and attempted to execute it.  Counterattack, here I come!

Step 1:  Buy a swimsuit.  Here’s my thinking:  If I can swim laps at the YMCA and build my stamina—ideally, I’d eventually like to be able to swim 600m comfortably—then I will be prepared for the OWS most triathlons boast.

I asked Emily, my swimmer friend and former housemate at HWS, which brands she recommends, and without hesitation, she told me to go for a Speedo or TYR.  During my attempts to wiggle into the Speedos, I started to lose my spirits.  I have a long torso, and none of the styles I tried on fit the right way.  The top of the suit barely covered my boobs!  And the body stretched tightly over the middle of my body; it didn’t feel “long enough.”

(source)

Dara Torres came to mind, and I couldn’t figure out how she could slip her 6’0” frame into one of these suits.

Fortunately, the TYR fit much better.

Thanks to Dick’s Sporting Goods, I won this round—success!

Step 2:  Buy a wetsuit.  After swimming laps and building stamina (see above), I should be prepared to perform relatively well during an official OWS.  In the hope of facilitating this goal—and to look legit, obviously—I need to invest in a wetsuit.  These skin-tight suits act as insulation and provide buoyancy, elevating the triathlete high enough in the water to enhance swim performance:  The higher the triathlete rises in the water, the less water resistance they encounter when swimming, and the faster they will swim overall.  And since the swim is hands-down my Achilles’ heel, I need all the help I can get.

Another day, another trip to my second home—Fleet Feet.  This men’s Zoot was the first wetsuit I tried on.  It fit really nicely—super snug, but not constricting—but I wasn’t completely sold on it because it’s sleeveless.  There are positives and negatives to sleeveless and full-sleeved suits, and I would rather be too hot swimming than too cold.  I also wanted to try on a comparable suit and compare the two.

The second suit was a disaster.  It was a women’s full-sleeved suit (I don’t remember the brand), and it took me at least 20 minutes to wiggle it on even with bodyglide and help from Lauren, a sales associate.  Not only did I sweat profusely—no, really, like Lauren went to get a paper towel for me—but it was also an unfruitful effort:  since I have a long torso, this particular women’s cut didn’t work on my body.  Rats.  Wetsuit: 1, Carrie: 0.  Luckily, Lauren said there would be two women’s full-sleeved Zoot suits in next week.  For my fellow triathletes, what type of wetsuit (sleeveless or full-sleeve) do you have?  Any brand(s) you recommend?

On a more positive note, today’s eats and workout:

Breakfast

Are you surprised?  Two Kashi waffles with crunchy PB and banana slices.

Workout

Around 11 a.m., I went for an easy 5.26-mile out-and-back run. (Thanks, MapMyRun, for the precision!) I didn’t wear a watch, but I roughly calculated my pace, which turned out to be about 8:00/miles; talk about ideal for an easy run.  When I got home, I did some upper-body work (standing bicep curls, lateral shoulder raises, standing military press, and bench press), stretched out, and did some ab exercises.

Lunch

We had leftovers from last night’s Father’s Day dinner, so I repurposed those foods and threw together a salad.

Buried underneath the spinach, there was chicken, one salt potato, about one quarter cup of roasted veggies, and some raisins to add a little sweetness.

I also had an apple with PB.

Snack

Before dinner, I ate a Chobani raspberry yogurt plus a few handfuls of grapes.

Dinner

Is there such a thing as too much grilling?

Didn’t think so.  Teriyaki salmon, polenta, and roasted mushrooms and green beans.

PS – Thank you, Kelly, for the Versatile Blogger Award/Nomination!  I’ve actually received this honor before, but thanks for the praise!