2017 New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship Recap

From Friday, March 17 through Sunday, March 19, my Bearcat masters teammates and I traveled to Boston for the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship.

Hello. It’s me.

A staple event for my team, this competition was my first multi-day and short-course yards meet. (My first two meets were measured in meters.) Suffice to say, it was a weekend of learning, absorbing, and growing as an endurance athlete, and I had a blast butterflying, backstroking, breaststroking, and freestyling.

Even though I took swimming lessons as a kid, I cannot compare myself to folks who logged laps through high school and college.  The competitive swimming learning curve is steep.  Yes, I had goals for the meet, but they centered on execution as opposed to performance-based, numerical values.  As I’ve learned with triathlon—and to paraphrase legendary basketball coach John Wooden—when I focus on doing the little things right, that makes the big things happen.

I went to Harvard … for a weekend for a swim meet. (Don’t worry, Mom: the tattoo is temporary.)

Speaking of John Wooden, I had flashbacks to my basketball days as we rode the bus from New York City to Boston on Thursday night: heading to another city for a weekend of competing, cheering, and hanging out.  During the 4.5-hour drive, my teammates talked me through the structure of the meet and gave me tips for warming up, cooling down, and staying composed during the eight-plus hours we’d be spending at the pool each day.  We also talked a lot about eating and team dinners, and it became apparent food was a top priority for swimmers.  Full disclosure:  I quickly hopped aboard the all-you-can-eat bandwagon and had two breakfasts every morning.  I even went to an amazingly delicious diner after finishing my final event.

So metabolically inefficient, so not caring. Thanks to The Breakfast Club for making this spread possible.

To be fair, swimming five events (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, and 100 IM) over the course of three days revved my appetite.  I spent the most time in the water on Saturday, swimming the 500 free, 50 free, and 100 IM.  On Friday, I swam the 100 free and 200 free relay.  On Sunday, I did the 200 free. Heading into the weekend, this line-up seemed doable.  After all, I was “racing” 1000 yards over three days, and we typically swim 3000m each day during practice.  But when you calculate warm-ups (800 yards or so each morning) and cool downs (100-300 yards after each event), it was a lot of swimming:  high intensity swimming, slicing through the water swimming, searing pain swimming that made my muscles scream.  But that’s when the race starts, and that’s what makes it fun:  when your body begs you to relent, slow down, or stop all together, what do you do?

Just do it

As the weekend progressed, I became increasingly comfortable and confident reading the heat sheets and remembering my lane assignment, developing a warm-up and cool down routine, and managing my nerves and excitement.  This was a big meet, and the events progressed quickly:  the competition pool contained eight lanes, and each event saw as few as 8 or as many as 20 heats. (For example: the women’s 400 IM wasn’t a popular event; the men’s 50 free, however, was the polar opposite.) There were two adjoining, but separate pools, which were designated as warm-up and cool down areas.  Sometimes, I had a lane to myself; others, I was circle-swimming with six people.  I liked how there was a specific time each day to practice starts off the blocks.  I need a lot of practice with dives.  One of my teammates helped me adjust the blocks and gave me some pointers, and I could feel myself progressing throughout the weekend.  I enter the water with a little more pop and authority these days, although I still have plenty of room for improvement.

#WannabeSwimmer?

I had the most fun swimming the 200 freestyle relay on Friday afternoon, and I confirmed my partiality toward the longer distances of the 200 and 500 yards.  One of the coaches said people either love or hate the 200, and it’s an event that plays to my strengths as an endurance athlete—it demands speed, endurance, and the ability to hurt.  These characteristics matter for the 50 and 100 too, but elements like getting off the blocks (I may be the slowest swimmer off the blocks) and breathing patterns (apparently, you aren’t supposed to breathe every stroke during a 50 because it slows you down) matter more, and I simply have not developed those skills yet.  Again, those little things—starts, turns, breathing patterns—make the big things happen, and those little things mean more during shorter events.  If I’m the last one off the blocks during a 50, I can’t make that up.  Plus, I like the pacing strategy behind the 200 and 500.  The 200 was my final event of the meet, and it was the one I executed the most precisely: redline off the blocks for 50, settle in to 87 percent for the second 50, and then build through 100 by 25s.  I had a similar strategy for the 500: use the adrenaline off the blocks, settle in, and then increase the effort at the 300-yard mark.  Overall, my triathlon background translates better to those longer distances, so going forward, that’s what I’ll be focused on.

A complete race recap needs results so here are mine:

Friday
100 free – 1:05.68 (seed – 1:06); 10th AG

Saturday

500 free – 6:32.29 (seed – 8:00); 11th AG

100 IM – 1:24.40 (seed – 1:30); 21st AG

50 free – 30.90 (seed – 32.00); 10th AG

Sunday

200 free – 2:25.28 (seed – 2:48); 8th AG

When is your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 11 (March 13)

I’m a few days late with this post, but with good reason.

Blodgett Pool at Harvard: so much room for activities!

From Friday through Sunday, I spent some quality time with my Bearcat masters teammates at Harvard competing at the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship. This is a staple event for my team, and my only regret is waiting so long to attend—I had so much fun!

Training notes: this week centered on keeping my legs and body fresh for the swim meet. Thanks to Winter Storm Stella, I didn’t run at all, but that may have worked in my favor because my legs felt great throughout the weekend.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

It’s been a while since we’ve done this workout titled “Peter Rabbit.” Following a 15-minute warm-up, we faced three intervals that contained tempo and threshold efforts: four minutes at 88 percent, then two minutes at threshold times three (with one-minute rest between).

Tuesdaya.m. run and p.m. run off

Thanks to Winter Storm Stella, there was no working out—but I needed the rest day.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

About half the people at practice were heading to Harvard, so the coach divided us into two groups and programmed different workouts: a “normal” swim and a taper one. I opted for the taper option, and we did a lot of race-paced efforts (mostly 100s) and practiced diving off the blocks. I never thought I’d see the day where 3200m was a taper swim.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Easy spin-out to keep the legs fresh for the weekend. After work, I hopped on the bus with my Bearcat teammates and headed to Boston.

Friday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

I. Love. Swimming. Full recap to come, but my first short-course yards meet started with the 100-yard freestyle (1:05.68) and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Saturday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

Day two packed the most action in the pool: 500-yard freestyle (6:32.29), 100-yard IM (1:24.40), and 50-yard freestyle (30.90).

Sunday – New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championships

The 200-yard freestyle (2:25.28) ended up being my favorite distance of the weekend, and it was my lone event on the final day of competition.

How was your weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 10 (March 6)

Although half over already (what?), March will be a memorable month.

Long run headspace for the win

Next weekend is my third swim meet, and on the 26th, I’m guiding an Achilles athlete for the Queens Marathon. Big things coming!

Training notes: overall, this was another good week of swimming, biking, and running, and I also came to a few conclusions about training thus far. First, after Monday’s power test, I confirmed I cannot expect to make huge gains on the bike by riding only twice per week. I also realized I am ready to start biking more (remember how I avoided my bike for three months during the off-season?). This realization came at the right time, although I have a few events to finish first—my swim meet on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and the Queens Marathon on the 26th. After those two outings—and after some recovery from running 26.2 miles—we will shift to traditional triathlon training. Although I like swimming four times per week, my swim frequency will decrease to make room for more biking and running intensity.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

So that was a power test that happened. It had been a year since my last one, and I forgot how mentally tough it is. We started with a five-minute “blowout” effort to wake up the legs and open up the lungs before the official test began. I broke up the 20 minutes into mini, five-minute blocks and focused on building the effort throughout.  I did not make as many watts as I wanted, but I will get them back.

Tuesday – a.m. run and p.m. run

Started the day with five Cat Hill repeats for a total of five miles. After work, my Achilles buddy and I met up for a loop of Central Par. We both wore our neon Achilles t-shirts and received a ton of cheers and words of encouragement.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

There was a lot of “choice” work during this practice, meaning each swimmer got to select which stroke(s) to do—and since I have a swim meet in a week, I chose IM. (Never thought I’d see the day!)

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This short, 60-minute ride was a “zone tester” to make sure our new FTPs were accurate. Since my FTP increased only a handful of watts, I didn’t have too much trouble hitting and holding threshold and low VO2 max intervals.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

We kicked off taper week with some short and fast efforts (lots of 25s and 50s), and during the workout, we also had our choice of strokes to work on. Since I’m doing the 100 IM at Harvard, that’s what I chose to do during our main set. I logged about 3,000m before heading to work.

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

Like last week, I tackled my long run on Saturday (12-mile progression run) before a longer, 1.5-hour (and 3,700m) swim with my Bearcat buds. It was a high-volume day, but I felt great during and after both workouts.

Sunday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Short, hour-long swim just to get a feel for the water

When’s your next race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 9 (Feb. 27)

Welp, better late than never …

I saw this place a decent number of times this week.

Hello. It’s me.

With the New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship—aka Harvard—coming up, I’ve been spending time staring at that black line. Two weeks and counting until my third swim meet!

General training notes: I’m finally power testing next week, so we focused on staying fresh and getting the fatigue out of my legs. My bike workouts were recovery-based this week, and aside from my hill repeat run on Tuesday, my runs were easy as well. I do have a swim meet coming up

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

We deviated from our normal Monday ride and tackled a workout that contained four builds on hills. Each five-minute interval began at 83 percent with the goal of increasing our effort as our cadence dropped.

Tuesday – a.m. run

Five Cat Hill repeats and five miles

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Aside from a cockroach on one of the lanelines, this was an uneventful freestyle-focused swim. (Progress: I’m becoming more proficient with paddles.) We logged 3,100m.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Since I’m power testing on Monday, this was an easy, 75-minute recovery ride for me.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Hello, Friday fly-day. Following a longer freestyle warm-up with plenty of pulling, we tackled a main set that alternated between butterfly and freestyle. Per usual, I brought up the rear in the lane, but I’ve noticed my butterfly stamina has improved: I can do 25m without feeling gassed.

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

Woohoo for sportz Saturdays! I met up with my Achilles bud, and we tackled 11 miles in Central Park. Due to the temperature being in the 20s, it wasn’t packed, but we were lucky enough to have three additional guides running with us to flank the way. (It helps to have an extra person or two running in front of us to clear a path and “direct traffic.”)

That afternoon, I hit the pool for a monster 4,100m distance freestyle swim with the Bearcats. Gotta get everything locked in for Harvard!

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

East hour-long spin-out at Tailwind followed by a 3,500m practice with the Bearcats

What’s your biggest workout day of the week?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 8 (Feb. 20)

Even though Monday was a holiday, this week felt especially long.

Bike, run, brunch: how every brick workout should transpire.

General training notes: all in all, this was another productive and uneventful week of training. As we enter March, both my swimming and running frequency will continue to increase in preparation for Harvard and the Queens Marathon.

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

Thanks to the holiday, I slept in and took the 7 a.m. class at Tailwind instead of my normal 5:30 a.m. one. We repeated last Monday’s ride that focused on cadence and pedal work. One of my friends came to visit, so we met up immediately after for an easy run in Central Park—and my first brick of the season!

Tuesday – a.m. run

We are slowly bringing structure back into my runs, and this outing saw five easy repeats of Cat Hill and totaled five miles including the warm-up and cool down.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

All freestyle fun during this 3,750m practice—and I was able to swim the entire 1.5 hours.

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

Practice makes perfect: we repeated last Thursday’s threshold ride. During the two, 15-minute blocks we alternated between surging efforts (102 percent) and low threshold ones (93 percent).

After work, my Achilles bud and I ran six miles in Central Park. It was 60 degrees!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Friday, IM day. This practice started off well enough, but the main set zapped me: 2×100 of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and IM. Yikes. Per usual, I hung on for dear life and brought up the caboose in my lane. The lifeguards were late getting to the pool so I only logged 3,000m before I had to go to work.

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

Easy 3.5-mile shake-out followed by an afternoon 2,800m swim

Sunday – a.m. run

Two of my tri buds and I met up to tackle our long runs together. We started at 7 a.m., and Central Park was relatively quiet. They both did 10, but I continued on for 12.

How do you get back into the swing of things after a long weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 7 (Feb. 13)

Hip, hip hooray for a long weekend!

February in Central Park

It’s the perfect time for it too because my aunt is visiting. Saturday centered on cultural activities: we went to the Neue Gallery during the afternoon, and she took my sister and me to our first opera last night, Carmen. It was well worth staying up past my triathlete bedtime!

General training notes: it felt really good to get back to my normal training routine this week. My key sessions went well—Thursday’s bike and Saturday’s long run—and I’m excited to build on this momentum. This week also marks one month until my “main” swim meet, and the Queens Marathon is also five weeks away. Big things coming!

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Back to basics: this technique-based ride focused on cadence and included four, 10-minute blocks. Basically, as we built the effort from endurance to tempo to threshold, we added gear (increased tension) and allowed our cadence to decrease while focusing on the pedal stroke.

Tuesday – a.m. run

The return to dawn patrol: I woke up the sun with 5.5 easy miles through Central Park.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

The Russian coach led this IM-heavy practice, and my body was dunzo by the end. It took a lot to hang on, though, but I remembered I’m doing a swim meet in about a month.

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

We watched coverage of the Island House Triathlon while taking on this threshold ride. The main set included three blocks with efforts ranging from 107 to 93 percent, and we’d start at the high end and work our way down to the low end of the zone.

I had some time to kill after work and before dinner so I went to Central Park for a super easy four-mile shake-out run.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

As we progressed through the warm-up, tech portion, and transition set of this workout—which contained no IM work—I let myself believe this practice would be freestyle only. A girl can dream—and be unrealistically optimistic in this case because the main set was all IM work. Although I still hang on for dear life during these sessions, I can actually complete an entire practice as prescribed, which is huge progress. I logged 3,250m before heading into the office.

Saturday – a.m. run

With my aunt visiting this weekend, I wanted to get my long run out of the way and do it Saturday morning. It seemed daunting though: fifteen miles, and my running buddy couldn’t make it, so 15 solo miles. The conditions were perfect—sunny and the temperature hovered around 40 degrees—and the miles flew by. Since this would be a personal distance record, and because my most recent 14 miler didn’t go super well, I kept the pace ridiculously easy, especially on the hills. And the only time things got tough was at mile 14.5, but that’s probably because I was so close to being done. But overall, this run went really well—it was totally blissful, and it really was the elusive, easy, perfect outing we chase.

Sunday – off

What are your plans for the long weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 6 (Feb. 6)

After a fabulous long birthday weekend filled with sun, swimming, and family time, I am back in New York City.

Swimming in solitude

I did not want to come back north, and the Tri-state area greeted me a “snow storm” on Thursday.

General training notes: finally I kicked the cold that plagued me all last week and settled in to my normal training routine. Er, “normal” being relative since I was still in Sanibel during the beginning of the week. We altered the schedule a bit to include two rides on Thursday and Friday, and I was able to sneak in a run on Saturday morning before going to the Millrose Games.

Monday – a.m. swim

Outdoor swimming for the win—and I had a lane to myself for 95 percent of the workout. Earl assigned a main set that included 20×100, plus 16×50 with builds in increments of four (i.e. 1-4, 5-8, etc.)

Tuesday – a.m. swim

Final outdoor swim that included an endurance ladder—100, 200, 300, 400, then back down—and totaled 3,600m. I already miss swimming outside!

Wednesday – p.m. run

A late flight back to NYC on Tuesday night prompt me to push back my run to after work on Wednesday, and this move paid off. Not only was the weather perfect—hovering around 50 degrees Fahrenheit—but my legs also felt fresh. This was also my first true run “workout” of this training cycle, and I faced four, eight-minute blocks at half-marathon pace broken up by three minutes at marathon pace. I could tell my fitness from the water transferred to the road, and I could also tap into distinct efforts quite easily.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Tailwind took on the Tour of Sufferlandria, and we tackling a workout titled “There Is No Try.” The primary set included four main blocks, each of which increased in time spent at our sweet spot/threshold: 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off; 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off; 45 seconds on, 45 seconds off; one minute on, one minute off. There was a five-minute sweet spot block as well before we progressed back down this ladder, staring with the one-minute intervals.

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Why I/my coach thought back-to-back days of Sufferfest workouts would be a good idea is beyond me. This “Hell Hath No Fury” workout contained two, 20-minute blocks with effort levels fluctuating between 90 and 120 percent.  This was the hardest bike workout of the year, and I felt its effects throughout the weekend.

Saturday – a.m. run

Easy 6.5-mile shake out in Central Park.  My legs were still zapped from the Sufferfest session, but they felt much better once I finished.

Sunday – a.m. run

Shot legs and less-than-ideal weather equated to a tough “long run” for my buddy and me. It usually takes four or five miles for my legs to warm up, but because things didn’t improve once I hit the seven-mile mark, I pulled the plug. Thanks a lot, Sufferfest. Oh how I miss running on fresh legs.

How long does it take you to recover from tough workouts?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 5 (Jan. 30)

Greetings from sunny Sanibel!

Morning beach walks with Zelda

I escaped the New York City and will be here on the beach in Florida for a few days. Bring on the sun!

General training notes: basically, this week was a complete wash workout-wise because I’ve been sick. I was feeling under the weather last week and thought the end was in sight—but last Sunday’s run proved otherwise. I’ve been taking it easy and trying to fend off this thing all week.

Monday – off

No watts, and no power test. In an effort to kick my cold, I slept in and took a rest day.

Tuesday – off

More resting and sleeping

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy four miles to test out the lunges

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

It’s never good when you walk into the studio, and your coach asks, “why are you here?” I was still feeling under the weather so I kept this 75-minute ride super easy in my endurance zone.

Friday – off

Slept in and flew south to Sanibel

Saturday – off

I planned to swim, but I was still coughing too much.

Sunday – p.m. swim

Finally, the sickness seems to be gone so I was able to sneak in a birthday swim at the outdoor rec center pool. I missed my Bearcat buds, but it was warm and sunny, a.k.a. perfect conditions for a 3,300m workout.

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 4 (Jan. 22)

To sum up this week in one photo:

My secret cold-fighting weapon. Guess it’s not a secret anymore, though …

It seemed like everyone was sick this week, and unfortunately, I succumbed to the congestion and coughing for a few days. Toward the end of the week, I was on the mend, but relapsed today and cut short my scheduled long run.

General training notes: as week four of structured training, this span served as a recovery week, and it was perfectly timed. Thanks to a nor’easter and a head cold, my workouts were affected a bit. Granted, almost everything got done (we missed an Achilles run due to the weather), but I was feeling only 75-80 percent throughout the week.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

I kicked off Monday with our normal technique-based ride. My coach also announced we’re power testing next week, and I’m strangely excited—probably because it’s been one year since I’ve done a proper test. Bring on the pain!

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Due to the nor’easter, I opted to ride indoors. This session contained three, 10-minute blocks filled with threshold and VO2 max efforts, plus a five-minute FTP block at the end. On Tuesday evenings, I normally run with Achilles, but my bud and I decided to skip it since it was still raining and pretty windy. (He’s visually impaired so any type of precipitation is a factor.)

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

This freestyle-focused swim contained a lot of cruise and build efforts, and I’m really excited I can finally tap in to distinct speeds in the water. I logged slightly less than 3,000m before heading to work.

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

Wow, lots of time in the saddle this week. We repeated the ride we did last Thursday that centered on cadence. Since I didn’t run at all on Tuesday, I was itching to lace up so I logged four easy miles in the park after work.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Why I swim with a masters team: I can lead my lane during freestyle practices, but I bring up the rear during IM sessions—and that’s very humbling and motivating. Our “normal” lanes saw some changes again, and a few folks who swim in the fast lane joined my medium-speed lane. Per usual, I took my place in the caboose and hung on for dear life, but I executed the workout as prescribed (i.e. not reverting to freestyle) and did not get lapped. Both I consider huge wins, ha.

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I met up with my Achilles bud for one loop of the park in the morning and managed to survive distance-freestyle day in the pool.

Sunday – a.m. run

I planned to do eight miles today, but since I was coughing and congested, I shut it down after five. Womp, womp.  A super early bedtime is in order tonight.

How do you decide if you should work out when you’re sick?

My 2017 Triathlon Life: Race Schedule

The time has arrived: let’s talk about the 2017 triathlon racing season.

The 2016 campaign seems like another lifetime, and although I thoroughly enjoyed the off-season, I’m ready to start laying the groundwork for a successful 2017. Overall, I made a lot of progress during the 2016 season—it was my first year training with a coach instead of putting together my own “piecemeal” plan—and I’m excited to continue this journey: growing, maturing, and becoming a better endurance athlete.

Favorite time, favorite place: dawn patrol in Central Park

As my fifth official tri season (wow!), this year will center on expanding my endurance portfolio. Multisport has become my lifestyle, and I love being a student of the sport; continuing to learn, grow, and challenge myself will be the overarching objectives this year. Therefore, in addition to a handful of “normal” Olympic-distance races, we’ll do events that take me outside my comfort zone—like swim meets and stage races.

My long-term triathlon goals have also prompted the diversification of my endurance portfolio, mainly because long-course events, specifically a 70.3 (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run) now seem feasible. I’ve been around the sport for a good amount of time, and I’ve also seen and trained with friends who have tackled this distance; this experience has demystified the distance, and it has also showed me what is necessary to string together a solid outing. My mindset has gone from ‘someday, a long time from now’ to ‘maybe in a few years’ to ‘I want to do it.’

cRUNch, cRUNch

With this in mind, the primary focus of the 2017 season will be building a base for making the jump to long-course racing—specifically racing a 70.3—in 2018.

New England Short-Course Meters Championships

Boston, MA

March 17-19

Can’t stop, won’t stop: swim meet number three is going down in March.  The New England Short-Course Yards Championship draws tons of regional teams and promises solid competition.  Not that I’ll be “competing” against anyone else.  My only goals are to further expand my race experience portfolio and have fun.  Hopefully I can string together decent swims, and since my masters team goes every year, I know we’ll have a blast. When registration opens, I’ll sign up for all the freestyle events (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free), plus the 100 IM. My masters team will race relays, so I’ll probably end up swimming the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay, and/or 400 free relay. And yes, I know this is an aggressive schedule for three days, but it’s all about gaining experience.

Queens Marathon

Queens, NY

March 26

For the past month or so, I’ve been guiding with Achilles, and for the most part, I’ve been running with the same athlete. He was the second person I was paired with, and we hit it off. He’s also a triathlele, and we have a lot of mutual friends in the community. Because of this connection, during our third or fourth time running together, he asked me to guide him for the Queens Marathon.

I have never run a marathon—but this is not about me.

My coach and I have talked about it, and I’m taking the necessary measures to prepare myself for tackling 26.2 miles. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you’ve seen my long run increasing throughout the past few weeks as well as my weekly mileage. While covering the distance will be a mental challenge for me, I am also cognizant of the time on my feet. Thus far, it looks like our target marathon pace will be about a minute slower than what would be “my” projected marathon pace so muscle fatigue will be an issue for me once we get to the later miles.

All in all, I’m very excited and humbled by this opportunity. My triathlon racing season doesn’t start until June, so the timing of this race works. I’m looking forward to experiencing a race from a new perspective, and this will be an extremely memorable way to complete my first 26.2 miler. (Did I just say first?) I never thought 2017 would be the year of the marathon, but it’s happening!

Seneca7

Making the rounds through my old stomping grounds

Geneva, NY

April 30

Worlds will collide again this year when my NYC runner friends and I make the five-hour drive to the Finger Lakes.  The core of last year’s team will return, but there are a few of us who will be running this day-long relay for the first time.  And since I’m not starting a new job, we’ll spend Sunday night in Geneva after the race instead of driving back immediately after finishing. Like last year, I plan to view my three legs as workouts and use each as an opportunity to execute a slightly faster pace than what I hit running off the bike.

Rev3 Quassy

Middlebury, CT

June 3

This is one course I can’t seem to crack, so why on earth am I going back?  Well, for that exact reason:  I have unfinished business.  A few years ago, I had a disastrous race at Pat Griskus, and although I tapered expectations for last year’s Rev3 Quassy, it was still a mentally tough day for a variety of reasons.  I’m hoping actually riding outside (woohoo for health insurance) before race day will solve those problems.  In all seriousness, though, this race will be increasingly important this year, even just from a confidence building perspective.  Quassy is hilly and technical course, much like the 70.3 I’m eying for 2018.  With Earl in charge of the training, I have full confidence we’ll be physically ready for a good day, and I feel like my mentally game has improved leaps and bounds.

HITS Hudson Valley

Hardware for all!

Kingston, NY

July 8

Aside from the training weekend in Lake Placid, my weekend “Upstate” was the highlight of the 2016 racing season.  The fact that it was a good outing was a pleasant surprise. I always want to do well at races, but this event has been about executing across the disciplines—stringing together the best possible race on that day (and seeing where the cards fall in terms podium spots)—and then spending the rest of the weekend hanging out with friends.  It’s so important to strike that balance, and this race weekend always makes me feel grateful for the people this sport has brought into my life.

New York City Triathlon

July 16

My experience volunteering for CAF at this race last year was ultimately the catalyst for me getting involved with Achilles, and this time around, I plan to participate in the race as a guide.  My role will be similar to what I do during the Queens Marathon–I will be with an athlete every step of the way–but I have not solidifying who I will be guiding yet.  Not to worry, though, as this will fall into place as the race approaches.

Cazenovia Triathlon

Chasing that first-out-of-the-water feeling

Cazenovia, NY

August 27

The first multisport event I completed, the Caz Tri holds a special place in my heart. In past years, this race has served as a capstone to my season: typically, I’d have a humbling experience at Nationals and return home with my competitive fire burning and crank out one last solid outing before heading into the off-season. Although this race will be my final triathlon of the season, it will more accurately mark a turning point in my training progression as I shift from a swim-bike-run focus to a swim-run mentality.

SwimRun VA

Richmond, VA

October 21

I am beyond pumped for this stage race!  Throughout the course of one day, my team—Two Stevens, because my training buddy’s first name is Steven, and that’s also my last name—will cover six swim legs totaling 3.3 miles and seven run legs totaling 14.95 miles for a total mileage of 18.32. This race will provide new challenges as far as training and racing go, but we’ll also need to iron out logistics and get comfortable with a few things—like running in wetsuits and swimming with in our running shoes.

It’s worth noting that for the first time in four years, I will not be going to Nationals.  Although I fully committed myself to the process, last year’s race itself left a lot to be desired from an experiential standpoint.  In turn, those feeling gave me pause to reflect: why has this event become a season staple?  Do I really want to go back to Omaha and do it again (even if parts of the course have been changed)?  How does it align with my goals as a triathlete? Also, I can usually swing one training trip and one “destination” race per year, and the Richmond SwimRun race simply made me so much more excited.

So that’s where we stand for 2017. I’m sure I’ll hop into a few road races throughout the year–and I will go to Lake Placid for a training camp–but these are the events we’re building my schedule and progression around.

Which event are you most exited for this year?