Tag Archives: Fleet Feet

I Think I Swam Next to Vince Vaughn

Hey, friends!  Might as well address this post’s title ASAP:  Yeah, I think I swam next to Vince Vaughn at Chelsea Piers this afternoon. (I also did a quick 45-minute tempo run at 75 percent effort this morning as per my pre-season triathlon plan.) Obviously, it was tough to confirm if the guy in the neighboring lane was the real deal or just a doppelganger, but he looked like the actor.  He seemed tall, too, but again it was tough to tell because he was in the water.  Here’s the kicker, though:  The real Vince Vaughn is currently in New York City filming a movie.  Hmmm.  Oh, and there were ladies in the locker room talking about what it was like when Beyoncé visited the facility.  Coincidence?

Breakfast

I planned to make a spinach and egg white sandwich after my run, but my toaster mysteriously broke, so I made “oatless” oatmeal instead.

12:10-breakfast-oatless-oatmeal

I lined the bottom of the bowl with frozen strawberries for some extra sweetness—mmm!

Lunch

After my potential celebrity sighting, I whipped up a protein smoothie.

12:10-lunch-protein-smoothie

The NYC weather has been all over the place—it was 50 degrees during my run, and it’s close to 60 now—so a cool meal sounded appealing.  This drink contained one frozen banana, frozen blueberries, frozen kale, almond milk, and one scoop of Jay Robb egg white protein powder.

OK, back to writing and editing, but first, congratulations to Fleet Feet Syracuse (my people!) for its recognition as the top running store in America—woohoo!

Have you ever seen a celebrity? (Or a celebrity lookalike?)

Settling In

Hey, everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend!  My Saturday and Sunday were jam-packed—both literally and figuratively—with all things apartment-related.  With the minivan loaded to the brim, my dad and I drove five hours to the city.  Even though we got caught in some rain, a lucky omen greeted us.

Hopefully this rainbow means lots of luck in the Big Apple!  And speaking of omens, here’s something else that happened:  After arriving at our hotel, my dad and I went out to dinner, and as we chatted away, I realized my watch’s battery stopped working—it called it quits at the exact time I left home.

How weird is that?  Even stranger, I bought the watch in NYC two years ago.  Maybe things are coming full circle?  Or perhaps this means one era has drawn to a close, and I’m entering a new, exciting time.

Anyway, on Saturday morning, we started the daunting process of unloading and organizing.

So.  Much.  Stuff. (This isn’t everything, by the way.) These move-in gifts from the management were a pleasant surprise.

The apartment itself is still a work in progress, and I promise I’ll post pictures within the next few days.

Dinner

Now back to regularly scheduled blogging.  For my first meal in my big-girl apartment, I made an old favorite—almond-crusted tilapia.

As you know, I’m obsessed with seafood, so this dish will make regular appearances on the blog.  For dessert, I had some frozen grapes my mom brought from home.

How sweet!

Workout – Running

I didn’t sleep that well last night, which was probably due to slew a new bed, a new room, etc., but I woke up a little after 6 a.m. for my first NYC run.  I headed over to the Hudson River Greenway for a 30-minute jog.  Holy cow, what a great place to workout!  It was great seeing so many people getting their sweat on—biking, running, and walking—and since the path itself mirrors the Hudson River, the view was beautiful. (I’ll have to take some pictures next time!) Plus, maybe because I had two rests days and/or because I’m used to hilly Central New York, I felt like I was flying this morning.  Speaking of CNY, I obviously needed to represent my favorite fitness people—Syracuse Bicycle, plus Fleet Feet Syracuse and their RUNapoolza 5-K.

Afterwards, I completed some upper-body strength training and ab exercises.

Breakfast

Another go-to made its first NYC appearance—overnight oats.

Technically, though, it’s a bowl of 20-minute oats with mashed banana, frozen strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, and a scoop of Justin’s plain peanut butter.  This was my first time trying Justin’s, and I’m a fan.

I ran some errands after breakfast, which included yet another trip to Bed Bath and Beyond, Trader Joe’s, and GNC (which was out of Jay Robb egg white protein powder—what?!).

Lunch

I broke for lunch around 1:30 p.m. and threw together a salad.

It was only after I gobbled down the turkey I remembered it’s Meatless Monday.  Fail.  Guess I’ll just have to redeem myself at dinner–I’m planning on making homemade soup tonight because I’m a big girl!

Do you participate in Meatless Monday?  Are you a vegetarian?

What Day Is It?

After my “special talents” post, you knew this was coming.

It’s October 3.

Dinner

Last night’s meal was one of my favorites—spicy shrimp with cilantro and lime.

Jasmine rice upped the ante.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve had rice—let alone a starch with dinner—so it was a tasty treat.

Plus roasted broccoli and mushrooms.

Workout – Running

This morning’s 50-minute run was relatively uneventful, except for the surprising warm weather—the thermometer read 60 degrees.  In October.  In Central New York.  Crazy! (Just for reference, we’ve had snow on Halloween; this heat wave is unprecedented.) Needless to say, a grey t-shirt was a poor apparel choice.  Oops.  Anyway, after my run, I completed some upper- and lower-body work including squats and bicep curls.

Breakfast

A warm workout called for a cool morning meal—protein smoothie for the win!

Into the blender went one frozen banana, spinach, frozen blueberries, almond milk, and one scoop of Jay Robb protein powder.  In case one Jay Robb-based item wasn’t enough, I also ate a slice of protein-packed pumpkin bread.

To celebrate Oct. 3, my mom and I went to Fleet Feet. (Not that I need a reason to celebrate Oct. 3 or go to Fleet Feet; let’s be real.) Say hello to runner heaven.

She wanted walking sneakers, and I realized I’ve had my Asics Gel-Cumulus 14’s for about six months.

[Back when they were brand-spankin’ new.]

These sneaks have seen a ton of races.  I bought them before the Seneca7, and I’ve worn them for the Nate Race, 4th of July 10-miler, Boilermaker 15-K, Fleet Feet’s Runapoolza, and the Tromptown Run, my first half-marathon.  Not to mention three triathlons—Cazenovia, Skinnyman, and DeRuyter–and a slew of college races Before Fitness and Frozen Grapes (BFFG).  They’ve seen a lot of pavement (and a lot of Central New York) and logged a lot of miles, so it was time for a new pair.

In total, I tried on four options (Asics, New Balance, Nike, and Mizuno), and these New Balance 870V2’s were the front-runners for a while.

Ultimately, though, I went with the Mizuno Wave Elixirs.

They fit my feet perfectly, and they’re lighter and more aerodynamic than my old Asics.

Lunch

With a boatload of roasted veggies leftover from last night’s dinner, a huge salad was in order.

Beneath the veggie mound, there’s spinach, apple slices, and blackened tofu.  Yum!

Not going to lie, I’m going to take my new sneaks out for short jog in a bit.  As soon as I started lacing them up, Zelda thought she was getting a w-a-l-k.

Zelda’s pretty pleased with herself today:  Runner’s World named greyhounds as one of the best dogs for “brisk shorter runs” and “going fast.”

I could probably PR at my next 5-K if Zelda ran with me; when we go for “walks,” she pulls me along!  What brand of sneakers do you wear?  Do you have a different pair for running, other forms of cardio, and strength training?  How many pairs of sneakers do you own?  Do you ever go running with your dog?

Trip to New York City, Part One

Since I spent four days in New York City, I’m writing two recaps.  So much happened, and I think breaking up everything into two parts will be easier.  Here we go!

Thursday

On Thursday morning, my mom and I drove to Rhinecliff, NY to catch an afternoon train bound for Penn Station.  When I go to NYC, I always take the train from Utica, but since my sister Margaret goes to school near Rhinecliff, we wanted to see her after our trip.  From the Syracuse-area, the drive took about two and a half hours, and we arrived in plenty of time to catch our 12:50 p.m. train.

The station itself was a little sketchy.  There were no road signs to the station, and it was difficult to find the long-term parking lots.  After driving around for a few minutes, though, we found the lot and headed to tracks.

After boarding, it was lunchtime!

I packed a turkey and red pepper wrap and also snacked on some green beans and red peppers, an apple, and a Chobani yogurt.  Traveling works up quite an appetite!  About an hour and twenty minutes later, we arrive at Penn Station, headed to our hotel in the Financial District, and started exploring.  As we headed toward Battery Park and walked along the water, I noticed how the area was open and sunny; it was quite a change of pace from the usual concrete jungle.  Before long, we wandered to the South Street Seaport and discovered a Yankees store—score!

Although tempting, I refrained from buying any glassware.

Once I have a kitchen/apartment, though, these are fair game.  Ready for an early dinner at 5 p.m., my mom and I made our way back toward the hotel and kept our eyes peeled for a good restaurant.  Here’s where we found our answer.

This narrow cobblestone street contained a bunch of bars and restaurants—and Wall Streeters!  Thursday’s stock market saw record highs, so hundreds of brokers hit the town to celebrate; it was packed!

We ultimately decided on Mad Dog and Beans and quickly ordered some wine and chips to take the edge off.

As we sipped and nibbled, I studied my surroundings and tried to keep myself from staring at the, er, scenery.  Tables of eight- or ten-men deep lined the street, and the male-to-female ratio was easily 10:1.  Why didn’t I major in Economics?!  Anyway, for my entrée, I ordered a shrimp and vegetable dish that came with Mexican rice and black beans.

It was good, but not great.  In this area, though, you’re paying for the atmosphere, not the food.  Back at the hotel, my mom and I broke into one of the complimentary cookies we received at check-in.

Perfect way to end the evening!

Friday

With my internship interview scheduled for 10 a.m., I woke up around 7 a.m. to track down a Starbucks.  Hey, a girl’s gotta have her caffeine.

From home, I brought a protein bar for breakfast.

Since the interview was less than a five-minute walk from the hotel, I enjoyed a leisurely morning before heading over.  The interview itself went well.  My interviewer was young—only one year older than me—so we hit it off, and there were no unexpected questions.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed it works out!

Afterwards, my mom and I headed to Chelsea to look around and grab a bite to eat.  I’ve spent a little time in the area before, and it was nice to take in what would hopefully be my neighborhood.  We wandered around the 20th to 25th Street area between 6th, 7th, and 8th Avenues before heading to Energy Kitchen for lunch.

I first discovered this eatery when I interned in NYC two summers ago—it was relatively close to my dorm—and at least one of my weekend meals would come from Energy Kitchen.  The chain has a great philosophy:  Everything on the menu is less than 500 calories, and it’s all grilled, baked or steamed.

Talk about super healthy and super good for you.  I went with an old favorite:  chicken fajita wrap.

And it was just as delicious as I remembered.

After lunch, my mom and I met Alex, our real-estate agent. (One of my former collegiate basketball teammates recommended him.) That afternoon, we went to two different buildings and saw a total of four apartments.  The first building, in which we looked at two apartments, wasn’t great; my mom and I knew right away it was a no-go.  As we walked to the second building, I started to get nervous; what if we didn’t find anything?  Luckily, though, as soon as we entered the second building, I had a good feeling.  Michael, the on-site agent, gave us a tour of the building—fitness center, laundry room, etc.—and took us up to the two apartments.  Holy cow—very spacious with modern finishes, plus a carpeted bedroom.

The only differences between the two included space (one was about 100 sq. feet larger), location (east vs. west windows), price, and move-in dates.  After seeing these options, my mom and I knew this building was the one to beat, and we decided to come back Saturday afternoon so my dad could see it.

After parting ways with Alex, my mom and I walked to Soft Serve Fruit Co., another one of my NYC favorites.

Basically, soft serve fruit is a better-for-you alternative to both ice-cream and frozen yogurt; it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and contains only three ingredients (fruit, filtered water, and a touch of organic cane sugar).  The flavors available rotate—apple, banana, tangerine, and dark chocolate were our choices—and there are a ton of healthy toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, and granola.  For my afternoon snack, I selected apple with sliced almonds and dark chocolate chips.

Yummy!  As long as we were in the Union Square area, I swung by JackRabbit Sports, which Athlete Again said was an awesome running, cycling, and triathloning store.

Fleet Feet and Syracuse Bicycle will always have places in my heart, but this will most likely be my go-to store in the city.

After eating and discussing the apartments, my mom and I headed back to the hotel to meet my dad.  We filled him in on the options we saw, and we decided to go to an evening open house Alex mentioned earlier that afternoon.  It was nice to see another apartment just for comparison, but it wasn’t in the running.  Since we had one strong potential option, we asked Alex to expand the search and see if there was anything available farther west. (An apartment in that direction would be closer to Chelsea Piers, the site of the triathlon club I plan to join—post coming soon!) We agreed to meet at 2 p.m. the next day so my dad could see “the (potential) one” before seeing options from the extended search.

For dinner, my parents and I headed to Markt, a Belgian restaurant and one of our city go-to’s.  My pictures didn’t come out well thanks to the lack of light, but the food was delicious.  We started with some oysters and a shrimp and pomegranate salad.

I ordered poached salmon, which was delicious, but didn’t photograph well.  The three of us split chocolate mouse for dessert, too.  Alright, that’s it for the first recap!

Cazenovia Triathlon Packet Pickup

Happy Saturday, everyone!  I can’t believe I’ll be completing my first triathlon in less than 24 hours—yikes!

I’m a day behind on my blogging, so let’s get to it! (Rewind to yesterday afternoon.)

Snack

Before running some errands with my mom, I snacked on some celery and hummus.

I love spicy foods, so I’m a fan of this cracked chili pepper hummus.  It isn’t fire-breath hot, but it packs a little kick.

Cazenovia Triathlon Packet Pickup at Fleet Feet

Now that I survived Thursday’s half-marathon, it’s time to prepare for my next race—the Cazenovia Triathlon.  Packet pickup began two days ago, but I felt like I would be begging for bad luck by getting one race’s packet on the day of a different event.  That has to be a racing faux pas of sorts.  Plus, I wanted to focus solely on the half-marathon until it was over.  Anyway, I arrived at Fleet Feet shortly before 1 p.m., and when I walked into the community room, I saw Donna, my old spin instructor from college!  She was actually one of the first people who talked to me about triathloning, so it was great to tell her I’ve made the leap.  Donna’s doing the sprint tomorrow as well, so hopefully she won’t kick my butt on the bike I’ll see her at some point.

Loaded with goodies, the swag bag contained fliers for local runs, sample energy gels, and race-day information.

Plus my swim cap and number.

Colors and numbers shouldn’t matter, but my race-day combo instilled a sense of calm.  The green cap will complement my hair and skin coloring, and 905 is an odd number, but the five makes it sort of even.  I’m weird, I know.

Lunch

Once my mom and I got home, I made a salad for lunch using spinach, leftover chicken, carrots, celery, and blueberries.

It hit the spot!  I also had a peach for dessert.

Mid-Afternoon Snack

A few hours later, I whipped up a banana and PB smoothie.

One frozen banana, one and a half scoops of PB, one cup of almond milk, and a dash of cinnamon went into the blender.  This is hands down my favorite smoothie recipe.

Dinner

We ate late last night, so I snacked on some unpictured crackers and cheese and veggies and dip beforehand.  Dinner was totally worth the wait.

My dad grilled two kinds of tofu—teriyaki and orange citrus—while my mom prepped roasted potatoes and veggies.  I tried the orange citrus first, but even after I sprinkled some cayenne pepper on top, I didn’t love it.  For my second serving, I went with the teriyaki.  My sister also made a lemon layer cake, and I had a slice for dessert.

Breakfast

There were leftover veggies from dinner, so I incorporated some into my morning meal.

Two scrambled eggs with roasted broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, and red peppers, plus a handful of spinach.  I also toasted a piece of Ezekiel bread.

Surprisingly, I don’t feel too sore from Thursday’s half.  I’m going to take Zelda for a walk, stretch out, and hopefully hit the pool today.

What do you have planned for the weekend?  Anyone racing this weekend?

Full-On Tapering

Happy Monday, everyone!  It’s been a busy day here, and on the workout front, I’m now entering my final half-marathon training stage—full-on tapering.

Workout #1 – Open-Water Swimming

This morning kicked off with a short, 10-minute open-water swim (OWS).  Although I wanted to swim longer, I knew my body would appreciate an abbreviated workout come Thursday.  In terms of general swimming, I feel like I’m finally starting to turn a corner.  At the YMCA yesterday morning, I completed three-quarters of a mile using the front crawl for 85 percent of the laps (without stopping, too!); and while swimming in my wetsuit this morning, I freestyled exclusively.  I’m excited to see how this progress translates on Sunday—I’m sure hoping it translates!—but I also wish I had more time to continue to improve. (I could always sign up for another triathlon, right?)

Workout #2 – Running

After drying off and changing into my running clothes, I hit the road for a two-mile run.  As my last workout before my half-marathon, this run served as an opportunity to hit and hold my goal pace without racking up high mileage.  Since I had only two miles to cover, I found myself speeding up, and I had to force myself to back off.  Overall, though, it was a good “last run.”  Now it’s time to rest up!

Breakfast

I needed a cold meal after my run, and cereal sounded perfect.

The mix included 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean, 1/2 cup of Fiber One, frozen blueberries, and almond milk.  Yummy!

Lunch

I snacked on some raw hazelnuts while I prepped my midday meal.

In the spirit of Meatless Monday, lunch took the form of an egg and cheese sandwich with S&P and Tabasco.  I used half of a whole-wheat English muffin as a bun and spread some crunchy PB on the other half.

I also had some cherries for dessert.

Fleet Feet

After lunch, I ran some errands with my mom and sister, and one of our stop included Fleet Feet.  I had to pick up a few things for my upcoming races, and here’s a look at my loot.

An extra pair of triathlon goggles—a strap could break or a lens could crack—and I stocked up on GU energy gels.

Dinner

Keeping with the Meatless Monday theme, I had black bean burgers for dinner.

I had this combo times two–delicious!

I’m off to watch the Olympics for a bit.  Have a great night!

Wetsuit and Tire Repair

Thus far, my triathlon training has progressed pretty seamlessly.  After several trips to Fleet Feet and Syracuse Bicycle, I’m equipped for triathlon success, and my multisport workouts seem to be paying off; I’m becoming more confident in the water and on the saddle, and I’m also learning a ton along the way.  Plus, triathlon people rock!  However, as a former Girl Scout, I know to always expect the unexpected—yesterday, I experienced a triathlon training double-whammy:  I repaired tears in my wetsuit and learned how to change a flat tire on my bicycle.

How To Repair a Wetsuit

Buying a wetsuit was such an involved process, and I’m discovering that upkeep is more of the same.  As I slipped into my suit during Sunday’s CNY Triathlon beginner OWS clinic, I noticed several small tears.

Situated along the quads and hamstrings, these nicks need to be fixed, or else they could pose major problems down the road.  I went to Fleet Feet a couple days ago and picked up a wetsuit repair kit.

The process appeared fairly straightforward—use Cotol-240 to clean the surface, open the tear, apply Aquaseal, and then pinch the sides together—but I struggled big time.

My lack of general “handiness,” coupled with the stifling humidity and my repairing inexperience, made the process touch-and-go at best.  Out of the six tears, I truly fixed two, one of which looks pretty bad.

Have you ever repaired a wetsuit?  In terms of preventative measures, I’ll most likely use plastic bags as gloves when I put on my wetsuit.  And even though I keep my fingernails relatively short, I filed them down a ton.

How To Change a Tire

Last night’s Women on Wheels meet-up site was a bit of a hike, so I opted to go to Syracuse Bicycle’s Tuesdays on the Towpath instead.

Meeting at the Chittenango Landing Boat Museum, our group of 10 cycled the historic Erie Canal on the same towpath that stretches from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

There were two out-and-back routes—one covering five miles, and a longer one spanning nine—and our group decided the shorter one was more than enough given the humidity. (It was slightly more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit at 6 p.m.!)

During the ride back, my bike started to feel weird; I couldn’t put my finger on it right away, but something didn’t seem right.  As I continued to pedal, it felt as though the back of my bike had separated from the front because the back wheel swerved from side to side.  I made a mental note to ask Trish, our ride leader, about this when we returned, but it turned out I couldn’t wait that long—my tire started dragging, so I stopped (after successfully clipping out!) and pulled over.  Luckily, two other riders were behind me, so they took a look at the tire; it was definitely flat and beyond what we felt comfortable repairing.  After a few phone calls and a minivan ride back to the museum, Trish showed me how to fix a flat.  Although I’m far from being an expert, now I know how to use all the tools in my repair kit and have a basic understanding of how to go about fixing a tire.

Have you had to fix a flat?  Were you with other people or by yourself?  Getting a flat was inevitable, and I’m glad it happened when I was riding with others.

CNY Triathlon Club Open Water Swim Clinic

When I made the decision to train for a sprint triathlon, I knew the open water swim (OWS) would be my Achilles heel.  If friends and family ask how my workouts are going, I usually reply, “the swim is a work in progress.”  Because I’ve been hitting the pool regularly and building my stamina, swimming 800m doesn’t seem as mind-boggling anymore.  However, it’s not like the OWS is my “in-the-bag” event.  When I found out the CNY Triathlon Club planned to host an OWS clinic in conjunction with Fleet Feet’s triathlon coaches, I jumped at the chance to attend; it’s one thing to practice swimming in the open water—like during the Wednesday night training series—but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to receive feedback and learn from the experts and hear about their tips and tricks.

(source)

Starting at 8 a.m., the workshop identified mental aspects that lead up to the swimming portion of a triathlon—adopting the right mindset, making a game-plan, and dealing with prerace jitters and anxiety—and relayed tips and tricks for staying relaxed during the race and having efficient transitions.

Like a good recent grad/journalist/blogger, I took notes, but I thought taking pictures would be crossing an invisible line.  First up was Brendan Jackson, a USA Triathlon Certified coach and leader of Fleet Feet’s Learn To Tri program, who talked about developing a good swimming mentality.  He’s a funny guy who got lots of laughs from the crowd, and here are the key points he discussed:

-A lot of triathletes say “I stink at swimming” or “I hate the swim,” and this mentality is not beneficial:  You must develop a mental plan that will set you up for success.  “The problem isn’t out there in the water,” Brendan said.  “It’s in here,” and he pointed to his head.  Instead, Brendan urged us to replace this negative “software” and swim more.

-To erase this detrimental “software,” Brendan suggested writing down affirmations and habituating this line of positive thinking.  Simply writing down phrases like “I can swim” and “I can do this” and reading them instills confidence.

-Brendan advised swimming in small sections alongside other triathletes, which will help mimic raceday conditions.  He also stressed that each session doesn’t need to equate to the distance you’ll tackle during the triathlon.  Rather than tackle the entire distance—such as “I’m going to swim 800m”—you can break it up into “workable distances,” which include warm ups, shorter sets, and cool downs.

-Anxiety is natural—and should be expected—before a race.  “What are you going to do with it?”  Brendan asked.  “You need to manage it, embrace it, and make friends with it.”  This is when your mental game-plan kicks in.

-Above all, your goal shouldn’t be to achieve the elusive “perfect swim.”  Rather, Brendan asked, “How much of a perfect swim can you put together?” and that distance—50m, 100m, or maybe even 400m or more—should be your target.

Denise Clark, a USA Triathlon Certified coach who also works with Fleet Feet’s Learn To Tri program, talked about the swim itself—breathing, strokes, and sighting—and demonstrated two drills to help new triathletes become accustomed to OWS.  Here’s a rundown of her advice:

-When it comes to breathing while swimming, the goal is to breathe like you would on land; ideally, it should be that natural.

-Get good at staying down and keeping your body flat.  As soon as your head pops up, it sparks a chain effect—your shoulders and arms follow, then your legs, and before you know it, your swimming rhythm has disappeared.

-It doesn’t matter how you breathe—bi-lateral (alternate sides for every one and a half stroke cycles) or unilateral (same side every stroke cycle)—how often you breathe (every two, three, etc. strokes), or how often you sight (every eight, nine, etc. strokes); it’s all about what feels the most comfortable.

-As you near the end of the OWS, you want to keep swimming as long as possible.  If you wait as long as you can to transition from swimming to running, then you’ll prevent your legs from becoming fatigued.  Think about it:  Even though you can stand and run through water that’s hip- or knee-deep, it’s much easier to swim through it.

-Some triathletes love wetsuits while others despise them, but bottom line, you’re going to be faster with one.

After these lectures, the group of 100 budding triathletes split into smaller sections to work with coaches.  In the water, we first worked on the “deadman’s float” (lying facedown in the water)—one of the drills Denise demonstrated—and focused on fully rotating while breathing.  Next, we used this breathing technique while swimming in loops, and then incorporated sighting into the mix.  The final progression included swimming in two-by-two lines to mimic raceday OWS conditions. (Our group’s running joke was to “find the bubbles” because these air pockets mean you’re close to another swimmer, and you can draft off them a little bit!) During this drill, someone called me a fast swimmer!  I chocked it up to being tall and having beginner’s luck.  Unfortunately, it began to thunder, so we had to exit the water early.

It lightly sprinkled once we were back on land, and the coaches talked about getting out of wetsuits quickly and preparing for efficient transitions.  I wish this portion lasted longer because I learned a ton of random facts!

-As you’re exiting the water and running to the transition area, take off your goggles and swim cap first.  Next, you should unzip your wetsuit; keep your goggles and swim cap in one hand because as you slip off the top of your wetsuit, you can actually let go and leave them wedged in the sleeve.

-Once you’re in transition (and your wetsuit is off), put on your sunglasses and helmet first.  Touching your bike before clipping on your helmet will most likely result in a two-minute penalty.

-Keep moving forward.  You can assemble your race bib, visor, etc. while you’re in motion, so don’t waste time fixing things while you’re stationary.

I can’t remember everything now, so I’m hoping tidbits will come back while I’m training and racing.  Thank you, CNY Tri and Fleet Feet coaches for a great morning!

What’s your OWS strategy?  What did you learn during your first triathlon?  Is there anything you wish you had known?

Fleet Feet’s RUNapoolza Race Recap

Guess who won third place in her age group at Fleet Feet’s first annual RUNapoolza?

We’ll get to that shortly!

RUNapoolza

I arrived at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College around 8:30 a.m.

As I took in the surroundings, I couldn’t help but to reflect what happened here four years ago.  Anyway, since I picked up my tech t-shirt and race bib yesterday, I got to bypass the registration lines this morning.

Preceding the 5-K race, the kids’ fun run kicked off the day at 9 a.m.

One poor guy tossed his cookies literally 100m from the finish line.  I felt so bad!  After the kids completed their 1-mile run, it was time for RUNapoolza to begin!  Although not completely flat, this two-loop route was reasonable; the only tough spot was a 300m gradual hill.

I love loop/out-and-back runs.  During the first loop, you can warm-up, assess the terrain, and take note of any hills and inclines; the second time around, you can truly attack the course.  These types of routes are a strength for me—as opposed to a cross-country/off-road course—so I mentally prepared to run the first loop comfortably fast and lay down the hammer on lap two.  Ultimately, I though this would be a good time to go for a new PR.

As the nearly 1,200 runners toed the start line, the emcee encouraged everyone to have fun, follow their limits, and most importantly, not to try to PR because the temperature was climbing—shortly before 9:30 a.m., it was close to 80 degrees.  This suggestion took me aback.  Yes, the race marshals knew the course and took the weather conditions into consideration, but I felt loose and ready to push myself; I didn’t feel like a PR—or, at the very least, a sub-24-minute finish—was out of the question.  I weighed my options, and I knew I couldn’t ignore the fact that this wasn’t my only race this week—I’m running the Cazenovia 4th of July 10-miler, and I’m tackling the Boilermaker 15-K a mere four days later.  With this in mind, I settled on not going for a PR; I wanted to push myself and get in a quality 5-K run, but I didn’t want to run this “like a race.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures during the race, but the race organizers totally decked out the course.  In addition to the water stations, there were a handful of musicians sprinkled around the loop who provided a good soundtrack and words of encouragement.  Fleet Feet volunteers also manned the route, clapping and cheering for the runners.  My favorite part of the course décor included the inspirational phrases written on the pavement.  The colored chalk made exclamations like “you’re my hero!” and “to do today: drink, run, drink” pop.  There were also a handful of technique points like “heel strike” and “go into glide mode.”  These phrases were a nice touch and definitely helped me stay focused and mentally in the race.

For the first 1.5-mile loop, I maintained a steady pace (I’m guessing around 8:20) and assessed the terrain.  Taking a cue from my iPod mishap during the Nate Race, I ran “naked”—or sans music—and without these beats numbing my senses, I was better able to tune into my body:  My calves were a little tight, but nothing to be concerned about; I knew I could run through it.  After the first lap, I slowly picked up the pace (maybe close to 8:10) and cruised through the downhill.  At this point, I went into a “running coma” of sorts; I really don’t remember anything until I approached the final water station.  This is when my inner-competitor started talking:  Carrie, what are you doing?  Let’s pick up the speed!  Far from exhaustion—my effort level notched in at a seven out of 10—I decided to go for broke and pick up my speed for the final 400m.  At the very least, this was a good opportunity to practice my finishing kick.  However, I knew this surge came too late to hope for one of my better times.  During the final 200m, I picked off five or six people and crossed the finish line:  unofficial time was 24:34.

While chugging water and eating two bananas, I watched other runners finish, and it was great to see so many folks who completed Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries Beginner 5-K program.  For the past 10-weeks, these individuals have been learning how to run and training for their first-ever 5-K race, and RUNapoolza served as the spring session’s culmination.  Way to go, everyone!

Around 10:15 a.m., the race results were posted:  With an official time of 24:24, I took third place in my age group!  No medals, but I received something more practical—a RUNapoolza pint glass!

At the post-race party, Enter the Haggis—a Canadian Indie/Scottish/folk rock world-fusion band—took the stage and performed before the prize drawing.

I’ve never heard of them before, but there were a ton of devoted fans jumping and singing in the crowd.

Overall, RUNapoolza was a ton of fun!  It definitely wasn’t the best race (time-wise) I’ve run, but it was a gorgeous day, the volunteers were super friendly, and the vendors—think SOS, New Balance, and Muesli Fusion—distributed some great swag.  When can I sign up for next’s year race?

Working Runapoolza Packet Pickup

Happy Friday, friends!  What could be better than a warm and sunny Friday?  Any fun plans for the weekend?  Tomorrow is race-day for me—I’m running Fleet Feet’s first annual RUNapoolza 5-K.

MaryBeth asked if I could work packet pick up this afternoon, and since I’m not one to pass up a volunteer opportunity or a trip to Fleet Feet, I said absolutely.  Around 11:40 a.m., I arrived at the store to help distribute race bibs and tech t-shirts.

Tech t-shirts are where it’s at!  Compared to cotton, they are much more comfortable for running.  Plus, what runner who doesn’t like sweat wicking apparel?  I opted for a men’s cut, so the tee will fit looser around my bust and ribcage.  Don’t worry, I didn’t overlook my all-even number; a bib that lacks an odd number is unsettling, but one without a single odd digit?  I’m trying not to think about it.  Anyway, packet pick up spanned from 12-6 p.m., and I worked the 12-3 p.m. shift.  In addition to race gear pick up, there were also one-of-a-kind RUNapoolza pint glasses available for purchase.

I might treat myself to one if I PR.  Keyword being “if”—we’ll see!

During the early afternoon, I’d guess around 200 people came to get their race gear, and I’m hoping more showed up later. (The number of runners who preregistered is in the 900-1,200 ballpark.) From a volunteer’s perspective, the more runners who preregister and pick up packets ahead of time, the better; it makes for much smoother logistics on race-day.  This is the first time I’ve taken advantage of early packet pick up, and knowing how easy it is—for both the runner and the volunteers—I will try my best to do this for every future race.

Workout

Before going to Fleet Feet, I went on a short 2-mile run this morning; I want to keep my legs fresh for tomorrow’s race, so “shakeout” jog defined easy and leisurely.

Breakfast

Say hello to the best breakfast ever.

For this batch of overnight oats in a jar, I used strawberry Oikos organic Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup Quaker Oats, and 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk.  I also sprinkled some chia seeds on top.

Lunch

Today’s midday meal was a little strange.  Since I worked packet pick up from 12-3 p.m., I ate lunch beforehand—around 11 a.m., which is super early for me.  I was pressed for time, so I didn’t take a picture, but I had a piece of last night’s leftover salmon, half of a banana, and some mini-pretzels dipped in almond butter.

Dinner

Dinners on the grill are the best.  Tonight, we had Wegmans kabobs.

Yummy chicken kabob!  Have a great Friday night!