Tag Archives: Sanibel

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 15 (March 7)

I spent a solid amount of time this week cross-training, a.k.a. shopping for adult clothes.


Leslie Knope’s goofiness + Claire Underwood’s fierceness = Carrie, a reluctant adult

My new gig starts tomorrow (gah!), so my sister and I shopped ‘till we dropped from Wednesday through Saturday. You would think swimming, biking, and running endurance would translate, but it does not.

General training notes: All in all, this was another mixed bag training week. It started in Sanibel and ended in New York City, and my body felt the heat and extra travel. Luckily, my recovery week starts Monday, and it’s the first time this season I feel like I actually need it.

Monday – a.m. swim

Back to my “office” for an easy 2,250-yard workout.


Unpictured: freckles/tan lines

It was actually the same one I did last Wednesday, and it was rewarding to feel a difference in terms of smoothness.

Tuesday – a.m. run

All right, pros to this fartlek workout: it was the same one from last week, so I knew what I was facing; I felt smoother and more in control of the paces. Cons: it was super hot (around 80*F), so I tacked on some extra rest intervals; and due to poor planning, I had time to do the ladder (2-4-6-4-2 minutes) once before heading to the airport. Overall, it was a mixed bag, but it gives me confidence to know I can hit and hold the prescribed pace in hot conditions—because that’s what Omaha will probably be like in August.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Back in the saddle! I made my triumphant return with a 3×10-minute zone two set: for the first block, we alternated between high gear/low cadence (75 RPMs) and natural cadence every minute; the second set was straight natural cadence; and the third was high gear/low cadence and natural cadence every two minutes.

Thursday – a.m. run

Another cruise interval workout: eight minutes at Ironman effort, marathon pace, half-marathon pace, and 10-K pace with two minutes recovery between. Intervals one, two, and three were fine, but I struggled to maintain an even pace for my 10-K effort.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

A lot of my masters buds swam Harvard this weekend (er, the 2016 New England LMSC Short Course Championship), so this was a taper swim that contained mostly short (25 to 100m) efforts. I also nailed three dives off the blocks! After 4,000m, though, I was dragging for the rest of the day; swimming takes it out of me.

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Like most two-hour rides, this workout contained two hour-long blocks. First, we tackled a longer warm-up with single-leg and high cadence drills, plus some over/under efforts. (“Over” meaning more than 100 percent and “under” 85 percent; we alternated between these two for 10 minutes.) The opening main block included four, four-minute intervals: three minutes at tempo (75-85 percent) and one minute at VO2 max (105-120 percent). I was sore from Friday’s swim and didn’t know how long I’d last, but it ended up being fine. For the second hour, we rode the Ironman Germany course and alternated between 10 minutes at tempo, five minutes at sweet spot, and five minutes at threshold.

Sunday – a.m. run

This was my second time taking on Earl’s snowman challenge and trying to match my lower loop and Harlem Hill loop times. (For those unfamiliar with Central Park, the lower loop is relatively flat and fast and a bit longer than the Harlem Hill lap.) I settled in to my tempo pace for the lower loop and ran the 1.7 miles faster than I did two weeks ago. And in an effort to match the total time, I ran the 1.39-mile Harlem Hill loop about 15 seconds slower than my previous time. Although my times were closer, they didn’t match up exactly. On the bright side, though, I felt much more confident and in control of this workout, and I was happy with how sustainable my tempo pace felt.

How is it mid-March already?! Has spring sprung yet?

Back To Reality—Whatever That Is

Whether it’s a job or a vacation, good things eventually end. My last day of work was one week ago (wow!), and my quality Sanibel time has run its course too; I head back to New York City today.


My best beach bud

It was nice to enjoy a true vacation. My old workplace had a liberal working remotely policy, and it proved to have its pluses and minuses. On the pro side, I travelled to Lake Placid twice in 2015, plus I went home for the 4th of July weekend and for a local yokel race. And earlier this year when I headed south to Florida for some quality family time, I didn’t have to worry about missing anything important—because I was expected to be contributing on conference calls, checking email, and responding to our social channels regularly. But therein lies the downside: I couldn’t unplug, disconnect, and go off the grid; I couldn’t recharge my own battery.


For headspace, just add water. (Also, who am I?!)

My coworkers and I joked if I turned off my phone, there was a good chance the Internet would implode. Of course, that’s not totally true. I could leave my phone or laptop untouched for a few hours. But whether I was racing, training, or vacationing, I was still posting content, responding to customers, and making sure our brand didn’t cease to exist in the digital space. Flexibility comes with responsibility.

So this time around—with no work/social media constraints—I got to be as digitally active or inactive as I wanted. Full disclosure: I did not go an entire day without checking my personal platforms, but I dialed back my usage considerably. And when I did use—do I sound like an addict?—it was on my own terms. I uploaded plenty of photos to the ‘Gram of Zelda, and I had a blast chronicling my days on Snapchat. (I’m kind of ridiculous; follow me at carriestevens25 if you feel inclined.) This is a crazy concept, but I used social media for pleasure.


<3 <3 <3

And as I ready to board my flight, it’s finally starting to hit me: I’m going back to reality—but my old one is over. I’m not going to roll in to the Bullpen (the nickname for my old office) on my own sweet time tomorrow. (Anytime between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. was acceptable.). I’m not going to immediately ask my old Work Husband, “what did I miss?” and then immediately start discussing the Downton Abbey series finale. I’m not going to climb a flight of stairs up to the store and ask sales associates about their training and weekend races. I’m not going to take a field trip to one of the East Side stores and catch up with the store manager and eat too many homemade cookies.


A delicious birthday throwback

I’m not going to be seeded shoes. I’m not going to have a generous discount. I’m not going to wear running apparel to work.


Direct, but true

I’m not going to be living #TheRabbitLife.

I have yet to develop a snappy name for my new worklife—maybe #WingedLife or #ClubLyfe—but it starts Monday. Aside from a desktop computer, an office with windows, and a strict dress code (related: who wants to teach me how to walk in heels?), I’m not sure what will constitute my new normal. And I’m sure it will take several months to figure it out. In the mean time, I’m trying to see the beauty in uncertain intricacies of the job, the culture, and the institution. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. It’s a blank document that offers the potential to write, curate, and connect. It’s a fresh start, it’s a new gig—and although there are some uncertainties, it’s certainly exciting.

Triathlon Training Log – Week 14 (Feb. 29)

Greetings from Sanibel, FL!


Tuesday was my last day of work, so I hopped on a plane and headed south. I arrived Wednesday afternoon, and it’s been such a nice vacation—and a true vacation too because I haven’t had to check email, respond to tweets, or post on Instagram unless it was for personal use.

General training notes: This week was a mixed bag. Swimming is feeling great—finally!—and I only rode once this week. Plus, the weather has had more of an effect on my run workouts than I would like. Everything is getting logged, though, and this span is really about relaxing and enjoying Florida and family time before I head back to NYC and dial back in—both to training and to my new job.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Back to the Three Bears, a.k.a. low cadence/strength work in the saddle. This workout goes by fast—each block lasts only 3:30, and we repeat it four times—and it’s one of those where you don’t feel like you did a lot of work. But then you try to walk up the stairs at work …

Tuesday – a.m. run

We still haven’t introduced true speedwork yet, but we are starting to program some more challenging fartlek runs. I faced a 2-4-6-4-2 progression at my projected 5-K pace with three minutes recovery between each effort. The first time around, my legs felt stiff—totally my own fault for wearing shorts when it was windy and 37*F—and the pace was all over the place. Luckily, I had to repeat the set, and the second time, I was able to hit and hold the prescribed pace a little more easily. Overall, I didn’t feel great about this workout, but chances are, we’ll do it again next week.

Wednesday – p.m. swim

I’m baaaaaack!


My office for the week

Since I’m here for nearly one week, Earl and I decided an unofficial/self-imposed swim camp would be a great idea. Look at that outdoor pool and try to not be excited. This was a light, 2,250-yard workout with some body position drills and a 10×100 main set.

Thursday – a.m. run

Cruise intervals with eight minutes at Ironman, marathon, half-marathon, and 10-K efforts. Two minutes rest between. I started this workout too late in the day; it was 67*F when I began and 77*F when I finished, so the final set was tough.

Friday – a.m. swim and strength train

Easy, 2,250-yard swim with my new buds



Lots of body position work and lots of Pitbull and Rihanna

Saturday – a.m. swim

Blissful endurance swim with a main set of 3×1000 yards. Initially, I was concerned about keeping track of all those laps, but I played around with breathing—switching from left-side only to right-side only to bilateral—to keep it interesting and engaging.

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy six miles in the heat

When you’re on vacation, what’s your favorite type of workout to do?

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building Phase II, Week Seven (Jan. 11)

Greetings from sunny Sanibel, FL!


I escaped NYC Thursday for some quality sun, sand, and SPF 85+ time with my family.  Spoiler alert: SPF 85+ does not work.

General training notes: This week marked the second phase of base building, which equated to an increased focus on strength: on the bike, this means more sweet spot/FTP intervals; on the run, this means hill workouts; in the weight room, this means adding an extra low weight/high rep set to my normal routine. Since I headed to Florida, we frontloaded my workouts so I could truly enjoy the downtime.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Like last Monday, I completed “Goldilocks,” a.k.a. my new favorite workout with high cadence, VO2 max, and sweet spot efforts. I’ll continue to do this set every Monday. It’s a great way to recover and spin the legs out after a high-volume biking and running weekend.

Tuesday – a.m. strength training and p.m. run

Keeping with the low-weight/high-rep strength training plan—and it’s working. I’ve been able to increase reps per set from 12 to 15, and as part of base building phase two, I’ve added an extra set. After work, I repeated last week’s Cat Hill workout. Although my splits were about the same, I felt smoother and much more in control.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer workout at Tailwind Endurance

Even though I had a quick turnaround from the previous night’s hill workout to this threshold session, I felt pretty good. The group tackled 3×8-min. threshold blocks with four minutes recovery between each. Per Earl’s instructions, I hovered around 91-95 percent and built to 105 percent when prompted: for the first set, I spent two minutes at 105 percent; for set two, I stayed there for four minutes; and for the final set, I held 105 percent for six minutes. Although these are relatively short FTP blocks, I felt smooth, strong, and in control—it was definitely a confidence booster and reaffirmed the plan is working.

Thursday – off

Travel to Sanibel, FL

Friday – a.m. run

Well, this was an interesting day. Thunderstorms and a tornado warning kicked off the morning, so I wasn’t able to run until 1:30 p.m. or so—and holy humidity! It was only about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but the added moisture made it easy to stay in zone two for 45 minutes. Looking back to South Beach, I don’t know how I was able to “race” in even hotter conditions!

Saturday – a.m. swim

Yep, that’s right. I broke my four-month hiatus and hit the water!


Breaking the no-swimming streak at the Sanibel Recreation Center

Earl programmed an easy 2,100-yd. set to shake off the rust. Being away from the water for so long (for me, I know this may not be long for actual swimmers) has negatively affected my body position, but on the bright side, I never felt like I was fighting the water—I was just a little awkward and much slower.

Sunday – a.m. swim

Can’t stop, won’t stop: another day and a second swim in the outdoor pool. Immediately after yesterday’s workout, I emailed Earl and requested another swim. I know; I don’t know who I am anymore. But look at the pool—how can you not swim? Another easy 2,250-yd. workout with tech work and 6×100 pulls.

How does being on vacation affect your workouts?

It’s November?

Whew—marathon madness has finally ended, so I can finally come up for a breath. Throughout October and the first week of November, JackRabbit was firing on all cylinders: various events and group training runs, plus a pre-New York City Marathon party and race-day cheer zone. So many 26.2 activities!


Full Throttle Endurance says, “WHOA!”

Marathon week—plus Monday actually (because Meb Keflezighi had a book signing at our Upper West Side store)—centered on stress, semi-organized chaos, and tons of excitement. We live for this time of year and all it encompasses; for me, that meant making sure our Saucony pre-party and Brooklyn cheer zone were successful events.


Behind the scenes–and mission accomplished!

And now, I’m embracing the work “off-season.” Thank GAWD. Here’s what’s going on:

Last week, my fam and I went to Florida to celebrate my dad’s birthday. My grandfather lives there, and my uncle flew in too, and it was great to spend some quality time with everyone. And it wouldn’t be a trip to Sanibel without plenty of beach time (where running, reading, and sunburning occurred).


This weekend, I have my first “race” since Nationals in August: The Philadelphia Half-Marathon. Some of my teammates and (work) friends will be there, plus a few BoMFers and my family. I’m really excited! Not only is it an escape from the city, but it’s also an opportunity to test my training and gauge my progress. Coach Pat and I have talked race strategy, he things I can string together a solid 13.1 miles, race the thing, and shoot for a big PR. A few months ago, I planned to simply go out and run and see what happened; now, though, I feel confident pushing it. Speedwork is coming along, and my long runs have gone pretty well, and this is hands down the most prepared I’ve felt for a “straight up” road race. Fingers crossed I feel good on race day and can hop aboard the pain train for a while!

And then, it’s Thanksgiving, which means even more family time!

In other training news, I ended my 72-day swimming boycott and went to the pool. Honestly, I planned to wait until December, but several knowledgeable individuals—including but not limited to Coach Pat and my tri coach—said getting back in the water sooner may be a good idea. Specifically, “not swimming is totally going to bite you in the a** come January!” according to my tri coach. The race isn’t won during the swim, but one of my friends/Girls’ Club colleagues questioned: “How fast can you run if you’re last out of the water?”


Talk about tough love—and a serious wake-up call.

So two weeks ago—about 12 hours after my endorphin-inducing 11 miler—I walked to the pool after work. On the way over, I visualized myself swimming, flip turning, and doing all the little things right, but I couldn’t shake the insecurity: what if I don’t remember anything? What do my arms do again? How does one execute a flip-turn?

As it turns out, swimming is a lot like riding a bike; you never forget how to do it. When my feet touched the water, I went on autopilot: adjusted my cap, put on my goggles, and just went. Sure, I felt semi-winded 200 yards in, but those 1,500 yards felt OK. And they felt slightly better—and faster—a week later.

To be honest, I’m not sure what will happen after Philly—in terms of training and life. It feels like I’m on the brink, like a breakthrough is right around the corner, but I don’t know what is it or what it will entail. But I just hope I’m ready.

Not Swimming and Celebrating National Hug a Runner Day

Is it Friday yet?  It’s been a long week so far over here.  I guess that’s to be expected after a mini-vacation, right?


Oh, Sanibel—take me back.

Since I have the day off from work, my morning was slow going, but I did eventually motivate myself to hit the weights and do some strength training.  Although today’s workout should’ve included swimming too.  Which brings me to part one of this post.

During this off-season, I’ve gone through several phases.  First, I ran all the miles and avoided the saddle.  Then I sprinkled in swimming and made strength training a priority—and continued to ignore my bike.  However, since putting on my trainer tire, I’ve actually been enjoying myself.  And by “enjoy,” I mean warming up and making it hurt for as long as I can while watching this year’s Ironman World Championship over and over and over again.

Can I be Rinny when I grow up?

But now that I’ve been hitting the pavement and logging time on the trainer, I’ve been neglecting the pool.  This week especially, the excuses have piled up:  the mornings are cold and dark; it takes about 20 minutes to walk there; I’d rather run or hop on the trainer.

Wait, did I just say that?  Who am I?

And when I do get in the water, the swims have been short and relatively unstructured; most last 40-50 minutes and include tech work and some 100s and 200s to keep things interesting.  This is probably why people sign up for master’s swim classes, right?

Anyway, I should be swimming more, but there will be plenty of time for that when I’m home for Thanksgiving next week.  Especially since I won’t have access to my bike.  And I’ll be able to drive to the pool, so that’s a plus—ha!

On the non-triathlon front, work is going well.  I don’t talk about it a lot here—there’s only so much running stuff you can handle, right?—but we’ve been busy post-New York City Marathon.  We’re currently gearing up for our annual January/New Year’s campaign (woohoo for event planning!), and yesterday, we celebrated National Hug a Runner Day in the best way possible—by bringing out the bunny suit!


We have four stores in the city, so the rabbit started at Union Square before making the rounds to Brooklyn, Upper East, and Upper West.  It was funny to watch runners’ reactions, and one person even tipped the rabbit!

Now it’s time for me to be a real person and get ready for tonight’s team social.  Fingers crossed I can stay awake!