Tag Archives: Skinnyman Triathlon


At approximately 8:41 a.m. this morning, I turned 23 years old.


Holy cow—talk about old!


Ballet days throwback.  My grandparents included this photo in the above birthday card–aren’t they sweet?

It seems like yesterday I was playing high school basketball, then hanging out at CampHoho going to college.  Where has the time gone?


In all honest, though, 22 treated me very well.


I rang in my second year of official adulthood with plenty of homemade cupcakes and Pinot Grigio.


I ran my first relay race, the Seneca7, with some awesome Writing and Rhetoric teammates.



What?!  Who doesn’t like pondering grammar?

I had so much fun fully embracing the sweetness of senior spring—after completing my Honors project, of course.



I survived my first wine tour.




I graduated?!





I decided to give blogging and triathloning a shot.


I volunteered at the Syracuse 70.3 Ironman—and watched MB kick some serious butt!


I partied through ran the Boilermaker 15-K with Sara.


I bonded with Zelda at the Grapehound Wine Tour.


I finished my first triathlon—and was instantly hooked!


I completed my second and third swim-bike-run events.


I moved to New York City, survived Hurricane Sandy, and found a big-girl internship.


I explored Brooklyn with Gabby and Connie.


I spent lots of quality time with my family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.


I officially started training with Full Throttle Endurance.


I trigeeked out and met Craig Alexander.


Twenty-two was pretty sweet, but 23, I’m ready for you—let’s do it!

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day, everyone!  I hope you have a fun, safe, labor-free holiday!

Unless laboring means working out, of course.

Workouts – Swimming and Biking

Since I’m doing one more triathlon before the season ends, swimming, biking, and running will comprise my sweat sessions for the next three weeks.  Thinking back to Saturday’s Skinnyman Triathlon, I swam complacently; even though I PR’ed, I want to improve.  So, during this morning’s 45-minute OWS, I sprinkled in some fartleks, or 20-second surges. (Swimmers, is there an official terms for this?) If classic farletks can improve running speed, then transferring this principle to water-based workouts can hopefully yield similar results.  Plus, these sprints provided a challenge and broke up the monotony of swimming at one intensity level.

Unfortunately, my planned 90-minute bike didn’t exactly happen.  As I rode around Cazenovia Lake, my bike felt off—it was making a lot of noise in the front, it was difficult to shift, so I cut my ride short.  I’ve been thinking it might be time for a tune-up—I’ve had my bike since June—what happened this morning confirmed my suspicions.  Unfortunately, Syracuse Bicycle is closed for the holiday, but I’ll take my bike in first thing tomorrow.


Kashi waffles have fallen out of my morning meal rotation, so I decided to bring them back.

Instead of PB, I used almond butter this morning, which was a nice change; it gave the combo a different flavor, and it tasted like a new breakfast.


In the spirit of Meatless Monday, I made a vegetarian-friendly salad when lunchtime came.

Two scrambled eggs with S&P topped a bed of spinach, carrots, celery, and red pepper.  Instead of Tabasco, I used Sriracha—holy cow, how have I not heard of this before?  It’s spicier than Tabasco, and it has more flavor.

I’m celebrating my Labor Day with some Downton Abbey.  Have a great day!  How are you celebrating this holiday?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of September 1

How can it be Labor Day Weekend?  It feels like summer just started, and didn’t I decide to give this triathlon thing a shot, like, yesterday?  Although I did complete my second swim-bike-run event yesterday, the Skinnyman Triathlon.

Not only am I hooked on this three-sport endurance test, but I’m also refusing to accept the fact that its season is almost over.  So, why not train for one more?

That’s right.  This is happening.  And quite frankly, I’m more than ready to make a triumphant return to DeRuyter after its half-marathon kicked my bootay.  Since this race is three weeks away, I’m going to structure my workouts similarly to how I prepared for the Skinnyman; like past weeks, I’ll use the Empire Tri Club sprint triathlon plan as a template.

So, here’s the latest edition of Write It Down, Do It Up!

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

Monday – 45-minute OWS; 90-minute bike

Tuesday – 50-minute run

Wednesday – 60-minute OWS

Thursday – 50-minute tempo run

Friday – off

Saturday – 80-minute bike

Sunday – 45-minute bike; 30-minute run

What workouts are you committing to this week?

Skinnyman Triathlon Recap

First, I want to thank you for your well wishes as I prepared for the triathlon and established my goals.  It’s great to know I have a digital support system—you rock!

With clear skies and moderate temperatures, Saturday saw perfect weather for the Skinnyman Triathlon, a sprint-distance race held in Skaneateles, NY.


In true type-A fashion, I woke up at 3 a.m., left my house at 4:45 a.m., and arrived in Skaneateles at 5:20 a.m., 10 whole minutes before Clift Park—the transition hub—officially opened.  Since I took care of prerace logistics—registering online and getting my packet at Syracuse Bicycle—my race-day checklist was short and sweet:  set up my transition area, get body marked, and pick up my timing chip.

Even though I was excited for the triathlon anyway, I was pumped Amanda, one of my friends from college, was doing the race, too.

HWS represent!  Amanda swims for the Herons, so she doesn’t need a wetsuit; it’s only fair for those of us who don’t have gills.

It was so nice to hangout with her; I love seeing familiar faces on race-day.  Donna, who teaches spinning at the Colleges, was there and one of my former AAU basketball teammate’s dad.  Even though she wasn’t racing—she’s training for the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Vegas, no big deal—MB sent me some good luck texts.  It felt like she knew I was beginning to get nervous because she timed the messages perfectly; I’m very lucky and grateful to have her for support and last-minute words of wisdom.

Swim – 800 yards (16:50)

The triathlon began at 7:30 a.m., and my purple swim cap signified a fourth-wave, 7:45 a.m. start for women 39 and younger.


I’m somewhere in the purple pack.

While standing in my corral, I was surprised to see so many women comprised the wave; I knew it would be larger than the Cazenovia Triathlon novice swim, and even at CNY Triathlon Club training, each wave caps at 30-50 people.  After the first group took off, our wave entered the water and waited 15 minutes for our starting horn.  Within my wave, I positioned myself closer to the front (than to the back), but in hindsight, I didn’t select a strategic spot; boxed in from the get-go, I had a difficult time finding open space. (I should’ve positioned myself as far right or far left as possible; that way, I would’ve had no one next to me on one side, or at the very least, a little more space.) Here’s what the opening 300 yards were like.

Dramatic?  Yes.  Accurate?  Well, sort of—lots of pulling, grabbing, and jabbing.  In related news, I experienced a triathlon rite of passage:  I received my first kick to the face.  If I learned one lesson from playing basketball, it’s to embrace contact.  In a weird way, it felt like I was on an underwater court, and my athleticism took over; I found myself jockeying for positioning, too.


Because this opening surge was crowded and slow moving, I relied on the breaststroke; it was easier and required less energy than sighting every stroke.  After turning right at the first buoy, the swimmers dispersed and the pace picked up.  It was frustrating that it took at least 300 yards for me to get going, but that’s the nature of the OWS.  And, it’s also my own fault for not selecting a smarter starting spot.  Lesson learned.

Luckily, the swim exit went much smoother than it did during the Cazenovia Triathlon.  Even with a slippery, algae-covered concrete ramp, there was a handrail and plenty of volunteers to help with the first few precarious steps.  After cautiously walking up the ramp and stairs, it was game on.


Transition 1 (1:27)

Goggles off, cap off, unzip wetsuit, stay standing; sunglasses on, clip on helmet, put on socks, slide into cycling shoes, grab bike, go. (This T1 time was an improvement from Caz, too; it’s all about progress.)

Bike – 11 miles (39:55)

Because I rode the updated course Thursday, I knew which sections contained climbs and which areas had straightaways.  Even though I stumbled a bit when it came time to clip in, I recovered quickly and found a pace bunny; I maintained contact for four or five miles before she dropped me. (Hey, she had one of those aerodynamic and super speedy tribikes.) Overall, I did a good job of executing my race plan—refraining from attacking the inclines, capitalizing on downhills, and hydrating accordingly—and for the final two miles or so, I backed off the pace, downshifted, let my legs “spin out,” and started thinking about the run.

Transition 2 (1:11)

Another triathlon rite of passage:  Sprinting to your transition spot and finding another bike there.  I was in disbelief; did someone really take my spot?  I had a word-vomit moment (Mean Girls, anyone?) and yelled, “Wait, what is going on?”  The outburst seemed to help; I quickly placed my bike in between two others and prepped for the run.  Even with this frazzle, I improved my T2 time.  Again, progress.

Run – 3 miles (26:48)

Not going to sugarcoat it—the run was rough.  The “jello-leg feeling” hit hard, so I shortened my stride and increased my turnover with the hope of alleviating lactic acid build-up.  As I climbed the first hill, I located a pace bunny and refused to let her drop me.  There was a short plateau before another incline, so I coasted a bit, and when it came time to tackle the second hill, I reminded myself I had been here before—remember the Sullivan Street climb during the Cazenovia Triathlon?—and I had run through it.  The route then took a right-hand turn, a flat straight shot to the turnaround spot.  During this segment, I ran with a woman who had just given birth, like, six weeks ago—crazy, right? (That will probably be me one day.) Since my legs felt OK, I pushed the pace, knowing there was a downhill coming.  A left-hand turn took the course through a cul-de-sac, which contained another decline and then a climb.  The downhill was great, and as I approached the final hill, I shortened my stride and backed off the gas. (In hindsight, probably a bit too much.) Get to the top of the hill, I told myself.  And then it’s time to lay down the hammer.  Back on the main drag, I cruised down the first hill, but realized my calves weren’t too happy. (On the bright side, it was the only time I thought about them during the entire race; guess the compression sleeves worked.) At the plateau, I began to make my move and was ready to leave it all on the course. (Or, as MB advised via text, don’t get passed during the last 100m, ha!) Somehow, I found another gear, silenced the voice that said I was tired, and ran.  I picked off a few runners, and as soon as I saw the blowup arc, my finishing kick—well—kicked in.  Surging ahead and passing more people, I wound up in a sprint-off to the finish a la Nicola Spirig/Lisa Norden.




She boxed me out!


So peeved, but still finishing strong.

Because the Skinnyman distances were shorter than those of Caz, it’s no surprise I set a new sprint triathlon PR—1:26:11.  It’s always rewarding to set new personal bests—even though I’m looking at this race as a “super sprint,” so it will have an asterisk in my mind—but I’m even more satisfied with how natural everything felt.  Well, as natural as doing a triathlon can be.  Granted it’s still far from being second nature, but I made a race plan, established my goals, and executed everything OK.  I’m not ready for the season to end, and I still want to improve my time from the Cazenovia Triathlon.  I’ll have to do something about this …

My Goals for the Skinnyman Triathlon

Hiya, everyone!  Happy Saturday!  As you’re reading this post, I’m either swimming, biking, running, or recovering from the Skinnyman Triathlon.

Even though I’m still new to the triathlon world, I set some tangible goals for today’s race.  When I did the Cazenovia Triathlon at the beginning of the month, my main objectives included racing within myself and having fun; it was my first official swim-bike-run event after all.  With one triathlon under my (race) belt, I set the bar a bit higher.  Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish today.


Use the 800 yards as a warm-up; do not attack it aggressively.

Use the freestyle for its entirety, except for circling buoys.

Stay mentally engaged; get into “the zone” and review my race plan.

Transition 1 (T1)

Jog to transition (i.e. don’t walk).

Stay standing (I sat down during the Cazenovia Triathlon), move quickly and efficiently.


Follow this mantra:  “Set yourself up for a good run.”

Shift into my “second gear” and maintain an ideal cadence (90 RMP).

Stay hydrated. (I didn’t drink any water during the bike last time.)

Ride smart:  climb (do not attack) hills efficiently; attack downhills; pass who I can, but don’t get passed on straightaways.

Transition 2 (T2)

Rerack bike quickly. (Again, this didn’t go so well during the Cazenovia Triathlon.)

Stay standing while taking off and putting on gear.

Start running ASAP.


Stay mentally strong and positive.

Run efficiently (i.e. shorten stride on the hills).

Run semi-aggressively—find a pace bunny, maintain contact, and eventually pass.  Try not to get passed at any point.

Execute a finishing kick and leave it all on the course.

On a somewhat related note, I found this graphic floating around the web.

Have a great day!

Skinnyman Triathlon Checklist


1.  Ride the updated bike course—check!


1.5.  Treat myself to a post-bike iced coffee—check!

Yesterday morning, my mom and I drove to Skaneateles, NY so I could ride the updated 11-mile bike course. (She’s the best, I know.) Luckily, we drove it before I headed out on my bike; a wrong turn at the beginning of the route took us off the course, and my mom’s iPad saved the day.  Overall, the ride seemed relatively easy (famous last words, right?) and very forgiving for a newbie rider like me:  Its short distance (most sprint triathlons contain bike courses of 14-18 miles) and moderate terrain (only two true climbs) will hopefully make for a fast ride.  Plus, it contains some flat stretches, so I’ll be able to coast if I need to back off the pace.

2.  Pick up race packet at Syracuse Bicycle—check!

2.5.  Admire swag—check!

Not going to lie, I kept my fingers crossed that the Skinnyman swim caps would have fun designs, especially since the Cazenovia Triathlon ones were plain.  And check out this loot!  You can never have too many drawstring bags, and there were a few sample products I’ll actually use inside.  I’m excited to try the Chia Running Food and the Tierra Farm organic trail mix.


3.  Repair small tears (again, sigh) in wetsuit—check!

The glamorous life of a triathlete.

4.  Paint nails to match swim cap—check!

For the Cazenovia Triathlon, I thought it would be fun if my nails matched my swim cap, so I painted them green.  And since I have purple nail polish, I figured I might as well continue this tri tradition.

5.  Organize and pack tri gear—check!

Last time, I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to bring a change of clothes—oops. (But since I live less than one mile away from the race site, it wasn’t a big deal.) Tomorrow, however, I will not want to make the 40-minute drive home while wearing sweaty gear, so I’m bringing a clean bra, t-shirt, and pair of shorts (plus my “emergency kit,” which contains deodorant, body spray, and antibacterial hand gel).

6.  Check bike and pump tires—check!

Everything felt A-OK on yesterday’s ride, and I pumped my tires this afternoon; I’ll check them again tomorrow morning.

7.  Get quarters for parking meters—check!

Street parking will be available, and after checking the village of Skaneateles’ website, it looks like I’ll have to pay to park tomorrow even though it’s a Saturday.  Boo.

8.  Set wake-up call—check!

It seems like yesterday I was a young college sophomore whose night on the town ended at 3 a.m.  And that’s when I’ll be waking up to do a triathlon tomorrow morning.  Things sure have changed.

Tell me about your race-day preparations.  Do you take care of everything ahead of time, or do you complete things the morning-of?

Skinnyman Triathlon Bike Course Changed—Again

Hiya, friends!  I hope your final week of summer (wow!) is going great so far.  Let’s zip through some food highlights because I have important news to share:  Remember how race directors changed Saturday’s Skinnyman Triathlon bike course? (They created an alternate route due to road construction, which is totally understandable.) Well, the route has been changed, yet again.  More on this in a second.


Yesterday’s eats were uneventful—another 2-ingredient pancake for breakfast and a leftover black bean enchilada for lunch—except for evening fare.  My sister Margaret returns to college on Friday to begin her sophomore year (yikes!), so we went out to celebrate her second-to-last-dinner at The Brewster Inn.


We were running late, so I didn’t snap any original pictures of the restaurant.


I haven’t been to the Brewster in two or three years, so it was nice to revisit.  The lively atmosphere, coupled with good wine and great company, made for a fun meal.  Since all entrees came with house salads, I upgraded mine to an avocado and lobster creation.

Maybe the phrase “work of art” would be more accurate.  Check out this presentation!  And yes, standing tall in the middle is crispy piece of bacon.  Delicious!  For my main meal, I ordered the cedar smoked salmon, which came with an English cucumber salad and mashed potatoes.

I order seafood whenever I eat out, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a fish snob. (Probably because it’s my go-to meal when I’m cooking for myself.) With that said, this salmon tasted outstanding—cooked perfectly and lacked the super sweetness I was anticipating. (Its sauce contained maple syrup.) I also had a few nibbles of Margaret’s vegetarian-friendly ravioli (“orgasmically good” in her words) and Ellen’s chicken francaise (super tender), and overall, our meals were delicious.


I just can’t get enough of two-ingredient pancakes.

The original version (one medium banana and one large egg) doesn’t have a lot of staying power, so I added a scoop of Jay Robb protein powder.  Adding another dry ingredient makes the flapjack less moist (and dries it out, big surprise), but it’s nothing some blueberries and PB can’t fix.  In the future, I might try adding an egg white or maybe a little almond milk for more moisture.

Skinnyman Triathlon Bike Course

OK, onto the bike course update.  On Monday, I learned about the first route change, which occurred due to road construction.  After hearing this news, several members of the CNY Triathlon Club Facebook group biked the new course and shared their insight with the digital community:  It contained lots of climbing, and overall, it was a very technical course that would challenge newbies (gulp); one experienced triathlete even said it would be impossible to take advantage of the two downhills because both were followed by hot-turns.

(Everyone suggested riding these portions very conservatively and feathering the brakes, or breaking lightly, on the pitch down.  “Make sure your front and rear brakes work,” one triathlete wrote.)  Overall, everyone who rode the route encouraged others to do so before race-day, and they also urged all participants to exercise extreme caution; several club members predicted this technical course would lead to more crashes than usual.  Here’s an elevation map of the 15-mile course.

Luckily, race officials heard from triathletes who practiced the course and decided to revise it again.  Basically, the hilly and technical four-mile section was cut out, so the course now looks like this:

Much better!  Everyone in the Facebook group seems very pleased with these changes, and I have to hand it to the race officials:  They listened to feedback and responded accordingly.  Granted, I know this can’t happen for every triathlon, but it says a lot that organizers were open to input so close to race-day.

Anyway, I’m off to test-ride the course, and then I’m heading to Syracuse Bicycle to pick up my race packet.  Have a great day!

An Unexpected Change

When I logged into Facebook yesterday afternoon and headed over to the CNY Triathlon Group, a post about this Saturday’s Skinnyman Triathlon caught my attention:  Race officials revised the bike course.  I immediately clicked to the race homepage for more information.

I also received an email last night.

The new route spans 15 miles, making it longer than the original 14-mile one.  After studying the route and plugging it into MapMyRun.com, I’m a little nervous.  Well, there’s good news and bad news.  The good?  I feel much more comfortable on the saddle now than I did one month ago for the Cazenovia Triathlon.  During my training for this tri, I’ve also made biking a priority, and I’m definitely a stronger cyclist.  The bad?  It looks like the Skinnyman ride will be more challenging than the Cazenovia course.  Not only is it longer, but it also has tougher climbs.  Here’s a look at the Cazenovia (top) and Skinnyman (bottom) elevation profiles.


According to my training plan, Thursday’s 45-minute bike will mostly likely be my last workout before race-day, so I’m going to make the trip to Skaneateles and ride the course. (Taking a “test drive” to the area will also give me peace of mind; there’s nothing worse than getting lost and arriving late to an event.) Although it will take more than 45 minutes, riding the route before the race will let me take note of the terrain changes, practice the climbs, and ultimately develop a logical game plan.

Mid-Afternoon Snack

Around 4:30 p.m., I mixed a bowl of blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, and Seitenbacher muesli.

It hit the spot!


It’s been a while since we had spicy shrimp with cilantro and lime, so I was pumped to see it back in the rotation.

And the obligatory bowl of frozen grapes.

Workout – Bike-Run Brick

Since I’m back to bricks, this morning’s double workout included a 9-mile bike around Cazenovia Lake, followed by a 30-minute run.  It looked like the skies would downpour at any time, but luckily, the ride was rain-free.  I did, however, get to practice cycling in somewhat slick conditions; it rained last night and early this morning, so the roads weren’t completely dry.  Like I learned during the Iron Girl Chalk Talk at Syracuse Bicycle, I deflated my tires a bit and stayed away from painted lines on the road.

Before heading out on the run, I slipped on my calf compression sleeves—I totally forgot to put them on for the bike ride—and wow, they made a world of difference.  Granted, it was still challenging running on less than fresh legs, but my calves felt OK.


As I neared the end of my run, I started brainstorming breakfast ideas. (Does anyone else do this?) Although I considered making a smoothie, I ultimately chose a three-ingredient pancake.

I combined one medium banana, one large egg, and one scoop of Jay Robb protein powder, mixed everything together, and cooked it on the griddle.  I also topped it with a little bit of PB and some blueberries.

Have you ever registered for a race that changed its course days before the event?  How did you handle it?

Back To Bricks

Hey, hey!  Is it really Monday and the last week of August?  Where has the summer gone?


Since I had a swim-bike brick on the docket, I fueled up with a “real meal” before working out.

Around 7 a.m., I toasted two Kashi waffles and added PB and banana slices, plus my second cup of coffee.

Workout – Swim and Bike Brick

With the Skinnyman Triathlon fast approaching, I’m squeezing in two efficient brick workouts before tapering for a few days.  First up was a 25-minute open-water swim (OWS), which ended up lasting about 15 minutes.  Wind and choppy water made for tough conditions—there were even white caps on the waves—and my mother-turned-spotter urged me to call it quits.  The two loops I completed challenged me more than my 45-minute swim on Saturday, so I wasn’t about to argue.  At the very least, I now have experience swimming in choppy water, but hopefully Saturday will bring triathlon-friendly weather.

For the past few days, there has been road construction along part of the Cazenovia Triathlon bike course, so I opted to bike around Cazenovia Lake twice for a total of 18 miles.  Aside from some flashbacks to the 4th of July 10-miler, it was a scenic and uneventful ride.

Post-Workout Snack

Did you know today is National Banana Lover’s Day?

To celebrate, I whipped up a banana smoothie.

One frozen banana, chia seeds, 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats, one tablespoon of flaxseed meal, one scoop of Jay Robb protein powder, and 1 cup of almond milk went into the blender.  It tasted good, but I missed the addition of some PB.


A few hours later, I started to assemble my midday meal.

One veggie burger topped with one scrambled egg and spinach, plus roasted carrots and red peppers.  Definitely a random bunch of items, but it tasted great.  I also had some cantaloupe for dessert.

What’s your favorite way to eat, prepare, or cook with bananas?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of August 26

Hey, everyone!  Can you believe it’s Sunday already?  Weekends always seem to go by too quickly.  Last night, my extended family—grandparents, aunts, and uncles—went to the Canal View for dinner.

We love going there with G&G, and it was nice to have the entire gang along. (We may have polished off the restaurant’s supply of chardonnay.)

On the workout front, I have a busy week ahead—t-minus seven days until the Skinnyman Triathlon!

Like last week, I will be using the Empire Tri Club sprint triathlon plan as a guide.  Technically, I’m supposed to be tapering, but I’ll feel better if I complete a couple of bricks (like swim-bike and bike-run).  With this in mind, here’s this latest edition of Write It Down, Do It Up!

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

Monday – 25-minute open-water swim (OWS); 45-minute bike (most likely the Cazenovia Triathlon course)

Tuesday – 25-minute bike (about half of the Cazenovia Triathlon course); 30-minute run

Wednesday – 30-minute OWS

Thursday – 45-minute bike

Friday – off or 15-minute OWS

Saturday – Skinnyman Triathlon

Sunday – off or short run

Do you have a race this week?  What are your training goals this week?