Tag Archives: Syracuse Bicycle

2014 Off-Season Triathlon Goals

So. It’s been a few weeks since my last triathlon of the 2014 season, which has given me time to reflect on my training and performance and develop a game-plan for the off-season.

First, I owe a huge thanks to my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and basically everyone I’ve interacted with these past eight months. There’s no way I would’ve been successful without help. Syracuse Bicycle hooked me up with a sweet Slice, and the guys at Zen Bikes took care of me when it came to maintenance and random questions and concerns. The Tailwind Endurance coaches were instrumental to my improvement on the bike, and obviously my Full Throttle Endurance coaches and teammates motivated and pushed me too. My coworkers and friends were incredibly supportive, and my family was my rock. So thank you, thank you!

2014-triathlon-off-season-goals-collage

From left to right: Getting dialed in at Syracuse Bicycle; pushing all the watts at Tailwind Endurance; hamming it up for the camera with my coaches; trying not to cry after my Girls’ Club colleagues/friends made me a card and t-shirt before Nationals; running a 4th of July 5-K with my dad.

Anyway, let’s talk about what’s going to happen from now until official training starts up in January 2015.

Swimming will become my recovery workout of choice. I’ll still get in the water once or twice each week, but I’m not trying to make gains. My swim improved this season (#wannabeswimmer), so as long as I start 2015 at a better spot than 2014, then I’m OK with backing off the volume. And honestly, those training hours would be better spent on another discipline.

Biking will still be a top priority. It would be crazy to back off the bike now—I’m finally starting to find my cycling legs! Ideally, I’ll get in the saddle three times each week, and as the weather gets colder, I’ll become a regular at Tailwind again. I want more watts!

Strength training will happen on a regular basis. During the winter, I was diligent about strength training thanks to “optional” sessions after our indoor cycling workouts. As the season progressed, though, it became less of a priority; with only so many training hours, something had to give—and it couldn’t be swimming, biking, or running. Anyway, I plan to strength train and do corework at least twice each week. Both will help across the disciplines, especially the corework in terms of the bike.

Running will become a top priority. This requires some explanation.

Last off-season, I focused on the bike, which needed to happen, and I made some serious gains. Case in point: The bike was my weakest discipline at 2013 Nationals; this year, it was my strongest. And this was noticeable during all my races: I’d work the swim and rock the bike—and then try to hang on and not get run down.

During some races, this strategy worked: at SoBe and Stamford, I was able to hold off girls because of my swim-bike combo. However, when I looked at final run times, there was a lot of room for improvement. When I couldn’t run down the second-place female at Hopkins (who beat me by 30 seconds), this further proved my run needed some attention. And at Nationals, I put time into girls and came off the bike 23rd, which was where I needed to be. But then I got run down.

This was a frustrating fact to accept, and one of my first thoughts upon finishing the race was, “My run has to get better.” I needed this wake-up call. I absolutely love biking, and if I didn’t get run down at Nationals, then I would probably spent the off-season pushing all the watts.

But I got run down.

So this brings me to an important announcement: The man, the myth, the legend Coach Pat—who founded Educated Running—will be doing my run programming. He’s a legit runner (he WON the Bear Mountain Half-Marathon this year), he’s an experienced coach, and he isn’t too shabby as a triathlete either. Basically, this is what he does—and I have no idea what I’m doing. (Full disclosure: I’ve know and work with Pat in real life.)

trifecta

Throwback to our days as models. Pat is on the right.

I’m not sure what is reasonable to expect in terms of progress during the next four months, but I do know it will be—well—four more months of specific, structured run training than I had last off-season. And I’m keeping the big picture in mind, too: This training block will set the tone for 2015—and beyond.

Bottom line, I’m super excited to start training with Coach Pat. Wait, I’m excited to run? Guess I’m making progress already.

My First Triathlon Bike

The secret’s out:  While home for Thanksgiving, I visited Syracuse Bicycle three times in two days and officially joined the speed club—hello, 2013 Cannondale Slice 5 105!

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Sigh, what a beauty.

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Basically since the start of the season, my coaches have been on me to get a time trial/triathlon bike (TT).  Even though I knew this purchase would be necessary, I waited.  The last thing I wanted to do was learn how to ride a new-to-me bike during the season, and plus, in terms of finances, it was advantageous to hold off until after Kona; that’s when older (2013 and 2014) models go on sale.

Anyway, I didn’t blog about what happened behind the scenes of my bike selection process, so here’s a summary.

Researching, aka envying others’ bikes

Yes, I love my road bike.  Yes, I know it’s about the engine and not the car.  But I experienced some serious bike envy this year—especially at Age Group Nationals.

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Lots of staring occurred, but I didn’t truly start my research until October.  At first, it was informal:  simply talking to teammates and coworkers, asking which bike they ride, and figuring out why they chose it.  From these conversations, I slowly developed a passing knowledge for components and started to read up on a few brands.  By the time I went home for Thanksgiving, I had narrowed down my selection:  I wanted an entry-level ride, preferably a 2013 Trek or Cannondale (but I wouldn’t say no to Felt or Cervelo).

So why entry level?  At this point in my triathlon career, I don’t need the latest and greatest in terms of bike technology; and because I’m relatively inexperienced, the difference between entry-level components (like Shimano 105s, which are perfectly fine) and those that cost more (like Dura-Ace) probably wouldn’t be incredibly noticeable.  Not to mention I have an unexplainable fear of riding a bike that’s too good for me.

With this in mind, I wanted a bike with a baller frame; down the road, I reasoned, upgrades to components could be made.

And why Trek or Cannondale?  I ride a Trek roadie, so trying the brand’s Speed Concept TT made sense.  And my coworkers talked up Cannondale’s Slice big time.  Not that it matters, but four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington rode a Slice.

More researching, aka taking what the defense gave me

With my TT options narrowed down, the next step included calling Syracuse Bicycle, explaining my situation, and seeing which models would be available.  Over the phone, we determined a 54 cm TT frame would most likely fit. (I’m 5’10” and ride a 56 cm road bike.) It’s an odd size to begin with, and since the shop held its annual winter clearance sale, a lot of inventory had been cleared out to make room for 2015 models.  There was one option:  the 2013 women’s Slice 5 105.  Bingo!  I read up more on this bike specifically and knew that barring some sort of catastrophe, this would be my new ride.

Seeing the Slice

On Friday morning, I brought my cycling shoes and shorts to Syracuse Bicycle and hoped to test ride the Slice.  In typical Central New York fashion, we got a ton of snow, so riding around the parking lot wouldn’t work.  Another factor I failed to consider included the seat post; unlike road bikes where you can adjust its height, seat posts need to be cut on TT bikes.  This combination meant it wouldn’t be possible to get a good feel for the bike before buying it.

This made me uneasy at first, but I remembered a handful of my teammates and coworkers bought their bikes without riding them. (Maybe this is normal?) And this would’ve been my first time on a tri bike, so it would’ve felt awkward anyway.

At this point, I relied on my research:  Cannondale makes one of the most versatile, high-quality frames on the market, so getting fitted and dialed in wouldn’t be a problem.  I also heard Cannondale bikes work really well for riders with long legs.  And on a vain note, the red matches my team race kit—and we know it’s all about looking good in race photos.

Fitting

With the bike purchased (a big thank you goes out to Santa for my Christmas present for the next five years!), the next step included getting a general fit.  As cyclists and triathletes know, there are several in-depth fitting processes options (which I eventually plan to do), but a general fit offers a good starting point.

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First, the seat post was cut, and then David, the fitting technician, determined how much the aerobars needed to be cut.  The cockpit area—including the aerobar width—fit perfectly, which David said is very rare.  During this process, I swapped the stock saddle for the Bontrager Hilo RXL, and pedals, a water bottle cage, and mount for my Garmin 310XT were also installed. (Although I’m thinking about getting a straight-up bike computer so I’m not fumbling around in T2.)

Riding

TBD—the Slice still lives in CNY, but my parents plan to bring it down to New York City in a few weeks.  When it arrives, I’ll put on my trainer tire and start riding it during CompuTrainer classes.  The sooner I can become comfortable in this more aggressive position, the better—because my first race of the 2014 season is only four months away!

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

Greetings, friends, and happy belated Thanksgiving!  I hope you had a great holiday filled with family, food, and fun times.

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Like last year, we hosted Thanksgiving and crammed welcomed 18 people at our table.  We also cut down our Christmas tree and went to our annual family Yankee Auction.  Oh, and Santa came with me to Syracuse Bicycle to pick up an early Christmas present.

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Just a sneak peek—more details to come!

Anyway, after a few days home in Central New York, I returned to New York City yesterday—and it’s back to the work and workout grind.  Here’s what I did last week:

Monday – a.m. run and strength train

Winter has arrived.  During this run, I wore my tights, baselayer, and gloves, but still struggled to warm up in the 30-ish-degree weather.  For better or worse, I splurged on fleece-dusted tights; I reasoned I’d wear them all the time.

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

As I’ve written time and time again, I need to get my act together in terms of the bike.  Although time in the saddle is better than no time at all, spinning on my CycleOps and doing a CompuTrainer class aren’t equal.  Anyway, as the racing season drew to a close, one of my teammates told me about Tailwind Endurance, a training facility that offers cycling and swimming classes.  A handful of my coworkers have taken Tailwind classes, so I signed up for my first one—and loved it.  Yes, it totally kicked my butt.  Yes, it ended up being a sufferfest.  But I really, really liked it.  I hope to make this class a weekly, hard/lactate-threshold ride and supplement it with easy spinning on the trainer.

Wednesday – a.m. swim

So I sort of swam, but mostly focused on practicing my flip turns.  Hey, the offseason is the time to do it, right?

Thursday – a.m. run

Yes, I registered for the turkey trot, but when my cousin MB invited me to run with her, I changed my plans.  The three of us ran easy for an hour or so, and it was a great way to offset the inevitable Thanksgiving “carbo-loading.”

Friday – a.m. run

Those fleeced-lined tights came in handy—another easy hour-long run in the tundra.

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But really.  Look at all the snow!

Saturday – off

Sunday – off

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

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

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class

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

Thursday – a.m. run; p.m. indoor bike trainer

Friday – a.m. run and strength train

Saturday – off/a.m. Pilates

Sunday – easy a.m. run

How did you stay active during Thanksgiving?

The Best Seat in the House

Friends, I did my type A/multitasking self so proud yesterday afternoon.  I watched the Syracuse basketball game (the Orange won—woohoo!) while I cycled for one hour on my new CycleOps Fluid² trainer.  Talk about the best seat in the house.

Almost as good as a courtside seat, right?

Even though this may seem like a simple process—set up the trainer, hop on the bike, and pedal away—getting a bike trainer has been an involved process. (For those who aren’t familiar, a bike trainer functions similarly to a dreadmill treadmill; it lets you cycle on your own bike indoors.)

As a budding cyclist and new triathlete, I knew getting a trainer this off-season was non-negotiable.  After all, I couldn’t chill out and watch winter pass without biking regularly.  And even though I have a fairly high tolerance for running outside in cold weather, I’ve discovered that riding in the elements boasts its own challenges (mainly expert handling).  Basically, it was get a trainer or bust.

When it came time to select a trainer (and “Santa” agreed it would be an early Christmas present), I did some research, but I mostly relied on MB to steer me in the right direction.  Like treadmills and running sneakers, many models exist, so I didn’t really know where to start.  And just as you have a sales associate help select a ‘mill and fit you for running sneakers, I couldn’t get this gizmo without help.  Ultimately, I went with the Fluid².

Here’s how I see it:  Trainers aren’t exactly cheap, and getting one is definitely a triathlon investment.  However, since I plan to use it quite often for the foreseeable future, I wanted a high-quality product that would last a long time.  Basically, even the entry models have hefty price tags, so paying a little more for a higher-quality product makes sense.  Plus, everyone I talked to said the trainer is not the place to pinch triathlon pennies.  At MB’s suggestion, I went with the Fluid², which has a life-time warrantee, and since Syracuse Bicycle is hosting a trainer sale, that reduced the price a bit, too.

Anyway, when my family visited this weekend, they brought the trainer, and I got right to work setting it up.

After spending 15 minutes staring at the instructions and struggling to decipher them, I turned to YouTube for help.  When it comes to functional activities—whether it’s doing a spin move on the basketball court or trying a new swim drill—I’m a visual learner, so I knew watching a how-to video would be more effective than trying to read Russian directions.  Thankfully, I found these two gems and set up the trainer in less than five minutes.

Woohoo!

With the trainer assembled, there was no way I could let it sit there and not test it out.  And conveniently, Syracuse played yesterday at 4 p.m.—perfect time for a test ride.  Before tip-off, I embarked on assembly part two:  attaching my bike.  Again, I took to the Internet and found an instructional video on the CycleOps website.  I broke a sweat and got my hands dirty, but the turning, lifting, balancing, and twisting paid off—tada!

Cycling while spectating proved to be great multitasking, and it also ended up being an effective way to spin off my game-time nerves and frustrations. (When it comes to Syracuse basketball, I am totally that girl who cheers, yells, and screams.  Just ask anyone who’s ever watched a game with me.) Instead of shuddering after each unforced turnover or sloppy play, I simply pedaled harder and added gear.  Sixty minutes on the saddle flew by!

Before riding again, though, I needed to get one more item—a trainer wheel.  I followed this lovely lady’s suggestion and went to Bicycle Habitat this morning.  Success!

Time to attach it!  Gulp.  Wish me luck!

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?

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!

Seven Things

Hey, everyone—Happy Thursday!  I have a ton of information to share today, so I figured a list would keep everything clear and concise. (More for my benefit, really!)  Here we go!

1.  My mom and I went to Cantina Laredo for lunch yesterday.

I hoped our journey to the mall would lead us there!  Chips and salsa to start.

I ordered the vegetarian and gluten-free avocado enchiladas.

They were just OK; nothing to write home about.

2.  I purchased my blog domain:  Fitnessandfrozengrapes.com.

 

For $18, plus an additional $8 for “private registration,” it’s well worth the price tag.

3.  I have a big-girl interview in New York City next week for a paid editorial internship at a diet and fitness publication—woohoo!

Gerard Butler, feel free to crash on my couch anytime.

4.  Today’s tempo run kicked my booty.

 

On the bright side, I definitely earned tomorrow’s rest day.

5.  A cool bowl of overnight 60-plus-minute oats made it better.

I let the mixture—half of a banana (ate the first half before running), strawberries, Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds—sit in the fridge while I trudged along on the dreadmill.

6.  My bike underwent its first tune-up, and I picked it up at Syracuse Bicycle.

Don’t let the empty-looking parking lot fool you; I strategically planned my visit to avoid both the morning and lunchtime rushes, so I arrived at 11:40 a.m.  In addition to the tune-up, I also asked if the guys could install a second water bottle cage and a wireless computer, the Bontrager Trip 5W.

Because I’m trying to be as legit as possible; fake it ‘til you make it, right?

Plus a pleasant surprise—regripped handlebars!

So long, dirty and sweaty bike handlebar tape!

7.  When in doubt, make a salad.

Today’s blend included spinach, celery, carrots, apple slices, red pepper, and a homemade black bean burger.

Yummy!

Your turn:  Share seven things!

(Not Going) Back To School

During my run this morning, I spotted bright yellow buses, crossing guards wearing reflective vests, and nervous and equally excited kids stationed by their mailboxes.  You know what this means—for the Cazenovia School District, today was the first day of school.  As older students walked to school and parents took pictures of their young kids climbing onto school buses, it hit me:  This is the first time since kindergarten I’m not going back to school.

I knew this was coming; Labor Day has passed, classes at HWS began last week—and the cyberburst of tweets and Facebook statuses started about a week before—but seeing these youngins made everything—elementary, middle, high school, and college—come full circle.  Graduate school might be in my future, but I’m not beginning another academic year now, which feels right.

Dinner

For the final night of summer, we made use of the grill.

Super simple but delicious grilled chicken and roasted veggies.

Workout – Running

My not-going-back-to-school moment occurred during a 50-minute run around town.  Even though my iPod died about five minutes in, it felt great to run on fresh legs, which has become a luxury thanks to triathloning.  Strength training has fallen to the wayside recently, so back at home, I did some upper-body work like bicep curls, shoulder presses, and pushups before stretching.

Breakfast

I started to crave overnight oats during my run, but I didn’t prep any last night.  Making 20-minute oats was still an option, and plus, knowing I had to wait gave me an incentive to make use of my downtime and lift.

I ate half of a banana before my run, so I add it to the mixture along with blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, cinnamon, and chia seeds. (And I thought of you, Kelsey!)

Starting at 10 a.m., I ran some errands—went to a doctor’s appointment, dropped off my bike at Syracuse Bicycle, and stopped at Natur-Tyme and The Vitamin Shoppe for more Jay Robb protein powder.  Good news:  I’m fine, my bike will be ready tomorrow, and the Vitamin Shoppe has super-sized protein powder packets.

Bring on the protein smoothies!

Lunch

With leftover chicken and roasted veggies sitting in the fridge, lunch was a no-brainer.

“Refrigerator salad” included the fridge finds, plus spinach, carrots, and celery.

Do you remember your first day of school?  Which school year was your favorite?

Skinnyman Triathlon Checklist

Thursday

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.

Friday

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?

Iron Girl Chalk Talk at Syracuse Bicycle

Hiya, friends!  Happy Friday!  I hope your day is off to a great start.  I’m going to try to write this post while watching the USA Women’s Soccer team battle New Zealand; multitasking at its finest, right?

(source)

Iron Girl Chalk Talk

One week ago, I received an email from the CNY Triathlon Club President that detailed two upcoming Syracuse Bicycle-sponsored events, one of which included the Iron Girl Chalk Talk.

Although I’m not participating in this Sunday’s race, I figured attending this information session would still be beneficial.  Sure, the discussion would center on Iron Girl-specific tips, but I hoped there would also be some general advice; even if I learned only one thing from the workshop, I would leave better prepared for the Cazenovia Triathlon.  Anyway, I arrived at Syracuse Bicycle last night to a packed shop.

I snapped this photo about 10 minutes before the talk began, and women continued to trickle in up until 7 p.m. and after.  There were enough seats for about 40 or 50, and more women stood in the back and sat on the floor.  And Syracuse Bicycle sure knows how to throw a party information session—lots of finger foods, like chips and salsa and veggies and dip (and a few dessert options), plus a great variety of adult beverages.  Sipping wine and talking about triathlons sounds like heaven to me!

Trish Dugan and Reem Jishi, both USA Triathlon coaches, walked us through packet pickup, transition setup, and what to expect on race-day.  Here are some tips and tricks I picked up:

  • When you set up your bike in transition, make a mental note of where your rack is located.  This means counting other racks, finding a landmark, or doing something similar to ensure you can easily find your bike coming out of the swim.
  • After setting up, it’s a good idea to walk the all the route—walk into transition via the swim entrance, walk out of transition via bike exit, walk in transition via bike entrance, walk out of transition via run exit, and walk in transition via finish.
  • For taller triathletes, Trish suggested affixing our bike number underneath the saddle.  Since we’re taller, our saddle will be higher, and there should be room for the number.  Although placing the number on the bike frame isn’t a big deal, putting it under the saddle ensures we won’t have to worry about it hitting our legs.
  • In the event of overnight rain, remove your odometer and use a garbage bag to cover your bike’s gears.
  • Prior to the race, set your bike in a low gear, especially if there’s an incline. (The Cazenovia Triathlon bike exit contains a huge hill, so I’ll want to put my bike in an easy gear.)
  • If the weather forecast calls for rain on race-day, then you should lower your tire pressure.  In wet conditions, lower pressure makes the wheels “stickier,” which helps the tires better grip the road.  Also, avoid any painted lines; water makes them slippery.
  • Trish mentioned her ABC Checklist:  air pressure; brakes; chain and cassette.  We should check all of these components on race-day before leaving transition.

The discussion ended around 8:30 p.m., and I stayed at the shop until 9 p.m. to watch a tire change demo.  Watching the process makes it seem less daunting, but it’s one thing to observe and another to actually do it.  I’m just praying to the bike gods I don’t get a flat during the race!  Ha.

Overall, I had a great time–it was nice to see some familiar faces–and I learned some valuable tips that I’ll definitely use on race-day.  Thanks for hosting the event, Syracuse Bicycle!

Have you ever been to a sport-specific information session?  Did you find it helpful?  If you haven’t attended one, would you consider going?