Tag Archives: triathlon gear

Currently

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I have a busy day ahead of me—a long shift at the running store and shoe class tonight—so let’s keep it simple with a survey.  Sound like a plan?

Current Book(s):  Aside from my pre-bedtime magazine reading that includes Triathlete and LAVA magazines (#trigeek), I’m also working my way through Savor:  Mindful Eating, Mindful Life for book club!

runners-world-triathlete-magazine-savor-book-club

Most nights, I get through one chapter before falling asleep.

Current Music:  My most recent workouts have been sans music, but here three of my favorite high-energy jams.

“Can’t Hold Us” by Mackelmore

“My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy

“Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch

Current Guilty Pleasure:  My Paleo chocolate chip banana bread.

paleo-chocolate-chip-banana-bread

It may have disappeared in less than four days.  Just sayin’.

Current Nail Color:  No polish right now, but you better believe my nails will be red for the Mighty Montauk Triathlon!

Current Drink:  Water.  So exciting, I know.  My second cup of coffee will happen momentarily, though.

Current Food:  Post-ride (during which I got “called up” to ride with the ladies on the “racing team!”), I ate my standard spinach and egg white breakfast sandwich.  However, four Central Park loops (about 24 miles) means breakfast number two is only a matter of time.  It’s super humid today, so a smoothie sounds perfect.

Current Favorite Show:  Well, you know I’m obsessed with Dan Stevens, and I’m always down for some Downton Abbey.

the-heiress-broadway-dan-stevens

I also get sucked into Say Yes To The Dress and Sex and the City marathons.

Current Needs/Wish List/Indulgence:  I’m combining these three because they’re connected.  Since I only have one team cycling kit, I need another; therefore, it’s been on my wish list.  And the online team store reopened, and even though this may not qualify as a typical indulgence, I treated myself to some new pink gear.

fte-pink-cycling-gear

I even opted for the (unpictured) bib shorts—who would’ve thought?  Ha!

Current Blessing:  My supportive and loving (and goofy!) family.

jersey-boys-broadway-nyc-family

Hopefully they will visit again soon!

Current Outfit:  One thing I love about working at a running store?  A laid-back dress code.  I usually wear jeans and a race or JackRabbit t-shirt.  And sneakers of course.

Current Excitement:  My big-girl promotion still makes me giddy (I have my first conference call today–ahhh!), and I’m also counting down the days until Montauk.  Only 17 days until race day!

Please play along in the comments!

Lock Laces Review

As a triathlete, I constantly think about efficiency—not only in terms of swimming, biking, and running, but also transitioning as quickly as possible from one sport to the next.  You’ll never see me walking to transition 1 (T1) or hanging out in transition 2 (T2).  In the words of my coach:  “Get to transition, do what you need to do, and get the hell out.”  He’s a master of transitions, and this part of a race lets aggressive triathletes gain time on their opponents—if you have the right gear.  So when Lock Laces offered to send me a pair of bungee-style laces designed for quick transitions, I immediately said yes.

lock-laces

Available in a variety of colors, Lock Laces can not only match or complement your sneakers, but they also ensure ease in terms of putting on and taking off your sneaks.

red-lock-laces

I love these red ones because they match my Sauconys and team racing kit.

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I’ve been using Lock Laces for a few months, so I’ve had the opportunity to wear them for regular runs, brick workouts, and actual multisport events like Nautica South Beach.  Transitions can be so discombobulating—where’s my spot?  Wait, it was by the tree, right?  Where’s that tree …—so it’s important to streamline the process of switching gear.  And taking one step out of the equation—lacing up your sneakers—can make a huge difference.  If you’re a triathlete, then you need to be rocking speed laces, and these Lock Laces work great for me.

Full disclosure:  Lock Laces contacted me and offered a sample of their product in return for a blog post.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

What are some of your non-negotiable items of gear?

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?

All in a Day’s Work

Hiya, friends!  Did you have a good Saturday?  In true type-A fashion, I spent the day taking care of all possible triathlon preparations.  After taking Zelda on a walk, I fixed a few wetsuit rips.

I’m not sure if wetsuits will be allowed tomorrow, but the tears need to be repaired either way.  My first attempt at wetsuit repair didn’t go super smoothly, but today, I felt like an Aquaseal aficionado.  If this whole digital health and fitness writing plan doesn’t work, I might have a promising neoprene-fixing career ahead of me.

Lunch

When lunchtime rolled around, I put last night’s dinner leftovers to good use.

With spinach as a base, I added teriyaki tofu and roasted veggies, plus some raw celery and carrots.  There’s no such thing as too many veggies, right?

After lunch—and once the women’s race walking competition concluded—I continued my race-day preparations.  I got all my gear together.

And then neatly organized it in my bag.

Even though I’ll double- and triple-check it tomorrow morning, it gives me peace of mind packing the day before.  Next, I painted my nails green to match my swim cap.

They also complement the accent color in my tri shirt.

I’m not going to be breaking any course records tomorrow, so I might as well have fun with it, right?  Finally, I checked my tires’ air pressure and pumped ‘em up.

Success!

Some triathletes wait until the morning to add air, but I won’t be able to fall asleep without knowing my tires are good to go.  I’ll also check them when I set up in transition, and unless they deflate 10 pounds overnight, I won’t be messing around with the air pump.

Dinner

Since I’m looking at a 4 a.m. wake-up tomorrow, tonight’s dinner was early and simple–leftovers to the rescue!

Rice and beans with a handful of wilted spinach.  Delicious and simple.

Have a great night!

Pump It Up

At last night’s CNY Triathlon Club training series—during which I finished my first unofficial sprint tri!—I was lucky enough to meet Tim, who not only inflated my droopy tires, but also showed me how to work a bike pump like a pro.  Triathletes really are the best.  However, I can’t mooch off friendly athletes forever, so I went to Syracuse Bicycle today to get a floor pump of my own. (Inadvertent reference to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.)

Syracuse Bicycle

After taking my younger sister to the dentist (and missing this morning’s Women on Wheels Ride, which ended up being cancelled due to potential thunderstorms), I headed to the shop around 11 a.m.  I’d like to think I was smooth enough to purposely miss the 10 a.m. rush; the store was eerily quiet, but the lack of congestion made it easier to navigate the shelves and talk pumps with Jim, who helped me pick out the Bontrager Charger.

When I talked with Tim last night, he advised not to skimp on the pump, and Jim said as long as I don’t get a “food club” model, then I’ll be fine.

And now that I know the tires’ optimal inflation range, hopefully this will make the task somewhat easier.

Here’s a recap of today’s eats.

Breakfast

The picture I snapped thing morning didn’t turn out well, but I repeated Sunday’s breakfast of two Kashi waffles with PB and banana slices.

Lunch

Once my sister and I arrived home from running errands, I baked some tofu and carrot fries to incorporate into my meal.

Yesterday’s open-faced sandwhich was good, but a salad was calling my name—spinach, carrots, celery, and baked tofu, plus carrot fries.  I also ate an apple for dessert.

Afternoon Snack

Tina posted a delicious-looking banana and peanut butter smoothie recipe a couple days ago, and I tried it today.

In the mix:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 (heaping) tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • shake of cinnamon

Dinner

Spicy Shrimp with Lime and Cilantro has been a go-to recipe this summer.

Plus some frozen grapes for dessert.

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.

Clipping In and Out of ‘Clipless’ Pedals

In the past month, I’ve become more comfortable and confident while riding, and since the Cazenovia Triathlon is less than one month away, I figured it’s time to transition to “clipless” pedals and cycling shoes. (“Clipless” is a really deceiving term; a cyclist actually clips in to “clipless” pedals.”) According to REI.com, this “clipless” shoe-pedal combination offers “unmatched control with a minimum amount of your pedaling energy lost before it reaches the rear wheel.”  Plus, as someone who used to ride with my cross-training sneakers, I think riders rocking this combo automatically look more legit.  Or at the very least, more legit than me!  Ha.

(source)

Yesterday, I arrived at Syracuse Bicycle a little after 5 p.m. to get “clipless” pedals and cycling shoes.  First, Matt and Jim explained the difference between cycling (made for general riding) and triathlon shoes (designed without a tongue and have a wide opening so triathletes can quickly put on and remove shoes during transitions).  Both guys recommended cycling shoes, which made a lot of sense:  Since I’m a new triathlete who isn’t concerned about shaving 10 seconds off my transition time–if this were the case, then triathlon shoes would be my pick–cycling shoes will work; I can wear these shoes for doing triathlons and going out on longer bike rides, so they’re more versatile.  After getting my feet measured and trying on a few pairs, I chose the Apeckx Giro shoes.

Here’s a fun fact:  Women’s cycling shoes go up to size 41, and since I measured a size 44, I had to get men’s shoes.

Selecting “clipless” pedals was next, and the process wasn’t as involved as picking shoes; Matt and Jim simply showed me which ones would work with my shoes (they were also the ones they usually recommend), so I went with the Look Keo Classic pedals.

Finally, it was time to practice clipping in and clipping out.  As Jim assembled the new pedals and set up my bike on the trainer, he explained the basics:  clip in with the right foot first, then push off and start to glide; drag the left foot over the pedal, press down, and there will be a definite click, which means you’re clipped in.  Unclipping is a little counterintuitive:  before breaking, you rotate your left ankle to clip out, then brake before coming to a stop.  Easier said than done, right?  Above all, Jim said as long as I’m moving, I’m OK.  Stopping while being clipped in is the problem.  With my bike hooked up to the trainer, I practiced clipping and unclipping out for 10 minutes.  It was challenging at first to clip out my left foot (maybe because I’m right-handed?).  Then we moved to the parking lot, and I practiced clipping and unclipping while biking.  I am happy to report I did not crash once!  Jim suggested I find an empty parking lot, stretch of sidewalk, or any zero-traffic area and continue practicing, which I did this afternoon.

This unassuming empty parking lot belongs to Cazenovia’s Burton Street Elementary School.  It’s crazy to think I played high school field-hockey on the grass to the left four years ago.

Anyhoodle, I biked countless laps and spent 15 minutes practicing clipping and unclipping my left foot.  Once I became more comfortable, I worked on unclipping my left foot and stopping, and then starting to pedal again and re-clipping the same foot.  After 30 minutes, the process didn’t seem 100 percent natural, but it also wasn’t totally foreign either.  I’m planning to head out tomorrow and practice a bit more.

For those who ride, how long did it take you to get used to clipping in and out?

Finding a Wetsuit, Take Two

Remember that time I tried to buy a wetsuit?  Remember how I walked away empty-handed and covered in sweat?  Well, not this afternoon—I am happy to report that Carrie not only got on the wetsuit without sweating up a storm (there was some sweating involved, though), but she also walked away with a winner!  Carrie: 2, Wetsuit: 1.  Yahtzee!

Fleet Feet

I walked into Fleet Feet, aka my second home (which isn’t a bag thing!) with a definitive plan:  I knew exactly which suit I needed to try on, and since I now consider myself a rookie-no-longer in wetsuit dressing, the process went fairly smoothly.  First, I applied Bodyglide on “exposed skin,” or skin the wetsuit would touch directly.

Triathletes apply this balm on their legs, arms, shoulders, and back like deodorant.  Essentially a skin lubricant, Bodyglide creates an invisible non-greasy barrier between the wetsuit and skin, thus protecting against rubbing, blisters, and chafing.  It also makes it a heck of a lot easier to strip off the suit after swimming.

Next, I put on Fleet Feet’s “wetsuit gloves” that would help me grab, pull, and smooth out the suit, and I slowly worked the suit up my left leg.  As soon as I had the suit over my calf, I knew it was the one.  Girls, you know how you get that feeling when you’re trying on your prom dress?  Runners, you know that feeling when you lace up soon-to-be-yours sneakers?  I could’ve taken the suit off and bought it immediately; I just knew it was my tri wetsuit.  Anyway, once the suit sat on my hip, I started working on the right leg.  So far, so good!

I slipped my left arm into the sleeve and used my gloved right hand to pull and smooth out the area.  Finally, I slid into the right sleeve, wiggled in, and admired my handiwork.

Women’s Z Force Zoot for the win!

Let’s shift gears and take a peak at today’s workout and eats.

Breakfast

After I drank two cups of coffee, I made a simple bowl of cereal around 8:30 a.m.

In the mix:

1/2 cup Fiber One Honey Clusters

1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean

two spoonfuls of chia seeds

almond milk

Workout

Around 12:30 p.m., I headed out for a 5.26-mile out-and-back run.  Overall, I did not run smart today:  I’m still sore from standing all day at the Syracuse Ironman 70.3, and I started way too fast. (Subconsciously, I think I was imagining I was one of the pro women triathletes!) My legs felt good for the first two and a half miles, but I couldn’t sustain the pace.  After, I did about 20 minutes of upper-body work and ab exercises.

On this week’s workout schedule, I also penciled in a swim for today, so I headed over to the YMCA after I bought my wetsuit.  Unfortunately, it was primetime for kids’ swimming lessons, and the youngins occupied all the lanes.  Rats.  I was experiencing such a wetsuit purchase-induced swimming high, too.

Lunch

Following my run, I had leftover salad plus red peppers from last night’s family dinner as an appetizer.

I also ate a bowl of rice and beans with spinach.

Mid-Afternoon Snacks

When I got home from the YMCA, I had a banana and Chobani yogurt.

Dinner

My parents and I enjoyed some clams as an appetizer.

For the main course, we had almond encrusted tilapia and roasted asparagus.

This is one of my go-to meals when I’m cooking for myself.

Enjoy your night, friends!

Wetsuit: 1, Carrie: 0

Today, I started to wage a war against the water component of a triathlon.  Last week’s 400m open water swim (OWS) at Jamesville Beach totally kicked my butt, and after taking time to lick my wounds, I’ve developed a game-plan and attempted to execute it.  Counterattack, here I come!

Step 1:  Buy a swimsuit.  Here’s my thinking:  If I can swim laps at the YMCA and build my stamina—ideally, I’d eventually like to be able to swim 600m comfortably—then I will be prepared for the OWS most triathlons boast.

I asked Emily, my swimmer friend and former housemate at HWS, which brands she recommends, and without hesitation, she told me to go for a Speedo or TYR.  During my attempts to wiggle into the Speedos, I started to lose my spirits.  I have a long torso, and none of the styles I tried on fit the right way.  The top of the suit barely covered my boobs!  And the body stretched tightly over the middle of my body; it didn’t feel “long enough.”

(source)

Dara Torres came to mind, and I couldn’t figure out how she could slip her 6’0” frame into one of these suits.

Fortunately, the TYR fit much better.

Thanks to Dick’s Sporting Goods, I won this round—success!

Step 2:  Buy a wetsuit.  After swimming laps and building stamina (see above), I should be prepared to perform relatively well during an official OWS.  In the hope of facilitating this goal—and to look legit, obviously—I need to invest in a wetsuit.  These skin-tight suits act as insulation and provide buoyancy, elevating the triathlete high enough in the water to enhance swim performance:  The higher the triathlete rises in the water, the less water resistance they encounter when swimming, and the faster they will swim overall.  And since the swim is hands-down my Achilles’ heel, I need all the help I can get.

Another day, another trip to my second home—Fleet Feet.  This men’s Zoot was the first wetsuit I tried on.  It fit really nicely—super snug, but not constricting—but I wasn’t completely sold on it because it’s sleeveless.  There are positives and negatives to sleeveless and full-sleeved suits, and I would rather be too hot swimming than too cold.  I also wanted to try on a comparable suit and compare the two.

The second suit was a disaster.  It was a women’s full-sleeved suit (I don’t remember the brand), and it took me at least 20 minutes to wiggle it on even with bodyglide and help from Lauren, a sales associate.  Not only did I sweat profusely—no, really, like Lauren went to get a paper towel for me—but it was also an unfruitful effort:  since I have a long torso, this particular women’s cut didn’t work on my body.  Rats.  Wetsuit: 1, Carrie: 0.  Luckily, Lauren said there would be two women’s full-sleeved Zoot suits in next week.  For my fellow triathletes, what type of wetsuit (sleeveless or full-sleeve) do you have?  Any brand(s) you recommend?

On a more positive note, today’s eats and workout:

Breakfast

Are you surprised?  Two Kashi waffles with crunchy PB and banana slices.

Workout

Around 11 a.m., I went for an easy 5.26-mile out-and-back run. (Thanks, MapMyRun, for the precision!) I didn’t wear a watch, but I roughly calculated my pace, which turned out to be about 8:00/miles; talk about ideal for an easy run.  When I got home, I did some upper-body work (standing bicep curls, lateral shoulder raises, standing military press, and bench press), stretched out, and did some ab exercises.

Lunch

We had leftovers from last night’s Father’s Day dinner, so I repurposed those foods and threw together a salad.

Buried underneath the spinach, there was chicken, one salt potato, about one quarter cup of roasted veggies, and some raisins to add a little sweetness.

I also had an apple with PB.

Snack

Before dinner, I ate a Chobani raspberry yogurt plus a few handfuls of grapes.

Dinner

Is there such a thing as too much grilling?

Didn’t think so.  Teriyaki salmon, polenta, and roasted mushrooms and green beans.

PS – Thank you, Kelly, for the Versatile Blogger Award/Nomination!  I’ve actually received this honor before, but thanks for the praise!

So Far, So Good

Good afternoon, all!  How’s your day so far?  I’ve tackled two of the three things on today’s to-do list.  After breakfast, I wiggled into my dad’s wetsuit.

Easier said than done.

I took a quick swim in the lake, and friends, I was winded after five minutes.

I have a feeling tonight’s triathlon training session will be the most challenging athletic event I’ve ever done (“survived” might be a more accurate word)—yikes!

Good:  My dad’s wetsuit works.  Bad:  Swimming 400m tonight will be tough.

Next, I headed to Syracuse Bicycle to pick up my Lexa SL!

Ain’t she a beaut?  Jim and I spent some time adjusting the bike, going over shifting, and talking about riding and triathloning.  He said not to worry too much about the swim because most serious triathletes have a background in running or cycling; the swim is the toughest portion, and it’s rare to find a swimmer who picks up both biking and running.  He suggested I swim slowly and conserve energy, and then pass people on the bike and run.  I also bought a helmet, bike shorts, and other accessories like a waterbottle cage and a tire changing kit.

Lunch

Once I arrived home, I used last night’s leftover tofu and made a huge spinach salad.

I also had some apple slices with PB.

This soon-to-be-triathlon-survivor (knock on wood) is off to take a nap.