Tag Archives: YMCA

Back in New York City

Greetings from New York City where Christmastime has arrived!

After being home in Central New York for Thanksgiving, I traveled back to the city yesterday afternoon.  What a sight to come back to, right?  I spotted these wreaths and trees on my walk to and from the YMCA this morning.

Even with the air smelling like pine trees, it just wasn’t the same as going to a local farm, cutting down a tree, and enjoying hot chocolate and apple fritters.

Going to Critz Farms on Sunday was so much fun!

Workout – Swimming

OK, for my fellow swimmers and triathletes, I have a pool dilemma.  At the Y, there’s a sign at each lane that designates speed (“slow,” “medium,” and “fast”), and I usually hop in the medium one.  During my last few trips, this lane has become more crowded, so I’ve been swimming in the slow lane because there are only two swimmers, tops. (“Crowded” is definitely a relatively term; I’m talking five or six people.) However, when we circle swim in the slow lane, I lap people over and over again, and I get super frustrated when there’s a swimmer coming from the opposite direction and I can’t pass immediately.  I guess my question is how many people would be too many per lane—does it make sense to join a crowded lane that fits my speed, or should I continue “balancing” the lanes and pick one with more room?


After my swim, I made a spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich for breakfast.

Remember my modified pancake fail at home?  It’s definitely the pan—look how great this turned out!


A few hours later, I made a salad.  I totally dropped the ball on Meatless Monday, so I had tempeh this afternoon.

After coating the block with a little EVOO, basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder, I baked it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

When you’re working out, do you like to have space on treadmills, ellipticals, etc.?  Or can you sweat next to someone else without a problem?  Ideally, I like a one- or two-treadmill cushion; without it, I end up “racing” the person next to me!  During yoga, I like to have a few feet between mats, especially when poses focus on arms; I have a longgg wingspan.

Still in Shock

Hi, friends!  First, thank you so much for your supportive comments on yesterday’s good news.  When I entered the 2013 Aquaphor New York City Triathlon lottery, I obviously crossed my fingers and toes, but I didn’t get my hopes up.  After all, the event caps at 3,000 triathletes, and since there were several ways to obtain a guaranteed entry, I didn’t think my chances were too favorable.  Honestly, I still can’t believe my luck because I’m probably one of the unluckiest people ever.

I took some time to enjoy the good news, and this morning marked an important mental shift:  no more “fartin’ around”—it’s time to get after it! (My high school basketball coach would probably roll his eyes because I’m both using and making fun of one of his signature phrases.)


Before my workouts, I toasted two Van’s Power Grains and slathered them with almond butter and banana slices.

Workout #1 – Swimming

Chelsea Piers is still out of commission, so I headed to the McBurney YMCA to swim.  The pool was packed this morning; each of the seven lanes (two “slow,” “medium,” and “fast” sections, plus one “multi-use”) contained at least three swimmers, but I hopped into a “medium” one and got to work.  I focused on kicking today because I tend to rely on my arms during the swim portion of triathlons; I’m all about saving my legs for the bike and run.  However, using my legs more effectively will help me become a more efficient in the water.  Plus, during the final 100m or so, it’s common for triathletes to surge and kick harder, which helps to break up lactate acid and ready legs for the bike.  Anyway, I drilled for 50 minutes and then headed home for my second sweat session.

Workout #2 – Biking

Even after yesterday’s trainer-tire drama, I still wanted to “spin out” my legs after swimming.  And conveniently, ESPN is broadcasting 24 straight hours of college hoops today (which equates to 16 games), so I setup another front row seat for the Harvard-UMass game. (The Harvard Scholars Crimson couldn’t hang with the Minutemen; final score was 67-64.)

Can’t beat it!  I also used a climbing block today. (It supports the front tire and makes for a more accurate road-riding/climbing simulation.)

Oh boy—biking with less-than-fresh legs on slight incline made for a sweaty, 30-minute workout.

Post-Workout Snack

As I stretched, I drank plenty of water, plus this vanilla shake from Premier Protein.

OK, I’m not a vanilla person, so I didn’t care for this flavor.  It tasted like French vanilla coffee creamer–too thick and too sweet.  Yes, I still polished off the entire thing, but I wouldn’t have it again.


I’m still making my way through some leftovers, so lunch came together quickly—tofu and chickpea curry with spinach.

I also snacked on some carrots and an apple.

Off to work on some freelance assignments!  Have a great Tuesday!

Is It December 1 Yet?

Happy Friday!  I want to talk about my off-season triathlon training, but I must first mention the epicness that was last night’s dinner—tofu and chickpea curry.

Since my first crock pot endeavor proved successful, I decided to put my 1-0 record on the line and try another set-it-and-forgot-it meal.  I basically followed this recipe, but made a few changes (left out the onions and used jarred ginger and coconut oil).  PS – Check out my friend Gabby’s Foodie Friday post!

Now onto my second favorite thing after food—triathlons.  As you may have noticed, I haven’t been to Chelsea Piers since Hurricane Sandy hit New York City.  Julie wrote about the complex last week, and basically, Sandy slammed it; the entire facility remains without power “due to severe damage to the electrical switchgear room.” (That’s what CP told members in an email.)


Overall, CP has kept its members in the loop via email, Facebook, and Twitter, and right now, its tentative reopening date is Dec. 1.  Which is almost one month away.  This stinks for a variety of reasons—no triathlon-specific workouts with Andrew, no time on the CompuTrainer, and no Full Throttle Endurance off-season training.  Even though I can somewhat fend for myself in terms of the bike and run (my parents are brining a trainer today!), I really need access to a pool this off-season, especially because I should be working diligently on my swim.  With that said, CP has negotiated reduced-rate memberships with nearby fitness facilities, and the McBurney YMCA also gave the nod to allow CP members access.  For free.  Yahtzee! (Well, except during peak hours during the evening.  There’s always a catch, right?) Since I haven’t reeked of chlorine been swimming in about three weeks, I figured there’s no time like the present to return to the pool.


Before heading to the Y, I ate a quick breakfast–Van’s Power Grains with almond butter and banana slices.


Workout – Swimming

I arrived at the Y around 8:40 a.m. and took care of some registration logistics.

After filling out a form with my contact information, the membership consultant made a copy of my driver’s license, and I received my temporary membership card.

A black-and-white photo makes it super old school, right?  Anyway, my workout went better than I anticipated.  My upper-body was quite tight, which should be expected, but I’m happy to report my fitness hasn’t totally gone down the tubes.  Even though I wanted to swim longer, I drilled for 40 minutes or so; it’s probably wise to ease back into it.

Post-Workout Snack

Back at my apartment, I broke into my stash of Premier Protein products and drank the original chocolate shake.

Although I prefer to make my own protein smoothies, this tasted delicious–very similar to chocolate milk. (In the triathlon world especially, chocolate milk is known as an ideal recovery drink; just ask Chris Lieto and Mirinda Carfrae.) Plus, take a look at the nutrition facts.

Only 1g of sugar and 30g of protein–pretty impressive, right?

What’s your favorite post-workout snack?

Two-Smoothie Day

Hi, everyone!  Did you have a good Monday?  It’s safe to say I’ve officially caught Olympic fever.  There was no vuvuzela sounding or face painting, but I did spend the day watching plenty of contests—swimming, volleyball, water polo, and beach volleyball to name a few.  And tonight, I’ll most likely tune in to the men’s gymnastics team finals.


Before my workout, I had a quick bowl of overnight oats.

This morning’s mix contained raspberry Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup of almond milk, plus cinnamon and chia seeds.  It’s been a while since I used flavored yogurt, and it was a flavorful treat.

Workout – Swimming and Strength Training

Olympic fever makes it difficult to check items off a to-do list—let me watch one more prelim/serve/goal, and two hours whizz by—but one of its benefits is studying and learning from the professionals.  As I ate my breakfast and watched swimming, I noticed several athletes—like Michael Phelps—breathing every two strokes (as opposed to three, like I do).  They are pros for a reason, and they surely know much more than me, so at the YMCA this morning, I tried breathing exclusively on my right side, which resulted in taking a breath more often.  Although I still prefer the three-stroke method—it also feels easier to sight this way—breathing every two strokes improved my endurance and helped me fatigue less quickly.  At first, I took a breath every three strokes, and transitioned to two when I became tired; eventually, I resorted to the breaststroke, and then shifted back breathing every three with the freestyle.  Overall, this approach—breathing every three strokes, breathing every two, breaststroke—allowed me to use the front crawl more often, which hopefully results in faster swimming.  I swam half of a mile in this manner, and then went to the weight room for some upper-body work.

Mid-Morning Snack

After my workout, I enjoyed smoothie number one.

One frozen banana, one scoop of vanilla protein powder, a handful of frozen strawberries, and a splash of vanilla extract went into the blender.  This mix tasted super fruity, and next time, I want to add some spinach.


About an hour later, I whipped up a salad.

The mix underneath scrambled eggs and carrot sticks had spinach, celery, red peppers, and a sprinkle of golden raisins.  I also ate some frozen grapes for dessert.

Afternoon Snack

A taxing afternoon of Olympic watching called for another smoothie.

Oh em gee, this will be my go-to Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie from now on.  To prepare, I used one frozen banana, two scoops of PB, one scoop of vanilla protein powder, and a few drops of vanilla extract.  So delicious and definitely a keeper!


I finished off my somewhat intentional Meatless Monday with a homemade tofu kabob.

Veggies included grilled yellow, orange, and red peppers and roasted mushrooms and green beans.

It’s beach volleyball time–see ya tomorrow!

One Foggy Morning

There’s no doubt I’m a morning person—waking up with the sun, drinking coffee, and eventually breaking a sweat (most days I’m done working out before 8-8:30a.m.) is my ideal routine.  Unfortunately, this rainy sight greeted me when I awoke.

This fog-drizzle combo made it impossible to see across the lake.  Running long in a drizzle is one thing, but a foggy jog is just dangerous.  Needless to say, today’s 11 miles didn’t happen.  Boo.

Workout – Swimming

This morning’s subpar running conditions called for a workout reshuffle, so I went to the YMCA for some swimming and strength training instead. (The 11-mile long run is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, whichever morning doesn’t bring rain.) My 7:45 a.m. arrival time brought a 10-minute wait because all the lanes were occupied.  Once I got into the pool, I swam a little more than half of a mile and focused on using the freestyle as much as possible.  In the lap pool, I usually swim two or three lengths, switch to the breaststroke for one or two lengths, and then transition back to the front crawl; today, I wanted to challenge myself—I’m definitely guilty of defaulting to the breaststroke for an extended period of time because it’s easier—so I did the breaststroke for half of a length to give myself a shorter breather.  Taking shorter “breaststroke breaks” worked well, and I felt like I cranked out the half mile faster.  After my swim, I completed some upper- and lower-body exercises in the weight room including lunges, Bulgarian lunges, lateral shoulder raises, and bicep curls, among others.


Another empty PB jar?  Don’t mind if I do.

Today’s mix included plain Greek yogurt, a mashed banana, and a packet of Kashi oatmeal.  It’s been a while since I’ve used Kashi oatmeal for OOIAJ, and it was just as delicious as I remembered.


My parents, sister, and I ran some errands this afternoon—we stopped at Target and Eastern Mountain Sports—and since we were out, we decided to go to Papa Gallo for lunch.


Although I was craving fish tacos, I chose the fajita wrap, which came with chicken, peppers, onions, black beans, and it included a side of rice.

The chicken tasted super tender, but a little more zip would’ve been perfect.  What can I say—I love spicy.

I’m hanging out for the rest of the day, and my mom and I are heading to the (locally) famous Cazenovia Library Used Book Sale tonight.  The official event on Saturday and Sunday always promises good finds, and as a “friend of the Cazenovia Library,” my mom received an invite for tonight’s exclusive preview.  We’ll sip wine, munch on finger foods, and peruse the shelves packed with every genre imaginable before the general public.  At these previews, I usually pick up five or six gently used books, and that’s with exercising self-control.  So yeah, I’m pretty excited to snag some new reads this evening.

In other news, I’m facing a tough TV dilemma tonight.  At 7:05 p.m., game one of baseball’s greatest rivalry begins.


Go, Yankees!  And the Olympic Opening Ceremonies kick off at 7:30 p.m.


Decisions, decisions.

Spreading Like Wildfire

Today proved to be a great day for triathlons in the Central New York area.  Check out this story from The Post-Standard, Syracuse’s local newspaper:

The CNY Kids Tri Club, designed for children of CNY Triathlon Club members, lets kids ages seven to 13 to “tri” triathloning every Tuesday night at Jamesville Beach.  In its second year, the program increased its enrollment from 55 to 70 children, and these youngsters even have a race on Aug. 26!  Can you imagine completing a triathlon as a 13-year-old?  Talk about starting ‘em young.  Not only does this kids-only club serve as an introduction to the sport, but it also promotes a positive message of healthy living.  Sounds like a win-win to me.  Would you have participated in a triathlon club or completed a triathlon as a kid?  Starting at a young age, I played a slew of sports, but I never had the opportunity to “tri” a triathlon—heck, I didn’t even know this multisport event existed!

Whether you’re a youngster, college grad (*cough*), fit mom, middle-aged adult, or recent retiree, triathloning is truly a sport for everyone.  Take a look at these women who participated in Sunday’s inaugural Gillie Girl Sprint Triathlon:

For a lot of these ladies, this women-only triathlon was their first swim-bike-run event. (Read the entire story here.) The sport is spreading like wildfire.  I love it!


I woke up at 5:45 a.m. this morning, and I read blogs, drank coffee, and sent some emails before making breakfast.

Two toasted Kashi waffles with PB and banana slices.  Always a winner!

Workout #1 – Swimming

Since I just missed the three-quarter mile mark yesterday, I refused to leave the pool without accomplishing this goal today.  It took about 40-45 minutes, during which I made a conscious effort to practice sighting; this type of visual check isn’t necessary in a lap pool, but engaging in the movements–think muscle memory–will made the process easier in the open water.  Also, even though my approach to the swim includes settling into a rhythm, conserving energy, and reviewing my race-plan, I’ve become a bit complacent in the water; when I become even the slightest bit tired, I immediately shift from the freestyle to the breaststroke.  However, if I always stay in my comfort zone and refuse to push past this threshold, then I will never improve.  With this in mind, I challenged myself this morning—I swam harder, faster, and with a purpose, and I also waited longer than usual to make the switch to the breaststroke.  I’m never going to be Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte caliber—swoon!—but I want to become the best and most efficient swimmer I can be.

Workout #2 – Running and Strength Training

A 45-minute tempo run was on the workout calendar, and it was tough!  Although I usually avoid using the dreadmill treadmill at all costs, it’s the easiest way for me to complete a tempo run; conveyor belt-running keeps me honest about my speed, and it won’t “let up” unless I make that deliberate decision.  After a 10-minute warm-up at 6.5, I increased the speed every few minutes until I hit 8.0, which I held for 10-ish minutes.  Like yesterday, my calves flared up, but at least my knees felt fine.  Does anyone feel like they sweat more while running after being in the water?  I wore a white racer-back tank, and it was completely see-through when I finished the run–whoops!  After a cool down, I went to the weight room, but I didn’t stay long because I felt too conspicuous.


Let me introduce you to the best salad ever.

On the way to the mall, I chowed down on an arugula/spinach mix that included leftover chicken and roasted veggies, carrots, red peppers, and blueberries.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting; around 2:30 p.m., I ate the remaining portion.


A few hours later, I ate an apple and the smoothie-surplus I made yesterday.

Leftovers will most likely constitute tonight’s dinner, so I’ll spare you the pictures.  Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

Fitness-Filled Friday

Hi, everyone!  Happy Friday!  This was one of those weird weeks that seemed to simultaneously drag on and fly by.  Either way, I’m glad it’s the weekend.


I woke up at 7 a.m. this morning, and after sending emails and reading blogs, I prepared my morning meal.

Two toasted Kashi waffles with PB and banana slices.  This combo never lets me down.

Workout #1 – Swimming

Guess who swam half a mile today?  This girl!  That’s right—I tackled all 800m and lived to tell the tale.  As usual, I alternated between the freestyle and breaststroke.  This means I can probably handle swimming two loops at next Wednesday’s CNY Triathlon training series.

Workout #2 – Tempo Run

Since I was at the YMCA anyway, I figured I might as well knock out my 40-minute tempo run.  Nine times out of 10, I prefer running outside, but doing a “comfortably fast” run is one of the only times I’ll seek out the dreadmill treadmill; it keeps you honest and prevents you from subconsciously slowly down.  After a 10-minute warm-up, I slowly increased the speed for 20 minutes and worked my way up to 8.2 mph, which I held for the final three minutes.  This nifty chart from Fitsugar converts treadmill speeds to mile splits, and fellow runners might it find helpful.

Working my way up to 8.2 mph wasn’t a stroll in the park, but I can definitely push myself more; it wasn’t until the last two minutes that my legs no longer felt fresh, so next time, I will arrive at the 8.2 threshold sooner and hold it there longer.  Once I hit the 30-minute mark, I did a quick 10-minute cool down and hit the weight room for some upper-body exercises.


When I got home, I inhaled a banana and took my bike out to practice clipping in and out, and I assembled a salad when I got home.

Today’s mix included spinach, leftover chicken, carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, and golden raisins.

I had a Cascadian Farm Organic chocolate chip chewy granola bar for dessert that I got in my Boilermaker swag bag.  It was just OK, nothing special.


This afternoon, I ate some watermelon and a Chobani yogurt.


I made a simple rice and beans quesadilla for dinner.

Now it’s time to find some frozen grapes.  Have a great night!

Which Is Which?

In a bowl of salad where lettuce hearts and spinach leaves rule, blueberries and black olives fight for a spot on the fork.  Although they promise different health benefits—blueberries boast fiber and antioxidants while olives pack vitamin E and heart-healthy fats—the dark duo look strikingly similar side by side.  For a girl who hates black olives, this poses a huge problem.

Can you tell which is which?  Through trial and error, I discovered the two in the background are the enemy.

Also in the mix:  lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, croutons, turkey, blueberries, black olives, sliced almonds, plus some balsamic dressing.  Now, let’s back up a bit.


I had a quick breakfast of two scrambled eggs and spinach before heading to the YMCA.

Plus salt and pepper and Tabasco sauce of course.


After yesterday’s 10-mile race, I was more than ready to hop in the pool and swim some laps because I knew the water would work wonders on my sore muscles.  Back during my collegiate basketball days, we used to have preseason weekly team “swims”—I’m using this phrase extremely loosely—that focused on stretching, recovering, and further developing range of motion.  Doing these types of aqua-plyometrics wasn’t feasible in the lap pool, but I swam 12 laps, according to this nifty chart.

Positive:  I’m getting closer to swimming 800m, which I’ll have to do for the Cazenovia Triathlon.  Negative:  I took extended breaks to stretch my calves and quads.  After showering and drying off, I hit up the weight room for some upper-body work.


I refueled post-workout with a Chobani yogurt.

I also ate an unpictured banana.  Later this afternoon, I had some pretzels with hummus and a bowl of cantaloupe.


We had a go-to fave tonight–almond encrusted tilapia.

Plus roasted red peppers and green beans.  Have a great night!

PS – I have a banana bread recipe to share tomorrow!

Infected Thumb and Write It Down, Do It Up

Hi, everyone!  How was your Sunday?  Things were lackadaisical around here.

Zelda loves a lazy Sunday.  My infected thumb made for an interesting wake up call, though.

Gross, right?  It’s been bugging me for a few days, and I figured it was just an ingrown cuticle.  However, when it woke me up around midnight—absolutely pulsating with pain—I had to pop two painkillers.  I rarely take Motrin or Tylenol—I’m paranoid my body will build up resistance to it—but I had to take a couple pills last night in order to fall back asleep.  It hurt that much.  Good news is I’m on antibiotics, so I’m hoping the swelling goes down within the next few days.


When I’m not volunteering for the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, Sundays bring Cycle 60 at the YMCA.  I arrived shortly before 8 a.m., and the building wasn’t open yet!  Eight of us stood outside and counted down the minutes before the doors opened at the top of the hour.  In all my years of organized athletics and gym rat-dom, I don’t think I’ve ever been locked out of a facility.

When spinning class began at 8:15 a.m., I focused on simulating a road bike ride:  I changed gears quite often—putting on resistance and taking if off even if Ron didn’t instruct it—and worked to keep my cadence—or turnover—constant, regardless of resistance.  After the hour-long class, I went to the weight room for some quick upper-body work.

Write It Down, Do It Up

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

You know you’re a runnerd when you sign up for three races in nine days.  Here’s what my fitness-filled 4th of July week looks like:

Sunday – Cycle 60 at the YMCA

Monday – Swim at the YMCA/rest (but most likely swim)

Tuesday – short run (three miles); free weights; ab exercises; potentially Women on Wheels

Wednesday – Race-day – 4th of July 10-mile Footrace

Thursday – Swim at the YMCA; potentially Women on Wheels

Friday – Swim at the YMCA/rest

Saturday – short run (three miles); free weights; ab exercises

Sunday – Race-day – Boilermaker 15-K

Are you running any 4th of July Races?  Anyone going to the Boilermaker this weekend?

The Return of Two-A-Days

Back during my high school field-hockey days, preseason practices meant the return of two-a-days:  mornings promised conditioning exercises and sharpening skills through countless drills; evenings brought inter-squad scrimmages.  Playing was my favorite.  It’s not that I didn’t like conditioning—as a budding runnerd, I enjoyed blowing past my teammates during our timed-mile tests—but scrimmaging was much more fun.  However, both morning and evening practices were integral to our team’s success as a whole. (FYI—Both the conditioning and scrimmaging totally paid off.  During my senior year, we won the sectional title!)

Although these glory days have come to an end, I’ve taken the concept of two-a-day workouts to heart:  Today, as an aspiring triathlete, I’m bringing brick sweat sessions, and today’s training scheduled called for swimming and biking.

Workout #1 – Swimming

Coming off of last night’s successful CNY Triathlon training series, I was psyched to get in the pool and become a better swimmer.  At the YMCA this morning, I completed a total of 24 laps, which equates to 400m.  Like last night, I managed to do the freestyle for the first 200m, but then I switched to a breaststroke-front crawl combo. (My goggles kept fogging up, so I had to stop multiple times and wipe them off before I could continue—anyone else have this problem?) On a whim, for the final two laps, I used a kickboard to isolate my legs, work on kicking, and fight through fatigue.  I sure felt the burn!  Swimmers, what drills or sequences do you recommend for a novice like me?  By mid-August, I would like to be able to swim 1000m comfortably because the Cazenovia Triathlon’s OWS is 800m.

Workout #2 – Biking with Women and Wheels

After I rinsed off and slammed an energy gel, I headed over to Panera Bread to meet up with Syracuse Bicycle’s Women on Wheels riding group.  Like last week’s ride, our group lucked out with the weather—warm temperatures (around 80 degrees) and plenty of sunshine (and sunscreen!).  Trish led the six-women strong, 22.5-mile ride, and I had a blast!

This Facebook status update pretty much sums it up.

There was a ton of triathlon, running, and fitness talk, and I also had an in-depth conversation with one lady about women’s reproductive rights:  She told me all about the research she’s conducting for her doctoral degree, and thanks to my Women’s Studies minor, I kept an informed and critical (but still appropriate for a fun bike ride) conversation going.  Check out this list of money-words we mentioned:  agency, advocates, voting, Gloria Steinem, activism, feminist activism.  Cycling and feminism?  Sounds like a win-win to me!


Today’s uneventful eats included a familiar breakfast, lunch with my mom and sisters at King David’s (poor lighting ruined all my photos!), plus some carrot sticks, yogurt, and mini-pretzels with PB.  Cedar plank salmon with brown sugar and cracked pepper blend and roasted veggies were on tonight’s menu.

I’m obsessed with salmon, and this dish is no exception.

I’m off to find some fruit.  Have a great night!