Friday, December 30, 2011


2011 was a great year—no doubt. Lots of PRs, new experiences and hard work. But in the last month or so I’ve noticed my life has become super cluttered. My car is cluttered, my room is cluttered, and there’s still stuff in the garage waiting to be unpacked from when I moved back to my parents house. It’s all left me feeling pretty unsettled. Not to mention all the junk I’ve been putting in my body, thanks to the surplus of cookies, cakes and other goodies I’ve been churning out in the kitchen.

Now, I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions, but a fresh new year seems like a good time for a fresh start. So I’m putting it out there for all to read (all 4 of you!) and making a commitment. I’m spending this weekend getting caught up on 2+ weeks of laundry, cleaning out my car, organizing my room and ridding my life of excess clutter. I’m also taking the lead of some of the favorite bloggers and going on a cookie detox. No crazy lemon juice cleanses or cayenne pepper drinks for me. Just a solid two weeks of healthy, natural and clean eating to start this year out by treating my body right. I mean, it does a lot for me. Carries me through speed workouts, let’s me beat it up at boot camp and helps me finish triathlons and road races. I've got to treat it better this year (particularly with the Musselman 70.3 on the horizon). As much as I loved the line is Once a Runner, by John L. Parker, "if the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn," I don't think that's a healthy way to treat yourself.

So here’s to kale smoothies*, keeping up with the laundry and a happy, healthy 2012. Would it be inappropriate to wish you all a l’shana tovah?

*Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it—it’s delish!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A really big reason for a post!

So I know, I know. It's been a really long time since I've posted here. What have I been up to? Coaching, racing, working, training, training and more training.

My Rammets went undefeated yet again and took home a 9th straight sectional championship. My level 4s took home a trophy bigger than (most of) them at the biggest meet of the year.

I PR'd at two races.

Amish Country 1/2
Reindeer Run 5k

Ran a Marathon Relay.

Visited Philly.

Turned 24.

Celebrated my youngest cousin's Bat Mitzvah.

And oh yea, signed up for my first 1/2 ironman distance triathlon.

Oh! I also baked/cooked a bunch of stuff you should try!
Pumpkin Bread (loosely based on my banana bread, I added choc. chips and pecans)
Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Oatmeal
Pumpkin Cheesecake (sensing a theme?)
Pumpkin Curry Soup
Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
Cocoa Thumbrints (I used Candy Cane Kisses in the center)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes (this one's mine. I'll share it soon)
Carrot Ginger Bisque
Tomato Basil Soup w/ Orzo

I'm thinking now that I have my Big Goal squared away and paid for I'll actually be blogging more. Maybe I'll make it my New Year's resolution ;) I'm going to need a training plan, too!

So yea, I've been busy. How have you been?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's the Little Things

Sometimes it's the simplest little things that make you realize all the hard work is totally worth it.

I've always liked how running helps me clear my head, and I like long runs even more since it's even more time for all the weird thoughts running through my head to sort themselves out. Green Lakes was quiet, peaceful and as always, beautiful at 8 am this morning. Even with the 70+ other runners, it was the perfect mix of supportive nods, smiles, good mornings and solitary running time.

At one point, running all alone on a stretch of road completely surrounded by trees, I saw a deer standing in the road about 20 yards ahead of me. It just looked up, stared me down, then calmly turned and walked into the woods. At other times there were beautiful views of the hills around Syracuse, leaves just starting to turn. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be 2 weeks from now when we hit the park again. I'm going to be sure to bring my camera.

But the one thought that made its way into my head and stuck there today, was how good I felt on this run. It occurred to me that this is what Kevin's running program is all about. Sure, the seemingly endless lists of people PRing are wonderful, and I'll fully admit to feeling my share of pride every time I crack another one or hear of someone else smashing one of theirs. But the way I felt this morning? Like I could run forever? This is why you put in your time day in and day out, week after week. When your base is big enough, strong enough that you feel really, really good out on a long run. It totally makes the hard work worth it. No crowd cheering at the finish line necessary.

Even when the elevation profile of said run looks like this:

Friday, September 23, 2011


It's time to talk about that mission to eat a little healthier I talk about in my bio.

It's not something I worry about constantly. I don't count calories, apples are my favorite food, I can't stand fried food (to the point it makes me nauseous just to smell it), don't eat red meat or pork, love veggies of all kinds and even tofu. Plus, although I like to bake cakes, I don't like the texture and rarely eat them.

Yet, I still have some really bad habits that I slip back into every once and a while that just make me feel gross. Namely, my snacking habits. I go through phases where I just feel like I'm constantly eating. It's been worse since I made the move home about three weeks ago. Just because there's more food in the house in general, plus the stuff I never bought myself that's here because I have a 16-year-old sister.

So after about a week of hating myself for the way I was treating my body, I finally sought out some advice from the one person I can tell these things. And what she had to say really made me stop and think. But as usual, she was right :)

I want to be clear about one thing. I wasn't given diet advice. I wasn't asking for diet advice. I still have no intention of counting calories or completely abstaining from anything I love. It's about being sensible and thinking consciously about the fuel I'm giving my body to get me through long days or work, coaching and working out. I wanted to form new habits before the old ones became a problem.

It turns out I wasn't eating enough at the right times, hence the snacking and the bloating feeling.

So I'm adding more protein and carbs at breakfast and lunch, so I'm fueled up for coaching and my workouts (which have had to move to the afternoons during the fall). Hopefully it'll also mean that I can eat a little less at dinner and not snack before bed. Which, in turn, I'm hoping means I'm not as hungry in the morning when I wake up.

I started this Thursday morning, by having egg whites, lettuce and salsa in a whole wheat tortilla. Oatmeal at 10, since I wake up too early to make it all the way to lunch without a snack. Lunch was greek yogurt, granola, grapes and an apple (which I know is not enough but it was what we had in the house!). Grabbed an apple and a half of a PBJ on my way out the door to coach. Dinner was this awesome kale, butternut squash and gnocchi dish that I have to share the recipe for. It was only one day but I definitely feel like these are habits I can stick with.

And I felt great. I wasn't hungry at work, and I had a great run. It just feels really good. I know this was all stuff I knew, but getting a reminder makes it easier to make smart decisions. Hopefully it sticks! I really don't want to fall back on those old habits, but that's why I'm putting it out here for all to see.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Favorites...And Did Someone Say Marathon?

Things I love about fall: crisp mornings giving way to warm afternoons, bright blue skies, temps that call for runs in tights and long sleeves, pumpkin anything (lattes, muffins, you name it) and soup bubbling away on the stove on a Sunday afternoon.

It’s always a crazy time of year for me but I love being busy. It’s taking every ounce of willpower I have to fit 6 days of running in a week. Wait. Willpower is the wrong word. I want to run, and I’m full of fresh inspiration to get my miles in now that I’m set on this Marathon thing (and I’ve just decided that from now on that word should always be capped).

On another Marathon note…Tel Aviv Marathon? Sounds perfect for me. Flat, fast, in one of my favorite places in the world. But if I’m going to travel do I want to go somewhere I’ve never been? Or is the comfort factor a good thing?

Ok. Sorry about the tangent. This Picking A Marathon thing is consuming me. It seems like Such. A. Big. Deal. But really, why does it feel that way? I don’t think I’m being very picky, I’m fully committed to doing it, but nothing feels “right.” I keep thinking if I just keep looking I’ll find something better. But really? Better is anyone’s guess at this point. It’s too far out to know if the weather is going to be ideal, and everyone’s race experience is so different. One person’s too crowded could be another’s lonely.

Oy. So anyways. Back to the reason it’s been difficult for me to squeeze my runs in. (Difficult yes, impossible, no. I haven’t missed one yet. Success!) I’m up at 5:15, at work by 6:30. Leave the office at 3 and head over to the high school. Coach from 3:30-5:30. Monday and Wednesday I like to go to Boot Camp at 6. So I can squeeze in the first 10-12 minutes of my daily run between practice and Boot Camp, then I count the time we spend running during class, then I head out from Inertia at 7 to make up the rest of the time. Home by 7:30 to make dinner, shower and crash. It’s not ideal but it works.

It also means that I’m going to be floating my rest days around based on our meet schedule. I got really used to speed work Thursday, rest day Friday, long run Saturday and loved how I felt rested and ready to run on Saturday. Last week was perfect since we had an away meet on Friday. I’m hoping I might be able to fit 40 minutes in before our home meet this Thursday since it’s not till 5, which will mean I still get to take Friday as a rest day. So it’s all good. I’m learning about flexibility and there's no pressure right now since I'm not officially training for anything. It also makes me glad that I'll have from November to January to slowly increase my daily minutes without increasing my long runs. Then come January it’s officially Time To Get Serious, a.k.a. Marathon Training Time! I can’t wait!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Goals, Commitment and a Super Awesome Un-Recipe

I didn't do any writing this week, but I did do a ton of thinking.

And I'm feeling like I can say I have a rough idea of what my goals are for this coming year. I really have to look at a calendar and see if it is at all feasible, but this going to be the year of go big or go home. Either that or I just have no patience and a need to do it all.

In the past, I've never given the marathon much thought at all. If someone mentioned it, I'd say, "no way!" as fast as I could. But the hype around Boston Marathon registration week was enough to get me curious. I know they are dropping the qualifying standards by a lot for next year, but I was curious. I guess you could say I got bit by the BQ bug. So I plugged my most recent 5k time into the Runner's World SmartCoach app, added my weekly mileage and requested a moderate training plan. (I'm not planning on using it, it's just a neat app that will give you a fairly accurate estimate of how fast you can expect to finish based on prior race times). It spit out a 3:33:00. So I looked up Boston's age-graded qualification chart for the 2013 race, and sure enough, for 18-34-year-old females, you need to run a 3:35:00 to qualify.

That was all the motivation I needed. Just to know that I could be close, was enough to push me to try. I also have no doubt that thanks to Kevin's training, I'll be faster before I even start to seriously train. So barring any thing weird, my goal for my first marathon is going to be to qualify for Boston. Go big or go home, right? Kevin is pointing me towards an April/May race, specifically two over Memorial Day weekend. Vermont City or Ottawa. I'm heard good things from people who have done Vermont City, but Ottawa sounds great as well.

So a May marathon is on the calendar. But I'm going big this year so I think a half Ironman is going on as well. I'm leaning towards the Timberman in New Hampshire. It's late August, so it's enough time that I can still do Iron Girl and maybe one other, even after taking some time to recover from the marathon. I don't know. I also want to do Israman in 2013, and thought that having that be my first 1/2 Iron would be really symbolic and meaningful. Who knows? That one is still a ways away and there are a ton of logistics that go into that one. Including getting my bike to Israel and the small problem of training through the fall and beginning of winter.

Ok so those are my big rocks for this year. What's on your list?

Oh! And that Un-Recipe I promised? I'm currently obsessed and it's super healthy to boot.
Baked Tofu!
Drain and rinse a block of extra firm tofu.
Lay a towel on a rimmed dinner plate, set the tofu on top, then cover with another plate and something heavy on top (a can of pumpkin is perfect). Leave it for 30 minutes.
Mix up a marinade. I started with about a 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce, some Garlic Expressions Dressing and Peanut Sauce. (It was delish, especially with the sesame seeds we added before baking, but a little to salty for my taste.) There's a batch with Dino BBQ sauce marinating in the fridge right now.
You can use anything you like. Olive oil, salt and pepper would be good, too.
Let the tofu soak up the marinade for a least 30 minutes. (Overnight works, too)
Cover a baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lay the tofu out on your baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake, flipping every 10 minutes (I'm not sure this is necessary but the recipe I reference said to do it), for anywhere between 20-45 minutes. It gets chewier and denser the longer you cook it. That's it!

It is great for snacking on (my sister and I finished a whole brick today), salads and I imagine it would be great in a stir-fry, too. We didn't have any left for that! I'm going to make a sandwich out of the BBQ version that's marinating now. Let me know if you try it and what you marinated it in!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ARC 5K - Another Check Mark

I woke up yesterday morning to find an absolutely perfect day for a race. Gorgeous, sunny and not too hot, I was ready to run! I wasn’t planning on going out super hard, trying to win or anything crazy like that. I just wanted to know if I was fully back in shape after my break in May and how the triathlon training had affected my running. I got my answers. I’m definitely back in shape and the triathlon training made me stronger. I finished the ARC 5K in 21:59 (a new PR) and actually won my age group! I’ve never done that before so it felt really cool to be able to check off another secret goal (to win something).

The PR was what was really most important to me though. Not only had I taken a break right after my last 5K PR (Race for the Cure), but I also had someone pacing me through it. Ever since, I’ve wondered if I could have accomplished that 22:04 by myself. Did I have the mental toughness? Could I focus long enough? Yup, I did and I can!

Knowing that this race was just a test of my fitness, I felt no stress, panic or anxiety going into it like I normally do. At Iron Girl, Race for the Cure, Mountain Goat and even to some extent at the Teal There’s a Cure 5K, I was putting serious pressure on myself to perform, to place, to PR or even just to prove that Kevin’s training was working.

But what I found yesterday is that going into a race with no pressure, running just for me and just for fun, I’ll still see results as long as I’ve been putting the work. And that’s what matters. Yes, my inner competitiveness still comes out a little once I start running and I’ll pick someone up ahead to try and catch or pass, but starting relaxed is the key for me. As long as I haven’t given that race anxiety time to build before I even start running, I can use it to my advantage.

Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever run the ARC race. It’s never been on my radar before but a friend got me an entry so I figured, why not? It was a nice race (flat out and back), plus there is a half marathon also. The half starts 10 minutes before the 5K, so we got to cheer them on as they headed out. Then, timing works out perfectly as almost all the 5Ker’s are done right before the fastest guys finish the half. We got to see Kevin win the half marathon by more than 2 minutes! It was so cool to see. I couldn’t stay for awards but I heard he gave away his medal to a disabled child. That I wish I could have seen, so heartwarming!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pressing Restart

With my tri season over and nothing specific to train for, this week felt like a reboot. And it was exactly what I needed. The timing couldn’t have worked out better. I finished the Skinnyman on Saturday morning with a run that felt suspiciously like a tempo. Exactly the workout I’d missed during my taper. I filled in that last spot on my training log with a successful race and turned it in for a new one.

So I’m starting fresh with a new group of runners (um, hello, Thursday night group? Where were you yesterday?), a new training plan and some time to slowly build my mileage while staying healthy. Then it’ll be time to pick my new goal race. I’m torn. Half-Ironman? Marathon? 1:45 Half-marathon?

But it can wait. I’m running the ARC 5K tomorrow morning. Just for fun. No time goal this time. It’s supposed to be a perfect morning for a race. Then next week I have my volunteer spot for the Syracuse Ironman 70.3. I can’t wait. I wonder if I’ll get re-bit by the tri bug? If it’ll make me want to do that race next year? We’ll see. I’m just going to experience the environment and cheer on my crazy friends who made the commitment for this year. Win-Win. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Bittersweet Ending - Skinnyman Race Report!

My tri season is officially over. And while it seemed to be heading downhill faster than a speeding bullet post Iron Girl, it ended on a really positive note with the Skaneateles Skinny Man triathlon. I went into the race well rested and not planning on racing too hard. I just wanted to have fun so I could end the year on a tri high. It worked! I was so much more relaxed than I was for Iron Girl. I can’t wait for next year and I’m already getting re-energized to plan out my training for the off season.

So Saturday morning Laura and I woke up bright and early (4 am!) and headed off to Skaneateles for the Skinnyman triathlon. A really nice volunteer we had talked to the night before said we should be there by 4:45 to get a good parking spot and a prime bike spot. Well needless to say we were the first ones there and they wouldn’t let us into transition right away. We waited around for a couple of minutes before we saw a few other people walk into transition, so we followed them in and got GREAT bike spots, right on the end of two different rows. Then we got checked in, body marked and went to spend some time relaxing in the car. 

After a few minutes my nerves got the best of me and I couldn’t sit still any longer, so we went to set up our transition areas and stretch. The time leading up to the race went pretty quickly after that. Luckily our new friend the volunteer had let us in on a little secret—the hotel across the street from the transition area has a back door that they leave open. It leads right to a very, very clean bathroom that never had more than two people waiting in line. Score one for the Sherwood! It may have been my first ever race experience where I didn’t have to use a porta-potty (or wait in line to pee in the woods. Yes. You should ask me about that some day.). Hallelujah!

So if clean bathrooms are a part of the equation, then point to Skinnyman. Getting the race started on time? Not so much. They started funneling everyone into the water at about 7:25, and the first wave was supposed to go off at 7:30. I think it was closer to 7:45 before they got us started. So my wave didn't go off until about 7:55. And the water was cold! Cold and really, really choppy. No white caps, but close. I was nervous, but the prospect of a current to help propel me forward on the way in was nice. So yea, the swim was tough, but nothing terrible. I just kept reminding myself that this was fun and to just keep swimming. did a great job on the swim. It was a well organized race overall, but the swim was above and beyond anything I’ve ever done. There were tons of buoys, so you never really lost sight of where you were heading next. They also had plenty of kayaks and even divers under the surface to make sure nothing went wrong. It made you feel very safe. I was much more aggressive on this swim than in the Iron Girl. I didn’t let anyone take advantage of me and I used my legs a lot more (which really helped keep people off of me!). Before I knew it I was back on solid ground, thanks to the super helpful volunteers who were there to give you hand so you didn’t slip coming up the stairs out of the water. Time: 14:53

The swim to bike transition was my fastest ever: 1:30! The fact that the transition area was smaller and the distances were shorter definitely helped, but I was definitely quicker in drying off and getting my shoes on. Race

Heading out for the bike I had a hard time getting clipped in, but it didn’t really matter since there was a long no passing zone from transition until we made the turn onto 41A. I was stuck behind a woman who was pretty slow and it was hard to stay behind her once I got clipped in. I flew past her as soon as we made the turn and started pushing to build up some speed. I felt really, really winded. Not swimming for the last two weeks before the race had really done a number on my fitness. And that bike course is steep! There were definitely a few places (like right smack in the middle of some of the steepest hills) where I all but gave up. Smallest gear, MPH at about 7 or 8 and cadence at practically nothing, but it never lasted long. There was a guy I kept trading back and forth with, which kept me from completely giving up. That and seeing my computer register 39 MPH on a downhill. That was pretty cool. Soon enough we were making the last turn back on the West Lake Road and heading for home. Time: 45:10. A full 4 minutes faster than I ever did the course on our Saturday morning rides! The only problem was that I almost forgot to slip my feet out of my shoes before I got the dismount line. Luckily I managed to do it pretty quickly and even heard someone call out how cool it was that I was barefoot! I guess that’s what I get for not practicing transition at all since the Iron Girl. Whoops!

I knew going into this race that I really wanted to run strong. I practically sprinted out of transition, before remembering that the first mile was uphill and I should probably save something for it. My first mile was a little slower than I would have liked (8:28), but I made up for it on the second (7:30). There were some weird things going through my head on the run. Things like running hard enough to puke at the finish line (thank G-d that didn’t happen, I HATE throwing up!). I passed a few coworkers and even my 8th grade English teacher on the run. She told me to go ahead when I passed her for the third time and that she was proud of me. So cute! As we came down the last hill about a quarter mile from the finish I started to pick up speed. I had found another gear and all the sudden felt really great. I noticed a guy up in front of me and decided I was going to out kick him to the finish. Kevin, you’d be proud! He heard me coming and started pushing, but I was able catch him. We were locked in a dead heat coming up to the finish but I pulled ahead of him just before we crossed the line. I was sprinting so fast I was afraid I was going to fall flat on my face. It felt like my feet were barely touching the ground. The spectators loved it and the photographer from Brightroom was laughing as he clicked away. I can’t wait to see those pictures! My run time was 24:50. I was a little disappointed but super excited to find out I had finished in under an hour and a half! 1:27:13 to be exact.

I wound placing 3rd in my age group! I was super happy with that, especially since I had really fallen off the training wagon for the two weeks leading up to the race. I even got a glass. It was pretty cool to see Lisa and her relay crew take first of all the relay teams. Way to go girls! Then I headed back up to the finish line to watch Laura finish her first tri! Despite the mountain bike and never having done the open water swim she did it and surprise! She’s still talking to me and we’re still friends. Our parents were making me think that might not be the case. She just might not listen to me so quickly the next time I come up with some crazy idea for us to do.

Ok. Holy wow that got long. I'm gonna have to finish adding pictures tomorrow. I’ve got a 5k this weekend, but them I’ve got to sit down and figure out my off-season training. I want to go to age-group nationals next year. Anyone know how you get into that? 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting

Yay! A recipe!

There's not really much to say about this one, except that I was in the mood to bake and for some reason I wanted to make something tried and true. Scooping out dozens of cookies felt like too much work. Plus, I wanted to frost what ever I made. So that meant either the Silver Palette Carrot Cake or these Red Velvet Cupcakes (from Bakerella).

I last made these for my roommates birthday and they were a hit, so despite the lack of a special occasion, I ran to Wegmans for red food coloring and buttermilk.

Anyway, they came out great. The only thing I can't figure out it why the tops have a slight crisp to them. They're not over done. The insides are perfectly moist, they just spring back when you touch them and they taste great. But I can't figure out what would make that top layer crust over? Any ideas?

Ugh. I need to stop using my iPhone for pics.
The Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe is from here.

My go to Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is the one that accompanies the Silver Palette Carrot Cake recipe and you really can't go wrong with it. It's perfect :) The lemon at the end is optional, and I normally don't use it, but today I did. I'll never leave it out again.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. Cream Cheese
6 Tbsp. Butter
~3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
Juice of 1/2 Lemon (opt.)

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar slowly (1/2 cup at a time). Mix well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice.

Frost. Makes enough for more than 2 dozen cupcakes, or 2 9-inch layer cakes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aero Bars and Motivation

I have one and I'm lacking the other.

I got the aero bars the day after the Iron Girl triathlon. (Great timing, I know.) I took 'em out for a spin that day and promptly fell in love. The pain in my back that had been getting worse while riding was virtually eliminated. Plus, I felt really fast and professional. Then...I got busy and didn't ride again until Saturday.

We rode the Skinnyman course bright and early Saturday morning, which meant leaving my house at 6:30 am, after getting home from camp at midnight (and doing a rare Friday morning boot camp). Needless to say I was tired. Riding those hills was crazy hard, and I lost site of the lead rider, which meant I had to keep stopping to check my cue sheet. Despite that, the other eight people didn't catch me until the last turn. So I felt slow, but I guess I couldn't have been doing too badly for my first try if everyone else was struggling.

I'm hoping that when I ride the course again this week I'll feel a little faster. I don't have big aspirations for Skaneateles. I think having a race after my A race wasn't the best idea. There was so much build up to the Iron Girl, I was so focused on doing well there, that when it was over I was left with a little bit of a, "what now?" kind of feeling. Oh yea, another race.

But this week has been better, I think I have my focus back. I'm working on the motivation. Right now it's more obligation than motivation, but at least I'm getting all the workouts in. Two weeks from Saturday! Which means only one week till I get to taper. (I never thought I'd ever type the words get to taper.)

And with this race falling Labor Day weekend, I feel like my life is racing in to the Fall. I start coaching varsity gymnastics next week, then it's Labor Day and soon enough the weather will start to change. I'm not wishing summer away, but I do love Fall. Cooler weather for running, apple picking, leaves changing, even the Jewish Holidays and of course, my birthday :). I'm also ready to focus on running again, see how much better I can be when I'm just focusing on one sport. I think taking a break from focusing on running was good for me this summer. But now I'm ready to get back to giving it my all.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Iron Girl: Race Report

Another Iron Girl in the books! 

Swim start!
So I didn’t make my time goal. But given that this year’s Iron Girl was longer than last year and there was my complete and utter lack of sleep over the last three days that had me begging for sips of coffee from my parents right before the start? I’m ok with it.

Marilyn and me @the start!
And yea, you read that right. The race was longer than last year, even though it was supposed to be the same course. This year’s swim was a full 600 meters (verses last year’s ~500—apparently the buoys blew in.) Then, because there were so many more people, they moved transition really far back from the beach. So, despite all that, I came in at 1:38. Not too far off my time goal. But, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that because of the changes, you really can’t compare this year and last year, so that makes my goals kinda moot. 

Case in point: the winning time was 5 minutes slower than last year (and it was the same girl). So I’m pretty darn happy to have gotten 8 minutes faster when the winner slowed down by a pretty good amount.

The swim was rough. I spent 13 minutes in the water, fighting waves, seaweed and the girl next to me who decided to cling to my side for. The. Entire. Swim. I would move forward, she’d follow. I’d slow down, she’d slow down. I went left, she’d go left. You get the idea. She even had a wetsuit on (I don’t wear one). At one point she was literally on top of me. We also got caught up behind some slower swimmers from the wave in front of us. That was hard, and I felt pretty sick getting out of the water. I think I’m going to try earplugs (someone told me they help with the sick/dizzy feeling when you get out of the water).

By the time on got on the bike I was feeling a lot better. The first 17 miles of the ride were fantastic. I was passing people (and never got passed!) and felt really strong. A huge shout out to the guys at Bike Loft East for taking the time to make my bike fit right—it made a huge difference! It started to rain right before I got to the iron bridge, so I pedaled as hard as I could so I could get over it before it got really soaked. Mission accomplished, I didn’t fall! Really, the only bad part was right before the last turn back to transition. A car came up on my left, and slowed to a stop, blocking the intersection, right as I was trying to turn left. I had to come to almost a complete stop, go past the turn and turn all the way around. It slowed me up a little but I’m just really glad I didn’t get hit!

The run was the run. It’s definitely my strongest segment, but unfortunately it’s last! Well, maybe not unfortunately. I’m not sure I could swim last, lol! I was just trying to run consistently. Lately in races I’ve been going out too fast and I wanted to avoid that. I think I ran pretty steadily. About a mile in I saw another 20-24 year old for the first time as she ran past me. Oh well. I guess it means I was in first place until then! I let her go. She was running too fast for me and I wanted to be able to finish strong without having to walk.

So close!
It all worked out in the end though. That last goal? The one I was aware was completely out of my control? Achieved! I came in second in my age group and have a really pretty new necklace to show for it. It was so fun to hear my name called and all the people from the Y cheering for me. Definitely a flashback to gymnastics meets. I guess we never get over that little thrill. Oh, and I was 31 overall (out of 1,047). Here are the official results.

I spent the rest of the day trying to decide which was more comfortable, the couch or the bed (my parents couch won out!). But tomorrow I’m back up and at ‘em. Skinnyman is less than a month away!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Healthier Cinnamon Chip Banana Bread

I know I written about this one before. But I couldn't pass up the chance to revisit it, especially since I tried an idea that I've had in the back of my head for a while. I was worried it would be like committing a crime against my favorite recipe, but miracle of miracles, it worked!

Here's the original for your reference.

It's funny how I wrote that you could mess with this recipe and it will still turn out. I had forgotten about that. But it still holds true.

Here's what I did: subbed out half the white flour for whole wheat (1 cup). Got rid of all the oil, and used applesauce (1/2 cup). Then I didn't bother with chocolate chips (we didn't have any). The baking time was a little shorter, but that may have been thanks to my parents' amazing new oven. Just keep an eye on it.

So how'd it taste? Pretty darn amazing if I do say so myself. (My mom and sister agreed.) It wasn't exactly the same, and it definitely tastes a little healthy, but to me that's a good thing. I really liked it, and I'll definitely do it this way again. Not every time, but whenever I'm feeling the need to be a little bit good while I'm being bad :)

Crappy iPhone alert...


This quote has been sitting in a sticky note on my work computer for more that a year now. I happened to glance over at it this morning and realized it perfectly suited my mood for today.

Facebook said it was too long to post as a status so here it is. (I think it's from a Nike ad, but I'm not 100% sure.)

“You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you.
You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior.
You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan.
You hit the wall. You went through it. You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your interval odometer. For 25 years, you ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will.” 

T-minus 2 Days!

i.e. taper week. Yikes! Tapering is making me crazy! I’ve been second guessing all the hard work I put in and using every last ounce of willpower not to try and a squeeze in just one more run. But I’ve been good. I’ve been taking it easy, drinking lots of water and watching videos on how to change a flat tire.

But still, I’m freaking out a little bit. I’ve been saying all along that I have a couple of goals for this race. The ones I can control? Finishing the swim in 10 minutes, making smooth transitions, doing the bike course in sub-55 minutes and running a sub-25 minute 5k. My overall time goal is 1:35:00. But I’d like to be closer to 1:30:00. That’s all fine. I’m trying to be confident in the time and work I’ve been putting in the bank all summer. But there’s a nagging goal in the back of my head that just won’t leave me alone. I’d like to place in my age group because eventually (not this year) I’d like to qualify for an age group spot at the short course nationals.

It’s my competitive side coming out, but I know that I can’t control what anyone else does out there. So I know I just need to go out there and do my best, but I’ve been wasting energy worrying about the what ifs. I’ve been eating, sleeping and breathing triathlons for the past 5 weeks, but I worry I started too late. I’ve been worrying about getting a flat, my shins cramping, rain, swimming off course, and just plain bonking. The worst one though is that I’ve been worrying about letting people down.

Not that there is anyone in the world who would be disappointed in me, unless I quit. And that would be hella lame. And not happening. But as much as I love hearing from people who think I’m gonna kick this thing’s butt, it still makes me a little nervous. But on the other hand it fires me up, so I’m hoping that once that starting gun goes off, all that will stop mattering and I’ll be able to just focus on doing what I know how to do and doing it well.

I’ve been bringing back the old visualization trick. It used to calm pre-gymnastics meet jitters, so I’m hoping it works here.

I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. I can’t believe it’s here already. Despite the nagging voice in my head (it’s the taper talking), when it goes quiet for a minute I’m actually feeling pretty darn confident. I can’t wait to get up at 4 am on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed for dry weather!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Week!

Can someone tell me where the whole month of July went? And while you’re at it, what happened to June? Somehow the triathlon is only a week away. It’s not like it really snuck up on me…I’ve seen it get closer on the calendar every time I filled in another day’s workouts. But somehow I’m shocked that it’s only a week away. And yet, I’m hoping this next week just flies by. Luckily it’s busy and I have something almost every night after work to keep me from going stir crazy during the taper.

It feels good to know I’ve put in as much work as I have towards this race. But it also makes me anxious for race day. There are a lot of what ifs floating around in my head. But there’s nothing left to do now but rest my body and get ready mentally. (Oh, and practice transitions. My neighbors probably think I'm nuts, riding circles around the street with my feet out of the shoes)

So my goal for this race is to come in under 1:35. But I have a reach goal, too. I’m just gonna put it out there for everyone to see: 1:30. I think if I’m feeling good on Sunday morning it’s seriously doable. But I won’t be disappointed with 1:35 either.

I'm just getting super excited and jittery even thinking about how close it is :)  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

Holy crap the triathlon is coming up faster that I ever expected. Can we hit the pause button on summer for like .02 seconds? Today was my last CNY Triathlon practice before the IronGirl. Let’s just say it made me hope that the saying, “bad dress rehearsal, good show,” holds as true for triathlons and races as it did for dance recitals.

For starters, I almost didn’t even make it to Jamesville Beach today. All day at work I’d been feeling like someone was sitting on my chest, which if you’ve never experienced that, let me tell you it makes it pretty hard to breath. I considered not going but I didn’t want to miss my last chance at a full brick workout. Once I got out in the fresh air I actually felt o.k. It makes me wonder if the super cold, dry AC air at work might be the culprit.

The swim was fine, uneventful, thought I really should have started closer to the front. I felt like I did a better job sighting the buoys today. It makes me feel more confident about going out in the front of my wave at the IronGirl like Kelly wants me to. (Um, can we take one second to note how ridiculous it is that transition closes at 6:30 am, but my wave doesn’t start until 7:40 am…that’s a lot of standing around and nerve build-up time!) So yea, I felt strong on the swim, which is why I really don’t understand how it took me 12 minutes. But anyway…

The bike got off to a rough start. I forgot to put my bike in a low gear and couldn’t make it up the hill so I had to turn around, lower the gear, then restart the bike portion. The ride was fine, fairly uneventful until I reached the turnaround and almost rode into a ditch. I managed to stay out of it though! The weird thing about the bike is that although everyone said biking would be the one thing that made my back feel better, it’s the one thing that bothers it more than anything. So in the interest of not making my back any worse, I tried not to push too hard on the bike. Time: 33 minutes.

As I came down the hill into transition, I didn’t get my left foot out of the clips in time and I crashed into a nice patch of gravel, which ground itself generously into my hand. Welp, it had to happen sometime, right? I just love that it happened right in front of so many people. Oy. Well at least someone was nice enough to pull my bike off of me and help me up. So instead of a quick transition, I ran down to the bathroom and washed my hand off. Once I got the dirt and gravel out it really didn’t look that bad and wasn’t bleeding too badly so I went back, changed my shoes and headed out for the run.

I wasn’t interested in how fast I could do a 5k, so I jogged the course, then kept running to get my time in for Kevin. I felt pretty decent by the end so I actually ran a little further. I think my total time ended up right around 33 minutes.

So yea, if this bad dress rehearsal, good race theory holds true, I should be golden, right? But I’m not holding my breath. No way. In fact, I’m gonna knock on wood and throw some salt over my shoulder, just in case by saying it I’m jinxing myself. Lol, I'm getting loopy. Good night!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Play Like It's The Last Time

Our gymnastics team had a quote that got passed around a lot, then took on new meaning after we were cut. Who could have ever known how meaning full that third sentence would be to us all?

Believe in you. Trust in us. Play like it’s the last time. Enjoy the ride.

I have no idea where it came from. To be honest, since I graduated from JMU it’s not something I think about very often. But after an amazing reunion this weekend, I was reminded of it and some of the other quotes we loved so much.

“I don't remember how we happened to meet each other. I don't remember who got along with whom first. All I can remember is all of us together...always.”

“From the outside looking in you could never understand, and from the inside looking out we could never explain.”

Forever a Duke.

But it’s that first one that’s been stuck in my head all day. Play like it’s the last time. Enjoy the ride. It has always carried a ton of meaning for me, but now it might have even more significance. It’s not a quote we came up with after we were cut. It’s one we always tried to live by, since as a gymnast, you never knew when your last chance would be, so we always did our best to leave it all on the floor. It’s how at our last ever gymnastics meet, we were able to hit 23 for 24 of our routines that day. Ask any gymnast, 6 stuck beam routines as a team doesn’t happen often in a meet situation.

So with two weeks left until the triathlon, I’m going to play every training session like it’s the last one and I’m definitely going to enjoy the ride. And then? On race day? It’s only fitting for the race plan to be leave it all out on the course. I need to set a time goal. Realistically, I’m confident I can go under 1:35:00. I’m tempted to make my goal 1:30:00.

Leave it to a weekend full of good friends, good memories and way to much food and wine to bring me back to my training with a renewed focus. I guess it makes sense though and the timing was right. The end of my gymnastics career was when I chose to start running. The weekend came at the end of my easy week, right before the start of my last hard week. A week from today I start to taper. I’m already going crazy thinking about the taper. I’m not going to know what to do with myself. Anyone have any suggestions? How do you deal with all the free time and excess energy during a taper? This will be the first time in a while I’m truly tapered. For the last couple of road races I just took it easy the day before. Help!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just a Little Competitive

If you know me, you know I can be a little bit competitive from time to time. Ok. Maybe more than a little. But I'd like to think it makes me push myself a little harder when there are other around that I am striving to keep up with, instead of being competitive in a bad way.

It's been the story of my life for as long as I can remember. I've always had to work for things. The things I love to do don't come easily to me. But I'm glad they don't. For me, the challenge is part of what keeps me interested. If I don't need to work at it, chances are I'll get bored with it fast.

But every once in a while, I've got to admit, it is really nice to be the 'best' or the fastest at something. Now I know best is a relative term. But I was out in front of the workout this morning instead of bringing up the rear and I have to admit it felt really good :). Would I have gotten in a better workout if there was someone out in front of me that I needed to chase? Maybe. But there were two people right behind me and I think that was a pretty good push. It was a nice confidence booster going into an couple of easy days (which are really hard for me to let myself take).

Regardless, I am SO glad I got my but out the door at 5:15am and got my speed work done for the week. I'm just sitting in my kitchen now and I'm sweating. I can't imagine trying to get that workout done tomorrow night when the temperature is going to be approaching 100. So the schedule rearranging was totally worth it. And thanks to the swim getting cancelled at the beach tonight, I even got in a boot camp workout :) All in all, a really good day :)

Now if only I could figure out where to squeeze in that swim/bike workout I missed tonight.

Monday, July 18, 2011

If I'm Being Honest...

I don’t know whether to throw a toddler fit, kicking and screaming on the floor, or jump up and down yelling, “sh*t, sh*t, sh*t!” Ok, guessing its not going to be the second one because I won’t even type it out, let alone yell it at the top of my lungs. And it really won’t be the first either because I’d like to think I outgrew that phase at about 3.

Ok, so all that’s left is using my words. Fine! I think I’m pretty good at that ;). Ever since my last appointment with the spine doc, when I swore off doctors (please forget this little episode, that was a fluke) my body has been feeling pretty good. I felt like I was back to my pre-Israel shape and getting stronger. But there’s something I’ve been hiding. Ever since I golfed with my parents (whose brilliant idea was that disaster?) my back has been bother me again. It started as just a little twinge, like a pulled muscle or something. But after boot camp last Thursday (we did some side lean thing with a sledgehammer) it’s back to feeling like it was when the doctor first found the Pars Defect.

It’s frustrating. PT worked, I was keeping up with my exercises and generally being pretty careful. Then I slacked for just an hour, and I wind up back at square one. Knowing that there is something out there (PT) that works, I’m tempted to go back. But we’ve been dealing with so much crap from the insurance company (they insist I’m not on my parents plan, when I am, and every time they say it’s fixed, another claim gets denied) that even though we’ve met our deductible and now would be the perfect time to go, I’m hesitant.

The other reason I’m hesitant is that I don’t want to be that girl. The one who always has issues. You know the type I’m talking about, right? The other thought going through my mind is, would maintenance PT work? Could I go just a few times? Or would I wind up going twice a week for a month or two, every three months for the rest of my life?

Or maybe I should just lay off the golf. Either way, I need to figure something out. It’s not bad enough to keep me from doing what I love, but not much is. The question is, how bad to I let it get before I decide to do something?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up (Week 2)

I’m doing away with the training log page on this blog until I can figure out a better way to format it. The table thing just wasn’t working out. So until then, I figure I should sum up the week with a post so I’m at least keeping track of my totals.

I’ll be honest with you—the numbers are a little scary this week. Oh, they’re ok on their own. But when you add them all up and remember that I work 40 hours a week, too, they're a little crazy. But I love it. It feels like such an accomplishment and I haven’t even done anything yet.

Running: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Boot Camp: 2 hours
Swimming: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Biking: 3 hours, 23 minutes
Grand Total: 10 hours, 43 minutes!

The number won’t be as high this week, as I finally get a little bit of rest at the end of the week to let my body recover. Then I ramp it up for one more week before it’s time to taper for IronGirl. Wow. Typing it out like that makes it seem so close! I know it’s three weeks away but I have a feeling those weeks are going to fly.

I’m glad we built the schedule up this way. It means I can head down to my gymnastics reunion and concentrate on having a good time with friends I haven’t seen in forever instead of worrying about fitting in a couple hours worth of running and biking. Speaking of…I should probably get to bed since I have to squeeze in two workouts before work tomorrow (an hour bike and a 45 minute run) because I’m coaching after work and can’t split them up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Quick Status Update

Ok, so I'm knee deep (or 10 days) into this training program. And man am I looking forward to the rest/easy days I'll have next week. I'm seriously earning them! I love how having a plan is keeping me so focused. I know exactly what I have to get done each day and I'm doing it. Succeeding in that makes me feel so accomplished. Even when I'm tired, I buckle down and get the work done and I (almost) always feel better for having completed it.

Take last night—I have never seen the water at Jamesville Beach so choppy. I've also never swam in water that rough. But I dove in and did it. It certainly wasn't pretty. I switched from freestyle to breast stroke pretty frequently and kept stopping to find the buoys. I also swam around the wrong buoy, so I went further than 600 meters. It took me about two minutes longer than normal. But from there the rest of the triathlon was great. I felt decently strong on the bike (just a little sore) and great on the run. I was trying to take it pretty easy and just get my 30 minutes in, but I finished the 5k in about 24:30 and jogged out the last few minutes to get to my daily run minimum.

The thing I've been noticing about the effect all this training has been having on me? It's on my mind more than my body. I feel really peaceful about things that are going on in my day-to-day life. A stressful project at the office? I can leave it at work and it doesn't bother me at home. I think I'm actually becoming a better problem solver, too. Things happen and I take care of them. If they don't go my way then so be it. I'm really enjoying this new me that doesn't stress over every little minute detail of who said what and what did they mean and what do they think of me! (Does that make any sense?)

There's just one small problem...I've been noticing that my calf is starting to twinge like it's about to cramp up. It happened in the pool on Tuesday during a hard sprint and again tonight during speed work. So I just had a banana, a sweet potato and a glass of coconut water for dinner. I'm going to be more aware of how much water I drink each day, too. I know I've fallen out of my old gallon-a-day habit. Does anyone know of any other calf cramp remedies? I'm going to try rolling it out on a frozen water bottle. But I'll take any suggestions you've got. I want to nip this right in the bud before it become a problem!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A (Wo)man With a Plan

So finally, after way too many weeks of playing at this triathlon training stuff, I bit the bullet and found a coach. We met last Tuesday, put together a plan and having completed the first week I can honestly say I have no idea why I ever waited so long. Totally worth the $30.

So here’s the plan…
Monday: 30-45 minute run, 60 minute bike
Tuesday: Boot Camp, 30 minute run, 60 minute swim
Wednesday: CNY Tri Club (600 meter swim, 10 mile bike, 30 minute run)
Thursday: Boot Camp, Speed Work
Friday: 45-60 minute swim, 60 minute bike (with speed intervals)
Saturday: 18.6 mile bike, 30-40 minute brick run
Sunday: Progressive Long Run (60-75 minutes)

Tired just looking at it? LOL I am! But no, in all honesty it’s great, I feel great and I am really looking forward to putting it to the test at the IronGirl. I did skip Thursday Boot Camp this week since a few people have been hounding me about the intensity of the middle of my week and I was tired. I’m hoping that won’t be a permanent change. I just need to get used to settling down faster on Wednesday night. Doing the whole tri leaves me too wired to sleep. But it’s important to me to get there so I’m going to work on it.

Anyway, I’m starting off this week on a high note: had a great 60 minute run bright and early this morning before my mom and I heading north to Old Forge for some kayaking. I definitely got my arm workout in for the day! I’m good tired and excited to hit the ground running for another strong week. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Learning Curve

Back at CNY Tri today. It was a world of difference from last week. Not in terms of time or anything. That’ll come more slowly. I just felt so much more prepared. Even though I was still running around like a chicken with its head cut off in the morning while I was getting ready, once I got to the beach it was a relief to know that I had all the essentials.

What was different this week? Well after last week’s disaster of a first try, I headed out to the bike store and bought a new helmet, flat kit and computer with cadence and had my biked tuned up. I also put the water bottle cage on my bike and grabbed some GU to take with me on the bike portion. The other big difference? I found my tri suit! Basement: 1, Elyssa: 1 (still can’t find the flat kit I just bought and had to borrow dad’s).

I was about 30 seconds faster on the swim (not too bad for just a week!) and swallowed WAY less water. Granted I swallowed a ton of pool water yesterday, so maybe I had just reached my quota for the week. I could tell when I got out of the water that I had worked harder—I was more out of breath on the run up to transition.

The bike was tons better than last week (no flat tires, I had water and I had the computer to keep me on track). I knew I was supposed to be keeping my cadence around 80-90 RPMs and really thought I was nowhere near that. I love that computer. I was right where I should be the whole time and wound up averaging 20 MPH. Yay! At that pace I’ll finish the IronGirl about 15 minutes faster than last year.

The run was the run. I finished the 5k in about 25 minutes, but kept running to get in my daily minimum of 30 minutes. At first I couldn’t really feel my legs so it felt like I was floating along. That didn’t really last too long, but they never turned to lead—victory! I did realize I should probably carry some water with me on the run.

The best part about these practice races is being able to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. Yes to GU, but I need to find somewhere to store it other than my bra. No to my good water bottle not fitting in the cage! Luckily I had a smaller one but I was scared it was going to fall out since it fit really loosely. Even the little things, like preferring the thin Under Armor socks I wore last week to the thick Puma ones I wore this week. I also realized I need to bring a smaller towel for wiping off my feet. Standing on the big beach towel didn’t really work for me.

Oh, I also met with the tri coach yesterday. I have a whole plan worked out and I’m really looking forward to following it. So far so good! I’ll share more details tomorrow, but in the meantime you can check out her blog here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Teal There's a Cure 5K

I’ve been back from Israel and back to running for just about a month, so when Tracey asked if I wanted to run a 5k on the 4th, I figured it would be a good checkpoint to see how much more work I have to do. I’m definitely not back to my pre-Israel, pre-swollen foot speed, but it was good to get a reality check. I still have lots of work to do and I need to remember not to sprint out at the gun. Anyway it was a beautiful day and the race was for a great cause so I'm really glad I did it.

I finished in 23:39, about a minute and a half slower than the Race for the Cure in May. I was 4th in my age group (out of 52), 7th woman (out of 317) and 34th overall (out of 479!). The course was hillier than the Race for the Cure and it was a lot hotter, I think that could account for a few seconds slow down, but not a whole 90 seconds.

I was initially a little disappointed, but I’m over it now and glad I know what I need to work on. I probably won’t have time to run another 5k before the triathlon, so I’m going to have to base my goals for the run portion of that race on where I am now. I’m not ready to set an official goal for that run course yet, but at least it’s going to be flat!

Tomorrow’s my appointment with the tri coach at the Y, so I’m super excited to get a plan and set some goals.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eat, Sleep, Work, Workout. Repeat!

Anyone who knows me knows I love food. I love to cook, bake and of course, eat. For the most part I eat pretty healthily. Just the thought of fast food makes me want to vomit and anyone who has run into me at Wegmans has seen all the veggies and Kashi products in my cart. I also have a VERY healthy appetite. Ever since I started working full time, I’ve had a meal plan pretty well worked out and it seemed to be working for me. I knew how much to spend on groceries each week, what to pack for lunch and was pretty much maintaining my weight.

It worked for me without much of a change even when I trained for the triathlon last year, took time off when I was trying to figure out was wrong with my shins and even when I started Kevin’s running program and added an extra 2 days of running a week. Well that all changed this week. Looking back at my log, I guess I did up the intensity a ton. But I never expected what happened next. I was hungry ALL the TIME. I wasn’t sleeping well and when I finally did fall asleep I was waking up in the middle of the night, still hungry.

I’d heard about waking up hungry from people I know who have done events like the IronMan, but I guess any increase in training intensity can cause it.

So for the first time in almost 2 years, I’m changing my diet. I stocked up on lots of good, healthy protein and even bought a loaf of bread (something I can’t remember the last time I did). I guess it’s not really huge, but I definitely spent a lot more money. I think having healthy snacks planned and portioned to bring to work and eat before I head out for evening workout should help with the insomnia. I guess I’ll know by the end of the week if it’s working or not. I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow, then again on Friday. If it changes a lot or if I’m still not sleeping well, I’m going to have to reevaluate, but I’m going to give it a full week.

I’m also meeting with a triathlon coach on Tuesday to develop a plan for the rest of the summer. I’m really excited about having a plan to follow instead of making it up as I go along. I have a good feeling about the races I’ve chosen and even the way I’ve been preparing so far. The only thing I’m tinkering with is whether or not to officially join UAST and pick up a 3rd race. It would be really cool to get ranked and even try to make it to nationals. Can you hear that inner competitiveness screaming from where you are? But anyway as you can tell I’m pretty torn about it. Should I go for it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Raw Speed

Thursday night=Kevin. Or as he so rightly called it, coming to see Dr. Feel Good. LOL. After the workout week I’d had, I was looking forward to last night’s appointment with the self-titled Dr. Feel Good. It was supposed to be the start of a new session, so I was expecting a base run. Well when no new people showed up, it was decided we should do a short temp run. And not just any tempo run. We were going to supplement with 4 x 100 yard wind sprints. Yikes. I wasn’t quite mentally prepared for that.

I planned to not go out at 100% since I’d already done so much this week. I took the first half of the tempo easy-ish and pushed it a little more towards the end. So not quite a tempo but not really a base run either.

Then, the wind sprints. I haven’t done anything like these since sprinting down the vault runway, but that’s exactly how they felt (but a little more out of control). That’s exactly the kind of workout I live for. It’s a chance to prove that I have some serious raw speed, and it was a huge boost to my confidence to hear people say it. That Thursday night group has some seriously fast runners. It’s been great because it keeps that competitive fire burning. But every so often its great to get a little confidence boost.

Today’s an off day and I feel like I’ve earned this one. It’s a great feeling. Now if only I could fall asleep…..

Thursday, June 30, 2011

5.5 Week Checkpoint

With just over 5 weeks left until the IronGirl, I’m realizing it’s time to get my but in gear in terms of triathlon training. Heading out for a bike ride after work just because I feel like is definitely not going to cut it, especially if I want to do well this year.

So last night I headed to my first CNY Triathlon Club training race and boy did I learn a lot. To say that it was a disaster might be a stretch but it definitely didn’t go well. In all honesty though, it was still a blast and a great learning experience. I feel really lucky to live in a community that has so many great resources for training. We’ve got Kevin’s running program with 200 runners, the CNY Tri Club has over 900 members, the swim clinics at the Y, and too many group rides going on every weekend to name.
Photo Credit:

It’s also way better to know where I stand with 5 weeks to go then to find out the week before like I did last year. That all worked out in the end but the goal this year is to do better.

So what happened? Well let’s start with the fact that the air temperature was only about 64 degrees and it was completely overcast. Exactly the type of weather that makes you want to get in a lake sans wetsuit, right? I wish you could have heard the running commentary going through my head the whole time. Every thought from, “what the hell am I doing?” to, “hey, this isn’t so bad!” and, "OMG I just drank a gallon of lake water I hope this isn't as dirty as Oneida Lake" went through my head at some point or another. It wound up taking me 13 minutes, 35 seconds. Not terrible, but not great either. At least I know that I have some work to do.

Out of the water, up the hill to the transition area, I didn’t feel too bad. I probably could have gone out harder in the swim, but for the first time the effort level was probably right. I threw on some warmer clothes, put on my bike shoes and headed out. Running to the mount area on the bike shoes wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But unfortunately the bike portion kind of went downhill from there. I was literally getting passed by EVERYONE. I felt so slow and sluggish. My quads were pretty tired from the beginning and I couldn’t figure out why. It was only a 10 mile bike but it felt like FOREVER until the turnaround. The first half took me about 25 minutes. Not great, but it there were a lot more hills than the IronGirl course will have. I finally made it to the turnaround and was feeling pretty decent as I headed back when disaster struck in the form of a pothole. Yup, you guessed it—major flat. Bummer. The bigger bummer? I was still 3 miles from the beach and I didn’t have a flat kit. Needless to say that’s my first stop after work tonight. Luckily, three of the nicest women I’ve ever met stopped, offered me tire irons, spare tubes and a CO2 kit. It was good practice for all of us and I am so grateful to them for their help! Thanks a millions Kristen, Kelly & Denise! I’m sending lots of good karma your way :)
Image from here...I wish I'd been carrying a cell phone!
I finally got back on the road and headed back to transition. I forgot to stop or even look at my watch when I got the flat so I have no idea how long the bike took. I had pretty much decided not to run, but when I got back a woman I had met earlier in the night was waiting for me. She introduced herself as “Crazy Hardcore Lynn.” Love it! Well CHL told me I should run, so I ran. I wasn’t about to be outdone so I had to prove my hardcoreness (if that’s a word).

I’m really, really glad I decided to run. It proved to me that I have the run fitness and that all the hard work I’ve been putting in with Kevin is really paying off. I only ran for about 20 minutes, but I felt really strong and my legs felt surprisingly fresh. It was a great way to end the night and an awesome confidence boost. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Version of a Tri

The running is slowly coming back and I'm feeling pretty decent. Then yesterday, a bomb arrived in my email inbox. The triathlon is only 6 weeks away! Ok, officially panicking a little bit. Luckily, I have my first swim clinic at the Y tonight, and I've been talking with a Tri Coach who I'm hoping can help me put together a plan for the rest of the summer.

I think triathlons are really four pieces—there's the swim, bike and run of course. But the balancing act of training for all three pieces is definitely the fourth piece of the equation.

But for today, I've got my own version of the triathlon to get through: Boot Camp, Run, Swim :) Oh, and yea I have to fit 8 hours of work in there somewhere.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lemon Pound Cake with Raspberry Buttercream and Whipped Cream Frosting

I’m going to come right out and say it—I don’t like cake. However, I really like to bake cake. When there’s a special occasion coming up that requires a cake, thoughts of flavor combinations, recipe possibilities and decorating options literally consume me.  This lemon and raspberry combination has been on my mind since before Mother’s Day. I can’t remember why but I didn’t get the chance to make a cake for my mom.

Fast forward to last weekend, when Wegman’s was giving away samples of EVERYTHING while I did my weekly grocery shopping. One of those samples just so happened to be a teeny, tiny piece of white cake with lemon and raspberry fillings and a whipped cream frosting. I only took it so I could eat the frosting. Take it from someone who doesn’t like cake—the flavor combination was incredible. Thoughts of cakes I could bake started to float around in my head with a renewed vigor.

Luckily for me, Father’s Day was fast approaching, along with my Grandma’s 80th Birthday. A little Googling and I found recipes for white cake, lemon buttercream, raspberry buttercream and whipped cream frosting. I blocked off time in my weekend to really do it right.

In the end we (my sister and I) simplified a little, deciding to go with what eventually became the final recipe: Lemon Pound Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Filling and Whipped Cream Frosting. Let me tell you (yes, from someone who doesn’t like cake) this was divine, although some of that may have had to do with how beautifully it came out.

You should try this. And if you don’t want to bake it yourself, I’d be happy to do it for you. For a cost of course. I’ve got to get this baking business off the ground somehow :) I also take custom orders. *Wink, Wink.* If you want me to make a cake for your special occasion, or non occasion, I'd love to do it! I could use all the practice I can get!

Happy Birthday Grandma!
Yea, it's recipes like these that would keep me running if I didn't already love it.

**Update!!! Here's what the cake looked like on the inside :)
Wasn't it gorgeous??

Lemon Cake From Ina Garten/Food Network
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 8" round cake pans. 
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
Combime the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. 
Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Poke holes in the cakes with the cake tester. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray then spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
Raspberry Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries, pureed and strained to make 1 cup

Bring a saucepan with about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Combine sugar and whites in a large heatproof mixer bowl set over (not in) simmering water. and Whisk until whites are warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place bowl on mixer stand; whisk on low speed until mixture is foamy. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cooled completely, about 10 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking to incorporate fully well after each addition (if buttercream appears curdled, at this point simply beat until smooth). Whisk in vanilla and raspberry puree.

Switch to paddle; beat on low to reduce air bubbles, 3 to 5 minutes. To store, refrigerate airtight up to 3 days, or freeze up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature; beat on low until smooth about 10 minutes.

Whipped Cream Frosting 
highly adapted from Homemade by Holman
2 cups heavy cream
powdered sugar (we used about 6 Tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chill mixer bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and vanilla and beat (with the whisk attachment) on low speed. Slowly increase to high speed as the cream thickens. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Frost cake, then decorate!