I won the sibling lottery

IMG_1600Kids, I hate to break it to you, but you’ve been lied to. I know it was National Sibling Day this week and you all believe that you have the coolest siblings, but you would be wrong…because I have the world’s coolest brother. How do I know this? Well, aside from the fact that I’ve been gathering evidence for the past 24 years, my brother, the ever-talented Liam Benjamin Fennecken just won the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Collegiate Male Solo for a recording he did with his college a cappella group! You can listen to a clip of his award winning recording of Come Wake Me Up HERE. You can also catch some of his mad skillz from his TODAY show appearance a couple of years ago. ENJOY!

Moving back to my far less exciting existence, this week wasn’t the best for training. I’m still fighting off this cold (which moved to my chest -bleh, so much coughing), I had a VERY important social engagement midweek, and work has been demanding, so I ended up giving myself an extra rest day and taking a couple of workouts super easy. All was not lost though because this weekend was GORGEOUS and I got in a great ride (30 miles) and a solid run (8 and change) in the sunshine. And GOT‘s back. I’m calling it a win.

On a side note – I’m FINALLY listening to Serial. It’s just SO GOOD. What do you guys think? Did the state of Maryland get it right?? I’m still up in the air about it – but I’m absolutely certain of one thing. I will be so sad when I run out of episodes. Any further podcast recommendations for me?

In spite of the mucus (see cough above) I also had a very social week. I got to hang with a bunch of my favorite people on Wednesday, Friday was Back on My Feet NYC’s 3rd birthday celebration, Charlie and I hit up WO HOP after a friend’s party on Saturday night, and on Sunday an old friend joined me at the Brooklyn Tri Club‘s season kick off party. All the fun times were had!

Speaking of fun times – I’m doing this super fun race on July 19th! Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s called the NYC Triathlon? Right, well I’m racing to fundraise for Back on My Feet NYC, and this week a bunch of AMAZING folks made donations to my campaign. A million thanks to Emily, Meghan, Briana (btw- take her yoga classes – SO good!), Amara, Laura, Erica, Julie, Eddie (Artistic Director of a super cool theater company) and Charlie (check out his blog)! You guys are THE BEST – thank you, thank you, thank you!

To everybody else – I’m only 12% of the way to my goal of raising $2900 (for my 29th birthday) – I need your help! If you’d like to join the ranks of these awesomest of individuals and support an organization that literally and figuratively—helps individuals experiencing homelessness get back on their feet – make a donation here and I’ll give you a shout out!

Alright folks, I’m gonna go pop some popcorn and drink seltzer out of a wine glass to channel my inner Olivia Pope (she swims…do you think she’ll do a triathlon one day?). Have a great week!

Roller Coaster Status: Highs and Lows

So did you guys hear about the Coney Island Cyclone? For those of you who aren’t Brooklyn-centric, the Cyclone is a super old and iconic roller coaster on the Coney Island boardwalk. Welp, turns out it got STUCK on opening day. Can you imagine? I seriously cannot even fathom. I mean, I’m good with heights and actually LOVE roller coasters, but being stuck on one (especially in the cold) sounds particularly awful.

IMG_0088In any case, while the Cyclone was not running, I sure have been! Literally and figuratively – in fact, I ran myself ragged! Last week I was on point with training – it was a great week and I was feeling good. Maybe a little too good, because I decided I could party a little harder than I have been while training, stay up a little later, and stretch and recover a little less. BIG mistake. After a weekend of approximately 3 times as many drinks as I usually hit in a week (which is down to about 2 – I know, I’m wild!), I woke up on Monday with a nasty cold. Womp-womp.

I’ve tried not to let it stop me this week, but when push comes to shove, I’m putting sleep before training. So yes, I slept 10 hours last night, and no, I didn’t do both of the workouts on my schedule, I only did one. BUT – I did the one, and gave my body time to heal itself, and for me that’s a serious win. Sucks to be sick, but it’s great to learn to balance self care and training. And being sick is a really good reason to eat Shake Shack.

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On another high note, I’m learning the benefits of training with others. Since high school, I’ve been a lone wolf when it comes to workouts (excepting my Back on My Feet runs of course! Did I mention I’m fundraising for them? Oh no – deets here). When I started swimming with the fast swimmers on the masters team, I realized that I was pushing myself harder to keep up. And guess what? I’ve gotten stronger (shocking, right? A teenager from the 90s should really be following me around everyday for all the “DUH” moments I’ve had this year). I’ve been working more and more group workouts into my training – going to a Flywheel class with a friend instead of rocking the bike trainer solo, meeting a new neighborhood friend for my weekend long run, even joining the informal swim workouts in the fast(est) lane at the rec center pool. Working out with others is 1) FUN and 2) pushes me to go harder. It’s awesome and I cannot wait for tri club workouts to start so I can try to hang on in workouts with the big kids!

Obviously every workout can’t be with a group – I crave some alone time sometimes too, but I’m really excited to see the kind of impact this new element will have on my racing this summer. It’s been a week of highs and lows, but training is definitely turning into a blast of a ride!

So who wants to come workout with me? I’ll bring snacks!

Need some motivation?

I dunno about you, but I need a little extra motivation every now and again. I mean, sure some days I wake up READY TO WORK, but other days, I have to remind myself “Excuse me, hell-O, you need to put the work in to accomplish the results you want on race day.” This statement is usually followed by a quick browse of instagram, twitter, or my blog feed (I use The Old Reader if you’re interested) for a little external motivational support. Since sometimes we all need a pinch of inspiration to light the fire, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite athlete-related social media accounts/pages below.

But first, I want to bring to your attention to a study that has shown that when racers see motivational messages while racing, they perform better. Translation: If someone makes you a poster for your next race and comes to cheer you on, YOU WILL RUN FASTER. It’s science. So, if you want to PR in your next race, I HIGHLY recommend making a donation to my fundraiser for Back on My Feet. I will make you a motivational poster (email me if you’re curious or want further deets).

Without further ado, I present to you – in no particular order – a list of athlete-related social media accounts that rock my world:

ImPressive Pros

@fleshmanflyer – Lauren Fleshman, professional runner and entrepreneur – Lauren also has a great twitter account

@jessemthomas – Jesse Thomas, husband of aforementioned Lauren Fleshman and pro triathlete – also writes for triathlete mag

@athletestyle and @athletefood  Wassner twins – professional triathletes on instagram

@karagoucher – has a blog that doesn’t get published regularly, but her instagram game is ON

@emmacoburn – Emma Coburn, track and field pro, great instagram

@LauraRBennett  – Laura Reback Bennett Olympic triathlete, twitter is a mix of hilarious and getting it done

@sgroffy – Sarah True another Olympian with a sense of humor

Awesome Amateurs 

@zippchick – this is probably my favorite find this year, Emily also has a great blog

Run This Amazing Day – (blog) a triathlete and coach with a great outlook and killer sense of humor

Preppy Runner – (blog) New Yorker, runner, professional -Theodora is tenacious, I love how she never quits and is always looking to take a bite off a new challenge

Big Shot Brands 

@oiselle – running gear for ladies, lots of pro runners and pretty clothes

@onlyatomsnyc – “cool running clothes for warm humans” guys and gals – lots of ultra inspiration

@triathletemag – Triathlete magazine – pictures of fast people

@nuunhydration – all kinds of endurance athletes (and pictures of water tablets)

@bettydesigns – triathlete gear for ladies, I think they coined #badassisbeautiful

Who/what inspires or motivates you? (Doesn’t have to be sports related!)

Recovery Week and a #RunFail

What’s shakin’ bacon? Hope everyone had a good week! Mine was a recovery week. It was nice to hit it a little easier, but most of all, it was nice to SLEEP IN.  Since I only needed to do one a day, I moved all of my workouts to the evening and slept in til 7:30am everyday. I got 8 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT!  How’s that for recovery!?

The last workout of my week was an 8 mile easy run. Things did not go as well as planned. I was out of town for family on Saturday, so Sunday ended up being pretty busy. I ran around most of the morning doing errands, chores, church, and meetings. I hadn’t planned my meals well, so by the time I was ready to run, it’d been hours since breakfast. There was no way on earth I would get 8 miles done without eating lunch – so I made lunch. Tortellini with sautéed kale, meatballs, parmesan and olive oil – DEEEE-licious. I sat for about 30 minutes, then set out on the run. BIG mistake.

I spent miles 2, 3, and 4 wishing I would puke so I could just get it over with. It was seriously gruesome. I’m not prone to gastrointestinal distress while running, but now I realllllllly feel for those of you who are – I don’t know how you do it! Nausea is not for sissies! Mile 5 and 6 were better, but I could feel myself losing steam and knew I needed to get some water. (Somehow I thought that since the calendar said SPRING that the water fountains in the park would be running again…they weren’t.) I stopped and bought a bottle from the vendor in the park, drank as much of it as I could, dropped the half full bottle in the recycling and carried on. As all that water sloshed around in my gut, I changed my tune and wished for mile 8. #RunFail.

BUT – I survived. In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened. It was my first bad run of this training cycle, and I got through it. I kept going, sucked it up, and got ‘er done. And I will never ever eat a heavy meal less than two hours before a run ever, ever again. Lesson learned.

On a much happier note, I got a very exciting package this week!

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Beautifully, locally made running gear from Only Atoms! I’ve been eyeing their stuff for awhile (I mean, how could you not?), but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger to have one shirt shipped my way. Luckily, inspiration struck me a few weeks ago and I realized that I could justify shipping for one shirt to me IF another item came with it for someone else. So I ordered one for me, and one for my momma. She broke her sternum in a car accident in January and can’t run right now, BUT she’s still working out and she will run again, so what better to cheer her up than a super stylish run tank! Amiright?

Spoiler alert – she liked it! How could she not? Check out these gorgeous tops (I wish I could show you how soft they are. So, so soft! Also, forgive my complete lack of picture taking ability):

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They even come with little hair ties made out of the extra shirt fabric! How great is that? Now, Only Atoms gear is NOT cheap, but it’s not CHEAP either. They are literally made of the softest fabric I’ve ever felt. They’re also 100% made in New York City. Unlike the gear I pick up from Target and Old Navy, you know that everyone who worked on these shirts was paid a fair wage, in safe conditions.  So high quality + responsible business practices + beautifully designed = higher price. It’s worth it – and their clothes make a great gift! Also – let’s be real – it’s not more expensive that Lululemon or Athleta, and you know there’s bad juju going into their clothes.

If you’re interested in sustainable and ethical fashion, I recommend this great interview on the Rich Roll Podcast. It got me through two hours on the trainer on Friday night – effing snow – and I learned a lot!

Do you make any purchase decisions based on ethical or sustainability considerations?

Weekend Nutrition Edition

Hey-O! How’s everyone’s weekend going? I had a blast this morning, cheering for all the half marathoners running the United Airlines NYC Half with my Back on My Feet teammates. I made a couple of signs yesterday and they turned out to be a huge hit – with the runners and the cheerers! You can catch a video of the inspiring Lorenzo letting the runners know just how #badass they are on my instagram. I always have such a blast with BoMF and I can’t tell you enougpostersh how proud I am to be a member of the amazing BoMF NYC team! (Reminder- I’m fund-race-ing the NYC Triathlon for the org, and you can make a donation here. I will be eternally grateful, and it will be the best money you’ll ever spend. There are also NYC Marathon spots available if YOU want to fund-race for BoMF – you know you want to!)

But let’s get to what this post is really about – FOOD! As I may have mentioned, one of my biggest lessons in training this year has been the importance of nutrition. I borrowed The Complete Nutrition Guide for Triathletes from library (on my iPad), and it’s definitely helped me out. There’s nothing here you can’t find in various web articles, but it was great to have it all in one comprehensive source with charts and tips. The information I picked up there has informed how I fuel when I’m on the bike (or on the run), and changed how much water I take in mid-training sesh.  Apparently, there’s something called “cardiac drift” (not to be mistaken with Tokyo Drift of The Fast and the Furious fame), and it happens when you start dehydrating. Hence, when you are dehydrated, your heart has to pump faster and you don’t perform as well. So staying hydrated is a big part of a winning race plan. I know you’re all thinking, “DUH Aubrie,” but I’ve always been a “eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty” kind of racer. As it turns out, this strategy may have been hurting my performance, and planning out my nutrition and hydration in advance – based on how much I sweat and the length of a race – could really help me out. It definitely seems to be making a difference in my workouts!

Corned Beef and CabbageThe more fun part of this conversation is all of the delicious food I get to eat when I’m NOT training! For starters – like most of you, I’m busy! I don’t have time to cook everyday. So I spend a few hours a week, usually on Sunday, to cook and prep things for the week. Nine times out of ten, I’m making a recipe I found on Pinterest. Last week I made corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, and a thai curry with shrimp. While I don’t restrict myself of anything, I try to eat meals that are balanced with lots of veggies and a good amount of protein. I’ll usually eat salmon once a week (mostly canned salmon – I’m cheap), and get my protein from plant based sources (beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and nut butters) & dairy for about 1/3-1/2 of my meals each week. I eat more carbs now that I’m training, and I consume more calories with pre, during, and post-workout fuel (one or the other, pre or post is typically regular meal), but my eating habits haven’t changed a ton. I’m still experimenting, but on the whole, I think things are going pretty well!

If you’re looking for inspiration on the food (and general badass athlete) front, check out Athlete Food, or Ask Lauren Fleshman. Both are awesome!

What’s your nutrition strategy? Have a good resource for me to check out?