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!

Everything is Awesome

WatchToday is just THE best. It’s warm, the sun is shining, we did HILL repeats at our team run earlier (I really, really like to run hills) AND I got to ride my bike outside after work, I had an iced coffee this morning, I’m watching my alma mater play in the Patriot League Champs (the GLORY league of NCAA Division 1 – obV) annnnd I’m rocking my new shark watch (see right). There are a lot of environmental factors driving my optimism today, but let’s talk about the internal factors that drive a positive mindset.

One of the things that’s come up over and over again in my quest to gain the knowledge of great athletes is that the mental preparation is every bit as important as the physical preparation. From visualization, to positive self-talk, your mind is 100% going to make or break you during a race, but it’s also a huge (and often overlooked) element in your training.

FUNIt can get pretty easy to start thinking about your workouts as work – especially when they’re taking up enough time to be a part-time job – but that’s a recipe for disaster. Unless you’re a professional, you’re not racing to put food on your table and roof over your head – you’re racing and training because it’s an activity you enjoy (I hope)! So first and foremost, it’s good to remember that while training IS hard, it’s supposed to be fun. Sure, sometimes you’ll leave a workout feeling trashed – but it should be an “I just kicked my ass and dug deep to get better at doing something I love, and it feels wonderful and awful” kind of trashed. (Yes, I love run on sentences. Don’t hate.)

So here are some tips to help you keep a positive mindset while training, gleaned from various sources across the internet, IRL, and via printed publications:

1) When shit gets really hard, smile. In fact, just smile once in awhile when you’re training and racing – be the crazy athlete with a shit-eating grin while you slog uphill.

2) If something goes wrong, instead of letting it eat away at your soul, identify what went wrong and why, and take steps to fix it. Did you just bonk? Check your nutrition and hydration.

3) Remember WHY you decided to do this. Are you trying to kick a goal on your bucket list? That 6am workout is hard to get up for, but isn’t it cool to know that you’re working towards a goal? Do you just LOVE to move? Remind yourself of that when you really really don’t want to lace up after work.

4) Talk nice to yourself. Yea, this shit sounds ridiculous, but it works. In the same way that the manner in which you talk to yourself about your body image will inform the person you see in the mirror; the way you talk to yourself about your training and capabilities will inform the person you’ll be on race day. Next time you feel like you’re slogging, remind yourself what a bad mamma jamma you are for working through it!

5) If you’re really truly having a shit time of it, you may need a break. Take a day or two off and focus on things that bring you joy. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a couple days, but rather, celebrate yourself for knowing your limits and taking the time you need in order to get to the finish line healthy and happy!

In the land of my training, I just took an extra day off because I took on one too many commitments the week after daylight savings (I struggle!).  It’s cool though, leading up to it, I had a solid week of training (albeit a little short on bike mileage – but high on fantastic outside runs), and this week, I’ve rejiggered my schedule a little bit to hit my time and distance goals for the week in spite of it. Whoop!

So, since it’s all in my head, I can be the next Michael Phelps, right…if I realllllllllly believe I can…

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom that inspire you stay positive?

What’s a girl gotta do for some “D”?

It’s no secret that the northeast is having one sludge of a winter. And yes, you’re all tired of hearing about it. So I’m just going to move right along and tell you I’ve already gone on two lovely runs outside this week, in spite of the horrifying view from Monday night:ICEBERG AHEAD!

YeeaauP, that is the frozen wasteland formerly known as New York Harbor. Thankfully, that view wasn’t representative of how cold it felt. It was actually pretty pleasant running weather… but given the icebergs, you all think I’m a badass now, right?

Last week was fun. I got to hang with my little younger brother on Saturday. We went to see The Events at New York Theatre Workshop (its great, go see it!), then I brought him to the infamous Crocodile Lounge. When you buy a drink, they GIVE you a pizza. I’m not kidding. You should go there. I feel like there’s a world where I organize a long run that ends there this summer…*

If you follow me on twitter, you know I engaged in some dangerous behavior on Friday night. Online shopping over wine has damaged many a credit score. I hid my cards from myself, so I didn’t end up buying anything, but I’m still considering (and lusting over) these, this, this, and these. You can find em all on my pinterest boards too!

I also made some DIY beauty products over the weekend. The jury is still out, but I’ll give you a round up of what did and didn’t work for me in the next month or so. I definitely have some doubts, but I pride myself on being a human guinea pig, so bottoms up!

IMG_1792On the training front, I spent just under four hours on this trainer at the rec center. My butt + that seat = BFFs. The rec center has definitely grown on me, I mean you really can’t beat full access to a bike trainer and some good lap-swim hours when you’re in training. That said, I’ve got a serious hankering for the road and the sunshine. Spring is coming right? (And Game of Thrones!)

I also knocked out 3500 yards in the pool, ran for an hour and 10 mins (which was short of my goal for the week – especially since I have a half marathon in a month), and logged two 25 min strength sessions.

It was a decent week of training – definitely above and beyond any of my previous weeks on the bike – but I didn’t do a great job of planning on the nutrition front. As one of my favorite Rockstars says “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and I dropped the ball there. I’ve definitely found that both WHAT I eat, and WHEN I eat it have a much more significant effect when training. (This girl needs to be eating more Vitamin D if it isn’t coming from the sun!) I’m doing a ton of research to try and dial in on what works for me, and I’ll give ya’ll a rundown of the findings soon!

I’ve also found that getting enough (and quality) sleep can make or break a day’s workout. It’s so huge! I love my sleep, but I never realized how MUCH it matters. With occasional two-a-days, I’m definitely still figuring out the best way to balance AM and PM workouts in a way that gets me in bed early enough for 7-8 hours. Accepting any and all tips!

I also think I need to concede that I need some yoga in my life. I’ve been terrible at prioritizing it in the past (I go, but never regularly), but now may be the time. I’m not sure WHERE the time will come from, but I may have to make it. Maybe I’ll just stop folding my laundry :)

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*Would you be interested in joining me for a long run that ends in beer and free pizza?

 

 

 

 

The cake is on fire!

Hey-O! Did everyone enjoy the Oscars? I didn’t make it to the end, but I heard good things. I was really excited to hear that Common and John Legend won Best Original Song for Glory. I mean OBVIOUSLY it was the best, but you never know. They are two of my favorites (John Legend’s EVOLVER got me through a very difficult time in 2011, and Common’s BE is probably my favorite album of all time). So, yay!

Before I fell asleep mid-Oscars though, I had the world’s chillest weekend. It was awesome. On Saturday, I took the bus out to PA to get snowed in with my mom.

Yup. It's still winter.
Yup. It’s still winter.

Now, I don’t know what “snowed-in” means in your family, but in mine it means you do an indoor “brick” workout for an hour and a half. Mom and I put a meal in the crockpot and hit the “gym”. I ran for a half hour on the treadmill, while Mom rocked the bike trainer, and then we swapped so I could do an hour on the bike and Mom could walk on the treadmill. Did I mention that my mom was in a car accident last month and BROKE her sternum? Yup. She’s UNSTOPPABLE. She’s not allowed to run yet, but she’s still logging serious workouts – it’s impressive. After we worked it out, we put a fire in the fireplace and decided to make some dessert…

FiresWelp – nobody told us that angel food cake does some serious rising while cooking, sooooo we accidentally set the cake and the oven on fire. Oops. Don’t worry though, we salvaged that shit and had some fantastic strawberry shortcake after dinner. #nailedit

After dinner, we were just chillin, catching up on The Mindy Project (aka the best show on television), when my Mom decided – at 11pm – that we should shovel the 4 inches of snow off the driveway for my Dad. I told you – she is UNSTOPPABLE.

After church on Sunday, the whole fam went up to visit my Grandpop, and while he wasn’t thrilled to hang with us, he was pretty into the pizza we brought up, so we can call it a win. I caught an afternoon bus back to the city, and got to watch this awesome sunset along the way. The weekend literally couldn’t have been better.

On the training front, I’m slowly building yardage in the pool and mileage on the bike. My running’s about the same, as it’s something I do year round. In all, I’ve gone from working out about 3.5 hours a week to 6.5, and I’m still building. Not surprisingly, my body is thrilled. It requires a little more TLC – time spent stretching, foam rolling, and giving myself tennis ball and golf ball massages – but I feel goooooood.

But here’s the real news: I’ve jerry-rigged a solution that will allow me to get in the training volume I need, at a price I can afford. Many thanks to the New York City Recreational Centers. They are NOT fancy, but for $75 for 6 months ($150 for the whole year), you have access to all the indoor pools across the city, all of the fitness centers, and more. I now have access to pools and spin bikes seven days a week – and there’s one near my office. Parks and Rec for the win! I’m keeping my Planet Fitness membership so I have a gym near my apartment (and let’s be real – I can spare the $10 a month with all the money I’m saving by NOT joining the YMCA or Equinox).

I’m feeling pretty fit and frugal. How do you save money on your fitness? What do you splurge on?

Would you like some humble pie with that?

Kombucha in a wine glass - just as good as the original
Kombucha in a wine glass – just as good as the original

Last time we met, I gave you a run down of how gung-ho I am about being a better triathlete this year. I told you all about my plans to get up early to work it out, drink less, learn from the best, and invest in my training and nutrition. Guess what?! I did all of those things this week, and I feel great! Buuuut, the reality is that it’s just the beginning. I’ll have to keep the commitment and the hunger for months. Getting one swim, one bike, and a few runs in every week isn’t going to cut it if my goal is to really nail it this year. So while week one was amazing, it came with a heaping slice of humble pie.

But before I get into the dirty details, I’d like to invite you Back on My Feet NYC’s Comedy Night on February 26th! I can’t be there (work event), but YOU can be! Tickets are $25 each and include DRINKS. Annnnd, if you buy a ticket and email me to let me know, BoMF will count your ticket sale toward my BoMF FundRACEing campaign for the NYC Tri. So, do a girl a favor  and laugh your ass off on 2/26!

So what was easy about week one?

For one – going to bed early and getting up earlier was WAY easier than I expected. Running with Back on My Feet has always been my favorite – it’s so much easier to get up knowing that hugs and awesomeness await me in the cold (cold) dark morning.

Swim practice is my new favorite thing. It felt just like the swim team practices I remember and love (except with less whining on my part). I cannot wait to go back.

What was hard?

Computrainer. I joined Brooklyn Triathlon Club (BTC) earlier this year, and they’ve been an amazing resource. Right now, I’m mostly trolling the forums for advice, links and words I don’t know; but come spring, I’ll be able to join club workouts, rides, etc. I’m a total novice on the bike, so when someone mentions “computrainer” I have to google it. One of the cool things about the BTC forum is that members will sell their sessions when they can’t make them – sooo I got to try out a single computrainer session without making any commitments (oh, and the triathlete I purchased it from was nice enough to pass along some key tips!).

It. kicked. my. butt. So, right before we got started the guy running the session told me that the 2 hour ride I was about to take, was equivalent to a 4 hour ride on the road… Did I mention I haven’t ridden more than 45 minutes on the road since…August? To save my own legs, I made a mental note to take it easy and ride my own pace. It was a lot of fun, and challenging (I totally got lapped on the “course”), and my quads were burning after an hour and a half. I was stunned when I didn’t end up sore the next couple of days.

Know what that means? 1) I did a bad job of hydrating and managing my nutrition, 2) there’s a healthy level of uncomfortable I need to learn to work through, and 3) I have a lot of work to do on the bike.

Which leads me to the question – how do I get more work on the bike in the winter?!? For now, I’ve snagged a spot for this Sunday, but I have no plan for the remainder of the snowy season. Buy a trainer for my apt? Sell my soul for lots of computrainer sessions? Move to California?

What would you do?