Signing up for two races with only a day of rest was a rather ambitious move for me. But both races turned out to be a great time and I’m very happy I did it!
The MWCC sprint tri took place in Gardner, MA last Sunday. We scored a great deal on it from Schwaggle, which made the hour and a half drive there a bit more tolerable at 5AM, haha. This was a small triathlon with only about a hundred people (definitely one of the smallest events I’ve been to) but it was nice because it was easy to find your way in transition. It was also a longer sprint tri, with a 0.5 mile swim, a 15.18 mile bike, and a 4.17 mile run.
Even though I’d stayed pretty active on our California vacation, not having much specific training leading up to this tri made it a tough race for me. The swim portion went well (aside from the gross weeds at the beginning of the pond, but who can control that), but the bike was a bit hillier than I was used to. There was a bit of a climb between miles 11 and 12, and it really tired me out. By the time I got to the run, I felt pretty exhausted but still put in my best effort. I ended up finishing in 02:32:58, with the following splits:
Swim - 24:15
T1 - 4:03
Bike – 1:10:17
T2 - 0:56
Run - 53:28
People always tell me they’re scared to do a tri because they’ll be one of the last people to finish. In this event, I was one of the last people to finish – 2nd to last actually, I believe. And even though it was a tough race for me, my times weren’t that bad compared to my normal standards. Coming in near last doesn’t diminish all the hard work you do, and honestly – I just love the sport of triathlon so much, who cares if I’m one of the last to run across that finish line!
Following that race was the Harvard Pilgrim 10K on Tuesday night at Gillette Stadium. I did this race last year and loved it, so I was happy to do it again this year. The race was huge – over 6,000 runners between the 5K and 10K races which both started at the same location and ran the same ¾ of a mile together before splitting. My husband and my good friend Katie were there to do this race with me too.
Here’s my biggest pet peeve with mass starts like this (and it’s to no fault of the race directors, because they do their best to push people to do it correctly): seed yourself properly. I’m a slow runner, I know this. I seed myself between the 10 min/mile pace and the walkers, because that’s where I’m at. But it’s pretty frustrating to start the race and for the first half mile be weaving in and out of people walking at 2 mph. I LOVE that races are walker-friendly – I’ve walked in the past too. I just wish people would put themselves in the right spot. Okay, enough ranting.
The 10K course went out on local roads in Foxboro before coming back to the Stadium. The finish was on the 50 yard line, which was awesome. It’s fun to see yourself on the big screen too. At the finish, they had Patriots player Jerod Mayo around to take photos.
I ended up finishing the 10K in 1:14, an 11:55 min/mile pace, which I was pretty happy with. Not near my 10K PR, but it was a race where I felt great running and finished without feeling like I was going to vomit at the end.
After the race, we stuck around Patriot Place to see the amazing fireworks. It was a great event!
That’s right, it’s my 27th birthday today and in celebration, I wanted to share with you 27 simple tips for overall wellness. Some of these are tips coming from the RD/personal trainer side of me, while others are just items I’ve come to learn along the way. Enjoy these feasible changes that anyone can incorporate into their life – and I hope you’ll choose to do so!
1) Carry a water bottle. It makes it easier to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, and it’s cheaper and better for the environment than buying bottled water.
2) Visit local farmer’s markets. They’ll have fresh produce at great prices that hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to get to you.
3) Look at the glass half full. Optimism isn’t a false sense of reality; it’s choosing to make your reality a happier place.
4) Model healthy habits for your children, both for nutrition and fitness. They do look up to you as a role model, even though they might not always show it. The photo below is a good friend of mine and his daughter stretching together!
5) Keep your brain in tip-top shape by reading often.
6) Skip fad diets. If you see products that promise you’ll lose “x pounds in y days”, cure your chronic diseases, or eliminate hunger – they’re lying.
7) Move your body! Avoid sitting too much - get up during the day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to move around. Schedule regular exercise into your days.
8) Choose a new fruit or vegetable each week to try. You’ll have fun looking at ways to prepare something and might discover a new favorite.
9) Get regular check-ups and have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. These issues, when caught early, can often be addressed with simple lifestyle changes.
10) Cut down on sugar sweetened beverages. Most don’t provide any good nutrition for our bodies, and can easily be replaced with water.
11) Find a stress management technique that works for you. Try boxing, running, meditation, journaling, knitting, getting a massage, or any other activity that might help you calm down.
12) Choose natural whole foods over processed foods.
13) Travel often. Whether it’s day trips to new places around your home state or flying across the world, traveling opens your eyes to new things and makes you feel more fulfilled. That's Iceland, Maui, and Prague in the photos below.
14) Stop the negative self talk. Love your body and appreciate everything it does for you, regardless of your weight.
15) Wash your hands often.
16) Create a reasonable budget for yourself or your household. Incorporate a mix of saving and spending. Being able to save up for something and pay for it upfront makes it that much sweeter knowing there’s no debt to come home to.
17) Brown bag your lunches. It’ll allow you to create healthier meals and will save you a lot of money compared to eating out everyday.
18) Bike or walk to errands in a reasonable distance from your house. It saves money, reduces your carbon footprint, and increases your weekly physical activity.
19) Don’t worry needlessly about minor mistakes and other people’s opinons. In Bernard Baruch’s words, “those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.”
20) Smile and laugh. A lot. As you can see below, I tend to have no trouble with this ;)
21) Get outside a lot. Fresh air and sunshine can always improve a bad day. Be sure to wear sunscreen.
22) Teach your kids about where food comes from. When I ask a child where we get milk, I love when they can answer “a cow” instead of “the store.” Visit a farm and let them see the animals or pick some produce (strawberry season is right upon us)!
23) Focus on experiences with your loved ones rather than materialistic pursuits. You’ll come away with many more memories and much less useless crap.
24) Make the switch from refined grains, like white bread and white rice, to whole grains like wheat bread and brown rice.
25) Make family fitness fun. Go on outdoor hikes, family bike rides, jump on a trampoline, or compete in a “Just Dance” competition on Wii.
26) Eat fish. It’s got lots of omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health.
27) Sign up for a race. It might be a 5K, marathon, triathlon, cycling event, swimming race – anything. You’ll be amazed at the sense of pride you feel when you complete it!
Cheers to happy, healthy living!
Yesterday, I did my first half marathon of the season – the Great Bay Half Marathon in Newmarket, New Hampshire. I was lucky enough to score a deal on Active Schwaggle, so I ended up only paying half price for this half! By the way, if you love road racing and don’t check Schwaggle – do it! It’s like a Groupon, but for athletic products and races. I’ve gotten several great deals on here for races.
Anyway – I was really excited to try this race as the website boasts the “roller coaster like hills.” I knew it’d be a challenging course, but that’s part of the fun! I convinced my friend Katie to sign up with me – it was her first half marathon, so kudos to her on tackling this challenge!
Katie and me before the race!
I was happy the race start time was later at 11AM, since this gave us time to make the 2 hour drive up to New Hampshire without having to wake up super early. We got up there around 10:15, and I was happy that Terry (my fiancé) was with me so he could drop me off to get my race number and then take care of figuring out the parking.
The weather at the start time was great. It was around 50 degrees and sunny. The clouds took over midway through the race, so it got a little chilly but still comfortable.
The course was really cool – from miles 4 to 5.5ish, we ran along a dirt road through the woods which was very scenic. Later in the course, we ran around the coastline with more pretty views. There were some local people along the course playing music, and at the loop around mile 11 there were bellydancers! The race finished in downtown Newmarket, with lots of spectators at the finish line.
Around mile 9!
I finished the race in 2:42 – one of my slower half marathon times, and nowhere near my PR, but I was pretty happy with it considering the crazy hills! Plus, I felt really great throughout the race. Just enjoyed the scenery and ran comfortably. And Katie finished in 2:15 – a great time for her first race!
After the race, Terry and I went across the street for the free post-race Smuttynose beers! I enjoyed my drink and we hung out for a while before heading home.
An awesome day and race – makes me look forward to all the other races we have this season!
Post race beer!
I’d like to think I’m becoming a slightly better cyclist this year.
I’ve never been a great cyclist – it’s probably my worst of the three triathlon disciplines. I’m a relatively good swimmer, and a slow but steady runner – but I’ve traditionally been very shaky and nervous on the bike.
Several years ago, I took it upon myself to train for my first triathlon. It was the women’s only sprint distance Title 9 triathlon. I didn’t have a road bike, but rather a heavy mountain bike I borrowed from a friend, complete with a warped back tire that hit the brake pad every time it rotated around. As I trained for this first triathlon, I was terrified of riding the bike on the street. What about potholes? Rocks and gravel? CARS?!?!
This led to me deciding the best place to train was a Walmart parking lot.
You heard me right. Next to my old apartment complex was a Walmart, and in the mornings before they opened their huge parking lot would be basically empty. So I’d ride my bike over there at 6 or 7am and just ride around in circles for an hour. Needless to say, when I got to the Title 9 sprint I didn’t handle hills that well! But I managed to get through the bike portion (on roads!) and was proud of myself.
After that triathlon, I finally ventured out on the roads much more as I trained for later events. This year, I live in a new suburb with a new road bike, and roads that are a bit more conducive to riding. I’ve really enjoyed getting out on the road and exploring my new neighborhood. I have a great time riding with my fiancé, who definitely pushes me to ride faster and stronger since he’s so much quicker than me! Today we rode 14 miles outside after work, enjoying the unseasonably warm day we had here in Massachusetts.
And, we got trainers! One of my family’s Christmas gifts to me was some money to help purchase a bike trainer, something they knew both of us definitely wanted. These have been great, since they let us ride when the weather isn’t conducive. Using it has increased my comfort on the bike, and makes riding outside feel so much easier! On the trainer, you can never coast because you just stop. It’s a great workout, and makes me appreciate riding outside so much more.
Anyway, the point of all this rambling – if you’re nervous about doing something new or you realize you have limitations in a certain activity, don’t let it stop you from getting out there and doing it! Maybe you’re afraid to sign up for a road race because you’ve never felt like a “runner.” Or maybe you’re intimidated to try that new exercise class because everyone else looks like they’ve been taking it for years. Take first steps to increase your comfort with trying these activities. Maybe start by going out for a short run in your neighborhood and see how it feels, or look for a local race that caters to newbies. You can ask that fitness instructor if there’s a time the class is offered when there are fewer people and you can get more individualized instruction.
Even if you have to ride around Walmart for months and months until you’re comfortable tackling the streets, you’ll get to a point where you gain self-confidence and decide to venture out to the roads. And I can’t wait to hear about it!
The very first 5K I did was at a triathlon expo several years back. I don’t know why I thought it would be a smart idea to sign up for my first 5K event at a location where there were bound to be people much more athletic and experienced than me. As I got to the registration area, I noticed tons of very athletic looking people in serious running gear – a bit of a different look than my old sweats and t-shirt. Some of them were talking about minimalist shoes, some talking about barefoot running, some talking about compression socks – I stood there with my friend thinking “what the heck are they talking about?!”
There were only about 45 people racing, and of course everyone finished incredibly fast. I, on the otherhand, did not finish fast. I finished in my typical ‘slow and steady’ fashion. So slow, in fact, that I got lost at one point on the 2 loop course because the person directing the turn had left by my 2nd loop. I missed the turn and went straight, and as I started running up stairs (yep, stairs) a minute later, I thought... “Hmm, this doesn’t seem right.”
Luckily I had enough sense to turn around and figure out where to go. I finished in second to last place, only 10 seconds in front of a woman who was at least 30 to 40 years older than me.
Did I feel scared before the run? Um, yes! Overwhelmed during the run? Yep. Did I finish proud of myself, despite coming in 2nd to last? You better believe it.
I wanted to share this story because one of our rock star
2012 Challenge participants is nervous about tackling one of their February challenges – signing up for a 5K. She is doing amazing in the 2012 Challenge
, and is definitely one of our top competitors. And I know there are others out there who might feel a little nervous and intimidated about road races.
Don’t let being scared of an event deter you from tackling it – I know anyone out there can do a road race, triathlon, cycling event – anything if they put their mind (and body) to it! And remember - not every race is going to go as smoothly as you’d like it to. You may have an off day, run slower, feel sick to your stomach, or experience any number of setbacks. Doesn’t change the fact that you’re there, putting effort into accomplishing something great. You may not finish in a time you’d like or finish ahead of the crowd – but you are still finishing.
So go out there and find a 5K. And if you end up surrounded by some serious athletes who just lapped you, finding yourself running up a set of stairs, and barely beating out someone 40 years older than you – just take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and smile. I look back on that first 5k with a fond memory and a laugh. It certainly makes for a great story, and only makes my successes since then that much sweeter.
Good luck to all newbies reading this! If you’re an experienced runner or triathlete, please share some words of motivation in the comments section to help out our readers who may be nervous about completing their first road race!
In the past few years, I’ve accomplished so many things that I’ve had on my bucket list. Run a marathon? Check. Do a triathlon? Check. Travel solo? Check. I decided to brainstorm some more items to my list this past weekend – including making pasta from scratch, which I’ve always seen as an incredible cooking task. Since I had Sunday free, I decided to take it upon myself to tackle it that day by making homemade ravioli from scratch.
Each dough recipe I found had slightly different proportions of flour to egg/water, but I ended up using about 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, and a drizzle of olive oil. I initially only added 1 egg, but it was definitely too dry so I added another.
Now, I don’t own a pasta roller, but I figured I could do everything with a rolling pin. What I forgot, until I got to the point to roll everything out, was that my rolling pin was in my apartment fire last year and I never replaced it. I also had (incorrectly) assumed that pasta dough would be similar to pie crust – relatively easy to roll out. I was very wrong. Pasta dough is much tougher than a pie crust. My improvised “roller” of a 2 liter seltzer bottle wasn’t doing the trick. So I sat there for an hour and a half breaking the dough into small pieces and literally smushing them by hand until they were relatively thin.
When I finally got all the pieces thin enough, the rest was fun and easy. I mixed some ricotta, parmesan, and parsley to stuff the ravioli pieces, put the filling in the pasta, and shaped the raviolis. Boiled everything in a large pot for about 10 minutes, and topped it with some marinara sauce and a tiny bit more parmesan cheese. Delicious!
The first completed ravioli. Go me!
An hour and a half after starting, I finally get all the ravioli done.
And the final product...yum! They were very delicious, but I'll probably invest in a pasta roller (or at least a rolling pin!) before I try to make it again, haha.
Have you heard about Triumph Triathlon
? It's a Boston-based triathlon group that I participate in. It's really a fantastic group - free to join, free group training sessions, and free meetings about topics of interest (in the past, we've had sessions about massage, injuries, nutrition, etc). You'll also meet a ton of people who are really knowledgeable about triathlon (think Ironmen/Ironwomen, national qualifiers, and seasoned pros). We're actually having a yearly kick-off meeting
on Monday, 2/6/12 at 7PM - if you are local and interested in triathlon, I'd encourage you to come. And you'll even get to hear me speak a bit! :)
Back in August 2010, I was interviewed by Ruben, the founder of Triumph. This was only about a year into my journey with endurance sports, so it's fun to see where I was and how far I've come. I am excited to be training for my first half Ironman this year, which will be a huge undertaking!
Take a look at the interview below to get to know a little more about me and my journey. Excuse my spastic head movements throughout the interview - I couldn't figure out whether I should be facing Ruben or the camera!
Yesterday, I had such a great day at the gym. I walked in feeling quite energized for a Saturday morning, and did a warm up on the elliptical, followed by a 3 mile run on the treadmill, then wrapped up with some boxing. I ran those 3 miles faster than I have in all of this past year – what a great accomplishment!
Many days at the gym don’t necessarily go like this though. Some days, it’s hard to find the motivation to get out there and kick butt. You’re tired, you want to just lounge at home, you need to run errands – and the list could go on and on. For those days when you aren’t feeling motivated, try one of these tips:
Tips for when this looks like torture!
Enlist the help of a friend or coworker who loves exercising, and set up times to work out together. Accountability and friendship are great tools in sticking to your goals. Plus, if you’re competitive you may find you push yourself more when you’re exercising with a partner.
10 minute rule
Put on your workout clothes and sneakers and commit to doing just 10 minutes. If you feel like going home after that, go ahead. But most of the time, you’ll see the hardest part was just getting out the door – once you’re there, you’ll probably want to continue.
Racing to the finish
Sign up to train for a road race, triathlon, or some other type of event. Having a goal to work towards can help you stick to your schedule.
Put some new music on your I-pod – those upbeat tracks can help you push through! A few personal favorites: “Heart of a Champion” by Nelly, “Bossy” by Kelis, “Break my bank” by New Boyz.
Switch it up
If you feel like boredom is contributing to a lack of motivation, consider switching up your routine. If you normally run indoors, get outside and explore your neighborhood. If you are always on the elliptical, change it up and try a spin class.
Make a deal with yourself – check off 10 more workouts, and treat yourself to that new workout tank top or some compression socks.
Lastly, remember to pay attention to your body. If you've been training hard consistently and really don't feel like working out, it may be your body's way of telling you to rest. Take a day or two off, then start fresh again.
While traveling a few years ago, I was served this dish at a very fancy restaurant. Half the fun of traveling is new cuisines and specialty dishes, so I always like to try tasting foods I wouldn’t usually come across at home.
So you tell me…what do you think is on this plate?
Post your guess here in the blog comments. If you are the first person to answer correctly, you’ll automatically win a $10 Amazon gift card. Anyone else who answers correctly after that will be entered into a raffle for another $10 Amazon gift card that we are giving away!
Take your guess by Friday evening for your chance to win!
After sharing my thoughts on Koko Fit Club last week, I wanted to let you all know that I scored my 1st perfect workout today! This means I did all the strength training exercises correctly, staying on pace and completing the correct number of repetitions. I was so happy, especially since tricep pulldowns were in my workout - a killer for me!
I hope this gives you a little extra inspiration to go complete your "perfect workout" today, whether that means walking for 10 minutes, cycling for an hour, or finally getting to 15 solid push-ups. Let me know in the comments what exercise accomplishments you achieve today!