Swim of the Day: October 26

Picture taken at the Westchester Triathlon September 2016

Picture taken at the Westchester Triathlon September 2016

I've been on a kick the past couple of weeks about sharing my swim workouts. I enjoy creating new sets to try. It beats just getting in the pool with no "plan" and certainly helps the laps go by faster (literally!). Here is what I did today, I will break it down a little better for you!

Todays Swim Workout : 4400yds Total

Warm up

1500 Straight as 1200 free 300 as 50 back/breast 50 free repeated 3x

Main Set #1

  • 50 on :45
  • 100 on 1:30
  • 150 on 2:10
  • 200 on 3 min

Main Set #2

  • 9x 100 on 1:30 (2 swim, 1 IM)

This was a fun workout that flew by. I often like to get in and just swim straight 1000+ as a warmup...I think it shows why I love to swim so much because I feel like I can just get in and go forever, on cruise control, just me and my thoughts. Its a constant counting of laps, strokes and a jumble of many thoughts, and I find being surrounded by water to makes it so peaceful. Today I was feeling a bit ehhhh, but still wanted to get the yardage in. I did the first two rounds of main set 1 all freestyle, focusing on increasing my pace as the distance shortened. Then the last two rounds I did pull, which I always find much "easier" then just swimming... The last 9x 100s were a good way to work on tired arms, and good practice for triathlon when you should be more upper body dominant , and getting used to swimming after that added resistance. The IM was just a killer add on :)  Enjoy!




Healthy Spicy Quinoa Turkey "Casserole"

I believe there are two kinds of people in the world, those who can cook a meal with no measuring, eyeballing every amount and having it come out fantastic! and those who no matter how exact they follow a recipe, it doesn't quite come out like it should. I like to think of myself as a very humble person, but I am lucky to be the former of those two types of people!

Today I decided I was going to make something that would utilize the leftover quinoa that I had in the fridge, already cooked as well as a block of cheddar cheese. So I went to the store and just decided to pick up what looked good, or what was on sale! I had in my mind to make something along the lines of stuffed peppers, without the stuffed pepper part, and ended up with this delicious dish! Now I know "casserole" is not always a word you would associate with being healthy, but when trying to think of a name for this dish, that was exactly it! Casseroles don't have to be cream covered and unhealthy, this will prove it!  Here are the ingredients, and as I said above, I am an no measuring type of cook, I use my eyes and just go with the flow....but I will try to give an approximate of measurements below...

  • Cooked rainbow quinoa (about 4 cups worth, and can use any type of quinoa or even rice)
  • 1 package of 99% lean ground turkey (chicken works too)
  • 1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can no salt added black beans
  • 1 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 cup diced orange pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernals
  • 1/2 tbsp. chilli pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Worchester sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp. sirracha hot sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  1. In a large skillet, heat your olive oil, then add onions, peppers, zucchini and garlic. Cook down for about 10 min until everything is soft, then put in separate bowl
  2. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and then add your ground turkey, cover and cook until about 75% done. Then add beans, tomatoes, Worchester sauce, chilli pepper and pepper. and mix together , chopping up ground turkey so its in bite size pieces . Add your peppers/onion and zucchini mix back into the pan.
  3. in a casserole pan, lay your cooked quinoa down, then add all the turkey and veggies. Squirt about 1-2 tbsp. sirracha on top , then top with all your cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake for about 20 min on 350 just to get all the cheese bubbly.

Although I was making this primarily with my husband in mind, I did take a few bites without the cheese and it was very good. I usually make my stuffed peppers with similar ingredients, just all stuffed inside a whole peppers, and usually with a blend of wild rice and quinoa. This was very similar however had more of a Mexican taste with the spices! It was a "top 10" dish my husband said, so give it a try!!! Super easy and great for kids too!



Todays Swim Workout

I've decided to post some of my swim workouts for you! I always find it helpful and enjoy hearing about how others train, and what some of there go to workouts are. I often find people will do the SAME workouts on repeat week to week (and even day to day which blows my mind!), and although there is a positive to doing the same workout every once in awhile to track progress and build on , its nice to change things up! Especially in the pool. So, here is my workout from today! This is a great "meat and potatoes" type of workout, especially good for triathletes! :)

Swim Workout 4000yds

(today was short course yards, can adjust interval to meters by + 15sec/100)

  • 2000 swim nice and strong, progressing pace on the 30min
  • 500on the 7:30
  • 5x 100 FASTon the 1:30
  • 500 pull (paddles and buoy) on the 7:15/20
  • 5x 100 pull (paddles and buoy) on the 1:30
  • Cool down 300 mix stroke/free

Give it a go! I like this one because you get in and have to go straight 2000 from the start, which mimics a triathlon swim, which sometimes you don't even get a chance to warm up for. Your pace should increase for the 500 and even more for the 100's. If you are unsure of what interval to go on, swim 3x 100yds at a comfortable pace, take the average of those times and add 10-15 sec to it. Round up slightly or down to the nearest "whole" number.


Race #1 : Ridgefield Sprint Triathlon 6/5/16

         Ridgefield Sprint Triathlon Sunday June 5:  1st Female Overall (Total Time: 1:11:00)

                       Swim ½ mile (11:43) Bike 12.75miles (39:11) Run 3.1miles (17:47)

    This was my first race of the triathlon season this year, which I had decided to sign up for just 2 days before (and was lucky to get into so last minute, thanks Terry!).  It’s a local race, and one of the most popular around this area (Fairfield County) usually closing out registration within minutes of when it opens up. Oddly I had never done this one before, even though it was right around the corner from where I lived. It’s a sprint triathlon which is the shortest of triathlon distances at ½ mile swim, 12.75 mile bike, 5k (3.1 mile) run, short, but still very challenging.

  Me, Flo and Rocio (1st , 2nd and 3rd overall women!)

  Me, Flo and Rocio (1st , 2nd and 3rd overall women!)

                In years past I would have had a whole race calendar planned for the year, quite far in advance…however I think I kind of like this last minute sign up! Less anxiety building up to the race when you don’t know you are doing one until the week of! Anyways, I did sign up for a half ironman in August awhile back,  but the reason I hadn’t planned any races prior was because I had been dealing with a hip injury over the winter and spring and hadn’t been able to run. The past few weeks however, I was feeling alright, and I was sort of itching to get a race under my belt, just to see where I was at and if any of my crazy, unstructured training/no running was paying off! SO I got Jeff (my fiancé) to sign up with me, because it’s just not the same doing a race without him now! AND I know how much he enjoys hearing me complain the night before about having to get up at 4am and saying “ugh why did I sign up for this” .  I also had two girlfriends/training buddies (see picture above, Me, Flo, Rocio) racing it, both very fast and whom had in fact won this race in years past…so I knew it would be good competition! I also had a client of mine doing this race as her VERY first triathlon, so it was a day filled with a lot of fun racing!

                My goal, as it is for all races, was to just go HARD. I had no idea where my paces would be, and hadn’t even run the week or two before to know how my hip would feel. Having Flo and Rocio out there racing, was good motivation! Flo, who I have known for a while, is a professional Triathlete who has raced for YEARS all over the world and is a book of knowledge on the sport. She has helped me tremendously over the years, especially in getting my swim to where it is! There were many, many swim workouts we did in the pool where I literally would be just hanging on to make the intervals, maybe with 1-2 sec rest if that, I loved it and hated it! Never had I swam so hard in my life until I met her! Oh and she is a mom of 3, and just had a baby boy 5 months ago! Rocio is a client of Flo’s, training for Ironman Lake Placid this year. She is super strong and is also a mom!  

Race Start: Martins Pond in Ridgefield, CT

Race Start: Martins Pond in Ridgefield, CT

Race morning was wet, which I was a bit nervous about because I hadn’t really ever raced on such wet roads before. It would mean not slamming on the breaks too hard, being super cautious on turns and hills. The water for the swim was beautiful, they call is a “pond” but it is really more like a lake, very pretty, and super warm for this time of year. I decided not to race with my wetsuit. Most people like to wear these in triathlons because 1. It keeps you warm 2. It provides extra buoyancy which lends to faster swim times, and is also a comfort for people to feel more afloat. That buoyancy also allows you to use less of your legs, which is beneficial for all the biking and running to come.  I however, don’t often like using a wetsuit, only if the water is super cold (read my mighty Montauk triathlon update).  And for a sprint, you are looking at a swim 10-15min in length, which a wetsuit maybe could give you an extra 30 sec, but that can easily be offset by the time it takes to take it off in transition! SO, I went without it. We were all in the first wave, which was nice because we would be able to see where everyone was. It was an out of water start, so we all lined up on the beach and sprinted into the water at the sound of the gun…Swim went smooth, I got out enough ahead to not be swimming amongst anyone, and swam pretty straight on to each buoy.

Swim Exit

Swim Exit

 I exited the water and was quickly told by spectators I was the second women …I knew Flo was obviously the one ahead of me! I ran quickly to transition and spotted her just about to leave on the bike, this is why I love racing with people I know, especially someone like her, its such friendly competition that I almost find myself laughing/cheering her on/and also busting her chops saying “yeah you better get moving I’m right behind you” … we almost exited transition together, then I saw her bike computer come off at the mount line, which she had to quickly run back for, slowing her down a bit…but didn’t matter, she raced right ahead of me. Off on the bike and I knew I would be chasing her, and was also worried about who might be behind me, so I had motivation to catch someone, as well as not to get passed! I’d say that is a good combination to make you race hard.  Often if you are in the lead, it’s a bit harder to gauge how hard to go, you don’t want to settle and get comfortable where you are at because you are in first…but often if you know you are way ahead of competition, there isn’t as much of a driving force to make you push harder to catch someone ahead of you. I liked where I was at. Luckily no one (except men including Jeff) passed me on the bike. I always know Jeff will pass me somewhere during the bike, and oddly I always know exactly when he is going to go by, and I actually love that part of the race…its probably the only time I am happy seeing someone fly by me! There was a good combination of hills and flats, and I like hills. After the 12.75 mile bike, I came into transition and saw Flo already running out…I fumbled a bit to get my shoes on but once I headed out I felt pretty good. I never wear a watch to tell me my pace/HR like some people do, I go by how I feel and just push hard, back off when I need to, I think it’s good to be in tune with how you FEEL over what a watch is telling you. I never really know how fast I am going though, and it always feels like you are going way slower than you are when you run after biking, but I like that, and I actually run faster AFTER having biked. This run was mostly uphill for ¾ of the race…which I didn’t know until AFTER those hills. I couldn’t see Flo for a good part of it, probably because of all the hills, turns etc.

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

At  about 1 mile I was told she was only 15 sec ahead, which I didn’t expect. Those 15 sec ahead were all up the last big hill…I busted my butt here (which my calved paid for the week after). I finally caught her with about a mile left, and said let’s run together, but then was a really bad friend and found myself moving more ahead of her, so I just continued to yell to her to keep up!! (Some women might not like that!).  I crossed the finish line and immediately saw Jeff, there to hand me a water already! Although I do hope one day he WONT pass me on the bike, I do love that is he right there when I cross the finish! I felt good and thought how great I felt on the run, and that maybe no running was the key to running fast! (or maybe it was that good cup of coffee I had this morning?)  I found out I had run one of my fastest 5k’s 17:47 (5:45 pace). They also had a prize for the fastest last mile of the race for both men and women, which I won in a time of 4:40, however the last mile was ALL downhill so don’t be too impressed!  You can see full results here

This was overall such a fun race, and fun day getting to be out racing with people I know! Even though the sport if very individual, there is still a lot of good comradery out there and that’s what makes it such a fun sport. Everyone is going through the same pain, no matter what pace they are at, and even when you are neck in neck with your good friend, you still are cheering them on!  





Irecently contributed three 8-week training plans for 5k, 10k and half marathon distances to beSelf Magazines March Issue ( found here with 5k and 10k plans on top of page), and while reading through the article, I came upon the above blurb of mine. As I re-read what I said, I thought of how much more this quote meant, and that maybe it deserved some extra explaining! So, here you go…and excuse me for any rambling!

Race season is just around the corner, and for many it has already begun….which means training is in full swing and runners and triathletes are looking forward to testing out their fitness at their first race! Some may be hoping to just run a whole marathon without walking, finish their first 5k, and others may be looking to break a certain time, or finish top 3 overall.  Regardless of the goal, everyone gets to the race having had different training plans or no training plan, different lifestyles, and different mindsets.  No matter if you are an elite athlete or total newbie to running or triathlon, I’m pretty sure we all have a little anxiety before toeing that start line, and many similar thoughts as we go through a race. How we deal with these thoughts, and deal with the uncontrolled factors during a race, is often a big detriment of how we do!  In the years I have spent training and racing, I have met and trained with many different people, all with different mindsets and tactics for getting through a race.  This may be getting a bit off track from the quote above that I will get into shortly…but it all relates to what I said.

I believe a big part of racing and training is directly affected by my mentality, pain tolerance and ability to push myself (also my extreme competitive nature…).  These are factors that are a bit harder to measure and compare, but that have a huge impact on your performance. I won’t get to scientific here, but obviously our mind is what controls our body…whether it is our brain signaling our arms to move during a swim workout, or telling you “ you didn’t make that first run interval so no need to continue” or “ugh that first place girl is too far ahead to catch up to, so need to push harder” ….these are negative thoughts, thoughts that could likely come into your mind at times, which can take over and hinder what we truly are capable of if we let it. There have been many times that my training has been sub-par to the past, but I will go out with a running buddy, or swim with a friend who is in top shape, and be able to keep up with them simply because I am telling myself to! I may be way more winded, and less efficient, however it is my mentality that is allowing me to push myself and perform outside my comfort zone/ or what I would typically think I was able to do.  Granted, having someone next to you to push you, is also a big factor here….and that competitiveness is often what drives me to exceed what I think I am capable of!

Back to that original quote though….I believe it was a bit of a condensed version of what I said, however it still gets the point across. “Do your own thing” and take the race moment by moment mean to not let other aspects, especially uncontrolled aspects, affect how you do in a negative way. During a race, I give most credit to my mind for where I end up crossing the finish line. Moments during a super choppy swim, where I find myself amongst the middle of a pack of thrashing triathletes, where I could easily get panicked and just slow down, or times I get on my bike (my weak leg…) and have no power, watching myself get passed throughout the whole race, but I don’t ever let these uncontrolled moments affect me. Instead I tell myself just to stay composed, I know I can swim strong, so just swim to the outside of the pack and keep a rhythm, everyone is dealing with the same thing right now. On the bike, one might really feel down after seeing almost everyone you beat on that swim fly by you with ease… but in my head I just tell myself to peddle, don’t think about the people ahead or those approaching me, and know that my strength on the run. Once I get off the bike, no matter HOW far behind I might be from the other women, or HOW tired my legs feel, I push.  During a race I always tell myself “you want to end this race with no regrets, no feeling like you could have pushed harder. End this race with wobbly legs and exhaustion.” Now to some that may sound extreme, and maybe a lot of people don’t end a race wanting to feel that way, and that’s fine, everyone has different motives and goals, however this is just to show how I believe my mind has the most impact on my performance. Taking the race minute by minute, not letting a slow previous mile or thought of how many miles you have ahead affect you in a negative way was my advice here, especially for those new to running or triathlons.  Focus on NOW.  I also would like to say that I never race with a watch, now I do have different feelings on this depending on what type of race someone is doing, as many Ironman’s and marathons may require knowledge of pace or heart rate to make sure you don’t overdo it too soon...BUT I don’t like to race with one, because to me I monitor myself by just going hard! And listening to my body, maybe a watch might tell me I need to slow down, that I went out too fast, BUT maybe today my body is capable of keeping that pace! SO go with it!  This however is a topic for another post!

 Now back to what I said on everyone having different mentalities, and this is just one example of how a thought can affect someone negatively… I was once racing with a friend of mine (very good runner) who basically paced me through a recent 10k, which without her I wouldn’t have hit the time I did as I had NOT been training like she had. During the last mile of the race however, she thought we had made a wrong turn (she had done the race before and there was little signage as to go straight or continue left) so we just followed the one man ahead of us, and she said “no that was the wrong way, we can just slow down now… it doesn’t matter” …I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. Needless to say I continued pushing my pace because, hey even if we did go the wrong way I still want to finish strong. I ended up first place for the women for that race, AND we did go the right way! Now if I had let her negativity affect me then that may not have been the case.  I’d like to also share another example of how the mind can strongly affect someone, kids in this case. While teaching one of my youth fitness classes, I had taken the class to the track for some outdoor running and relays. I had them all begin with a half mile run around the track and then we set up for some relays. During the last leg of the relay, one of the girls got passed by the 3 other classmates to the finish line, so she immediately just came to a walk. Even with all the cheering and positive reinforcement to finish strong, she had felt like she failed and gave up! She let her surroundings affect how SHE did. This has a much bigger meaning, because it means that no matter what the people around you are capable of , and how much faster or stronger they may seem to be, you should never let it affect YOU, especially not in a negative way. Never be down on yourself because you finished last in a race, or that you weren’t able to perform maybe as well as you had wanted. This happens. Maybe all those people in front of you are able to train every day, and don’t work a 10 hour day like you do….maybe they have a coach helping push them in there workouts every day….maybe they don’t have a family to raise like you do! You just never know, and for those reasons, how should always focus on you, focus on what you can control in both your training and racing, and make sure to always think positively and know that your body will mirror those good thoughts!


Enter Sandbag Challenge for the Semper Fi Fund

Semper Fi group pic.jpg

This past weekend I had the honor of participating in a Semper Fi Sandbag Challenge to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, a Foundation that supports wounded Marines and their families. My Fiancé Jeff's good friend and former marine Kyle Finnerty, organized a Sandbag Challenge as a fun way to show our efforts in supporting the Semper Fi Fund, and to raise money for this wonderful cause. To donate and read more about Kyle's story and the challenge he put together, please check out his page at .

 So, what is the "Sandbag Challenge"....well, I didn't know either, but it sounded awesome! This marine/military workout will put any "bootcamp" to shame, and truly defines the meaning of teamwork. The challenge goes like this...

Enter Sandbag Challenge
The challenge will be performed in teams of 2. Each team will have one 30lb sandbag that cannot be put down for the duration of the event. Teammates can divide the work however they want, but only one can be working at a time. The teams must complete the runs together, and their time will not stop until both teammates cross the finish line. With the exception of the burpees, the individual performing the exercise will be the one holding the sandbag. If the sandbag touches the ground at any time, each teammate must stop and complete 20 burpees. 

The Challenge:
150 Burpees
Run 1 mile
150 Pushups
Run 1 mile
250 Squats
Run 1 mile
100 Sandbag Get-ups
Run 1 mile

As a triathlete, fitness fanatic and lover of all things ending in competition...this was right up my alley! What a fun way to show our support for Semper Fi , along with meeting such a nice group of people! Jeff and I would of course be teammates (no option there!) among 6 other male dominant teams (that's right, all guys)!

Jeff and I crossing the "finish line" as the first place team! This is how we ran with the sandbags on our shoulders.

Jeff and I crossing the "finish line" as the first place team! This is how we ran with the sandbags on our shoulders.

Going into the challenge, I really didn't know the specifics of it first I thought the 1 mile runs were done WITHOUT a 30lb sandbag, and didn't know the pushups would be with it on our back...thanks Jeff for taking care of basically all 135 of those...I like to think I made it up somewhere! I truly enjoyed this type of workout/ competition, because Jeff and I had to work as a team, and finish together by splitting up the work and utilizing our strengths where we could. For the burpees we each did a set of 30 twice and then finished with a set of 15 each,  Jeff basically took on ALL the pushups, and for the squats we alternated50 each and then split the last 50 into 25 each. Fort he get ups I did 15 and he did 10 until we reached 100.  I think every team had a different strategy, and there by no means was a right or wrong way. For the 1 mile runs, we had first thought we could run each holding one side of the bag, but learned there certainly WAS a better way to run with the bag. The last 3 runs we each put the sand bag on our shoulders, Jeff would run the first 1/2 mile and I ran the last. This was our strength. We were in the lead coming back from every one of the runs, but fell behind to third after the 100 get ups, which made for good competition! We passed the other two teams pretty quick once we got to the last 1 mile run, but by no means was anyone going slow! I think I must of been in an all out sprint for that last 1/2 mile...which I am still feeling the effects of today! I think those 3 cups of coffee beforehand carried me through most of it!  We all finished in about 45-55min and in good spirits after a hard, fun workout. I had never done anything quite like this before, maybe except for back in college lacrosse, but really enjoyed the comradery of it all, both between your teammate, and the other teams.  Not only does it push you to both physical and mental limits, but it requires you to work together regardless if you might have been able to do some parts of it faster.  As the inaugural winners of the Sandbag Challenge, I will look forward to continuing my support for Semper Fi Fund and hope to be a part of this challenge next year!!!