The Official Kick-Off!

Last night, amid vegan sandwiches and fantastic company, Farm Sanctuary’s inaugural NYC Triathlon team officially kicked off training season!  Here we are: plant-based, powerful, and passionate folks who are ready to put in some serious training to benefit an organization that we hold very close to our hearts.  unnamed (1)

Terri, an “[a]iry fast-food joint offering carefully sourced, vegan & kosher spins on casual comfort food” was kind enough to host our gathering and provide some pretty fantastic food.  (My favorites: their buffalo ‘chicken’ sandwich, crunch burger, and cold-pressed strawberry lemonade.  YUM!!)

The night was full of food, introductions, and an overview of our training plan.  We also got a surprise Skype call from Farm Sanctuary’s founder, Gene Bauer (who is quite the athlete himself – he is a regular triathlete and is currently training for his first ultra-marathon!).

Let me tell you a little bit about Farm Sanctuary and why we are so passionate and excited to be on their team.  Well, better yet – let Hilda start the conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ia5kLbRz9I

Since Hilda, Farm Sanctuary has become a safe-haven to thousands of abused, neglected, and tortured animals, most of whom were saved from stockyards, factory farms, and slaughterhouses.  They lived in perpetual fear and pain, and were doomed from the moment they came into this world – until Farm Sanctuary rescued them.  Since its inception 30 years ago, Farm Sanctuary has flourished.  With 3 current locations and a 4th slated to be opened next year in New Jersey (thanks, in part, to Jon Stewart!), nearly one thousand “rescued residents are given the care and love they need to recover from abuse and neglect. All of the animals enjoy nourishing food, clean barns, and green pastures each and every day.”  Not only that, Farm Sanctuary does a huge amount of education, outreach, and legislative work surrounding animal welfare and protection.

Please help us help the animals while keeping us motivated to get out there and train by donating to this special organization.  My boyfriend, Nathan, and I have a joint fundraising page and would be so appreciative of any support: https://give.everydayhero.com/us/tri-ing-4-animals

Until next time ❤

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NYC Tri, 2015 – Over Before It Began

I can’t believe I am writing this but here we go:

I had a little bike accident over the weekend and broke my left wrist in a pretty bad place (scaphoid) and fractured part of my right hand (trapezoid ridge).  Luckily the fracture in my right hand is too small to require immobilization but I have a cast on my left arm.  A giant purple cast.  Yup.

What can I say – when I do something I do it big.  Can’t take that away from me!

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The bad news is (if you haven’t already guessed) I have to watch the NYC Triathlon from the sidelines this year.  That’s it. To say I’m bummed is a gigantically huge understatement and it still hasn’t completely hit me yet.  No Hudson River. No cheering crowds. No finish line glory.  No heart beating and out of breath sense of accomplishment.  Six months of training and it’s over – just like that.

My first reaction was that I had nothing to show for all the hard work I put into the last 6 months, and hearing the doctor tell me that the triathlon was out of the question hurt so much more than the actual injuries. But looking back, I really did learn a lot.  My swimming is so much better and more efficient.  My running is faster.  Biking seems to have gotten the best of me for now but lessons were learned there, too – lessons that will stay with me and only help me after I get back on my feet.

Also, I had so much support from you all throughout training and, maybe most importantly, helped raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – $3,590, in fact!  Thank you, I am so appreciative.

But part of the deal was that I do the training and hard work and you donate, right?  I am working with Team in Training (TNT) to transfer to another event.  Maybe the NYC Marathon?  Maybe the Nation’s Triathlon in DC? I don’t know yet, and that will depend on how fast I heal and can get back into the swing of things.  I’ll know more in 2 weeks when I get more X-rays and a CAT scan.  Worst case scenario: I defer my NYC Tri entry to next year. If a donor feels a certain way about me not doing the tri this year, I can arrange for you to get your donation back – but please remember the cause; LLS is fantastic and really doing some great things.  And I’ll still do an event.  Just not the one in 2 weeks.

I guess that’s all for now, folks.  But stay tuned – you know what they say:

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I’m on it, and I’m coming back.  Today a spectator, tomorrow a finisher.  And in the meantime, TNT just got one more cheerleader.  I’ll be wearing my purple and cheering for my team!

6 Weeks Left!

Just about 6 weeks until the big day!!  It’s hard to believe that it’s coming up so quickly.  Crunch time is upon us, ladies and gents.  Time to begin panic mode or beast mode. Which one will it be?

(Beast mode. Obviously 😉 )

So, remember that big swimming adventure I totally hyped up in my last post?  Well…. we didn’t go because the thunderstoms last weekend would have messed us up,  BUT we rescheduled and are going for real in a few days. Don’t you worry – swimming is still going to be turned up to the next level!

Before the storms hit last weekend though, we had a different kind of adventure – a “leisurely” bike ride in New Jersey.   And we learned a couple things along the way:

1. Bike racks are super awesome, but even the easiest one can take over an hour to install, even with instructions (that were only pictures and didn’t makes any sense) and 2 YouTube videos (though now we are pros at it).

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Now THAT is a fine looking bike rack!

2. Even if you are in the best shape ever (which I am not claiming to be) biking hills are killers on the ol’ gams.  My legs were burning and tired and dead by the end of that ride!

Seriously, it was no joke and the hills on the Alpine trail are brutal at times! It was great though – even without padded bike shorts on (noted, and I will not be making that mistake again) – and we called it a day after almost 23 miles of nonstop hills (mountains?) and some terrifying minutes a busy street with the tiniest bike lane ever.

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She’s alive!!!

Aside from that it’s been swimming and running, swimming and running.  Oh, and lots of swimming and running, too.  Here are a couple highlights:

What better way to strengthen those legs and build up some speed than some hill running, right?  So, the day after we biked up the Jersey equivalent of Mt. Everest, we thought it would be a fantastic idea to run 4 miles of Harlem Hill in Central Park – just up and down, up and down. If you know Harlem Hill, then no explanation needed. If you aren’t familiar, let’s just say it is no picnic – especially on a humid afternoon in the middle of they day. But, while the way up took effort (like a gasping for breath, sweat flying everywhere, whole body kind of effort) the way back down was actually fantastic, and I was happy with my splits. (And even happier for the downpour that happened right after I finished!)

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Ok, where are we? Biking, check. Running, check. Now on to swimming.

The other day was a milestone in this year’s tri training: the day I successfully swam a full mile. Yea!! I feel good in the pool and ready for the open water swim on June 13th. Except it is probably going to be super cold in that ocean. And I need to get a new wetsuit. Ok, maybe I am not quite as ready as I think I am!! 😉

That’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned for an update about that fabulous swimming trip and to hear about my introduction to the mile high club. (The Mile High Run Club. Get your head out of the gutter.)

I’ll keep doing the training if you all keep doing the donating. Deal? All this is for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – a great cause! – so please help me out in any way that you can.
http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri15/Meredith

Thank You!!

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Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far.  Because of YOU I am 36% of the way to my fundraising goal of $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Because of YOU we are that much closer to finding a cure for cancer.  Because of YOU this lady – my grandma, my first dancing partner and swimming (among countless other activities) cheerleader – is still remembered and alive in our thoughts and actions.  (She rarely got in the pool and when she did she made sure to NEVER get her hair wet, but she loved watching us splash around!)

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If you haven’t already, please consider donating to my LLS fundraiser.  http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri15/meredith

In other triathlon news:  Swimming is about to get kicked up a notch – Boyfriend and I are going to take it to a whole new level!  Wait until you hear about what is going to happen over the weekend.  All I can say is that I am SO excited and will take a ton of pictures for you all.  It is just what we need to prepare ourselves for the first team open water swim at Coney Island that is scheduled for June 13th. (Yikes – that is coming up quickly…!)

Stay tuned!

Little of This, Little of That

Yikes! It’s been a while since the last time I wrote! Don’t worry – my time has been training-filled and full of learning experiences. Since my last blog entry – the NYC Half – I have done 2 more half marathons! Last month was the More Shape Women’s Half Marathon, which was 2 laps around Central Park. Great race, boring route.  I know, calling Central Park boring makes me sound like a brat, but after the scenic-filled NYC Half, that park just seemed uneventful.  And 2 times on Harlem Hill was no walk in the park.  (Bad pun?  Is that even a pun?  Whatever, it’s staying.)  Here are some highlights:

IMG_2565-4 The race was sponsored by Shape Magazine, whose parent company is Meredith! It was nice to see my name plastered all over the place during packet pick-up and I pretended to be a celeb – the Meb Keflezighi or Deena Kastor of the race.

IMG_2579-1 Just me, my race, and my Nathan.  (Not that Nathan, sillies.  My other Nathan – the cool little running belt I got from my mom!)

IMG_2587 Here I am debating what to have for brunch when the race was over.  Tofu scramble with all the fixings? Toasted sesame seed bagel dripping in (tofu) cream cheese and Earth Balance?  Definitely a Bloody Mary.  Or a Mimosa sounds good.  I always want mi-more mimosa.

CP3 Done!  Apple in my hand and brunch on my mind (still).

CP4 Not bad for a “boring” course, right?!

 

Ok, all caught up on the Women’s Half?  Good!

Now on to the next one:
Last Saturday, over 26,500 of us tackled the Brooklyn Half Marathon – the biggest one in the country! Another spectacular event put on by New York Road Runners. The humidity (76%) and 15 minutes of rain could have thrown us all into a frantic state of disarray, but we pulled through!

Actually, I really hate to say this, but this race had a lot of casualties – many more than I am used to seeing. Probably because of the humidity?  I saw so many people fainting.  A seizure, maybe even 2.  AND heard that there was a heart attack right behind me.  I (along with some guy who was running near me) had to veer off couse one time to flag down a police officer for someone who needed serious medical attention, and helped to wave down EMT on at least 2 other occassions.  It was scary.  BUT all that, the humidity, and the rain aside, it really was a good run.  The Brooklyn Half is one of my favorite races and I had been looking forward to it for a while.

BKprePacket pickup.  No sleep ’til Brooklyn!!

BK1 DADA DADA DADA DADA BATMAN.

BK2Champions.  Warriors.  Winners.  (or just 3 people ready to go back to bed.  We had gotten up at 4:45am to get to the starting line for 7am.  By 9:30am we were far from home, tired, sore, and maybe a little delirious.  But we were done!)

What’s next on the agenda? A lot of swimming. It’s time to step up my game a bit and show that water who is boss. TNT group training sessions in swimming have continued to be extremely helpful and valuable. Even though I did most of the swim practices last year, I am still learning tips and tricks that have helped my form and overall execution of the stroke and I feel surprisingly calm, cool and collected in the water (a welcome change from this time last year). Regardless – there will be plenty goggles, open water swims at Coney Island, and Body Glide in my immediate future, and I am perfectly fine with that!

Although I have a high commitment to my training, I still need some motivation to keep me going sometimes. Your donation to my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) fundraiser is just what I need to push me through rainy days and mental blocks, to get me pounding the pavement, into the water, and spinning those wheels. Your donations helps me to realize that this is all for something bigger, and I thank you!

http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri15/Meredith

Click on my fundraising page and please consider making whatever contribution you can. No penny is too little, and no dollar is too large- everything will help to make a positive change.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”  – Anne Frank

Keep Calm and Swim On

Ok – confession time: I took about 3 weeks off from swimming. I know, I know, but it was necessary at first!  The first 2 weeks were because I dyed my hair at home and it took that long for my hair to get wet without the red dye dripping out.  I don’t know about you, but leaving a trail of red hair dye in the pool sounds more like a nightmare than anything else, so I skipped the pool entirely and worked on my BRICKs.  After that, though, I just couldn’t get myself back into the water for another week.  I don’t know what it was, but there was some kind of mental block that kept me away.  But the tri is in 2 months and I kind of need to swim as much as possible until then, so I made a deal with myself – beginning June 1st swimming and I are becoming best friends until Aug. 3.  (And really, what better time to swim a ton than in the summer?)  I really don’t hate swimming at all – I’ve always been a beach/pool/water girl.  It’s just the whole process of actually getting into the water – once I’m in there I could stay there all day.  We’re only 5 days into June, and I’ve been a little fish so far! Here’s a breakdown of what’s been going on:

Sunday: It was a beautiful day – the kind that makes you wish the day would never end and you could just run around like a 6 year old forever. I needed to be out in the sun and recharge my Vitamin D, so I rode 14 miles on my bike around Central Park. I wanted more of an adventure than that but I had a ballet class to get to so I restricted my adventure to the park. Not too shabby in the grand scheme of things, though!  After ballet I remembered that it was June 1 and I had to swim. I couldn’t skip the first day of my little deal with myself or that would set the entire plan off on the wrong foot, and so I dragged myself to the pool and slowly picked up where I left off. And guess what? It was fabulous. I could tell that I had taken some time off, but I was doing it and that was all that mattered.

Monday: I woke up early and swam before work.

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Back in the pool, back to the grind. The monotonous and continuous motion of stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe was actually very calming first thing in the morning. Who knew? (I used to go to the pool before work here and there, but didn’t remember it being quite that calming.) I kind of loved being there so early in the morning.  There were other people there, but it was relatively empty and quiet compared to how it is on the weekends or when I go after work – a great way to begin the week.

Tuesday: More swimming before work. Can you tell I’m serious about this whole swimming thing? I was faster than Monday and was able to swim many more continuous laps than when I was there on Sunday, and it felt good.  That night I went to my usual Muay Thai class (that place is still one of my favorite places to be!) and talked swimming with one of the guys who is also doing the triathlon.  When I got home there was a package waiting for me – my wetsuit!!! 

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I love that thing and it makes me feel like a superhero!

Wednesday: It was National Running Day so I woke up bright and early for a 7 mile run before work!  Then I threw my bathing suit and wetsuit into my bag and waited anxiously for the work day to end so that I could get to the TNT group swim and test out my wetsuit.  Swimming in a wetsuit is SO COOL.  I felt faster, lighter, float-ier – a little Michael Phelps in training! 

Today will just be a Muay Thai day, followed by a long bike adventure tomorrow since I have the day off of work.  Then… the first open water swim at Coney Island with TNT followed by a team run on the boardwalk!!!  I can’t wait to get into that water.

Let’s talk about BRICKs!

This is the beginning of week 10 of triathlon training.  10 weeks in, 10 more to go. Halfway there.  Hump week, as one of the coaches put it.  At this rate August 3rd will be here before we know it – a thought that is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. 

I’ve been working on BRICK sessions lately – biking and then going straight into running. (I think BRICK can be used when you transition from any event into another one, but we just use it for biking to running.)  I’m not sure where the term BRICK comes from.  (I also didn’t put any effort into researching it –  the most I did was wonder out loud in a group of people who thought about it for a second and then shrugged their shoulders.)  So I decided that it stands for “Bike and Run? Ick!!” When I think of biking and running without much of a break in between, my first thought is “Ugh” but I guess BRUGH sessions just don’t have the same ring. 

Running immediately after biking is… interesting.  I’m not sure my legs will ever totally get used to it, but at least I am learning what to expect.  Here’s how it usually goes:

The first few steps are wobbly, and I am pretty positive that there is a 98% chance that I am about to fall over, and I brace myself for a crash to the ground.  (It must be what Ariel from The Little Mermaid felt when she got her legs for the first time.)  Several seconds later I am less wobbly and the chance of me falling over is down to about 10%.  At this point, though, I still feel like I don’t have much control over my legs.  It’s a strange feeling – like my legs are slightly weighed down (maybe with… bricks!!??  Could that be where it comes from?) and I am trying to run while on a trampoline or in a bouncy house.  I tend to run faster than usual when starting the running portions of BRICK sessions, probably because my legs seem to be independent from the rest of me and they’re just doing their thing.  I have to really be conscious of my pace if I don’t want to crash and burn later on.

Today I did a 13 mile bike ride through Central Park.  Because it was Memorial Day and 85 degrees out, all of the tri-state area was there too – biking, laying out, walking, picnicking, BBQing, soaking up the sun.  To say it was crowded would be an understatement.  But 13 miles went off without a hitch (for me at least – some kid really wiped out on a Razr scooter), and I met Katharine by the reservoir, passed along my bike and helmet to her, and then started running. (Katharine did her own BRICK today and ran a 5k before doing a full 6.2 mile loop around the park on the bike!) 

I had intended to run 3 miles, but stopped at 2.  I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to do the full 3 miles, but sometimes those legs just need a rest! (And I am bad at remembering to schedule rest days.)  Besides, this also happened so it was hard to stay disappointed:

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A PR during a BRICK?  I’ll take it!!