Thursday, August 30, 2012

41 or 70 next week?


Sept. 8 I'm signed up for the Highlander Cycle Tour through the Finger Lakes (Canandaigua). I've never done an organized bike ride before so I'm pretty stoked about it. At the end of the month I'll be doing my first duathlon at Mendon. I'm also swimming regularly and getting into the groove of a regular strength training program, so things are shaping up nicely for triathlon training.

My distance PR on the bike is 56 miles, done on all flat surface, with a nice stop for ice cream/flat tire fixing halfway through.

I signed up for the Yodeler ride at the Highlander tour. It's 41 miles. Here's the description.

"The Yodeler was redesigned last year with two objectives in mind. To provide a sample of cycling in the Finger Lakes to the recreational cyclist not ready for a century ride and to provide friends and relatives of the century riders the option to ride the last five miles together. The Yodeler Tour has three route options that meander the Bristol Valley and Canandaigua Lake scene. The full 41 mile ride involves 2200 feet of climbing, with shorter options of 11 or 16 miles with less climbing, about 400 and 1000 feet respectively. They all have the Scenic Overlook rest stop on County Route 12 on their routes, with a great view of Canandaigua Lake as seen on our home page. At the rest stop the riders can meet up the century riders and ride together the last five miles. We’ve packaged as much vista and flat terrain as possible in these short but sweet rides. With just enough challenge to create that mountain-top experience, you’re sure to come away singing. Riders will enjoy the same amenities and many of the same scenic views as the longer riders."
But now I'm wondering if I can push myself a little further and go for a 70-mile option. According to the description, the short course in the Corkscrew Century is about as tame as it gets as far as hills go in Canandaigua. The description:

"We received many accolades last two years for this scenic course and last year the majority of Highlander riders chose this ride so we made no changes to this ride. You might want to bring a camera to save some of the scenic views if not a wine glass and stop along the way. In keeping with objective of this ride, it features the scenic beauty of the Finger Lakes while taking the gentlest route possible in this hilly terrain. It is a 100 mile ride, with a cumulative climb of about 6000 feet but nothing above 10%. You can also take shorter 70 mile option."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Highest month yet!

5 days left in August and I'm already having my highest month in traffic yet, with 2,414 hits. The previous record was May 2012 with 2,288.

To be fair, a lot of that traffic came from a since-expired Chicago Craigslist link to a post I did last month about Craigslist scams.

Friday I worked with the trainer, Saturday I spun then rode, today I did spin again then swam a half mile. Now I'm enjoying some much needed couch and TV time right now with Lizzie, who's a happy greyhound because I had a definite eyes-bigger-than-stomach moment when I made brunch not too long ago, and she's a big fan of eggs and sausage.

I love love loved both the classes I taught this weekend. Today's was huge!! 28 people, I've never had a class that big! They were all really enthusiastic and worked really hard (and, as I've become accustomed, thanked me for favoring the Rolling Stones over anything techno.)

Congrats to all my Columbus friends who ran the Emerald City Half Marathon in Dublin! I'm loving all the photos and race recaps on Facebook.

Now, in reruns of Lost, Sawyer just challenged the rest of the camp to a ping pong match and Hurley got the van running.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Foodie Friday: It's 5:00 somewhere

It's Friday which means it's time to talk about food. But we're talking about something far more important than food (but can be found in a food store, so I say it still counts.)

I, of course, am talking about beverage :)

On my new and improved Foodie Friday feature, I'm comparing two glorious grocery stores, Wegman's (because I like to brag to my friends in Ohio), and Trader Joe's (which will be here in October. I may or may not be counting down the days...)

At Wegmans

I'm no longer a beer drinker. While I'm happy in my Gluten Free life, I miss my wheat ales terribly (yes, I know they make GF beers, but they're just not the same). Wegmans has a great selection of hard ciders though. One I've found is McKenzie's Black Cherry cider. Nice, dry, refreshing and yummy.

But, for all the beer drinkers out there, one beer I recognized right away is Brewery Ommegang Witte, brewed in Cooperstown. I loved the white ales and this one was especially delicious.

At Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's is known for their wine selection, although they do have a small selection of unique beers. I sincerely hope the new TJ's strikes a deal to stock more wine (otherwise I'll be really sad). There are too many wonderful wines I've gotten there, but this one stands out in particular.

2009 Cocobon. It's light, and has hints of coconut, mocha and cherries. So wonderful.

Another week almost done. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Run bike swim run bike swim

I'm going to do the Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon at the end of September. It will be a 2 m run, 10 m bike, 2 m run, 10 m bike, 2 m run. Naive me posted on Facebook "I can do that! That's easy!" To which my more experienced tri friends responded: "No, that's absolutely not easy." (I'm cross posting this first part from the Daily Mile with a few revisions because I'm lazy)

I'm still trying to build my running back up, it suffered during the move, so on Sunday I decided to do my own mini dual -- 1 m run, 5 m bike, 1 m run, 5 m bike, 1 m run. This was all after riding 20.

The first run felt great! I was under a 10:00 pace and sure that voice was there "slow down or you'll never make it" but silly me ignored it. Then I was off on the bike for 5 miles... which turned into just over 6 because I needed a place to lock it up.

I then went to run again. And wholly hell. My body was so confused. My legs did not feel right. But slowly I got back in the groove... just in time to get back on the bike.

The bike ride started out rough but then started to feel good, but by this point I am so tired and just want to be done. I'm dreading the run at this point.

Most of the run was rough until the very end, when I was just so happy to be done!!

Next time will be easier :)

Now back to that whole swimming thing...

After my swim lessons last week I realized that RAC's teeny tiny pool isn't going to cut it (plus it's way out in Perinton), so I'm back on the market for another place to join. I'm looking for a reasonably-sized pool with reasonable hours at a reasonable cost.

The first place I scoped out was the Y. I really liked the staff there, but unfortunately joining is impractical. I'd be paying $62 a month, and most of the stuff there I get at RAC.

Yesterday evening I went to Downtown Fitness Club. This seems like a good option. The rest of the club did not impress me, but I really liked the pool. It was quiet and a good size, and not crowded (and no screaming kids!) For $30 a month it's a pretty good option.

There are two other places I need to check out. The first is the Adams Street Recreation Center. It's a stone's throw away from my apartment and it's only $2 a session to swim. But the hours are extremely limited. There's another club called Harro East, but I can't find any information about it online.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Foodie Friday: Super size me

Last week I brought back Foodie Friday with a little catch :) Moving to Rochester means shopping at Wegman's, which ranks right up there with some of the other Greatest Places On Earth.

But I'm missing one of the other Greatest Places On Earth, Trader Joe's (and Earth Fare... and Whole Foods...) But alas! My beloved TJ's is coming in October!

So Foodie Friday now serves a dual purpose: Bragging to my Ohio friends about my new grocery chain, and educating my new Rochester friends about the glory that is Trader Joe's :)

Today's edition: Things you can buy in massive quantities

One of the most glorious things about Wegman's is the club pack. All around the store, you can get big packs of items at really good prices.
My favorites so far:

  • 2 lbs of strawberries for $5 (once I consumed an entire pack in a single day)
  • (A lot) of sweet cherries for $7
  • A big pack of chicken (that's not inflated with antibiotics) for $2 a pound
  • A big pack of 90% lean ground beef for $3 a pound
  • 2 lbs of tilapia filets for $10

I'm working on my upteenth club pack of strawberries right now so I was going to compare produce, but the fact is, produce isn't Trader Joe's strong suit. But then, when I started thinking about buying in bulk, I thought of the perfect thing.

Like any good Italian, I go through olive oil like CRAZY. And it's not cheap. But at Trader Joe's you can get an entire liter of cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil for $6 (disclaimer: I have not compared the price to Wegman's yet, but you must believe me that this stuff is awesome!!) 

As you can see, I'm 1/4 of the way through the bottle. I wonder if the rest will last until October :) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Swimming lessons Day 3

I've had my third swim lesson, and today I feel like I graduated from hopelessly-thrashing-around-in-the-water to "you actually look like a real swimmer!", as my instructor pointed out.

I still can't do more than a lap before getting winded, but when I started I could only do a half lap before I had to tread water and cough the water out of my lungs. It's still a long way to go before 1.2 miles but it's progress!

I got insanely lucky with the lessons. They're supposed to be group lessons at the Y, but I'm the only one in the class. The first day the instructor really didn't know what to do. Even though I had asked for Red Cross Level 4 she said the only thing she could really teach was how to help people get in the water and do basic movements. But, the lifeguard on duty does Ironmans, so they switched places, and he was awesome! Then the instructor Tuesday does triathlons. Both Alex, the new instructor, and Randall, the lifeguard, have been teaching me with an open water swim in mind, so all the form and technique I've been learning is specifically geared toward what I'm training for. They taught me to rock back and forth and extend my arms more.

Monday and Tuesday it was hard to focus on anything else but breathing. They tried to teach me about strokes but it was hard to focus on my form because I was more worried about, well, you know, not drowning.

But today, the breathing came easier! Alex helped me form my stroke so I move faster in the water, and it worked.

One swim lesson left in this session but I'll probably do more down the line. Yippee!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Swimming lesson Day 1

I'm already over 1,100 hits for the month. Traffic actually has been way up the past three months, even though I had several lulls where I didn't post often during the move. Thanks for reading, all :)

This week I'm taking swim lessons at the Carlson Metro Center YMCA in Rochester. Tonight was my first one, and all I must say is: Swimming is hard! I left the Y feeling kind of defeated, but after chatting with a few Facebook friends I realized that the only thing holding me back is the breathing, then it will get easier! So tomorrow I'm going to go to the pool before my lesson to just practice that (maybe alternating with some quality time in the sauna) and hopefully by the end of the week I'll have it down!

I'm getting nervous about Musselman, mainly because there's an eight-hour cutoff time. It took me 4.5 hours to do the bike, I know I can get faster but... I'll need 2.5 for the run and at least an hour for the swim. That cuts it close! Maybe I should find another race... but I so want to do this one!!

334 days til the race!

1/3 of the way to a half iron

I had a great bike ride today, 56 miles in four and a half hours! I'm happy that I got the distance in but I would like to get faster, I averaged 13.1 miles per hour (coincidence, I think not!) I also need to get better on hills.

On the downside, I discovered that the canal path is not all paved, so I went up to Greece, then down to Pittsford, then back to Greece, then home.

On Saturday I'm going to a flat tire clinic, because today I got insanely lucky! I got a flat right in front of a bike shop in Pittsford. So I got a bit of time to explore the Pittsford waterfront, which was beautiful!

I got lucky again, where minutes after I got home it started pouring! Oh, and I also saw someone walking a cat on a leash :-/

I've decided on two events I'm going to do before the year's out.

The first I've already mentioned, the Highlander Bike Tour in the Finger Lakes Sept. 8. There's a 41 mile ride with optional 11 and 16 mile loops.

The second is the Rochester Autumn Classic Duathlon Sept. 28. It'll be a 2 m run/10 m bike/2 m run/10 m bike/2 m run. Should be interesting!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Foodie Friday: I love Wegman's, I miss Trader Joe's, I heart nut butters

I've never been very good at remembering to post something like this weekly. Usually I'm good about it for a few weeks then it fizzles out.

Living in Rochester means shopping at Wegmans, and the place is a palace. There's a whole Gluten Free aisle and so many great food finds!

On the other side of the coin, I'm missing my Trader Joe's :( But it will be here in October so I feel I must educate my new Rochester friends on the glory that can be found there. (But what will they do about their wine selection??)

So, I'm bringing back Foodie Friday with something I love, and then something I miss, for as long as I decide to keep it up :) !!


My parents can attest to this: I hate peanut butter. Hate it hate it hate it hate it. It makes no sense! I like peanuts, I like peanut butter when it's mixed with other things, like soy sauce or chocolate. I like almond butter and cashew butter and sunflower seed butter. But by itself, or with the trusty sidekick jelly: Eww.

I was craving some sunflower seed butter when I went to Wegmans last week (I'll get to that in a minute). After getting a "wait what's that" from the clerk, he spoke into his walkie talkie then directed me to the organics section.

There was a small selection of nut butters that contained this gem: Earth Balance coconut and peanut spread. "81% peanuts with extra virgin coconut oil". Creamy. $5.

To buy or not to buy? I hate peanut butter. I love coconut. I took the plunge.

I was a little afraid of it at first. I brought it to work with some rice cakes to eat instead of my protein bars, which I'm trying to give up. Like clockwork, my tummy started to rumble around 4 p.m. Snack time! I fished out a plastic knife, ripped off the seal and spread it on the rice cake.

Total deliciousness.

I'm not a food writer, but it was just a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and very filling! It has agave syrup but no added sugar, 190 calories and 6 grams of protein in two tablespoons, vegan, naturally Gluten Free

It doesn't need to be refrigerated, so it's going to live in my desk with my trusty pack of rice cakes.


So what kept me from buying the sunflower seed butter at Wegman's?

It was $8!!!!!

At Trader Joe's, you can get a jar of sunflower seed butter for $5.

As much as I enjoy non-peanut butters, sunflower seed butter is the only one I bother to dig in and eat directly from the spoon (or whatever utensil is most handy). Before I give the empty container to Lizzie, I make sure every salvageable bit is gone. So yummy! Very creamy, sweet and salty. And addicting!

So, Wegmans, your peanut and coconut butter will tide me over, but I can't wait for decently priced sunflower seed butter! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Putting my money where my mouth is

File this under: "Did I really just do that?"

I know I've talked the big game of completing a half ironman time and time again. The process often went like this:

1) Say I'm going to do a half ironman.
2) Jump in the pool.
3) Realize swimming is hard.
4) Get a flat tire on the bike
5) Realize bikes are complicated
6) Look for another marathon

But I've done three things this week that will get me on the track to 70.3:

1) I signed up for swimming lessons. Next week Monday to Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. I'm going to be taking adult swimming classes at the Chester Carlson Metrocenter YMCA in Rochester. It wasn't expensive, and hopefully it's beneficial.

2) I hired a personal trainer. Rochester Athletic Club has a variety of trainers available, it's affordable and one of them is an experienced tri- and dualathlete. We'll see how it goes.

3) Saturday I'm going to a flat tire clinic.

Right now my goal race is the Musselman Triathlon. It's through the Finger Lakes, which will be amazing, but it's in July, which makes me nervous. I don't do well in the heat.

If I flub it or if something happens like the extreme heat warnings at Muncie, my backup will be the REV3 race at Cedar Point in September.

There's more to write, namely what I'm going to do in the next 6 months (teaser: bike ride in the Finger Lakes and possible Ragnar fun in the Adirondacks). But I'm teaching a spin class in seven hours and someone hasn't made her playlist yet ;) (Don't be confused, I set things to autopost in the morning even though I write them at night.)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I found RAC, and I'm back to teaching!

I have really, really missed teaching Spinning!

I was going to wait until after the election to find some classes. But then I got here, started taking a few, and realized that I wanted to be in charge again (it's the only way to guarantee that I'll like the music, after all!!)

There are a lot of gyms here, and I'd really like to say I did my due diligence and scoped out them all, but as it turned out I found a new fitness home in the second place I went to, Rochester Athletic Club.

I was impressed by RAC for a number of reasons. They came highly recommended when I asked around. There are five clubs, some for women only. Their equipment is modern and in great shape. I like the atmosphere inside the clubs, nobody makes me feel intimidated or stared at like many of the storefront meat markets around.

After a quick audition, I was brought on as a sub. I'll probably just sub until after the election, when my work life will get considerably easier, unless an early morning time slot opens up. Getting hired there allowed me to peek inside the inner-workings of the club, and I was impressed by the professionalism and organization!

So, my first classes are Wednesday and Thursday and I'm stoked! Albiet a little intimidated by the microphone (at the LCFYMCA I got away with just shouting half the time lol!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

To half marathon or not to half marathon?

I'm in a total quandary over whether to shoot for a fall half marathon.

I'm thinking about it because I miss it! I miss racing! I want a new medal!

But I just can't run in this heat, and we all know how I feel about the dreadmill... (>:-O)

Here are my race options, if I do decide to go for it:

Rochester half marathon, Sept. 23
Pros: Close to home, cheaper, a good way to see my new city and get to know the running community
Cons: Too soon, would already be behind in training, might be really hot out race day

Wine Glass half marathon, Sept. 30
The ultimate pro: I mean, "wine" is in the title... come on now...
Other pros: Close to home, beautiful, easy course
Cons: Still sooner than I think I can be ready for, a bit pricey

Columbus marathon, Oct. 21
Pros: I was already planning on going to volunteer, the time frame works, it's cheaper
Cons: I've done it before, if I run it I can't volunteer and cheer everyone on

Ideally I'd want to do something in November or December... but there aren't a lot of options near me. Las Vegas in December would be amazing, but it's a bit out of reach. I found this half marathon that was done last year in Corning, but their website hasn't been updated so I don't know if there will be a race this year. There also appears to be some kind of trail race on Nov. 3 at Mendon Ponds, but I can't find much on that, either...

Another option would be to find some kind of bike ride! Must research :)

Update! I found a bike ride! The Highlander Cycle Tour through the Finger Lakes has a 41 mile option. Not expensive, perfect!

(I'm just in it for the bling.)

Beyond my running dilemma, life is good. I'm getting more and more settled and a learning my way through Rochester's spaghetti-like highway system. The job is just nuts. The days fly by so fast because I'm so busy. I've found a good gym and signed on as a substitute cycling instructor (when I sat down at my computer I meant to make my playlist but instead killed an hour writing this blog. Ooops.) More on that later!