Tag Archives: Swimming

SheRox Triathlon

8 Aug

I did it! I completed my first triathlon! It was the hardest thing I have ever done – but I did it – and I will certainly be doing another. Let’s re-cap, shall we?

SheRox Philadelphia: All-women’s triathlon in Fairmount park consisting of a .37-mile swim / 15.5 mile bike / 3.1 mile run. “She swims, she rides, she runs, she rocks!” I loved that my first triathlon was a women’s only tri that really catered to first-timers. It was the perfect environment. Everyone was friendly and helpful and had a lot of the same nervousness that I did.

Wake-up call: 4:15 am. Not really ideal. I don’t think the 4am wake-up calls will ever get easier. Especially since I get pre-race anxiety about over-sleeping. I seriously had a dream that I missed the whole event. I didn’t.

Arrival: It was still dark, but there were hundreds of people & bikes & craziness. I got intimidated really fast, especially when some girls had bikes that were more expensive than my car. I’m not joking. There was a long walk from the parking lot to the transition area, and when we got there, I was shocked at how much went into it all. Everything was really well organized and looked awesome. It really got me excited, and everyone was so helpful that it really calmed my nerves. I got there really early, set up my little area, drank some Skinny Water… and walked around for a while to warm up. I didn’t feel like running or biking or anything, I just wanted to soak it all in.

Swim: Well, I’m a swimmer – so I wasn’t really worried about the swim. It was 600 meters (so about 24 lengths of a high school pool). I always envisioned the start to be a mass start where everyone runs into the water and starts swimming – but it was actually really well organized into waves and we started in the water. When it was my turn, my wave entered the water and treaded in place until the horn went off. The water was 78 degrees, so it was perfect. I got a spot right in the front too, so I didn’t have to fight anyone right off the bat. Once the horn went off, I was shocked at how fast some girls went out. They were like all-out sprinting, which isn’t what I anticipated. But I joined right in and swam really hard. I also swam off-course quite a bit, given that this was my first open-water swim ever… and I only breathe to one side – so I never looked the other way. Once I looked around and decided I swam pretty far out of my way, I wasted a lot of time & energy getting back on track – but oh well. Next time I know to look both ways. I also noticed near the end that my cap had fallen right off my head. I don’t understand why this always happens to me! I wanted to keep that thing as a memento!! Ugh. Luckily, my hair was tight enough that it didn’t really affect my swim. My swim time- 13:30 (32nd overall)

Transition 1: I kinda took my time here so I could have a little bit of rest before the bike. Plus, I wasn’t trying to win the event, just have a good time finishing my first tri. I dried off my feet the best I could, grabbed a quick drink, turned on my Garmin, put on my socks & shoes, snapped on my helmet, grabbed my bike, and jogged to the bike start. No big deal. My T1 time- 2:16 (211th overall)

Bike: I’m so glad I was in one of the first waves for the bike because the course wasn’t very crowded at all. It was so refreshing and beautiful. I originally figured I’d try to maintain 15mph (4 min/miles) but I quickly decided that I could go a lot faster – so I sped it up significantly. I felt crazy strong on the bike because I kept passing all kinds of people. I crushed the hills. I was feeling great! What wasn’t great was my shoes slipping around the pedals because everything was wet from the rain. The course was a 2-loop course – and the 2nd loop was a lot more annoying because more people were on the course at that point. I still felt like I was passing way more people than were passing me though, so that was positive. Obviously, some girls in like USA jerseys & bikes with the tires all filled in zoomed past me, but whatever. I’m not pro. I saw Steve a few times on this portion and I loved it. I waved & smiled & was just having a grand time. My bike time – 56:11 (16.6MPH – 289th overall)

Transition 2: Well, this should have been an easy transition, because I didn’t have to change my shoes or anything – I just had to throw on a shirt that had my bib on it. Unfortunately, my shoes were soaking wet. Yuck. I re-racked my bike, ditched the helmet, threw on my tank top, and wearily jogged to the run start. My T2 time – 1:45 (253rd overall)

Run: Never in my life have I had a harder run. I forgot to save energy for this part of the race. Plus, my shoes were soaked so they were heavy, squishy, and just insanely annoying. The humidity was also horrendous. It must have been about 90% humidity. I had my Garmin with me, but I refused to look at it, because I was convinced that I was going about 12 minute miles. I actually stopped completely at the first aid station (mile 1) and drank my Gatorade while walking. It was necessary. Shockingly, not too many people passed me – granted, people were definitely passing me – but I guess everyone is pretty worn down at this point, so no one was sprinting on by. I kept it going as strong as I could, and just tried to push through, even though I felt like I was going nowhere. I finally saw the crowd pick up and could see the finish line ahead… so I started speeding up, and when I was super close, I tried my best to sprint to the finish. I saw Steve & my little brother at the finish line & heard the announcer saying my name and it was just glorious. I MADE IT. My run time- 28:24 (9:10 min/mile, 267th overall)

My official time – 1:42:06  (9/61 age 20-24, 109/933 overall)

Thoughts looking back: I’m really proud of myself for finally signing up & doing a triathlon! I’ve always wanted to do one, I was just too nervous. Now I know there’s nothing to be nervous about.  I think that 109 out of 933 is awesome for my first-ever attempt at a triathlon. I know I can do better, but I can’t complain. What makes me mad looking back is how amazing I did in the swim, but how poorly I did in the other two events. I know I can swim faster. I just have to stay on course – I probably wasted a solid minute just going in the wrong direction. I know I can bike faster, I just need to practice. I also really wanted to run 8 minute miles… which didn’t happen. I definitely died on the run. I think the humidity played a huge factor, but so did my soaking wet shoes. Next time, I’ll use cycling shoes and have dry shoes for running. But otherwise, my tri tank & tri shorts worked perfectly. I’m glad I bought them, even if they were crazy expensive and I didn’t wait to buy the tank in pink. One day I will have a hot pink tri outfit. Just not today. Overall, despite wanting to die on the run – I had a lot of fun, and I definitely can’t wait to do more so that I can do even better!

Advice to myself for the future

  1. Learn to use cycling shoes with the clip-less pedals. My shoes slid around way too much on the pedals.
  2. Bring extra socks. My socks were so wet from the bike. I wish I had a dry pair to run in.
  3. Make sure running shoes are dry. This would have happened if I wouldn’t have biked in my running shoes.
  4. Do more brick work-outs. I need to train my body to run after I bike.
  5. Don’t use a water bottle with a screw-on top. You don’t have time to screw off the cap of your water bottle while biking. I need the thing where I can put a water bottle on my handlebars and just drink right out of a straw in front of my face.
  6. Bike faster. I felt strong on the bike, but obviously I can improve a lot here as I finished 259th overall. I do a lot of spin classes, but I need to incorporate more outdoor rides to get faster.
  7. Faster transitions. I took my time during transitions because I wanted to recover, which I’m fine with for my first triathlon – but in the future, this is an easy way to cut off some time.
A huge thank you goes out to my wonderful husband, Steve, for waking up with me at 4:15, driving me into Philadelphia, cheering for me, taking all of my pictures, and just being super supportive all the time. I love you!
Another huge thank you goes out to my little brother, Tyler, and his friend, Greg, for actually waking up early, driving all the way into the city, and being there for me at the finish! It meant so much to have people cheering for me and there for me when I finished my tri. Thank you so much!!

Weekly Work-Outs

21 Jul

I have a lot to get done tonight… so I’m saving Part 2 of my “Friends” post for another day. But I wanted to quickly re-cap my work-outs for the week!

Tuesday Work-Out: Run

  • 2.8 miles
  • This is pretty laughable in terms of distance, but it started pouring and Steve happened to pass me driving home from work, so I just got in and called it a day.
  • I thought the rain would be a nice break from the ~100 degree heat, and it was, but I totally wimped out anyways. Lame sauce.
  • I didn’t have my Garmin (since it was raining) – so I don’t know my pace.
Wednesday Work-Out: Swim AM, Spin + Lift PM

  • Warm-Up: 200 SKIPS  [200 each x Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 6 x [100 pull on 1:30 + 50 sprint on 1:00, finishing each sprint in ~35 seconds]
  • 100 Easy
  • 500 Pull on 7:30
  • 200 Kick [With kickboard]
  • 200 IM [Trying to go sub-3:00, touched in 2:59]
  • 200 Pull on 3:00
  • 200 Easy
  • Total = 3,300 yards
  • Spin
  • I can’t remember the exact work-out, but here were my favorite sets
  • 1 min seated climb, 30 sec standing run, 1:30 seated climb, 30 sec standing run, 2 min seated climb, 30 sec standing run, 2:30 seated climb, 30 sec standing run, 3 min seated climb [Increase resistance each minute of the seated climbs]
  • 5 x [20 sec sprint, 30 sec heavy resistance seated, 10 sec recovery]
  • Lift
  • In addition to bi’s & tri’s (as always) I incorporated more back, shoulder, & chest moves and increased the weight.
Thursday: Rest & get work done!

I need to get everything done tonight so I can enjoy celebrating my 24th birthday this weekend! Hooray for friends, drinks, and good times. 

I’ll be sure to throw together a Flashback Friday post tomorrow too – so if there’s any part of my wedding planning you’re interested in seeing, let me know 🙂


Flashback Friday: Wedding Flowers

15 Jul

Happy Friday! Even though I didn’t go see Harry Potter, and I’m not going up to Penn State for Arts Fest, and I’m not going to a beach (like every other person I know) – I’m still pumped about the weekend. I’ll get to kayak, run a midnight race, look at some awesome classic cars at the car show, and relax. Sounds wonderful. But before that all starts, it’s time for my weekly wedding flashback.

I figured I’d talk about all the decorative details of the day – including my flowers & centerpieces. As dumb as it sounds, I honestly might have taken a longer time decided on centerpieces than anything else. I had a very particular look in mind and I wasn’t settling for anything less.

1. Flowers!

  • So my middle name is Rose. My new last name means “Rose” in Italian. I love roses. Obviously, there were going to be roses in my bouquet. Easy enough.
  • My wedding colors were blue, white, and silver. Now think about it – have you seen many blue flowers? There’s a lot of purple-blue flowers, but not many that are truly blue. And I wasn’t all about dipping flowers in blue paint. No thank you. So I was set on finding some kind of blue flowers.
  • I don’t like nosegay bouquets. I wanted something more elegant and unique.
  • Pretty much, I saw this picture & I wanted to copy it.
  • I LOVED how the bridal bouquet was like an “explosion” of flowers. I loved the way the flowers cascaded down in front of her.
  • I also loved the bridesmaids very simple, very elegant cala lillies.
  • With that said, I didn’t want any flowers in my wedding aside from the bouquets and corsages. It’s January. There’s no point in having flower-y centerpieces for a wedding with a snowflake theme.
I met with 3 different florists to get ideas and test out pricing. Everyone warned me how expensive the cala lillies would be, but I didn’t much care. It was my wedding and I wanted cala lillies. My mother also said she felt that cala lillies reminded her of funeral flowers. Thanks, Mom. Anyways – I was dead set on white roses and white cala lillies, but I let the florists introduce me to some other beautiful blue flowers.

  • Blue Delphinium – Perfect for the “explosion” bouquet I wanted

  • Blue Dendrobium Orchids – the world’s most beautiful flowers. I saw one picture and knew I had to have them. I’m obsessed.
I thought the hard part was over, but who knew how many options there were for grandparents & parents & readers & everyone else you can think of. I pretty much left that all up to the florist – but made sure that the mothers just had a single white rose to carry. Wrist corsages can get annoying really fast when you’re hugging people all day. And I didn’t want them to have to pin their dresses. God forbid something should snag.

Here’s how it all worked out!

I was amazed at how beautifully everything turned out. Michelle at Brides & Butterflies did an amazing job – and I would highly recommend her services to any bride in the Pittsburgh area. Not only did she design the bouquets and give me a great price, but her company also made a seating chart and helped out with some of the hall decorations. I was a very happy bride when it came to all things flowers.

My advice on flowers:

  • Be as specific as possible when you are meeting with your florist. You aren’t going to see the bouquets (or the centerpieces if you have a florist design them) until the day of your wedding. If you don’t like them, it’s already too late. Be very, very specific. Bring pictures.
  • Be open to your florist’s suggestions. Chances are if you love a flower that’s really expensive, she can find something very similar for half the cost.
  • If you have your heart set on a certain flower, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I could have easily been talked out of the cala lillies, but I’m so glad I stuck with them because they turned out exactly how I wanted.
  • If you like the idea of my “explosion” bouquet over a nosegay – be prepared for it to weigh about 50 pounds. ha Don’t get me wrong, I loved my bouquet, but I was shocked at how heavy it was.
  • A lot of florists put the bouquets in water to keep them fresh for when you walk down the aisle. Take them out of the water way before you walk down the aisle. You don’t want them to drip or possibly stain anything with dye from the ribbon of the flowers themselves.
  • If you’re looking for an easy way to make your MOH stand out at the wedding, make her bouquet different.

I was going to also write about my decorations / centerpieces today – but this was really long without it… so I’ll save that for another Friday!

Today’s Workout: Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 SKIPS [200 each of Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 100 Fast on 1:30 (Touch between 1:10 and 1:15)
  • 200 Swim on 3:00
  • 300 Pull on 4:30
  • 4 x 200 on 3:00 [1st 200 – 4th 50 sprint. 2nd 200 – 3rd 50 sprint. 3rd 200 – 2nd 50 sprint. 4th 200 – 1st 50 sprint.]
  • 300 Pull on 4:30
  • 200 Kick on 4:00
  • 100 Cool-down easy
  • Total: 3,000 yards

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Flashback Friday: Pittsburgh Wedding Venues

8 Jul

It’s very fitting that I’m doing a wedding post today because today marks the *Half-Year-Anniversary* of my big day 🙂

Happy 6 months Steve!

Today I figured I’d write about choosing the venue for the reception – which apparently is one of the most daunting tasks when it comes to wedding planning. I am so glad we had a year & a half to plan our wedding because it took us a WHILE to find the perfect venue. For one, we were both still in school… a solid 2 hours away from where we were getting married, so we had to pack a lot of venue visits into weekend trips home. Secondly, we didn’t have a clear budget to work off of, which makes it really difficult when pricing things out. Anyways – we must have looked at about 2304895 venues before finally making a decision.

I’ll go through some of the places we considered, since going through all of them would take forever. And I’ll offer some of my own thoughts looking back.

1. Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

Pros: This was the most unique venue I could think of. I love animals, I love aquariums, I loved the idea that guests could walk around and take pictures and see the entire aquarium as part of my reception. It would give the kids at my reception something to do other than dance. I LOVED this option.

Cons: Being that it’s an aquarium, it kind of smelled like fish. It was also on the smaller side. The pricing was also confusing mainly because alcohol wasn’t included – so we’d have to buy our own – and I have not the slightest idea how much alcohol to buy for 150 people.

2. LeMont, Mt. Washington

Pros: See above picture. I’m obsessed with Pittsburgh.

Cons: As you can imagine, this place was fairly pricey. And by fairly, I mean it was expensive.

3. DiSalvo’s Station, Latrobe

Pros: This is an old train station converted into a restaurant, so it has so much history & charm. The tunnel entrance was gorgeous, the inside was adorable, there was a downstairs cigar lounge, and it was reasonably priced. This was actually our #1 choice until…

Cons: We went to pretty much seal the deal & go over details with the venue’s wedding coordinator… and the man was the most un-professional, annoying, condescending idiot I have ever spoken to. I couldn’t imagine working with him at all. Honestly, if they would have had a better coordinator, I would have had my reception here.

4. Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory

Pros: See above picture. This was the most amazing / stunning / beautiful place i have ever seen. It’s an old Cathedral converted into a banquet hall. Imagine the beauty of old Catholic Cathedrals & then imagine them offering a winter wedding deal where they decorate everything in blues & white & have an actual snow machine sprinkling snow from above. This was my ultimate dream venue.

Cons: It was super, super expensive. It was downtown Pittsburgh, it was gorgeous, and I’m pretty sure they had no issues getting people to book this site, so they weren’t really negotiable on price. I could have booked it anyways, but then I would have had to make a lot of sacrifices elsewhere…

5. Syria Shriners Hall

 Pros: This was my mom’s favorite venue. It was quite the grand hall with the high ceilings and the world’s largest chandelier. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and the price was very reasonable.

Cons: While my mom loved the look, I thought it looked straight out of Aladdin. It was just a little too middle-eastern for me. I wanted something more contemporary.

6. Lakeview, Greensburg

Pros: This place was very affordable, and close to home.

Cons: The “lakeview” they speak of is a view of a very green-ish lake, so that wasn’t impressive. And for some reason, they put up a miniature statue of liberty next to the lake as a 9-11 Memorial… and who the hell wants a life-size fake statue of liberty in their wedding pictures? We also heard some negative reviews.

7. Stratigo’s Banquet Center

*My Reception*

Before I get into the pro’s & con’s… I’d like to say that I REFUSED to look at Stratigo’s as a venue for the longest time. Like it wasn’t even an option (I’ll explain below). Once again, I was so wrong.

Pros: The food was excellent. The staff was professional, friendly, helpful, accommodating, personable, & friendly. The venue was beautiful. They offered a 30% discount for my “winter” wedding. It was close to home / to the church. All of the DJ’s / photographers / bakeries were very familiar with the venue and the set-up. There were flat-screen TV’s in the bathroom. Their menu options were extensive. They provided the alcohol.

Cons: It wasn’t close to hotels (for the guest’s sake). And… I had my high school prom there. Dun Dun Dun. This was the reason I refused to look at this place. Prom. With my ex. Not exactly what I pictured for my wedding. (Although it looked so totally different for my wedding, that it didn’t even cross my mind when it came down to it)

Overall Thoughts

  • Location. Just like in real estate, the closer you are to a major city, the more expensive it will be. I would have LOVED to be downtown, but in the end, it wasn’t worth sacrificing on the small things to be in the city.
  • Staff. I didn’t consider how important the staff would be when it came to the venue – but trust me, you want people at your venue to accommodate your every wish – no matter how big or small. It can make a huge difference.
  • Cost. Your venue will most likely the majority of your budget. But you want to make sure you leave enough room for all the little details that creep up at the end. I could have picked my dream location in the city – but I probably would have had to make a playlist on my iPod instead of getting a DJ.
  • Food. People are traveling & likely paying a lot of money to come to your wedding. The least you can do is pick a place that offers GREAT food.
  • Alcohol. It was nice not to have to worry about providing my own alcohol because with my luck, we would have ran out half-way through and been screwed since PA liquor stores close at 9. The open bar was key. Plus we paid by the head, not the bottle, so there were no surprises at the end of the night.

Hopefully this was helpful! Especially to any Pittsburgh brides 🙂

And just to keep up with my work-outs….

Friday’s Workout: Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 SKIPS [200 each of Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 4 x 200 Pull on 3:00 [1st 200 – Sprint last 50. 2nd 200 – Sprint 3rd 50. 3rd 200 – Sprint 2nd 50. 4th 200 – Sprint 1st 50]
  • 100 [50 easy, 25 scull, 25 swim]
  • 200 Fast
  • 5 x [100 Pull on 1:30, 50 Sprint on 1:00 – trying to touch between 35 & 40 sec]
  • 150 Cool-down
  • Total: 3050 yards

Flashback Friday: Wedding Edtion

24 Jun

Since I didn’t have a blog leading up to my wedding – I thought it would be fun to “re-live” all the planning and details here. I’m going to establish Flashback Fridays from here on out. It’s probably best that I didn’t have a blog during all of my wedding planning because there would have been a lot of posts about eloping, skipping all the planning, and not wanting to do anything wedding related ever again. So – I’ll take a less stressed out, happier approach to my wedding here 🙂

Colors & Dresses!

So pretty much as soon as I got engaged, two of my best friends were already planning a trip to David’s Bridal for me to try on wedding dresses and for them to try out some bridesmaids dresses. Even though we weren’t actually getting married until a year and a half after we got engaged, how could I say no? So I went into David’s Bridal with a few assumptions…

  1. I wanted my wedding color to be baby blue (think UNC Tarheels)
  2. I wanted a simple, light-weight, frills-free halter wedding dress (Like the one below)

My advice: Don’t bother making assumptions – you’ll definitely change your mind.

What actually happened:At David’s Bridal, bridesmaids dresses come in a variety of colors, but chances are that the dress you like in the size you need won’t come in your dream color. So you try on whatever color happens to come in your size.

So no one tried on baby blue… but it didn’t matter. I thought that the royal blue was such a gorgeous color that I didn’t even want to look at other options. Plus, all of my bridesmaids looked pretty awesome in such a bold color. Assumption 1 = Fail.When it came to bridesmaids dresses, I only wanted a few things. I wanted floor-length dresses because we got married in January – it was going to be freezing. I also wanted everyone to match. Otherwise, I really didn’t want to dictate what they chose because they had to wear it – not me. I tried to get most of my bridesmaids to look at dresses at the same time so they could make a group decision – and it worked out pretty well I think! (If anyone of them hated their dresses, they haven’t told me yet)

Here’s what we ended up deciding on 🙂


2. I ended up trying on the dress that I had been eyeing up on-line forever. (You know, the one, what I always envisioned, what I always wanted… etc). Holy not-at-all-what-I-was-expecting. I looked like a prostitute. Obviously the dress of my dreams was designed for a flat-chested girl. I was hanging out of that dress like Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl. It was bad. Assumption 2 = Fail. I tried on a whole bunch of other dresses – and let my friends pick some out for me too.

Tip: Bring honest friends when you shop for dresses. Mine told me flat-out that some dresses were ugly on me and I appreciate it.

Anyways – so they pick out this extravagant beaded strapless gown and bring it to me to try on. I tried it on just to appease them. There was no way I was into beads and lace and “fru-fru”

I was wrong… again. Despite having never worn anything like this before in my life, I loved it! It really made me feel like a snow princess – which is what I was going for in my winter wedding. I would have never picked out this dress for myself in a million years – but my friends loved it, my mom loved it, my dad loved it – and here’s the BEST part of all …

As my mom was browsing the sales rack – aka the 50% off rack – she saw my dress. (So the chances of it being my size are like 0%, right?) Oh no, it was my size, exactly. Since I was going to buy it anyway – I tried on the dress from the sales rack – sold “as is” and searched all over for any reasons why it was being sold “as is”. To this day, I have no idea and I don’t care. I found MY DRESS for 50% off. Talk about winning. Needless to say, I walked out of the store with my dress and didn’t look back 🙂

Flash forward…

Friday’s work-out: Swimming 

  • Warm-up: 200 SKIPS [200 Swim, 200 Kick, 200 IM, 200 Pull, 200 Swim]
  • 4x [100 Sprint on 1:30, try to touch by 1:10-1:15 + 200 Pull on 3:00]
  • 200 Swim, 200 Kick, 200 IM, 200 Pull
  • Cool-down: 300 of whatever
  • Total: 3300 yards

Breakfast of Champions

  • Smoothie + Granola
  • Smoothie: frozen banana, vanilla protein powder, cocoa powder, peanut butter, milk, ice

When I Grow Up

10 Jun

I wanna be famous, I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies… 

Scratch that, how about I wanna have a job that I don’t hate? I mean, I think that sounds simple enough. So here’s where you come in. I need options as to what to do with my life because what I’m doing isn’t working out. I love health / fitness / science. I’m seriously at a loss for ideas, so if you have a job you love – please tell me what it is and why you love it. Thanks ❤

For perspective: I have a B.S. in Biotechnology and a minor in Microbiology from Penn State. I LOVED learning about these subjects in school, but it didn’t translate into the real world. Real world labs are monotonous, unexciting, and experiments generally fail. So you repeat them (over and over and over and over…) So I moved into a healthcare consulting type of position – which is where I am now – and this is just NOT an environment that I thrive in. It’s also about an hour commute from my home – and I would rather have that time to do something more productive than drive 70 miles. I think I would enjoy a position where I interacted with / helped people and didn’t have to spend so much time in front of a computer. (Unless I’m blogging :))

  • Teacher?
  • RD? (Thanks Anne for your insight!)
  • Personal Trainer?
  • Pharmacist?
The tough thing is my husband has a job he LOVES here in the Philadelphia area, so I’m fairly limited geographically. We also anticipate moving in about a year, so I’m hesitant to go back to school just to find out I have to leave. Lastly, it will be a huge challenge to try to go back to school and not have any income. Unfortunately, Philly isn’t a very affordable city – so we rely on two incomes.

  • This picture totally doesn’t fit in with any of my dialogue, but I was quite impressed with how my nails (and toenails) happened to look cute with my dress… and even match my yogurt. ha [Random]

In other news – I finally dragged my ass out of bed early yesterday to beat the heat and got in an awesome pool workout before 7:30am. I always love getting my work-out in early, but I cannot force myself to wake up at 5:30 every morning… ugh. I’ll work on that.

I beat the sun!

Thursday’s Swim Work-Out

  • 200 SKIPS [200x each Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 5 x 200 Pull on 3:00
  • 5 x 100 Swim [Odd: Sprint on the 1:30, try to touch in under 1:15. Even: Easy on 2:00]
  • 100 SKIPS [100x each Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • Total= 3000 yards in just under an hour
Swim Tip of the Day: If you are going to join a lane where someone is already swimming, just have the common courtesy to alert them first. Most swimmers are willing to share their lane, but it’s nice to know someone else is going to be in your lane, that way you don’t collide into them! (Common sense)

  • Flowers apparently don’t like 100 degree heat

  • Luckily, my flowers don’t care that I’m too lazy to buy a watering can and instead resort to pots…

Luckily today is Friday (Cue Rebecca Black) – and one of my best friends from Penn State is coming down to visit 🙂 And then Sunday is my 32-mile bike ride with a lot of Spin class friends! Bring on the weekend!! (Oh wait, I still have to get through work…)

Best Meal Ever

3 Jun

Today was a beautiful day and I decided to jump-start it by heading to the YMCA for an early swim. Holy crowded. Apparently high school is done for summer so all the students decided to go swimming? Not sure. Anyways – I jumped into a lane the second it opened and got to my workout.

Today’s swim work-out

  • 3 x 200 SKIPS [ 200 Swim, 200 Kick, 200 IM, 200 Pull, 200 Swim]
  • 1 x 100 SKIPS [1oo Swim, 100 Kick, 100 IM, 100 Pull, 100 Swim]
  • Total: 3500 yards
Today’s work-out was pretty boring… I really need to start writing work-outs the night before so I have some kind of plan once I jump in the pool. Despite its repetitiveness, it was a good workout and I enjoyed not paying attention to times today and just swimming at a good pace for myself.
Back to work… I worked from home today, which is always relaxing – but not nearly as relaxing as it is for Mogli. He had the right idea 😉

Tired Cat

But onto the best part of my day: Dinner. Steve and I debated for about an hour over whether we should eat in or go out or where to go… our indecisiveness always takes forever! After we finally decided to go out, we came up with two must-haves for dinner – outdoor seating and BYOB. That really narrowed down our options to one place, Freskada. I cannot say enough good things about this place. I may never go anywhere else. It was a Greek restaurant in a fun outdoor mall area near our place. Love.
Swordfish Ka-bob with perfectly seasoned zucchini and mushrooms on a bed of rice and a side of grilled asparagus. Absolutely perfect. The swordfish melted in my mouth and the seasoning was so light and fresh – pretty much perfect for a summer evening outside.

Light Side of the Moon

Dark Side of the Moon

Dessert didn’t disappoint either. Steve and I decided to get the Light and Dark Sides of the moon – mine was a chocolate cake with raspberry drizzled on top. Steve’s was just pure chocolate. Blissful.
Tomorrow morning Steve and I will be running a 5K – Wish me luck 🙂 Results to follow!

How I Became a Swimmer

25 May


– the common Achilles heel for triathletes…

Not for me. I was swimming before I was walking. Honestly.

Learning to swim with my Mommy

I was a little fish. I always wanted to be in the water. My mom told me that I would just jump straight into the deep end of public pools, terrifying the life-guards, but keeping myself afloat without any help at all 🙂

So you would assume that I would have joined a swim team as soon as I was old enough… Well, like most 6-year olds, I was busy trying all sorts of new things – including gymnastics, soccer, and dance lessons. I remember asking my mom about the swim team – and we found out that swimmers had practice 5 days/week. No thank you. And so I continued to enjoy swimming as a purely recreational event for the next 10 years.

Not my most flattering look

Flash Forward to High School:  Well let’s say it was at age 16 that I went through that horribly awkward phase where I got braces, gained weight, and just looked like a disaster… that was the same age that I gave up soccer. I was ready for something new (a new look, a new me, just new). I decided to try-out for my school’s swim team. I participated in a month of pre-season work-outs and two weeks of intense try-outs. (I’m talking like 2-2.5 hours/day) I dreaded these workouts because they were SO HARD. Most of these kids had been swimming competitively since they were 6! Ugh. Despite my best efforts, I was cut from the team. Devastation.

Scratch that. This was just motivation to train and make the team next year. Success. With the help of coaches and my friend, Amanda, I learned how to do those elusive flip-turns and become even faster in the water. I made the team next year with ease.

Swim Senior Night

Actually, I didn’t just make the team the next year – I was awarded the honor of ‘Most Improved Swimmer‘ on the whole team at the end-of-the-year banquet. 🙂 Moreover, I got the braces off, lost a ton of weight from endless hours of practice, and was finally a happier person. ❤ Swimming.


Flash Forward to College: I continued to swim at Penn State on the Club team and it was the best decision I made in college. It really helped me stay in shape (take THAT Freshman 15), meet tons of new people, and most importantly – it was how I met my now-husband! 🙂

Some of my fastest times to date:

Steve & I at a swim meet as juniors at Penn State

  • 100 Free – 1:00.50
  • 100 Fly – 1:06.10

Early Swim

25 May

I love working from home – not just because I save myself a 2-hour commute and 70-miles worth of gas… but because it gives me time to work-out in the morning 🙂

Yesterday, I left the house around 6:45am and went off to the gym to fit in some swimming. I can’t wait for school to be out  since my gym is next door to a high school and I always get stuck in school zones / school traffic / blah. Anyways – when I finally got to the pool… it was crazy crowded! There were already 2 people in every lane and even some stragglers swimming in the open lanes. What to do? I made up my own lane.

My Swim Work-Out:

  • WarmUp: 2 x 500 (1st 500 – easy; 2nd 500 – 150 easy, 200 IM, 150 easy)
  • 5 x 200 Pull on 3:00
  • 10 x 100 Swim on 1:30 (1-2, 4-5, 7-8, 10: Swim;  3,6,9: IM)
  • 400 Kick w/ Board (Switch up strokes)
  • 100 Easy
  • Total:  3500 yards

Advantages of Pulling:

I never enjoyed pulling in high school. All my strength was in my legs – so taking away kicking took away all of my speed. But for triathletes, this is actually a good thing. Since the bike and run will obviously take a toll on your legs, it’s better to build up upper body strength so you don’t have to rely heavily on kicking to get you through the swim.

Even for non-triathletes, pulling can help get you sexy Michelle Obama-esque arms 😉

Michelle Obama's amazing arms

At least, that’s what I’m hoping. All politics aside, the woman has amazing arms.

Since my breakfast was pretty boring (milk & cereal) – I’ll skip right to lunch when I enjoyed a salad with all of my favorite toppings 🙂

Romaine lettuce – Spinach – Craisins – Sliced Almonds – Blue Cheese Crumbles – Tuna – Cherry Tomatoes – and Wegman’s amazing Basil Vinegarette dressing. The perfect salad.

Good workout – Good lunch – Good day 🙂

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