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Loving to Tri

TrainingPeaks Swim TSS

A while back, I wrote about my experiences with lactate threshold testing on the bike and for the run. While I had many reasons for doing these low-tech tests, my primary reason was so that I could get good data for my TrainingPeaks Performance Manager Chart. This chart shows how you’re progressing with your training and how well you should, theoretically, be recovering.

With the information from my lactate threshold testing, I’m getting good data from my bike rides and runs (the data is even better when I wear my heart rate monitor). The swim data, however, isn’t so great, and it’s not accurately considering the intensity and duration of my swims.

swim data


This was a swim I did a few weeks ago. Training Peaks just assigned a Training Stress Score (sTSS) of .6 for this workout.

bike data


A bike ride, however, would give me a TSS of 55.6. Granted the bike ride was longer and more intense, but it wasn’t THAT much more difficult. The TrainingPeaks Swim TSS just wasn’t working like I wanted it to.

With a little research, I found out that the problem was me. I needed to do 1000-yard swim time trial to find my average pace for 100 yards. By entering this number into my Training Peaks settings, the app can calculate a more accurate TSS for all of my swim workouts.

So, today I hit the pool for my time trial. Those of you who read my blog know that I DESPISE getting out of breath in the water. There’s just something about sticking my head under water when I need oxygen that I just haven’t gotten used to. If it’s for 25 or 50 yards, I can deal with it fairly well, but not for anything longer than that!

But, I put on my big girl panties (not literally ’cause that would just be weird) and got the time trial done.

photo 2 (2)

My “not amused” face, complete with raccoon eyes from my goggles

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Done! Luckily, my trusty Garmin counts laps for me.

photo 3 (2)

I’m pretty sure that my Dolfin Uglies suit helped. I actually feel like a swimmer when I wear it ūüôā




Then, I plugged the info into Training Peaks to establish my pace zones.

swim zones

All I had to do was plug in my test results. Training Peaks did all the other calculations.

And then I plugged in my workout into my Training Peaks calendar.

swim data 2



Finally! My TSS data is accurately representing the effort in my swims!

Now, I just need to work on getting faster…

Have you been swimming recently? What helps you have a great workout in the pool?


Week 6 Training Update – Asheville Half and Raleigh 70.3

Last week was one of those training weeks that I’m glad to say goodbye to. My Training Peaks calendar shows so many red and yellow boxes! Not good ūüôĀ But not all of my week 6 training for the Asheville Half Marathon and Raleigh 70.3 was bad. Some of the workouts went really well, and some of them taught me some valuable information. Here’s my training update:

Monday: planned day off

Tuesday: running speed work, including 6×400 repeats @ 2:04. I love this workout – it’s challenging but doable (even when I have to do the last repeat on a slight uphill and into the wind). Plus, it was warm enough to wear shorts and a tank top with arm warmers!


That’s my attempt at a smile after finishing a good workout!

Wednesday: 950 yard swim, had to cut short because of work…

Thursday: unplanned off day

Friday: short, easy run

Saturday: group bike ride with Team Vive. We met at the zoo and rode through Greenville. We got on the Swamp Rabbit and followed it to the end. Then, we went up Tubbs Mountain and back to TR, where we stopped for a snack at Tandem before following the trail back to Greenville. This was a great ride!

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Regrouping at Tubbs Mountain.

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My snack at Tandem – a cappuccino and a banana nutella crepe!


I’m not the most confident person in the world on the bike, particularly when going downhill. There was one girl in the group who was very good on the downhills. Watching her descend, I learned some valuable tips!


Sunday: run at Paris Mountain State Park. I met up with some peeps at Paris Mountain for my first run up there. We did a loop that took us down on some trails and then back up a road x 2. The trail part was super fun! But coming back up was tough!

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It was sunny but chilly on Paris Mountain! That road just keeps winding up and up and up…

With just 4 weeks til the Asheville Half Marathon and then the Altamont Mountain Goat Relay in April, I’ve got to get some hill training in!

Here are my weekly totals:

Swim: 950 yards (yikes!)

Bike: 34.9 miles (double yikes!)

Run: 12.4 miles (triple yikes!)


So, with this rather pathetic update, I’m off to the pool before the snowstorm hits and closes all of our roads!

How did your week of training go?





Friday Five Valentine’s Edition – 5 Things I Love

It’s Friday already! The days¬†just seem to be flying by. Since it’s Friday, it’s time to linkup with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney for another edition of Friday Five. This week, the DC Trifecta has chosen “love” as a theme (which is fitting seeing as how tomorrow is Valentine’s Day). It’s been a while since I’ve done a “things I love” post, so I thought it would be fun to introduce you to 5 things I love currently.

1. Ozzy¬†– My cat Ozzy has no trouble at all entertaining himself. He might be playing with one of his toys, stalking a shadow on the wall, or taking a nap, but he is ALWAYS happy. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t make me laugh.


Ozzy guarding his cat nip-filled claw scratcher.


Um, that’s a charger for a watch not for a cat!


2. Salmon avocado mixture¬†– This is a new kitchen concoction that I have fallen in love with. It’s so simple and so tasty. You simply slice up an avocado, add a can of salmon, and mash it all up together. It tastes great by itself, on top of salad greens, or on a sandwich. Yum!

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Simple, healthy, and delicious!


3. Yoga¬†– All of my goals for February are about focus, and one of these goals is to do yoga three times a week. I subscribed to GaiamTV, and for less than $10 a month, I can stream an unlimited number of yoga classes. I’ve found some really great classes on there, and I’m loving yoga these days.


4. Speed work¬†– As I train for the Asheville Half Marathon, I’ve been incorporating some speed work into my training. I love 400 and 800 meter repeats. They’re short enough that they don’t hurt too badly, and they’re fast enough that you really feel speedy.


Sweaty speedwork selfie!


5. New shoes¬†– A few weeks ago, I treated myself to a new pair of every day shoes. I love these New Balance shoes because they’re comfy and have lots of bright colors. They go with everything! Plus, they’re really easy to put on and take off.

New shoes


What are you in love with this Valentine’s day?


Positive Self Talk – How Do You Talk to Yourself?

Sometimes kids say the darnedest things, and not always in a good way. Sometimes they say things that make you reflect on¬†how you think and feel about the smallest things on a daily basis. Sometimes they can make you see very clearly something that you’ve missed the boat on for years. In my case, it’s the importance of positive self talk.

Let me set the stage for you. Yesterday, I was teaching my youngest group of students, a group of 7 and 8 year old girls. I was shocked when I heard how some of these¬†students talk to themselves. We were working on splits. As soon as we started, one of the girls got this sad look on her face and said under her breath, “I’m terrible at splits.” Then, when we switched sides, a different girl started looking sad and¬†muttered, “I’m horrible at my left split.”

While they were stretching, I thought about what these girls were saying to themselves. The way they framed their critique was unproductive and just served to make them unhappy and hate stretching. In fact, it probably hurt their progress: since they didn’t like doing the splits, they didn’t practice them at home, and they didn’t get any better at them. At the end of the stretch, I asked one of the girls how she would feel if I¬†said to her, “You are really bad at your splits.” The little girl looked at me and said she would probably start crying.

This whole situation really got to me. Why would you say something to yourself that you wouldn’t want someone¬†else to say to you?

What types of negative things do you say to yourself on a daily basis? I’m talking about things that don’t serve a purpose other than to make you feel bad about yourself.

Here are just some of the things that pop into my head at random times with some accompanying images:


“My legs are ugly because they’re not long and thin.”


Pushups (2)

“I’m not very strong.”


waiting at the pool

“I’m not a good swimmer.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point. None of these interior monologues is serving a purpose, yet I could very easily reframe my dialogue into something constructive. Something that motivates me to work harder to achieve my goals. Something like this:


“Me and my muscular legs are going to kill it on the bike today!”


Pushups (2)

“Look at me working on building up my strength! I feel stronger already!”


waiting at the pool

“My swimming has improved so much in the past year. If I keep working at it, it will get even better.”

Same pictures, different captions, and completely different mind set. Even typing those words, I felt my mood change significantly. I imagine my frame of mind would change even more if I tried this reframing every day.

Are you guilty of negative self talk? Have you ever tried to incorporate more positive self talk into your life? What strategies did you use?








Keeping Accountable – January Goal Roundup

I can’t believe that this is my 100th blog post! My little blog that I started as a way to track my progress as I trained for the Nation’s Tri (which I did as part of Team in Training Flex) has grown in so many ways. For the next few months, I’ll be tracking my training for the Asheville Half Marathon, Raleigh 70.3, and A Ride to Remember 2015. Plus, I’ll be keeping myself accountable to all of the goals I’ve set as part of my year-long Happiness Project. Today’s post is a January goal roundup.

My focus for January was organization. At the beginning of the month, I set five goals for myself: declutter my triathlon closet, organize my bags, use Google calendar instead of a bunch of random pieces of paper, consistently pack my lunches and snacks, and organize my computer files. I did a mid-month check-in to help keep me on track.

For the rest of the month, I kept filling in my resolution chart, making notes each day on my progress towards each goal. At the end of the month, this is how things stood:

Closet: A

I took a few hours one weekend and really tackled my triathlon closet. I bought a hanging organizer from Target to separate all my swimming, biking, and running attire. This made a huge difference!

Closet is organized!

So much better now that it’s organized!

Bags: B+

I’m still using some random notebooks for teaching. I’ve got to go through them and better organize my class notes, so my lovely Apera bag doesn’t become a repository for all sorts of *#$.


Still think this bag is one of the best things I’ve ever bought!


Calendar: A

Using Google calendar has become such a part of my life, I can’t even imagine going back to a pen and paper agenda. My only problem is that I can’t figure out how to sync my task list from my computer to my tablet. Anyone know how to do this?????

Lunches: A+

I ate out two times for lunch last month. Both times were planned. This is a huge improvement from last year, when I almost never packed a lunch and all my snacks!

Lunch at Farmer's Table

Met my Dad for lunch at a new restaurant in Spartanburg. It was delicious!


Computer: B+

This is one task that I really worked consistently on throughout the month. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and effort to organize a couple of years of randomness, plus keep all of my current files and photos organized as well.

January might be over, but that doesn’t mean that I can forget about the goals I had set for myself this month. I have to continue working on them throughout the year, even though my primary focus shifts to another aspect of my Happiness Project. So, even though February is all about “focus,” I’ll still be working on organization: getting that bag, my computer, the charging cables for all my electronic devices, and another closet completely organized, while still packing up my lunches and snacks. Anyone know where I can find an extra couple of hours each day?

How are you doing on your goals for 2015? Any major successes?


It’s Monday, which means it’s time for the latest weekly training update. Last week certainly didn’t go according to plan. I started teaching a new class, so my schedule was all switched around. It always takes me a while to get the hang of a new schedule and to figure out how to fit everything into a different time frame. Also, I had to put Bubs – my 18-year old cat – to sleep on Thursday. That was really hard, and it took a lot out of me.



I did get some good-quality training in, though, just not quite as much as I would have liked.

Monday: planned rest day, yoga

Tuesday:¬†run speed work with 4×800 for a total of 4.53 miles

Wednesday: VO2 max intervals on the trainer for 21.2 miles; 1550-yard swim (with some 25-yard sprints!); I love short sprints!

Trainer fun!


Thursday: unplanned rest day

Friday: 55:00 on the trainer for 15 miles

Saturday: yoga, 2.53-mile run (was supposed to be 8 miles, but my legs decided not to show up)

Sunday: yoga, 30-mile bike ride with friends (first outdoor ride in a long time!)


Weekly Totals:

Swim: 1 swim for 1550 yards

Bike: 3 workouts for 67 miles

Run: 2 workouts for 7.06 miles

Yoga: 3 workouts

Total time: 7:55


How did your week go? Did you have some nice weather over the weekend?


Bio Skin Calf Skins Review

A couple of¬†weeks ago, Bio Skin¬†offered to send me a pair of their compression skins¬†in exchange for a review. I eagerly jumped on this opportunity since I love compression gear! I received the sleeves about a week and a half ago, and I’ve put them through numerous tests. Finally, I’m ready to sit down and write my Bio Skin calf skins review.


Bio Skin sent me a pair of calf skins along with a brochure of all of their products. One thing you notice immediately when you open the package is the innovative material. These sleeves don’t feel like any other sleeve I’ve ever tried. The Bio Skin Ultima material isn’t sock like; it’s thin, breathable, and latex free. While the material is flexible, it doesn’t stretch as much or as easily as a traditional sock/sleeve.

My contact at Bio Skin had told me to make sure my skin was dry and free of lotion/oil before putting the skins on. The fabric has a SkinLok feature that keeps the material from sliding down during vigorous exercise; if your skin is wet, the fabric won’t adhere properly.

There’s a bit of a learning curve involved in putting on the skins. You need to stretch out both the upper and lower openings with your hands before slipping the skins over your feet. If you have a problem getting the sleeve over your heel, it helps to wear a thin sock. The company provides a helpful video.

These sleeves are designed to be worn during training sessions (during which they reduce muscle vibrations and fatigue) and as a recovery aid (for which they help encourage circulation). I’ve tested the sleeves out during some runs, including some challenging speed work sessions and tempo runs.


My Bio Skins before a tempo run


I’m not the speediest of runners, so imaging my surprise when a lady saw me on the run and said, “Wow! You’re flying!”

I’ve also worn the sleeves during bike trainer sessions.


Giving the Bio Skins a test run on the bike


During all of these workouts, I loved how supported my calf muscles felt. The sleeves breathe well, so they didn’t get all sweaty and gross during the workouts.

I’ve also spent some quality time wearing the skins for recovery. I love wearing the sleeves when I’m going to be on my feet or lying down. If I sit for a long period of time, there’s some pooling in the feet and ankles, so I tend to wear something else if I’m just going to be sitting.


Some recovery time in the car – with my leg elevated. Don’t worry, I’m not driving ūüôā


  1. These sleeves feature an exceptional design and innovative materials. They do what they say they’re going to do, and they do it well.
  2. Bio Skin is a reputable company that designs a multitude of products to help athletes perform their best and to help them recover from injury. I actually noticed that one of my advanced ballet students – who is recovering from a back injury – wears a Bio Skin Back Skin.
  3. The skins are easy to care for. They’re machine washable (or you can hand wash them), and they drip dry quickly.
  4. The company gives back to the community. I love supporting companies that aren’t just out to make a profit. Bio Skin supports a number of great organizations.
  5. The skins are sleek. They probably don’t actually make me any faster, but they feel like they do.


  1. The only actually flaw I see in the product is a cosmetic one. The company’s logo starts to peel off after just a few wears.

The logo on one skin is perfectly fine, but the logo on the other skin has already started to peel off.


Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. Bio Skins aren’t inexpensive. They’re some of the more expensive sleeves on the market, but you definitely get a quality product for the money.
  2. Make sure you order the sleeve pair if you want two sleeves. The company sells individual sleeves for those who only need/want a single sleeve.
  3. Pay attention to the company’s sizing guide. I’m a rather petite woman, but I wear a medium. Measure your calf and go by the guide!
  4. The sleeves only come in black. Bio Skin’s products aren’t marketed as fashionable athletic wear. They come in black, and that’s it.

*Disclaimer – I received a pair of calf skins in exchange for a review of the product. I was not financially compensated for the review. This review is my honest opinion of the product.

Do you like compression wear? What’s your favorite piece of compression?



It’s hard to believe that about one year ago today I woke up and decided to run a 5k on a whim. This morning, hundreds of runners are gathering at Furman University to run A Hero’s 5K in honor of SPC. Geoffrey Whitsitt. Unfortunately I won’t be able to join them since I have to work, but this race holds a special place in my heart. Not only did I get a chance to participate in an event that honors our country’s veterans, but it sparked a love of racing. As soon as I got home, I registered for a half marathon. Later that week, I registered for a triathlon. Throughout the year, I picked up some valuable tidbits of information. Here’s 5 things I’ve learned in a year of racing and training.

1. Garbage in, garbage out.

I don’t diet, but I do try to pay attention to what I put in my body. I know when I eat healthy foods, my body feels better, and I get better results when training. On the other hand, when I eat something that’s not so healthy, training doesn’t always go so smoothly. Garbage in, garbage out!


Sauteeing veggies for a delicious – and healthy – vegetarian chili.


2. Always read the event info

I learned this important tidbit of information last summer at the I Scream for Ice Cream prediction 5K. This is a fun event. Instead of awarding prizes based on who crosses the finish line first, the race organizers give prizes to the runners who most closely predict their finishing times. I probably would have gotten much closer to predicting mine if I had seen that this was a TRAIL race. This trail newbie wasn’t prepared to run on trails, but it was fun!

3. Study the course

If you mainly do larger events, you can typically count on the courses being very well marked. Smaller, local races, however, might not have the funds or the manpower to make following the course idiot proof. And following the people in front of you is not always a great idea – they might be just as clueless as you are!

Case in point, at the Hair of the Dog Resolution Run, I got to the part of the course where you start running on the Mary Black Rail Trail. I followed the people in front of me who had turned left onto the trail. Luckily, they saw me and told me that the actual course went to the right. They just wanted some extra miles.

4. Everyone was a newbie at one point

During my first few races, I was very intimidated by all of the experienced athletes around me. A very wise triathlete reminded me that every one of these athletes was a newbie at some point in time. Most runners and triathletes remember how they felt in their first few races and are happy to share their hard-earned expertise with newbies. This really is a great community of people!

5. Run your own race

Just before hitting the starting line of the Mary Black Foundation Half Marathon (my first half), a friend advised me to not get caught up in the excitement of the starting line, when tons of people dash off at a sprint. He told me to stick with my plan and run my own race, at my own pace. I followed his advise at this race and at all of my other races, and it worked. This gem works whether your primary goal is to finish a particular distance or to PR.

What advice would you give a newer runner or triathlete? What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received?



Friday Five – 5 Fitness Snapshots

Another Friday, another great installment of the Friday Five linkup hosted by Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia. This week’s topic is “fitness snapshots.” Here are five pics that sort of sum up my fitness activities for the week.

On Sunday, I did a long ride – an hour and 55 minutes, to be exact¬†– on my bike trainer. Before starting, I laid out all of the supplies I’d need to get me through this workout. All that Nuun, the banana, and the Honey Stinger chews (along with some “24” action on the DVD) got me through this workout.


Hydration and fuel for a LONG trainer ride


There was some good running going on this week. I also did some high knee drills as part of the #SweatPink #NoExcuses challenge. This drill is excellent for building your running power!

High Knees

High knees


On Wednesday morning, I hit the bike trainer again. This time it was for 10 VO2 max intervals. Good fun at 5:30 in the morning!

10 hills

Nothing like getting your heart rate up in the a.m.!


I also spend some time this week doing yoga and stretching.


Stretching out after a tough day of workouts!


With all of this, plus lots of ballet teaching and some swimming, I needed some good recovery. For this, I spent some time in my BioSkin compression sleeves.


BioSkin compression sleeves

How did your week go? Any memorable workouts?



Week 5 Half Marathon / Half Ironman Training

My half marathon / half Ironman training last week was filled with swimming, biking, and running, with some strength training and yoga thrown in for good measure. It’s exciting to see the mileage add up over time, knowing that I’m getting some good workouts in the “bank” for my goal races.

Monday: speedwork with three mile repeats for a total of 5.6 miles. This workout was not fun! If you missed my post about this particular workout, you can check it out here. But in the end, I did it and learned something from it.

Tuesday: one hour on the bike, 16.3 miles

Wednesday: rest day!

Thursday: four mile tempo run for a total of 5.68 miles; 1000 yard swim

Friday: one hour on the bike with 9×1 minute VO2 max intervals for 16.7 miles; 1800 yard swim

Saturday: 10 mile run

Sunday: about two hours on the bike, 31.1 miles; 30 minutes of yoga. Yoga will be making a more frequent appearance in my training since I’ve committed to doing yoga at least three times a week in February.


I got in some strength training as part of the #SweatPink #NoExcuses challenge.

Wall sits

Here’s my 90 seconds of wall sits.


Weekly totals:

Swim: 2800 yards

Bike: 64 miles (got to build that up gradually as I train for A Ride to Remember 2015!)

Run: 21.3 miles

Yoga: 35 minutes

Total time: 9:13

How did your week of training go? What was your favorite workout of the week?