Last weekend I completed my first ever Sprint Triathlon, and I want to share my experience with you all.
First off, you're probably asking what is a Sprint Triathlon? It is half of the olympic triathlon distance of swimming, then biking, then running. Here is the breakdown:
- 500-750 meter swim
- 20K biking (12.4 miles)
- 5K run (3.1 miles)
Secondly, I got asked a lot, why are you doing this race? Well, I sat down one day at the beginning of August and set goals for the rest of 2017. I felt unmotivated in certain areas of my life after enjoying (a little too much) this summer. I set personal goals, career goals and health/fitness goals. This Sprint Tri falls under two personal/fitness goals:
(1) to complete a new race
(2) to teach my body something new
I chose a Sprint Tri because of these goals. I have completed running races like 5ks, 10ks, and a half marathon, and I sure as hell wasn't going to start training for the marathon just 8 weeks out. And earlier this year I did a strength race called the Super Spartan Race. So, what was different than these?-- swimming, biking, then running! I also have never swam laps as a workout, so my body was about to be taught something very new.
So, how did I train? First and foremost, I had to buy a fitness bike! Divvying around the city doesn't quite cut it... After buying a Trek fitness bike the next day and getting over my fears of biking alongside cars downtown, I looked up 6-week training plans. I didn't follow anything specific, but it gave me a good idea of what to do. I began going on 10-15 mile bike rides along Lake Michigan, and followed the bike rides up with a run. The first time the run lasted only 5 minutes, and then I slowly increased it to the 3.1 miles. The swimming is where it gets interesting. I didn't even know where to begin with it! Instead of trying to be a hero and teach myself, I asked for help. I talked to another Equinox Personal Trainer who does triathlons regularly, and we swam in the pool together a couple times. I learned some drills, techniques, and pool workouts to do on my own 3 days a week.
And, how did it go???? I can't quite quantify my experience in a couple words, but to sum it up, it was nerve-racking, exhilarating, tiring, challenging, and lots of fun! The swim in Lake Michigan was very rough, as I only did one swim in the lake beforehand, and that's without 25 other people splashing and kicking around you. I had no idea if I was swimming straight, or if I was about to kick someone or get kicked, or get swallowed up by a wave. I managed to push through it (sometimes doggy paddling) and finished in 12 minutes. Then we transitioned to biking. Biking was by-far the hardest part for me; even though I just said the swim was terrifying and rough, it was only 12 minutes, whereas the biking was 3.5X that. I can only explain it as I felt like I was full-on sprinting for 40 minutes. I was already gassed after the biking, but then I had to transition again to the run. My legs were jello and I felt like I was barely running. However, I was actually running at a solid 8:30min/mile pace and kept it for the whole run. The finish was all mental.
I finished 3rd in my age group of Women 20-24 years old, so that was pretty cool!
Finally, would I do another one? Yes, definitely! I now know exactly what it entails and I will be better prepared for the next one. I will do many more lake swims, go on faster and timed bike rides, and try to increase my running mile time. I am already excited to figure out what races I'll be doing in 2018. Stay tuned!
If you want to go out of your comfort zone physically, I 100% recommend doing a Sprint Triathlon. Everyone, regardless of age, or fitness and skill level, is capable of doing it. Email me with any questions regarding the race, training, or anything else!
From sandwiches, to pastas and pizzas, to desserts and to wine and champagne -- You will never travel around Italy with an empty stomach.
This post isn't about all the healthy food I found to eat while traveling to Italy; I'm pretty sure no one has succeeded in that quest... But rather, this post is to make you slightly jealous of what I ate, give you a guide if you are traveling to Italy in the future, and maybe help spark some healthier versions of Italian food you can make at home!
Best Sandwich: All'antico Vinaio - Florence, Italy
In this small shop overflowing with people inside and waiting along the street, you will find the freshest ingredients that make up the most flavorful sandwich I've ever had. These two pieces of thin focaccia are stuffed with mortadella, prosciutto, salami, mozzarella, roasted eggplants and (wait for it.....) black truffle mascarpone cream. I want this every day for the rest of my life.
My Healthy, Make-At-Home Option when craving a sandwich like this- open face roasted turkey and ham sandwich on a whole wheat english muffin or Ezekiel bread, with spinach, tomatoes and homemade oil-free pesto.
Best Pasta: Truffle Mushroom Tagliatelle from Poggio Amorelli Winery - Florence, Italy
We visited Poggio Amorelli Winery in the hopes of enjoying some of the best wines from Tuscany... What we didn't realize was that the wine tasting was just one part of the amazing experience at the vineyard. Along with each of the 7 courses of wine tasting there were food pairings as well. Not just little bites to eat, but meat and cheese plates, bruschetta, bread baskets, pastas, and desserts. This Mushroom Truffle Tagliatelle is by far the best of the best. Each bite oozes with a butter and truffles, making it 10/10 on the decadence scale.
My Healthy, Make-At-Home Option when craving pasta- spiralized zoodles sautéed in garlic with 99% fat-free turkey meatballs, homemade marinara sauce, and sprinkled with nutritional yeast. See this post for a recipe: zoodles-for-the-win.html
and this post: goodbye-chicken-hello-turkey.html
Best Dessert: Summertime Tiramisu - homemade in Rome, Italy
We took a private, in-home cooking class from two Italian women in their apartment right outside of downtown Rome. It was a very cool experience to cook side-by-side with Italians in their own kitchen!
We made pasta with sautéed mushrooms, eggplant and tomatoes, and finished the meal with this summertime, healthier spin on tiramisu. This was made with ladyfinger cookies soaked in fresh blueberry juice, layered with 1/2 greek yogurt and 1/2 mascarpone cheese and a dash of sugar, with raspberries, cherries and peaches. It was refreshing and delicious!
My Healthy, Make-At-Home Option if I'm craving something creamy and sweet: mix 1/4 cup cottage cheese with 1/4 cup greek yogurt and mix in fresh berries, and top with a sprinkle of granola, coconut or brown sugar.
Best Drink: Limoncello Spritz - Sorrento, Italy
This drink just makes you want to sit back, soak up the sun and sigh "ahhhhhh". It's very simple to make: 1 oz of plain vodka, 1 oz of limoncello, club soda, and finished off with a slice of lemon.
My Healthy, Make-At-Home Option if I want a refreshing summertime drink is this exact recipe ^^^, or check out my lighter sangria recipe here: sweet-satisfying-and-guilt-free-sangrias.html
I hope this post gave you some Italian cooking inspo- I know just reminiscing about this food is making me crave a new Italian recipe to share with everyone. Look out for one coming soon :)
About this Section
This section highlights any type of noteworthy experience I've had with food. It also covers some of my traveling adventures! I am an avid traveler and love trying out new cuisines and local foods wherever I go. I will give any and all the details of the food I've tasted around the world.