Reflections – “Where to Go From Here?”

Lately, I’ve been very reflective. Pausing a lot to think — think about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’d like to be (both in racing and in life). This summer was a big step for me — I completed my first Ironman at age 18, which had always been a goal of mine. It was an incredible feeling to cross the finish line with my dad; a rush of emotions and adrenaline that can only be experienced race-day.

This fall has been a transition period for me; moving from summer triathlon training to intense schoolwork, rowing, and otherwise here at Harvard. It took some adjusting to last year, but this year I absolutely love Cambridge. I have amazing roommates, other closer friends who make my experience here enjoyable and fulfilling. But besides all the exciting parts of being back at college — football games, social events, regattas, triathlons, meals out with friends, trips to Boston, and more — other things can become a bit overwhelming.

When I get overwhelmed, I tend to deal with it in a number of ways. One of them is reflection. I’ve found that this approach — both internal and external — can help manage the “Where do I go from here?” feeling that can eat away at not just me, but myriad other college students, athletes, adults, and more at various times in life.

Sometimes, especially at Harvard, I feel like everyone has everything figured out. Like people are rushing from moment to moment, place to place, class to class, without even thinking. Like people already have their entire lives planned out in their minds — graduate. Work in finance or consulting. And so on and so forth. Which makes me feel a little bit out of place, especially because I’m still debating what I want to concentrate in (Harvard’s word for majors, we have to decide by mid-November)! And I don’t have set concrete plan for the rest of my life.

This applies not only to my situation at college, but also with training. Sometimes, after finishing a big race or attempting a new milestone, we can come to a point where we need to decide where we want to go. Pick a direction. Pick a spot; a niche.

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Sometimes it’s okay to not know. To sit back, reflect, appreciate, and think.

I think that sometimes, that’s the problem with our way of thinking. We don’t take enough time to reflect. To get lost. To understand that sometimes, it’s okay to not know where exactly you’re going from your current location.

This was best brought to my attention by Kaitlin — after she wrote a piece for YoungTri that included how she liked to get “lost” on runs (as in, run wherever the road takes her), but that she made sure to take her phone with her when she did so. So that she made sure to couple adventure with security.

And it kind of hit me that that would be a wonderful way to approach training all the time — and even life in general.

And as such, as of right now, I’ve been taking some time to let myself reflect. To know that wherever the road takes me will be the beautiful, right road where I’ve always meant to end up. Training, school, work, and social life are all a part of our puzzles — and they all have a way of working themselves out as long as we’ve pointed ourself in the general right direction.

It’s okay to not know exactly “Where to Go from Here?”. It’s okay to reflect. That’s what life is for. For figuring things out.

What have you been reflecting upon recently? Do you ever feel as if you’re at a stepping stone in life (but you don’t know where it’s taking you)?

Tri Hard,

Caity

Head of the Charles.

Funny how a quiet(ish) running trail can turn into a crowd of thousands in a matter of days. The Head of the Charles is always a fun event to watch (unfortunately injured and can’t row) — especially because it’s so close to (my second) home.

It’s truly a spectacular showcase of talent — with some of the best rowers from around the world. Seeing tons of rowers walking around Harvard Square during the weekend (the streets have been PACKED) is also a highlight of the weekend. 🙂 I met up with some friends who row at other schools as well!

Great weather, free food, fun with friends, and exciting races. What more could you ask for for a spectacular weekend?

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The Charles River

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Riverside with Kerry!

What are your favorite sporting events to watch besides triathlons?

Tri Hard,
Caity

Athlete Banquets: A Fun Way to Celebrate Sports

Last night, my fellow Harvard rowers and I attended the Friends of Harvard-Radcliffe Rowing Banquet at the Harvard Club. It was a beautiful event at a gorgeous venue – and a great way to celebrate last season and look forward to the upcoming fall races. It reminded me a bit of the Ironman dinners I’ve been to!

Banquets & dinners (complete with great company, great food, and fun slideshows) are a great way to celebrate sports and get motivated to continue competing.

What are your favorite sports dinners/banquets that you’ve attended?

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The Harvard Club of Boston is gorgeous!

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At dinner with Ali (we’re normally next to each other in the boat!)

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Having a great time with teammates Rose and Sophia!

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Sophia and I after the banquet

Tri Hard,

Caity

Short-ish. Sweet. Sweat. {quick triple-sport cardio workout.}

Try this workout next time you’re at the gym (or at home if you have an erg) for a superb AT/cardio workout. You can adjust for how much time you have to commit to working out to make it as short or as long as you’d like! (Details below)

Short (ish). Sweet. Sweat.

20 minutes warm up on bike (if you have time — if not do a quick 1-2 minute workout)

Bike portion

  • 7 x 1 minute full pressure, 1 minute moderate pressure
  • 1 minute slower to lower heart rate

total time = 15 minutes

Erg portion (see here if you don’t know how to erg)

  • 1 minute warm up
  • 5 minutes moderate pace at low stroke rate (18-22)
  • 4 x 1 minute fast pace followed by 1 minute moderate at higher stroke rate (24-max, in 30s)
  • 1 minute sprint at high stroke rate (in 30s)

total time without cooldown = 15 minutes

  • 1 minute cooldown

Run portion

  • 1 minute at conversational pace
  • 5 minutes moderate pace
  • 4 x 1 minute fast pace, 1 minute moderate
  • 1 minute sprint

total time without cooldown = 15 minutes

  • 1 minute cool down

—> If you have time afterwards, DO A LENGTHY COOLDOWN! Stretch, walk around, and so on and so forth.

{for a super short version, cut each portion down to 5 minutes. 1 minute warm up at start, and 1 minute on/off alternating at full pressure.}

Adjust the times in the three disciplines based on how much time you have for your workout! Notice that the erg & run workouts are analogous in time dedicated to varying levels of difficulty, so adjust accordingly. (For example, if you only have 20 or so minutes, do about 7 minutes in each). Or, if you’re really short on time, try one of the three workouts for a short burst of cardio! Enjoy!

One of my favorite places to do quick AT runs - around the area of the Harvard stadium!

One of my favorite places to do quick AT runs – around the area of the Harvard stadium!

What are your favorite short AT workouts?

Tri Hard,

Caity

 

 

{YT Workouts} Erging/Rowing: Top-Notch Tri Cross Training

For about a year and a half now, I’ve been able to call myself a rower – after I was recruited the fall of my senior year, I took it up in March. I currently row on Harvard’s Varsity Openweight Crew team – we call ourselves Harvard-Radcliffe Rowing. Throughout the year, I will update the YT community on racing and balancing rowing with triathlons – but I wanted to share some background information on the sport here first.

“Erging”, as it is called, is a sort of a rowing-stimulating machine that rowers use to train. Besides being a great crew workout (and quite difficult), it is also a superb triathlon cross-training tool. Unlike running, erging has less of a striking impact (For example, I was able to start erging at a fast pace almost immediately after Ironman, whereas I had to wait a week or so to run and am still not back to 100% speed a few weeks later). It has a completely different feel – one that can only be experienced through trying it for yourself!

There are ergs available at most local gyms – and local boathouses and rowing clubs may also give you access. If you find yourself enjoying (er… liking the burn?) erging, you can always buy one for your home (used ones are not too expensive).

I’m not the only triathlete-turned-rower – in fact, YoungTri Member Andrew Gyenis spoke about his transition into the sport (he rows at Stanford) as a triathlete in a YoungTri interview. Click here to view it.

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The view from Weld Boathouse – the Charles river! (an amazing place to row)

{Proper Erging Technique}

Proper erging technique is vital to a successful workout. It took me awhile to get the hang of it (and I’m still improving!), but good technique on the erg makes a huge difference. See below for proper technique.

{Where do I start?}

Below isn’t my erg screen or a screenshot from my workouts (I think my coaches would NOT be too happy about a 2:41 average 500m, haha), but this is what an erg screen looks like!

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Sample of an erg screen (not mine)!

For a beginner, I would recommend going at a steady pace for 10-20 minutes (after watching the technique videos) to get the hang of things. If you feel like you’re getting the hang of it, do some intervals – the erg allows you to input workouts by time and distance – but you can also do what’s called a “power 10” and take 10 powerful sprint strokes during your workout to speed things up a bit.

In the upper right hang corner is the strokes per minute – for your first workout, keep this at a low-ish rate (18-24) – this means don’t rush your legs, and don’t slide up and down the seat too quickly! The machine also calculates spits per 500 meters – which depending on your speed could take anywhere from around 1:30 to 3 minutes (for an average new rower casually cross-training, mid two minutes is a good benchmark).

I like to bring my erg outside sometimes when I’m training at home – it makes the workouts a lot more fun!

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Erging outside!

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Back view – erging outside

This coming week when you’re looking for something to on an “active recovery day” or want to fully challenge yourself to take on a cross training workout, try erging! Start slow and build your way up – with 10 or 20 minutes initially – with a goal of working up to a 5 or 10k! Challenge yourself with “power 10s” and sprint intervals.

Stay tuned for more information and workouts relating to erging and rowing soon – and happy cross training!

Do you row or erg as a form of cross training for triathlons? Or are you a rower who does triathlons on the side? Let us know! Email info@youngtri.com about your rowing/triathlon experiences.

If you aren’t, would you ever consider trying the sport?

Tri Hard,

Caity